$120K Stimulus Used To Print Pamphlet

From the Syracuse (New York) Post-Standard:

An early-morning bicyclist at Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool

$120,000 in federal stimulus money for Onondaga Lake cleanup to be used to print pamphlet

by Mark Weiner / The Post-Standard Washington Bureau

Sunday May 31, 2009

It was supposed to be a federal stimulus project that would create jobs in Central New York, rebuild local infrastructure and help clean up Onondaga Lake.

The $120,000 in economic stimulus money set aside for Onondaga Lake will "improve the quality of life for residents in the area," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said last month.

At the same time, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., predicted the lake project "will create jobs across the region and promote long-term economic growth."

It turns out none of it was true — except for the amount of taxpayer money involved.

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US Marshals Sent To Protect Abortionists

A press release from Department Of Justice:

Statement of the Attorney General on Murder of Doctor George Tiller

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring."

Meanwhile, from the Associated Press:

Chicago has 7 shooting deaths in 24 hours

Chicago had seven shooting deaths in 24 hours this weekend, and police say they have no suspects in custody.

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‘Late Term’ Abortionist Shot To Death

From an elated Associated Press:

Abortion doc George Tiller gunned down at church

By Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press Writer

WICHITA, Kan. – Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.

Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away.

National anti-abortion groups had long focused on Tiller, whose Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

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Gitmo Detainees Get Computers, Training

From a delighted Miami Herald:

Four detainees watch the Iranian movie "The Color of Paradise" in a trailer in Camp Iguana on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

Some Guantánamo detainees to get laptops

BY CAROL ROSENBERG

Sun, May. 31, 2009   

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — These captives already get to order fast-food takeout from the base and have access to a phone booth for weekly calls. Now some 17 Uighur Muslims awaiting a nation to grant them asylum are about to go high-tech, with laptops and web training.

While awaiting details of President Barack Obama’s order to close the prison camps by Jan. 22, commanders here have ordered 20 laptops for the captives of Camp Iguana.

”As you know, detainees are leaving this place,” said Army Lt.

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AP: Foreclosures Add To Hurricane Risk

From the ever hand-wringing Associated Press:

In this May 19, 2009 photo, Mike Manikchand, a 22-year-old pharmacy student, poses in front his duplex in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Manikchand took advantage of the dismal housing market and bought the foreclosed duplex for a low price but now, looking at the empty house around him, he wonders what will happen if a hurricane slams into southwest Florida this year.

AP IMPACT: Foreclosures add to hurricane hazards

By Tamara Lush, Associated Press Writer

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Mike Manikchand points toward his neighbors — a half-dozen empty, foreclosed-upon homes, sitting on weed-strewn yards — and he wonders: What will happen if a hurricane slams into southwest Florida this year?

His simple answer: "A lot of these places will get destroyed."

Unoccupied, these homes would be defenseless in a storm; there will be no one to put up shutters, batten down garage doors and otherwise secure homes.

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AP Crows: Sun Belt Feels The Recession

From a gleeful Associated Press:

[AP caption:] A foreclosure sign sits outside a home for sale in Phoenix. Arizona has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.

After crash, has twilight come to the Sun Belt?

By Todd Lewan, AP National Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. – We first heard the term decades ago: The "Sun Belt" was just starting a run of phenomenal growth — and no wonder. It conjured a sunny state of mind as well as a balmy place on the map.

Everybody, it seemed, wanted a spot in the sun.

Industries such as aerospace, defense and oil set up shop across America’s southernmost tier, capitalizing on the low involvement of labor unions and the proximity of military bases that paid handsomely, and reliably, for their products and services.

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Beeswax – A Somewhat Talkative Baby

Another installment of the weekend feature here at S&L, which aims to raise our spirits in these times of tribulation.

From (ahem) Snotr:

As always, if you see any gently humorous clips that would make good candidates for future threads, please send them along using the contact form.

(Thanks to Jobeth for the heads up.)

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The Obamas Jet To NYC For ‘Play Date’

From a swooning Associated Press:

The presidential limo waits outside as U.S. President Barack ...

The presidential limo waits outside as U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama see the play "Joe Turner’s Come and Gone" during a personal visit in New York May 30, 2009.

First couple’s date: dinner and a Broadway show

By ANN SANNER, Associated Press Writer

Saturday, May 30, 2009  

(05-30) New York (AP) — President Barack Obama made good on a campaign promise to his most important supporter Saturday night — his wife, Michelle.

The president and first lady jetted to a date in New York late Saturday afternoon, aides and media in tow.

"I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished," the president said in a statement an aide read to the press.

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AP: Criticism Of Sotomayor Must Stop!

What passed for news at the DNC’s Associated Press:

GOP divided over tone of Sotomayor debate

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Associated Press Writer – Sat May 30

WASHINGTON – Republicans are divided over how aggressively to go after federal judge Sonia Sotomayor, a family feud about the tone of the coming debate over confirming the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic.

A growing chorus of GOP lawmakers and conservative strategists are voicing concern over the strident rhetoric some prominent Republicans have used to describe Sotomayor, and some are denouncing right-wing groups for swiftly launching negative advertisements against her.

The spat reflects a vexing question facing the GOP as it confronts President Barack Obama’s first high court nominee: They can’t defeat Sotomayor or block a final vote to seat her on the court, so what should they do instead?

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BHO: Critics Distort Sotomayor’s Words

From an outraged (at the truth) Reuters:

Obama: Critics of court nominee twisting her words

By Caren Bohan – Sat May 30

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pushed back on Saturday at conservative critics of his Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, accusing them of twisting her words to score political points.

"There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

"But I am confident that these efforts will fail," he said…

Critics highlighted her 2005 comment that the federal appeals court is "where policy is made" and a 2001 remark that a Latina judge "would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." …

Obama and his aides said on Friday that comment was taken out of context and that Sotomayor merely meant to make the point that varied life experiences can give judges valuable insights into the cases they analyze.

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Iran Hangs 3 US Hirelings For Bombing

From those defenders of the faith at Reuters:

Iran hangs three over deadly mosque bombing: report

Sat May 30

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran executed in public on Saturday three men convicted of involvement in a bomb attack on a mosque that killed 25 people, the official IRNA news agency reported…

"Three people convicted of being involved in the recent terrorist bombing in Zahedan were hanged in public on Saturday morning," IRNA said, adding that the executions took place near the mosque where the bombing took place.

A Sunni opposition group named Jundollah (God’s Soldiers), which Iran says is part of the Islamist al Qaeda network and backed by the United States, said it was behind the bombing, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Friday.

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Obama Asks Australia To Take Detainees

From a forgiving Reuters:

Obama asks Australia to take Guantanamo detainees

Fri May 29

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The United States has made a new request for Australia to accept a group of detainees from Guantanamo Bay for resettlement, a government spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The request is the first by President Barack Obama’s administration, which plans to close down the detention camp in Cuba within the next year.

Media reports have said the request involves a group of Uighurs from China’s largely Muslim western province of Xinjiang. Beijing has reportedly been pressing Washington to return them to China, but U.S. officials have expressed concerns about their likely treatment there.

Earlier requests for resettlement in Australia late last year by former president George W. Bush’s administration were turned down by Canberra in January on "national security and immigration" grounds

Once again, despite railing against Mr.

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Time Says Cookies Make Terrorists Talk

From the former news magazine, Time:

How to Make Terrorists Talk

By Bobby Ghosh / Washington – Fri May 29

The most successful interrogation of an Al-Qaeda operative by U.S. officials required no sleep deprivation, no slapping or "walling" and no waterboarding. All it took to soften up Abu Jandal, who had been closer to Osama bin Laden than any other terrorist ever captured, was a handful of sugar-free cookies.

Abu Jandal had been in a Yemeni prison for nearly a year when Ali Soufan of the FBI and Robert McFadden of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrived to interrogate him in the week after 9/11. Although there was already evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, American authorities needed conclusive proof, not least to satisfy skeptics like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose support was essential for any action against the terrorist organization.

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Iran: US, Israel Behind Mosque Bombing

From the always trustworthy Islamic Republic News Agency:

Cleric: Clues of US, Israel’s involvement in Zahedan bombing discernable

Tehran, May 29, IRNA – Tehran’s Substitute Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said clues of the involvement of the US and Israel in the recent bombing of a mosque in Zahedan were discernable.

Talking to a large congregation gathered at Tehran University campus for Friday prayers, the Ayatollah condemned the bombing of a mosque in the city of Zahedan in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan Thursday evening, which killed 25 and injured 125 others.

He said the powerful Islamic establishment in Iran will surely identify the elements behind the terrorist act and punish them.

Saying that the terrorist act wounded the hearts of all Muslims who were mourning on the demise anniversary of Hazrat Zahra (AS), the grand daughter of the holy Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad (SAWA), Ayatollah Khatami said the bombing aimed at spoiling the positive outcomes of the recent visit of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to Kordestan Province.

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Obama/SEIU Try To Stop Healthcare Ads

From the Politico:

Groups urge NBC to pull health care ad

Progressive health care reform groups demanded on Thursday that Washington’s NBC television affiliate refuse to air a 30-minute infomercial funded by a conservative group opposed to creating a public insurance plan.

The Service Employees International Union sent a letter to NBC4, arguing that the station has a responsibility to pull the documentary-style commercial paid for by Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. The ad, set to run Sunday after “Meet the Press,” “will be false, deceitful, and a distortion,” the union’s attorney wrote in the letter.

The SEIU has not seen the ad, but is drawing the conclusion from CPR’s record of running “demonstrably false” ads. The station has the duty to protect the public from misleading advertising, the letter argues.

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