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Post Your Interesting News Articles Here


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #80 on: July 31, 2006, 12:56:37 PM »
I don't see how he didn't know it would create a stir, considering all the hype it generated when Tony Snow used the word a few months ago.

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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #81 on: July 31, 2006, 04:21:51 PM »

Dang we're starting kids early these days  :-\


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #82 on: July 31, 2006, 08:47:40 PM »
Castro Relinquishes Power Before Surgery

The Associated Press
Monday, July 31, 2006; 11:43 PM

HAVANA -- Fidel Castro, who took control of Cuba in 1959, rebuffed repeated U.S. attempts to oust him and survived communism's demise almost everywhere else, temporarily relinquished his presidential powers to his brother Raul on Monday night because of surgery.

The Cuban leader said he had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, according to a letter read live on television by his secretary, Carlos Valenciaga.

"The operation obligates me to undertake several weeks of rest," said the letter. Extreme stress "had provoked in me a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated me to undergo a complicated surgical procedure."

Castro said he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his younger brother and successor Raul, the defense minister, but said the move was of "a provisional character." There was no immediate appearance or statement by Raul Castro.

It was the first time in his decades-long tenure that Castro has given up power, though he has been sidelined briefly in the recent past with occasional health problems.

The elder Castro asked that celebrations scheduled for his 80th birthday on Aug. 13 be postponed until Dec. 2, the 50th anniversary of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Castro said he would also temporarily delegate his duties as first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba to Raul, who turned 75 in June and who has been taking on a more public profile in recent weeks.

In power since the triumph of the Cuban revolution on Jan. 1, 1959, Castro has been the world's longest-ruling head of government. Only Britain's Queen Elizabeth, crowned in 1952, has been head of state longer.

The "maximum leader's" ironclad rule has ensured Cuba remains among the world's five remaining communist countries. The others are all in Asia: China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea.

In Old Havana, waiters at a popular cafe were momentarily stunned as they watched the news. But they quickly got back to work and put on brave faces.

"He'll get better, without a doubt," said Agustin Lopez, 40. "There are really good doctors here, and he's extremely strong."

In the nearby Plaza Vieja, Cuban musicians continued to play for customers _ primarily foreign tourists _ sitting at outdoor cafes. Signs on the plaza's colonial buildings put up during a recent Cuban holiday said, "Live on Fidel, for 80 more."

"We're really sad, and pretty shocked," said Ines Cesar, a retired 58-year-old metal worker who had gathered with neighbors to discuss the news. "But everyone's relaxed too: I think he'll be fine."

When asked about how she felt having Raul Castro at the helm of the nation, Cesar paused and said one word: "normal."

Over nearly five decades, hundreds of thousands of Cubans have fled Castro's rule, many of them settling just across the Florida Straits in Miami.

The announcement drew cheering in the streets in Miami. People waved Cuban flags on Little Havana's Calle Ocho, shouting "Cuba, Cuba, Cuba," hoping that the end is near for the man most of them consider to be a ruthless dictator. There were hugs, cheers and dancing as drivers honked their horns. Many of them fled the communist island or have parents and grandparents who did.

White House spokesman Peter Watkins said: "We are monitoring the situation. We can't speculate on Castro's health, but we continue to work for the day of Cuba's freedom." The State Department declined to comment Monday night.

Castro rose to power after an armed revolution he led drove out then-President Fulgencio Batista.

The United States was the first country to recognize Castro, but his radical economic reforms and rapid trials of Batista supporters quickly unsettled U.S. leaders.

Washington eventually slapped a trade embargo on the island and severed diplomatic ties. Castro seized American property and businesses and turned to the Soviet Union for military and economic assistance.

On April 16, 1961, Castro declared his revolution to be socialist. The following day, he humiliated the United States by capturing more than 1,100 exile soldiers in the Bay of Pigs invasion.

The world neared nuclear conflict on Oct. 22, 1962, when President John F. Kennedy announced there were Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. After a tense week of diplomacy, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev removed them.

Meanwhile, Cuban revolutionaries opened 10,000 new schools, erased illiteracy, and built a universal health care system. Castro backed revolutionary movements in Latin America and Africa.

But former liberties were whittled away as labor unions lost the right to strike, independent newspapers were shut down and religious institutions were harassed.

Castro continually resisted U.S. demands for multiparty elections and an open economy despite American laws tightening the embargo in 1992 and 1996.

He characterized a U.S. plan for American aid in a post-Castro era as a thinly disguised attempt at regime change and insisted his socialist system would survive long after his death.

Fidel Castro Ruz was born in eastern Cuba, where his Spanish immigrant father ran a prosperous plantation. His official birthday is Aug. 13, 1926, although some say he was born a year later.

Talk of Castro's mortality was long taboo on the island, but that ended June 23, 2001, when he fainted during a speech in the sun. Although Castro quickly returned to the stage, many Cubans understood for the first time that their leader would one day die.

Castro shattered a kneecap and broke an arm when he fell after a speech on Oct. 20, 2004, but typically laughed off rumors about his health, most recently a 2005 report that he had Parkinson's disease.

"They have tried to kill me off so many times," Castro said in a November 2005 speech about the Parkinson's report, adding he felt "better than ever."

But the Cuban president also said he would not insist on remaining in power if he ever became too sick to lead: "I'll call the (Communist) Party and tell them I don't feel I'm in condition ... that please, someone take over the command."


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #83 on: August 01, 2006, 07:16:06 AM »
Again, I assert that nobody reads (and certainly nobody discusses) articles put in this thread.  But to appease the commoners:

Feds appeal loss in NSA wiretap case
Bush administration asks the 9th Circuit to halt a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of illegally opening its network to the NSA.

By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET

The Bush administration has asked a federal appeals court to halt a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of illegally opening its communication networks to surveillance by the National Security Agency.

Permitting the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit to proceed would endanger national security and possibly expose classified information, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a legal brief filed on Monday.

The administration also nominated Laurence Silberman, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., to serve as an expert in this case. A former deputy attorney general, Silberman was appointed by President Reagan and serves on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

The brief is a response to a July 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, who surprised lawsuit watchers by saying there are "sufficient" grounds to let the lawsuit continue.

"Because of the public disclosures by the government and AT&T, the court cannot conclude that merely maintaining this action creates a 'reasonable danger' of harming national security," Walker wrote.

In a 24-page brief filed on Monday, the Justice Department asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case because of the "serious risk" of disclosing sensitive information. "The district court has, in a highly unusual action, overruled the government's assertion of the state secrets privilege, and has thereby placed at risk particularly sensitive national security interests," the brief states.

In its class action lawsuit filed in January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleged that AT&T violated federal wiretapping laws by cooperating with the NSA. AT&T has declined to comment, although its attorneys have hinted that legal authorization exists. (In general, federal wiretapping law prohibits electronic surveillance "except as authorized by statute" or by the attorney general.)

After EFF's lawsuit was filed, reports of a secret room in an AT&T building in San Francisco surfaced and have become central to the nonprofit group's litigation.

A former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, has released documents alleging the company spliced its fiber optic cables and ran a duplicate set of cables to Room 641A at its 611 Folsom St. building. Redacted documents seen by CNET show that AT&T has tried to offer benign reasons for the existence of such a room.

"State secrets" claim
The Bush administration has tried to derail the EFF's lawsuit by invoking the "state secrets" privilege and has submitted statements from Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, and John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. The state secrets privilege generally permits the executive branch to dismiss lawsuits that could endanger the nation if allowed to proceed.

Those arguments worked before a federal judge in Chicago. On July 25, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly granted the Justice Department's request to throw out another suit related to the NSA program brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

But Walker, the judge in San Francisco, saw things differently in the EFF suit and ruled that "even the state secrets privilege has its limits." Although the state secrets privilege might require that the case be halted at some point, he said, it should not be tossed out of courts before it could even properly begin.

In his opinion (click here for PDF), Walker also said he was contemplating appointing an expert with security clearance to assist him in "determining whether disclosing particular evidence" would endanger national security.

The Justice Department opposes the idea (click here for PDF) but said that if an expert was necessary, Silberman is its choice.

For its part, the EFF nominated as an expert: Louis Fisher, who works at the Library of Congress; Michael Jacobs, a former NSA employee who is now a vice president at consulting firm SRA International; and Washington attorney Kenneth Bass, a court-appointed expert in a case dealing with classified documents.

The EFF's brief (click here for PDF), which argued against the government's request to halt proceedings while the appeal continues, said the selection of a court-appointed expert was appropriate.

Proposals to rewrite federal surveillance laws could, however, imperil the case if they are eventually adopted. Last week, a U.S. Senate committee heard testimony from the heads of the CIA and NSA who urged the adoption of a bill to expand the 1978 wiretapping law called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It would expand the president's ability to conduct broad telephone and Internet surveillance with limited judicial oversight.

Also on Monday, Walker approved a request from CNET Networks (publisher of and the California First Amendment Coalition to file a friend-of-the-court brief. In May, CNET and other groups had opposed a request by AT&T to hold part of a hearing behind closed doors. Walker rejected the request.


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #84 on: August 01, 2006, 07:19:50 AM »
LOL.  I'm DEF. a "commoner" who reads them ALL!!  It's better than sifting through the newspaper   :D  If you give your opinion when you post, maybe it will start a discussion.  Otherwise, I figure it's being posted for everyone's reading pleasure. :D


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #85 on: August 01, 2006, 07:43:52 AM »
Yep, duly read and noted.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #86 on: August 01, 2006, 07:47:17 AM »
The administration also nominated Laurence Silberman, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., to serve as an expert in this case. A former deputy attorney general, Silberman was appointed by President Reagan and serves on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.

He's an interesting guy.  Judged our spring moot court competition (  Asked some interesting questions and gave good feedback.


Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #87 on: August 01, 2006, 07:47:34 AM »
Think the Senate proposals to rewrite federal surveillance laws will pass? I'm about to read the Court's opinion and the briefs (love having time on my hands  8) ) but it seems like a weak argument to say that the case should be completely thrown out becuase of a possible national secuirty threat.  If the judge gets someone with clearance (and the govt. doesn't try to stop their clearance) to make sure that the threat isn't there, I dont' see what the problem is.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #88 on: August 01, 2006, 08:31:44 AM »
Authorities arrest teens in ‘KKK’ incident

By Laura Followell
The Tribune-Star

Four teenagers have been arrested in connection with the scorching of the letters “KKK” into the lawn of a northside residence.

Sheriff Jon Marvel said tips to police led them to the four youths — boys ages 17, 16 and two who are 15 — all of whom have admitted their role in the incident many consider a hate crime based on race.

The 6-foot long letters were burned into the grass a week ago at the home belonging to Emanuel and Amelia Smith, who are black.

The suspects were arrested Wednesday at various locations. The first arrest occurred about 10 a.m., with the final suspect taken into custody at approximately 8 p.m.

The 17-year-old was preliminarily charged with arson, theft, trespass and mischief; the 16-year-old boy is accused of arson, trespass and mischief; and both 15-year-olds face preliminary charges of mischief and trespass.

The younger boys] were not directly involved in pouring gasoline,” Marvel said. “The [Sheriff’s] department had been working on it ever since it was reported by the victims. We received several tips through the THPD and Crime Stoppers, which ultimately led to these four suspects’ arrests.”

The suspects were transported to the juvenile center and are expected in court today.

The FBI has been involved in the case due to its nature, but no decision has been made on the filing of hate crime charges.

“None of them were charged with a hate crime right now,” Marvel said, but “that doesn’t preclude it. The agent will confer with the United States attorney for this district.”

The sheriff declined to discuss the suspects’ motive for allegedly burning the letters into the family’s lawn.

The Smiths could not be reached for comment prior to press time.


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Re: Post Your Interesting News Articles Here
« Reply #89 on: August 01, 2006, 09:39:53 AM »
I, for one, have never come across a game in which you get points for "how many women you rape." 

U.S. judge throws out Minnesota video game law
Statute violates free speech, unsupported by research

Pioneer Press

A federal judge on Monday shot down a Minnesota law that would fine youngsters who get their hands on the smuttiest, bloodiest and most violent video games.

The law, which was scheduled to take effect today, would have docked youths $25 for renting or buying video games an industry board rates "mature" or "adults only." It also would have required stores to post signs warning underage gamers about the fine.

Passed in May, the law was aimed to protect game players younger than 17. Backers pointed to games such as "God of War," in which players gouge out eyes, sever limbs and make human sacrifices, and "Manhunt," in which a serial killer uses a nail gun and chain saw to slay victims.

The video game industry sued to block the law in June, arguing it violated constitutional rights of game makers and customers.

Minnesota's law is the latest to fall after a court challenge. The video industry claims an undefeated record after knocking out statutes across the country, including those in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and California.

"We are pleased that the court has so quickly overturned this ill-conceived law," said Bo Andersen, president of the Entertainment Merchants Association, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum ruled that the law violated free-speech rights. He also concluded research failed to back up the state's claims that the law would protect the psychological well being of youngsters and foster their moral and ethical development.

"The state itself acknowledges … that it is entirely incapable of showing a causal link between the playing of video games and any deleterious effect on the psychological, moral, or ethical well-being of minors," Rosenbaum wrote.

Rosenbaum said that even if the state could come up with the research to prove harm, the law was not narrowly tailored enough to pass constitutional muster.

Attorney General Mike Hatch said he will consider appealing the ruling.

"There are psychologists who believe the reward mechanism of more points, more games and higher levels of play in video games condition children to be rewarded by reenacting violence in the real world," Hatch said.

One St. Paul lawmaker said she wants the Legislature to craft another law next session.

"The whole ruling defied common sense. I am so disappointed," said bill sponsor Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul.

"The federal court said we don't have a right to protect our children, but we protect our children from other things. We don't let them smoke or buy liquor."

Pappas said the judge's conclusion that the current body of research didn't show violent video games harm children and teens defies logic.

"You score points for how many women you rape, how many cops you kill," Pappas said. "How could that not affect them psychologically? "

The video game industry has said its voluntary rating system — like those for movies, television and music — does not infringe on free-speech rights but still lets parents control what their kids play. The Entertainment Software Rating Board assigns one of six ratings to each video game, ranging from "early childhood" to "adults only."

Given the court's ruling, bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Johnson, R-Plymouth, said he might try a different approach next session.

"I don't know if we could go and craft different legislation that would be more narrowly tailored," Johnson said. "Maybe the next step is just outside of legislation."

Informing parents, he said, might be more effective.

David Walsh, president of the Minneapolis-based National Institute on Media and the Family said the Tuesday ruling came as no surprise given the video game industry's winning record in court. He said education and public pressure is ultimately how parents will force change.

"While we might be tempted to wish for a legislative solution, the real solution has to be education, which is what we've been advocating for years," Walsh said.

"Parents need to be media wise and watch what our kids watch. We can't always look to law to solve this problem."

Several parents at GameStop, a video game store in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood, said they are concerned about violent games.

Eileen O'Connell-Conzet of St. Paul, who brought her 7-year-old son, Will, to the store for the first video game he could purchase with his own money, said she was disappointed the new law was ruled unconstitutional.

"I believe vendors have the right to sell what they want," she said. "But if they do, they also have responsibilities to families."

Chris Yang of Ham Lake, a father of five, said he believes video games are only a counterpart to the kind of teenage and young-adult movies that emphasize violence, gore and sex.

"I'm really concerned about it," he said. "Violence and fighting is different from games about serial killers and gory dismemberment. But that's where movies and games are going."

Yang said he was ambivalent about the law.

"I believe the games aren't good for kids, especially the ones that are violent," he said. "The problem is, they're awful fun to play."