Saturday, September 30, 2006

I’ve got family in NYC, just down from Chinatown.

Here’s a photo of my cousin and my daughter.  I took this about two years ago in my cousin’s $6mil. penthouse apartment in the lower east side of Manhattan.  It was a great time to learn some family history.  I hope to go back to NYC to visit my cousin soon.


Posted by SPN on 09/30 at 10:22 AM in Photography
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Friday, September 29, 2006

Death of Democracy

How does it feel that we went to bed Wednesday night and that by yesterday afternoon democracy was killed?  Why doesn’t anyone care that our country is being destroyed by the wingnuts?

For eight centuries, habeas corpus has shielded people from detention without trial. The Senate “compromise” denies this right—and threatens the rule of law.

Keep the Great Writ alive (Salon Magazine)

By Michael Ratner, with Sara Miles

Sep. 26, 2006 | For nearly five years, I’ve been fighting attempts by the Bush administration to sweep away the cornerstone of our justice system: habeas corpus, which protects people from being summarily detained without trial. Considered the hallmark of Western liberty, habeas corpus has its origins in the Magna Carta of 1215. The “Great Writ” ended kings’ power to kidnap people at will, lock them in dungeons and never bring them to court. Habeas corpus forever marked the line between authority under law and authority that thinks it is the law.

As president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, I’ve challenged the Bush administration for acting as a law unto itself and blatantly disregarding the Great Writ in its prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Twice, the Supreme Court has insisted that the administration respect habeas corpus; repeatedly, the White House has ignored the court’s rulings, going to Congress to get approval for previously unthinkable kinds of detention.

Now, within the next few days, it is conceivable that Congress will abolish the writ of habeas corpus for any non-citizen who is detained outside the country. Stripping away the political nitpicking, linguistic compromises, calculated deal-making and cynical maneuvering of last week’s “compromise” in Congress, two questions remain at the center of legislation about the rights of prisoners in Guantánamo. 

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/29 at 03:46 PM in Blogging
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oprah to launch her own radio channel

Date: Monday, September 25, 2006
By: The Associated Press, APonline

NEW YORK (AP) - Get ready for Radio Oprah. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey was launching her own channel, Oprah and Friends, on Monday morning on XM Satellite Radio, with shows hosted by her and a collection of popular personalities from her television show, including her best friend, Gayle King, fitness expert Bob Greene and renowned poet Maya Angelou.

The station will broadcast 24 hours day, with highlights of the shows replayed every weekend.

Guests set for the first few weeks of programming include actresses Annette Bening and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, rocker Jon Bon Jovi, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and real estate mogul Donald Trump. Winfrey will co-host a show with King, dubbed “The Oprah and Gayle Show,” on which they discuss the latest news and gossip. The two have known each other for 30 years.

Other shows will focus on finance, style, relationships and spiritual wisdom.

Winfrey and boyfriend Steadman Graham were to be the station’s first guests, appearing on the initial “Gayle King Show,” a solo program.

Graham mentions a special pastrami and cheese sandwich that Winfrey makes him: “That’s the other side of Oprah that people don’t know about. She can cook.”

In February, Winfrey signed a three-year, $55 million deal with XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. to launch her new radio channel, which joins her nationally syndicated television show and her O, The Oprah Magazine.

XM Satellite Radio boasts more than 7 million subscribers.

Posted by loni on 09/28 at 12:40 PM in Blogging
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Aaron McGruder’s ‘The Boondocks’ Strip Not Returning to Newspapers

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By: Jackie Jones,

From the very beginning, Aaron McGruder charted his own path with his irreverent comic strip, “The Boondocks.”

He lampooned everything from the NAACP Image Awards for honoring celebrities who had exhibited questionable judgment in their public behavior to BET founder Bob Johnson and the predominance of booty-shaking videos on his network, and many newspapers became skittish about running the strips when he went on a riff after the U.S. invasion of Iraq about Condoleezza Rice needing a man.

The plot of the strip, which debuted in April 1999, centered on the lives of the Freeman brothers, 10-year-old aspiring political activist Huey and 8-year-old gangsta wannabe Riley, and the boys’ adjustment from living in inner city Chicago to life in an affluent, overwhelmingly white suburb with their grandfather, Robert Freeman.

Edgy and wildly popular, “The Boondocks” spawned popular books and a television cartoon, and McGruder found himself with a ton of work on his plate. After six years—a short run for most cartoonists—he announced he was taking a six-month leave of absence. Then on Monday, Universal Press Syndicate told its 300-plus subscribers of the cartoon they should start looking for something to replace the strip. Papers that still carry “Boondocks” reruns can continue them until Nov. 26, Universal said.

“Although Aaron McGruder has made no statement about retiring or resuming ‘The Boondocks’ for print newspapers ... newspapers should not count on it coming back in the foreseeable future,” Universal’s president Lee Salem said in a release. “Numerous attempts ... to pin McGruder down on a date that the strip would be coming back were unsuccessful.”

Posted by loni on 09/28 at 12:37 PM in Blogging
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Simmons and his family “believe in the celebration of life in death.”
(September 28, 2006)

*Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons released a statement Tuesday regarding the death of his newborn daughter, Victoria Anne. 

“On Sept. 26, 2006, Victoria Anne Simmons for some unknown reason chose to come early and unfortunately did not survive,” his statement said. “We must accept whatever is there and once you accept unconditionally, then everything is beautiful. Every pain has a purifying effect. So whatever comes your way, just be thankful. We see life in death and believe in the celebration of life in death.”

Run’s wife Justine was pregnant with Victoria throughout much of their MTV reality show “Run’s House” last season. The sex of the baby was left as a cliffhanger on the season finale. 

Run was with Justine when doctors at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood New Jersey delivered the baby via c-section. According to TMZ, Victoria was born with her organs outside of her body. She died a short time later.

Justine & Rev. Run

TMZ has learned that MTV cameras were inside the hospital at the time of the birth, but it is unclear if they were in the delivery room. 

Run, the brother of Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, was a member of rap group Run DMC. He has five children.

Posted by loni on 09/28 at 12:35 PM in Blogging
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Many Women Unaware They’re Pre-Diabetic

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By: Linda A. Johnson, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Getting fatter around the middle? Have a family history of heart disease or diabetes? You could be headed for the same trouble, especially if you’re over 40 and female.

There are no obvious symptoms from high blood sugar or the condition called insulin resistance, so few people realize it is creeping up and putting them on the path to diabetes, heart disease or both.

But insulin resistance, a type of pre-diabetes, is a growing national problem: Some experts believe half of all overweight or obese American adults are insulin-resistant.

Yet, even many women with a family history of heart disease or diabetes don’t know they need to eat a healthier diet and get more exercise to avoid those problems—two of the nation’s top killers.

“We think this is a very important new issue for women,” said Audrey Sheppard, chief executive of the National Women’s Health Resource Center. “There’s very little awareness.”

Posted by loni on 09/28 at 12:33 PM in Blogging
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Retired Officers Criticize Rumsfeld

The Associated Press
Monday, September 25, 2006; 2:23 PM

WASHINGTON—Retired military officers on Monday bluntly accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public.

“I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq,” retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in remarks prepared for a forum conducted by Senate Democrats.

A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, assessed Rumsfeld as “incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ....”

“Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making,” he added in a statement prepared for the policy forum, held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections in which the war is a central issue.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Armed Services Committee, dismissed the Democratic-sponsored event as “an election-year smoke screen aimed at obscuring the Democrats’ dismal record on national security.”

“Today’s stunt may rile up the liberal base, but it won’t kill a single terrorist or prevent a single attack,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. He called Rumsfeld an “excellent secretary of defense.”

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/28 at 12:08 PM in Blogging
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Revisiting GOP attacks on President Clinton (Salon Again)

Does anyone remember when the GOP attacked BC when he tried to bomb Osama?  I do and I say good for you Bill for spanking Chris Wallace and teaching him a little history (which thugs hope no one will remember).

The Internet makes it much more difficult than ever before to fabricate history because virtually everything is recorded and so easily discovered. Those developments, however, did not deter Jonah Goldberg from writing this demonstrably false historical claim in National Review: “The notion that conservatives opposed Clinton as Commander-in-Chief in the pre-war on terror or in other military ventures is simply unfair ... Sure, there were some wag the dog voices—like noted rightwing trogs [sic] Arlen Specter and Christopher Hitchens—but generally even the most partisan Republicans supported Clinton.”

It is hard to overstate how false Goldberg’s claim is, as even Byron York reported, in Goldberg’s own magazine, National Review (emphasis added): “Instead of striking a strong blow against terrorism, the action [launching cruise missiles at Osama bin Laden] set off a howling debate about Clinton’s motives. The president ordered the action three days after appearing before the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Clinton’s critics accused him of using military action to change the subject from the sex-and-perjury scandal—the so-called ‘wag the dog’ strategy.”

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/25 at 05:26 PM in Blogging
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No peacekeepers, no peace (Salon Magazine)

As violence in Darfur mounts, and the African Union mission is set to expire, will the U.N. send in the blue helmets?
By Katharine Mieszkowski

Sep. 15, 2006 | The clock is ticking in Darfur.

The African Union’s monitoring mission in the west Sudan region is cash-poor, ineffective and undermanned at 7,000 soldiers. The United Nations wants to take over peacekeeping duties when the monitoring mission’s mandate expires at the end of September. Yet Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has threatened to send his army to fight any U.N. troops in Darfur. If the African Union pulls out in two weeks, and no blue helmets take their place, there won’t be any outsiders to witness, much less prevent, what is happening in Darfur, where a massive military offensive against the civilian population is under way.

Despite a high-profile peace agreement signed in May by the government in Khartoum and one of the rebel groups, the situation on the ground in Darfur has grown more dire. Tuesday, Jan Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian chief, told reporters that “in many ways Darfur is in freefall at the moment,” with some areas simply too dangerous for humanitarian aid workers to provide relief. Thirteen aid workers have been killed in Darfur since the peace agreement was signed.

Estimates of the number of people who have died so far in the 3-and-a-half-year-old crisis top half a million. American authorities have used the word “genocide” to describe what the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and its allies are doing to the region’s black Muslim residents. Now, almost half a million refugees living in camps are cut off from all outside aid, according to the U.N. World Food Program. 

Posted by Nuttshell on 09/25 at 05:20 PM in Blogging
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Missing Person Alert (humor)


Click the link to see the details.

Posted by SPN on 09/20 at 05:00 PM in Funny Stuff
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