April 2nd, 2009

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Republicans don't want ex-AIG chief testifying

Dems Investigating Bush Administration Role In AIG Collapse

A House oversight panel is investigating the role Bush administration officials and regulators played in the collapse of American International Group. The first step of the investigation begins Thursday, House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) tells the Huffington Post, when the committee hears testimony from former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg.
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Republicans don't want ex-AIG chief testifying

Republicans are asking Democrats to reconsider their plans to have former AIG chief Maurice "Hank" Greenberg testify at a hearing Thursday on the company's bailout.

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AIG Declares War on Former CEO

On the eve of his testimony before the House oversight committee, AIG has declared war on the company's former CEO, Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg.

Greenberg is scheduled to be the sole witness at a hearing on the "collapse and rescue" of AIG, "and what it means for the U.S. economy," according to the panel's published agenda.
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Dancing Pope advert banned



The Advertising Standards Authority branded the flyer offensive and ordered it to be removed after a complaint by the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) on behalf of angry Poles and Catholics.

The leaflet showed Pope John Paul II with a bottle of beer dancing with a blonde woman wearing a short dress.

It was distributed to promote a night called Berserk at Club Fire nightclub in Ipswich.

Sheila Soltysik, secretary of Ipswich Polish Club, said a local Polish girl had complained to her.

She said: "It was hugely offensive. The sheer volume of the reaction is what made us take the matter to ISCRE.

"It is unfortunate that the thoughtless actions of a marketing idea has created dismay amongst the Polish community and Catholic religion by depicting figures of high moral standards amongst ideas of inappropriate behaviour and surroundings.

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Source.
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Tea Party Pooper: Rick Santelli Wants Nothing To Do With Protests He Spawned

Tea Party Pooper: Rick Santelli Wants Nothing To Do With Protests He Spawned

It's been over a month since CNBC's Rick Santelli called for a Chicago "Tea Party" during an impromptu rant against the government "rewarding bad behavior" with bank bailouts and mortgage relief.


Now his barely-thought-out words have crystallized into something of an anti-tax, anti-spending movement, with "Tea Party" protests planned across the country for tax day, April 15.

But Santelli and his network want nothing to do with it. The CNBC pundit is "not going and not in any way involved" in the protests, says spokesman Brian Steel.

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Krugman Wants Anyone Making More Than 75K In Jail: Morning Joe Panelists

Krugman Wants Anyone Making More Than 75K In Jail: Morning Joe Panelists

What, exactly, is it about Paul Krugman that gets the blood boiling for so many pundits?

The Nobel Prize winning economist was the object of derision on Thursday morning, with panelists of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" wondering aloud if he was a crazed anti-capitalist demanding that anyone making a profit be thrown behind bars.

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Obama Notre Dame Speech: Cardinal George Rips Invitation As An 'Extreme Embarrassment' To Catholics

Obama Notre Dame Speech: Cardinal George Rips Invitation As An 'Extreme Embarrassment' To Catholics

One of America's most prominent Catholics has joined the chorus slamming the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at the school's May 17 commencement.

Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago, called Obama's planned appearance an "extreme embarrassment" to Catholics while speaking at a recent conference hosted by the archdiocese's Respect Life office in Rosemont, according to a video his remarks on lifesitenews.com.

"[T]he problem is in that you have a Catholic university - the flagship Catholic university - do something that brought extreme embarrassment to many, many people who are Catholic," George told the crowd. "So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation."
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panda bear

(no subject)

G-20 Leaders To Give $1 Trillion To IMF, World Bank


(Obama poses with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russa's President Dmitry Medvedev for a group photo to mark the G20 summit in London, Thursday, April 2, 2009. Seated in front of them is the President of China, Hu Jintao.)



LONDON — G-20 leaders hoping to end the global economic crisis pledged an additional $1.1 trillion in financing Thursday to the International Monetary Fund and other global institutions and declared a crackdown on tax havens and hedge funds.

In a communique capping a dramatic one-day gathering, the leaders announced the creation of a supervisory body to flag problems in the global financial system _ but did not satisfy calls for new stimulus measures.

They did, however, bridge the gap between the United States and some European nations over how far to regulate the market and curb the excesses that sparked the global economic crisis.

"Today the largest countries of the world have agreed on a global plan for economic recovery and reform," said the host, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His announcement was quickly followed by similar ones by the French and German leaders, who supported the results of the summit.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who earlier had threatened earlier to walk out if unsatisfied with the outcome, also praised President Barack Obama for helping to create consensus and persuade China to agree to publish lists of tax havens.

"There were moments of tension," Sarkozy said. "Never would we have thought to get as big an agreement."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the measures "a very, very good, almost historic compromise" that will give the world "a clear financial markets architecture."

European and U.S. markets surged ahead Thursday as the outcome of the summit came into view.

While the leaders did not announce any new stimulus measures _ as some in the United States had hoped _ Brown said the $1 trillion deal to boost funds for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other global institutions was unprecedented.

"For the first time we have a common approach to cleaning up banks around the world to restructuring of the world financial system. We have maintained our commitment to help the world's poorest," Brown said. "This is a collective action of people around the world working at their best."

The G-20 leaders also said that developing nations _ hard-hit and long complaining of marginalization _ would have a greater say in world economic affairs. They vowed to renounce protectionism and pledged $250 billion in trade finance over the next two years _ a key measure to help struggling developing countries.

The leaders also agreed to new rules on linking executive pay to performance, Brown said.


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Senator

Ann Coulter doesn't need an editor.

In her April 1 column, Ann Coulter fell for a fake April Fools' Day article by Car and Driver magazine that claimed that President Obama has ordered General Motors and Chrysler to cease their participation in NASCAR because it is an "unnecessary expenditure." Coulter wrote, "If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an 'unnecessary expenditure,' isn't having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan 'jihads' also an 'unnecessary expenditure'?" Car and Driver originally posted an April 1 story online -- since removed -- with the headline, "Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out Of NASCAR," and the text, "With their racing budgets deemed 'unnecessary expenditures,' GM and Chrysler are ordered to cease racing operations at the end of the season." However, Car and Driver later clarified that the story was an April Fools' Day joke, then removed the story from its website.

In an April 1 USA Today article, Larry Marshak reported that "Car and Driver later pulled the fake story (which estimated savings of $250 million between the manufacturers) and apologized for 'going too far' while noting the magazine 'has a proud tradition of irreverent editorial and we amplify that each year with our April Fool's Day joke.' "

From Coulter's April 1 column:

In New York City, spending on public schools increased by more than 300 percent between 1982 and 2001, coming in at $11,474 per pupil annually -- compared to about $5,000 for private schools.

But in 2003, a New York court ruled that graduates of New York City's public schools did not have the skills to be "capable of voting and serving on a jury." (Worse, some kids coming out of New York high schools are so stupid they don't even know how to get out of jury duty.)

If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an "unnecessary expenditure," isn't having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan "jihads" also an "unnecessary expenditure"? Are all those school condom purchases considered "necessary expenditures"?

Illegal aliens cost the American taxpayer more than $10 billion a year, net, in Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, free school lunches, prison, school and court costs. And yet cities, counties and states across the nation are openly refusing to enforce federal immigration law against illegal aliens -- all while accepting billions of dollars of stimulus money on top of a litany of other federal payouts.


Some more at the source.


Maybe she'll claim she was helping to continue the joke as part of Glenn Beck's "4/1 Project."
panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Breaks Up 'Heated' Spat Between Sarkozy, Hu Jintao



According to sources inside the room, President Obama just played peacemaker in a spat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.

In the finaly plenary session among the G-20 leaders, Sarkozy and Hu were having a heated disagreement about tax havens.

France and other European nations have been pushing for rules and regulations to apply to various tax havens; Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has said "these tax havens are also places where unregulated financial market deals are made."

But Chinese leaders fear a crackdown would hurt banking centers in Macao, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Other countries agree, though they are less outspoken publicly.

The exchange between Sarkozy and Hu got so heated, said a source -- who is not a member of the Obama administration -- it was threatening the unity of the G-20 leaders' meeting.

"They were going through the revised draft," a senior Obama administration official said.

The issue: Sarko wanted "a list of non-compliant jurisdictions," tones that allow tax havens, he senior official said. "Other countries wanted it too, but (Sarkozy) was the most outspoken."

Sarkozy specifically was pushing for a list from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to be included in the G-20 Leaders' Statement.

Headquartered in Paris, the OECD has 30 member countries -- all capitalist democracies.

China opposed any such list being included in the final Leaders' Statement.

"China tends to have a problem endorsing the documents of organizations like the OECD that they're not a party to," the senior administration official said.

But Mr. Obama, according to this account, stepped between the two men, urging them to try to find consensus, and giving them a "pep talk" about the importance of working together.

The senior adminstration official said that Mr. Obama pulled Mr. Sarkozy aside, took him to a corner, "and discussed possible alternatives," the senior official said.

Once they arrived at one, President Obama "sent a message to the Chinese" that a counter-offer was on the table. The Chinese spent some time considering the offer. But they took a few minutes.

So Mr. Obama, with the assistance of translators, suggested that he and Mr. Hu have a conversation as well. They, too went to the corner to talk. After a few minutes, Mr. Obama called upon Mr. Sarkozy to join them.

"Translators and sherpas in tow, they reached an agreement," the official said. "There was a multiple shaking of hands."

The agreement: the final G-20 document would state that the G-20 nations "stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information."

The Obama administration official described this compromise as a "meeting in the middle." The word "note" -- as in "we note the OECD has today published a list" -- doesn't necessarily carry any weight.

Moreover, any sanctions are "future-oriented," the senior official said, meaning there are as of now no actual sanctions.

The OECD also has yet to publish any such list, though Obama adminstration officials said the organization would do so today.

Soon after Mr. Obama helped to resolve the problem, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that "we have agreed to tough standards for those (tax shelters) who don't come into line in the future," which seems to overstate the case.

"I'd suggest we'd still be in there had he not done this," the senior Obama administration official said.

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hbic.

Research @ British Psychological Society conference: Funny men can take care of our babies


A recent study shows that Seth Rogen and his troop of bros are right: funny men do get their pick of ladies.

The Daily Mail reports that men with a sense of humor are more likely to be seen as intelligent, more honest, and better material for a relationship or friendship. In order to arrive at this conclusion, Psychologist Kristofor McCarty asked 45 women the personalities behind a series of personal ads, some of which were funny and some of which were simply factual. Although the descriptions contained no information about the man's IQ, women were more likely to rate the humorous ad-writers as smart and trustworthy.

McCarty presented his research at the British Psychological Society's annual conference. McCarty said that there is a "kind of halo effect. The funny guys appear to be getting everything," which they use to their advantage. "For a man that doesn't look like Brad Pitt, it gives them a bit of hope," he said.

This sounds fairly reasonable, except then we get to the evolutionary bit:

It is thought women equate wit with brains - perceiving funny men as good providers and good father material.

Mr McCarty said: "From an evolutionary point of view the reason a woman wants to look for a humorous guy is because it is a sign of intelligence and intelligence gives a man the ability to provide resources for their children and survive rather than falling down a trap and dying."

Of course, babies had to be involved in some way. Women couldn't just prefer the more humorous personal ads because they seemed like better partners, or more fun. Ugh.

The Daily Mail also points out that society does not extend such benevolent feelings to funny ladies. McCarty does not think that men are out there combing through the personal ads for the wittiest partner available; "When a man says he would like a woman with a good sense of humor, he really means one that will laugh at his jokes," he said.

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Syracuse University Considering Paying Gay Employees More For Tax Inequalities



"Because federal law doesn't recognize gay marriage, Wrigley and other same-sex couples pay taxes on their SU benefits, healthcare and tuition costs, unlike their heterosexual married colleagues. [...] To combat this inequality, SU may consider providing what's called "grossing up" to its employees. The university would pay Wrigley and other same-sex couples more to make up for the extra government taxes. This would ensure all employees pay the same amount for the same coverage. A movement to guarantee equal benefits for all couples at SU began approximately three years ago through the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Committee in the University Senate, SU's governing body of faculty and staff. But gay partners still pay more for their benefits today, despite the committee's lobbying. SU also requires heterosexual couples to be legally married to receive any benefits." [Daily Orange]

And the dreaded Robocalls return.

Anti-gay marriage calls disturb some in Vt.



Several people called the Free Press last night to complain about automated calls regarding today's House vote on the gay marriage bill.

Callers said the recordings urged them to call their local legislators and urge them to vote against the bill.

The Vermonters said the calls showed this number on their caller ID: fed0309RSCH or 804-934-1092, a number in Richmond, Va.

Advertisement

vt.Buzz: The automated voice said the call was on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage

By Googling the number above, the Web site "Who Called Us" reported these calls originated with the National Organization for Marriage.

The automated call also said the message was from National Organization for Marriage.

The contact information for this group:

National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542

Phone: (609) 688-0450
Fax: (888) 894-3604
Email: contact@nationformarriage.org

Free Press calls to the organization have not been returned.

Source

Here we go again.  I think the Vermont House is voting on the bill today.

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  • bispo

The Significance of President Obama Praising Lula's "Good Looks"


"That's my man right here," President Obama said this morning at the G-20 summit as Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva approached him. "Love this guy. He's the most popular politican on earth. It's because of his good looks."

Lula, it should be noted, is hardly the George Clooney of the G-20. But beyond that, the moment was quite telling in terms of the understanding that these leaders have for one another's domestic political considerations.

A few days ago, Lula said that the global economic crisis "was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of people that are white, blue-eyed, that before the crisis looked like they knew everything about economics."

‘Now they have demonstrated that they don’t know anything about economics," said Lula, adding that "no black man or woman, no indigenous person, no poor person" can be held responsible.

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(kongming) bedeyes!!

Jon Stewart to Limbaugh: Get The Fuck Out!

If last night's edition of The Daily Show is any indication, few New Yorkers are viewing Rush Limbaugh's decision to permanently decamp from part-time digs in New York City, in order to avoid onerous municipal and state taxes (which by Limbaughian standards could simply mean any taxes) as anything other than a cause for celebration. "Finally!" Jon Stewart exclaimed to the delight of his studio audience, adding, "For years, New Yorkers have done everything in our power to get this guy to leave town." Tactics included holding gay pride parades, kicking Rush's potential narco connects out of Times Square, and stocking Chinatown with "Chinese extras." "He was the Truman in our city-wide Truman Show," said Stewart.

He then ended the segment by saying, "If you're heading out from Uptown, take 42nd Street west to Ninth Avenue take a left, go down four blocks, Lincoln Tunnel's on your right, and you know what? Here's my EZ-Pass. Get the fuck out of here."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Rush Limbaugh Leaves New York
comedycentral.com




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source: huffpost
clip at the official site
full episode: april 1st '09

this segment almost had me in tears laughing. also, did anyone see orszag on the show last night?
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Sanford Still a Prick After All These Years Part 2

And now for a bit of late afternoon comic relief.

The antics are getting pretty crazy today in South Carolina, where GOP Governor Mark Sanford, a steadfast stimulus opponent, has come up with a new way to refuse his state’s stimulus cash on the eve of tomorrow’s deadline: Say that tomorrow isn’t a deadline at all.

Sanford’s claim is so startling that the Republican Speaker of the House blasted his “nonsense,” and another local Republican official asked folks to “pray” for South Carolina as the loss of the much-needed money looms.

Virtually every legal analysis — including one done by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service — has concluded that Sanford’s deadline to accept his state’s $700 million in stim money is tomorrow. But Sanford — an apparent contender for the 2012 GOP primary — held a press conference today in his office, where he announced that the deadline was, in fact, bogus.

The local Post and Courier has all the action and an explanation.

It’s hard to overstate how flabbergasted this latest maneuver has left even some Republicans. “We are at the 11th hour of this debate,” said Republican speaker Bobby Harrell, a conservative Republican, in a statement sent over by his office. “It’s time for the nonsense to stop.”

According to the Post and Courier, another local official, also Republican, actually said: “I’m asking you to pray for us, because that’s about all we have left.”

Come to think of it, maybe this isn’t so funny. It’s sad.
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zoe

First Lady moved by school visit



The world needs strong young women to pave the way for the future, an emotional US First Lady Michelle Obama has told schoolgirls in London.

Mrs Obama was close to tears as she addressed the excited crowd at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington, north London.

She told them: "We are counting on every single one of you to be the best that you can be."

Mrs Obama is in the UK with husband Barack for the G20 summit.

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cookie monster

Question for ya...

So when Obama is running for reelection in 2012, would it be more accurate for him to talk about how the economy and employment have been since his inauguration, or since the end of his first 100 days, or since most of his policies go into effect in the summer of 2009 or even later? I mean, he will probably pick the low point of unemployment, whenever that ends up being, and that would be clearly manipulative so it might be better to pick a point now just for our purposes of analysis and at least attempting to be "fair and balanced" and admitting our own possible bias.

I am asking because since inauguration many jobs have been lost, but he is not to blame for the job losses before any of his policies are implemented, right? But there is no doubt that whoever runs against his in 2012 will attempt to include those early job losses in their criticisms. I just feel now is a good time to state the point of time of responsibility before we actually know when unemployment will bottom out.

It's a tough question... Here is a related story about how our economy is doing to help in your contemplations.
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So I wonder if he knows about the domestic leagues...

President makes basketball picks, but won't weigh in on football
Posted: 06:40 PM ET
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


From CNN's Sarah Parker
President Obama revealed his college basketball picks, but refused to weigh in on Europe's favorite past-time: football.

Amid a flurry of questions from reporters at a press conference in London, the president side-stepped a request to wish England's soccer team good luck.

"I have had enough trouble back home picking my brackets for the college basketball tournament that's taking place there, called March Madness, stirred up all kinds of controversy, the last thing I'm going to do is wade into European football," the president said.

"I didn't get a briefing on that, but I sense that would be a mistake," he said.

He may be right. President Obama isn't having much luck with his bracket picks.

But it seems like England didn't need the president's vote of confidence. England's team beat Ukraine 2 to 1 in their World Cup qualifying match.

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Sarkozy, Merkel praise Obama's G20 role

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- They may have frustrated his plans for boosting global stimulus spending, but both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were careful to praise President Barack Obama's role in Thursday's economic summit.

Both credited the new U.S. president with helping to break a banking-secrecy logjam over tax havens and the release of a blacklist of non-compliant jurisdictions.

Group of 20 leaders highlighted the release as one of the major accomplishments of the London meeting, and they promised unspecified sanctions would be taken against tax havens that did not agree to share tax information.

"President Obama really found the consensus," Sarkozy told reporters after the meeting. "He didn't focus exclusively on stimulus ... In fact it was he who managed to help me persuade [Chinese] President Hu Jintao to agree to the reference to the ... publication of a list of tax havens, and I wish to thank him for that."

In her news conference, Merkel noted that "the American president also put his hand into this."

The warm words followed weeks of sharp divisions between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, on one side, and France and Germany on the other, over whether to increase government spending to help kick start the global economy.

French and German reluctance ultimately prevailed, and the summit produced only limited promises to do "whatever is necessary," in terms of fiscal stimulus.

Release of the tax haven list is expected to help pressure those nations to cooperate with other nations' tax authorities.
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' jules

IT BEGINS.

Blagojevich, his brother, top aides indicted



Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his brother Rob and Christopher Kelly, a former top fundraiser for Blagojevich, were all indicted today on corruption charges, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago announced.

Also charged in the indictment were Lon Monk, a lobbyist and former Blagojevich chief of staff; John Harris, also a former chief of staff to Blagojevich; and William Cellini, a Springfield insider for decades.

The indictment comes four months after Blagojevich was arrested and charged with engaging in pay-to-play politics in a sweeping federal complaint that accused him of trading state jobs, contracts and regulatory favors for campaign contributions.

The criminal complaint charged Blagojevich with attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama and seeking the firing of Tribune editorial writers in return for state help on the sale of Wrigley Field. The ballpark and newspaper are owned by Tribune Co.

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AWWWWWWW HERE IT GOES

This post brought to you by college-age PFitz


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~UPDATE~: Feds: Blago And Cronies Were Scheming To Make Money From The Start

Here are the major new allegations contained in the indictment of Rod Blagojevich, his brother Robert Blagojevich, and four associates (from a very detailed DOJ press release (pdf)):

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Ze suspects:


Left to right: Rod Blagojevich, Rob Blagojevich (brother), Christopher Kelly (fundraiser), Alonzo Monk (former chief of staff), William F. Cellini Sr. (Springfield "insider"), John Harris (chief of staff when until the scandal broke).
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Journalists get shock with 'sexy' White House call

Journalists get shock with 'sexy' White House call

Journalists based in the United States got a shock Thursday when they dialed a toll-free number to join a conference call with senior officials accompanying US President Barack Obama in London.

The number turned out to be a sex chat line inviting callers to use their credit card numbers.

"Do you have any hidden desires?" a sultry voiced woman asked.

"Well, do you feel like getting nasty? Then you came to the right place -- brought to you by the girls of Swank magazine," she said.

Reporters finally got through to the two officials in London -- National Security Advisor James Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- when they gave up on the US "800" number and instead dialed an international number.

The White House did not offer an explanation when asked how it sent the wrong number in an email listing both numbers -- one for journalists in the United States and the other for those overseas.

"Lots of important issues to cover today!" Thomas Vietor, a White House spokesman, told AFP when asked about the mistake in a follow-up email.

When pressed further about the number, Vietor replied: "I haven't dialed whatever number you're referencing. Please call such numbers on your free time!"

Jones and Clinton were being interviewed about the NATO summit on Friday in Strasbourg, but the contents of the call cannot be released until 0400 GMT, in line with rules stipulated by the White House.
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Bankers Bet on Number of Arrests, Deaths and Injuries at G20

Bankers Bet on Number of Arrests, Deaths and Injuries at G20

As the protests and marches against the G20 and bankers were turning violent, many traders were making money by placing bets on number of Arrests, Deaths and Injuries.

Betting sites in Britain were busier than normal Yesterday. The first reason was the soccer match between Ukraine and England, while many others were betting on number of Arrests, Deaths and Injuries at the G-20 summit. Even the death of a protester helped the traders to make money.
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The bankers' view of G20: an arresting bet for traders

At Coq D'Argent, the restaurant atop the distinctive salmon coloured building at Number One Poultry, adjacent to Bank underground station, the bankers appeared slightly drunk on the excitement of the protests down below; basking in the sunshine, ordering wine and necking oysters.

Two traders based in an office opposite RBS on Bishopsgate said they had walked across the City "to have a nice lunch and chill out". Sipping coffee after three courses and a few Marlboro Lights, they were angry that the police didn't seem to be making any arrests:
"Its kicking off over in Bishopsgate", they said. "The demonstrators are goading the police and hitting them with sticks, but they are just letting them. They aren't arresting anyone."

And these two wanted to see the long arm of the law carting a few protesters away – because they had a financial interest in arrests. "I'll make money if they arrest more than 140", he said.
Traders, he explained were putting spread bets on the number of arrests – with the quoted spread on Bloomberg at 130-140. They were also paying out on deaths and if more than 20 demonstrators are injured by horse charges.
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Steele urged to target stimulus

gop.elephant.dead
Conservatives on the 168-member Republican National Committee are pressing a reluctant RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele to call a party meeting that would focus criticism on President Obama's stimulus package and its backers -- including three Republican senators who voted for it.

In a conference call Wednesday with Ken McKay, Mr. Steele's newly named chief of staff, the conservative critics set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday for Mr. Steele to agree to a special meeting of the full committee to be held next month.

The demand creates an awkward situation for Mr. Steele, who already is under fire from fellow Republicans for a string of shaky media interviews. Republican national chairmen have rarely, if ever, publicly criticized GOP lawmakers over policy differences.

Mr. Steele offered instead to sign onto a joint statement that would criticize the stimulus package and the Democrats who passed it, but drop the criticism of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter and Maine Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins.

The conservatives, led by constitutional law attorney and Indiana RNC member James Bopp Jr., rejected Mr. Steele's offer. If he doesn't call the special meeting, they said, they have the requisite signatures of members from 16 states to force a full committee meeting May 20 at National Harbor outside Washington, where a smaller gathering of state party chairmen is already scheduled.

"If he calls the meeting, this way we'll see if he wants to work with us," Oklahoma RNC member Carolyn McLarty, a resolution sponsor, said before Mr. Steele nixed the request for a special meeting.

She and other conservatives are concerned that Mr. Steele's sometimes conflicting public statements have diverted attention from what they see as the disastrous leadership of Mr. Obama and the Democrats who run Congress.

Since his Jan. 30 election as national chairman, Mr. Steele has gotten into a protracted verbal tussle with talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and made remarks on abortion that prompted a Catholic bishop in Indiana to boycott an annual Right to Life banquet, where Mr. Steele is the headline speaker.

Mr. Steele apologized for what he called these "gaffes" but later said his apparent mistakes were actually purposeful parts of a grand "strategy."

Some RNC members question his silence on matters on which they think he should be vocal.

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Lieberman and Wiping Countries off the face of the Map

Avigdor Lieberman, the Moldovan night club bouncer, is now foreign minister of Israel. The world has had a lot of fun laughing at the pronouncements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who stands falsely accused of threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map. But Ahmadinejad has protested that it would be wrong to kill large numbers of civilians.

In contrast, Lieberman has threatened to wipe at least two countries, Egypt and Palestine, off the map. Monstrously, he suggested bombing the Aswan Dam, which would have the effect of murdering all 80 million Egyptians and sweeping them into the Mediterranean in a vast continental African tsunami.
 


Lieberman promptly announced on assuming office that the Mideast peace process is dead. Well, at least we have an outbreak of frankness.

Whereas Ahmadinejad was humiliated by Columbia University president Lee Bollinger on his visit to that university, which provoked public protests, Lieberman's acceptance into the Israeli government has been greeted mildly and he was allowed to come to the Brookings Institution and meet with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Lieberman is a Central/Eastern European ultra-nationalist in the mold of Slobodan Milosevic and Jorg Haider, and it is shameful that he was allowed into the government and more shameful that this travesty has passed without a peep in the civilized world.

The The Electronic Intifada lists "Some of Avigdor Lieberman's infamous statements":
' # In 1998, Lieberman called for the flooding of Egypt by bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat.

# In 2001, as Minister of National Infrastructure, Lieberman proposed that the West Bank be divided into four cantons, with no central Palestinian government and no possibility for Palestinians to travel between the cantons.

# In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman in a Cabinet meeting saying that the Palestinians should be given an ultimatum that "At 8am we'll bomb all the commercial centers ... at noon we'll bomb their gas stations ... at two we'll bomb their banks ..."

# In 2003, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.

# In May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan that called for the transfer of Israeli territory with Palestinian populations to the Palestinian Authority. Likewise, Israel would annex the major Jewish settlement blocs on the Palestinian West Bank. If applied, his plan would strip roughly one-third of Israel's Palestinian citizens of their citizenship. A "loyalty test" would be applied to those who desired to remain in Israel. This plan to trade territory with the Palestinian Authority is a revision of Lieberman's earlier calls for the forcible transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their land. Lieberman stated in April 2002 that there was "nothing undemocratic about transfer."

# Also in May 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel's 1.2 million Palestinian citizens would "have to find a new Arab entity" in which to live beyond Israel's borders. "They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost," he said.

# In May 2006, Lieberman called for the killing of Arab members of Knesset who meet with members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.'


Nice.

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Rahm Emanuel-alleged extortion victim

Ok mods, I understand why it was deleted, but now I have the story via AP National. It was first on my local news and that's the reason why I didn't have a story attached.

CHICAGO (AP) -- President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was the congressman targeted by an alleged extortion plan described in the indictment against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY'-uh-vich), according to attorneys familiar with the case.

At the time, Emanuel was the congressman from the 5th District on Chicago's North Side. The attorneys spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the congressman isn't named in the indictment and the information is secret grand jury material.

The indictment says the congressman sought a $2 million grant for a school. But Blagojevich allegedly told a lobbyist to tell the lawmaker his brother would have to raise campaign funds or the grant wouldn't go through.

The White House declined to comment on the indictment.

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