More may join Ford in boycotting Murdoch’s sleazy newspaper

NOT on the way to deliver newspapers for Rupert

T-Mobile is considering joining Ford by pulling its advertising in News of the World following Monday’s allegations that the newspaper hacked Milly Dowler’s phone after she went missing.

A T-Mobile spokesman told the Telegraph: “We’re currently reviewing our advertising position with News of the World, following the recent allegations, and await the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.”

It is also understood that Currys and PC World are reviewing their options.

On Tuesday afternoon, it emerged that car manufacturer Ford has pulled its advertising in the News of the World. They…said in a statement: “Ford is a company which cares about the standards of behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally. We are awaiting an outcome from the News of the World investigation and expect a speedy and decisive response. Pending this response we will be using alternative media within and outside News International Group instead of placing Ford advertising in the News of the World…”

A spokesperson from Halifax bank told the Telegraph on Tuesday they would be “reviewing and considering their options with regards to future advertising” in the News of the World, following Npower and Ford’s decision to consider places ads in the Sunday tabloid…

Twitter and Facebook were from Monday busy with users urging advertisers to boycott the News of the World. Many threatened specific companies that they would withdraw their custom unless those companies dissasociated themselves from the newspaper. There was also a Facebook page campaigning for a boycott.

Murdoch’s tradition of opportunism, sleaze and sensationalism — as a substitute for journalism — appears to be reaching a potential qualitative change among advertisers. Who do you want your brand to be associated with, after all? Reputable journalists, hard copy or online? Or creeps who hack into a kidnapped girl’s cellphone hoping for an extra special headline?

Face it. The only aspect of “ethics” that can impress a thug like Murdoch is a reduction in profits.

Prisoner in Mexico bagged in suitcase jailbreak attempt

A Mexican prisoner hoped to take a trip to freedom by packing himself into his girlfriend’s suitcase.

But guards at the jail in the southeastern town of Chetumal grew suspicious when the woman seemed nervous as she wheeled out the bulging bag after a conjugal visit with the prisoner.

Opening the luggage, guards found Juan Ramirez folded into the fetal position in his underpants and socks, a spokeswoman for local federal police said on Tuesday.

Ramirez and his girlfriend face criminal charges over the bungled escape.


GOP says pay China, Wall Street first — Social Security, Medicare, Veterans can wait till some other day

New Republican legislation in the House and Senate would force the U.S. government to reroute huge amounts of money to China and other creditors in the event that Congress fails to raise its debt ceiling…

If passed, Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury…

That’s where Toomey’s idea supposedly comes in. And yet, according to the Treasury Department, his plan wouldn’t actually avoid a default, or its catastrophic consequences.

“[T]his idea is unworkable,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin in a statement. “It would not actually prevent default, since it would seek to protect only principal and interest payments, and not other legal obligations of the U.S., from non-payment. Adopting a policy that payments to investors should take precedence over other U.S. legal obligations would merely be default by another name, since the world would recognize it as a failure by the U.S. to stand behind its commitments.”

The full impact of an actual default is unclear, but Treasury, and independent experts have warned that it would among other consequences, cause an enormous loss of wealth among U.S. citizens. Under the circumstances, one would think that the government’s top priority would be ensuring that citizens owed money by the Treasury would take precedence over, say, foreign governments. But that wouldn’t be the case if Toomey and some House Republicans, including Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), get their way.

The Administration thinks such a policy would be tone deaf. “Such a policy would also be unacceptable to American servicemen and women, retirees, and all other Americans, who would rightly reject the notion that their payment has been deemed a lower priority by their government,” Wolin added…

I think it is a dreadful idea,” Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told National Journal. “Basically what they are saying is, pay China first. Are we going to forget about the American public and the things that they need? Somehow they are secondary? And paying the Chinese and the Japanese is the first priority of this country..?

You have to be wearing blinders made of boiler plate to ignore how committed the Republican Party is to Big Oil and Big Money. Still, blatant butt-kissing like this is so contemptible. Couple it with Republican willingness to crap on the needs of ordinary citizens — rejecting any priority for social security or medicare payments, funding for veterans administration hospitals — puts their display of ethical corruption down lower than a snake’s belly.

Cripes. Rattlers in my neck of the prairie would be offended by being compared to Republicans.

More frontline rabbis being recruited for the Israeli military

The Israeli military is mustering battlefield rabbis in what it calls a campaign to promote religious values in its frontline ranks.

The move, announced in the latest issue of the military’s official weekly magazine, Bamahane, drew fire on Monday from one of Israel’s most popular newspaper columnists, who cautioned against creating a “God’s Army.”

Under the plan, a reserve army rabbi will be assigned to every battalion in the military’s northern command, whose areas of responsibility include the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

“The assimilation of religion into combat battalions is increasing,” said an article in Bamahane, which gave details of the program being implemented after a year-long pilot project…

Now, the Bamahane article said, “the commander of the Golani (infantry) brigade’s Battalion 51 does not move a meter without his rabbi.”

The rabbis’ roles were expanded in Israel’s Gaza war in late 2008 and early 2009, when military chaplains accompanied reserve battalions that invaded the enclave, in a conflict launched with the declared aim of halting militant rocket attacks…

…According to an army commander’s account at the time, some frontline rabbis mixed politics with religion, telling soldiers they were fighting a “religious war” to expel “the gentiles interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

Just in case you forgot how a theocracy works.

Divorce ceremonies on the rise in Japan – since the disaster

Tomoharu and Miki Saito

Ceremonies to celebrate divorces have gained momentum in Japan after the massive March earthquake and tsunami, followed by an ongoing nuclear crisis, caused unhappy couples to reassess their lives.

The ceremony to mark a couple’s transition to being single again costs 55,000 yen, includes a buffet meal and culminates with the ritual smashing of their wedding rings with a gavel.

Tomoharu Saito, who took part in Tokyo with his wife Miki days before they were set to file for divorce, said crushing the rings felt cathartic…

The ceremony also includes a “divorce dress,” and Miki Saito chose a daisy-yellow summer dress. In Japan, daisies are believed to symbolize an “amicable or platonic relationship.”

Designer Akiue Go said he created the dress with emphasis on the back for a specific reason.

“I designed this dress so the woman’s back looks the most beautiful when she turns around and walks away,” he said.

Hiroki Terai, a 31-year-old former salesman, spotted a gap in the market and pioneered the divorce ceremony two years ago. Since then, he’s celebrated more than 80 breakups.

Requests for the ceremony have tripled since the March 11 9.0 magnitude quake set off a massive tsunami.

“The March 11 disaster made many couples rethink their priorities. Some found that work was a higher priority to them than family, and this helped people gain the confidence to decide on a divorce,” Terai said.

“Those who want an amicable divorce are doing these ceremonies.”

All my divorces were amicable. I think one of them even resulted in a celebration.

But, then, I finally found the right woman for me.