June 6th, 2009


Obama starting to be a headache for Netanyahu

Israeli officials: U.S. leaves no choice but to okay Palestinian state

Officials in Jerusalem told Israel Radio on Saturday that there is no alternative but to ultimately agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israel will be forced to acknowledge the necessity of a future Palestinian state because there are no signs that the Obama administration will yield on this issue, a diplomatic source told Israel Radio.

Government sources in Jerusalem also told Israel Radio that the quicker Israel adopts the road map for peace as the preferred diplomatic initiative, the more likely it will ward off American pressure to concede to a Palestinian state within the framework of an alternative plan that is less agreeable to Israel.
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Obama postpones U.S. embassy move from T.A. to Jerusalem

United States President Barack Obama on Friday postponed moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by an additional six months,
Israel Radio reported.

A senior White House official said that U.S. policy regarding the status of Jerusalem remains unchanged, and that it is a final-status issue to be resolved within the framework of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The U.S. Congress approved the transfer of the embassy 14 years ago.
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EU seeks to increase pressure on Israel for settlement freeze

The European Union is considering using its trade clout to bolster U.S. pressure for an Israeli freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, diplomats said on Friday.

The EU is Israel's biggest trading partner and one option it may have is to crack down on fruit, vegetables, olive oil and other farm produce grown by settlers in the Palestinian territories.

Some European governments have long suspected such products are entering the EU at low import tariffs reserved for output labeled as coming from Israel proper.
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  • bispo

NY Car Ticketed Repeatedly With Dead Body Inside

NYC Woman Believes Her Father Lay Dead Inside His Car For Weeks While Police Wrote Tickets Over And Over

Police made a gruesome discovery earlier this week while getting ready to tow a heavily-ticketed van – a decomposed body in the back seat.

It was that of a missing man, and now his family wants to know to how officers could ticket the vehicle numerous times -- and never notice what was inside.

Jennifer Morales, who didn't want her face filmed by CBS 2 HD cameras, wondered how her father's body could go unnoticed for so long.

"I'm shocked. I'm surprised, um...," Morales said.

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Westboro Baptists Church is at it again... Protesters Gather Before Funeral For George Tiller

George Tiller Funeral Attended By Hundreds

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday to honor slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, and a longtime friend eulogized him as a passionate and generous man who repeatedly overcame difficult challenges.

Tiller's funeral at College Hill United Methodist Church also drew small groups of protesters.

During the service, Tiller was remembered for his generosity and sense of humor.

"Dear God, get heaven ready, because Mr. Enthusiasm is coming," said Larry Borcherding, of Overland Park, who first met Tiller a half-century ago when both were students at the University of Kansas. "Heaven will never be the same. It will be a better, better place with George in it."

About 700 people filled the church sanctuary and some 200 others watched a closed-circuit television broadcast in another room.
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Israel prefers a compromise: tear down few settlements to be secretly rebuild overnight...

Israel: Obama's Speech Won't Change Our Settlement Policy

Israel will not heed President Barack Obama's powerful appeal to halt all settlement activity on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state, officials said Friday, a position that looks sure to cause a policy clash with its most important ally.

The government plans to allow construction inside existing West Bank settlements to accommodate for growing families
, said the officials.

In an address to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday, Obama said the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the settlements and called on Israel to halt construction there. Obama also appealed to the Palestinians to renounce violence.

During a visit to Germany on Friday, the U.S. leader renewed his call for Israel to halt settlement activity in the West Bank, saying that he recognized the politics involved in Israel that made it difficult to accomplish this task. He also pressed his call for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, saying: "The moment is now for us to act."

Both positions are in conflict with Israel's new leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who refuses to endorse Palestinian statehood or accept a settlement freeze.
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Obama: North Korea Has Tested The Limits Of Patient Diplomacy (Is Obama going to choke Kim Jong-il?)

Obama Calls North Korea "Extraordinarily Provocative"

President Barack Obama on Saturday expressed impatience with North Korea's refusal to restart nuclear disarmament talks and said his administration was taking "a very hard look" at possible tougher approaches.

"We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation," he said.

While hardening the U.S. position, Obama did not cite any specific new measures and said he preferred following a diplomatic path. He made no reference to potential military action, but his language suggested he sees little point in continuing policy that has failed to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons or halt development of missiles capable of striking Asian nation and potentially the U.S.
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music | sleigh anne.

Bodies 'found' from missing plane

Bodies and debris have been found from the Air France plane which went missing over the Atlantic last Monday, the Brazilian air force has said.

The remains were taken from the water at 0814 Brazilian time (1114 GMT), said spokesman Jorge Amaral.

Experts on human remains are on their way to examine the find.

All 228 passengers and crew on board AF 447 are believed to have been killed when the plane disappeared during its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

"We confirm the recovery from the water debris and bodies from the Air France plane," Col Amaral said at a news conference in the northern city of Recife.

"We can't give more information without confirming what we have."

RECIFE, Brazil – Searchers have found two bodies in the Atlantic Ocean near where an Air France jet is believed to have crashed, a Brazilian military official said Saturday.

Air force spokesman Col. Jorge Amaral said searchers also recovered a leather briefcase with an Air France ticket for the flight inside of it.

"It was confirmed with Air France that the ticket number corresponds to a passenger on the flight," he said.

Flight 447 disappeared Sunday with 228 people on board and officials believe there were no survivors.

The two male bodies were recovered Saturday morning about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of where Air Flight 447 emitted its last signals — roughly 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast.

"At 9:10 a.m., a ship spotted the first body," Amaral said. "The body was recovered and it was confirmed to be male."

The second body was spotted and recovered around 11:30 a.m. (1430 GMT)

source update

Insurance companies are looking out for you

Health insurers want you to keep smoking, Harvard doctors say

Health and life insurance companies in the US and abroad have nearly $4.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks, according to Harvard doctors.

“It’s the combined taxidermist and veterinarian approach: either way you get your dog back,” says David Himmelstein, an internist at the Harvard Medical School and co-author of a letter published in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The largest tobacco investor on the list, the 160-year old Prudential company with branches in the US and the UK, has more than $1.5 billion invested in tobacco stocks. The runner-up was Toronto-based Sun Life Financial, which apparently holds over $1 billion in Philip Morris (Altria) and other tobacco stocks. In total, seven companies that sell life, health, disability, or long-term care insurance, have major holdings in tobacco stock.

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Iran nuclear leaks 'linked to Israel'

Iran nuclear leaks 'linked to Israel'
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - A report on Iran's nuclear program issued by the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month generated news stories publicizing an incendiary charge that US intelligence is underestimating Iran's progress in designing a "nuclear warhead" before the halt in nuclear weapons-related research in 2003.

That false and misleading charge from an intelligence official of a foreign country, who was not identified but was clearly Israeli, reinforces two of Israel's key themes on Iran - that the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran is wrong, and that Tehran is poised to build nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

But it also provides new evidence that Israeli intelligence was the source of the collection of intelligence documents which have been used to accuse Iran of hiding nuclear weapons research.

The committee report, dated May 4, cited unnamed "foreign analysts" as claiming intelligence that Iran ended its nuclear weapons-related work in 2003 because it had mastered the design and tested components of a nuclear weapon and thus didn't need to work on it further until it had produced enough sufficient material.

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Paul Krugman on stimulus and job recovery

So, I guess the chart and "How's that stimulus working out?" snark originally posted here must be some new GOP talking point. Krugman and the Wall Street Journal both address it, below. Surprisingly, even right-wing economist Greg Mankiw says the figures are employed in a disingenuous way (below).

June 6, 2009, 3:53 pm

They think we’re idiots

By and large I’ve long been inured to the deliberate stupidity of much political discourse. But for some reason the vision of Republicans whining, “where are those 3.5 million jobs Obama promised” — less than four months after the stimulus bill was signed, and with hardly any funds disbursed — got to me.

Krugman @ New York Times

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Cheney Supports Gay Marriage

Former vice president Dick Cheney this week voiced his support for same-sex marriage, as long as it is handled by the states and not the federal government.

Cheney, whose daughter has a longtime female partner, said at the National Press Club that "people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish."

His position appears to place him to the left of President Obama, who has said that he supports civil unions, rather than marriage, for gay men and lesbians. The question is whether Cheney's support will make any difference in the same-sex marriage debate. Will it pull more Christian conservatives into the pro-gay-marriage camp?

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, welcomed Cheney's comments through gritted teeth.

I never thought the day would come when I'd be favouring Dick Cheney's comments above Obama's! Do you think his comments will actually have an impact on pulling in more support from Christian conservatives on the gay rights issue? I somehow highly doubt it.

SOURCE: Washington Post

What a creep...

Daniel James Murray, Man Sought For Threatening Obama, Arrested

SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities have arrested a man who allegedly told bank tellers while cleaning out his savings account in Utah that he was on a mission to kill President Barack Obama.

The Secret Service said Daniel James Murray, 36, was arrested Friday outside a casino in Laughlin, Nev., a gambling town 100 miles from Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona line.

He was charged Thursday in Salt Lake City with a federal count of conveying threats while talking to tellers last month at Zions First National Bank in St. George, Utah.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Bearnson said Murray was in federal custody in Nevada and likely will get a court date there Monday. Neither Bearnson nor the Secret Service would discuss whether Murray was considered to be a serious threat.

Charging documents say Murray, originally from Rexford, N.Y., is the registered owner of eight guns.

He was described by his father and former neighbors in Rexford as troubled but not dangerous, known for strolling down a street wearing a cape while talking to himself.

"He's sick. He's been sick for about 10 years," Michael Murray, his father, told the Times Union of Albany, N.Y.

In charging documents filed Thursday, the Secret Service said Daniel Murray made bizarre statements while opening _ and then closing within two weeks _ an $85,000 savings account.

First, he demanded to know if Zions First National Bank was solvent, saying, "I'm sure if citizens happen to lose their money, they will rise up and we could see killing and deaths," bank tellers told a Secret Service agent.

On May 27, as a teller counted out bills no larger than $50, Murray delivered a rambling discourse on the probability of economic and social disorder, ending with "We are on a mission to kill the president of the United States," a bank employee told the Secret Service.

The next day, Murray withdrew the remaining $72,000 and closed his account.

In Washington, Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley said Murray offered no resistance when he was arrested at 7 p.m. Friday on a warrant in the parking lot of the Riverside Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nev. Wiley wouldn't offer any further details. It wasn't clear if Murray had a lawyer.


Sarkozy Gushes Over Obama Who Keeps His Cool

Sarkozy Gushes Over Obama Who Keeps His Cool

Nicolas Sarkozy certainly tried hard to please the American president when the two leaders met to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The French leader pulled out the stops for President Barack Obama's visit to Normandy on Saturday, spilling with unusually generous praise for "the America that we love" and the U.S. veterans who fought for France's freedom from the Nazis.

Obama was grateful, but reserved. The men were friendly, but they didn't seem to create much of a spark, at least in public.

"You think that people just want for us to be here together, holding hands?" Sarkozy quipped when the presidents were asked at a news conference whether the brevity of Obama's weekend visit to France reflected low U.S. esteem for Europe, coming after his trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
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Election Law Experts Agree: Norm Coleman Doesn't Have A Prayer (He can still sell his soul for it)

All but over for Coleman, experts say

Seven months after Minnesota's Senate election, the state's highest court hasn't reached a decision but election law experts agree: Norm Coleman doesn’t have a prayer.

These experts see almost no chance Coleman's lawyers will prevail in their appeal to the state’s high court to count more ballots in a bid to erase Al Franken’s slim lead.

Peter Knapp, a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, pointed to the court's oral arguments on Monday, when the justices expressed skepticism toward Coleman’s lawyer, Joe Friedberg.

“Each of the five justices asked some questions that seemed to hone in on the absence of evidence,
" said Knapp, an expert on the Minnesota Supreme Court who has kept a close eye on the case. "And when each of the five are asking those questions, that’s significant.”

He cautioned that “it’s really easy to over-read the judges' questions as a sign of the way they’re leaning,” but added: “That being said, if I had to put money on the outcome – my money would be on Franken.”

Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, agreed: “Based on the questioning, I’d be surprised if Coleman got a remand back to the trial court.”

Foley said that Coleman’s lawyers “always had a fighting chance” based on legal theory — but, he pointed out, “having a valid legal theory is not enough to win a lawsuit.”
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