Friday, February 29, 2008

Iraq's Chemical Ali To Be Executed

Sadam Hussein's Cousin To Be
Executed By Hanging

Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid,
known as "Chemical Ali"

Iraq's three-member Presidency Council has approved the execution of Ali Hassan Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein known as "Chemical Ali," said a high-ranking Iraqi government official today who was not authorized to speak on the subject.

The official said there was no date set for the hanging, which must be carried out within 30 days. He also said the Presidency Council had agreed only to the execution of Majid, not two codefendants also convicted in June of genocide and other crimes.
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poll Shows John McCain Beating Both Clinton and Obama

Even President Bush Says GOP Will Retain White House

In head-to-head contests, the poll found, McCain leads Clinton by 6 percentage points (46% to 40%) and Obama by 2 points (44% to 42%). Neither lead is commanding given that the survey, conducted Feb. 21-25, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Arizona senator is viewed favorably by 61% of all registered voters, including a plurality of Democrats.
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As his second and final term winds down and the election race to replace him heats up, President George Bush remains confident that the Republican Party will retain the White House in 2008.

Speaking to the Republican Governors Association's annual dinner, President Bush expressed his confidence that the GOP would "keep up the fight" in Iraq, a necessity in keeping the nation secure from terrorist threats.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kindergarten Boy Suspended From School For Mohawk Haircut

Cleveland Charter School Suspends Boy
Kid's Mom Responsible For Haircut

A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.

Michelle Barile, the mother of 6-year-old Bryan Ruda, said nothing in the Parma Community School handbook prohibits the haircut, characterized by closely shaved sides with a strip of prominent hair on top. The school said the hair was a distraction for other students.

"I understand they have a dress code. I understand he has a uniform. But this is total discrimination," she said. "They can't tell me how I can cut his hair."
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pew Study On Religion and Public Life

28% Have Left The Faith They Were Raised In
More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion - or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

The survey finds that the number of people who say they are unaffiliated with any particular faith today (16.1%) is more than double the number who say they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children. Among Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.

Roman Catholic Church Experienced Greatest Losses

More than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion, according to a new survey of religious affiliation by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The report shows, for example, that every religion is losing and gaining members, but that the Roman Catholic Church “has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.” The survey also indicates that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated. More than 16 percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith, which makes the unaffiliated the country’s fourth largest “religious group.”
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Monday, February 25, 2008

Ralph Nader To Run For President. Again...

Yet Another Third Party Run

Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."

Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

Romney Money - The Price Of A Failed Campaign

Romney Spends $42.3 Million Of Personal Fortune
Total Campaign Cost - $97 Million

Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign.

His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.

The former Massachusetts governor's total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Navy Missile Shoots Down Spy Satellite

Dying Satellite Shot Down 150 Miles Above Earth
Watch Video

A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.

Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a U.S. official told NBC News that it "looks like the tank was hit."

"Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days," it said.

The use of the Navy missile amounted to an unprecedented use of components of the Pentagon's missile defense system, designed to shoot down hostile ballistic missiles in flight — not kill satellites.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama Sails To Two More Victories

Obama Wins Wisconsin and Hawaii

Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary and Hawaii caucuses Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages.

The twin triumphs made 10 straight for Obama, and left the former first lady in desperate need of a comeback in a race she long commanded as front-runner.
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Concerns About Mrs. Obama's Statements On The Campaign

In her remarks in Madison, Obama, 44, said, "What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback ... and let me tell you, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fidel Castro Resigns As Cuban President

Ailing Cuban Communist Retires

An ailing Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he was retiring and will not accept a new term when the new parliament meets Sunday.

"I will not aspire to nor accept - I repeat, I will not aspire to nor accept - the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief," read a letter signed by Castro published early Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 State High School Wrestling Tournament

Wrestling Tournament In Des Moines
Ends With A Snowstorm

Some 75,000 wrestling fans descended on Des Moines last week for the state high school wrestling tournament.

Waverly-Shell Rock's Go-Hawks ended the Iowa State High School wrestling tournament with 225 points, while Iowa City West came in second place with 4 state champions in Class 3A.

Early Sunday morning, Des Moines experienced an ice storm with sleet later turning into snow and blizzard-like conditions. Hope the wrestlers and fans made it home safely...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Larry Craig and Senate Ethics Committee

Senate Panel Says,
Craig Is Guilty

In a letter signed by all six members of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the members affirmed the initial guilty plea that Craig signed after an undercover officer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport arrested him in a men's room sting.

"The committee accepts as proven your guilty plea and all matter set forth in your guilty plea," the letter read.

"Your claims to the court, through counsel, to the effect that your guilty plea resulted from improper pressure or coercion, or that as a legal matter, know what you were doing when you pled guilty, do not appear credible," said the letter.

In addition, the committee members berated Craig for attempting to use the influence of his office to avoid arrest and failing to notify the panel that he had used $213,000 in campaign funds to pay his legal fees, a violation of Senate rules. Campaign funds can only be used to pay legal bills related to a lawmaker's official duties.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ramona Cunningham In The News Again

Lawyer Wants A Change Of Venue
Half Of Potential Jurrors Believe Her Guilty
Ramona Still In Louisiana Mental Hospital

Defense attorney Bill Kutmus on Wednesday renewed Cunningham's request for a change of venue. He argued in court papers that a survey of potential jurors proves that pretrial publicity has poisoned Cunningham's chance at a fair trial in Des Moines. Under federal court rules, the 77 questionnaires completed by central Iowa residents last month were not made public. Fifty-five percent carried the guilty reference, according to Kutmus, and the surveys contain "numerous examples of opinions of Ramona Cunningham which were very strongly held and wildly inflammatory in nature."

Cunningham faces 30 charges that include various forms of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction.

It was uncertain Wednesday whether other defendants will join in Cunningham's request or whether Cunningham will even be present if a jury is convened in April.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Republicans Rooting For Obama

Obama Adds Wins In Virginia, Maryland
and the District of Columbia

Republicans and Barack Obama are far apart ideologically, but they have a common enemy: Hillary Clinton. This explains why many Republicans look kindly on Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Republicans have two goals in the 2008 race. One is to retain the presidency. The other is to deny the Clintons--Hillary and Bill--another four (or eight) years in the White House.

But there are three big primaries at the end of the process--Ohio and Texas on March 4 and Pennsylvania on April 22. In all three, Clinton starts with an advantage...
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Microsoft In The News

May Have Nasty Takeover Battle Of Yahoo

Microsoft's bid for Yahoo took on the air of inevitability Monday, even as the Sunnyvale search firm's board of directors officially rejected the offer.

That decision, first reported during the weekend, was widely viewed on Wall Street as an effort to get Microsoft to raise its $44.6 billion, or $31 a share, proposal - or at the very least give Yahoo time to look at other options. Yahoo's stock rose 2 percent in regular trading to close at $29.87, up 67 cents.

"It's good negotiating tactics to try to get a higher price from Microsoft," said Laura Martin of Soleil Securities Group. "But if they really reject the offer, they are going to have a litany of shareholder lawsuits. It's clear there are no other bidders for anything close to this price."

In the coming weeks, Microsoft will try to raise the pressure on Yahoo. It has indicated it is prepared for a nasty takeover battle that could include nominating its own slate to Yahoo's board of directors or making its offer directly to Yahoo's shareholders.
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Nokia and Windows Mobile Communications

Microsoft has confirmed that it is talking to Nokia about offering the Windows Mobile operating system on its mobile phones, just don't expect anything soon.

"There are a lot of discussions happening with Nokia", Pieter Knook, senior vice president, Mobile Communications Business for Microsoft said to journalists at the company's press conference in Barcelona, Spain. "But before we move on to other operators, lets celebrate Sony Ericsson coming onboard first." Sony Ericsson has used Microsoft's latest mobile operating system in its newest handset announced on Sunday. The Xperia handset will be heavily customised, but uses Mobile 6 at its core.
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Sony Ericsson Mobile Phones

BARCELONA -(Dow Jones)- Sony Ericsson, the world's fourth-largest mobile phone maker by sales, Sunday unveiled a range of new phones, including its first phone using Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) software and a rival to Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone.

The handset maker, a joint-venture between Japan's Sony Corp. (SNE) and Telefon AB LM Ericsson (ERIC) of Sweden, launched 7 new phones, including the Xperia phone brand targeting the business market with the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating platform. The Xperia X1 phone, with a 3-inch touchscreen and stylus, is the first phone the company has launched using Microsoft's software, joining rivals Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) and Motorola Inc. (MOT), which already use the technology.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

GOP Washington Caucus Count Unfinished

FOUL... Every Vote Should Count!
87% Does Not Give The Final Vote Count
2% Margin Between McCain and Huckabee

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is crying foul after John McCain's apparent victory in the Washington caucuses on Saturday.

Huckabee's campaign released a statement Sunday saying it will be exploring all available legal options regarding the "dubious final results." Arizona Sen. McCain was announced as the victor in the caucuses with 26 percent of the vote to Huckabee's 24 percent.

But Huckabee's campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, said Luke Esser, Washington's Republican Party chairman, chose to call the race too quickly for McCain.

Rollins said Huckabee was losing by 242 votes with 87 percent of the vote counted. He said there were another 1,500 or so votes that were apparently not counted.
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Friday, February 08, 2008

America Not For Sale, Mitt Romney Is Out...

Flip-Flopping Conservative Come-Lately
With Deep Pockets Drops Out...

Despite outspending his rivals -- using his own personal wealth -- Romney lost 14 of 21 states in this week's critical Super Tuesday vote. He secured only 286 delegates through the contests, compared with McCain's 697.

The former Massachusetts governor had vowed to fight on after Super Tuesday, but he and his campaign advisers discussed the situation on Wednesday and changed their minds.

Romney said he made his decision reluctantly but decided it would be best "for America" since staying in the race would "forestall the launch of a national campaign" and make it easier for Senator Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama to win this November's presidential election.

"If this were only about me, I'd go on. But it's never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country," Romney explained.
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