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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Far-Right Protesters, Police Clash At Rally In England : NPR

Far-Right Protesters, Police Clash At Rally In England : NPR
Far-Right Protesters, Police Clash At Rally In England
text size A A A August 28, 2010
A right-wing group that opposes what it calls the spread of Islam in Britain clashed with riot police in northern England on Saturday, throwing bottles, rocks and a smoke bomb at authorities.
The demonstration by the English Defense League occurred in Bradford, a city with one of the country's largest Pakistani and Muslim communities.
The clashes began as the police kept about 700 English Defense League protesters apart from a leftist group that had called a counterdemonstration nearby. One English Defense League protester was taken away with a leg injury and five people were arrested, police said.
Bradford saw some of the U.K.'s worst riots in 2001, when racial tension between whites and South Asian immigrants resulted in looting, arson and attacks on immigrant-owned businesses. More than 180 people were charged with rioting in that incident.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Protecting New Orleans From Privatizers (The Rachel Maddow Show)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy  

Early Nation of Islam Documents Found In Detroit : NPR

Flag of the Nation of Islam. The flag is under...Image via WikipediaEarly Nation of Islam Documents Found In Detroit : NPR
More than 1,000 documents, including some dating back to the beginning of the Nation of Islam, were found in the attic of a home in Detroit, the city where the secretive movement started 80 years ago, a lawyer said.
Attorney Gregory Reed unveiled some documents, letters and a booklet Thursday at a Detroit mosque, including a rare 1933 signature of Nation of Islam founder W.D. Fard. Reed said the well-preserved documents detail the early structure and teachings of the group founded on the ideals of black nationalism.
"Very few have seen the internal workings of how [the Nation of Islam] was put together," said Reed, whose Keeper of the Word Foundation oversees collections and exhibits that include the works of Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela.

Kenya gets new American-style constitution - Yahoo! News

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on the South Lawn...Image via WikipediaKenya gets new American-style constitution - Yahoo! News
NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya's president signed a new constitution into law Friday that institutes a U.S.-style system of checks and balances and has been hailed as the most significant political event since Kenya's independence nearly a half century ago.
Kenya's new constitution is part of a reform package that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga committed themselves to after signing a power-sharing deal in February 2008. That deal ended violence that killed more than 1,000 people following Kenya's disputed December 2007 presidential vote.
"I feel honored to be your President at this moment because this is the most important day in the history of our nation since independence," said the 78-year-old Kibaki. He was a senior official of Kenya's independence party, the Kenya African National Union, when Britain handed over power in 1963 to its leader, Jomo Kenyatta.
Odinga said the new constitution was a major step in bridging Kenya's political and ethnic divisions.
"No one could have thought that out of the bitter harvest of the disputed election and the violence that pitted our people against each other just two years ago, we would be witnessing today the birth of a national unity that has eluded us for more than 40 years," Odinga said.

Fed Ready to Increase Its Buying of Long-Term Debt -

Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman ...Image via WikipediaFed Ready to Increase Its Buying of Long-Term Debt -
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said Friday that the central bank was determined to prevent the economy from slipping into a cycle of falling prices, even as he emphasized that he believed growth would continue in the second half of the year, “albeit at a relatively modest pace.”
To help sustain the economy, Mr. Bernanke gave his strongest indication yet that the Fed was ready to resume its large purchases of longer-term debt if the economy worsened, a move that would add to the Fed’s already substantial holdings.
“We have come a long way, but there is still some way to travel,” Mr. Bernanke said.
“I believe that additional purchases of longer-term securities, should the F.O.M.C. choose to take them, would be effective in further easing financial conditions,” Mr. Bernanke told a Fed policy symposium here. He was referring to the Federal Open Market Committee, the panel that sets interest rates, which Mr. Bernanke leads; some members have expressed unease over the prospect of the Fed pursuing any further monetary accommodation.
“Central bankers alone cannot solve the world’s economic problems,” he said.
While Mr. Bernanke emphasized that deflation was “not a significant risk for the United States at this time,” he said “the F.O.M.C. will strongly resist deviations from price stability in the downward direction.”
It was his most robust statement to date that the Fed would do its part to avoid a Japanese-style deflation from taking hold.

The John H. Armwood Weekly News Podcast For The Week Ending August 27, 2010

This podcast is for the week ending Friday August 27, 2010.  The Archive of my previous News Podcasts is found here

Second-Quarter Economic Growth Revised Down to 1.6% -

Second-Quarter Economic Growth Revised Down to 1.6% -
Economic statistics released Friday offered the clearest sign yet that the recovery, already acknowledged to be sauntering, had slowed to a crawl.
The government lowered its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter to an annual rate of 1.6 percent, after originally reporting last month that growth in the three-month period was 2.4 percent.
The revision is a significant slowdownfrom the annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter and 5 percent in the last three months of 2009.
The news came at the end of a week that showed the economic retrenchment that began in the second quarter has spilled over into the summer. Existing home sales in July were down to their lowest level in a decade, and sales of new homes that month were at their lowest level since the government began tracking such data in 1963. Orders for large factory goods, excluding the volatile transportation sector, dropped in July, indicating that recovery in the manufacturing sector is also stalling.
With such grim reports, economists are now concerned that the outlook for job creation, which has been spluttering all summer, could deteriorate further. Companies and consumers tend to be spooked by bad news, and market analysts and economists worry that faltering confidence could cause employers to hold back on hiring.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Carter Helps Free American Held In North Korea : NPR

Official White House portrait of Jimmy CarterImage via WikipediaCarter Helps Free American Held In North Korea : NPR
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter flew out of North Korea on a private jet Friday after securing a special pardon for an American who had been jailed in the communist country since January.
Carter and Aijalon Gomes, 31, were expected to arrive in Boston later Friday, Carter Center spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said in Atlanta late Thursday.
North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Carter's departure, saying the ex-leader apologized for Gomes' actions.
The pardon "to set free the illegal entrant is a manifestation of (North Korea's) humanitarianism and peace-loving policy," KCNA said.
The rare trip by an American dignitary to the North Korean capital took place amid reports that leader Kim Jong Il was making a surprise trip to China. There was no indication that Carter and Kim Jong Il met during Carter's three-day trip.

Prison will have to wait for Wesley Snipes - Orlando Sentinel

Wesley Snipes in September 2008.Image via WikipediaPrison will have to wait for Wesley Snipes - Orlando Sentinel
OCALA – Orlando-born movie star Wesley Snipes does not have to report to prison — yet.
U.S. District Court Judge William Terrell Hodges, who sentenced the "Blade" star to 36 months in prison in 2008 for tax-related crimes, overruled a U.S. Marshal who had sent the actor a letter directing him to report to the Bureau of Prisons no later than noon Sept. 2.
The judge's order Monday reaffirmed a decision he made Aug. 5 which set up a schedule for arguing all outstanding motions in Snipes' case, including a request from federal prosecutors to revoke the actor's bail.

Cabbie-stabbing suspect earlier sought film publicity - U.S. news - Crime & courts -

Cabbie-stabbing suspect earlier sought film publicity - U.S. news - Crime & courts -
NEW YORK — A college student accused of slashing a Muslim New York City taxi driver had recently sought publicity for a documentary he filmed about soldiers in Afghanistan.
The revelation made the motivation for the brutal Tuesday night attack difficult to determine. Some blamed the vitriolic debate going on in New York City over an Islamic center proposed to be built near Ground Zero. The movie raised the specter of fame-seeking.
Michael Enright was charged Wednesday with using a folding tool to slash the neck and face of driver Ahmed H. Sharif.
A criminal complaint alleged that Enright uttered an Arabic greeting and told the victim, "Consider this a checkpoint," before the attack inside the yellow cab on Manhattan's East Side. Police say Enright was drunk at the time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Key Karzai Aide in Graft Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A. -

Key Karzai Aide in Graft Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A. -

KABUL, Afghanistan — The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials.

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both.

Mr. Salehi’s relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.
The War in Afganistan is reminding me more and more of the War In Vietnam with the United States propping up weak and corrupt government in an un-winnable war. We have seen this movie before.

John H. Armwood

Wikileaks Founder Charged With Rape Then 1 Day Later Charges Dropped, Founder Alleges Retaliatory Dirty Tricks

Mayor Bloomberg, A Real Patriot Speaks Out

Political Leaders’ Rift Grows on Muslim Center -

Political Leaders’ Rift Grows on Muslim Center -
Even as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg firmly rejected calls for the relocation of a planned Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero, signs of growing division emerged on Tuesday within the political establishment in Manhattan, as the powerful speaker of the State Assembly expressed forceful opposition to the plan.
Breaking his silence on the issue, the speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat whose district includes ground zero, said the organizers’ honorable goal of healing post-Sept. 11 wounds and building bridges among faiths had instead provoked bitter fighting and raw emotions that could not be ignored.
“I think the sponsors,” Mr. Silver said at City Hall, “should take into very serious consideration the kind of turmoil that’s been created and look to compromise.”
Such a compromise, he added, would mean finding “a suitable place that doesn’t create the kind of controversy” engendered by the Park51 plan.
The opposition from Mr. Silver, a religious Jew who commands considerable influence in the city’s Democratic political world, is largely symbolic, because the city has already given its approval. But it fueled creeping doubts about the viability of the center, which faces a raft of obstacles, like paltry fund-raising, on top of the public outcry.
Mr. Silver’s remarks came on the same day that Mr. Bloomberg, the center’s most visible supporter, delivered a carefully prepared answer to the emerging voices calling for a compromise.
Speaking at a traditional dinner at Gracie Mansion as part of Ramadan, the mayor sought to tamp down the opposition and regain control over a national debate that has escalated by the day, starting as a local zoning dispute and becoming a referendum on the limits of religious tolerance in an age of terrorism.
Mr. Bloomberg, flanked by the center’s developer and the wife of its imam, said he understood the impulse to find a different location, in the hope of ending the controversy.
“But it won’t,” the mayor said. “The question will then become, ‘How big should the ‘no-mosque zone’ around the World Trade Center be?’ ”
He added: “There is already a mosque four blocks away. Should it, too, be moved? This is a test of our commitment to American values. We must have the courage of our convictions. We must do what is right, not what is easy.”
It was Mr. Bloomberg’s second major speech in three weeks supporting the plan, and its soaring tone and forceful arguments suggested that he had firmly embraced his role as a national defender of the plan for the center, even as high-profile voices have called for a re-examination of the wisdom of the current site.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sherrod won't return to USDA  |

Sherrod won't return to USDA |
Shirley Sherrod won't return to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The former Georgia director for rural development told reporters Tuesday morning that she came very close to taking the new job Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offered her after demanding her resignation more than a month ago.
" The secretary did push really, really hard for me to stay and work from the inside ," Sherrod said. "I was tempted."
On the table were both a deputy director position guiding efforts to fight discrimination within the department, and her old position helping needy Georgia farmers connect with USDA resources.
"I would want to see that work continue," Sherrod said of her former role in Georgia. "I just don’t think at this point, after all that has happened, that I would be able to take the job."
Sherrod met with her former boss Tuesday morning for the first time since she was ousted in July over beliefs she was racist.
Footage surfaced of Sherrod, a black woman, admitting to an NAACP banquet in March that she'd given minimal support to a white farmer who had come to her in need. Omitted from the online video snippet was the morale of her story -- that she'd learned from the 25-year-old encounter that she should help everyone she can, regardless of their race.

For Scholars, Web Changes Sacred Rite of Peer Review -

For Scholars, Web Changes Sacred Rite of Peer Review -
For professors, publishing in elite journals is an unavoidable part of university life. The grueling process of subjecting work to the up-or-down judgment of credentialed scholarly peers has been a cornerstone of academic culture since at least the mid-20th century.
Now some humanities scholars have begun to challenge the monopoly that peer review has on admission to career-making journals and, as a consequence, to the charmed circle of tenured academe. They argue that in an era of digital media there is a better way to assess the quality of work. Instead of relying on a few experts selected by leading publications, they advocate using the Internet to expose scholarly thinking to the swift collective judgment of a much broader interested audience.
“What we’re experiencing now is the most important transformation in our reading and writing tools since the invention of movable type,” said Katherine Rowe, a Renaissance specialist and media historian at Bryn Mawr College. “The way scholarly exchange is moving is radical, and we need to think about what it means for our fields.”
That transformation was behind the recent decision by the prestigious 60-year-old Shakespeare Quarterly to embark on an uncharacteristic experiment in the forthcoming fall issue — one that will make it, Ms. Rowe says, the first traditional humanities journal to open its reviewing to the World Wide Web.

Judge Halts Obama’s Expansion of Stem Cell Research -

Judge Halts Obama’s Expansion of Stem Cell Research -
WASHINGTON — A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos.
The ruling came as a shock to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and at universities across the country, which had viewed the Obama administration’s new policy and the grants provided under it as settled law. Scientists scrambled Monday evening to assess the ruling’s immediate impact on their work.
“I have had to tell everyone in my lab that when they feed their cells tomorrow morning, they better use media that has not been funded by the federal government,” said Dr. George Q. Daley, director of the stem cell transplantation program at Children’s Hospital Boston, referring to food given to cells. “This ruling means an immediate disruption of dozens of labs doing this work since the Obama administration made its order.”
In his ruling, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that his temporary injunction returned federal policy to the “status quo,” but few officials, scientists or lawyers in the case were sure Monday night what that meant.
Dr. Daley was among those who said they believed that it meant that work financed under the new rules had to stop immediately; others said it meant that the health institutes had to use Bush administration rules for future grants.
Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which sued to stop the Obama administration rules, said the judge’s ruling “means that for now the N.I.H. cannot issue funding grants to embryonic stem cell research projects without any further order from the court.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Rachel Maddow Show - This anti-Muslim thing is just so bad

The Rachel Maddow Show - This anti-Muslim thing is just so bad

Glenn Greenwald calls this video from Sunday's rally against the planned Islamic community center with a prayer roomin Manhattan -- a.k.a. the Ground Zero Mosque -- a sign of "some extremely ugly stuff that's been unleashed."

And so it is. An African-American man, identified on YouTube as a union carpenter who works at Ground Zero, walks through the crowd and suddenly becomes the symbol of everything Islam. He protests that he's not Muslim and that the people chanting "No mosque here" don't know anything about him. They won't let up. Eventually we get to "He must have voted for Obama" and "Mohamed's a pig."

The man seems to be a target because the mob needs a target, and anyone who looks different from them will suffice.

Bonus for recognizing the man in the suit who escorts the carpenter out of the crowd. Hit the comments, please.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In New York City Jewish and Muslim Leaders Join Forces In Support Of Downtown Mosque

This was the Jewish community that I grew up around and loved in New York City.  They stood up against ignorance and bigotry in an environment where much of it existed.  I thanks God for that wonderful community. So many others in America need to wake up, open their closed bigoted minds and learn from their example.
John H. Armwood

Floods Force Thousands From Homes in Pakistan -

Floods Force Thousands From Homes in Pakistan -

SUKKUR, Pakistan — Floodwaters continued to surge Sunday into areas of southern Pakistan, forcing thousands more people to abandon their homes in haste and flee to higher ground. Attention has now focused on the province of Sindh as the floods that have torn through the length of the country for three weeks move finally toward the Arabian Sea.
Water reached within half a mile of Shadad Kot, a town of 150,000 people, on Sunday afternoon, and several nearby villages were already cut off when a protective embankment began to give way, Yasin Shar, the district coordination officer of Shadad Kot, said by telephone. Most of the population has been evacuated, and more were still leaving, he said.
“We are trying to save the embankment and keep on repairing wherever it is damaged, but the water is flowing with a lot of pressure,” Mr Shar said. “We hope the embankment won’t break. We are praying.”
Nearly five million people have been displaced from the worst flooding ever recorded in Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands are being housed in orderly tented camps set up in army compounds, schools and other public buildings, but thousands more are living on roadsides and canal embankments, spreading out mats under the trees or making shade over the simple rope beds they brought with them.

Obama's Personal Faith Leaves Public Wondering : NPR

Obama's Personal Faith Leaves Public Wondering : NPR

A spokesman says the president prays daily, often with others, sometimes in conference calls with spiritual leaders, including one recently aboard Air Force One. He has given speeches where he has spoken of how his faith helps him in his job, and he has spoken explicitly in Christian terms, as he did this year on Easter Sunday at a White House breakfast reflecting on Christ's final moments on the cross.