March 31, 2005

Breaking: Pope given Last Rites

From CNN:

Pope John Paul II has been given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.
The networks all broke in about an hour ago to discuss his "deteriorating condition." But this is the first sign that we are in the final stages of John Paul's papacy.

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Theresa Marie Schiavo, 1963-2005

All the networks are reporting within the past five minutes that Terri Schiavo has passed away at her hospice in Florida.

Word had surfaced in the hour prior that her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler would not be allowed to be with her at the time of her death.

(More coverage from Blogs for Terri & all over the blogosphere)

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March 30, 2005

6 Iraqis arrested in Mexico near CA border

Six Iraqi nationals were arrested at Mexican checkpoints near the California border over the past week.

There was no evidence that the detained Iraqis had ties to any terrorist groups, Mexican officials said. There is a significant Iraqi Christian community in southern California.

Still, the arrests spotlighted fears that terrorists might attempt to enter the United States from Mexico. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently raised that concern with U.S. lawmakers and Mexican officials.

Mexican President Vicente Fox, speaking with reporters on March 16, played down fears of terrorists crossing the border.

"We don't have any evidence or indication that terrorists from al-Qaida or from any other part of the world have come to Mexico in order to enter the United States," Fox said.

As far as I'm concerned, ol' Vinnie Fox is either clueless or is in the midst of it.

It's high time to close the border and be done with it.

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Apparently Google likes holidays - as long as they aren't Christian

I pointed out the other day that Google found it OK to do something for "World Water Day" but ignored Easter Sunday.

They've done it again.

Today, Google has changed their logo to honor the birth of Vincent Van Gogh.

Just damn.

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11th Circuit denies Schiavo appeal yet again

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has denied yet again the appeal by Bob and Mary Schindler to reconsider the Florida ruling that permitted Michael Schiavo to withdraw a feeding tube from his brain-damaged wife, Terri.

In a strongly worded concurrence, Judge Stanley Birch said Congress overstepped its bounds in passing a law last week calling for the federal court to look at the case. He said the judges did not want to be "activist judges" by overturning Florida state law.

"Congress chose to to overstep Constitutional boundaries into the province of the judiciary," Birch wrote. "Such an act cannot be countenanced."

He said it was duty of the court to "conscientiously guard the independence of our judiciary and safeguard the Constitution, even in the face of the unfathomable human tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo and her family and the recent events related to her plight which have troubled the consciences of man."

"But when the fervor of political passions moves the Executive and the Legislative branches to act in ways inimical to basic constitutional principles, it is the duty of the judiciary to intervene," Birch wrote.

Two judges, Gerald Tjoflat and Charles Wilson, dissented. They wrote that Schiavo's parents brought a "plausible claim" that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires "clear and convincing evidence of an individual's wishes before a state court may order withdrawal of life sustaining nutrition, hydration or other medical attention."

With Terri Schiavo entering her 13th day without food or water, this apparently was the last possible courtroom appeal.

Doctors have insisted that she would die roughly two weeks after having her feeding tube withdrawn; her husband has insisted that he was complying with her wishes in doing so, much to the anger of many protestors in Florida and across the nation.

(More coverage from Blogs for Terri & others)

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Study says most college courses taught by liberals

A new study from the Randolph Foundation has found that most collegiate level courses in the United States are taught by liberals.

By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms: 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identified themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty members are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.

In other news, "Sky is blue, water is wet." Details at 11.

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Black lawmakers calling photo ID bill racist

A bill requiring voters to present state-issued photo ID as identification when voting was passed by the Georgia state Senate yesterday, despite the carping of black Senators who insisted the measure was racist.

The bill would reduce the types of ID permitted to be presented by voters when identifying themselves at a polling place from 17 to 6. It would eliminate such forms of identification as utility bills.

"This is spitting on the grave of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D-Macon), an African-American. He compared the photo ID requirement to Jim Crow laws that once institutionalized racial discrimination in the South.

Republicans argued the measure would help prevent voter fraud and protect the integrity of the ballot. The bill would reduce the number of acceptable forms of identification for voting from 17 documents, which now include utility bills and bank statements, to six forms of government-issued photo identification.

Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said he could not forget those who "bled, sweated and died" for his right to vote and serve in elected office.

Some saw the measure as an ominous sign for race relations.

"I do believe that this bill has fractured this body," said Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta), who is black. "I do believe this bill is a disaster for race relations in the state of Georgia. I do believe this is the most aggressive bill and attack on the rights of minorities and African-Americans that I have seen in my tenure in the House and the Senate."

The measure now has to go back to the Georgia state House for approval of minor changes before going on to Governor Sonny Perdue for his signature. If signed into law, the measure would have to be reviewed by the US Justice Department in order to ensure that it does not place an undue burdon on minorities.

The black lawmakers in question have no answer when asked about the requirement to present a photo ID - like a drivers' license - when banking. They are obviously using this as a "guilt-based club" to attack others and get their way.

There is no coincidence that the black Democrats are also using this as a rallying cry and basis to claim that Republicans do not want to renew portions of the Voting Rights of 1965 when they come up for vote in 2007.

This is about scaring the voting public and painting the GOP as "evil racists." This is about keeping the status quo in order to better facilitate voter fraud. This is about liberal desperation.

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11th Circuit to consider Schindler's request on Schiavo

We've awakened this morning to news that the 11th Circuit Court here in Atlanta has decided to hear an emergency motion from Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo.

This makes the third time the Schindlers have appealed to the 11th Circuit, but it gives them hope that their daughter would receive a reprive.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued a written order without comment late Tuesday allowing Bob and Mary Schindler to file the appeal, even though the court had set a March 26 deadline for doing so.

In a one-sentence order, the court said: "The Appellant's emergency motion for leave to file out of time is granted."

The court didn't say when it would decide whether to grant a hearing. Last week, it twice ruled against the Schindlers, who are trying to keep their daughter alive.

In requesting a new hearing, the Schindlers argued that a federal judge in Tampa should have considered the entire state court record and not just the procedural history when he ruled against the parents.

The clock continues to tick for the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, who is now in her 12th day without nourishment or water.
(More coverage from Wizbang, Blogs For Terri, OTB & others)

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March 29, 2005

Johnnie Cochran has died

Attorney Johnnie Cochran has died following a lengthy illness according to WXIA-TV's 6P news here in Atlanta. Cochran's daughter, Tiffany Cochran, is a weekend anchor for WXIA.

UPDATE WXIA has more.

Cochran died of a brain tumor and was at his home in California at the time of his passing.

“The world has lost not only a legendary attorney, but an outstanding humanitarian,” a family statement said.

“Johnnie’s career will be noted as one marked by ‘celebrity’ cases and clientele. But he and his family were most proud of the work he did on behalf of those in the community,” the statement said. “As Johnnie always said, ‘an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It was his rallying cry as he worked to right many wrongs, and as he provided a voice to those who needed to be heard.”

The Cochran Firm has several offices around the country including one in Atlanta.

CochranÂ’s daughter, Tiffany, is an anchor and reporter at WXIA / 11Alive News in Atlanta.

Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date, the statment said.

I didn't agree with his politics, but he was an original character in American jurisprudence.

His "if it don't fit, you must acquit" line in the OJ Simpson trial became a mocked catch-phrase nationwide, and even inspired Phil Morris' spot-on parody, Jackie Giles, from Seinfeld.

Fare thee well, Johnnie.

Johnnie Cochran was 67.

(More coverage from Wizbang, LaShawn Barber, Expertise, OTB, Backcountry Conservative & others)

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Don't ever call me insensitive again!

After reading this, y'all don't get quarter to ever call me insensitive again in life.

I know it's very wrong to laugh, but that's hilarious!
(Linking to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam)

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Falwell suffers "massive" heart attack (Update: He's sick, but he'll be OK)

Rev. Jerry Falwell has been hospitalized near his home in Lynchburg, VA, after suffering what has been described by televised reports as a "massive" heart attack.

Falwell's son, Jerry Falwell, Jr. is expected to make a statement at Noon ET.

UPDATE - 12N - Per Fox News, Falwell has not had a heart attack. He is on a respirator, and is resting comfortably. He apparently has had a relapse of the viral pneumonia that sidelined him earlier this year. More details are due shortly.

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Never get between Jesse Jackson and a camera

Never one to let a photo op go untapped, Jesse Jackson is set to meet with Terri Schiavo's parents at the protest outside her hospice this morning. Of course, the unwitting accomplices in the Schiavo protest are oblivious to Jackson's true motive.

Rev. Jackson is responding to an invitation from the Schindler family to come and pray with the family, and if possible visit Terri Schiavo in the hospice.

After meeting and praying with the Schindler family, Rev. Jackson will make a statement to the press.

See what I mean?
(More coverage from Outside The Beltway, Barking Moonbat & others)

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MJ's days look to be numbered.

On the heels of a Sunday morning radio interview with Jesse Jackson, entertainer and accused child molester Michael Jackson's trial defense was dealt a serious blow yesterday, when the judge ruled that the jury may hear of prior accusations from five other boys including actor Macaulay Culkin and two youngsters who reached multimillion-dollar settlements with the singer.

District Attorney Tom Sneddon said Jackson's inappropriate activities with these boys included kissing, hugging and inserting his hands into their pants. He also said there was a pattern of "grooming," or preparing the boys for molestation, but did not elaborate.

Jackson, 46, is on trial on charges he molested one boy - then 13 - at his Neverland ranch in 2003. In most criminal cases, evidence of past behavior is not admissible against a defendant. However, the California Legislature changed that in 1995, specifically in cases of child molestation and domestic violence.

Sneddon said the testimony about the five cases will show Jackson has a consistent pattern of abuse.

Only one of the five has agreed to testify in the current trial, while some testimony will come from parents of the boys involved.

Meanwhile, comedian and actor George Lopez took the stand yesterday, as the parade of celebrities tied to the trial continued.

Sunday, Jackson was interviewed by Rev. Jesse Jackson on his Clear Channel radio program, claiming innocence.

"I gain strength from the fact that I know I am innocent. None of these stories are true," Jackson told the Rev. Jesse Jackson during an hour-long interview broadcast live over the Internet on Sunday morning.

"I just want to say to fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart," Jackson said toward the end of the interview. "I would love your prayers and your goodwill, and please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on as we speak."

Many experts, pointing to yesterday's ruling, indicate that Jackson is in a nearly insurmountable hole when it comes to the possibility of acquital in the child molestation trial.

University of Georgia law professor Ron Carlson, speaking this morning on Atlanta's WSB Radio, suggested that Jackson's legal team may begin to seek a plea deal to reduce the amount of time that Jackson would spend in prison.

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March 28, 2005

Sony loses suit, but can still sell PS2 -- for now

I don't know how I missed this story this morning!

Sony has been ordered to stop selling Playstation consoles in the United States. Sony lost a suit to Immersion Technologies, who claims to have created the tactile technology that Sony uses to provide the feedback in their Dual-Shock controllers.

Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for Northern California issued the order late last week in a patent infringement case filed against Sony Computer Entertainment by Immersion, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of "haptics" technology. Among other applications, the technology can generate force feedback in games so that the game controller rattles in response to events during play.

Immersion claims that Sony's implementation of force feedback in its PlayStation 2 and the original PlayStation consoles infringes on its patents. Microsoft paid the California company $26 million two years ago to settle similar claims regarding its PC joysticks and other products.

Sony has fought those charges and suffered a setback late last year, when a jury sided with Immersion and ordered the console maker to pay $82 million in damages. Enforcement of the verdict was delayed, pending the judge's ruling on post-trial motions.

Judge Wilken's latest ruling entered judgment against Sony and ordered it to give Immersion the $82 million laid down by the jury verdict, plus $8.7 million in interest.

In a separate order, Wilken consented to Immersion's request for an injunction barring Sony "from manufacturing, using and/or selling in, or importing into, the United States the infringing Sony PlayStation system." The injunction further instructed Sony to pay licensing fees to Immersion for PlayStation hardware already sold in the United States.

It also covers 47 games that the jury said infringed on Immersion's patents. Most of the games, including the smash hit "Grand Theft Auto" series, aren't published by Sony, possibly complicating enforcement.

The order has been stayed while Sony appeals, but I'm sure that execs over at Microsoft are dancing in the corridors today.

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Mag 8.5 quake in Indonesia (UPDATE: NOW AN 8.7)

A magnitude 8.5 earthquake has occured in the Sumatra region of Indonesia. This is an aftershock to the 9.0 earthquake from last December, which caused the devestating Asian tsunami.

There are fears that this quake could cause another tsunami. Details forthcoming.

UPDATE - 2P - Though this is nearly as powerful as December's quake, according to experts on CNN and MSNBC television, this quake is centered further south than the December quake, reducing the likelihood of a tsunami in the areas struck by the Boxing Day Tsunami.

According to a quote from a Reuters report, an official on one Indonesian island says that "dozens" have died.

A massive earthquake killed dozens of people and destroyed hundreds of homes in the main town on Indonesia's Nias island Monday evening, a local government official told Metro TV.

"I can guarantee that dozens have died," Agus Mendrofa, the deputy mayor of Gunungsitoli town, said.

Indonesia's Metro TV quoted a resident on the island of Nias, off western Sumatra, as saying buildings there were damaged.

"Things are quite bad right now," the resident said. "There is much damage. People are running in panic. Many people are also trapped."

He did not elaborate on what he meant by people were "trapped."

Thousands have heeded warnings to head inland along coastal sections of Indonesia and Thailand.

UPDATE: - 2:30P - The US Geologocal Survey has raised the magnitude of this quake from an initial read of 8.2 to a whopping 8.7. In comparison, the Boxing Day quake in December was a 9.0.

UPDATE - 2:50P - According to Confederate Yankee, the DUmmies at Democratic Underground are already blaming Bush for the quake.

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Aaron's Buy A Gun Day III coming up on 4/15

Aaron's Rantblog (the legendary founder of Blogopoly; my piece is over the left side of this page) has returned from the ether and moved, changing it's name in the process to Aaron's CC, found, logically enough, at

As we approach April 15, not only are we reminded that it is the final day you can submit your taxes (at least without having to pay a penalty), but it is also the third annual Buy A Gun Day. Protect yourself, protect your family, and exercise your second amendment rights.

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Google changes it's logo for holidays; why not for Easter?

Michelle Malkin points out the fact that Google changes it's main page logo for most holidays (most recently for "World Water Day," March 22, as seen above).

But on a quick look yesterday begs the question, "Why didn't Google change their front page logo for Easter?"

Looking back at Google's "special holiday logos" section, it seems that they quit doing one for Easter in 2002. But no one can seem to tell us why.

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March 27, 2005

Texas man has piercing to permanently place glasses on face


James Sooy was tired of "wrestling with glasses" and decided to have a piercing placed on the upper part of his nose which attached to glasses, so that they were permanently affixed to his face.

I don't know about you, but I like to take my glasses off when I go to sleep. I guess that wasn't an option for Sooy.

James Sooy was tired of wrestling with his eyeglasses and instead of contacts decided to have a post pierced into his face for permanent lenses.

"These, you know they are stuck to my face, with the other ones, if they were pulled, they would just come off real simple," Sooy said. "They're easier to work with and there is no safety risks involved."

Sooy says that LASIK surgery is too expensive, and the piercing "goes with his lifestyle."

I guess the staple gun wouldn't work for him, huh?

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March 25, 2005

Islamic group claims responsibility for BP Texas blast

An Islamic group has claimed responsibility for yesterday's explosion at a BP refinery near Houston.

“It was a new kind of operation as we promised before,” said the ”Jund al-Sham Organisation” (Organisation of Soldiers of the Levant) in the statement posted on an Islamist website and dated March 24.

“Jund Al-Sham is able to attack with an iron fist all the enemies of Allah wherever they are,” added the statement, whose authenticity could not be verified.

“This operation was a big surprise, which we spoke of in other statements, and we will continue our suicide operations inside and outside America, and we will attack the economy of America as America did the economies of the Muslims,” it added.

The group also threatened to carry out attacks in Britain and Italy, and said these would continue “until the last soldier of the Crusaders or Jews is no longer in an Islamic country.”

The FBI says that they have no evidence that the blast was caused by any terrorist group.

BP is still investigating the cause, but has ruled out terrorism as of this point.

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Georgia Democrats oppose photo IDs for voting; cry 'racism' in their defense

Protestors here in Georgia insist that a state house measure, championed by Republicans, to limit the types of identification accepted for voter ID is racist.

The measure would only allow voters to present government or state-issued photo IDs, including drivers' licenses, state-issued identification cards, passports and state school IDs.

Backers of the bills call them a giant step forward in the battle against voter fraud, but opponents say they're a giant step backward after years of Civil Rights progress. They contend many of the poor and elderly would be blocked from voting because they do not have drivers licenses or any other photo identification.

"My mother's 96 years old. She no longer drives and she does not need photo identification. She would love to take her thumb and dip it in a little bottle of ink and vote," said Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta.

The whiners beg a basic question: "What do those without photo ID do for identification when they are banking?"

The measure will decrease voter fraud in the state, and would certainly help to streamline the present system, which allows one to use things as obscure as mail from the Social Security Administration.

A photo ID would guarantee that the person voting is the person named, plus it would ensure that the voter is voting in the proper place, and is properly registered to vote.

What's the problem? Could it be that the Democrats want to allow voter fraud to continue unchecked? And is race being used as a red herring to get people worked up?


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