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Kick Assiest Blog
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Sweet Baby Ann Coulter Breaks Her Silence
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Ann Coulter Breaks Her Silence

In what she described as her "first interview" for the paperback edition of her blockbuster bestseller, "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)," conservative icon and author Ann Coulter says she is breaking a long silence to take on the liberal establishment, which is trying to fool people once again in the wake of Katrina and other controversies.

We asked Ann about the timing of the new edition of her book. [Editor's Note: Get your copy of Ann's new book at a price cheaper than Amazon PLUS get our FREE report "Coulter's Fight" -- Click Here Now.]

She explained that because "liberals are still speaking out on public issues" and spreading falsehoods, she had no alternative but to fire back.

With liberals alive and dangerous in America, Ann Coulter, like the action doll that was made in her image a few years ago, is fighting back.

This time she is taking no prisoners. At least liberal ones. Ann, in her vintage and humorous style, says her new edition contains "tons of new recipes" and "doctored photos from my private collection."

Coulter added some flavor, such as the recent John Roberts Senate confirmation hearings. She says her book will include racy "cosmopolitan-type quizzes, like ‘How to drive your man wild during Senate confirmation hearings.'"

Turning to the President's nomination of Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Coulter explained why she had initial reservations about his pick. "I was against Roberts because he's a tabula rasa; but now that Biden, Clinton, Schumer and Kennedrunk are voting against him, I guess he might be okay," she said.

"Plus, when he said ‘I won't make rulings based on foreign court rulings' – well, he had me."

Some Lessons

We asked Ann how to talk to liberals about Hurricane Katrina, the latest controversy du jour.

"Explain to them that evacuating a city is the job of the mayor and the governor, not the federal government," Ann said.

"Explain that the President is very powerful but he still can't whip a Category 5 hurricane."

But wasn't racism really behind the New Orleans tragedy?

Coulter quickly countered. "One in four Katrina victims were white people; so if this was a racist conspiracy, it wasn't a very good one."

Oh, thank God for Ann Coulter! If NBC is looking to replace Katie Couric for the "Today" show, we can tell NBC Chairman Bob Wright that Ann is the girl!

As for the recent spate of claims from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his fellow "envirocrats" who say that global warming is the real cause of Hurricane Katrina, Ann had a rather funny reply.

"Try to get them sedated and restrained quickly, then wait for the paramedics to arrive. If it's Kennedy, take the needle out of his arm first," she said.

Can liberals find value in her books too? Ann Coulter believes so.

"That money you were thinking about donating to become an ‘Air America Associate' – ‘Air America Ass' for short - why not do something useful with it? Buy my book for friends and loved ones."

She even says her new book flatters liberal icon Bill Clinton.

"When you're reading the new chapter on Bill Clinton it becomes a pop-up book," Ann said.

As for her next major book due out next year, we asked Coulter to let us in on the secret and tell us what it's all about.

"Entre nous, what's the new book about? When will it be finished and available?" we asked innocently.

Her answer: "I was going to tell you, but then you started with that entre nous business. You know how I hate anything French."

Editor's Note: Get your copy of Ann's new book at a price cheaper than Amazon PLUS get our FREE report "Coulter's Fight" - Click Here Now.

Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics: Katrina Disaster

News ~ Phil Brennan ** Ann Coulter Breaks Her Silence

Posted by uhyw at 2:54 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 3:01 AM EDT
Most Americans against troop withdrawal
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Most Americans against troop withdrawal

But most Democrats see U.S. forces as occupying army

Most Americans believe withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq will make things worse in the Middle East nation.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey found just 20 percent believe troop withdrawal will make things better.

Republicans, by a 78 percent to 10 percent margin, say withdrawing troops from Iraq would make things worse.

Democrats are evenly divided, with 30 percent saying the troop withdrawal would make things better and 33 percent taking the opposite view.

Among American not affiliated with either major party, 49 percent say withdrawing troops now would make the situation worse.

The poll found Republicans overwhelmingly view the U.S. troops as a liberating army, while Democrats, by a 2-to-1 margin, see the U.S. forces as an occupying army.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans view the U.S. troops in Iraq as a liberating force while 35 percent say they are an occupying force.

Forty-seven percent of Americans say it's more important to get U.S. troops home than to "insure that Iraq becomes a peaceful nation enjoying the benefits of freedom and democracy."

Forty-three percent view finishing the mission as more important than bringing home the troops.

The Rasmussen survey found a gender gap on this question.

By a 50 percent to 42 percent margin, men say finishing the mission is more important. By a 51 percent to 38 percent margin, women say bringing the troops home is more important.

The poll also found 43 percent of Americans say the war in Iraq is part of the War on Terror. Conversely, 40 percent say Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror.

World Net Daily ** Most Americans against troop withdrawal

Posted by uhyw at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 2:00 AM EDT
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Ulysses S. Grant's Thoughts on Anti-War Protesters
Mood:  special
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

U.S. Grant's Thoughts on Anti-War Protesters

I wanted to share a few lines from U.S. Grant's memoirs, as they are the simplest and most powerful words I've seen concerning Americans opposing wars that their nation is involved in. Grant said these words about America's war with Mexico. He, of course, fought valiantly in this war though he believed that America was wrong in its aggression towards such a weak foe in an attempt to gain territory.

"Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no matter whether right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or history. Better for him, individually, to advocate "war, pestilence, and famine," than to act as an obstructionist to a war already begun. The history of the defeated rebel will be honorable hereafter, compared with that of the Northern man who aided him by conspiring against his government while protected by it. The most favorable posthumous history the stay-at-home traitor can hope for is--oblivion."

18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

I love this quote. I intend to memorize it and use it against the numbskull stay-at-home traitors that infest this great Republic.

Posted by uhyw at 3:57 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2005 4:16 AM EDT
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Hamas To Convert Synagogue to Weapons Museum
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

These fuckers really need to go to Hell.

Hamas To Convert Synagogue to Weapons Museum

WASHINGTON - Emboldened by Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank, Hamas yesterday announced its plan to turn a synagogue in Netzarim into a museum that would display weapons employed by the terrorist group's members against Israeli civilians.

A statement issued yesterday by Hamas said, "Qassam rockets and other locally made arms will be exposed, since it is the legal weapon that evicted the occupation forces." The Middle East Media Research Institute yesterday reported that recent sermons delivered by Hamas leaders pledged to resist efforts from the Palestinian Authority to disarm the organization ahead of upcoming elections.

The standoff between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which has claimed credit for numerous suicide bombings in Israel, could scuttle parliamentary elections in January as Israel has insisted that no armed terror groups participate in the vote. If Hamas fends off demands that it relinquish its weapons it could set a dangerous precedent in the region as Lebanon moves closer to asserting its sovereignty - and includes Hezbollah in its ruling coalition.

So far, America and its allies have accepted that there is little Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas can do to tame Hamas. On Tuesday the Quartet, a diplomatic group comprising America, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations, released a statement that envisioned the disarming of Hamas in phases and not necessarily as a precondition for its participation in parliamentary elections on January 25.

"We also agreed that ultimately those who want to be part of the political process should not engage in armed group or militia activities," the joint statement said. "For there is a fundamental contradiction between such activities and the building of a democratic state."

The inclusion of the modifier, "ultimately," could pave the way for Hamas to run candidates and join the government even if it keeps its weapons. Israeli officials have been pressing America, Europe, and the United Nations to require the Palestinian Authority to disarm Hamas and the Palestinian Arab armed terrorist organizations.

Prime Minister Sharon in his meeting with President Bush and later to journalists said that Israel would not support any Palestinian elections that included participation from an armed Hamas that advocated a terrorist platform.

"We will never agree that this terrorist organization, this armed terrorist organization, will participate in the elections," he told reporters on September 18. "I don't see how they could have elections without our help."

Secretary of State Rice suggested in an interview published this week in Time magazine that the Palestinian Authority focus on disarming Fatah-based militias for now and suggested that Hamas be dealt with later.

"I understand that there are complications with Hamas and there are questions about how capable they would be of actually insisting on disarmament of Hamas," Ms. Rice said.

Mr. Bush has not specified whether Hamas must disarm. Speaking to the Jewish Republican Coalition yesterday, he said that the Palestinian Authority was unifying its security services.

"The policy of this government is to streamline the security forces so there's only one authority with security forces, and that's the authority that campaigned based upon a peace platform," Mr. Bush said. "The policy of this government is to help entrepreneurship flourish, to help small businesses start. The Arab world needs to help right now. They need to step in and help the peaceful democratic forces within the Palestinian - within Gaza, to thwart those whose stated objective is the destruction of Israel."

NY Sun ~ Eli Lake ** Hamas To Convert Synagogue to Weapons Museum

Posted by uhyw at 4:03 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2005 4:06 AM EDT
'Able Danger' Will Get Second Hearing
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Co-chairmen Thomas Kean, left, and Lee Hamilton discuss the Sept. 11 commission's report. >>>>>

'Able Danger' Will Get Second Hearing

WASHINGTON - The Defense Department on Friday reversed its earlier decision to bar key witnesses from testifying about just how much information the U.S. government had on the Sept. 11 hijackers before they led the attacks that killed 3,000 people.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has therefore scheduled a second hearing for next week on the formerly secret Pentagon intelligence unit called "Able Danger".

Former members of Able Danger say the group identified Sept. 11 hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, more than a year before the attacks. Although those Able Danger analysts say they told the Sept. 11 commission about their findings, former members of the panel have so far dismissed the claim.

The Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement Friday that the Pentagon now will allow five witnesses to testify. Among those are Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott and defense contractor John Smith.

Shaffer said in written testimony last week that the Pentagon blocked him from offering information on Able Danger and its identification of Atta — the lead hijacker.

9/11 Commission members Bob Kerrey, right, and James Thompson, left, attend a public hearing.

Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., had suggested that the Pentagon's refusal to allow the testimony "may be an obstruction" to the committee's work. Specter is the judiciary committee chairman.

The second hearing will focus on what happened with pre-attack charts and information allegedly destroyed at the behest of military leaders.

The committee held its first hearing Wednesday, after which senators still had questions.

"I think the Department of Defense owes the American people an explanation about what went on here," Specter said. "The American people are entitled to some answers."

Shaffer's attorney, Mark Zaid, also said that the Pentagon prevented testimony from a defense contractor that he also represents.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Defense Department had a representative at the hearing and that it had provided sufficient information to committee members.

"I think there are aspects of this as a classified program that we have expressed some concerns with respect to the appropriateness of some things in an open hearing," Whitman told reporters after the first hearing on Wednesday. "We are working very closely to provide all the information that [committee members] need to assess Able Danger."

Zaid fielded questions from committee members on behalf of Shaffer and contractor Smith. He testified that Able Danger, using data mining techniques, identified four of the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11, 2001.

Zaid said Shaffer would have testified about charts his team created dealing with Al Qaeda and a grainy photo on file of Atta.

"Shaffer remembers it specifically because of the evil death look in Mohamad Atta's eyes," Zaid said.

Pentagon officials had acknowledged earlier this month that they had found three people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Specter asked the official representing the Department of Defense at the hearing, William Dugan, the acting assistant to the secretary for intelligence oversight, if the department had any information about an Al Qaeda cell and Atta.

"I don't know," Dugan replied.

Specter asked Dugan to "find out the answers to those questions" relating to what the department knew about the workings of Able Danger.

Able Danger personnel have said they tried to give the FBI information three times, but Defense Department attorneys refused, citing legal concerns about investigations run by the military on U.S. soil, Zaid said.

Former Army Major Eric Klein Smith also testified that he was instructed to destroy data and documents related to Able Danger in May and June of 2000, in accordance with Army regulations that limited the collection and holding of information of U.S. persons.

Klein Smith said the order to destroy data was not hostile or aggressive, it was a matter of policy. Asked if this information could have prevented Sept. 11, the major said he could not speculate, but believed it would have been significant and useful.

Klein Smith said that he did not remember seeing a picture of Atta, but said he believed "implicitly" claims by Shaffer and Phillpott that they had seen Atta's picture.

Zaid told committee members that some of the secret unit's records were also destroyed in March 2001 and spring 2004.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., was the first lawmaker to come forward with claims that the Sept. 11 commission that investigated pre-attack intelligence failed to accept offers from Able Danger staff about the data it had before the attacks.

Weldon said their refusal to hear from Able Danger's members makes the government record of intelligence incomplete.

Fox News - Catherine Herridge and Trish Turner ~ Associated Press ** 'Able Danger' Will Get Second Hearing

Posted by uhyw at 1:55 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2005 3:53 AM EDT
Friday, September 23, 2005
Half of Katrina Refugees Have Records
Mood:  surprised
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Half Katrina Refugees Have Records

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, federal officials flew Brian Murph and more than 100 other victims to Rhode Island. They were greeted by the governor and cheered by residents.

Then the handcuffs were placed on Murph.

State police did criminal background checks on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records — a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.

Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees' pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.

"It's a balancing act," said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. "We don't want to treat them like criminals after they have been traumatized, but we want to make sure they are in no danger nor the families they are housed with."

Civil libertarians call the checks thinly veiled race and class discrimination against people who have suffered already. The checks are made on those evacuated or forced to seek help from charities or others — in other words, people who are often black and poor.

"I think it's happening partly because who these people are and where they came from," said Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU. "The mere fact that people have past criminal records in and of itself doesn't say anything about harm to the community."

Some state and local governments screened just those refugees evacuated by the federal government. Others screened anyone placed in private homes — and screened the hosts as well.

In South Carolina, state police checked every evacuee flown there by the government. Of 547 people checked, 301 had criminal records, according to Robert Stewart, state Law Enforcement Division Chief.

While most had been law-abiding for years or had committed minor offenses, the group included those convicted of rape or aggravated assault. Two had warrants, but were not held because the states weren't interested in extraditing them.

"This was all done for everyone's protection," Stewart said. "If you're going to be sheltering people, it would be prudent for people taking them in to know what criminal pasts they might have."

The state police in West Virginia said roughly half of the nearly 350 Katrina victims evacuated by the government to that state had criminal records, and 22 percent have a history of committing a violent crime.

In Massachusetts, where about 200 evacuees were flown to a military base on Cape Cod, criminal background checks turned up six sex offenders and one man wanted for rape in Louisiana. Two of the sex offenders have since left the state, said Katie Ford, a spokeswoman for the state public safety office. The rape suspect was being held on $250,000 bail.

In Tennessee, police checked every federal evacuee flown to Knoxville and found outstanding warrants for two people in Louisiana — but Louisiana did not want to extradite them.

In Texas, with more than 300,000 refugees, local officials have run 20,000 criminal background checks on evacuees, as well as the relief workers helping them and people who have opened up their homes.

Most of the checks have found little for police to be concerned about. Philadelphia police found no criminals as of the middle of last week, even though the local ACLU branch objected to the checks themselves.

Several states with thousands of refugees aren't checking criminal backgrounds at all. Missouri has no formal effort to check its 6,000 refugees. Neither has California, which reported about 3,800 refugees earlier this month, or Maryland, Minnesota and Michigan, which together took in several thousand evacuees.

In Middletown, a community just north of Newport, several evacuees shrugged at the prospect of background checks and said they understood the state's desire to learn more about them.

"I would like to know if there's any skeletons in the closet with my neighbors or the community," said one refugee, 38-year-old Carmen Williams.

Fox ~ Associated Press ** Half Katrina Refugees Have Records

Posted by uhyw at 8:12 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 23, 2005 8:36 PM EDT
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Julie Myers, 36, To Head Immigration
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Critics say Julie Myers, the niece of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, isn't qualified to be the head of Immigration and Customs. (Reuters) >>>>>

Levin Threatens to Block Julie Myers' DHS Nomination

Julie Myers, 36, To Head Immigration and Customs

Julie Myers is 36 years old, a lawyer and a political appointee to the Bush administration with limited executive experience.

Yet, she is slated to become head of one of the nation's most critical security-related agencies, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Myers appointment, in the wake of FEMA's disastrous handling of the Katrina Hurricane and the resignation of its chief, Michael Brown, has people from both sides of the political aisle raising hackles.

"The Bush administration has barely rebounded from the resignation of horse show organizer Michael ‘Heck of a job' Brown from FEMA, and yet is pushing forward with the nomination of another inexperienced bureaucrat to a key post at the Department of Homeland Security," conservative syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin railed in an article out this week.

Despite the obvious resume problems, the Bush administration is not likely to back down on the appointment.

Myers' uncle is none other than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers.

And Myers' husband is DHS chief Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood.

Great contacts, but "what exactly are the 36-year-old lawyer's main credentials to solve ... dire national security problems?" asks Malkin in her op-head piece.

"Zip, Nada, Nil," answers Malkin.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are also worried that tapping the relatively inexperienced Myers may engender down the pike another debacle like that of Katrina fall-guy Michael D. Brown, the recently resigned head of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

At a Senate hearing last week, rumblings over Myers were apparent, according to the Washington Post, with Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, at one point baldly concluding that Myers' resume indicated that she is "not qualified for the position."

Voinovich further announced at the time that he wanted to meet with Chertoff to discuss Myers' qualifications. "I'd really like to have him spend some time with us, telling us personally why he thinks you're qualified for the job..."

Part of that highly scrutinized resume indicates that Julie L. Myers was nominated by President Bush on June 26, 2003, and confirmed by the Senate on October 17, 2003, to serve as the assistant secretary for Export Enforcement at the Department of Commerce.

During her brief tenure in her Commerce position, Myers was responsible for developing and coordinating the Department's efforts to prevent, and where necessary, sanction violations of U.S. dual-use export control laws and the anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Act.

She also managed Commerce Special Agents who work at eight field offices in the United States, and oversaw the Export Enforcement's international attache program.

At Commerce, Myers oversaw just 170 federal employees and managed a budget of $25 million. In her new job heading up ICE, Myers will be expected to manage more than 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget.

The White House has been emphasizing that Myers' role in sanctioning violations of U.S. dual-use export control laws and the anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Act represents solid law enforcement experience.

As Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, told the Washington Post: "She's well-known and respected throughout the law enforcement community ... She has a proven track record as an effective manager."

Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Myers served as the chief of staff of the Criminal Division for then-assistant attorney general Michael Chertoff at the Department of Justice.

Before that, she served as the deputy assistant secretary for Money Laundering and Financial Crimes at the Department of Treasury. She also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York and as an Associate Independent Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for Kenneth W. Starr.

"I realize that I'm not 80 years old," Myers testified recently on Capitol Hill. "I have a few gray hairs, more coming, but I will seek to work with those who are knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do."

Malkin couldn't let that nugget slide without comment: "Please, spare us the not-so-clever rejoinders about age and wisdom. Reagan could pull them off. Myers can't. Why hire someone who needs to ‘seek to work' with those ‘who know more than I do' in order to her job?"

After Sept. 11, Immigration, then a Justice Dept. agency, was heavily criticized for failing to stop many of the al Qaida hijackers from entering the U.S. or having them deported, as many of them were here illegally.

Malkin says Myers' appointment in light of Sept. 11 is worrisome.

"Myers may be perfectly capable of writing legal briefs and organizing policy conferences," Malkin writes. "I'm sure her knowledge of export controls is second to none. But as long as the borders are broken and al Qaida continues to exploit lax immigration enforcement, she has no business heading ICE - or any other DHS agency."

The head of ICE is required by statute to have at least five years of experience in both law enforcement and management. That requirement alone spells a world of difference between Myers and Brown, the latter having joined FEMA with no experience in disaster preparedness.

But the experience factor aside, Myers has yet another headache in the works. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., is threatening to use legislative delaying tactics against Myers' nomination - until he receives a secret FBI memo about terror suspect interrogations that he's been seeking for months, according to the Associated Press.

At the heart of Levin's issue is a heavily abridged May 2004 e-mail from FBI agents seeking guidance about questioning terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

As far back as February, Democratic senators were asking for an unedited version of the memo to see if it mentioned or involved Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who headed the Justice Department's criminal division from 2001 to 2003.

However, the Justice Department has consistently nixed the request, saying the memos contain "information covered by the Privacy Act," and had nothing to do with Chertoff.

Myers was Chertoff's chief of staff at the time.

News ~ Dave Eberhart ** Julie Myers, 36, To Head Immigration and Customs

Posted by uhyw at 1:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:38 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
New analysis shows the Sun is more active now than it's been in the past 1,000 years
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: The SUN Causes Global Warming - WHOODA THUNKIT
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Sunspots are plentiful nowadays >>>>>

Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high

A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.

Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past.

They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer.

This trend is being amplified by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue.

'Little Ice Age'

Sunspots have been monitored on the Sun since 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope. They provide the longest-running direct measurement of our star's activity.

The variation in sunspot numbers has revealed the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity as well as other, longer-term changes.

In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface.

This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it.

Ice cores record climate trends back beyond human measurements >>>>>

It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive.

Over the past few thousand years there is evidence of earlier Maunder-like coolings in the Earth's climate - indicated by tree-ring measurements that show slow growth due to prolonged cold.

In an attempt to determine what happened to sunspots during these other cold periods, Dr Sami Solanki and colleagues have looked at concentrations of a form, or isotope, of beryllium in ice cores from Greenland.

The isotope is created by cosmic rays - high-energy particles from the depths of the galaxy.

The flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface is modulated by the strength of the solar wind, the charged particles that stream away from the Sun's surface.

And since the strength of the solar wind varies over the sunspot cycle, the amount of beryllium in the ice at a time in the past can therefore be used to infer the state of the Sun and, roughly, the number of sunspots.

Latest warming

Dr Solanki is presenting a paper on the reconstruction of past solar activity at Cool Stars, Stellar Systems And The Sun, a conference in Hamburg, Germany.

He says that the reconstruction shows the Maunder Minimum and the other minima that are known in the past thousand years.

But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years.

Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, a trend that has accelerated in the past century, just at the time when the Earth has been getting warmer.

The data suggests that changing solar activity is influencing in some way the global climate causing the world to get warmer.

Over the past 20 years, however, the number of sunspots has remained roughly constant, yet the average temperature of the Earth has continued to increase.

This is put down to a human-produced greenhouse effect caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

This latest analysis shows that the Sun has had a considerable indirect influence on the global climate in the past, causing the Earth to warm or chill, and that mankind is amplifying the Sun's latest attempt to warm the Earth.

BBC News ~ Dr David Whitehouse ** Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high

Posted by uhyw at 11:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 11:15 PM EDT
More students drawn to conservative colleges
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff



The Howard Dean School of Shriekanomics?

Nancy Pelosi Scholarship Fund for the Educationally Insane?

Martin Sheen Department of Anti-American Studies?

The Cindy Sheehan Fellowship of Craziness?

Al Gore Department of Environmentalism?

More students are drawn to conservative colleges

Enrollment is up at smaller colleges with Christian values. Some think students hope it will launch political careers.

Catherine Shultis, a National Merit Scholar with a perfect SAT score, is a natural for the hallowed halls of academia: Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown. But last month, she began her freshman year at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Why Steubenville instead of Cambridge, Mass., or New York? The East Coast elite universities "lack a grounding in the Christian faith, and they're turning away from core principles and becoming more and more liberal," she says.

In these politically polarized times, a rising number of top conservative students are politicizing their school choices. Instead of going to a Princeton or Stanford, they're opting for less costly home-state universities or smaller schools that see themselves as standardbearers of Christian values and laissez-faire governance. Such choices are perhaps a boon to those who intend to pursue careers in politics, since conservative think tanks increasingly are recruiting from these colleges.

"Schools like Grove City, Brigham Young, and Hillsdale are some of our more popular schools," says Elizabeth Williams, intern coordinator for the conservative Heritage Foundation, in an e-mail. "Their students are usually of very high caliber."

That doesn't mean there has been an exodus from established East Coast schools, which consistently draw outstanding students of every stripe.

"We have far more students on the right than I used to know when I was vice president of Boston University," says Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president of George Washington University in Washington.

But enrollment at several conservative Christian schools is on the upswing. For example: Patrick Henry College in Virginia, whose mission is to "prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values," first opened its doors in 2000 to 87 students. This year, enrollment stands at 330, and the median SAT score for its freshmen has also jumped, from 1170 to 1340 in the same period.

At Franciscan, Ms. Shultis's new school, where a fledgling group of Democrats disbanded because of lack of interest, enrollment has topped 2,000, up 220 in the past four years. Average grade-point scores of incoming freshmen have also risen.

Job opportunities for these students have also increased, at least in the conservative political sphere. For example: five of the seven leading officers of the College Republican National Committee attend or have graduated from state universities. This summer, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum Collegians recruited an intern each from the University of Minnesota and Wheaton College, a small, Christian school in Illinois.

In 2002, three of the four fellows at the Collegiate Network, which promotes conservative college journalism, came from Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. Today, the two Ivy Leaguers are outnumbered by five other students from state schools, Notre Dame, or Holy Cross. Fifteen of this year's Heritage Foundation interns came from schools that provide a values-based, Christian education, triple the number in 2000.

Those students may find that their degrees carry all the weight of an Ivy League diploma if they choose to work with Republican politicians. "With a lot of the red-state government officials you have a near-total abolition of the preexisting strong bias toward Northeast schools," says David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Some families and students have even turned to conservative college guides.

"We kept getting calls from students and parents who said, and we agree, that their conservative values were viciously attacked on campus," says Jason Mattera, a spokesman for the Young America Foundation (YAF), which offers such a guide. "You have a crazy liberal college atmosphere where they show the 'Vagina Monologues,' [a one-woman play], and host queer parades. And many students and parents are concerned that they're not getting a decent education."

The YAF's list of top 10 conservative college list is weighted toward smaller, religion- oriented schools like Liberty University, the evangelical Christian college founded by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Va., and Christendom College in Fort Royal, Va.

"Choose the Right College," released by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, promotes schools that adhere to "core curricula" - study of the foundational thinkers of Western civilization such as Plato, Aquinas, and Adam Smith. Editor John Zmirak praises smaller Christian schools, but he also includes Yale in his guide for its "liberal but tolerant professors." And he warns that small Christian schools run the risk of isolating their student bodies.

Many top students, no matter what their ideology, will still seek out top schools, Mr. Trachtenberg says. "They want to be rubbing up against the most competitive students they can find, whatever their political persuasion is."

Christian Science Monitor ~ Adam Karlin ** More students are drawn to conservative colleges

Posted by uhyw at 1:40 AM EDT
Monday, September 19, 2005
'UK Heading For New Orleans-Style Poverty'... ''sleepwalking their way to segregation''
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Now Playing: UK NEWS
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The hurricane exposed America's poor >>>>>


Britain's black and poor communities could end up like those exposed in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, minister Harriet Harman has warned.

Her comments echo those of Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, who believes the UK must heed the lessons of the catastrophe.

Hundreds of America's poor were left homeless by the disaster which struck Louisiana last month. The majority of them were black.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Ms Harman said: "We don't want to get into a situation like America, but if you look at the figures, we are already looking like America - in London, poor, young and black people don't register to vote."

Ministers fear the failure of many to register is evidence of their disengagement from civic society - in the same way the poor of New Orleans had no power to improve their position.

Latest figures show that 20% of people aged 20 to 24 were not on the electoral register.

On Thursday, Mr Phillips will tell Manchester Council for Community Relations in a speech: "We are a society which, almost without noticing it, is becoming more divided by race and religion.

"Our ordinary schools ... are becoming more exclusive and our universities are starting to become colour-coded with virtual 'whites keep out' signs in some urban institutions."

In an assessment of the UK after the July 7 terror attacks, Mr Phillips said: "We are sleepwalking our way to segregation."

UK ~ Sky News ** 'UK Heading For New Orleans-Style Poverty'

Posted by uhyw at 2:45 PM EDT

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