Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Poison Politics Meet Domestic Terrorists, Volcano Axes Economies, Wall Street War, Octupus Thief - News Headlines 20 Apr 2010
Could Tea Party Rhetoric Lead to Another Oklahoma City?: (CBS)
It was fifteen years ago today that Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people by detonating an explosives-filled truck near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in the nation's deadliest-ever homegrown terrorist attack.
McVeigh was an anti-government extremist inspired by the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco; he railed against taxes, gun control and federal interference in Americans' lives...
Former President Bill Clinton, among others, see echoes of the rhetoric that drove McVeigh in the current political discourse. In an op-ed in the New York Times today tied to the bombing, he wrote that the bombers were driven by "the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them."
Lamenting the fact that "deeply alienated and disconnected Americans decided murder was a blow for liberty," Clinton went on to say Americans have a right to dissent but not violence when they don't get what they want.
There is, he wrote, "a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws."
That was a shot at folks like Rep. Michele Bachmann, who last week railed against what she called the "gangster government" at a tax day Tea Party rally. Clinton said it is not appropriate to call elected officials "gangsters" and added, "you can attack the politics" but "don't demonize them, and don't say things that will encourage violent opposition."
Time magazine's Joe Klein, meanwhile, suggested that the rhetoric of Glenn Beck and "to a certain extent" Sarah Palin "rub right up close to being seditious." Added New York Magazine's John Heilemann in that weekend interview: "Joe's right and I'll name another person, I'll name Rush Limbaugh who uses this phrase constantly and talks about the Obama administration as a regime. That phrase which has connotations of tyranny. And what's so interesting about it to me, to get to Norah's point - what is the focus, what is the cause of this? You think back to 1994, there was Ruby Ridge. There was Waco. There were triggering incidents. There's been nothing like that. The only thing that's changed in the last 15 months is the election of Barack Obama. And as far as I can see, in terms of the policies that Obama has implemented, there's nothing."
Thirty-eight percent of Americans now see domestic terrorism as a more serious threat than international terrorism, according to a new CBS News poll; that's up eight points from 2002. On Monday, MSNBC is airing a documentary called "The McVeigh Tapes" detailing McVeigh's motivations and perspective on his crime -- and raising questions about the dangers of the extreme rhetoric that influenced him...
Read the rest of the article as it's worth it, just click on the title link.
Reader Poll in the news story: Should Americans be concerned that heated rhetoric will incite domestic terrorism?
Yes - 63%
No - 36%
This recounting is astounding in its magnitude of how Mother Nature can affect our economies.
Volcano Ash Cloud Sets Off Global Domino Effect: (CBS/AP)
While the volcanic ash cloud covering parts of Europe continues to wreak havoc for airlines - costing the industry more than $1 billion as of Monday - grounding most of the continent's air travel for several days has had a ripple effect extending far beyond Europe's borders.
The following is a collection of international anecdotes demonstrating how the ash cloud has done more than hit airlines' bottom lines and inconvenienced air travelers.
• The lack of refrigeration facilities at the airport in capital of the West African nation of Ghana has been a big blow to pineapple and pawpaw farmers who sell to Europe because of the lack of flights. As of Tuesday, no cargo flights have taken off yet.
• In Africa, a group of five people from Sierra Leone and Liberia had to abandon a fact-finding trip to the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in The Hague.
• In Kenya, thousands of day laborers are out of work because produce and flowers can't be exported amid the flight cancellations. Kenya has thrown away 10 million flowers - mostly roses - since the volcano eruption. Asparagus, broccoli and green beans meant for European dinner tables are being fed to Kenyan cattle because storage facilities are filled to capacity.
• The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the ash cloud produced by the eruption has cost the U.S. economy $650 million, approximately $130 million per day. That kind of loss to the economy affects the cash flow to fund about 6,000 American jobs, the association said. Every international flight bound for the U.S. is worth an average of $450,000 in spending from travelers, which the association says pays for five jobs per flight.
• Nissan Motor Co.'s production at a line at its Oppama plant near Tokyo and two lines at its Kyushu factory in southern Japan will stop all day Wednesday because the planned shipment of tire pressure sensors from Ireland has not arrived, company spokeswoman Sachi Inagaki said. The suspension would affect nearly 2,000 vehicles, including the Cube compact made at the Oppama plant, and the Murano and Rogue crossover SUV models produced at the Kyushu plant as well as eight other models that are produced on the same production lines, Inagaki said.
• BMW North America spokeswoman Jan Ehlen told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg on Monday that the automaker will likely reduce production at the BMW plant in South Carolina because of a shortage of supplies, but shouldn't have to shut the plant down. BMW uses planes to ship transmissions and other components from its German factories to South Carolina. The Greer plant makes BMW's X5 and X6 sport utility vehicles.
• The Pentagon said Monday that medical evacuation flights out of Iraq and Afghanistan are taking eight hours longer because flights have been halted to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for treatment at the Landstuhl military hospital. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the military is using the Navy's Rota Air Base in Spain to fly troops back to the United States for care at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.
• The German Foundation for Organ Transplant is delivering hearts, lungs and livers to patients on the basis of how close they are to a delivery. In coordination with the European organization Eurotransplant, the foundation said all organs that usually get flown out to patients were instead being distributed via ground transportation.
• In New York City's Flower District, thousands of dollars worth of tulips, peonies, daffodils and hundreds of other varieties usually come in on the Friday night flights from the Netherlands to be distributed starting Saturday morning. Last weekend's weddings didn't have Dutch flowers.
• Swiss supermarket Migros warned of diminishing supplies of green asparagus during the beloved vegetable's peak season amid halted air deliveries from the United States. Cod from Iceland and fresh tuna filets from Vietnam and the Philippines could also run out, it warned.
• Italian farmers' lobby Coldiretti said each workday without flights costs euro 10 million (about $14 million) as mozzarella and fresh fruits risk going bad.
• Cambridge University's modern and medieval languages faculty delayed oral exams for Monday and Tuesday after students and examiners were left stranded late last week, Britain's Sunday Times reported.
• Marathoner David Gray missed his second consecutive Boston Marathon Monday. In 2009, he sat out the race because of injury. This year, he couldn't climb Heartbreak Hill because he was stuck in a hotel room in Brussels, Belgium.
• People trapped in the U.K. would partially offset the loss of revenue from tourists unable to fly to England, Howard Archer, chief economist of IHS Global Insight, told British newspaper The Guardian. "Obviously, the longer that the problem does persist, the more serious will be the economic repercussions," he told the paper.
A backlog of passengers waiting for flights to resume means tens of thousands of people are still stranded and increasingly strapped for cash. Stuck passengers have had to shell out for hotels, restaurant meals, clothing and transport to and from the airport as they seek information on when their travel nightmare might end.
• Andrew and Debbie Jackman of Britain spent more than two years saving up for their family vacation to Australia. After the couple and their two teen-aged sons squeezed into a 150 Australian dollar ($138) hotel room Friday night, the hotel raised the price of the same room to AU$350 Saturday - simply because it could, Andrew said ruefully. After endless negotiations, the hotel brought the price back down to AU$160, but the family, broke and frustrated, opted to move Sunday to a hostel.
• In Japan, Francois Broche was down to his last 3,000 yen ($30). The 33-year-old literature and philosophy professor from Nimes, France, said he would have to call his bank at home to see if he can get his money transferred - but doesn't know how.
• Nicolas Ribard, 29, from Avignon, France, was among about a dozen stranded tourists squatting on sleeping bags that Narita airport officials had lent them. He and three other friends had about 3,000 yen between them, and were surviving on airport-issued crackers, bottled water and coupons for one free shower a day.
Here's a related story of how those in poverty can't afford to miss a day of low wages.
More Ash Fallout: 10 Million Roses Ruined (CBS/AP)
5,000 Kenyan Horticultural Workers Laid Off as Blocked Flights Prevent Flower Exports
Daniel Oyier has been eating only once a day since an ash-belching volcano more than 5,000 miles away caused him to be laid off from his $4-a-day job packing red roses and white lilies for export to Paris and Amsterdam.
Some 5,000 day laborers in Kenya who have been without work since the ash cloud from Iceland shut down air traffic across Europe, showing how one event can have drastic consequences in distant lands in today's global economy.
"If this goes on for a week it will be really bad for us," said Oyier, 23, who sat against a fence most of Monday near Nairobi's international airport, hoping his employer would call him in. "I don't know how I will make rent."
Kenya has thrown away 10 million flowers - mostly roses - since the volcano eruption. Asparagus, broccoli and green beans meant for European dinner tables are being fed to Kenyan cattle because storage facilities are filled to capacity.
The horticulture industry is Kenya's top foreign exchange earner, making $922 million last year. Kenya exports 1,000 tons a day of produce and flowers - including roses, carnations and lilies, said Philip Mbithi, chief executive of the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya.
Mbithi warned of a cascading series of losses if the travel ban lasts much longer. Small-scale farmers who fund their operations through bank loans will begin defaulting on payments and won't be able to get funding for next season if exports don't resume, he said...
Help to Haiti "Not Good Enough": (CBS)
The Long Road Back: Two Million Still Homeless Seen as Sorely Lacking in Basics such as Sanitation, Schools and Security
In a tent city in Haiti, having an actual tent is a luxury. The homes are improvised. People have become masters at making something out of nothing. Even kids make kites out of discarded paper plates and pieces of plastic bags.
CBS News Anchor Katie Couric reports formal education is a luxury too. The few schools that have sprung up are a source of tremendous pride and excitement: two rare commodities.
Three months after the earthquake, what once was an impromptu urban settlement with just a few hundred families has swelled to more than 48,000 people.
"We think there're about 13,000 children here - about 250 or so of them are in school," said Dr. Louise Ivers...
Much more to this story about the daily lives of people in Haiti still living in inhumane conditions - click on the title link.
Michael Lewis: SEC Launched Culture War With Wall Street: (CBS)
The SEC suit against Goldman Sachs may be the tip of the iceberg. According to Michael Lewis, author of the best selling, The Big Short, on the Wall Street financial collapse, "We are in for six months of revelations that are going to astonish people about what happened during the subprime boom and bust."
In an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Lewis said that Goldman Sachs isn't likely to be the only firm under scrutiny by the SEC. "What the SEC alleges Goldman did is something an awful lot of people were doing."
The bond market, which has been a kind of unregulated Wild West of sub-prime mortgage bundles and other exotic financial instruments, now has the belated attention of the SEC.
"Other Wall Street firms will implicated and other deals at Goldman Sachs deals will come to light," Lewis said. "The SEC essentially launched what amounts to a culture war."
"It's crazy for Wall Street firms to make bets for their own books on the stocks and bonds they are advising customer to buy and sell," Lewis said...
Lewis believes that Wall Street can't control itself and needs "wholesale change."
"People on Wall Street essentially had incentives to design bonds that would go bad...incentives to disguise risk, incentives to misallocate capital, and incentives to underwrite loans that would never be paid. The incentive systems need to change," he concluded.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
Glad to see the White House moving ahead aggressively on this issue. It's amazing any female would vote Republican when they and their daughters get handed a slap in the face like Bush did to women.
Bush-Era Policy on Sports Gender Equity Reversed: (CBS/AP) Schools Must Now Provide Stronger Evidence that They Offer Equal Opportunities for Female Athletes.
The U.S. Department of Education is repealing a Bush-era policy that some critics argue was a way to avoid complying with federal law in providing equal opportunities for female athletes.
Under the move, schools and colleges must now provide stronger evidence that they offer equal opportunities for athletic participation under the federal Title IX gender equity law.
It reverses a 2005 policy under former President George W. Bush that allowed schools to use just a survey to prove a lack of interest in starting a new women's sport and encouraged schools to consider a non-response to the questionnaire as disinterest.
"Discrimination continues to exist in college athletic programs - and we should be vigilant in enforcing the law and protecting this important civil right," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a prepared statement...
"Making Title IX as strong as possible is a no-brainer," Biden said. "What we're doing here today will better ensure equal opportunity in athletics and allowing women to realize their potential — so this nation can realize its potential."
The Education Department has sent letters about the change in policy to more than 15,600 school districts and 5,600 college and university presidents.
"This is a great step, a reaffirmation of faith in equality for women," said former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, who helped pass the law in 1972 and called the change long overdue.
Schools have three ways to comply with Title IX: Match the proportion of female athletes to the proportion of women on campus; show a history of increasing sports for women; or prove the school has met the interest and ability of women to participate in athletics.
And for something to amuse you... a friendly octupus! And I have the video to prove it.
Octopus Steals Camera, Takes Video: (CBS)
Swipes $700 Device from Diver, who Retrieves It from Creature's Mouth, Saves Footage
A San Francisco man living in New Zealand was shooting some underwater video last week off the southern coast of Wellington when he got a bit too close to a curious octopus.
The octopus decided to steal the diver's expensive camera, and do a bit of shooting of his own!
Victor Huang said the octopus might have been attracted to the metallic blue color of the camera.
"It just saw something a bit different and unique and wanted to collect it for its little gypsy collection," Huang said.
"Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez pointed out that it's interesting that octupi like to collect items to keep in their lairs for protection.
Huang, who was diving without an oxygen tank, said he was initially "freaked out" by the octopus, and feared for his life. However, Huang added that he soon realized the eight-legged creature was just after his $700 camera, prying it with its strong arms from his hands.
"That's nuts. That's so crazy," "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith remarked.
But Huang wasn't going to say good-bye to his equipment that easily. After going up for air, he chased the octopus for nearly five minutes from the surface, finally noticing that the octopus had slowed down beneath him. He dove down to the animal and held out a spear gun. The octopus attached, opening its mouth, providing a moment for Huang to reach into the animal's mouth and pull out his camera.
Smith pointed out that the beak on an octopus can crack open rocks. So why did Huang bother?
For the octopus' footage, Huang responded.
"I figured that camera must have had amazing footage, so I kind of took that risk and just went for it."
Watch CBS News Videos Online
*** Also funny political news:
Crazy Limbaugh Blames Iceland Volcano on Obama
Outrageous Tea Party Tax Signs and the Perverted Fools That Carry Them - outlandish but true photos collected here from Tea Party rallies
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