Sunday, June 22, 2008

BREVITAS

Declan Ganley, the leader of Libertas, is hoping to field more than 100 candidates in a number of countries in the European elections next year. Ganley said that his group, which played a key role in defeating the Lisbon treaty referendum in Ireland 10 days ago, now wants to "turn the tables on Brussels" by using the 2009 election as a "proxy referendum" on the treaty. This week, Libertas will launch a Europe-wide fundraising campaign and begin a recruitment drive in an effort to find suitable candidates in a "significant number of member states. . . "This is under active consideration because the Irish vote is not being respected. If we can make it succeed, we will do it," Ganley said yesterday. "The response from across Europe has been huge. Brussels won’t give the people of Europe a referendum, but we will." Richard Oakley, Times UK

Vowing that "we are going to shut this town down," local AFL-CIO leader Roy Foster told a crowd of thousands at Saturday's union rally that they weren't going to march down the Boardwalk, as was previously announced. Instead, they were going to march straight down the center of Atlantic City along Pacific Avenue - a street the organizers did not have a permit to use. Afterward, Foster and At- lantic City Mayor Scott Evans said they'd do it all again, once every month, until employees at four casinos see progress in their negotiations with management. "Let's get ready to rumble," said Foster, president of the Atlantic-Cape May County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, as he announced the new route for the march. "I say today it's an eye for an eye." Police Sgt. Monica McMenamin said that while the organizers' permit was for a march down the Boardwalk, not Pacific, the police don't anticipate any charges being filed. Backup plans were in place in case the route made such a detour, she said, and the march turned out to be a peaceful one without any arrests or disturbances. Steven Lemongello, Press of Atlantic City

Meeting at the Organic World Congress, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM -- -- criticized a recent U.N. food summit for touting chemical fertilizers and genetically modified (GM) crops rather than organic solutions to tackle world hunger. The World Bank says an extra 100 million people worldwide could go hungry as a result of the sharp rise in the price of food staples in the last year. . . "The $1.2 billion the World Bank says will solve the food crisis in Africa is a $1.2 billion subsidy to the chemical industry," said Vandana Shiva, an Indian physics professor and environmental activist speaking at the forum in Modena.. . . She said industrial farming was based on planting a single crop on vast surfaces and heavy use of chemical fertilizers, a process that used 10 times more energy than it produced. "The rest turns into waste as greenhouse gases, chemical runoffs and pesticide residues in our food," she said. In contrast, organic farms could increase output by 10 times by growing many different species of plants at the same time, which helped retain soil and water, she said. "In a one-acre farm in India they can grow 250 species of plants," she said. Reuters

DCRTV The propriety of David Broder and Bob Woodward taking fees or having expenses paid for speeches to special-interest groups was raised recently by Ken Silverstein, Washington editor of Harper's magazine. Silverstein found the fees unseemly and asked whether editors had approved them. And now, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell concludes that her paper "needs an unambiguous, transparent well-known policy on speaking fees and expenses. It should deal with charities and those on contract. Approvals for speeches that involve fees should be sought and given in writing by a high-ranking editor. Fees should be accepted only from educational, professional, or other nonprofit groups for which lobbying and politics are not a major focus - with no exceptions"

Young Omar Khan really wanted to go to a school in the University of California system, but those are kind of difficult to get into, especially when you have a whole bunch of Fs on your transcript like Omar did. So enterprising Omar tried something else: He hacked into the server at his prestigious Tesoro High School and changed all his Fs to As. . . Some of Khan's teachers caught whiff of his new and improved transcript and reported him to the authorities-now he's facing 69 counts of fraud, burglary, conspiracy, and a host of other no-nos that could net him 38 years in prison. Radar

AMERICAS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE is suing South Carolina over its new "I Believe" license plates.

A constitutional dispute surrounding the so-called hemp bill has finally been resolved, paving the way for Vermont to become only the second state in the country to allow its farmers to grow the crop. Gov. James Douglas, a critic of the hemp bill, had said the measure flies in the face of federal statutes and could ultimately complicate marijuana eradication efforts in the state. Despite his opposition, a Douglas spokesman said that the bill didn't rise to the level of a gubernatorial veto. And though he wasn't willing to sign the bill himself, Douglas forwarded the legislation in early June to the secretary of state for her to enact the bill into law without his signature. Vermont Press Bureau

Jonathan Turley makes the point that several years ago, certain top Dems were intimidated by Bush into quietly going along with Bush's illegal spying activities, and now those same Dems are afraid that they themselves could be held liable for any illegal spying committed by Bush and the Telecomm companies (Turley used the word "collusion".) Daily Kos

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told the Rothenberg Political Report that he "would have a hard time voting for the [Democratic] ticket" if Sen. Barack Obama picks former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) as his vice-presidential running-mate. Frank says he made his position clear to the people vetting Obama's potential vice presidential nominees. "The Massachusetts Democrat cites a number of examples of what he calls Nunn's "real record of hostility" toward gays, placing greatest emphasis on Nunn's September 1996 vote against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which failed in the Senate by a single vote." Political Wire

NON-CONTROVERSIAL CHURCH OPENS FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

[A British town council] has banned the term "brainstorming" – and replaced it with "thought showers".

Bosses fear the phrase to describe idea sessions may offend epileptics or the mentally ill. Staff have been sent memos about the change – and even sent on training courses. But charities representing epileptics have branded the move political correctness gone mad. Margaret Thomas, of the National Society for Epilepsy, said: "Brainstorming is a clear and descriptive phrase. Alternatives such as 'thought shower' or ‘blue-sky thinking' are ambiguous to say the least. Any implication that the word ‘brainstorming' is offensive to epileptics takes political correctness too far." - Sun, UK

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