Thirty thousand Pakistanis dead through terrorism since 2003

According to figures made available to DawnNews by senior Pakistani military officials, at least 30 thousand Pakistanis have lost their lives or were injured since 2003.

More Pakistanis have lost their life in the ongoing war against terror compared to two full scale wars against India in 1965 and 1971.

The casualties include death or injures to at least 22 thousand civilians and policemen in various acts of terror or suicide bombings.

Pakistan’s military, which launched operations against the militants in the tribal areas, suffered at least 8 thousand casualties, including at least 23 hundred officers and soldiers who lost their lives.

What is there to say?

Puppet cleavage offends Colorado Christians

Puppet cleavage has been ruled out for advertising posters in Colorado Springs bus shelters.

Lamar Advertising rejected posters for a touring production of the Broadway show “Avenue Q” because they show the cleavage of a fuzzy pink puppet.

The city is known for its political conservatism and is home to the headquarters of some conservative Christian groups.

The poster has been replaced by one showing the face of another puppet.

“Avenue Q” is a Tony-winning musical about twentysomething New Yorkers, both human and puppets, searching for life and love.

Certainly you wouldn’t expect to find either in a proper Christian city.

“This is my heart, it’s my health, it’s my choice!”


Is that the Premier’s skiff?

With these words, Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams defended his decision to hop the border and go under the knife for heart surgery in Florida.

The minimally invasive mitral valve surgery he needed is not available in Newfoundland, he told his province’s NTV News channel in the first part of an interview aired last night…

But it is available in his home country, a point that cardiologists fervently made last night.

“It’s his body, it’s his money, hopefully, but don’t tell us the operation cannot be done here. It can be done,” said Arvind Koshal, director of cardiac surgery at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in Edmonton.

Some of the best mitral valve surgeons are in Toronto and Montreal, he said, noting that some even use robots, commonly employed in minimally invasive surgery. The wait times for cardiac surgery in Canada are relatively short, he added, saying such surgery could have been done within weeks…

While Mr. Williams was clear that surgery in his home province was advised against, he was more ambiguous about the Canadian options he explored.

Virtually all heart surgery can be done in Canada, a chorus of cardiologists said earlier this month when they heard about Mr. Williams’s cross-border surgery, a decision that launched a debate about private versus public health care…

From footage taken in the Premier’s sun-drenched condominium last week, Mr. Williams appeared to be the picture of health…

Another politician who’s a walking advertisement for healthcare reserved for those who can afford it. I think the sun-drenched condo had as much as anything else to do with his decision – or should we take Premier Williams at his word?

Judge grudgingly accepts S.E.C.’s deal with Bank of America

In strikingly unenthusiastic fashion, federal Judge Jed Rakoff signed off on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s plan to fine Bank of America $150 million after failing to tell shareholders of about $16 billion in impending losses at Merrill Lynch.

While better than nothing, this is half-baked justice at best,” wrote Mr. Rakoff in his ruling released Monday, a week before the case was scheduled to go to trial. “The amount of the fine appears paltry.”

The judge wrote in his report that his court was “shaking its head” and that, based solely on the merits, the settlement between the SEC and BofA should be rejected as “inadequate and misguided.” Yet he elected to go along with the SEC’s proposal, citing deference to the authority of regulators and adding that federal judges should be wary of the “power to impose their own preferences…”

The judge’s ruling also seems like a final slap at the reputation of the SEC. The federal agency was prepared to accept a $33 million fine from BofA last year until Mr. Rakoff rejected that settlement.

In the end, the judge signed off on the $150 million penalty—equal to about 3% of BofA’s pretax income last year—by citing a distinguished soothsayer and baseball player. In considering the tortured nature of the BofA case, the judge quoted Yogi Berra, who is said to have said: “I wish I had an answer to that because I’m getting tired of answering that question.”

In other words, everyone’s favorite cronies at the SEC are still taking care of their country club buddies. They’re just getting better at covering their tracks.

Nuclear power’s time has come!

For decades, pioneering environmentalist Stewart Brand, the founder and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, opposed the use of nuclear power. Now he sees it as vital to efforts to combat climate change.

Earlier this month, Brand made the case for nuclear power in a debate with Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. (TED is a nonprofit that stands for technology, information and design and is dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading.”)

His outspoken support for nuclear power comes as the White House has been pushing for the first new nuclear plants in the United States in three decades…

Brand says his turnabout began in 2002, when the Global Business Network, a consulting organization he co-founded, did a project on climate change for the U.S. Secretary of Defense. In an interview with CNN.com, Brand said the project showed him that the globe’s climate can change abruptly: “It goes over some tipping point and suddenly you’re in a situation that you don’t like and you can’t go back. That got me way more concerned about climate as a clear and present danger than I had been.”

Looking for a surefire way to cut greenhouse gases, Brand said the alternative to burning coal became clear: “We already had a very good supplier of …electricity. It worked like mad and was as clean as it could be — and that was nuclear.

“Looking at nuclear more closely made me look at coal more closely and I got to realizing what a horror it was across the board, and as I learned more about nuclear, I started learning all this stuff that my fellow environmentalists had been careful not to let me know about.”

Brand spoke to CNN.com Wednesday. Halfway down the page is the edited transcript.

Working days while studying engineering at night school, I was a technician in an R&D lab for a key vendor to builders of nuclear power plants starting back in the 1950’s.

I never had a problem with the science or safety solutions we were capable of within the nuclear power industry. Cripes, I still get checked-on every decade or so because the building I worked in had been the pilot plant for cladding uranium power rods. Never a peep after more than a half-century.

What turned me from support for the industry was the overwhelming corruption of cost-plus budgeting from Uncle Sugar. Guaranteed padding the cost of construction, manufacture, production – with diminished concern for quality control or modernizing design. It was a cash cow, a welfare plan for companies like Westinghouse.

But, knowledge and science advance even if politicians don’t. Other countries like France continued with new generations of design and fiscal oversight, kept the wheel turning. I’m pleased to see Stewart Brand never stopped learning.

Religion matters less and less to the young

Young Americans are less religious and less likely than older age groups to belong to any particular faith…

One out of every four members of the generation born after 1980 and coming of age around 2000 are unaffiliated with any faith, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said in a report, “Religion among the Millennials.”

The “Millennial” generation is more unaffiliated than Generation X was at the same point in their lives (20 percent in the late 1990s) and twice as unaffiliated as Baby Boomers (13 percent in the late 1970s), the Pew Forum said.

Those ages 18-29 attend religious services less often than older Americans and are less likely to consider religion as very important in their lives, the report said.

Many young adults say they decided to leave the religion they were raised in without affiliating themselves with a new faith, the survey found.

There’s hope for education in America, after all.

Here’s the summary report. Here’s a link to the full 29-page report (.pdf).