March 3, 2007
March 2, 2007
The tourists were in four-vehicle convoy in Dalol, 500 miles northeast of Addis Ababa, traveling to salt mines in the Afar region, when they were kidnapped Thursday, a businessman and a tour operator who work in the area said. The British citizens were believed to be in the convoy as well, the businessman said.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.
One of those kidnapped was Italian-born Rossanna Moore, wife of Michael Moore, director of the British Council in Ethiopia, according to a diplomat who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Michael Moore refused to comment when reached Friday by The Associated Press.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said officials were aware that a number of Western nationals were reported missing. He said British Embassy staff were urgently checking with their Ethiopian counterparts.
Ethiopia's government spokesman, Zemedkun Tekle, said officials were struggling to confirm the reports because the region is so remote.
Bandits and a small Afar rebel group operate in the area the tourists visited, which is known for its difficult terrain and has an average annual temperature of 94 degrees, but it often gets much hotter. The government requires all convoys to have a minimum of two cars and always travel with armed guards.
The tourists traveled with two armed police and an Afar guide, the tour operator said.
The ARDUF has been fighting for years against Ethiopia and Eritrea over lands inhabited by ethnic Afar.
The tour operator said the tourists were clients of Origins Ethiopia, a new tour agency specializing in Afar, and company officials told him that they have been unable to contact the tourists.
Origins Ethiopia officials did not immediately provide comment.
I hope this turns out Ok.
Census records, genealogical research show forebears of Obama's mother had slaves
By David Nitkin and Harry Merritt
Originally published March 2, 2007
WASHINGTON // Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: It appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.
National Geographic News
February 28, 2007
Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human- induced—cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory.
Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (Get an overview: "Global Warming Fast Facts".)
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.
In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.
Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.
"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said.
Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets.
Mars and Earth, for instance, have experienced periodic ice ages throughout their histories.
"Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance," Abdussamatov said.
By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, Abdussamatov believes he can see a pattern that fits with the ups and downs in climate we see on Earth and Mars.
Abdussamatov's work, however, has not been well received by other climate scientists.
"His views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion," said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England's Oxford University.
"And they contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report." (Related: "Global Warming 'Very Likely' Caused by Humans, World Climate Experts Say" [February 2, 2007].)
Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, added that "the idea just isn't supported by the theory or by the observations."
The conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun.
"Wobbles in the orbit of Mars are the main cause of its climate change in the current era," Oxford's Wilson explained. (Related: "Don't Blame Sun for Global Warming, Study Says" [September 13, 2006].)
All planets experience a few wobbles as they make their journey around the sun. Earth's wobbles are known as Milankovitch cycles and occur on time scales of between 20,000 and 100,000 years.
These fluctuations change the tilt of Earth's axis and its distance from the sun and are thought to be responsible for the waxing and waning of ice ages on Earth.
Mars and Earth wobble in different ways, and most scientists think it is pure coincidence that both planets are between ice ages right now.
"Mars has no [large] moon, which makes its wobbles much larger, and hence the swings in climate are greater too," Wilson said.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet's surface.
He claims that carbon dioxide has only a small influence on Earth's climate and virtually no influence on Mars.
But "without the greenhouse effect there would be very little, if any, life on Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice," said Evan, of the University of Wisconsin.
Most scientists now fear that the massive amount of carbon dioxide humans are pumping into the air will lead to a catastrophic rise in Earth's temperatures, dramatically raising sea levels as glaciers melt and leading to extreme weather worldwide.
Abdussamatov remains contrarian, however, suggesting that the sun holds something quite different in store.
"The solar irradiance began to drop in the 1990s, and a minimum will be reached by approximately 2040," Abdussamatov said. "It will cause a steep cooling of the climate on Earth in 15 to 20 years."
March 1, 2007
Such alien technologies could offer humanity alternatives to fossil fuels, he said, pointing to the enigmatic 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico -- which has become a shrine for UFO believers -- as an example of alien contact.
Hellyer became defense minister in former prime minister Lester Pearson's cabinet in 1963, and oversaw the controversial integration and unification of Canada's army, air force and navy into the Canadian Forces.
Ex-casino partner charged with fraud
Millionaire Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha, who until recently was a partner in a proposed $808 million tribal casino project, was charged in federal court today with fraud and lying to the FBI.
The 8-page indictment, returned in Milwaukee, accuses Troha of breaking campaign finance laws for donations he and his family made to Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign in 2006, and possibly other campaigns.
U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic is speaking about the indictment at a news conference.
The indictment says the charges are in "connection with activities involving campaign contributions and a potential Indian casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin."
Troha, 60, funneled more than $100,000 through an entity called Johnson Houston Partners to family members for them to make the political contributions, according to the indictment.
Troha concealed the true nature of the financial transactions, and during a Jan. 12 interview with FBI agents falsely stated that there was no link between Johnson Houston and the family campaign contributions, the indictment charges.
The casino deal could have earned Troha $88 million over seven years, according to records filed with the federal government as part of the Menominee tribe's application for the casino. Federal law gives Doyle veto power over any off-reservation casino in the state.
Troha and 12 family members have donated $200,000 to Doyle since he first ran for governor five years ago, sometimes writing checks on the same day, campaign records show. Troha also played a role in sponsoring both of Doyle's inauguration celebrations.
It is the second person with ties to the Doyle administration to be charged in federal court. Last year, former state purchasing employee Georgia Thompson. She was convicted of steering a travel contract to a company whose executives had given the Doyle campaign large contributions.
Late Friday, Troha abruptly announced he was pulling out of the casino deal. A spokesman cited "long-term business considerations" and a family medical problem as the reasons. On Saturday, the Journal Sentinel revealed a federal investigation was launched earlier this year into Troha's contributions.
Troha reported to the state in 2005 that he was worth $33.7 million.
1996: AMS Special Award "for developing a global, precise record of earth's temperature from operational polar-orbiting satellites, fundamentally advancing our ability to monitor climate."
1991: NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
1990: Alabama House of Representatives Resolution #624
1989: MSFC Center Director’s Commendation
- It turns out that there's a actually a more accurate phrase than that related to the greenhouse effect, and that's that weather systems help keep the Earth habitably cool because they short-circuit 60% of the greenhouse effect warming that the greenhouse effect is trying to make on the surface of the Earth. If it weren't for the cooling effects of weather, the average surface temperature over the whole Earth would be about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- What you're talking about is the fact that the media distorts things so much that people don't get the right information. If you're using the media to rely on to get the science about this issue, you won't.
- (Speaking on a consenus of scientists)... Scientific truth isn't determined by a vote. You're reminding me of two Australian medical researchers who, for ten years, had to put up with ridicule over their theory that there was a bacterial basis for stomach ulcers. Bback then they were known as nitwits, and now they're known as Nobel Prize winners in 2005. So there's an example.
- Carbon dioxide is a relatively small part of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect. Now, the party line on this whole thing is that what we're doing is, with the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we're enhancing the greenhouse effect, and by now it's like about 1%. And since we're changing what's called the radiation budget of the Earth -- you know, like how much sunlight comes in and how much infrared radiation goes back out to space, since we're changing the radiation budget of the Earth -- the temperature has to change. This is the way you'll hear scientists explain the greenhouse effect. From a simple physics standpoint, it's a very attractive way of looking at climate change. There's a big problem with it, though. It makes it sound like the greenhouse effect is what determines the temperature of the Earth, and actually the truth is it's more the other way around. Given a certain amount of sunlight coming in, that is mostly absorbed at the surface of the Earth, weather processes happen which create the greenhouse effect because most of the greenhouse effect is from evaporated water which then turns into clouds, and of course water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas.
- The forecasting of weather is called "an initial value problem." You measure the atmosphere today, what it's doing, and you sort of extrapolate out in time with equations, of course. That's only good five or ten days out. For global warming forecasting, those models, what you're doing is sort of changing the rules by which the atmosphere operates. You're changing the greenhouse, one of the minor greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and trying to figure out how it's going to change average weather over a long period of time. So climate forecasting and weather forecasting are sort of two different things.
February 28, 2007
The Franklin School District has asked their superintendent to step down after only three years. While it was not readily admitted by anyone within the district, it is thought that Superintendent Bill Szakacs was asked to resign because the district did not showed adequate progress under his tenure.
Our own Dr. Hicks has had over five years to work his philosophies into improvement for the district. All he has to show for it are some distorted results that prove little or nothing in the way of academic achievement. I ask the school board, why has he had a free pass after nearly twice the time as Franklin's superintendent?
This is another reason why the suburban school districts seem to show better results. They set expectations and demand results from their administrators.
Police end games at Southridge
By MARIE ROHDEmailto:ROHDEmrohde@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 27, 2007
Boy, was Violet Fojut, 88, distressed when she heard the news: The bingo game that's been the mainstay of the Cream City Cafeteria at Southridge Mall in Greendale was busted.
It was always packed. Every table was always packed," Fojut recalled Tuesday. "You mean it's canceled?
Not exactly a house of ill repute, but Cream City was serving up more than meatloaf for lunch. For the price of the $6.95 early bird special, diners - almost all senior citizens - also got seven bingo cards on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday.
Grab a prize wrapped in white tissue - maybe a tea towel set, some costume jewelry or a set of candles if you're the first to cover a row with plastic red, yellow, green or blue chips.
On Friday, however, Greendale police put an end to the fun. It was either that or somebody was going to go to jail.
"I called the head of Boston Store security and told him that either this stops right at this moment or we start making arrests," Police Chief Rob Dams said.
Fojut would not have liked that very much, she acknowledged.
"I go every week after I have my hair done," she said. "It's such a friendly atmosphere. You really get to know all the people. And the food - you take home enough for two days afterward."
It turns out that local churches had a beef with the practice and snitched to the state Department of Administration's gaming division. Churches, as non-profit organizations, can run bingo games if they get a license and follow the rules.
Boston Store, a for-profit business, would never be eligible for a license, Dams said.
"Yeah, this is nickel-and-dime stuff," Dams said. "But no matter how small it is, I had to do something. I can't give someone permission to break the law."
Ok so in Wisconsin (or Greendale) no matter how small it is we can't give someone permission to break the law...
Can anyone say ILLEGAL ALIENS? Communities all over this state where there is a police directive to not care about the legal status of residents?
HAVE WE ALL LOST OUR MINDS?
Go after Violet's bingo game and all of societies ills shall be served.
February 27, 2007
Dr. Hicks apparently sold the CDA some of the snake oil he feeds five of the school board members.
No matter which way it decides to go, its decision will anger someone. Either it will irritate the two-thirds of the taxpayers who replied to their surveys in favor of neighborhood schools, or enrage the race-baiters who want maximum bussing. While the decision is not easy, the school board needs to grow a pair and decide.
What makes this even more moronic is that the board is essentially bickering amongst itself. It is voting to break its own deadlines on deciding on a topic it brought about itself in order to alter its own policy on racial quotas.
Mon Feb 26, 11:29 PM ET
DES MOINES, Iowa - Ed O'Neill's bank account just got a lot bigger, thanks to a co-worker who told him some "idiot" hasn't claimed an $800,000 Powerball lottery prize.
O'Neill, 58, who works for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, bought the ticket for a Jan. 6 Powerball drawing. He told Iowa Lottery staffers he didn't think to check the results until a couple days afterward when a chamber receptionist pointed out an article in the local newspaper.
"She said, 'Read this article about the idiot that hasn't claimed his ticket.' So I read it and noticed where the ticket was bought," O'Neill said. "I thought, 'Gee, I better look at my ticket.' That's when I said, 'I think I won.'"
Then he called his wife, Diane, 58, who thought he was pulling a prank.
O'Neill said his wife told him to "quit horsing around. I'm watching Oprah."
O'Neill countered: "No really, Diane. I won."
Hysteria soon ensued as Diane realized he wasn't joking.
On Monday, the couple cashed in the ticket at the lottery headquarters in Des Moines, but not before meeting with an accountant and planning how to handle the winnings.
"There's a lot of responsibility that comes with that kind of money," O'Neill said.
O'Neill won by matching five white balls in the Powerball game. He also had purchased the Power Play option, multiplying a $200,000 prize by four.
After taxes, the couple will get about $560,000 — much of which will go to pay off their mortgage, pay off their children's mortgages and save for retirement.
There will be a little left for fun, too. O'Neill said he and his wife are planning a trip to Ireland.
They also plan to donate money to Prince of Peace Catholic Parish in Clinton to help pay for construction of another church.
Gore’s mansion consumes more electricity every month than the average American
household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service
(NES). The average household in America consumes
10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In
2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than
twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an
entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly
electric bill topped $1,359. Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth,
Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. Gore’s extravagant energy use
does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and
guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year …
In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.
Say what you will about this guy, but at least he lives the lifestyle he promotes.
Cheney's spokeswoman said he was fine, and the vice president later met with President Hamid Karzai in the capital, Kabul, before leaving the country.
There were conflicting reports on the death toll. Provincial Gov. Abdul Jabar Taqwa said 20 people were killed, while NATO said initial reports indicated three fatalities, including a U.S. soldier, a South Korean coalition soldier and a U.S. government contractor whose nationality wasn't immediately known. NATO said 27 people also were wounded.
Gee, go look at the hate left's reaction for something really disgusting.
February 26, 2007
It's a crackdown. And they don't mean low-slung pants. Lance
How does he say all that funny stuff about Global Warming and manage to keep a straight face? Aaron.
I just hope a cockroach doesn't crawl into the mouth of one of the sleeping union custodians. Wigs.
They're politicians, of course they are wimps. I think it's a requirement these days. Kate
Hey Mini, didn’t Yo’ Momma teach you any manners? Keith's Mom
Men shall always make sure their daughter's boyfriend knows who's boss. Squiz
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle still looks like Droopy Dog, only less cool. Jib
Mary Jo Kopechne would've been 67 this year but instead she's dead.......... Silent E
Every pagan in town thinks you look kind of interesting and goth with the ashes. Dad29
Now. If y'all don't mind, it's time to hit the sack and shake off this cold. Oh. Last But Not Least Jackass is moi regarding last weeks' MRQ. Am I in good company???
Photo courtesy of Buns. You know, Buns of Rabbitbites.com!
BY JOSEPH LIEBERMAN Monday, February 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq. The Senate and House of Representatives are bracing for parliamentary trench warfare--trapped in an escalating dynamic of division and confrontation that will neither resolve the tough challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation against its terrorist enemies around the world.
What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.
Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?
Read the rest here.
February 25, 2007
Check out this post... FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — A Fredericksburg man is facing several assault charges after police say he hunted down a group of Republicans and confronted them in their home over their beliefs.
By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Writer 27 minutes ago
NEW YORK - Genealogists have revealed that the Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendent of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond — a discovery the civil rights activist on Sunday called "shocking."
Sharpton learned of his connection to Thurmond, once a prominent defender of segregation, last week through the Daily News, which asked genealogists to trace his roots.
"It was probably the most shocking thing in my life," Sharpton said at a news conference Sunday, the same day the tabloid revealed the story.
Give it a rest Al, this is what you would call a coincidence, not a shock.
I am decended from Edgar Alan Poe, I do not find that shocking, I find that interesting.
Unless of course you had made race baiting your life garnering attention in every way possible.
Al, take a hint.... Get over it.
Braced for 18 hours of blizzard conditions what we got instead was roughly 2 inches of slushy ice.
I would have rather had the snow, than the slush. The 'ole snowblower hits that slushy stuff and says, not me, nope, no way.
Everyone ok out there?