Category Archives: RRND News

News, 02/06/07

Iraq: Envoy abducted; US Marine, 25 Iraqis killed
Rhinelander Daily News

“Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms seized an Iranian diplomat as he drove through central Baghdad, officials said Tuesday. Iran said it held the United States responsible for the diplomat’s ‘safety and life.’ One Iraqi government official said the Iranian diplomat was detained Sunday by an Iraqi army unit that reports directly to the U.S. military. A military spokesman denied any U.S. troops or Iraqis that report to them were involved. … Iraqis also faced more violence on Tuesday as U.S. and Iraqi forces set up more checkpoints in preparation for a security sweep in Baghdad amid complaints that the operation was moving too slowly. … A U.S. Marine was killed in fighting in the volatile Anbar province on Monday, the military said Tuesday. At least 25 people were killed in bombs, mortar attacks and shootings nationwide, including a parked car bomb that exploded in southern Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding three others and another one that struck an eastern district in the capital, killing five people and wounding 12.” (02/06/07)

http://tinyurl.com/369vtq

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Bush sends $2.9 trillion budget to Congress
MSNBC

“President Bush sent a $2.9 trillion spending plan to a Democratic-controlled Congress on Monday, proposing a big increase in military spending, including billions more to fight the war in Iraq, while squeezing the rest of government to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in five years. Bush’s spending plan would make his first-term tax cuts permanent, at a cost of $1.6 trillion over 10 years. He is seeking $78 billion in savings in the government’s big health care programs — Medicare and Medicaid — over the next five years.” (02/05/07)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16989248/

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Republicans block Senate debate on Iraq
Belleville News-Democrat

“Republicans blocked a full-fledged Senate debate over Iraq on Monday, but Democrats vowed they would eventually find a way to force President Bush to change course in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops. ‘We must heed the results of the November elections and the wishes of the American people,’ said Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid, D-Nev., spoke moments before a vote that sidetracked a nonbinding measure expressing disagreement with Bush’s plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2lq9uo

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FL: Elderly man killed by police posing as drug dealers
First Coast News

“Family and friends took the opportunity at Isaac Singletary’s funeral Saturday to talk about all he did in his life. They also talked about the unusual way he died and some things they believe that need to change in Jacksonville. … ‘He was an 80 year old man who was shot and killed in his own yard, defending his own property from what he thought were drug dealers. He would not allow drug activity to take place on his property. Everyone in the community respected him — even the dope dealers,’ said Griffin.” (02/03/07)

http://tinyurl.com/34uw4v

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Parents rate high as Internet controls
San Francisco Chronicle

“Neil Rubenking, lead software analyst for PC Magazine, shared his personal strategy for exercising parental control over how his two children surf the World Wide Web: ‘I’m sitting in my home office and through the door I can see my kids,’ he said, adding that putting computers in common rooms, rather than bedrooms, is one low-tech way he has chosen to protect his 11- and 14-year-olds from either straying into or seeking out the seamy side of cyberspace. If only Web safety were as simple as controlling computer access. Nowadays, cell phones and video game consoles often come with Internet service. Social networking sites have become virtual hangouts for young people whose online profiles reveal intimate details.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/36pnsr

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Edwards healthcare plan entails tax increase
Boston Globe

“Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said yesterday that his plan for universal health care would require higher taxes and cost up to $120 billion year. ‘We’re asking everybody to share in the responsibility of making health care work in this country,’ the 2004 vice presidential nominee said. ‘Yes, we’ll have to raise taxes. The only way you can pay for a health care plan that costs anywhere from $90 [billion] to $120 billion is there has to be a revenue source,’ the former North Carolina senator said. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Edwards said his plan would aim to provide healthcare coverage for the 47 million people who currently lack it. He said it also would reduce the cost of health coverage for middle-class families, partly by making health care programs more efficient.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yw5vbx

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Convictions vs conviction: Watada’s court-martial begins
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Outside the Army post, a surge of anti-war demonstrators from across the country is gathering in peaceful support of a military officer who refuses to go to Iraq. Fort Lewis this week will become ground zero for the peace movement. Activists have called for a national day of action today, when the court-martial of 28-year-old 1st Lt. Ehren Watada begins.” (02/05/07)

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/302439_watada05.html

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TX: Republicans ask Gov. Perry to rescind vaccine mandate
Conway Log Cabin Democrat

“Several key Republicans urged Gov. Rick Perry on Monday to rescind his executive order making Texas the first state to require girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. Lawmakers should have been allowed to hear from doctors, scientists and patients before the state implemented such a sweeping mandate, said state Sen. Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the health and human services committee.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2qynq2

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Craigslist posts satisfaction
Christian Science Monitor

“Jim Buckmaster wasn’t always CEO of Craigslist. First he was a satisfied customer. ‘I got my current job off of Craigslist,’ says Mr. Buckmaster, who’s been at the helm of the online classified-ad site since 2000. ‘I put my resume up on Craigslist in late ’99. Craig saw it there and invited me in for an interview.’ Craig is Craig Newmark, who founded Craigslist in 1995 and who, according to lore, first thought of it more as a hobby than a business. Today Craigslist is the 37th most popular Internet site in the world, according to Alexa.com, which tracks online traffic. It receives more than 15 million unique visitors per month, people who are placing classified ads or looking for things — jobs, household items, information, tickets, personal connections, and much more.” [editor’s note: I almost bought my new (to me) car from a Criagslist poster – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0205/p13s02-stct.html

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Gorbachev to Gates: Have mercy on teacher!
Fox News

“The former leader of the Soviet empire is reaching out to computer czar Bill Gates, pleading with him to ‘show mercy’ toward a poor school teacher accused of software piracy. Mikhail Gorbachev asked the Microsoft founder to show leniency on Alexander Ponosov, a teacher from the Urals who had used pirated software in the classroom … through an open letter on the former U.S.S.R. president’s website. ‘A teacher, who has dedicated his life to the education of children and who receives a modest salary that does not bear comparison with the salaries of even regular staff in your company, is threatened with detention in Siberian prison camps,’ the letter read, [and asked] … that the complaint against Ponosov be withdrawn, as the teacher ‘did not realize he was committing a crime.'” [editor’s note: I was not aware that Gates had the royal authority to grant pardons, especially across national borders! – SAT] (02/05/07)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250345,00.html

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FL: Feeding the homeless illegal in Orlando
International Herald Tribune [France]

“Orlando, population 200,000, works hard to conjure the image of a true-life Pleasantville. But its spotless sidewalks and twinkling skyline belie a real city with real maladies — most notably, a surging homeless population that authorities are struggling to control. After a law that banned panhandling was struck down by the courts, the city tried to discourage aggressive beggars by obliging them to carry ID cards, and later by confining them to 3-by-15-foot (90-centimeter-by-4.6-meter) ‘panhandling zones’ painted in blue on sidewalks downtown. Despite these laws, the number of people living on the streets of the metro area swelled, from roughly 5,000 in 1999 to an estimated 8,500 today, dwarfing the city’s shelter capacity for 2,000 people.S o in July, the city commission tried a ‘supply-side’ approach: It passed an ordinance regulating the feeding of large groups of people in Orlando’s downtown parks.” (02/03/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2qbxbm

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AZ: Groups’ drive to curb violence gains strength
Arizona Republic

“The peace movement in Arizona and beyond is gaining strength as Iraq falls deeper into chaos and polls indicate that the majority of Americans no longer support the war. ‘We’re at the point now that we’re like, ‘We told you so,” said Lorraine Krofchok, national director of Grandmothers for Peace, which has a chapter in Sun City. ‘We said this war was going to be a mess, and look at it.’ Nearly a dozen Arizonans will be in Washington today to lobby lawmakers to form a Department of Peace, a Cabinet-level department devoted to teaching and ensuring peace and non-violence in domestic and international affairs. Legislation to form the department will be introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic presidential hopeful from Ohio. The bill is supported by Rep. Raul Grijalva, [D-AZ].” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yp7nh7

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Astronaut charged with attempted kidnapping
Grand Island Independent

“An astronaut drove 900 miles and donned a disguise to confront a woman she believed was her rival for the affections of a space shuttle pilot, police said. She was arrested Monday and charged with attempted kidnapping and other counts. U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak, 43, who flew last July on a shuttle mission to the international space station, was also charged with attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery. She was denied bail.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yuslww

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US government to set up DNA bank as law enforcement tool
Raw Story

“US authorities will soon begin collecting DNA samples from suspects arrested or detained by federal authorities, including hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, the New York Times reported. The new rules, which are being put in place by the US Justice Department, aim to make the practice of collecting DNA samples as routine as fingerprinting for anyone detained by federal agents. Until now, federal authorities have taken DNA samples only from convicted felons, but the new rules would allow a vast expansion of that practice. Illegal immigrants are by far the largest group affected by the policy change, the daily wrote.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/yothub

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CA: Anti-war movement growing
San Diego Union-Tribune

“It hasn’t exactly been easy over the past few years for San Diego’s anti-war activists. They’ve been heckled. Dismissed by the media. A few have been arrested. Many of their events have attracted only a few dozen people or so. But some local war critics are cautiously optimistic that their movement may be gaining steam and mainstream support. They think a tipping point may have been reached. Their proof: More than 1,500 people jammed an anti-war rally in downtown San Diego on Jan. 27, making it one of the largest and most enthusiastic protests since the war began.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/3d7h4s

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Florida begins cleanup from deadly storms
Boston Globe

“Pulling blue tarpaulins over the houses that still had walls, neighbors, jail inmates, and National Guard troops began cleanup work in the rain yesterday after tornado-bearing thunderstorms ripped through central Florida, killing at least 20 people. The victims ranged from a 92-year-old man to 17-year-old Brittany May, killed by a falling tree that crushed her bedroom. President Bush designated four counties as disaster areas, releasing millions of dollars in aid for recovery and individual assistance. ‘It makes you sick to your stomach for what we saw,’ David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said after touring the area yesterday morning with Governor Charlie Crist.” [editor’s note: Having both parents currently wintering at Lady Lake, I had a rough morning until I reached them — safe & sound and out driving around looking at the wreckage … about a mile away! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2psvce

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SD: Ban sought on hiring per-signature petitioning
San Diego Union-Tribune

“The state House of Representatives has voted to make it illegal to pay people per signature in campaigns to gather enough support to get a measure on South Dakota’s ballot. … State Rep. Mike Buckingham, who proposed the new law, said allowing payment for each signature collected on a petition is a temptation to fraud: People hired to gather signatures can pull names out of the phone book and fake signatures on petitions to make extra money, he said. If the new law passes, petition carriers could still be paid by the hour or get a set salary, and a quota could not be set on the number of names they must obtain. It would also require petition circulators to be South Dakota residents.” [editor’s note: Instead of restricting the signature process, a sane reform would just lower the requirements, so that even a half-serious campaign or third-party effort could achieve the ballot with volunteer help! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/38637l

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CO: Police chief supports expanded “Make my day”
Montrose Press

“Not everyone is a fan of a pending bill to expand Colorado’s ‘Make My Day’ protections to businesses, but Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn said he did not believe the measure’s passage would necessarily increase violence. House Bill 1011, which passed the House judiciary committee Wednesday, would allow business owners to use deadly force against intruders, in certain circumstances, without fear of prosecution. A provision that would have extended the same protection to vehicles was dropped.” (02/03/07)

http://www.montrosepress.com/articles/2007/02/03/local_news/3.txt

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In Senate, passage of Iraq resolution uncertain
Christian Science Monitor

“As the Senate launches a historic debate Monday over whether to oppose President Bush’s new strategy for the Iraq war, the outcome may well turn on a few votes on both sides of the aisle. Though not binding on the president, a vote in favor of a resolution to reject his plan to add 21,500 US forces in Iraq would be Congress’s first against the war since it authorized the use of force in 2002. Some backers of a compromise resolution worked out by Sens. John Warner (R) of Virginia and Carl Levin (D) of Michigan say it would be a first step toward pushing for more forceful moves, such as curbing war funds or setting a timetable for troop withdrawal. Opponents, including most Republican senators, say it would send a message of disunity to US friends and foes abroad and undermine prospects for success. Both sides are weighing the risks of action — or inaction.” (02/04/07)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0205/p01s01-usfp.html

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VA: William & Mary loses cross, controversy rising
Fox News

“A Catholic, Vince Haley often went to Mass at the College of William and Mary’s historic chapel as an undergraduate in the 1980s. Also a Catholic, school President Gene R. Nichol often slips into the 120-seat chapel alone at night to think in the quiet. Both men agree the chapel is a sacred space meaningful to students, alumni, faculty and staff who use it for secular school events — starting with freshman orientation programs — as well as weddings and religious services. They clash, though, over what to do with an unadorned, 18-inch brass cross that had been displayed on the altar since about 1940.” (02/04/07)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,250154,00.html

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UK: Police seize, crush innocent car
This is Lancashire [UK]

“A father of four’s car was crushed after police wrongly accused him of driving without insurance. Officers stopped Steven Booth’s Peugeot while he was driving to work in Blackburn Road, Bolton. They told him that according to their database he had no insurance and made him get out and walk, leaving his car parked at the side of the road. Police then arranged for the car to be towed away. Because Mr Booth and his family could not raise the £105 fee for it to be released from the compound within the specified 14-day period, it was crushed.Y et the car was fully insured by the AA. Now Mr Booth and his family do not have any transport.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/3b5un8

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Who’da thought Bubble Wrap could change lives?
Tennessean

“Grayson Rosenberger punctuates the conversation by popping a sheet of Bubble Wrap. ‘I’m sorry,’ says the recently crowned King of All Bubble Wrap inventors. ‘I just can’t help it.’ Everyone pops this stuff. Even an eighth-grade inventor who plans to resurrect lives in Ghana by using the packing material to make ‘artificial skin’ for amputees. ‘Some of my friends think I’m winning a million bucks, that I’m worldwide famous,’ says the Franklin Road Academy trombonist and aspiring linebacker. Well, he did win a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond as winner of a national contest sponsored by Bubble Wrap manufacturer Sealed Air Corp. And NBC’s Today show has been in town to prepare a feature on the kid who was feted a week ago at the Rainbow Room in New York City.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2c64pv

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Mexico’s gangs take over US meth trade
Arizona Republic

“Four guards lay dead in pools of blood, their hands and feet bound with gray duct tape, as dawn broke over the Medix pharmaceutical plant in Mexico City. The gate was open, the security system dismantled. It looked as well-planned as a bank heist. Except these robbers made off with a far bigger treasure: more than one ton of the chemical pseudoephedrine, enough to make 4 million hits of crystal methamphetamine, the hottest drug in America. The finished product could fetch $120 million on U.S. street corners. The robbery at the Medix lab in July is part of a boom in Mexican meth as ‘superlabs’ controlled by Mexican cartels take over what was once a mom-and-pop business in the United States.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/284ur9

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Colleges reach out to prevent suicides
San Francisco Chronicle

“Not far into her freshman year, the once-outgoing and ambitious Dana Gatziolis started skipping classes, lost her appetite and slept whenever she could. Then followed a long struggle that included treatment, a suicide attempt and more treatment. Now she helps other students facing depression. Gatziolis, who is doing well as a sophomore at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., appears to be a success story at a time when college counselors across the country report seeing an increasing number of students with severe psychological problems. As universities and campuses — nationally and around the Bay Area — grapple with how to keep students safe, they’re experimenting with a range of mental health and suicide-prevention programs and initiatives, such as the promising Active Minds on Campus, started by students at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2q95mg

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Bush budget would limit all spending but for war
Yahoo! News

“President George W. Bush said on Saturday his upcoming budget proposal would emphasize restraint on domestic spending while making defense and war costs for Iraq and Afghanistan the top priority. ‘Cutting the deficit during a time of war requires us to restrain spending in other areas,’ Bush said in his weekly radio address. Previewing the fiscal year 2008 budget he will unveil on Monday, Bush also said it would show that his goal of erasing the deficit by 2012 could be accomplished while making his tax cuts permanent.” [editor’s note: Stop the war first, then we’ll talk! – SAT] (02/04/07)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070203/bs_nm/bush_budget_dc

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States revolt over national driver’s license

Yahoo! News

“A revolt against a national driver’s license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states. The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver’s licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases. Within a week of Maine’s action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network. … About a dozen states have active legislation against Real ID, including Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.” (02/05/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2nbjxp

SC: Murder trial puts focus on land rights

Yahoo! News

“Bullet holes still pepper a small house on the outskirts of town where two law officers died in a gunbattle over a patch of land the state wanted to take for a highway project. Property rights advocates will be watching closely Monday as jury selection begins for the murder trial of Steven Bixby, a 39-year-old New Hampshire transplant who officials say threatened violence against any officer who set foot on his land. … Some of the property rights advocates who have made Bixby’s case a minor cause celebre, saying he had the right to defend the 20-foot parcel, were expected to attend the trial.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/366yjd

Iraq: Resistance may have new anti-aircraft weapon

Guardian [UK]

“American military commanders in Iraq have been forced to adopt new security tactics in the wake of a fresh threat from insurgents after it was confirmed that all four US helicopters that have crashed there in the past two weeks were brought down by ground fire. The crashes raise concerns that insurgents, who have proved highly innovative in warfare, have acquired new weaponry. Twenty Americans, including 16 soldiers and four civilians working for a security company, died in the crashes. … The confirmation that Iraqi insurgents have found a way of increasing their hit rate against helicopters poses US military strategists with a new headache just when they are under pressure to notch up successes under President Bush’s so-called surge policy.” (02/05/07)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2005877,00.html

Afghanistan: Britain hands occupation over to US

Independent [UK]

” Britain has handed over the Nato command in Afghanistan to the United States as the country enters what is expected to be a decisive round of fighting in the war with the Taliban. General Dan McNeill took over from General David Richards on the day that a senior Taliban commander Mullah Ghaffar, who had overrun the Helmand town of Musa Qala, was killed in a Nato air strike.The capture of Musa Qala was seen as a serious blow to British strategy in Afghanistan. An agreement under which troops withdrew in return for local elders guaranteeing security was lauded by UK officials as a model for future deals.” (02/05/07)

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2237663.ece

OK: Speed trap town files bankruptcy

Sequoyah County Times

“The town of Moffett recently filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Oklahoma in Okmulgee, according to a legal notice that appeared in the Eastern-Times Register Wednesday. … In December, the Moffett Police Department was ordered to stop traffic enforcement on a four-mile strip of U.S. Highway 64. The ban is indefinite.The OHP’s investigative division audited the town’s revenue from speed enforcement after the department received a number of complaints about the town being a speed trap.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2vpor3

Canada: Towed car held helpless woman

Vancouver Sun [Canada]

“As a Vancouver tow truck driver hauled a frosted-over white Toyota from a no-stopping zone early Wednesday morning, he apparently had no idea the distress going on inside. Beyond the iced windows of that four-door car, an 85-year-old woman lay helpless in the front seat, unable to alert anyone to the severity of her condition. For the next 21 hours, the woman would lie through temperatures as cold as -2 C, waiting in the car until early Thursday morning when someone finally discovered she was there. A Vancouver police spokesman said the woman, whom police have not identified, had been taken to hospital as soon as she was discovered. … Busters operations manager Ron Wood told Global News that it is not company policy to look inside vehicles’ windows. ‘I don’t believe we’re at fault,’ Wood said.” (02/04/07)

http://tinyurl.com/2kb8zl