Thursday, March 22, 2012
Obama's Keystone XL Visit A Potemkin Village Photo-Op.(Investors).The president stages a photo-op in Oklahoma to take credit for the portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that doesn't need his approval and for oil production on private and state lands beyond his jurisdiction.
If one of his aides some morning remarked on a particularly lovely sunrise, it wouldn't surprise us if President Obama responded with a "thank you," so gifted is he in taking credit for successes that he has nothing to do with and that occur despite, not because, of his policies.
So it will be Thursday, when Obama is scheduled to appear in Cushing, Okla., known as the pipeline capital of the world, to take credit for the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project announced weeks ago by TransCanada, the Keystone builder.
It's the section that doesn't need presidential or State Department approval since it does not cross an international boundary.The president will say he is "expediting" the permit process for the southern portion of Keystone XL, the emptiest of gestures. We already have some 55,000 miles of safely operating pipelines, most of which required state and local permits, not presidential hot air, to proceed.
If the president wants to expedite permits, how about doing that in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil rigs are leaving and businesses are going bankrupt due to a glacial permitting process that is a de facto moratorium by over-regulation? He could free up Gulf production tomorrow.When combined, our recoverable endowment of oil, natural gas and coal is the largest on earth. When all U.S. resources (even without abundant shale oil) are aggregated, we see the U.S. has more fossil fuel reserves than any other country in the world (see chart).And President Obama is the only leader in the world keeping them under lock and key.Hmmmm.....If he really wanted to destroy America as a superpower would he do anything different?Read the full story here.
Hillary Clinton to bypass Congress and announce continued U.S. aid to Egypt.(Politico).By John Bresnahan.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce this afternoon that the United States will go ahead with continued military aid to Egypt, despite a five-week standoff between the two allies over the detention of American employees of pro-democracy groups, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, congressional sources said.
The United States supplies Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid, plus another $250 million in economic assistance. Congress included language in the foreign aid funding bill approved last year requiring Clinton to certify that Egypt is making the transition to democracy in order for the funding to continue flowing.
But the stalemate over the American non-governmental organization workers, who included Sam LaHood, threatened to derail that funding. The younger LaHood and other NGO workers were prevented from leaving the country after Egyptian officials raided their offices on Dec. 29. More than 40 NGO workers, mainly from the United States and Europe, currently face criminal charges of using illegally obtained funds to stir up unrest inside Egypt. The U.S. government paid more than $4 million in bail (a.k.a. taxpayer Ransom money).
The high-profile dispute led to some calls on Capitol Hill to eliminate the Egyptian aid package, and human rights groups are bound to complain about Clinton's action. A military dominated "supreme council" is running Egypt ahead of upcoming presidential elections.Clinton, however, is expected to waive the requirements on national security grounds. It is unclear at this time whether Egypt will receive the entire $1.3 billion military package or only a portion of it.Hmmmmm........The fact that Huma Weiner's brother is listed as a fellow and partners with a number of Muslim Brotherhood memberson the Board, including al-Qaeda associate, Omar Naseef and the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi; both have been listed as Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Trustees has nothing to do with Hillary's decision?.Read the full story here.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak: Iran must be given deadline in nuke talks.(JPost).Defense Minister Ehud Barak acknowledged publicly on Thursday that Israel and the US have different clocks when looking at Iran, with Washington able – because of its greater military capabilities – to wait longer to strike the country than Israel.
The way to bridge this gap, he said in an interview with Israel Radio, is to speed up the sanctions, “set a bar” and create a short timeline for the talks between Iran and European powers that are to begin next month.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear in Ottawa earlier this month that Israel’s expectation was that at the end of any talks, Iran would dismantle its nuclear facility at Qom, stop enriching uranium and remove all uranium enriched beyond 3.5 percent from the country.
According to Barak, Jerusalem and Washington agree fully on the intelligence information on Iran. Likewise, the rhetoric is also similar, with leaders from both countries saying that they were determined to keep Iran from “going nuclear,” and that it was forbidden to take any option off the table.
“There is a difference in perspective,” he said. “The US is looking at this as the leader of the world, and Israel is looking at it as someone threatened from up close.”
Barak said the difference between the US and Israel was the timeline perspective, “because America has more capabilities than Israel. As a result, it is possible to think of a situation where Israel will be limited in its ability to deal with the issue, and the US can say there are still long months [available] to deal with the issue without risking an allout war.”Setting a deadline for the talks, Barak said, would make it possible to determine Iranian intent before Israel would find itself pushed to the side and unable to stop the Iranian program anymore.
The defense minister dismissed the notion that he was now against Israel acting alone without US involvement, as opposed to Netanyahu, who holds a different position.“There is no difference between us on how we see things,” Barak said. “Obviously there are differences on one detail or the other, but all in all we view the whole matter in the same way.”
He said the reason Iran had not completely burned its bridges with the International Atomic Energy Agency was the concern that doing so could lead to action by the US, “or somebody else,” against it. In the interim, he said, the Iranians were spreading the nuclear program out across the country and fortifying it underground – so that by the time all negotiations and discussions have ended, it will be too late for Israel to take any effective action against it.Read the full story here.
Building a Monastery the Medieval Way, Ox Carts and No Tim Horton's.(Spiegel).By Angelika Franz.Historians, architects, archaeologists and volunteers in Germany are teaming up to build a medieval monastery the old-fashioned way. Working conditions will be strictly 9th-century, without machines, rain jackets or even coffee. It will take decades, but they hope to garner fresh insights into everyday life in the 800s.What did a medieval stonemason do when heavy rainfall interrupted his work? Umbrellas are impractical at construction sites. Gore-Tex jackets weren't yet invented, nor were plastic rain jackets. "He donned a jacket made of felted loden cloth," says Bert Geurten, the man who plans to build an authentic monastery town the old-fashioned way.
Felted loden jackets will also be present on rainy days at Geurten's building site, which is located near Messkirch, in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg, between the Danube River and Lake Constance. Beginning in 2013, a Carolingian monastery town will be built here using only the materials and techniques of the 9th century. From the mortar to the walls, the rain jackets to the menu, every aspect of the operation will be carried out as just as it was in the days of Charlemagne. "We want to work as authentically as possible," says Geurten.
The building contractor from the Rhineland region has long dreamt of carrying out his plan. When he was a teenager, the now 62-year-old was inspired by a model of the St. Gallen monastery plan in an exhibition in his home city of Aachen. The plan, dating from the beginning of the 9th century, shows the ideal monastery, as envisioned by Abbot Haito of Reichenau.
Haito dedicated his drawing to his colleague Abbot Gozbert of St. Gall, who presided over the monastery from 816 to 837. He meticulously recorded everything that he believed was necessary for a monastic city, from a chicken coop to a church for 2,000 worshipers. Altogether he envisaged 52 buildings -- but they were never built. That will change in spring 2013, though, when ox-pulled carts wil begin carrying the first stones to the building site in the forest near Messkirch. It won't be finished until about 2050, according to estimates.
The first building will be a small wooden church. "Of course, in the Middle Ages, they didn't build the large stone church first," says Geurten. The craftsmen at that time did not want to postpone their prayers until the stone church was finished, so they constructed a simple wooden church as an interim arrangement until they could move into the magnificent stone building decades later.
Given the tight budget, craftsmen salaries will remain low. "The net wage is about €1,200 (per month)," says Geurten. "I can't pay more." The working hours are also a long way from what German trade unions recommend these days. They will work from April 2 -- Charlemagne's birthday -- almost without break until St. Martin's Day, on Nov. 11. During those eight months, there will be one single weekend off. "In the Middle Ages, the rent for the year was always paid on St. Martin's Day," said Geurten. The winter break lasts until April when the temperatures are warm enough to work again.
Despite the difficult conditions, the project has been swamped with applications. "I've had 85 stone masons apply already," says Geurten. "They all dream of having the chance to work with their hands." This also applies to the blacksmith. "They won't be hammering kitschy horseshoes for tourists. The forge must supply the site with tools," he adds.Read the full story here.
'Terminated' jihadi Mohammed Merah had visited Israel.(JPost).French gunman Mohamed Merah, who killed three soldiers and four Jews in France in the last two weeks, had been on a trip to Israel in the past, France's Le Monde newspaper reported Thursday.According to the report, Merah's passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is not known, but analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or do reconnaissance to plan a terror attack
The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the veracity of this report.
Based on the stamps in his passports, Merah also visited Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Afghanistan.
The 23-year-old gunman who said al-Qaida inspired him to kill seven people in France died from a gunshot wound to the head on Thursday as he scrambled out of a ground-floor window during a gunbattle with elite police commandos.
Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, died in a hail of bullets at the end of a 30-hour standoff with police at his apartment in southern France and after confessing to killing three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi.
He was firing frantically at police from a Colt 45 pistol as he climbed through his apartment window onto a verandah and toppled to the ground some 5 feet (1.5 meters) below, in a suburb of the city of Toulouse, according to prosecutors and police.
Two police commandos were injured in the operation - a dramatic climax to a siege which riveted the world after the killings shook France a month before a presidential election.
"At the moment when a video probe was sent into the bathroom, the killer came out of the bathroom, firing with extreme violence," Interior Minister Claude Gueant told reporters at the scene.
"In the end, Mohamed Merah jumped from the window with his gun in his hand, continuing to fire. He was found dead on the ground."
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Merah had taken refuge in his bathroom, wearing a bullet-proof vest under his traditional black djellaba robe, as elite police blasted his flat through the night with flash grenades.
Police investigators were working to establish whether Merah had worked alone or with accomplices, Molins said, adding that Merah had filmed his three shooting attacks with a camera hung from his body and had indicated that he had posted clips online.
The most disturbing image of the attacks showed him grabbing a young girl at a Jewish school on Monday by the hair and shooting her in the head before escaping on a scooter.
The killings have raised questions about whether there were intelligence failures, what the attacks mean for social cohesion and race relations in France and how the aftermath will affect President Nicolas Sarkozy's slim chances of re-election.
Sarkozy called Merah's killings terrorist attacks and announced a crackdown on people following extremist websites."From now on, any person who habitually consults websites that advocate terrorism or that call for hate and violence will be punished," he said in a statement. "France will not tolerate ideological indoctrination on its soil."Hmmmm.........72 'surgeons' couldn't help him now.Read the full story here.
Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who murdered seven people, including a rabbi and three young children, and who was killed by French security forces in Toulouse, visited Israel several years ago, it was reported Thursday.
Channel 10 News reported that the reason for Merah’s visit to Israel is not entirely clear, but it is believed he came to gather intelligence for his attack.
The Channel 10 report was based on a comment made by an American officer serving in Afghanistan to the French newspaper Le Monde. The officer told the newspaper that Merah’s passport had been stamped with entry to and exit from Israel.
However, the National Immigration Authority said on Thursday evening that an initial investigation found that Merah never visited Israel. Kol Yisrael radio reported that the National Immigration Authority said that the terrorist's name, as published in the media, was not found in the list of arrivals to Israel. The authority added that it is continuing to investigate the matter.
Channel 10 noted that there are conflicting reports about whether Merah was identified as an Al-Qaeda activist before 2010, which is when he allegedly visited Israel. The report noted that if he was indeed suspected to be an Al-Qaeda terrorist, then Israeli procedure would have called for him to be interrogated at the airport and to undergo a thorough security check.
It is unknown whether Merah was indeed interrogated or checked, the report said. The Israel Security Agency refused to comment on the issue and said that it was still being review reviewed.Source INN.
"CHANGE" - Egypt MP calls for end to women’s right to divorce.(BM).An Egyptian member of Parliament has called for legislation to remove a year 2000 bill that gave Egypt women the right to divorce. MP Mohamed el-Omda has introduced new legislation that would revoke a woman’s right to divorce, the Egyptian Women’s Union said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Omda, the 2000 legislation was the doing of the National Council for Women, headed by former President Hosni Mubarak’s wife Suzanne.
He said that the law should be revoked because it was part of the former regime and part of the means for the NCW to exist in the first place.
The Egyptian Women’s Union has called for “complete rejection of this proposal,” saying that the issue of “divorce law was an issue to try to solve the dilemmas facing legal implications of the [country's] flaws and the inability for women to obtain provisions for their benefit.”
Before 2000, women in Egypt did not have the right to divorce their spouses on their own terms.
Omda said he plans to pursue the matter even further, which has angered many women’s rights activists in the country, who say it could be the beginning of the conservatives push to remove women from positions of any power.
“It is a bad sign that they want to revoke the divorce law because this law did a lot for women legally and it gave us some empowerment,” 27-year-old legal assistant in Cairo Marwa told Bikyamasr.com.
It is unclear if the proposed legislation will get much traction, but with nearly two-thirds of Parliament conservative leaning Islamists, it could very well.Read the full story here.
Iranian MP: West misstep against Iran will jeopardize Israel existence.(PressTV).A senior Iranian lawmaker has warned against any military move against the Islamic Republic, saying even the “slightest of errors” by the West will endanger Israel’s very existence.
“Should the Western countries want to commit the slightest of errors regarding Iran, they will be gripped by such ramifications that will endanger the existence of the Zionist regime,” Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Thursday
Boroujerdi, who heads the Majlis committee on national security and foreign policy, further cautioned the West to take the warnings seriously as they are neither political in nature nor intended to serve propaganda purposes.“In case of any venture against our country, the aggressors will face a swift, resolute and serious countermeasure,” the Iranian official said.
The US and Israel have threatened Iran with a military strike, claiming that there is diversion in the country’s nuclear energy program towards a military program.Earlier this week, Russia reiterated its opposition to a potential aggression against the Islamic Republic, saying such a measure would be baseless and will incur disastrous consequences for the region.
"The CIA and other US officials admit they now have no information about the Iranian leadership taking the political decision to produce nuclear weapons," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.
Iran has repeatedly refuted the Western allegations regarding its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iranian officials have also promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.Hmmmm......"All options are on the table "........indeed.Read the full story here.
Palestinians suffer fuel crisis in Gaza; unity deal at heart of Egypt-Hamas dispute.(AlArabiya).Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are suffering a crisis of dry petrol pumps and frequent blackouts triggered by a fuel supply dispute between Egypt and the enclave's Hamas Islamist rulers.
Taxis are scarce, with would-be passengers fighting for rides, and the government has ordered civil servants with vehicles to pick up hitchhikers.
Gaza’s emergency medical service has halved the number of ambulances it puts on the streets. At least one hospital has cancelled non-essential operations to conserve power for its generator.
“Our leaders are playing while we are being grilled on the fire of poverty and division. We have been sent back to the dark ages,” said Abud Mohammed, a 21-year-old university student.
Last month, Egypt began restricting the flow of fuel to Gaza through the network of smuggling tunnels running under their border. Gaza’s lone power plant ran out of fuel for its generators, causing outages affecting nearly two-thirds of the area's population of 1.7 million.
Egypt prefers to send fuel through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, citing old international understandings which limited the use of Egypt’s Rafah terminal with Gaza to the movement of passengers.
Hamas objects. It is opposed to giving its foe, Israel, the opportunity to block supplies in times of tension and wants direct trade with Egypt, a move that could strengthen Gaza's economy and Hamas's popularity.
But a rocky relationship between Egypt and the Islamists who wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement in 2007 has bolstered the crisis.
Some Hamas sources accused Egypt of creating fuel shortages to pressure the movement to implement a unity deal with Western-backed Abbas. Mohammed Awad, the deputy prime minister in the Gaza Strip, said the crisis was politically motivated and Hamas “will overcome it.”
Hamas’ Gaza-based leadership has balked at the accord signed by Khaled Meshaal, a leader of the group who lives in exile, because it fears the reconciliation agreement could weaken its control of the enclave.“If Hamas calls itself a government they should find solutions. If there was unity, many of these problems would cease to exist,” said Saed Salem, a 41-year-old civil servant.“There is no fuel to generate electricity and no cooking gas to make food and no cars to go to work in or visit family and friends.”
Urging “concerned parties” to resolve the supply problems as soon as possible, Maxwell Gaylard, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said hospitals and ambulance services were finding it increasingly difficult to function and already fragile water and sanitation systems were failing.
“These chronic shortages are reaching beyond the rationing of electricity and water for households which has been a feature over the past several years, to a situation where day-to-day life for Gazans is ever more difficult,” Gaylard said in a statement on Thursday.
The shortages have spawned a black market, with the price of a liter of diesel approaching seven Israeli shekels ($1.87) compared with 2.50 shekels ($0.67) before the crisis.
Mohammed Khail, who owns a motorized rickshaw, said he has not worked for four days since his tiny vehicle ran out of fuel. “I blame the whole world for the problem,” he said.Hmmmmm.......The more U.S. aid they receive the lower their GDP.......go figure.Read the full story here.
Activist Outrage Causes Major Supermarkets to Drop 'Pink Slime' Meat.(AP).We have been reporting on the staggering amount of "pink slime" used in the U.S. food industry over the last few months. Pink slime is a meat filler made from "ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings or similar products, which are considered unfit for human consumption until ammonia has been added.”
In early March, it was reported by ABC that a shocking 70% of ground beef at supermarkets contained this pink slime. Since this disgusting food additive has been exposed, natural health activists rallied to demand its removal from McDonald's and school lunches. Now major grocery chains are falling to the pressure of activism.
First McDonald's was forced to stop ammonia-soaked pink slime in their beef after a campaign led by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver raised awareness of McDonald's use of the meat filler.
Next, activists targeted pink slime in school lunch programs forcing the USDA to cave in and permit schools to opt out of using this tainted meat in public school lunches.
Just yesterday, Safeway, SUPERVALU and Food Lion announced they will no longer carry what the beef glued together with "pink slime" fillers.
"While the USDA and food industry experts agree that lean, finely textured beef is safe and wholesome, recent news stories have caused considerable consumer concern about this product. Safeway will no longer purchase ground beef containing lean, finely textured beef," Safeway said in a statement.
In addition to these large food retailers, Walmart also announced they will offer ground beef without pink slime, though they declined to remove all the beef that contained lean finely textured beef (LFTB).
"Recently some customers have expressed concerns with lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and, while the USDA and experts agree that it is safe and nutritious, Walmart and Sam's Club will begin offering fresh ground beef that does not contain LFTB," Walmart said.
These recent actions prove that when the public is informed about what they're consuming they will demand healthier products. It should be noted that once this story broke into the mainstream, it took less than one month for the public outcry to reach enough critical mass to affect change. And it proved that even large conglomerates will quickly change their policies when enough people demand it.
The story of pink slime was echoed by the alternative media long before it was picked up by mainstream news outlets, much like the story of meat glue going mainstream. We can also see this happening with GMO foods where activism is exposing the health dangers and forcing lawmakers to support GMO labeling.Hmmmm................Read the full story here.
Pakistani Women's Human Rights Organisation.
Nearly 1,000 Pakistani women ‘killed for honor’ in 2011.(AlArabiya).At least 943 Pakistani women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honor, the country’s leading human rights group said Thursday.
The statistics highlight the growing scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.
Despite progress on better protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs.“At least 943 women were killed in the name of honor, of which 93 were minors,” wrote the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report.Seven Christian and two Hindu women were among the victims, it said.The Commission reported 791 “honor killings” in 2010.Around 595 of the women killed in 2011 were accused of having “illicit relations” and 219 of marrying without permission.
Some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed, the Commission said. Most of the women were killed by their brothers and husbands.
Only 20 of 943 killed were reported to have been provided medical aid before they died, the Commission wrote.Despite the rising number of reported killings, activists have praised parliament for passing laws aimed at strengthening women’s protection against abuses.
Rights groups say the government should do more to ensure that women subjected to violence, harassment and discrimination have effective access to justice.Last year, a Belgian court sentenced four members of a Pakistani family to prison for the murder of their daughter, who defied them by living with a Belgian man and refused an arranged marriage.Read the full story here.
Video - Dr. Saud Al-Fanisan, Former Dean of Islamic Law at a Saudi University: Islamic Law Permits the Possession of Slaves
Dr. Saud Al-Fanisan : Allah permitted the purchase and sale of slaves. Slaves are the property of their owners. This is slavery in the shari'a, yet a slave enjoys a great deal of freedom. The only thing he is deprived of is the right to own [himself]. That's it. He enjoys freedom of thought, freedom of belief, the freedom to work, the right to deny [Islam], and the right to command good and forbid evil. A slave enjoys all these liberties, so how can it be claimed that there is no freedom [in Islam]? Source Memri.
The seven works of mercy abolished in America? Feeding The Homeless BANNED In Major Cities All Over America
The seven works of mercy are:
1.To feed the hungry.
2.To quench the thirsty.
3.To shelter the homeless.
4.To clothe the naked.
5.To visit and ransom the captive, (prisoners).
6.To visit the sick.
7.To bury the dead.
The seven works of mercy abolished in America? Feeding The Homeless BANNED In Major Cities All Over America.(TEC).What would you do if you came across someone on the street that had not had anything to eat for several days? Would you give that person some food? Well, the next time you get that impulse you might want to check if it is still legal to feed the homeless where you live. Sadly, feeding the homeless has been banned in major cities all over America. Other cities that have not banned it outright have put so many requirements on those that want to feed the homeless (acquiring expensive permits, taking food preparation courses, etc.) that feeding the homeless has become “out of reach” for most average people. Some cities are doing these things because they are concerned about the “health risks” of the food being distributed by ordinary “do-gooders”. Other cities are passing these laws because they do not want homeless people congregating in city centers where they know that they will be fed. But at a time when poverty and government dependence are soaring to unprecedented levels, is it really a good idea to ban people from helping those that are hurting?
This is just another example that shows that our country is being taken over by control freaks. There seems to be this idea out there that it is the job of the government to take care of everyone and that nobody else should even try.
But do we really want to have a nation where you have to get the permission of the government before you do good to your fellow man?
It isn’t as if the government has “rescued” these homeless people. Homeless shelters all over the nation are turning people away each night because they have no more room. There are many homeless people that are lucky just to make it through each night alive during the winter.
Sometimes a well-timed sandwich or a cup of warm soup can make a world of difference for a homeless person. But many U.S. cities have decided that feeding the homeless is such a threat that they had better devote law enforcement resources to making sure that it doesn’t happen.
This is so twisted. In America today, you need a “permit” to do almost anything. We are supposed to be a land of liberty and freedom, but these days government bureaucrats have turned our rights into “privileges” that they can revoke at any time.
The following are some of the major U.S. cities that have attempted to ban feeding the homeless….
Mayor Nutter recently banned feeding homeless people in many parts of Philadelphia where homeless people are known to congregate….
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has announced a ban on the feeding of large numbers of homeless and hungry people at sites on and near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.Orlando
Mayor Nutter is imposing the ban on all outdoor feedings of large numbers of people on city parkland, including Love Park and the Ben Franklin Parkway, where it is not uncommon for outreach groups to offer free food.
Nutter says the feedings lack both sanitary conditions and dignity.
Last June, a group of activists down in Orlando, Florida were arrested by police for feeding the homeless in defiance of a city ordinance….
Over the past week, twelve members of food activist group Food Not Bombs have been arrested in Orlando for giving free food to groups of homeless people in a downtown park. They were acting in defiance of a controversial city ordinance that mandates permits for groups distributing food to large groups in parks within two miles of City Hall. Each group is allowed only two permits per park per year; Food Not Bombs has already exceeded their limit. They set up their meatless buffet in Lake Eola knowing that they would likely be arrested as a result.Houston
Down in Houston, a group of Christians was recently banned from distributing food to the homeless, and they were told that they probably would not be granted a permit to do so in the future even if they applied for one….
Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.Dallas
That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.
Dallas has also adopted a law which greatly restricts the ability of individuals and ministries to feed the homeless….
A Dallas-area ministry is suing the city over a food ordinance that restricts the group from giving meals to the homeless.Las Vegas
Courts dismissed Dallas’ request for a summary judgment last week, saying the case, brought up by pastor Don Hart (in video above) may indeed be a violation of free exercise of religion, as protected by the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the blog Religion Clause reported.
In the court filing, the ministry leaders argue that their Christian faith requires them to share meals with the homeless (Jesus did!) and that the requirement that even churches and charities provide toilets, sinks, trained staff and consent of the city keeps them from doing so.
A few years ago, Las Vegas became the first major U.S. city to specifically pass a law banning the feeding of homeless people….
Las Vegas, whose homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people in and around the city, joins several other cities across the country that have adopted or considered ordinances limiting the distribution of charitable meals in parks. Most have restricted the time and place of such handouts, hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.That law has since been blocked by a federal judge, and since then many U.S. cities have been very careful not to mention “the indigent” or “the homeless” by name in the laws they pass that are intended to ban feeding the homeless.
But the Las Vegas ordinance is believed to be the first to explicitly make it an offense to feed “the indigent.”
New York City
New York City has banned all food donations to government-run homeless shelters because the bureaucrats there are concerned that the donated food will not be “nutritious” enough.
Yes, this is really true.
The following is from a recent Fox News article….
The Bloomberg administration is now taking the term “food police” to new depths, blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.Can you believe that?
In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.
The bureaucrats are officially out of control.
In America today, it seems like almost everything is illegal.
One church down in Louisiana was recently ordered to stop giving out waterbecause it did not have a government permit.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure am going to give a cup of cold water to someone if they need it whether I have a permit or not.
It is as if common sense has totally gone out the window in this nation.
Over in New Hampshire, a woman is being sued for planting flowers in her own front yard.
This is the kind of thing that makes me glad that I have moved to a much more rural location. People in the country tend to be much more relaxed.
Sadly, those that love to micro-manage others continue to get the upper hand in America. Back in January, 40,000 new laws went into effect all over America. The politicians continue to hit us with wave after wave of regulations and laws with no end in sight.
All of this is making America a very unpleasant place in which to live.Hmmmm........It seems the 'War on religion' is being waged much broader then we thought.Read the full story here.
The Seven Acts of Mercy depicted by Caravaggio.
1. Bury the dead; In the background two men carry a dead man (you can see his feet)
2 & 3. Visit the imprisoned & Feed the hungry; On the right a daughter visits her imprisoned father and gives him milk from her bosom.
4. Shelter the Homeless; A Pilgrim (you can tell by the shell in his hat 3rd from the left) seeks shelter from an innkeeper on the left.
5. Visit the sick; The beggar being given the robe is crippled and pulls himself along on the ground as St Martin greets him and clothes him.
6. Clothe the naked; St Martin 4th from the left has torn his robe in half and given it to the beggar.
7. Give drink to the thirsty; On the left Samson (second from the left) drinks water from the jawbone of an ass.
Search resumes for Amelia Earhart’s plane.(Yahoo).It's been 75 years since she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced the "Amelia Earhart, a Pacific Legacy" effort, a renewed search for the famous aviator's twin-engine Lockheed, "Electra."
"Now Amelia Earhart may have been an unlikely heroine for a nation down on its luck, but she embodied the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the search announcement.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) will use robotic submarines to search the deep waters off the uninhabited Nikumaroro Island — researchers searched the coral reefs and surrounding shallow waters in 2010 — hoping to prove the latest theory that Earhart crashed on or near the west coast of the island.
Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, never made their South Pacific Howland Island destination when they left Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937. Even with some garbled radio transmissions to the Coast Guard, nothing is known of the crash site.
Did they collide with the island? Crash into the open ocean? Did they survive the crash — for a while?
Some evidence even suggests Earhart lived on the island as a castaway, with archaeological digs uncovering artifacts "that speak of an American woman of the 1930s," said Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director.
The resumed search was inspired by a recently discovered 1937 photograph taken near Nikumaroro Island. After "very intense photo analysis," government officials and historians speculate that the image, which appears to shows section of Earhart's plane's landing gear, is a lead worth exploring.
"A very healthy dose of skepticism has to be in play," one official added.
The effort kicks off in July, and will be financed with about half a million dollars in private funds, the Wall Street Journal reports.Read the full story here, more on her disappearance here.
Six foot - 200-kilo metal ‘UFO dustbin lid’ metal fell from the sky near remote village in Siberia.(PAP).Six foot metal fragment fell near remote village in Siberia.Does not appear to be from earthly missiles or rockets Russian space experts say, ‘The object is not related to space technology’.
Under police guard as experts examine it.Space experts are trying to solve the mystery of ‘a UFO fragment’ which crashed close to a village in Siberia.
Locals insist the metallic object – which resembles a large rubbish bin – fell from the skies but initial checks by experts have concluded it is neither from a rocket nor a missile.It is now under police guard as interest in the ‘visitor’ intensifies.
The ‘fragment’ does not appear to come from any known missile or space technology. Russian space experts will make an announcement shortly.
The six-foot metal object is now under police guard as the Russian space agency prepares to examine it.
Weighing 200 kilograms and around two metres in height, locals fixed it onto a trailer and took across the snow to the village where local inspectors checked it.
‘The object found is not related to space technology. A final conclusion can be made after a detailed study of the object by experts,’ said the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Locals insist the metallic object – resembling a large shiny rubbish bin – fell from the skies. The object is six feet long and is at least partially made of titanium steel.
It was found near a village called Otradnensky some two thousand miles and three time zones east of Moscow.The Russian media immediately claimed ‘fragments of a UFO’ were discovered in the remote forest.Locals had heard strange sounds in the thick woodland in December, it was claimed.
But it was only on Sunday that the find was reported to local police who then alerted Moscow.
Yuri Bornyakov, head of rescue service department of Kuibyshevski district of Novosibirsk region, said: ‘We measured the radiation level near and inside the object. We found no radiation here.’
The 200-kilo metal fragment was examined for radiation. A theory that it’s a remnant from a rocket launch in Kazakhstan also appears to be mistakenInitial theories that it was part of a space rocket or a satellite form a failed launch in Kazakhstan have been denied.
Head of Department for Civil Defence and Emergency Situations of the Kuibyshevski, Valery Vasiliev, said part of the fragment was made of ultra strong titanium.
Finder Sergey Bobrov undertook in an official statement that he would keep the UFO safe, but locals reported that ‘police came during the night and secretly removed it’.A local police spokesman confirmed the object was now under guard by the force on orders from unspecified authorities.
‘You can see inside it, all is open, it’s empty, no danger here. We were asked to take and store it. We brought it here. And now we are going to wait until they come to take it if they need it’ said Sergei Sulein.Read and see the full story here.
Egypt - Coptic lawyer files lawsuit against Islamic preacher over Pope Shenouda III insult.(BM).CAIRO: A prominent Egypt Coptic Christian activist and lawyer Naguib Gobriel, the Director of the Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, submitted a complaint to the Attorney General against the ultra-conservative Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, who offended the late Coptic Pope Shenouda III, describing him as “the head of infidelity,” and said that “mankind got rid of such an infidel and cursed person” and called the late Pope “the enemy of Islam.”
Gobriel called on all the supporters of Pope Shenouda to support his communication No. 946 for the year 2012.
Gobriel said that “at the time when Egyptians, both Copts and Muslims, and the Arab World were shocked with grief over the death of a prominent national and religious figure such as Pope Shenouda, who curbed the sectarian strife and provided Egypt with the safety valve of national Unity, Ghoneim lashed out and insulted the Pope.”
He added that the death of Pope Shenouda III, the Patriarch of Saint Mark, “caused grief and mourning amongst Egyptians,” adding that the Pope “was an extraordinary ambassador of Egypt in each country and was an advocate of Arab causes and the Palestinian cause in particular. where he linked lifting the travel ban on Copts to Jerusalem, to the withdrawal of the Zionists from Jerusalem.”
Pope Shenouda III passed away last Saturday and tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for his funeral on Tuesday at the Abbasiya Cathedral in central Cairo to bid their farewell.Read the full story here.
Egypt says foils “terrorist” attack on Suez Canal.(BM).CAIRO: Egypt’s National Security Forces, or State Security, announced on Wednesday night that it had foiled an attempt to carry out terrorist acts “against foreign vessels passing through the Suez Canal,” by an organization consisting of two persons from the Ismailiya Governorate.
A security source at the Ministry of Interior told Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency that the security forces were able to thwart the plot to target the waterway of the Suez Canal by attacking foreign vessels.
The source added that secret investigations led to arresting the leaders of this terrorist cell, in the area of Sheikh Zayed in Ismailiya.
The Supreme State Security authority has decided the detain the two suspects for 15 days pending investigation.Read the full story here.
Barak: Israel will decide its own fate over Iran.(JPost).Israel will decide its own fate with regards to Iran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday while meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Israel views the Iranian issue in "a way unique to us, and we are attentive to all our friends, but in the end, the Israeli government will be the one who will have to take the decisions on Israel's security and future," Barak said.
The international community has been pursuing a diplomatic approach to the Iranian nuclear program. Sanctions, led by the US and EU, have considerably damaged the Iranian economy. Israeli officials, however, have maintained the right to act independently if it assesses that Iran poses an immediate existential threat.
During the meeting, Barak also said that there was a "growing recognition in the international community that the Iranian military nuclear program is consistently approaching the zone of immunity, and that sanctions need to be stiffened, while talks need to be speeded up."
Earlier in the day, Barak signed a contract for the purchase of a sixth submarine for Israel's navy on Wednesday in Berlin. Wolf Rudiger, state secretary of the ministry of defense, signed for Germany.
During the signing ceremony, Barak said that the new submarine would act as a "force multiplier" for the IDF, and assist it in dealing with growing security challenges.Hmmmm...."Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!" ~ Danton.
"To defeat them, gentlemen, we need audacity, more audacity and always audacity and the Homeland will be saved!" ~ Danton.Read the full story here.
Obama UN Ambassador Defends Admin’s Decision To Bypass Congress And Restore UNESCO Funding.(CNSNews) – The Obama administration’s envoy to the United Nations argued on Capitol Hill Tuesday that defunding the United Nation’s cultural agency because it admitted “Palestine” hurts America’s interests more than it does those of the Palestinians.
Appearing before the House Appropriations’ subcommittee responsible for foreign operations, Susan Rice was questioned about the administration’s fiscal year 2013 request for $79 million for the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
She described UNESCO as “essentially an anti-extremist organization,” saying that it does “essential work, from girls’ education to tsunami warning, that serve U.S. interests.”
Just months after defunding UNESCO last fall -- in compliance with U.S. laws dating from 1990 and 1994 – the administration is now seeking a waiver to enable it to resume the funding in coming months.
Republican lawmakers view the funding cutoff as a success: Amid fretting by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over the serious implications for an organization that depends on U.S. taxpayers for 22 percent of its funding, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) last November suspended plans to seek membership in a range of other U.N. agencies.
“Many members of Congress believe that cutting off these funds is the reason the P.A. stopped further recognition efforts,” committee chairman Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) said in her opening statement at Tuesday’s hearing.
But Rice disputed the notion that the 1990 and 1994 laws serve as a successful deterrent today.
When the laws were created, she told the panel, “the world was a very different place – the process of pursuing a negotiated two-state solution was, you know, in a very different place.”
Back then, Rice said, the law did have the deterrent effect, as intended.
“It no longer does,” she said, noting that “the Palestinians and the rest of the world knew about the legislative restrictions before they took the vote in UNESCO” and went ahead anyway.
Should the P.A. decide to go ahead with applying to join other U.N. bodies, Rice continued, the law’s existence would likely not deter a majority of U.N. member states from voting to admit “Palestine.”
“It’s not in our interests for these critical programs to go without 22 percent of U.S. funding.”
In the case of UNESCO, Rice suggested that the Palestinians achieved both membership and the additional benefit of seeing the decline of U.S. influence in the agency. (Once a UNESCO member is two years in arrears, it loses its voting rights.)
Rice said a distinction should be made between UNESCO as an agency and the member states that cast votes. (The vote to admit “Palestine” passed 107-14.)
It was difficult to punish member states that take stands opposed by the U.S., she said. Rice also noted that countries at times take voting positions on some issues that the U.S. would deplore but on others that the U.S. would welcome.
“This subcommittee was pretty clear that if the Palestinians went to the U.N., UNESCO, that there would be consequences,” said Rep. Charles Dent (R-Pa.). “We said it, we meant it.”
Dent asked Rice what the consequences would be for the U.S. if it went back on its word.
“The consequences shouldn’t be against us, the United States,” Rice replied. “That’s self-defeating. That wasn’t the intent of the legislation.”
“Do you not understand that we discredit ourselves when we don’t follow up on our commitments?” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) asked the ambassador.
“Do you not see it, how it hurts our national interests, when we back away from our pre-existing, stated positions, when they violate those positions and then we just walk away from them and look for other alternatives?”
Diaz-Balart went on to question the administration’s claims to be strongly supportive of Israel in the international arena, drawing a sharp retort from Rice: “I will not take a back seat to anybody on U.S. support for, in defense of Israel in the United Nations.”Hmmmm......Give Obama a second term and he will recognise the Palestinian state!Read the full story here.
Didier Martinez, of the SGP police union, has just confirmed to media at the scene that Merah is dead. (Telegraph).Three policemen are wounded, one seriously during the shootout.We sent in special cameras to be able to see where he was but we could not locate him. It was when we were able to locate him in the bathroom that he came out shooting madly at everybody. The police had never seen anything like this kind of violence and the RAID officers had to protect themselves.
In the end, Mohammed Merah jumped out of the window, still shooting. He was found dead on the ground.Police fired 300 rounds during the assault.Read the full story here, more here Live French.