Articles of Interest, April 23, 2008

Craigslist grouses about eBay lawsuit

Craigslist has responded to a lawsuit filed by eBay, noting that it “came to us out of the blue,” according to a posting on its craigslist blog Tuesday.

The popular online classified-ad site issued its response after eBay on Tuesday filed a lawsuit, alleging that its 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist was diluted by more than 10 percent in January. eBay, which acquired its minority stake in 2004, submitted its lawsuit under seal and, as a result, few details are readily available.

  • What is Ebay up to? I personally like both sites, but given the way corporations work, I wouldn’t be surprised if something nefarious is going on?

Will these LED bulbs kill consumer skepticism?

LED lightbulbs: Are you ready to make the switch?

High price and a strange color. No, we’re not talking about a hairdo. Those are the two factors that have kept light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, from becoming a mainstream light source.

But that might change soon, said Zach Gibler, chief business development officer of Lighting Science Group, which plans to announce distribution deals with major retailers for its LED bulbs that screw into a regular socket.

LED bulbs for household use have already been around for some time, but their success has been limited. The main obstacles have been that they cost more than incandescent lightbulbs and emit a sometimes unnerving color of light.

Lighting Science Group this week plans to introduce a portfolio of LED replacement white lightbulbs that it hopes will attract more consumer interest. The product line uses the same sockets as Edison bulbs.

  • Seems viable. I believe that if there are environmentally safe alternatives for the various products we use day to day, we should use them, regardless. The biggest problem is affordability. I hope to see a day when the government will invest in these technologies to ensure that they become affordable and help the economy in the long run.

US Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (R) attends the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, April 18, 2008. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

McCain content to let Democrats keep fighting

TOLEDO, Ohio (Reuters) – Republican John McCain‘s presidential campaign is content to let Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fight on.

The prospect for an even longer Democratic battle resulted from Clinton’s defeat of Obama in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, meaning the contest is likely to last at least another two weeks until May 6, when North Carolina and Indiana vote.

As top McCain adviser Mark Salter said, Democrats should “take their time — don’t rush.”

Republican strategists believe McCain has benefited from having won his party’s nomination in March, giving him time to raise much-needed cash and lay the groundwork for his general election campaign, even though the Democratic battle has dominated U.S. headlines.

  • Wouldn’t you? Let Clinton continue to do the dirty work for McCain. She’s pretty good at it. Let her, her campaign, and her supporters destroy the party. That way, the Republicans can come in the fall mocking the Democratic Party for their incompetence and confusion, and offer up a GOP as a stable, reliable, alternative.

Robotic vigilante: Homemade ‘Bum Bot’ patrols in Atlanta

ATLANTA – Cars passing O’Terrill’s pub screech to a halt at the sight of a 300-pound, waist-high robot marked “SECURITY” rolling through downtown long after dark.

The regulars hardly glance outside. They’ve seen bar owner Rufus Terrill’s invention on patrol before — its bright red lights and even brighter spot light blazing, infrared video camera filming and water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top.

“You’re trespassing. That’s private property,” Terrill scolds an older man through the robot’s loudspeaker. The man is sitting at the edge of the driveway to a child care center down the street. “Go on.”

The man’s hands go up and he shuffles into the shadows. Almost immediately, a group of men behind him scatters too.

The Bum Bot’s reputation, it seems, has preceded it.

The electronic vigilante — on the beat since September — has enraged neighborhood activists, who have threatened protests. Street people say it’s intimidating. And homeless advocates question the intentions of its inventor, who uses the Bum Bot as a marketing tool and a political prop.

Terrill, a 57-year-old ex-Marine, asserts his motives are pure: He says more police now patrol the area at night, the park across the street feels safer and he’s had no break-ins since the cube-shaped robot, which Terrill controls with a wireless remote, has roamed the area. To Henrik Christensen, director of Georgia Tech’s Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center, the Bum Bot exploits the kind of anxiety that underlies the Terminator movies.

  • Great idea! We need more concerned citizens like this. Good to go Marine, Semper Fidelis

Bill Clinton: Obama Played Race Card On Me

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: Bill Clinton accused Barack Obama’s campaign of “playing the race card on me” and told a Philadelphia radio station that the Obama campaign took his Jesse Jackson comment and “twisted it for political purposes.”

And as the interview concluded, Clinton turned to an associate and said, “I don’t think I should take any s–t from anybody on that, do you?”

Making a campaign stop and enjoying another interrupted breakfast at Pamela’s P&G Diner Tuesday morning in downtown Pittsburgh, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked to respond to Clinton.

The Democratic nomination frontrunner seemed confused by the comments.

“So, former President Clinton dismissed my victory in South Carolina as being similar to Jesse Jackson and he is suggesting that somehow I had something to do with it,” Obama said laughing, “Ok, well, you better ask him what he meant by that. I have no idea what he meant. These are words that came out of his mouth, not out of mine.”

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

And at President Clinton’s first polling stop in Pittsburgh, he too appeared unwilling to discuss the incident.

“No, no, no, that’s not what I said,” Clinton told a reporter who asked about the radio comments, “You always follow me around and play these little games. And I am not going to play your games today. This is a day about election day, go back and see what the question was and what my answer was. You have mischaracterized it just to get a another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your game today.”

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

  • You know I used to love President Clinton (as did most blacks) I proudly display my Presidential Service Badge Award signed “William Jefferson Clinton” and have had nothing but good comments about him in the past. However, this shrewd and ridiculous campaign he and his wife are running is getting more and more hypocritical and disgusting. How in the world can he make this claim, when they have been owning the “remember Obama is black” tactic from the beginning. He was the one dismissing Obama early on for the large black vote and downplaying his victories. It was their surrogates like that idiot and destroyer of blacks Bob Johnson talking about MLK. It was Geraldine Ferraro who used the same exact line against Obama that she did against Jesse Jackson in the 80’s once again saying that both were somehow Affirmative Action candidates. It has been and was Hillary Clinton who brought up Farrakhan, Hamas, and Rev. Wright in the debates to court white voters. The Clintons have been using the race card to divide and conquer the party. The record speaks for itself.

Osama-Obama Sign Removed From Church

JONESVILLE, S.C. (WSPA, WLTX) — A sign that caused heated arguments outside of a church in Jonesville has been taken down.

Last week, Pastor Roger Byrd of Jonesville Church of God put the sign up which reads “Obama Osama Humm Are They Brothers?” Today, the sign was taken down.

Pastor Byrd said the sign was not meant to be racial or political but rather to make people think. “His name is so close to Osama I feeling might be Islamic therefore he doesn’t recognize Christ,” Pastor Byrd said.

Barack attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.”

Eugunia Foster is offended by the church sign. “I’m embarrassed and hurt. I’m surprised a small town like Jonesville still has this separation. It is racial and hatred,” Foster said.

Pastor Byrd told WSPA-TV he would ask his congregation to vote on whether to keep the sign. They voted unanimously to keep the sign up Sunday night.

Jonesville Church of God does not have any African American members.

  • And there you have it. Pseudo Christians strike again. How can a guy not be Christian when for over a month the news has been airing “controversy” about his former PASTOR of over 20 YEARS! Obviously, there are other motives for this sign and it sure doesn’t surprise me. I wonder what these types are going to do when there is a black President?

Al Qaeda chief slams Muslims for lack of support

Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised Muslims for failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet.Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant also blasted Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas over their reported readiness to consider a peace deal with Israel.

“I call upon the Muslim nation to fear Allah’s question (at judgement day) about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahedeen (holy Warriors), and (urge it) not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war,” he said.

He also used the two-and-a-half hour message to urge Muslims to join militant groups, mainly in Iraq, where he claimed that the insurgency against the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition forces is bearing fruit.

  • Great! I’m glad they are upset. True Muslims will never join in acts of terror and murder against innocents. In fact, we need to be working that much harder to rid the world of terrorists all together. Now if the press will only show that Muslims are against terror, so much so, that Al Qaeda is mad we won’t support them. So much for all Muslims support terrorism argument!

Why Palestinian Unity Is Not an Option for Abbas

Just days after the Hamas-Fatah clash last June in Gaza, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas looked firm and composed as he shook hands with members of his new emergency government. He made sure his move appeared as legitimate as possible, issuing decrees that outlawed the armed militias of Hamas, and also suspended consequential clauses in the Palestinian Basic Law, which had thus far served as a constitution.

The Basic Law stipulates that the Palestinian Parliament must approve of any government for it to be constitutional. Abbas simply decreed that such a clause was no longer valid, effectively robbing Palestinians of one of their greatest collective achievements — democracy.

This system, when truly representative, is indeed precious and meaningful. Considering the impossible circumstances under which Palestinian democracy in particular was spawned and nurtured — military occupation, international pressure, extreme poverty — it was also deeply historic. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that followed the US occupation in Iraq, Arabs showed themselves as ultimately capable of carrying out democratic process.

Unfortunately, the achievement of democracy cannot guarantee its preservation.

  • You cannot expect a viable democracy until you are willing to deal with the elected officials of the people. Because we helped create this situation, we have ensured more years of strife in the Middle East. Accept the vote, accept the government, and deal with the government appropriately if you disagree through policy. Let the people get rid of them if that is their will.

Darfuri women at a refugee camp in Chad, 2007

Darfur deaths ‘could be 300,000’

An estimated 300,000 people may have died as a result of the Darfur conflict, the UN head of humanitarian affairs John Holmes says.

That is an increase of 50% from the previous figure of 200,000 killed in the five years of fighting in the region in western Sudan.

Mr Holmes gave the revised total to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York.

Sudan disputes the figure, saying 10,000 are now known to have died.

The previous figure of 200,000 came from a 2006 study by the World Health Organisation.

It included those killed in the fighting itself as well as people who died from disease and malnutrition because of the conflict.

The 2006 figure “must be much higher now – perhaps as much as half again,” Mr Holmes said.

He said the new total was an extrapolation from the previous figure and was not based on a new study.

  • Whatever the figures, whatever the numbers, MUSLIMS the time to act is now. Let’s get our heads out of our butts and stop this slaughter of fellow Muslims.

Maajid Nawaz: After years in an extremist group, he wants to draw young Muslims away from militancy.
Mark Rice-Oxley

British ex-jihadis form ranks for tolerance

The Quilliam Foundation was launched Tuesday as a counterweight to political Islam among young Muslims.

They once plotted insurrection in Britain. Young, middle-class, and angry, they were the vanguard of a generation of disaffected Muslims that, at its most extreme, gave rise to the July 7, 2005, transportation bombers.

But now, in one of the most visible assaults on political Islam from within the British Muslim community, a network of ex-radicals launched on Tuesday a movement to fight the same ideology that they once worked to spread.

The Quilliam Foundation – named for a 19th-century British convert to Islam – aims to propagate a tolerant and pluralistic view of Islam among young Muslims who are the most vulnerable to radicalism.

“We are trying to rescue our faith from those who have sadly hijacked it,” says Ed Husain, author of “The Islamist,” a book about his own radical years, and deputy director of the foundation. “There is a Western Islam in the making and it is not arrogant or extreme.”

Mr. Husain has said that as long as Islamist militants provide “social honor” for suicide bombers and spuriously use doctrine to justify violence and political aims, “then we will continue to see mass murderers being respected as martyrs.”

Guided by mainstream Muslim scholars and supported by prominent politicians and academics, the group of around a dozen ex-radicals plans to expose what it calls the weaknesses of Islamist rhetoric and actions – in short, to recapture Islam from the ideologues and terrorists.

  • This is great news! I wonder why our policy won’t allow for us to generate similar efforts. If we really want to win this “War on Terror” it’s going to have to be won with the aid of Muslims.

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Another American Spy for Israel

NEW YORK — The federal government indicted on Tuesday, April 22, an American engineer in the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey for disclosing classified defense information, including on nuclear weapons, to Israel.

“We have been cooperating fully with federal investigators and will continue to do so,” Peter Rowland, a Picatinny spokesman, said in a statement cited by ABC news.

Ben-Ami Kadish, who worked as a mechanical engineer at the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal, spied for Israel from 1979-1985.

He provided the consul for science affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, identified in the indictment as “CC-1,” with US national defense information, including restricted nuclear weapons data.

  • Am I the only one that has a problem with this? Why is Israel spying on us? What have we done? What are they looking for? More importantly, why isn’t this looked at as an act of hostility from a foreign government? Imagine the fallout had this been Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or some other Muslim majority country? What if it was Russia?

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Heavy Metal Islam

WASHINGTON — In his book Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam, University of California-Irvine professor Mark LeVine explains why harsh melodies appeal to young Muslims in the Middle East.

He believes young people in the Middle East turn to heavy metal music as an act of rebellion against oppression, censorship and authoritarianism.

IslamOnline.net interviewed Professor LeVine about how heavy metal in the Middle East reflects the existing and changing social conditions in the region.

  • Music has always been a tool to help sooth or relate emotion. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this type of music has a grip on Muslims living in oppressed communities and oppressive conditions. Hip-Hop has also had the same effect.

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UK Exhibit Shows “Human” Muslims

LONDON — A London exhibition is showcasing the human faces of British Muslims through photography and storytelling challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims and their religion.

“It’s about people seeing each other as human,” Michael Cleere, the community cohesion coordinator for Southwark Council, the organizer, told the BBC News on Wednesday, April 23.

Twenty Muslims from London’s southern Borough of Southwark are the heroes of the two-week “Peace by Piece” exhibition, which ends on May 3.

The exhibition features photography and audio interviews with Muslims from a wide range of backgrounds as they go about their ordinary lives.

It celebrates the contributions of some 20,000 Muslims of diverse origins who live in the multicultural Southwark borough.

  • Exhibits such as this speak near and dear to my heart. This has been the mission of my site and efforts to show through action and words, that Muslims are just as much a part of the societies that we live in as everyone else. I truly believe Muslims have to define who we are ourselves or risk others doing it for us as they are now.

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TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE

HILLARY’S PENNSYLVANIA WIN

April 23, 2008 — Hillary Clinton refuses to die. Having been given up for dead after losing Iowa, she rebounded in New Hampshire. Then a string of 11 straight consecutive losses – followed by a win in Ohio and a tie (in delegates) in Texas. Now, she’s won Pennsylvania.

Problem is, it doesn’t mean anything.

Decisive Win Can’t Forestall A Daunting Task

Pennsylvania Democrats threw a much-needed lifeline to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton last night, offering a fresh incentive to keep pursuing her dimming hopes of winning the party’s presidential nomination and turning the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina into critical showdowns against Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton’s path to the nomination remains extraordinarily treacherous even after the victory in Pennsylvania. Her margin was decisive, but even some of her most loyal supporters privately expressed doubts last night that she can prevail in the long battle against Obama.

The Low Road to Victory

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

  • I lumped these all together because they are all saying the same thing: Hillary Clinton has not done anything to stop the inevitable. Her campaign will continue to deceive people about her prospects and continue the falsehood that somehow suggests that Obama can’t win the same exact states she has won and which twice in 2004 and 2000 the Democratic candidate won. So what she won PA, NY, and CA? The Democratic Party always does. The real question is can she win where Obama has won and has the ability to win where no Democrat has ever been competitive? Surely, the Democratic nominee Barack Obama will win the normative “Blue States”, but he has the ability that she does not, to take “Red States” as well. When will the Obama campaign make this case?
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