what I’m saying to the people of Connecticut, I can do more for you
and your families to get something done
to make health care affordable,
to get universal health insurance,
to make America energy independent, to save your jobs
and create new ones.
That’s what the Democratic Party is all about.
Now Holy Joe Is Against It
He Loves Those
Staffer at SEC Had Warned Of Madoff
Lawyer Raised Alarm, Then Was Pointed Elsewhere
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 2, 2009
An investigator at the Securities and Exchange Commission warned superiors as far back as 2004 about irregularities at Bernard L. Madoff’s financial management firm, but she was told to focus on an unrelated matter, according to agency documents and sources familiar with the investigation.
Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, sent e-mails to a supervisor, saying information provided by Madoff during her review didn’t add up and suggesting a set of questions to ask his firm, documents show. Several of these questions directly challenged Madoff activities that much later turned out to be elements of his massive fraud.
US begins major offensive against Taliban in southern Afghanistan
Military aims to clear insurgents from Helmand River valley before Afghan presidential elections on 20 August
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 July 2009 02.41 BST
Thousands of US marines and hundreds of Afghan troops moved into Taliban-dominated villages in southern Afghanistan today in the first major operation under Barack Obama’s strategy to stabilise the country.
The offensive was launched shortly after 1am local time in Helmand province.
The Taliban stronghold, in the south of the country, is the world’s largest opium poppy producing area.
The goal is to clear insurgents from the Helmand River valley before the Afghan presidential elections take place on 20 August.
The offensive – called Operation Khanjar, or Strike of the Sword – was described by officials as the largest and fastest-moving of the war’s new phase, involving nearly 4,000 marines and 650 Afghan forces.
British forces led similar, but smaller, missions to clear insurgents from Helmand and the neighboring Kandahar provinces last week.
Facing Deficits, Some States Cut Summer School
By SAM DILLON
Published: July 1, 2009
COCOA, Fla. – A year ago, the Brevard County Schools ran a robust summer program here, with dozens of schools bustling with teachers and some 14,000 children practicing multiplication, reading Harry Potter and studying Spanish verbs, all at no cost to parents.
But this year Florida’s budget crisis has gutted summer school. Brevard classrooms are shuttered, and students like 11-year-old Uvenka Jean-Baptiste, whose mother works in a nursing home, are spending their summer days at home, surfing television channels or loitering at a mall.
Nearly every school system in Florida has eviscerated or eliminated summer school this year, and officials are reporting sweeping cuts in states from North Carolina and Delaware to California and Washington.
Hiring might not rebound in an economic recovery
After upheaval in the auto and financial sectors, many workers may find the jobs they lost are gone forever.
By Don Lee
July 2, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Even as the nation’s economy begins clawing its way out of the worst recession in 60 years, there are growing signs that this recovery could come with an unsettling twist: The wheels of commerce may begin to turn again without any substantial boost in jobs.
Not only is the national unemployment rate, now 9.4%, likely to climb into double digits later this year, but it is also expected to remain there well into 2010, economists say. That would prolong the misery of the unemployed, squeeze retailers and other businesses, and add millions of dollars in government costs and lost productivity. It could even threaten the recovery itself.
Though it’s common for the jobless rate to keep climbing for a time after economic output turns positive, the aftermath of the last two downturns, in 1990-91 and 2001, introduced the idea of a “jobless recovery.” Even though the economy improved, many unemployed workers discovered that jobs as good as the ones they’d lost were almost impossible to find.
China’s Green Dam internet filtering system will go ahead, official says
Government claims technology will curb access to pornography, but internet users say it blocks politically sensitive content and monitors behaviour
Tania Branigan in Beijing
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 July 2009 07.09 BST
China’s controversial plan to install Green Dam internet filtering software on all computers will go ahead despite being postponement, a government official told state media today.
The official said it was only “a matter of time” until the software was installed.
The remarks – if they fully reflect official policy – will anger internet users, who mounted a vociferous campaign against the policy this week and hoped they had secured a victory against government censorship.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced a delay in the implementation of the programme late on Tuesday, hours before it had been supposed to come into force.
Officials claim the technology will help to curb access to pornography, particularly by younger users.
Struggling Japanese PM turns to comedian for help
Taro Aso, the increasingly desperate Japanese prime minister, is appealing to a former stand-up comedian to join his cabinet and save the administration just weeks ahead of the general election.
By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Published: 6:50AM BST 02 Jul 2009
Hideo Higashikokubaru, recently elected governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, initially rebuffed an indirect approach from Mr Aso by saying he would only accept a portfolio if he was listed as the Liberal Democratic Party’s candidate for prime minister in the election, which has to be held before Sept 10.
Mr Aso laughed that condition off, but still apparently still hopes that some of Mr Higashikokubaru’s popularity might rub off on him. And any rise in his public support rate might also quell the dissent within the LDP and its coalition ally, the New Komeito Party.
“The prime minister is looking exceedingly weak and the LDP is looking exceedingly divided,” said Steven Reed, a professor of Japanese politics at Chuo University. “The LDP wins elections when its leader displays strong leadership; that is patently not happening now.”
Michelangelo (by Michelangelo): Self-portrait discovered hidden in his final painting
By Michael Day in Milan
Thursday, 2 July 2009
A self-portrait by the Renaissance genius Michelangelo has been discovered in his final painting, the Crucifixion of Saint Peter in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel, it emerged last night.
Maurizio De Luca, the Vatican’s head of paintings restoration, said the finding, possibly the only clear Michelangelo self-portrait in existence, was “extraordinary and moving”, and was given extra poignancy by appearing in the artist’s last painted work.
Tantalising evidence of the find began to emerge during a major restoration, started in 2004, of the Crucifixion of Saint Peter and the other Michelangelo fresco in the chapel, the Conversion of Saint Paul. Until then, no one had suspected who the figure in the top left-hand corner of the work might be. But as the five-year, £3m restoration progressed, scholars began to wonder if it could be the artist himself. And when they compared the facial features to those of portraits of Michelangelo by other artists, the conclusion was inescapable.
Europe’s biggest nicotine addict outlaws smoking
Tough new measures come into force on in an attempt to break the nicotine habit of Greece, Europe’s heaviest smoking nation. But there are serious doubts that the new law will have much impact.
Greece lags behind the rest of Europe in terms of smoking legislation and attitudes. The new campaign, banning smoking in public places as of Wednesday, is designed in part to reduce the heavy burden on government finances.
Each year, 20,000 Greeks die from tobacco related illnesses and the cost in terms of health care amounts to 2.14 billion euros ($3 billion).
Some 40 percent of all Greeks smoke and 60 percent of the population is exposed to passive smoking in the workplace.
“The moment of truth has arrived,” said Health Minister Dimitris Avromopoulos. “This ban aims to bring a change that will revolutionize people’s outlook. Greek society is mature nowadays and ready for the ban.”
Under the new rules, smoking will be banned in hospitals, schools, vehicles and all public spaces. Billboards advertising cigarettes will be banned.
Saddam Hussein ‘more scared of Iran than the US’
From Times Online
July 2, 2009
Saddam Hussein let the world believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction because he did not want to appear weak to Iran, according to the Washington Post.
In interviews with the FBI before he was hanged, the former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as “a zealot” and said the United States was not Iraq’s enemy, the Post reports.
In fact, he claimed, he felt so vulnerable to the threat from “fanatic” leaders in Tehran that he would have been prepared to seek a “security agreement with the United States to protect [Iraq] from threats in the region,” according to declassified accounts of the interviews released on Wednesday and published in the Washington Post.
Amnesty details Gaza ‘war crimes’
Israel committed war crimes and carried out reckless attacks and acts of wanton destruction in its Gaza offensive, an independent human rights report says.
The BBC Thursday, 2 July 2009
Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed using high-precision weapons, while others were shot at close range, the group Amnesty International says.
Its report also calls rocket attacks by Palestinian militants war crimes and accuses Hamas of endangering civilians.
The Israeli military says its conduct was in line with international law.
Israel has attributed some civilian deaths to “professional mistakes”, but has dismissed wider criticism that its attacks were indiscriminate and disproportionate.
Amnesty says some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the 22-day Israeli offensive between 27 December 2008 and 17 January 2009, which agrees broadly with Palestinian figures.
Coup drives deep divide in Honduras
Supporters of ousted President Zelaya blocked streets Wednesday, vowing to protest until he is reinstated.
By Sara Miller Llana | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS – The leftist president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, has managed to bring together world leaders of all stripes in a rare show of unity against his ouster Sunday.
But he has also left this Central American nation as polarized as ever – and the signs of division abound all over the capital city, in graffiti splashed across walls and streets snarled by ad hoc protests.
At a march in favor of Mr. Zelaya Wednesday, where protesters blocked off streets with large rocks and screamed “We want Mel,” – their nickname for Zelaya – Mari Cruz Amador, a school teacher, says her wish is simple: “We want our elected president, not the president who put himself as president.”
As they marched by, Rolando Salgado, a vendor of construction products, shook his head. “Manuel Zelaya cannot come back as president because he broke the law,” he says. “The person responsible for all of this tragedy is Manuel Zelaya.”
Critics of Zelaya, who was arrested early Sunday morning and sent to Costa Rica, say he was pushed out in the name of democracy after forging forward with his bid to let presidents seek re-election beyond a single four-year term, despite widespread rejection of the move that even the Supreme Court deemed illegal. Those supporting Zelaya, however, say they will stay on the streets until their president has been reinstated. The result is an increasingly tense standoff that shows no signs of abating.