Well, the first debate is in the history books.
No real surprises though: Kerry kept hammering Bush on the "wrong war" and the WMD and "I have a plan." The President pointed out Kerry's flip-flops, and his voting record against the military, and taking Kerry to task for calling him a liar.
I can safely say that no one who was against Bush has come around and no one who was staunchly anti-Kerry has switched their position either.
It was bland, it was controlled, and it was stilted.
Kerry came off as a smug "say anything" kind of guy, no matter if it contradicticted an earlier statement or not. Bush came off as a little slow, thanks to his slower delivery; it was obvious that he was thinking on his feet.
The press will try to spin this as "important," but in the final analysis, it has been nothing spectacular.
I'm more intersted in the town hall format for next week's debate. With questions from the audience, I'm hoping that the questions will become far more candid than this one's was.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first 2004 Presidential Debate! In the blue corner, weighing in with lots of botox and ketchup....John Kerry!
And in the red corner, the leader of the free world and current President of the United States....George W. Bush!
"And now, for the thousands in attendance, and the millions watching all over the world..... Ladies and gentlement.... llllLLLLLEETTTSSS GET READY TO RUMBBLLLLLLLLLLEEEEE!!!!!"
The Kerry Campaign is demanding that signal lights on the set for tonight's debate be disconnected.
The lights provide a signal to each candidate that their answer is running long.
The debate organizers have refused this demand, because both the Bush and Kerry camps agreed to the lights previously.
Advisers for the Democratic presidential candidate demanded Thursday that the lights signaling when a speaker's time has expired during debates with President Bush be removed from the lecterns because they are distracting. The commission hosting the debates refused.Anything to change the rules at the last minute, right?
Bush's campaign accused Kerry, known for favoring long sentences and statements, of trying to violate debate rules against windy answers.
An angry exchange between representatives of the Kerry campaign and the Commission on Presidential Debates took place just hours before the candidates were to meet at the University of Miami for the first of three debates, according to several officials familiar with the meeting.
Kerry's team threatened to remove the lights when they visit the debate site with the candidate later in the day. "We'll do what we have to," Kerry strategist Tad Devine said after his meeting with the commission. Later, after Kerry had toured the debate stage and departed the building, the lights were still in place.
VotePair.org is the latest attempt by liberals to try to unduly influence the vote.
VotePair.org is a new website set up to encourage Nader voters in key swing states to "swap" their vote with Kerry voters in other states -- figuring that they can swing the vote in those states toward Kerry and get a win for their candidate.
In vote-pairing, swing-state progressives whose first instinct might have been to vote for Nader or Cobb are paired with Democrats (and others whose first choice for President is Kerry) in 'safe' states where either Bush or Kerry has a decisive lead. Paired voters can communicate with each other and decide to vote strategically: swing-state participants for Kerry and safe-state participants for Nader or Cobb. As a result, the paired voters' support for progressive third parties is recorded in the popular vote and their preference for Kerry over Bush finds voice in the Electoral College.Isn't this illegal? Doesn't this become a matter of circumventing the Constitutionally established system of electing the President?
Defeating Bush means redirecting the current Administration's aggressive unilateral foreign policy, protecting the environment and women's right to choose, and keeping Bush from stacking the Supreme Court and federal courts with right-wing judges like Justices Scalia and Thomas.
There are some who would point to 2000, but most of those neglect to figure out just HOW the Electoral College works.
Joanne Bland, director and co-founder of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, AL, says that black voters in Florida and elsewhere will be disenfranchised because they are not "technologically savvy."
"The computers really terrify me. The electronic voting -- the new machines -- I think it will turn off a segment in my community, particularly the elderly. We are not as technically savvy, and we are afraid of machines like that, and they (African-Americans) probably won't go [to the polls] and they probably won't ask for assistance, said Bland, who spent the last week in Florida.Bland's insult is not lost on all blacks.
"It is going to turn them off totally and I want that to stop," said Bland, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Public Accuracy, which predicts that "several million voters" may be "deprived of voting rights again" in 2004.
When asked if she preferred low-tech punch-card ballots that produced the controversial hanging chads in Florida in 2000, Bland responded, "Now that was low technology to who? People that have been privileged to learn technology? There have been lots of changes in the United States, but if you look at the statistics, our biggest block of voters would be between 40 and 80, so when did those people have access to any kind of technology?"
"I think it's insulting to imply that African-Americans are unable to comprehend or assimilate modern-day technology," black GOP consultant Tara Setmayer said.Bland is trying to grasp at straws, and insist that any move that lies "off the plantation" of liberal thought is a move backward.
"As a registered voter in Florida, I am familiar with these touch screen voting machines,and they're very easy to understand, very voter-friendly," Setmayer said. "Her claim is absurd," she added.
She, like so many others in the "Soul Patrol" and elsewhere, would rather see black voters intimidated and shift blame for that intimidation to whites in general, and conservatives in particular. And we're supposed to be the bad guys? Yeah. Right.
CBS News has taken a set of e-mails that have been proven to be false and urban legend, and run with them as if they were true. The e-mails insist that the government is planning to reinstate the draft as soon as next June.
CBS' story plays on the fears of many youth in the nation, even though President Bush's campaign, along with many on Capitol Hill have insisted that there is no draft in the offing. President Bush's campaign has gone as far as to say that the volunteer military that the United States has in place works well enough.
Bill at INDC Journal talked to CBS correspondent Richard Schlesinger, who reports the story.
Schlesinger: "The point of the piece was taking look at issues through the eyes of people who feel that those issues are the most important ... in the campaign. People who are vitally concerned. We've done many of these stories on many topics. I did another oneBill also talked to others at CBS News about their handling of the story, and one major point that came out is that the mother interviewed in the piece, Beverly Cocco, is not just an "average citizen or voter," but a chapter president for People Against The Draft, an advocacy group with a proverbial axe to grind, and an agenda to get out. CBS did not disclose this in Schlesinger's report.
around affordable housing ... and minimum wage, for example."
Schlesinger: "No, it was an issue because it was out there. There are issues that we choose to do stories on ... I specifically said in the story, 'both candidates have said they would not support a reinstatement of the draft.'"
INDC: "Probably the main concern with the story is that the e-mails that are shown in the piece are false; they've been debunked on various internet sites long ago ..."
Schlesinger: "The fact is, they were going around. I know several people that got them, and it’s gotten people all riled up. Whether or not there’s any reality to there being a draft, is almost besides the point. Do I think there’s going to be a draft? No. But it's
an issue that people are talking about."
INDC: "Ok, another complaint regards the testimony from Beverly Cocco. Some people are pointing out that she's a chapter president for an advocacy group called People Against the Draft, that seems to have a clearly anti-war position. How did you choose her?"A CBS spokesperson contradicts Schlesinger's assertion, insisting that Cocco was a "one issue voter" and that she was "undecided."
Schlesinger: "Long story short, she’s a Republican. When we put the story together, I went looking for a Republican. We worked
backwards from the e-mail, that’s how we found her. She told me that she was going to vote for Bush, though she said she may flip-flop."
On top of that, there is evidence (thanks to the magic of Google's cache) that CBS has altered its' report in order to include Cocco's connection -- after bloggers caught their faux pas.
So which is it, CBS? And why not let everyone know that Cocco has an agenda of her own? Is it because you have your own agenda?
It sounds to me like CBS has gotten their hands caught in the cookie jar once again.
CBS News' ratings continue to plummet as viewers find less partisan alternatives to their evening news. Like Entertainment Tonight. At least with ET, you know you're getting fluff.
I don't know how long this will be up on eBay (you know those eBay admins...no sense of humor), so you'd better get your bid in for the Democratic Platform on Defense before it's gone.
You are bidding on a rare and EXTREMELY hard-to-find item belonging to the Democratic Party. It falls under the category of Science Fiction collectible for two reasons. One, it's a collectible because it's one-of-a-kind and almost impossible to locate. Two, it's science fiction because it's basically a complete fantasy.Be sure to check the FAQ list that comes with the entry for more info!
Please allow me to explain...the Good Senator from Mass. has stated something to the effect of (and this is not a true quote) "I have a plan for our nation's defense against terrorism and other mean bad guys *cough*mainly Christians*cough* but I'm not going to reveal it until I'm elected!"
Hey, that sounds like a great idea! Why don't I just go down to my local car dealership, hand them $50,000, and then hope they give me a new car I want! That's a great plan!
Better yet, why don't just blindly vote on the Democratic ticket because I stupidly believe anything is better than President Bush. Hmmm...let's see...are there any Imperial Stormtoopers running this year? Ah yes, perfect! They kill without remorse and wear faceless masks, but they've GOT to be better presidents because they're not Republican. PERFECT!
Anyway, back to the auction...Don't be fooled by the current Democratic running mates; they really do have a defense plan, and I got my hands on it! I can't tell you how, but I will say that many Bothans died to bring me the information. But now YOU can own this rare collectible, and view it in your own home! All before the November elections!! Imagine impressing your friends with your new piece of American history! You can even display it right next to your genuine Mike Moore "Best Picture As Long As You're Not Interested In The Whole Truth" Academy Award!
Here's the best part: free shipping. That's right, if you win this fantastic and rare item, it will be shipped to you FREE OF CHARGE!! How is that possible? Well, don't thank me, thank a liberal who believes I should be taxed more because I make more. Since I went to college and work hard for a living, apparently I can afford to give illegal immigrants and food stamp abusers this special gift of MY HARD EARNED MONEY! It's only fair, right?
But wait, there's more! If you use eBay's special BUY-IT-NOW feature, I'll also throw in the wound Senator Kerry received in order to earn one of his Purple Heard medals! That's right, I've got that, too! In fact, both the wound and the Democratic Party's Defense Plan are pictured below, both in the same box. All of this can be yours if you bid now and bid often!
Serious bidders only! This is not a joke!!
A caller into the syndicated Larry Elder Show yesterday mentioned a California license plate that he saw on a Los Angeles freeway: F DUBYA. Come to find out it belongs to a smug Volvo-driving liberal from Santa Monica.
Yesterday on the Larry Elder show, a caller reported seeing a license plate in Santa Monica on a Volvo. It said "F Dubya". Then, the purported owner of the vehicle, a jerk named Phil, called in to the show. He was really proud.Californians who want to protest this plate and have it yanked can write to: DMV Registration, Attn: Headquarters, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269.
After a few minutes, Larry handed Phil his lunch. He claimed to be well-read but Larry showed him to be a hate-filled Santa Monica liberal fool.
Let's do more than hand him his lunch. I spoke to the DMV, and if they get more than one letter, they will look into taking back a plate that citizens find offensive. The woman with whom I spoke, understood how the plate could be offensive. An "F Kerry" plate would not, because Kerry is a real last name. No one has the name Dubya; the only reference anywhere is that it is the nickname of our commander in chief.
On the show, Phil said that he couldn't believe they allowed him to have the plate.
Sounds like a plan to me.
New video footage has shown British hostage Ken Bigley caged and chained, pleading for his life.Bigley was one of three AQ hostages from last week, two of which were American citizens (Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley) that were later beheaded (with footage shown globally on the internet).
In the recording, shown on Arab TV channel al Jazeera, Mr Bigley is reported to have renewed his appeal for Tony Blair to meet the kidnappers' demands.
He said his captors did not want to kill him and accused the Prime Minister of ignoring his plight.
After the first two were beheaded, footage of Bigley begging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to acceed to the monsters' demands in exchange for his life was shown on the internet and on Al Jazeera. Bigley and the two murdered Americans were in Iraq working for an engineering firm involved in rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq.
UPDATE: The second Bigley video (WMV) has been uploaded and is available on the web.
NBC's The Apprentice has spawned and showcased all sorts of products, from Donald Trump's Trump Water last year to new Vanilla Mint Expressions Crest toothpaste, which was featured on last week's episode.
But now, comes the ultimate expression of The Donald's ego: The Trump Doll.
The doll (or is it an action figure), which is being introduced at the Times Square Toys R' Us this morning by the man himself, is the same size as a Barbie, and talks. It says 17 phrases, including, of course, "You're fired."
The doll will set you back a whopping $27, or about double the price of Mattel's Halle Berry Catwoman Barbie doll.
My daughter WON'T be getting this one...
The Expos, or whatever they get named, will play in Washington's RFK Stadium for several years while a new $440 Million stadium on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington is built.
The largest obstacle to a Washington team has been Baltimore Orioles' owner Peter Angelos. Angelos has claimed that the DC Metro area was part of the Baltimore market for baseball purposes.
Other areas considered for the Expos were Las Vegas, Portland, OR, Norfolk, VA, Northern Virginia, Monterrey, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The other areas were eliminated as this season progressed, leaving Washington as the sole selection.
Washington last hosted a professional baseball team in 1971 when the old Washington Senators, the second team to be known by that name, moved to the Dallas area to become the Texas Rangers. The original Senators moved to Minneapolis in the early 1960s to become the Minnesota Twins.
No team has moved since the 71 season, when the Senators moved to Texas.
The Rangers retain the rights to the name "Washington Senators," which means that the new DC franchise will likely have a different name when they take the field next season.
As most folk know by now, Daily Kos has become an "official" Google News source.
Also, as most folk know by now, Kos is slanted so far to the left that a beer would slide off of the table if you tried to put one down.
So the esteemed Rusty Shackleford over at MyPetJawa has launched a move to have MyPetJawa made an "official" Google News source to bring some balance to what is now certainly an unbalanced roster.
If you'd like to help, a quick note to email@example.com, would be nice.
According to a piece in this morning's Washington Times, Al Qaeda operatives are trying to infiltrate a Salvadoran criminal gang in order to get them a foothold once they hop the border into the US.
Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador's notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang, which immigration officials said has smuggled hundreds of Central and South Americans — mostly gang members — into the United States.More reason to shut the borders, yes?
Although they are actively involved in alien, drug and weapons smuggling, Mara Salvatrucha members in America also have been tied to numerous killings, robberies, burglaries, carjackings, extortions, rapes and aggravated assaults — including at least seven killings in Virginia and a machete attack on a 16-year-old in Alexandria that severely mutilated his hands.
The Salvadoran gang, known to law enforcement authorities as MS-13 because many members identify themselves with tattoos of the number 13, is thought to have established a major smuggling center in Matamoros, Mexico, just south of Brownsville, Texas, from where it has arranged to bring illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico into the United States.
Bill over at INDC Journal was able to buttonhole Bob Schiffer yesterday morning in front of CBS' DC bureau (where Free Republic's pajama-clad DC Chapter had set up a "pajamahadeen" protest) after the taping of Face The Nation.
INDC: "I was just wondering if you had any comment on what you think may happen with this entire (forgery) situation ..."Schiffer is set to moderate the third Presidential debate, currently set for Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ on October 13.
Schieffer: "Here is all I can tell you: we made a bad mistake. We've admitted we made the mistake, we've appointed some distinguished outside people to help us figure out how not to make that mistake again, and we're gonna have to live with our mistake. [W]hat we have to do ... we've been hurt by this and ... what we have to do is get back our credibility one story at a time, one day at a time. This is not something that we can fix by just turning the light switch on and off. And, uh, it's been a really tough thing for us... both from the standpoint of credibility and emotional. I mean, those of us who work here really love this place and ... we want to fix it and get on with it."
INDC: "Has there been any extreme reaction inside CBS to the allegation that (Mary) Mapes was in contact or collusion with the DNC, or more accurately, with Joe Lockhart?"
Schieffer: "Well, you know, in any political campaign, you're gonna have people on one side that are gonna slip a reporter something because they think it'll hurt the guy on the other side. But the
reporter has the responsibility to determine, number one, whether that is true, and number two, to make a judgment as to whether it's in the public interest and whether or not it should be part of the debate. And if you make that judgment, then, uh, that's a legitimate story to do. But to somehow join up with a campaign, that's totally improper. I don't know what happened here; I wanna wait and see what this commission finds out about this before I make a judgment on what happened here, because really that part of it, all I only know about is what I read in the papers. I'm not gonna make a judgment on that yet,
but we have no business joining up with a campaign on either side, and saying, 'let's all work together here.' That's not what we're supposed to do."
The NFL, in conjunction with the Miami Dolphins, has postponed Sunday's scheduled game between the Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers, originally scheduled for 1P ET at Miami's Pro Player Stadium.
The landfall of Hurricane Jeanne will make it problematic at best to play the game then, and it could potentially be life threatening not only for the participants, but for locals who would try to go to the game.
As of now, the League has not scheduled a new date for the game, but depending on when and where Jeanne makes landfall, Monday or Tuesday are the most likely choices.
UPDATE 2:30P ET -- According to ESPN, the game will be played tomorrow EVENING at 8:30P ET in Miami. There's no offical word from the NFL yet. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 10P ET - Word from the NFL has finally come down. The game will be played at 8:30P in Miami. As an AFC vs. AFC game, it was originally scheduled as a CBS game. There is no word on whether or not CBS will carry it as a national game in prime time, cede coverage to ESPN, or only broadcast the game regionally. ESPN's currently scheduled Sunday night broadcast is Tampa Bay at Oakland.
Kenneth Bigley, the British-born Iraqi terror hostage, has been murdered, according to a posting on an AQ-associated website.
The claim has been refuted by the UK's Foreign Office in London.
The Web site where the posting appeared has often carried messages from Zarqawi's followers, including gruesome video that showed Hensley and Armstrong being killed. It also showed video on Wednesday of Bigley, 62, begging for his life.The group holding Bigley murdered Americans Eugene Armstrong and Jack Kinsley earlier this week. Video footage of the decapitation of both Americans was posted on the web.
But it is not as prominent as other sites that have aired similar content, and some of its earlier claims have been picked up from elsewhere. It has also carried messages that appeared not to be true, including two shaky claims that two Italian aid workers missing since Sept. 7 were killed.
The Foreign Office in London said it was aware of the claim but described the site as "discredited."
"It's just a posting," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity. "We can't see there's anything credible in this at all."
Footage of Bigley pleading for his life was released and shown on the Arabic television network Al Jazeera.
An almost unprecendented fourth hurricane is bearing down on Florida.
Hurricane Jeanne is set to make landfall on the east coast of Florida on Sunday morning, bringing high winds and heavy rain to an area already hurting behind three previous tropical systems this season.
Evacuations are being recommended up and down the east coast of Florida, and cancellations abound. One event that has not been cancelled -- at least as of yet -- is Sunday's scheduled matchup of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins, set for 1PM Sunday at Miami's Pro Player Stadium. The NFL has ruled out playing on Saturday, but with the storm bearing down, playing on Monday or Tuesday is not out of the question. The League will likely make a final decision sometime tomorrow.
The Dolphins' season opener was moved from a Sunday to a Saturday in advance of Hurricane Frances less than a month ago.
A number of stations are streaming live coverage of the storm: Miami's WFOR-TV/DT Miami (WMP) and WSVN-TV/DT (WMP) have already started coverage; Miami stations WTVJ and WPLG will begin streaming tomorrow, as will Orlando's WESH & WKMG.
Other television stations in the target zone will stream live coverage as well.
HurricaneCity.com (RP) is set to begin streaming their live coverage tonight at 8PM.
A number of newspapers, including large ones like The Washington Post and the New York Daily News, have pulled cartoonist Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks this week, in response to a series of segments surrounding the fictional Russell Simmons game show, "Can A N****A Get A Job?" (You can fill in the asterisks).
Segments of the series of strips include a woman who would rather sleep than work, and a black man smoking marijuana in a boardroom (not unlike NBC's The Apprentice).
A humor columnist for The Washington Post blasted that paper's "pathetically weak and wrong decision" on the comic.Universal Press is no stranger to controversy tied to the "N" word, having caught flack from Project 21 (as well as myself) over the use of the word by political cartoonist Ted Rall over the summer.
Universal Press Syndicate gave papers a choice of running the strip with the three symbols in the middle of the "N" word, or with symbols for all five letters in the word, or re-running an old strip. The most severely edited version also deletes the knives from the knife fight. This is the version carried by the Los Angeles Times.
Kathie Kerr, director of communications at Universal Press Syndicate, told E&P that at least four papers killed this week's strip entirely. She said that McGruder had not commented, adding that he is "kind of his own wild child" and that this is "not the first time" the "N" word had been used in the strip.
Greg Melvin, associate editor at Universal, called the content "defensible because it's really trenchant satire," in an interview with a St. Petersburg Times reporter.
John Kerry, continuing his pandering to various minority groups, told the predominantly-black NNPA in an interview that blacks will decide the November election.
“I think the Black vote can decide this election,” Kerry said in an exclusive interview with the NNPA News Service. “Not only [am I] not taking it for granted. I think it’s the most important vote in the election.”Kerry, nor anyone else in the Democratic National Committee takes the fact that George W. Bush has named more blacks to key positions in his cabinet than any other Administration in history. Many blacks insist that this is mere tokenism, and dismiss Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Education Rod Paige and others as "not really black."
“Compare our records,” Kerry urges. “I have a 35-year record of consistently standing up and fighting for inclusion, for equal opportunity that I began in the 1960s in the Civil Rights Movement, that I fought for when I came back from Vietnam alongside brothers and sisters of color who were mistreated when they came home from Vietnam, who had been met with discrimination.”
He continues. “I fought for minority set-asides, I wrote the historically underutilized business legislation. I fought for empowerment zones. I fought for educational opportunity for after-school programs for Head Start. All of the things that George Bush has cut, all of the things George Bush attacks, I have fought for.”
“He celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday by sending a challenge to the Michigan case on affirmative action,” Kerry says, referring to Bush. “The next year, he celebrates it by appointing [conservative Judge] Charles Pickering to the court of the United States of America. He is completely insensitive to all of the communities of color in the country. He hasn’t fulfilled his promises with respect to being a uniter, not a divider. And I think it’s important to draw those contrasts and I intend to do it.”
Kerry's comments come in light of comments by black Democrats as well as Republicans that the Democratic party takes the black vote for granted.
So which is it, Ketchup Boy? Do the Dems take the black vote for granted? Or is it an integral part of the November vote? And if it is, then why is there only this passive lip service to campaigning in the black community? We only hear about tacit photo ops at the "black-church-of-the-week"; and even less so, now that the fall campaign is in full swing.
Now comes candidate Kerry with his pandering to blacks. And black America, simply because of the fact that John Kerry is the "not-Bush" candidate, will lap it up. The visceral hatred of George W. Bush among much of black America blinds the masses to rational thought in terms of comparing the candidates.
Black America has become one of the few places that Kerry doesn't meet the forensic challenge to his continued contradictions.
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, in an address to a joint session of Congress, had a message for the United States: "Thank you, America."
"I know that some have speculated, even doubted whether this (January election) date can be met," Allawi told a joint session of the US Congress. "So let me be absolutely clear. Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January because Iraqis want elections on time."Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry, speaking at a campaign appearance in Columbus, OH shortly after Allawi's address accused the Iraqi Prime Minister of flip-flopping and contradicting himself, something that Ketchup Boy himself is very familiar with -- although he wouldn't dare admit to it.
Speaking in English after receiving a standing ovation, Allawi told the chamber: "We are succeeding in Iraq. It's a tough struggle with setbacks, but we are succeeding.
"My friends, today we are better off. You are better off. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. Your decision to go to war in Iraq was not an easy one, but it was the right one.
"We Iraqis know that Americans have made, and continue to make, enormous sacrifices to liberate Iraq, to assure Iraq's freedom," Allawi said. "I have come here to thank you, and to promise you that your sacrifices are not in vain.
"Thank you, America."
"I think the prime minister is obviously contradicting his own statement of a few days ago where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country," Kerry said. "The prime minister and the president are here, obviously, to put their best face on the policy."Kerry accused Allawi of shilling for Bush, in order to put a positive spin on Bush's campaign.
Now I've heard it all.
President Bush, who in the minds of many, is supposed to be dumber than horse manure in a heatwave, is now to blame for the "extreme hurricane season," according to MoveOn.org.
"Scientists agree that global warming makes sea levels rise and makes storms stronger, because temperature shifts disrupt the normal balance," MoveOn.org explained. "Warmer water makes more violent hurricanes."The group goes on to insist that by Bush's "failure" to support the UN's Kyoto proposal, that global warming has caused more storms and made overall pollution greater.
The group added that insurance companies such as Swiss Re and Munich Re say "global warming is causing more losses."
Ridiculing President George W. Bush for "handing out emergency aid" in Florida while doing "nothing to reduce global warming," MoveOn.org contends that the president has "done a lot to make the problem worse" and has caused the massive hurricanes to form.
MoveOn.org points the finger at Bush, saying that he has "helped the oil companies drill more, and the big polluters pollute more, at every opportunity" while he "has done nothing to stop global warming pollution, which is making extreme weather stronger."
The Abe Lincoln Black Republican Caucus, founded in 2002 in Dallas, has broken ranks with the larger, national Log Cabin Republican Caucus (the gay GOP caucus), and endorsed George W. Bush for President.
According to their spokesman, the endorsement was actually propelled by the refusal of the Log Cabin Republicans to endorse Bush.
"We think that the 'Republican Tent' is inclusive and there is room for differences, but one does not pick up their marbles and go home if there are a few points of disagreement," ALBRC spokesman Anthony Falls said in a prepared statement. "The ALBRC does not support marriage for gays, yet we do support and call for recognition of domestic partnerships."The larger Log Cabin Republicans dismissed the ALBRC endorsement.
Chris Barron, political director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said his group remains firm in its decision not to endorse Bush.A spokesperson for the National Black Justice Coalition dismissed the endorsement as well, noting that the Dallas-based group has never had a national presence or influence.
"I do not know what the mission of the Abe Lincoln club is, but I do know that Log Cabin's decision furthers our mission, which is to build equality for gays and lesbians in the Republican Party," Barron told the PlanetOut Network. "There are times when integrity requires that a commitment to basic fairness not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics."
I didn't know that having a national presence was a prerequesite for endorsing a Presidential candidate.
Two Italian women, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, the first women to be kidnapped in Iraq, have been murdered by terrorists holding them, according to a posting on an internet message board frequented by Al Qaeda.
The group, calling itself the Jihad Organisation, said it had killed the women because Italy had not obeyed its call to withdraw its forces from Iraq.And Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace? Nope. Can't prove it by me.
A group with a similar name, the Islamic Jihad Organisation, said on September 12 that it would kill the hostages in 24 hours if Italian troops did not leave Iraq.
"We in the Jihad Organisation in Iraq announce that God's verdict has been passed on the two Italian prisoners by slaughtering, after the Italian government headed by the vile (Prime Minister Silvio) Berlusconi did not listen to our one condition to withdraw from Iraq," the statement said.
"We warn the Italian government that we will continue to strike, and to strike every foreigner living in Iraq," said the statement, dated September 22.
I'm beginning to believe that the whole of Islam, not just the perverted terrorist monsters, are the problem. The "moderate" practicioners of Islam are saying very little. They are doing very little. Condemnation comes quietly and seldom.
But let us keep Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) out of the country, and CAIR and every other hand wringer comes outta the woodwork to condemn the nation's actions.
The terrorists who butchered Marietta resident Jack Kinsley finally released the video of his beheading on the web.
In addition to the graphic video, the monsters released a video of the remaining hostage, Briton Kenneth Bigley, literally begging for his life.
There can be no more doubt.
These terrorists are monsters. Evil, vile, brutal, monsters.
Contrary to the Danish poster on the comments section of yesterday's post, I feel they need to die. They need to be exterminated. They desire but one thing -- to kill us all.
The poster yesterday told us their motives under the guise of his self-righteousness: they would love nothing better than to carpet bomb the United States. They don't care about our politics, they don't care that we are on the other side of the planet, they don't care about anything...except....caring about making us....all....die. Every last man, woman and child in this country.
Reasoning is not possible with indivudals like this. Rational conversation cannot take place with an individual like this.
The question of who lives boils down to a binary choice. Them or us.
I vote for us.
What say you?
Bill Maher, on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher told a sick joke about beheadings in Iraq which has an increasing number of people up in arms.
Oh, I tell you, things are getting so bad over there. On Wednesday, for example, three severed heads were found by the side of the road outside of Baghdad . Hey, memo to the Iraqi people: severed head pickup is Tuesday. [laughter] Look, if you want to sleep late, roll them out on Monday night and then…[laughter]The joke was aired on his show last Friday night on HBO.
Sounds like Maher's fifteen minutes are up.
Sad news about the "mother of the Civil Rights Movement," 91 year-old Rosa Parks.
Parks is embroiled in a lawsuit against the musical group Outkast and their label, BMG. The lawsuit charges that Outkast defamed her, and violated her publicity and trademark rights with their 1998 song, "Rosa Parks."
Parks' lawyer confirmed in court Monday that she is suffering from "dementia," presumably tied to Alzheimer's Disease.
Parks lawyer Gregory Reed confirmed that she has dementia, or severe mental impairment.Sad news indeed.
"It comes and goes," Reed said. He said Parks is well cared for and receives care at her Detroit home.
Defense lawyers will be able to question Parks' doctor Joel Steinberg about her medical condition in early October.
In an Aug. 16 letter, Steinberg's lawyer said the doctor believes Parks "cannot testify or participate in any court proceeding" and referred to six pages of supporting medical records, including three medical visits by Parks in 2002 and late 2003.
Jack Hensley's headless body was found, with the severed head in a plastic bag, in a Baghdad suburb earlier today.
The Hensley family has received confirmation from the US State Department that the body is indeed that of Jack Hensley.
Marietta resident Jack Hensley has been murdered by terrorists in Iraq.
An Islamic Web site posting Tuesday claimed an al-Qaida-related group slaughtered a second American hostage in Iraq (news - web sites), an announcement that came as the group's 24-hour deadline for meeting its demands expired.Freakin' animals.
"The nation's zealous children slaughtered the second American hostage ... after the end of the deadline," said the statement, posted under the pseudonym Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, who has posted past statements in the group's name.
The statement said video of the killing would be posted "soon."
No, I shouldn't insult animals by the comparison. They are simply evil. They need to be put down. Period.
A Hensley family spokesperson is expected to come speak to the assembled local and national press outside the family home in Marietta as soon as "official" word comes from the State Department.
UPDATE 3:45P According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the White House had spoken to Hensley's family earlier today.
The Marietta family of Iraq hostage Jack Hensley received a call from the White House earlier Tuesday, family spokesman Jake Haley said. Haley said they spoke to Andrew Card, Bush's chief of staff.The AJC talks about the message that accompanied the AQ announcement of Hensley's decapitation.
"They said they were doing everything they can," Haley said during a brief statement to reporters outside the Hensley home. "It was nice to hear from them."
"The youths of Tawhid and Jihad killed the second American hostage after the end of the deadline," the statement said. It was signed with the pseudonym Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, according to AP.Of the two remaining hostages, Hensley was the only American. Presumably, with the demand primarily being against the US, Hensley was the one chosen to be murdered.
"The nation's zealous children slaughtered the second American hostage ... after the end of the deadline. ... We will provide you with film of the slaughter soon, God willing," said the statement.
The brief statement did not give the name of the hostage killed.
These monsters need to die. Quickly. Painfully. Decisively. Unmercifully.
I'll have more details and links as they become available.
UPDATE 6:15p Jack Hensley's family has set up a website, JackHensley.org, where arrangements and presumably a memorial guestbook will be available. Also on that site, is an address for anyone who wishes to donate to a memorial fund for Hensley's widow and daughter.
Jack Hensley would have been 49 years old tomorrow. He and his wife were married 23 years; his daughter, Sara, is 13 years old.
UPDATE 11P - Here locally, Hensley's family is holding out fleeting hope that the lack of a release of a video or stills may indicate that Hensley is still alive.
One of the three hostages being held by Iraqi terrorists associated with Al Qaeda (one Briton, two American) has been beheaded, and the video shown on a website previously associated with terrorist activities.
Eugene Armstrong has been identified by CNN from the posted video as the victim of the decapitation murder.
An Islamic Web site Monday showed video of an American hostage, identified as Eugene Armstrong, being beheaded in Iraq by members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group. On Saturday, the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera aired video of two Americans and one Briton being held hostage, with their abductors giving a 48-hour deadline for their demands to be met.This does nothing to ease the terror being felt by the family of the other American kidnapee, Jack Hensley of Marietta, nor of the loved ones of Briton Kenneth Bigsley.
Hensley's wife, Patti, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America today, and said that she was advised not to speak to reporters.
Patty Hensley said she was advised not to speak to reporters, but she wanted her husband's kidnappers to know more about him and to realize that he doesn't wish them any harm.Hensley's wife and 13 year-old daughter are at their home in Marietta.
"Let them come home," she said. "My God is praying for them. Allah is sending them a message, too, saying that to hurt these men is not going to serve any purpose. Just send them home. Send them home to their families, please." Patty Hensley said she's had difficulty explaining the crisis to her daughter, especially since her father is in Iraq to help the country.
"We raised our daughter to believe that everybody in the world is good," she said. "And you know, her first question to me was, 'Why would anybody hurt my daddy?' And I can't explain."
Hensley, Armstrong and Bigley work for Gulf Supplies & Commercial Services, a construction firm based in United Arab Emirates working on rebuilding Iraq.
I'm beyond tired. There's no way any rational, thinking individual can claim that any kind of "god" or pathetic, cultish, insane excuse for a religion would encourage the wholesale murder of anyone.
These predators are evil. And their perversion of religion, packaged for the masses as "Islam" is also evil.
There will come a time -- and that time is rapidly approaching -- when the civilized world will step beyond the bounds of patience and logic and civil discourse, and resort to extermination.
And while civil discourse has it's place, it's usefulness is limited to dealing with rational, thinking, logical people. These Islamic terrorists are neither rational, nor thinking, nor logical, and I hesitate to refer to them as people.
UPDATE: According to Reuters, Armstrong's body has been recovered and identified in Iraq.
Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.No sword falling? No resignation? Damn.
Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.
But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.
Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.
CBS officials are set to make a "big announcement" today regarding Rathergate.
CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night.Word is that Dan "Kenneth" Rather was down in Texas interviewing former Army National Guard member (and venomous Bush-basher) Bill Burkett this weekend.
The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents' origins. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.
Indications are that Burkett (by way of an Abilene, TX FedEx-Kinko's) is the source of the documents in question.
I guess Kenneth and Burkett needed to collaborate and get their collective stories straight.
No word yet on whether or not Rather will resign. Stay tuned.
UPDATE:From The National Review's The Kerry Spot this morning:
FROM WITHIN CBS - ANNOUNCEMENT TO STAFF LATER THIS MORNING [09/20 10:23 AM]Kenneth committing seppuku? One can only wish.
My source familiar with discussions within CBS says that the discussions of "Dan falling on his sword" have been "muttered all over the place, but there is nothing solid - so far just "rumor and speculation." However, many staffers has been told to gather around 11 a.m. for an announcement of some sort.
But I can't get that picture of Peter Finch as Howard Beale in Network out of my head.
"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
As my blog-sister Ambra put it, "There is a Fine Line Between Satire And Ignorance."
The $64,000 Question that begs though is which category this kind of stuff falls into.
The scary part, is that even if it is meant as satirical, I know some folks here in Atlanta and elsewhere who would put that poster up on their wall. Right next to their velvet Elvis and wall hangings of JFK and MLK.
48 year-old Jack Hensley, from the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, is being held along with another American and an Briton by an Iraqi terrorist group. The trio is being threatened with beheading, unless the US and UK acceed to terrorist demands by tomorrow.
The three men work for Gulf Supplies & Commercial Services, a Bahrain-based construction firm working on rebuilding Iraq. They were abducted from their home in Baghdad on Thursday.
A video tape of the three was aired on Al Jazeera yesterday.
Hensley's wife, Patty, did not talk with reporters gathered outside her Cobb County home Saturday, but in an interview with CNN she pleaded with her husband's captors to let him return to her and their 13-year-old daughter "who misses her father very much."I have to commend Atlanta CBS affiliate WGCL-TV. In their report on Hensley's kidnapping this evening, they referred to the animals that grabbed the trio as TERRORISTS.
She said: "It is your decision if he can come home back to her. Jack is a simple, generous man who loves the Iraqi people and has made many friends while in Iraq. Since Jack has been a guest in your country, he has been treated with honor and dignity. We ask for your mercy in freeing Jack and his co-workers so that they can continue to return home to their loving families."
Patty Hensley said her last communication with her husband was by e-mail, and she said she believes he was abducted within about 45 minutes after they signed off.
She said his residence was guarded around the clock by armed Iraqis, but "the morning they were abducted there was no guard as there should have been."
Not any handwringingly politically correct term like "rebels," or "insurgents."
TERRORISTS. That's what they are. And they need to be exterminated. As soon as possible.
BlogSister of mine, LaShawn Barber, takes on John Kerry's pandering ways today.
In her piece, she points to an article by US Civil Rights Commission member Peter Kirsanow in National Review.
Much of Senator Kerry’s message to black audiences, however, is drawn from negative and sometimes ugly stereotypes about putatively “black” concerns. For example, while speaking before the Urban League in July, Kerry stressed the need for more Section 8 funding rather than stressing home-ownership, and stressed government programs more than entrepreneurship (because, you know, most blacks are either on welfare or otherwise dependent on the government). He’s done so without challenge. Imagine the justifiable outrage if Kerry had employed offensive stereotypes when courting voters from other ethnic groups. Even when not engaging stereotypes Kerry tends to appeal to the lowest common denominator — a bland Huey Long.Mr. Kirsanow points out the obvious flaw in Kerry's campaign -- at least when it comes to black America.
Senator Kerry’s attempts over the last several months to “energize” black voters by invoking the specter of Jim Crow and falsely claiming massive voter disenfranchisement apparently aren’t impressing black Democrat leaders. That could well mean he might make even more incendiary comments in the upcoming weeks. If he does, he must be called on it. Senator Kerry’s divisive statements are more likely to create the two Americas of which he and his running mate complain rather than promote a more unified America.
Unfortunately, black America, as a whole, is so fixated on a collective hatred of George W. Bush, thanks to the mainstream media and self-flagellating pulpit sitters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. As a result, when confronted with the glaring racial pandering of Kerry, most blacks are willing to ignore it. And that leaves Martin Luther King spinning in his grave like a top.
Hurricane Ivan came ashore somewhere between 3 and 4 this morning between Mobile and Pensacola as a CAT 3 storm with sustained winds above 120 MPH.
The storm wreaked havoc on it's eastern side, with brought catastrophic damage to Pensacola and the surrounding area. Tornadoes have been spawned in the Florida panhandle, south Alabama and south Georgia, with at least 12 deaths reported.
Heavy weather is headed my way, and I fully expect to lose power sometime late today or tonight.
ABC NewsNow (check your broadband portal's news page for access) is carrying live coverage from WMBB-TV Panama City, where two tornadoes struck within an hour of each other yesterday afternoon while Ivan was still out in the Gulf.
According to local weathercasters here, the truly heavy weather (including a Tornado Watch) should get here around 2PM or so. Many of the south suburban school systems have cancelled classes for today, but with the heavy weather not arriving until later today, most systems are still in session. I wouldn't be surprised to see most systems out tomorrow, however.
The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center are forecasting Ivan (by then a tropical storm) to move into the lower Appalachian Mountains and stall -- dropping enough rain to cause mudslides in north Georgia, north Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
This is what you call a "character builder."
New data on Rathergate continues to surface this evening from multiple fronts.
First from Drudge and Thursday morning's Washington Post:
Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network.WMCA New York host Kevin McCullough (also a denizen of my blogroll) then made a telephone call to that Kinko's and asked a simple question.
Just got off the phone with Abilene Kinkos: Bill Burkett has a standing account with the Kinkos in Abilene Texas, and while the lady who answered the phone would not be more specific she did say Burkett was in there last week....Backcountry Conservative points toward Burkett's background as an officer in the Army National Guard. He's also live blogging this thing as it keeps itself alive.
Will Kenneth get his hands slapped?
One can only hope.
Jeff Quinton at Backcountry Conservative is live-blogging (as are many others); I'll have the highlights as soon as they happen.
Hurricane Ivan hasn't completely shoved Dan Rather and CBS' woes off of the page. This is from National Review's "The Kerry Spot" earlier today:
I am informed that the head of a CBS affiliate in a large East Coast city is telling viewers who call in that he wants Rather to apologize on 60 Minutes and then resign. This local network official reportedly plans to present the flood of critical emails he has been getting to the network heads in New York.The affiliates drive the network. If enough of 'em demand Rather's head, he'll be gone. And his protestations to the contrary won't be able to help him one bit.
The National Hurricane Center's 5P update includes a Hurricane Warning for the Gulf Coast from Grand Isle, LA to Apalachicola, FL, including Metro New Orleans (and Lake Pontchartrain) and Metro Mobile (and Mobile Bay).
The areas in question are under evacuation orders of varying degrees.
Everyone be safe down there!
At 11 PM EDT...0300z...a Hurricane Watch has been issued for the northern Gulf of Mexico coast from east of Morgan City Louisiana eastward to St. Marks Florida...including greater New Orleans, Louisiana.Keep in mind this area will change on the fly. Stay tuned.
Even while the order for Monroe County, FL has been rescinded, Ivan's path has the Crescent City worried.
Saying it would take "the perfect scenario" for powerful storm Hurricane Ivan to bypass New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin called for all citizens that can to seek higher ground and make their plans very soon.The school systems and colleges in all the parishes around New Orleans are closed beginning tomorrow. As of this evening, southbound Interstate 55 from I-12 down to I-10 in LaPlace is closed to facilitate northbound evacuation traffic from St. Tammany Parish west of the city of New Orleans.
"This is now scheduled to bypass New Orleans but it has to curve around a high (pressure system) and that system has to collapse," he said. "I am not confident that will happen."
Nagin is asking for preparations to begin now because he said the normal 72-hour lead time will not be available to New Orleanians this time around.
"This storm will not allow us that window."
Actor and friend Joseph C. Phillips has been interviewed six ways to Sunday the past few months.
As a visible black Republican who is supporting George W. Bush, Phillips gets calls for interviews all over the place (as do I), with many folks politely asking what would make someone become a conservative. Then there are the not-so-polite ones. You know the ones. I've written about them ad nauseum here. I talked about how I was most recently browbeaten on two radio interviews -- the same day, mind you -- by ignorant and vindictive callers who have called me every unmentionable name under the sun. After enough of that, every man can reach the limits of his tolerance.
Joe reached his recently.
The tipping point for me came last Friday morning during a radio interview with Mildred Gaddis on WCHB's "Inside Detroit." As a favor to an acquaintance I agreed to the interview late Thursday night even though it meant I would have to wake up early Friday and speak about the Republican convention after only a few hours of sleep.Yet and still we're supposed to be the bad guys, right?
Ms. Gaddis was friendly and we seemed to be getting along quite well until one of her regular callers referred to me as a "so called black man." That was it. I told him I was not going to get up at the crack of dawn in order to be insulted and insisted Ms Gaddis get him off the line.
I have had it up to my eyeballs with black folk who feel they have been anointed as racial gatekeepers and therefore have the right to stand at the door checking ideological credentials and passing out racial membership cards.
Ms Gaddis, much to my surprise and disappointment, not only defended the caller, but also suggested that I was being rude in demanding that she "get him off the line." (For a moment I had forgotten that when debating with liberals they are allowed to call conservatives anything they like, but the moment we defend ourselves we are being intolerant or rude.)
I expressed that I was disheartened at her position that the callers not using the actual words "Uncle Tom" made it okay to address her guests in such a disrespectful manner.
She cut the interview short. The line went dead without so much as a howdy-do from her, her staff or her co-host who had asked me to do the program somewhere around midnight of that morning.
To hear the liberals tell it, we are.
Chris Muir, of Day By Day, is putting the popular strip on hiatus. He's got to deal with some major family illnesses.
Chris, go take care of what's truly important. We'll be fine. We'll hold down the fort, and we'll be here when you get back.
God bless you, and we'll see you soon.
Kweisi Mfume, head of the NAACP, is going to "apologize personally" for the NAACP national office's insistance that US Secretary of Education Rod Paige be disinvited to speak at the Ohio NAACP's annual conference.
Kweisi Mfume is president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He says he was "appalled" when he found out about the snub on Friday.Partisan? Yep. They're definitely partisan against anyone or anything conservative.
He says the national organization never ordered the withdrawal.
He called the decision by the group's Ohio State Conference wrong.
Paige at first was invited to talk about education reforms, but the organization rescinded that on Tuesday because of a perceived political imbalance on the panel.
After all, Paige left the Plantation. They figure they've gotta do him in.
Writers of blogs, and by extension, those who read them regularly, have been referred to as geeks, losers, amatuers and hacks by those in the mainstream press.
Yet, you see them falling all over themselves to write a column of some form to place on the web on a daily basis. You seem them trying to imitate those of us in the blogosphere.
Now, with Dan "Kenneth" Rather's gaffe ("What's the typeface, Kenneth?") and the ensuing scandal that has erupted as a result, the blogosphere and the writers in it are finally being recognized as the formidable force that we are.
In case the mainstream isn't listening, an open letter to the mainstream press by regular poster Pukin Dog on Free Republic is drawing the battle lines in permanent ink.
We have watched you for years try to tell us how to think, what to think, who to vote for and what to believe based solely on your own agenda. In past years, you have come to think of yourselves as the fourth branch of government, the movers and shapers of opinion and the arbiters of truth.The Max Headroom-style sciencef fiction of personal reporting as part of a "zillion channel" universe is not as far removed from today as one might like to think. Each of us in the blogosphere controls our own "station." We enjoy and particiapte with our own "audience." Most of us talk together and work together, though we are more often than not separated by literally hundreds or thousands of miles.
The world is on to you.
Persons with knowledge and experience are not only ignoring you, but replacing you as sources of information. These sources, which don't need anything but their personal experiences and skills when sharing information with the public; persons who have spent more time learning and doing than you ever will, are generally more accurate and informative than you know how to be.
The Internet and Blogosphere would scare you, if you were smart enough or honest enough to know better.
People with practical knowledge and experience discussing current and historical events with more ability than you, are sharing more factual and in-depth information, and at a rate which you could never compete. We are relegating many of you to overpaid gossip mongers, while you don't want to acknowledge that we are eating your lunch.
You can no longer tell us anything, and expect to be believed without question. You can no longer mix your agendas into your 'news' and expect to get away with it. We may not catch you every time, but eventually we will, and then many of you are going to have to get real jobs. And when you do, you are going to need more than the ability to mislead, lie, slander and ignore people who don't agree with you. In the future, expect for Blogs like Instapundit and others to be on you like a fly on stink when you attempt to mislead us.
You can join us in working to share information with a hungry audience, or you can be replaced. We don't need Nielson, just a web site and an idea. Instead of insulting the remainder of your dwindling viewers, readers and listeners, why don't you just agree to cut the crap, stop the parroting of the NY Times long enough to do your own work, and finally decide to become REAL journalists again.
We have become our own "gatekeepers" in this "new normal." And until/unless the mainstream recognizes it, they're doomed to a slow death in the form of mediocrity.
Welcome to the new media. Welcome to the future.
Yes, it's from Hurricane Ivan, but it fits on this day.
What I have started calling Patriot Day.
It is a day that we should mourn and remember the terrible death and destruction. But also a day where we should stand defiant against the enemies of freedom. Where we should all stand tall and proud as Americans.
A day where we can tell our children that our way of life is worth living for. That freedom is not free, but worth the high price that we all pay for it.
This is a day when we should honor the memories of the 3,000 who were brutally butchered by the Islamic terrorists who want us all to die. A day when we should stand tall. And continue to participate in the American dream. A day when politics should be set aside, so we can all stand, hand in hand, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I love my country. I'm proud to be an American. And there's no way in the world that any tyrant or terrorist or homicide bomber can change that.
Let history bear witness: No American has ever bowed down before a tyrant. And we're not about to start today.
A true patriot is proud of his freedom. Is proud of his liberty. Is proud of his homeland. Is proud of his people.
So while we mourn, as well we should today, we also should be proud. Proud of patriots like those who fought to create this great nation. Proud of those patriots who ran into those towers selflessly on that September morn. Proud of those patriots who fight tyranny and terror across the globe. Proud of all those patriots who stand side by side with each of us as Americans.
This is our Patriot Day.
Drudge touted Dan Rather's "explanation" of the forged CBS documents all afternoon.
At 6:30, in the early feed of the CBS Evening News, Kenneth did the requisite Hurricane Ivan story, then jumped into the 60 Minutes documents piece with gusto, shoving both feet deep down his throat.
Rather siezed on the question of the superscripted "th" and the notion that the more fanciful IBM Selectric Typewriters used in the early 70s actually did have the capability to use them.
Rather neglected, however, to discuss the concept of kerning, which cannot be reproduced by a typewriter; he neglected to discuss the denial by both the wife and the son of the memo's purported author (who has been dead for many years at this point). Rather also convienently ignored criticism by other mainstream media sources.
It was easier to dismiss the blogosphere as partisan hacks.
Nothing about kerning. Nothing about the paper size. Nothing about the stationary. Nothing about the widow or the son. Nothing about proportional spacing. Nothing about the difference in tone and writing style from other memos by this author. Nothing about the anachronistic language.Kenneth also sounded pretty hoarse. I wonder....could he have been yelling at his bosses, who wanted him to come clean on the story?
They changed the story from coming from his personal files, to admitting that CBS only had a photocopy to work from. The said some typewriters had superscript. Yes, but how common were they? Would they have one of those typewriters in an Air National Guard office?
They said the font Times Roman had been around for many years before the memo. Yes, but could you do it on a typewriter?
Rather said a lot about the criticism of the story is coming from "partisan political operatives." Like all the forensic experts cited by ABC News and the Washington Post?
NRO's The Kerry Spot has a full transcript of the Rather report.
CBS has begun an internal investigation of the source of the National Guard "documents" they obtained, supposedly from a FOIA request. The documents supposedly show that then-Lieutenant Bush disobeyed direct orders and was not certified to fly during his time of service. The documents were supposedly written in the early 1970s.
Analysis of the documents has shown that the typeface and layout used was not available in the 1970s, but most likely came from a recent version of Microsoft Word. Microsoft didn't even exist until 1980, and did not begin manufacturing word processing software until the early 1990s.
Memos uncovered and touted by Rather's team appear to have been written in Microsoft Word, the experts said - a computer program that did not exist at the time Bush was in the Guard.CBS is not alone in their misery. NBC is set to air three days of Today Show interviews with author Kitty Kelly, whose new "tell-all" book, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, has been discredited by the supposed main source for the information in the book, ex-sister-in-law Susan Bush.
The same documents, purportedly authored by Bush Guard commander Jerry Killian, were challenged by Killian's widow and son, who told reporters on Thursday that the deceased National Guard commander would have never written such memos.
"I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David or that I ever saw him use cocaine at Camp David," ex-Bush sister-in-law Sharon Bush said in a statement issued Thursday.No comment from NBC officials today.
Chris Muir has made it back after his Frances-imposed hiatus, but of course, the $64,000 question is whether or not Hurricane Ivan will force him out again...
Memos shown on CBS' 60 Minutes last night were forged. Why? We all know why -- to smear the President and his campaign.
How do we know? Take a look here and consider this.
every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman.One other point that is being made is the fact that the CBS documents include the superscripted "th" behind the date.
In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts.
The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90's. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn't used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80's used monospaced fonts.
I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.
Superscripted ordinals weren't norm until personal computers and programs like Word became commonplace -- certainly not the case during the Vietnam years, when this supposed to have occured.
The documents are purported to show that President Bush lied about his National Guard service. But with this evidence, the larger question is who, inside of CBS, is responsible for this? No one has owned up, but as the deck chairs are being rearranged, there are indications that Dan Rather himself is at the center of this mess.
The National Weather Service in Miami issued a new advisory for people in the Keys and the Dry Tortugas late this afternoon.
...Mandatory Evacutaion of ALL Visitors and Non-Residents..83,000 people. One way in. One way out.
...Mandatory Evacuation of ALL Recreational Vehicles...
...A Mandatory Evacuation may be required for ALL residents in the Florida Keys and Flamingo Friday Morning at 7:00 AM...
...Residents that wish to leave today are encouraged to do so...
Sounds like a trailer for a movie. But it's real.
HurricaneCity has started feeding audio from the shortwave radio Hurricane Watch Net. The audio is not the best, but you can hear from the hams in the affected region.
The local Miami news radio station is WIOD, and their signal is streamed regularly.
The approach of Hurricane Ivan has forced the NFL to reschedule Sunday's scheduled home opener for the Miami Dolphins as they host the Tennessee Titans to Saturday at 1P ET.
Ivan is expected to hit South Florida early next week -- residents of the Florida Keys have already been asked to evacuate as part of a total evacuation of the Keys.
The football game was scheduled for CBS; it will be shown on the CBS stations in Nashville & Miami. No word on whether the remainder of the nation will be able to watch as well.
Ayman Al Zawahiri, the number two man in Al Qaeda (behind Osama Bin Laden), was seen in a new video tape on Al Jazeera today.
In the tape, Al Zawahiri claims that US troops in Afghanistan are "on the ropes" and that Al Qaeda controls "most" of Afghanistan.
Traditionally, a videotaped announcement like this had preceded a major terrorist offensive.
Fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls, it looks like it's gonna get rough...
I've got no details or information beyond that.
This is Val, Aaron's sister. My family and I are still working out what we wanted to say and do on the site. But at this time, however briefly, I thought it was best to confirm that yes, Aaron did pass away. We found out for certain yesterday.Damn.
I really hate hearing that.
Be at peace, Aaron. God bless you.
Hurricane Ivan has become a rare CAT 5 hurricane with sustained winds of more than 160 miles per hour. The storm is set to hit Jamaica head-on Friday night or sometime on Saturday, based on it's present course and speed.
The National Hurricane Center expects Ivan to turn northward and cross Cuba after that point. That course would take it directly into the Florida Keys.
As a result, officials have started the first phase of a total evacuation of the Keys.
They told tourists and residents of mobile homes to leave today. They said a phased evacuation of all other Keys residents will begin Friday. At least 83,000 residents and tourists are in the Keys this week, officials said.Computer projection models of Ivan's expected course have varied widely, with some models taking the storm up the west coast of Florida, almost directly over areas that were devestated by Hurricane Charley last month. Other models take it directly up the Florida peninsula, while several others take it further out into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would threaten the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Georgia.
Stay tuned. HurricaneCity.com is set to begin streaming live radio from Jamaica and the Hurricane Watch Net later today; I'll post updated stream links as I get ahold of them.
Wednesday morning, Clinton administration pit bull James "Gollum" Carville suggested that the GOP "probably drugged" Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller, in light of Miller's statements at last week's Republican National Convention. Carville's comments were made on the syndicated Don Imus radio program, which is simulcast on MSNBC.
"They got that poor man in the twilight of his career and just used him," the former Clinton adviser insisted. "They said, 'Look, go up there and say this,' and they handed him a bunch of documents."Miller gave the keynote speech at the RNC, blasting Democratic nominee John Kerry, and throwing his support behind President George W. Bush.
Carville claimed Miller didn't know "what he was talking about" in post-speech interviews, saying that's why he grew angry when challenged by MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
When Imus noted that the Georgia Democrat sounded "fine" when he interviewed him the next morning," Carville shot back: "They probably shot him up with something, you know. He just likes screaming at people."
...when the fateful question finally gets asked Thursday night:
"Are you ready for some football!?"
"The League plays here!"
In a letter published in this morning's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, former President Jimmy Carter excoriates Senator (and fellow Democrat) Zell Miller for his participation in the Republican National Convention last week. Miller was the keynote speaker.
In Miller's speech, he took the Democratic party to task for becoming too rabidly and radically leftist, and alienating many around the nation. Carter's letter accuses Miller of being motivated by greed.
It was a loyal Democrat, Roy Barnes, who appointed you as U.S. senator when you were out of office. By your historically unprecedented disloyalty, you have betrayed our trust.Carter signs the letter, " Sincerely, and with deepest regrets."
Everyone knows that you were chosen to speak at the Republican National Convention because of your being a "Democrat," and it's quite possible that your rabid speech damaged our party and paid the GOP some transient dividends.
Perhaps more troublesome of all is seeing you adopt an established and very effective Republican campaign technique of destroying the character of opponents by wild and false allegations.
Zell, I have known you for 42 years and have, in the past, respected you as a trustworthy political leader and a personal friend. But now, there are many of us loyal Democrats who feel uncomfortable in seeing that you have chosen the rich over the poor, unilateral pre-emptive war over a strong nation united with others for peace, lies and obfuscation over the truth, and the political technique of personal character assassination as a way to win elections or to garner a few moments of applause.
I don't think Carter regrets a damn thing. I think he's more pissed off that he -- and the remainder of the Democratic Party -- got caught with their collective pants down.
Republican carpetbagger Senate candidate Alan Keyes has shoved his foot in his mouth yet again.
In a radio interview last week, Keyes used religion to bash his Democratic opponent Barack Obama.
Keyes, who has focused his campaign on abortion, said that his statement about whom Jesus would vote for was based on Obama's pro-choice votes in the Illinois Senate.Keyes, from Maryland, and Obama are up for the open US Senate seat from Illinois.
"Christ would not stand idly by while an infant child in that situation died," Keyes said. "And I'm not the only person, obviously, who thinks if you are a representative of me, I cannot vote for you if you would ignore the dignity and claims of that child's life. So, yes, I did respond quite logically -- you'll see it's quite logical, right -- with the conclusion that Christ would not vote for Barack Obama, because Barack Obama has voted to behave in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved."
The Chechen terrorists who perpetrated the Beslan school massacre made a video tape of their siege. They seem to think that they will get the public to support their ongoing "efforts."
All we can do is pray they suffer far more than they made those children suffer.
On closer examination, portions of the video become even more disturbing.
...a shot where you hear a voice in the background. The voice is talking to someone on a cell-phone. He is not speaking Russian. He is either speaking Turkic or Arabic, but he distinctly can be heard speaking the Arabic phrase "Allahu-Akhbar". The next scene is disturbing if brief. The camera looks down at blood on the ground and pans past what look to be the legs and arms of dead children. You cannot see their full bodies, just a brief glimpse as the camera pans past to focus on the blood. Horrible.
Author Ronald Kessler's A Matter Of Character: Inside The White House Of George W. Bush looks at Bush, the man, not Bush the "cartoon character" that everyone from commentators to comedians have turned him into.
NRO's Q&A with Kessler points out the continued contradictions behind the "comic book picture" that the left continues to paint regarding Bush.
National Review Online: So President Bush isn't dumb, you say?Kessler admits that he voted for Al Gore in 2000 due to a perception, based on the debates, of Bush as a "less informed" individual.
Ronald Kessler: Most of what the public knows of Bush is filtered through the liberal bias of the media. He wears cowboy boots, so he's a hick. He has unconventional ways of dealing with the twin threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, so he must not know what he's doing. He says exactly what he thinks, so he must be unsophisticated.
The caricatures are conflicting: Bush has a short attention span, yet from the day he took office he was obsessed with attacking Iraq. He is a puppet of Dick Cheney or Karl Rove, but he does not listen to anyone's advice. His decisions are made for him by warring factions within his administration, but he stubbornly clings to his own views. He graduated from Yale and Harvard Business School, but is a dimwit.
What I found was that, contrary to the caricatures, Bush solicits differing views, then makes up his own mind.
NRO: And he doesn't have dyslexia, contrary to some disingenuous reporting?
Kessler: The claim that Bush has dyslexia was in a Vanity Fair article by Gail Sheehy, and she has since repeated that claim on TV. In fact, Nancy LaFevers, one of the two experts Sheehy quoted to support her conclusion, told me she told Sheehy that Bush was not dyslexic.
NRO: What's the most persistent and damaging myth about President Bush?
Kessler: That he is a Nazi because he deposed someone who killed 300,000 people. A large number of people actually believe that.
Kessler has changed that opinion as a result of his research for this book. He plans to vote for Bush in November.
Russian special forces nabbed one of the "alleged" hostage takers in the school massacre, and was shown on television in Russia pleading for his life today.
Channel One state television showed the man being dragged into a room by two masked commandoes.According to the televised report, the unidentified suspect had shaved his beard and attempted to escape with the liberated hostages.
His hands cuffed and locked behind his back, he makes a plea to the camera.
In the footage, shown on Sunday evening, the man, whose accent strongly suggests he is from the region and not a foreigner, makes a plea to the camera.
"I really didn't go there to die and I still don't want to die. I swear, I swear to Allah the almighty, that I want to live," he says.
Religion of peace? Yeah. Right.
While Florida and the Southeast is dealing with Hurricane Frances, that sigh of relief when the skies clear shouldn't come yet.
Out in the Atlantic, Hurricane Ivan is intensifying, and on the move.
Ivan is already up to a Category Four storm, and headed westward. Hurricane Watches for the Windward Islands have been raised as of this evening.
Hurricane Ivan grew to hurricane strength during the morning with top sustained wind of nearly 85 mph, and by early afternoon it already was a Category 3 hurricane with top sustained wind of 111 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.As of this evening, Ivan has sustained winds of 125 MPH. On it's prsent course and speed, it will be on South Florida's doorstep by this time next week.
The storm was about 995 miles east of the Windward Islands, or more than 2,000 miles east-southeast of Miami, too far away to tell with any certainty whether it would hit the continental United States, the Hurricane center said.
However, the center's map projections suggested a path across the Antilles and Hispaniola, possibly reaching Cuba about Friday.
And after being struck by the back-to-back hurricanes Charley and Frances, Floridians should monitor the storm, forecasters said.
Ivan was moving west at about 21 mph and was expected to turn gradually toward the west-northwest.
Those of you in South Florida might want to think twice about taking down their storm shutters as Frances moves on.
After several e-mails (and a phone call or three) from folks telling me how stupid and gullible I am, I've gotta come clean.
The LNR is a collective of writers, artists, hacks, satirists, critics, comedians and commentators. We have all sorts of complimentary skills, a bit like the X-Men, but only one of us is a mutant. We are a generally happy bunch, except when paralysed by anxiety and depression, and often socialize together, occasionally out of choice.
So what do we actually do? Well, as the name London News Review suggests, we do quite a lot of news reviewing, and we like talking about music and books and basketball and the other day we sent a letter to Ofcom, complaining about the Gillette advertisements where the men shave at super-speed, pointing out that if people shaved at that velocity they would cause themselves serious injury, and possibly death.
So yes, we are politically active; but to be honest, we have such a radical spread of political beliefs that we pretty much cancel each out.
So, yes. I was wrong about the article being serious. It was clearly a satire from a batch of clearly talented satirists.
That being said, what's scary is that there are many on the left (see Democratic Underground, Indymedia and other sites) who do have beliefs that fall in that line. Not only that, but I've been told by more than one Briton in more than one forum, about President Bush's brand of "evil," and by extension, the "evil" of the United States.
So you can see how easy it was for me to take this article as "truth."
Ultimately, if I ticked anyone off, I'm sorry.
Bill Clinton was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City today, after a blockage was found in his heart.
According to CBS and ABC, Clinton will be having quadruple heart bypass surgery.
He's undergoing tests, which have come behind chest pains that have plagued the former president in the past few days.
Hospital officials are not commenting, but, as you can imagine, the press have swarmed over Columbia Presbyterian thus far.
Most sources do not consider it to be a major issue presently, since his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, is on a campaign trip in upstate New York, as opposed to being at his side.
Today, he's undergoing part of a series of tests.
Hillary and Chelsea Clinton will be joining Clinton at the hospital shortly.
Backcountry Conservative is live-blogging the violent end to that siege of a Russian school in the southern town of , where more than 400 children along with parents were being held by a handful of Chechen terrorists, courtesy of the "Religion of Peace."
Current reports have an unknown number of people dead, all of the children out of the school, and at least 13 of the animals getting away -- possibly using some of the children as human shields.
At least 100 bodies have been found inside the gymnasium, according to ITV. There are also reports that at least 250 people have been taken to local hospitals.
Russian officials are insisting that they did not try to mount any sort of rescue operation. They indicate that Special Forces went in after the terrorists tried to escape. The situation obviously deterioriated dramatically from there.
Details will become more clear as the day progresses.
In a departure from any notion of impartiality, the London News Review says that after his RNC keynote speech last night, they hope that Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) "burns in Hell."
If there is a hell, and most likely Zell Miller believes in such a thing, then Democratic Senator Zell Miller is going to burn in it. Spin hotly on a giant griddle. For something close to eternity.The Review article then postulates why Zell is a "bad person" who deserves to "burn in Hell."
Oh yes, siree. He is going to burn in hell.
And the chances of hell existing have just skyrocketed, because if God exists then he's no kind of God unless he quickly fashions a hell for Democrat Senator Zell Miller to burn in. And even if the universe exists without a God, as many would contend, it is far from beyond the inarticulate power of this vast mass of galaxies, nebulae and planets to create - within itself - a dark and steaming corner where Mr. Zell Miller can dwell, for eternity, in unspeakable pain. We can call it hell or we can call it Georgia. Just so long as Senator Zell Miller suffers in it.
So - yes - Senator Zell Miller is a very bad person.
Of course, it's because Zell supports George W. Bush, and in their minds, anyone associated with Bush is "eeeeeevil," right?
God is not indifferent to America? A sentiment dripping with unintentional irony. Miller had better hope, he'd better pray, that God starts feeling indifferent towards America, and pretty damned soon.The article is filled with personal attacks and slams against both Miller and Bush; apparently they figure that if they heap enough sand on Zell's fire, it'll go out.
Zell Miller wouldn't sit still for Chris Matthews and his bullying last night.
After his speech to the Republican National Convention last night in New York City, Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) was interviewed by MSNBC's resident bully, Chris Matthews.
Matthews tried his usual antics with Miller, when Zell "gave him hell" and opened up with both barrels.
MATTHEWS: That kind of rhetoric is not educational, is it?A video stream of the Miller-Matthews exchange from Hardball can be found on MediaBistro.com.
MILLER: Wait a minute. Now, this is your program. And I am a guest on your program.
MATTHEWS: Yes, sir.
MILLER: And so I want to try to be as nice as I possibly can to you. I wish I was over there, where I could get a little closer up into your face.
MILLER: But I don‘t have to stand here and listen to that kind of stuff. I didn‘t say anything about not feeding poor kids. What are you doing?
MATTHEWS: No, I‘m saying that when you said tonight—I just want you to...
MILLER: Well, you are saying a bunch of baloney that didn‘t have anything to do with what I said up there on the...
MATTHEWS: OK. Do you believe now—do you believe, Senator, truthfully, that John Kerry wants to defend the country with spitballs? Do you believe that?
MILLER: That was a metaphor, wasn‘t it? Do you know what a metaphor is?
MATTHEWS: Well, what do you mean by a metaphor?
MILLER: Well, use John Kerry‘s talking points from the—from what he has had to say on the floor of the Senate, where he talked about them being occupiers, where he put out this whenever he was running for the U.S. Senate about what he wanted to cancel. Cancel to me means to do away with.
MATTHEWS: Well, what did you mean by the following.
MILLER: I think we ought to cancel this interview.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don‘t mean...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Well, you could argue it was not nurses who defended the freedom of nursing. Why did you single out freedom of the press to say it was the soldiers that defended it and not the reporters? We all know that. Why did you say it?
MILLER: Well, because I thought it needed to be said at this particular time, because I wanted to come on...
MATTHEWS: Because you could get an applause line against the media at a conservative convention.
MILLER: No, I said it because it was—you‘re hopeless. I wish I was over there. I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel.
MILLER: Now, that would be pretty good. Don‘t ask me—don‘t pull that...
MATTHEWS: Can you can come over? I need you, Senator. Please come over.
MILLER: Wait a minute. Don‘t pull that kind of stuff on me, like you did that young lady when you had her there, browbeating her to death. I am not her. I am not her.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, she was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal. And I was trying to correct the record.
MILLER: You get in my face, I am going to get back in your face.
MILLER: The only reason you are doing it is because you are standing way over there in Herald Square.
MATTHEWS: Senator, Senator, can I speak softly to you? I would really like you to...
MILLER: What? No, no, no, because you won‘t give me a chance to answer. You ask these questions and then you just talk over what I am trying to answer, just like you did that woman the other day.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator...
MILLER: I don‘t know why I even came on this program.
MATTHEWS: Well, I am glad you did.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this about John Kerry‘s war record.
MILLER: Well, are you going to shut up after you ask me?
Hurricane Warnings have been issued for much of the southern half of Florida as Hurricane Frances continues to approach the east coast of Florida.
The most recent tracks are showing that Frances will strike somewhere between Vero Beach and West Palm Beach sometime late on Friday or early on Saturday.
Hurricane City is streaming coverage from the Hurricane Watch Shortwave net, local radio from the Bahamas and local television from South Florida.
Keep safe everyone!
Prayers for safe passage for everyone in Florida, and those of us along Frances' projected path.
WSVN-TV/DT Miami is streaming live video at http://188.8.131.52/windowsmedia/asx/wsvn_broadband.asx (WMP). Other television and radio stations in South and Central Florida will be streaming later today.
The current path of Frances has a target solution that is continually being revised southward. The other, less spoken, portion of that message is that there is a realistic possibility that Frances may hit the Port Charlotte area with hurricane force winds in the midst of their clean-up from last month's Hurricane Charley.
Also not noted is that this could emerge in the Gulf of Mexico, where waters are as warm or warmer than they are on the Atlantic side of Florida. This brings an even more complex set of calculations and preparations. Everyone needs to keep an eye out on this one and be prepared to move quickly.
If Putin were to finally take the velvet gloves off and nuke Chechnya, I don't think many people would be saddened -- OK, maybe Tom Daschle, but that's about it.
The Chechen terrorists crossed the line of rational thought today by taking over an elementary school on the first day of school. More than 400 hostages, most children, plus some parents are under the "watchful eye" of a band of masked and armed terrorists, some with suicide belts strapped to them.
Heavily armed militants wearing suicide-bomb belts seized a Russian school in a region bordering Chechnya (news - web sites) on Wednesday, taking hostage about 400 people — half of them children — and threatening to blow up the building if police storm it. At least eight people have been killed, one of them a school parent.Russian President Vladimir Putin cut short his vacation so that he can monitor the situation from Moscow.
In a tense standoff, Russian forces wearing camouflage and carrying machine guns took up positions on the perimeter of the school in the town of Belsan. Television footage showed other men in civilian dress with light automatic rifles pacing nervously.
The terrorists have threatened "for every destroyed fighter, they will kill 50 children and for every injured fighter — 20 (children)," according to the ITAR-TASS news service.