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Archive for November 13th, 2008

Will Hillary be the Secretary of State?

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Daylife/Getty Images

Two Obama advisers have told NBC News that Hillary Clinton is under consideration to be secretary of state. Would she be interested? Those who know Clinton say possibly. But her office says that any decisions about the transition are up to the president-elect and his team.

Clinton was seen taking a flight to Chicago Thursday, but an adviser says it was on personal business. It is unknown whether she had any meeting or conversation with Obama while there.

Will she? Won’t she?

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Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Politics

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Protests over wearing trousers a security threat to Malaysia?

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Malaysia’s police, who have recently cracked down on dissident bloggers and broken up anti-government demonstrations, say that protests over an edict against Muslim women wearing trousers – are a security threat.

Muslim Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council recently issued a religious ruling that wearing trousers was un-Islamic.

It said that, by wearing trousers, young girls risked becoming “tomboys” who became sexually active.

“I’m warning them and will take stern action as it involves national security,” said the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan.

Malaysia frowns on oral and gay sex, describing them as against the order of nature. Under civil law, offenders — male and female — can be jailed for up to 20 years, caned or fined.

As well as women in trousers, the Fatwa Council is considering barring Muslims from practicing yoga.

Probably violates Mormon shari’a, as well.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Politics, Religion

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Pirates fire on British Commandos. Result = “late” pirates.

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Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles.

In the ensuing gunfight, two Somali pirates in a Yemeni-registered fishing dhow were killed, and a third pirate, believed to be a Yemeni, suffered injuries and subsequently died. It was the first time the Royal Navy had been engaged in a fatal shoot-out on the high seas in living memory.

By the time the Royal Marines boarded the pirates’ vessel, the enemy had lost the will to fight and surrendered quietly. The Royal Navy described the boarding as “compliant”.

“Compliant” is always better than “dead”. Not being a criminal is also smarter.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Earth, Politics

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Space station is updating water supply — but don’t ask!

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Time for a remodeling job for the International Space Station. At 10 years old, it needs more bedrooms, another kitchen and bathroom and a more reliable water supply — though one that might make most folks squirm a bit.

Top priority for the Endeavour crew, poised to lift off Friday night from Florida for a 15-day mission: installing hardware designed to recycle urine into drinking water…

“We are not really drinking our own urine. We are drinking water that has been reclaimed from a process with urine as the input,” Magnus said,

NASA’s water recycling gear is an essential part of plans to increase the staffing

Endeavour’s long mission will enable the astronauts to return to Earth with the first samples of the recycled water. Experts in NASA labs will test water samples to evaluate the accuracy of the station’s own water purity analyzer.

After another round of testing, NASA will decide if the station’s reclaimed water is safe to drink.

The testing probably is just to assuage concerns of Congressional and other dummies. The process required for safe recycling of body fluids is nothing new.

Though NASA may figure out how to make it triple redundant [useful] and ten times as costly [predictable].

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Holy court action! Can ‘Dark Knight’ beat Turkish mayor?

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Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Huseyin Kalkan, leader of the city of Batman in southeastern Turkey, plans to sue Christopher Nolan, director of the latest Batman movie “The Dark Knight,” for taking its name without consultation.

“The royalty of the name ‘Batman’ belongs to us… There is only one Batman in the world, ” Hurriyet Daily News.com reported Kalkan as telling the Dogan news agency. “The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.”

Kalkan, who represents the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, added that he decided to take action after someone suggested that the cash-strapped community needed more funds. “We found this criticism right and started to look for legal possibilities of a case like that…”

Warner Bros said that it was only aware of the action through the media and had yet to be presented with any legal papers.

The mayor should move his whole town to California and get a lawyer from San Francisco. He’d fit right in.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Culture

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L.A. County Sheriff wants to restrict off-duty guns

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is planning to institute one of the nation’s toughest policies on off-duty deputies carrying firearms when drinking alcohol.

Baca says 61 sheriff’s deputies have been arrested this year on alcohol-related charges, 39 of which involved driving under the influence…

Under Baca’s proposed policy deputies would be banned from carrying a firearm when they are under the influence of alcohol, medication or a controlled substance.

The deputies union has indicated it opposes any restrictions on carrying a weapon while off-duty.

I’ll refrain from saying something rude about the deputies union and their politics. Though, I think they recently made it into the 20th Century.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Politics

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Murder ruled out at child care home – $6.2 million later

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Victorian-era piece of coconut from forensic dig
Daylife/AP Photo

Jersey’s most senior police officer has been suspended as detectives concluded that no children had been murdered in the former care home at the centre of a $6.2 million investigation into child abuse.

Graham Power, Jersey’s chief of police, oversaw the historic abuse inquiry into the Haut de la Garenne children’s home. In February police announced that they had found the “potential remains of a child” buried under the Victorian building and about $2.5 million was spent on excavations.

But yesterday the new officer directly in charge of the case said there had never been compelling evidence to justify the excavation, and much of what was found there did not suggest murder, contrary to initial police reports…

Of the 170 bone fragments found at the site, scientific analysis has proved that only three could be human; two of those might date back as far as 1470, and the other to between 1650 and 1950, said Gradwell…

“There are no credible allegations of murder, there are no suspects for murder and no specific time period for murder,” said Gradwell, who took over the case in September after the retirement of Lenny Harper, the first investigating officer and Power’s deputy.

There is a report coming which is reputed to document cases of abuse. No murders.

Oh yeah, there was a “skull fragment” which turned out to be a piece of coconut.

To my knowledge, British forensics is on a par with most industrial nations. So, how did an essentially political flap overrule scientific enquiry?

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 10:00 am

Posted in Crime, Politics

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Police cruiser scans license plates, sniffs out ‘dirty’ bombs

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More “RoboCop” than “Beverly Hills Cop,” the Carbon E7 is a 300-horsepower bio-diesel-fueled bad-guy chaser equipped with sensors for weapons of mass destruction and automatic license-plate scanners. “It’s really a homeland security machine, not a cop car,” says William Li, CEO of Carbon Motors in Atlanta.

Faster and “greener” than the standby Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Carbon Motors’ car is a bold entry for a start-up company challenging an increasingly fragmented auto market.

Carbon Motors – a collaboration among a small team of investors, engineers, and Georgia Tech – needs to sell about 20,000 cars to the 240,000-vehicle US law-enforcement fleet to warrant its proposed 2012 production run. Its light plastic panels, a German-engineered drivetrain that nearly doubles the mileage compared with the market-dominant Crown Vic, and a green cachet with a biodiesel engine make it a stark contrast to the “rolling offices” that police use today.

In a wily move to gather engineering ideas and create viral marketing buzz, the company created a “Carbon Council” of nearly 2,000 beat officers across the United States who contributed 88 original ideas to the car – including a “hoseable” rear seat, an extra-wide driver’s seat set into a helicopter cockpit-style front compartment, and side emergency lights to increase visibility and safety. Computer-aided design technology and outsourcing of the drivetrain have kept development costs low.

Best quote from William Li – “Seven years after 9/11, we’ve got our first responders in retail passenger cars that were designed 30 years ago for Sunday drives.”

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 8:00 am

The War is over!

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Actually, the New York Times proper didn’t report the end of the Iraq war. But a spoof 14-page “special edition” of the newspaper, circulating free in Manhattan did carry those items. It was printed in a form that was so high quality that many New Yorkers were nonplussed, and was backed up by an entire website that equally faithfully mimicked the original.

Dated July 4 2009, and boasting the motto “All the news we hope to print” in a twist on the daily’s famous phrase “All the news that’s fit to print”, the fake paper looks forward to the day the war ends, and envisages a chain of events that would be manna from heaven for American liberals. In one story ExxonMobil is taken into public ownership, while in another evangelicals open the doors of their mega-churches to Iraqi refugees.

The organisers of the evidently expensive satire are connected at least to some degree to the Yes Men, a leftwing group that seeks to expose what it claims to be the “nastiness of powerful evildoers” through pranks. A spokesman for the New York Times spoof going by the name of Wilfred Sassoon said that the Yes Men had helped with distribution, but that the paper itself had been produced by a number of writers from various New York dailies, including a couple from the New York Times itself. The project had taken about six months and had been funded by a large number of small donors.

The New York Times is “in the process of finding out more” about its imitator.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in Culture, Politics

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Arsenal rookies worthy of Wenger’s pride

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Carlos Vela and Jay Simpson celebrate
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lavished praise on his gifted youngsters after they turned on the style to beat Wigan 3-0 in the Carling Cup.

“From the first to the last minute we looked really up for it. We had a relentless go. In the end it was a fantastic win.”

The margin of victory would have been greater but for an outstanding display by Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland.

“Under pressure they remain extremely calm and play always very good football. What they do on the pitch is not a coincidence, it is quality…

“They love it. When you are 17 and 18 and playing in front of 60,000 people, are you inhibited or do you play better? They have chosen the second solution because they have character.”

Wigan boss Steve Bruce was also glowing in his praise of Arsenal’s youngsters.

He said: “They were frightening on the night. The age of them. Arsene says it is the best crop of youngsters he’s had and when you think of the young players they have had in the past, that is some compliment.”

Thought I’d mention this in passing. [Har!] It was a pretty impressive match.

I can’t remember the last time I saw so many talented young players in one place, once time – one team. The match just flew by.

Written by Ed Campbell

November 13, 2008 at 2:00 am

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