Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Daily Freep - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Homeland Security's Latest Gestapo Tactic
by Hollywood Liberal

Homeland Security wants to come out with a shock bracelet that they can put on your wrist, and use on you if they feel like shocking you from a distance. So like if they are watching you on a street camera, and see you doing something they don't like they can deliver a jolt that temporarily incapacitates you. Then they can slap the cuffs on you and have you in the car before you know what's going on. Doesn't that sound like something that the land of the free and the home of the brave can really use?

They also want to use them on planes, give one to every passenger as they get on. Prison Planet picks up the story.
The Department of Homeland Security is pursuing the introduction of a device known as the Security Bracelet, a wearable tag that would allow authorities to inflict pain compliance on suspects from a distance, while also recommending law enforcement applications and potential use in "crowd control situations".
Introduced ostensibly to combat airline terrorism, a creepy promo video courtesy of the patent holders Lamperd FTS exploits shocking 9/11 imagery to push the torture device as a solution to countering potential hijackers by inflicting "Electro-Muscular Disruption" and presumably giving the rest of the passengers a debilitating shock at the same time.
Watch the clip.

H.L.s Take

So if Obama becomes President, (I say 'if" despite the fact that probably two thirds of voters will cast their ballot for him, and the fact that he is outraising McCain by a huge margin, but this is the democrats we are talking about so it's a big "if") so if Obama becomes President, does all the bullshit stop. Does Homeland Security stop acting like Hitler's storm troopers? Do we stop getting hassled to death every time we get on a plane? Do we stop having the politics of fear of another terrorist attack? (Not that our own government wasn't behind the last one) Do we stop having the cops tasering people for no reason? or will it all just be business as usual?

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This Is How We Lost to the White Man
The audacity of Bill Cosby's black conservatism
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Last summer, in Detroit's St. Paul Church of God in Christ, I watched Bill Cosby summon his inner Malcolm X. It was a hot July evening. Cosby was speaking to an audience of black men dressed in everything from Enyce T-shirts or polos to blazers and ties. Some were there with their sons. Some were there in wheelchairs. The audience was packed tight, rows of folding chairs extended beyond the wooden pews to capture the overflow. But the chairs were not enough, and late arrivals stood against the long shotgun walls, or out in the small lobby, where they hoped to catch a snatch of Cosby's oratory. Clutching a cordless mic, Cosby paced the front of the church, shifting between prepared remarks and comic ad-libs. A row of old black men, community elders, sat behind him, nodding and grunting throaty affirmations. The rest of the church was in full call-and-response mode, punctuating Cosby's punch lines with laughter, applause, or cries of Teach, black man! Teach!

He began with the story of a black girl who'd risen to become valedictorian of his old high school, despite having been abandoned by her father. She spoke to the graduating class and her speech started like this, Cosby said. I was 5 years old. It was Saturday and I stood looking out the window, waiting for him. She never said what helped turn her around. She never mentioned her mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother.

Understand me, Cosby said, his face contorted and clenched like a fist. Men? Men? Men! Where are you, men?

Audience: Right here!

Cosby had come to Detroit aiming to grab the city's black men by their collars and shake them out of the torpor that has left so many of them - like so many of their peers across the country - undereducated, over-incarcerated, and underrepresented in the ranks of active fathers. No women were in the audience. No reporters were allowed, for fear that their presence might frighten off fathers behind on their child-support payments. But I was there, trading on race, gender, and a promise not to interview any of the allegedly skittish participants.

Men, if you want to win, we can win, Cosby said. We are not a pitiful race of people. We are a bright race, who can move with the best. But we are in a new time, where people are behaving in abnormal ways and calling it normal When they used to come into our neighborhoods, we put the kids in the basement, grabbed a rifle, and said, By any means necessary.

I don't want to talk about hatred of these people, he continued. I'm talking about a time when we protected our women and protected our children. Now I got people in wheelchairs, paralyzed. A little girl in Camden, jumping rope, shot through the mouth. Grandmother saw it out the window. And people are waiting around for Jesus to come, when Jesus is already within you.

Cosby was wearing his standard uniform - dark sunglasses, loafers, a sweat suit emblazoned with the seal of an institution of higher learning. That night it was the University of Massachusetts, where he'd gotten his doctorate in education 30 years ago. He was preaching from the book of black self-reliance, a gospel that he has spent the past four years carrying across the country in a series of events that he bills as call-outs. My problem, Cosby told the audience, is I'm tired of losing to white people. When I say I don't care about white people, I mean let them say what they want to say. What can they say to me that's worse than what their grandfather said?

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Hats off to the dog-poop industry

by Beth Quinn

There's an entire, thriving industry in America based on dog poop.

In the unlikely event that dogs suddenly stopped pooping, thousands of Americans would be out of a job.

Fortunately, as things stand, the dog-poop industry is recession-proof. Absent some genetic tinkering, dogs will always take poops at quite the same rate they now do, so there's little danger of a dog-poop company going out of business.

On the other hand, I assume there are seasonal ups and downs. After all, if it's cold out and dog poop freezes halfway between the dog and the ground, there's no real need to buy Poop Freeze until spring arrives.

Poop Freeze Aerosol Freeze Spray is one of the more innovative products that's recently been created by the dog-poop folks. All you have to do is spray, wait 10 seconds, and a white crusty film solidifies the poop by cooling it down to 62 degrees F. (Can be used indoors, too!)

It's an especially useful product at this time of year, now that the snow has melted and the ground has thawed, revealing a mother lode of dog poop.

(Oh dear, it seems I can't help myself. Here I am, STILL talking about George Bush despite my best intentions of having a bit of a moratorium on the subject.)

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The Next President's First Task [A Manifesto]
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Last November, Lord (David) Puttnam debated before Parliament an important bill to tackle global warming. Addressing industry and government warnings that we must proceed slowly to avoid economic ruin, Lord Puttnam recalled that precisely 200 years ago Parliament heard identical caveats during the debate over abolition of the slave trade. At that time slave commerce represented one-fourth of Britain's G.D.P. and provided its primary source of cheap, abundant energy. Vested interests warned that financial apocalypse would succeed its prohibition.

That debate lasted roughly a year, and Parliament, in the end, made the moral choice, abolishing the trade outright. Instead of collapsing, as slavery's proponents had predicted, Britain's economy accelerated. Slavery's abolition exposed the debilitating inefficiencies associated with zero-cost labor; slavery had been a ball and chain not only for the slaves but also for the British economy, hobbling productivity and stifling growth. Now creativity and productivity surged. Entrepreneurs seeking new sources of energy launched the Industrial Revolution and inaugurated the greatest era of wealth production in human history.

Today, we don't need to abolish carbon as an energy source in order to see its inefficiencies starkly, or to understand that this addiction is the principal drag on American capitalism. The evidence is before our eyes. The practice of borrowing a billion dollars each day to buy foreign oil has caused the American dollar to implode. More than a trillion dollars in annual subsidies to coal and oil producers have beggared a nation that four decades ago owned half the globes wealth. Carbon dependence has eroded our economic power, destroyed our moral authority, diminished our international influence and prestige, endangered our national security, and damaged our health and landscapes. It is subverting everything we value.

We know that nations that decarbonize their economies reap immediate rewards. Sweden announced in 2006 the phaseout of all fossil fuels (and nuclear energy) by 2020. In 1991 the Swedes enacted a carbon tax - now up to $150 a ton - and as a result thousands of entrepreneurs rushed to develop new ways of generating energy from wind, the sun, and the tides, and from woodchips, agricultural waste, and garbage. Growth rates climbed to upwards of three times those of the U.S.

Iceland was 80 percent dependent on imported coal and oil in the 1970s and was among the poorest economies in Europe. Today, Iceland is 100 percent energy-independent, with 90 percent of the nations homes heated by geothermal and its remaining electrical needs met by hydro. The International Monetary Fund now ranks Iceland the fourth most affluent nation on earth. The country, which previously had to beg for corporate investment, now has companies lined up to relocate there to take advantage of its low-cost clean energy.

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Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies
By Michael Barbaro

The consumer spending slump and tightening credit markets are unleashing a widening wave of bankruptcies in American retailing, prompting thousands of store closings that are expected to remake suburban malls and downtown shopping districts across the country.
Since last fall, eight mostly midsize chains as diverse as the furniture store Levitz and the electronics seller Sharper Image have filed for bankruptcy protection as they staggered under mounting debt and declining sales.

But the troubles are quickly spreading to bigger national companies, like Linens n Things, the bedding and furniture retailer with 500 stores in 47 states. It may file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to people briefed on the matter.

Even retailers that can avoid bankruptcy are shutting down stores to preserve cash through what could be a long economic downturn. Over the next year, Foot Locker said it would close 140 stores, Ann Taylor will start to shutter 117, and the jeweler Zales will close 100.

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McCain reveals confusion over Petraeus role
By Rick Maze

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona may not have been paying the closest of attention last week during hearings on the Bush administrations Iraq policy.

Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

I would not do that unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that, McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.

Decisions about Afghanistan would be made by others, he said.

I've been sort of focused on another task, Petraeus said when pressed about whether more troops should be diverted to Afghanistan rather than Iraq.

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Will Lincoln Survive "Gettysburg" Comments?
Transcript from "Hannity's America" November 20, 1863

Sean Hannity: Well, we've got the transcript right here and it looks like Mr. Lincoln's really put his foot in it this time. The question for our panelists is: "After Gettysburg, Does Lincoln still have a chance for re-election?" Pat?

Pat Buchanan: I'd have to say no Sean. Right from the start he's set himself up as another liberal elitist, hopelessly out of touch with the voters. "Four Score and Seven..." The number he's looking for is eighty-seven. Maybe if he put down his Chablis and brie plate for a minute he'd understand how real people actually speak.

Laura Ingraham: And the whole thing was written on the back of an envelope for cryin' out loud. Hey Abe, get a clue: it's called "paper." Not everybody can use a perfectly good envelope, which as all Americans know is meant for mailing things... and he uses it for scratch paper! Give me a break!

Sean Hannity: Let's go a little further down here to the comments that really seem to have set American's teeth on edge, the part about not being able to dedicate, consecrate or "hallow", whatever that means, this ground. Is it wise for someone running for re-election to tell us what we can't do? Does he just hate Americans? Pat?

Pat Buchanan: Sure sounds like it to me.

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Migrant crime wave a myth - police study
Acpo report concludes offending no worse than rest of the population
by Vikram Dodd

A wide-ranging police study has concluded that the surge in immigrants from eastern Europe to Britain has not fuelled a rise in crime, the Guardian has learned.

The findings will be presented to the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, tomorrow when she meets chief constables to discuss the issue. Several of them had complained that they needed more money to deal with increases in migrant populations in their areas. However, the study prepared for the Association of Chief Police Officers challenges claims that up to 1 million people from EU accession countries have caused a rise in criminality.

The report finds that, despite newspaper headlines linking new migrants to crime, offending rates among mainly Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian communities are in line with the rate of offending in the general population.

A senior source with close knowledge of the report said: "Any rise has been broadly proportionate to the number of people from those communities coming into this country. People are saying crime is rising because of this influx. Given 1 million people have come in, that doesn't make sense as crime is significantly down."

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Georgia Republican instructs House on proper Pledge of Allegiance technique
No pause between 'one nation under god,' lawmaker reminds
by David Edwards and Nick Juliano

A freshman Georgia Republican wanted to stress the importance of divine oversight of the US as he saw it portrayed in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leading the pledge on the House floor Monday, Rep. Paul Broun lectured others in the chamber about the "correct way" of saying the pledge.

"There should not be a comma between 'one nation' and 'under God,'" Broun told his colleagues before beginning his rendition of a pause-free pledge.

It may seem a minor issue, but some have argued that saying the pledge as Broun prefers -- and as it was written when "under God" was inserted in 1954 -- implies a fealty to religion that is inappropriate in the US.

"Without a comma, the phrase indicates that the central characteristic of the United States as a political community is its subordination to God," wrote history professor Matthew Dennis, after the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to strike "under God" as unconstitutional. "In short, the political community is defined by its religious charge. A pledge that states this becomes, in the words of the 9th Circuit, 'impermissible government endorsement of religion,' functioning to 'enforce a religious orthodoxy of mono- theism.'"

The pledge had no reference to a deity until 1954, when Cold War fever saw its inclusion to separate Americans from "godless Communists." The Supreme Court dismissed a case arguing that the phrase violated the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of religion because the plaintiff had no standing to argue the case, not because of any inherent legal justification for the phrase.

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Ferris wheel from SoCal pier on sale; sorry, no ocean view

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - It won't come with the ocean views, but you can still catch some thrills from riding your very own Ferris wheel, straight off the Santa Monica Pier.

The nine-story wheel that's been at Pacific Park since 1996 was put up for sale Tuesday on eBay.

The wheel overlooking the Pacific has 20 gondolas and is outlined in 5,392 light bulbs. It has provided some 3 million rides and has been seen in movies, on television and in numerous photos.

Next month, however, the Pacific Wheel will be replaced by a $1.5 million modern model.

The old wheel is operational and still in "great" shape, said Cameron Andrews, a spokesman for the amusement park.

The wheel cost $800,000 when it was built. It was modified in 1998 to become the world's first solar-powered Ferris wheel.

The auction will last 10 days and the minimum price is $50,000. Half the winning bid minus fees will be donated to the Special Olympics.

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