Friday, February 27, 2009

The Latest Stupid, and VERY Misleading, Anti-Obama Rant

So, here's one the latest Jewish anti-Obama rants out there. I actually found out about it a few weeks ago and ignored it because it was so incredibly stupid, but it seems that, like the "Obama is a Muslim" email, this is also making the rounds:

Presidential Determination No. 2009-15 of January 27, 2009

Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To Gaza
Memorandum for the Secretary of State
By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (the ``Act''), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

(Presidential Sig.)
Washington, January 27, 2009
[FR Doc. E9-2488
Filed 2-3-09; 8:45 am]
Billing code 4710-10-P
See, what happens when you only read key words, such as "migration needs" and "Palestinians," one MAY make the assumption that Obama is signing a bill allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, some of them, as the email independently states, Hamas supporters, to resettle in the US.

Except this is not the case in ANY way. All this memorandum is is a bill to send aid to help ordinary Gazans to rebuild, not to allow them all the emigrate to the United States. And, it's a call for other countries to send aid as well. This is no different than any other aid coming from the US and other countries in the past.

In fact, this email HAS been debunked by, a non-partisan website that looks at reports from both sides, researches them, and will confirm their veracity or falsehood. In this case, they confirmed this as a complete falsehood:
February 19, 2009
Did Obama pay for Hamas-affiliated terrorists to emigrate to the United States?
Have you guys checked on this one yet?

Apparently President Hope n'Change is lying through his pearly whites about our economy being in crisis.

Our president just signed an executive order appropriating $20.3 million of your tax dollars for `migration assistance to the Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.' It was signed on January 27th and appeared in the Federal Register on February 4th.

This is designed to allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to resettle in the United States,the same people who voted Hamas into power en masse. And I'll guarantee you that a number of Hamas operatives will slip in as part of the group. The order not only provides free airplane tickets but provides for food and housing allowances, something no other immigrants get. ...

We will see more of this... because part of Obama's strategy involves pandering to the Muslim world and importing the sort of immigrants who will fundamentally change the electorate. ...

This guy is either a Muslim, or he's crazy and the 78% of American Jews who voted for him have some sort of personality disorder equating to a death wish.
This claim is false. The president's memorandum to the State Department would pay for refugee assistance in Gaza, not for transporting anyone to the U.S.

This rumor stems from an article in the New Media Journal, a right-leaning site that describes itself as focused on "threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column." (For the record, this site has posted other articles comparing Obama to Hitler and calling Islam "a pathological doctrine and a vestige of long ago barbarism.") The article in question claims that President Obama has signed an executive order allocating $20.3 million for refugees in Gaza, but that "few on Capitol Hill took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006."

Obama did indeed sign a memorandum (functionally identical to an executive order) allocating $20.3 million from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.ERMA allows the president to appropriate any amount up to $100 million to meet "unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs." The money drawn down from ERMA is put to use by the State Department'sBureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. But in this case, the money would provide humanitarian aid, not migration assistance.

PRM does bring refugees from some countries to the United States, and also provides for their basic necessities when they first arrive. But a spokesperson for PRM told us that there is no resettlement program for Palestinian refugees. "We don't resettle out of the West Bank and Gaza, full stop," the spokesperson told us.

Instead, PRM contributes funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which provides humanitarian aid such as food, schooling and medical care for Palestinian refugees, primarily in Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank. In FY2008, UNRWA received about $80 million from the United States, its largest single-country donor. The State Department has announced that the bulk of the new ERMA appropriation – $13.5 million – will go to UNRWA.

The State Department requires UNRWA to certify that U.S. funds are not supplying terrorists or terrorists in training, but it is true that UNRWA has been accused of supporting and employing Hamas sympathizers. Most recently, a January 2009 report by former UNRWA legal adviser James Lindsay concluded that the agency has shown an "increasing identification with Palestinian political views," and that "UNRWA has taken very few steps to detect and eliminate terrorists from the ranks of its staff or its beneficiaries, and no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff."

In any event, neither UNRWA nor the State Department is bringing Gaza or West Bank refugees into the United States at taxpayer expense. Nor is this the first time that a U.S. president has allotted EMRA funds for Palestinian refugees. According to the most recent report from PRM, President George W. Bush drew down emergency funds for UNRWA to the tune of $20 million in fiscal year 2002, $26 million in 2003, $40 million in 2004, $20 million in 2005 and $20 million in 2007.

-Jess Henig

Williams, Paul L. "Pres. Obama Invites Hamas Terrorists to America." The New Media Journal. 7 Feb. 2009.

Lindsay, James G. "
Fixing UNRWA: Repairing the UN’s Troubled System of Aid to Palestinian Refugees." Jan. 2009.

United States Department of State Migration and Refugee Assistance. "
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fiscal Year 2009 Congressional Presentation Document." 6 Sep. 2008.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. "
Programme Budget 2008-2009 Executive Summary." Jul. 2007.

Gootnick, David. "
Department of State (State) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Actions to Implement Section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961." United States Government Accountability Office. 17 Nov. 2003.
(If you're having trouble reading the answer part of this (on my screen, part of the text disappeared), go to

Hmm. Funny, that. Seems the Right Wing Nut Jobs are lying again. What's really sad is I have very intelligent friends, people I've known for years, who choose to believe the lies simply because they hate Obama for his name, skin color, or liberalism (despite the fact that he does NOT have the most liberal voting record as a Senator).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Parodying the Republican "Response"

This is great. Wyatt Cenac and Jon Stewart butt heads about the Jindal's idiotic Republican response to Barack Obama's State of the Union Address. And Cenac nails what we all saw.

Jon Stewart's Take on Bobby Jindal's Republican Response to the President's State of the Union Address

Was pretty much like mine, only snarkier:

I love the part about the $140,000,000 to monitor volcanoes. He said Bobby said it's a waste of money. Yeah. Because averting disaster *AHEM* KATRINA *AHEM* or knowing its coming is just useless, right?


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Dumb Is the (Dying) Republican Party?

Pretty dumb. So dumb, in fact, they didn't even LISTEN to Obama's State of the Union Address yesterday.

The main thrust of Obama's speech was, of course, the economy. His two other main themes were healthcare reform, which he said could not, must not, and WOULD NOT wait another year, and education reform. Boiled down to a few words, the President said that, while against big government, he would, with the government's help of funding, work hard WITH the American people, with our ingenuity, our resourcefulness, and our resolve never to quit, to lift this country out of the quagmire it's been in for quite a while (due, of course, to Republican bumbling over the last fourteen years).

Came along Bobby Jindal, who quite obviously did NOT listen, or at least did not pay attention, to Obama's address. He tried to out-minority Obama with stupid personal stories about how his parents, who emigrated to the US when his mother was four months pregnant with him, couldn't even afford to have him delivered. Right. Because no hospital in 1971 would have taken a woman in labor. Uh-huh. Right. Then he went on to say, essentially, the following (background from the article as well):

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising star of the Republican party, on Tuesday said the answer to America's problems lay in its citizens and not in big government.

Jindal, often cited as a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2012, gave the party's rebuttal to a speech by President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress and accused the Democrat of spreading doom, gloom and big-spending policies that will fuel recessionary fires.

"Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover -- or that America's best days are behind her," Jindal said.

"The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and enterprising spirits of our citizens," he said
Interesting. He accused Obama of spreading gloom and doom. I don't know what speech HE watched, but the one I watched was VERY uplifting and extremely optimistic.

He indicated Obama was telling us we couldn't recover. Um. Again, not in the speech I watched. He indicated Obama said America's best days are behind her. Again, not in the speech I watched last night. Quite the opposite, in fact. Obama was VERY optimistic about this country rising up even stronger than it had ever been.

Jindal indicated America's strength was in her people, not her government, hinting that Obama said the opposite. Again, not true. Obama very directly, several times, said quite clearly that our strength as a country is us, not the government, and that the ingenuity of Americans would get us out of this, not the government.

Again, I'm not sure what speech Jindal watched, but it could not have possibly been the same one I watched.

It was, however, fun to watch yet another Republican make a fool out of himself. And the best part was this little gem:
"Republicans lost your trust -- and rightly so. Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say: Our party is determined to regain your trust."
Now THAT'S funny. What I REALLY think happened last night, was the death knell, God willing, of the Republican Party.

One can only hope...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Star Wars A Capella

To some of John Williams' most memorable themes...

Here's another version:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Is Why I LIKE Arnold Schwarzenegger...

And yes. When I lived in California, I DID vote for him. His predecessor, after all, was a complete disaster, AND a Democrat...

WASHINGTON – The country's in the middle of a crisis and the president needs team players.

That's the view of a Republican governor, California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, when talking about the bipartisan support Democratic President Barack Obama needs now.

Schwarzenegger and fellow governors are in Washington this weekend for meetings. They see Obama at the White House on Monday.

Schwarzenegger says he feels strongly that Obama needs team players right now. He says governors, Congress, the White House — everyone has to play together during these tough times, rather than playing politics and making attacks.

Schwarzenegger also calls the recently signed stimulus bill a tremendous package that will help his financially ailing state.

The governor spoke on ABC's "This Week."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aw. Those poor Republicans. They Say the Democrats Won't Play With Them...

John McHypocrite got on his high horse today, complaining the Democrats and Obama aren't being bipartisan and won't play nice with the Republicans:

WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obamafailed to include Republicans in writing the big economic stimulus bill.

McCain, who lost the presidential race to Obama, says the president is backtracking on promises of bipartisanship. McCain is not happy with the process that led to passage of the stimulus bill. He calls it a bad beginning to Obama's presidency.

McCain acknowledges that Republicans excluded Democrats when the GOP held power on Capitol Hill. But he says Obama had promised to work differently.

Um, YEAH! So, while the Democrats TRIED to work with the Republicans on the stimulus, the Republicans refused to play ball or compromise in any way. The Democrats DID compromise, as they always do. Remember, the package had gone as high as $920 billion and is not a whopping $130 billion LESS. That's a lot of compromise.

Oh, and there's this Republican idiotic and totally hypocritical statement: 
The Arizona Republican says the $787 billion measure will create what he calls "generational theft" — huge federal deficits for years to come.
Ok. And the $700 billion George W. Asshole "bailout," the one former treasury secretary Paulson said shouldn't have any oversight or accountability and the one that, now half-spent, no one knows where the money went? THAT bailout? If THAT'S not generational theft, WHAT THE FUCK IS?!?!

My opinion: Marginalize the Republicans, make the Democratic party stronger than it's ever been, and cause the complete failure of the party that gave us the situation we're currently experiencing. And ignore McHypocrite's advice: 
McCain offers this advice: "Let's start over now and sit down together."
Why? So we can end up in this situation again when you guys try to cheat the country again and again? I think the country's done trusting you guys, Republicans. Time for you guys to just go away.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sen. Jeff Merkley: Creating Jobs Is Not "Wasteful"

Another great article about why the government creating jobs is NOT wasteful.

It's funny how Republicans are now complaining about the large amount of "democrat" spending going on. Except, what is it the REPUBLICANS did with their illegal war in Iraq and giving big businesses huge tax breaks?!

Bob Cesca: Operation Zero Cred

Great article about how it's time to marginalize the Republicans, at least when it comes to the economy.

Best excerpt: 

To that point, there's no debating the Republican record on the economy. Their allegiance to Reaganomics and free market deregulation have led us to the brink of, well, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria.

Nevertheless, there they are on cable news and the Sunday shows acting as if they know something. At the same time, they've proved themselves to be dishonest, bad-fath actors in this thing. They've spread lies about fake CBO reports, while also ignoring an actual CBO report on the Senate bill indicating that it would, in fact, succeed in stimulating economic growth. They've spread lies about nonexistent ACORN line items in the bill -- line items that only exist inside of Michelle Malkin's twisted dome. I mean, they met with Joe the Plumber on the Hill this week to discuss the economy. Joe the Plumber. About the economy. Because they're very serious people who ought to be taken very seriously.

And so they should be summarily shut out of this process -- whether or not the president wants them out.

The Republicans have zero cred.

And that's the message we can unify around: ZERO CRED.

Operation Zero Cred.
Love it. So true!

I mean, seriously? They're meeting with Joe the effing PLUMBER?!?! WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?

Headline of the Day...

This is the understatement of the century:

Bush Overpaid Banks in Bailout, Watchdog Says
Yeah, no shit. By about $700,000,000,000.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

REPUBLICANS Complaining About Partisanship?!

What, are they out of their friggin' minds? For nearly a decade and a half, while the Republicans Congress, they sidelined the Democrats. Now, the Democrats control Congress, and the Republicans are complaining about partisanship? That's just plain ridiculous. Sad thing, at least in this case, the case of the stimulus package, the Democrats ARE trying to work with the Republicans. The Republicans, however, don't see it that way:

Republicans countered that neither the president nor Democratic congressional leaders have been willing to seek common ground on the first major bill of the new administration.
"We're not having meaningful negotiations. ... It's a bad way to start," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was Obama's opponent in last fall's presidential campaign.
In an Associated Press interview, he said Obama "gave the Democrats the leeway to basically shut out Republicans starting with the House and now here in the Senate, and I don't think that's good."
Funny that McCain feels the Democrats are shutting out the Republicans. Imagine how the Democrats have felt for the last fifteen years or so...

Sorry, Republicans, it's time to work WITH the Democrats now, in a fair and balanced government that wants what's best for its people, not for the wealthy and big corporations. Deal with it, work with it, and try to remember you're Americans supposedly trying to work for the greater good.

Yeah right. Like THAT'LL happen...

Happy VD!

Laughed until milk came out my nose!!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Because Common Sense Just DOESN'T Work...

Obama, today, had to step in like a stern parent and place a cap of $500,000 in salary to executives of companies receiving bailout money. I guess Obama heard we, the public, didn't really like that these companies gave out twenty BILLION dollars in bonuses.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed a $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving taxpayer bailout money and promised new steps to end a system of "executives being rewarded for failure."
Obama announced the unusual government intervention into corporate America at the White House, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side. The president said the executive-pay limits are a first step, to be followed by the unveiling next week of a sweeping new framework for spending what remains of the $700 billion financial industry bailout that Congress created last year.
The pay limit comes amid a national outcry over huge bonuses to executives who head companies that seek taxpayer dollars to remain afloat. The demand for limits was reinforced by revelations that Wall Street firms paid more than $18 billion in bonuses in 2008 amid the economic downturn and the massive infusion of taxpayer dollars.
The limit would apply to top-paid executives at the most distressed financial institutions that are negotiating bailout agreements with the federal government. It also would apply to other banks that receive aid, but they could get around the limits by publicizing to shareholders plans to exceed the salary cap.
Unfortunately, I don't think the president went far enough because
The limits would not apply retroactively to any bank that received money from the first half of the $700 bailout allocated by Congress. For example, the restriction would not apply to such firms as American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc., that already have received such help.
That's really a shame, because, in truth, these executives all, without exception, should have been fired, or asked to leave their positions, or, better yet, them being fired should have been a condition of receiving bailout money.

On the OTHER hand, Obama and his administration are placing a whole slew of new restrictions on companies:
Other new requirements on "exceptional assistance" will include:
_The expansion to 20, from five, the number of executives who would face reduced bonuses and incentives if they are found to have knowingly provided inaccurate information related to company financial statements or performance measurements.
_An increase in the ban on golden parachutes from a firm's top five senior executives to its top 10. The next 25 would be prohibited from golden parachutes that exceed one year's compensation.
_A requirement that boards of directors adopt policies on spending such as corporate jets, renovations and entertainment.
The administration also will propose long-term compensation restrictions even for companies that don't receive government assistance, Obama said.
Those proposals include:
• Requiring top executives at financial institutions to hold stock for several years before they can cash out.
• Requiring nonbinding "say on pay" resolutions — that is, giving shareholders more say on executive compensation.
• A Treasury-sponsored conference on a long-term overhaul of executive compensation
Compensation experts in the private sector have warned that intrusions into the internal decisions of financial institutions could discourage participation in the rescue program and slow down the financial sector's recovery. They also argue that it could set a precedent for government regulation that undermines performance-based pay.
"One of the big questions is whether it will make it more difficult to recruit and retain executives at these companies," said Claudia Allen, chair of corporate governance at the Chicago-based law firm of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg.
The $500,000 cap "is a very tight limit," she said.
Timothy J. Bartl, vice president and general counsel for the Center On Executive Compensation, said the president's actions are a unique situation given the government's role bailing out troubled institutions.
"We do not view it as something that ought to be extended beyond this circumstance," he said.
On Capitol Hill, some lawmakers had been pushing for even stricter caps.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., have proposed that no employee of an institution that receives money under the $700 billion federal bailout can receive more than $400,000 in total compensation until it pays the money back. The figure is equivalent to the salary of the president of the United States.
Even some Republicans, angered by company decisions to pay bonuses and buy airplanes while receiving government help, have few qualms about restrictions.
"In ordinary situations where the taxpayers' money is not involved, we shouldn't set executive pay," said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.
"But where you've got federal money involved, taxpayers' money involved, TARP money involved, and the way they have spent it, with no accountability, is getting close to being criminal."
And the companies and their officials are just not happy.

Oh, well. Tough shit. Neither are we, the taxpayers, from whom you've stolen so much.

Banks - We All HATE Them!!!

And why? Because when they went to government crying they needed a bailout for fucking up the economy, they went and wasted tons of that money. AIG employees went to spas. Wells Fargo arranged a Vegas getaway (later cancelled, but supposedly they still have to pay), and PNC bought itself another bank with 3/4 of the bailout money they received.

In other words the banks are really pissing off the taxpayers, and the lawmakers in Congress are starting to feel the pinch:

Even lawmakers who helped craft the bailout have been frustrated that some bank executives were taking big bonuses and scheduling junkets. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said banks "have to understand they live in a new world and the old ways of doing business aren't acceptable."
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said banks were acting "stupid" and making it harder for lawmakers to defend them.
"People really hate you," he said, imploring banks to do everything possible to avoid offending people. "And they're starting to hate us just for hanging out with you."
Gee, Barney, ya THINK? We're pissed at the banks? REALLY?! How the hell did you guess?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Protectionism? You BET!

Top EU diplomat to Washington, John Bruton, today warned that the protectionism clause in the stimulus package before the Senate, which states funds in the package may not be used for any project

unless all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods used in the projects are produced in the United States,
would cause worldwide economic problems and make the world economy even worse than it already is.

I'm sorry, but along with the banking screw-ups of the last eight years, "free world trade" and the outsourcing of millions of jobs to other countries is the single other cause of the depression the AMERICAN economy and people are currently experiencing. Therefore, protectionism should ABSOLUTELY be included in the stimulus package, which is aimed at creating jobs IN America FOR AMERICANS. It stands to follow, therefore, that demanding any materials used in a project funded by the stimulus should most certainly be manufactured in the United States. After all, using American made materials and resources will only serve to boost the AMERICAN economy.

It's about time the United States started protecting its citizens and its own economy, and not worry about the economies of other countries.

Back to Israel

I'm thinking maybe I'll move a bit of the focus of this blog to Israel and the injustice the media and the world does our homeland on a regular basis. Also, I've been thinking quite a bit about home of late. In fact, I had a dream last week in which I was visiting Israel and was crying in the dream about not living there. I awoke from the dream in actual tears. Unfortunately, Aliyah is not currently an option, but who knows? Perhaps someday, maybe sooner than later, we'll get to make that leap.

In any case, I read this fascinating article from HonestReporting, a media watchdog that monitors for anti-Israel reporting in the media. If I'm not mistaken, they're the ones who broke the story that the Jenin "Massacre" was, in fact, anything BUT a massacre. You can read about the Jenin "Massacre" of 2002 here, here, and here. In any case, it seems, despite media claims and those made by the UN, Israel did NOT bomb, accidentally or otherwise, the UNRWA school in Gaza. But, as usual, the UN and the media jumped the gun and blasted and condemned Israel for attacks on civilian locations.

Did Israel Shell a UN School? The Truth Exposed

Canada's Globe & Mail finds out what really happened.

In war, the saying goes, "the first victim is the truth." But an in-depth investigative report by the Canadian Globe and Mail's Middle East correspondent, Patrick Martin proved to be the exception to the rule.

Martin’s front-page report investigated the Israeli shelling of Hamas terrorists near a UN school that led to the tragic deaths of 43 civilians. His conclusion: the facts don't support the accepted story that the school itself was shelled.

According to Martin:

Physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses, including a teacher who was in the schoolyard at the time of the shelling, make it clear: While a few people were injured from shrapnel landing inside the white-and-blue-walled UNRWA compound, no one in the compound was killed. The 43 people who died in the incident were all outside, on the street, where all three mortar shells landed.

Stories of one or more shells landing inside the schoolyard were inaccurate.

While the killing of 43 civilians on the street may itself be grounds for investigation, it falls short of the act of shooting into a schoolyard crowded with refuge-seekers.

Martin's report confirms the underreported Israeli accounts that the IDF accurately returned fire to the location from which it was being shelled by Hamas terrorists.


Some of Martin's key findings include:

  • There were no dead in the UN school, only some injured according to physical evidence and interviews with several eyewitnesses
  • Three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school's compound, not inside
  • Incorrect public pronouncements by the UN helped allow "the misconception to linger"

The fact that people were milling around the area where Hamas was firing rockets is not Israel's fault, but rather points out that Hamas fired from an area frequented by civilians, engaging in what former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls a double war crime: "Attacking [Israeli] civilians and hiding behind [Palestinian] civilians."

At the time, however, John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, condemned the attack as "horrific" and suggested Israel knew it was targeting a UN facility.

"We have provided the GPS co-ordinates of every single one of our locations," he told the BBC. "They are clearly marked with UN insignia, flags flying, lights shining on the flags at night. It's very clear that these are United Nations installations."

Later, in the Globe and Mail investigation, Ging:

acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school."

"I told the Israelis that none of the shells landed in the school," he said.

Political impact

We are often asked if media reports such as the Globe & Mail's or even our own can have an impact. The answer is an unequivocal yes. Already, one European Member of Parliament, Paul van Buitenen has submitted a parliamentary question based on the Globe & Mail's investigation. The MEP points out that UNRWA's John Ging admits in the article that Israel didn't attack the school but blames the confusion on the Israelis.

Van Buitenen goes on to say that considering the fact that the EU is UNRWA's single largest donor and that it wrongly condemned Israel for attacking the UN school:

  • Is the EU prepared to apologize to Israel for wrongly condemning it without checking the facts on the ground?
  • Is the EU prepared to investigate how it was possible that Mr. Ging apparently spread misleading information concerning the supposed attack on this UNRWA school and whether this was politically motivated?

We commend the Globe and Mail for its investigative report and Mr. van Buitenen for his follow-up in the European Parliament. Please commend reporter Martin and the Globe and Mail for helping let the truth emerge about the shelling near the UN school. Please send letters to the Globe and Mail at:

Also write to your local media outlet if it was responsible for publishing the original allegations.

This communique was adapted from HonestReporting Canada. Click on the image below to find out more and subscribe.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow!!! Six more weeks of winter! Because, you know, it WOULDN'T continue if he HADN'T seen his shadow, right? 

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, winter to continue
Ben Hughes, handler of the weather-predicting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, holdsAP – Ben Hughes, handler of the weather-predicting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, holds Phil in the air after …

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – The world's most famous groundhog saw his shadow Monday morning, predicting this already long winter will last for six more weeks.

Punxsutawney Phil emerged just after dawn in front of an estimated 13,000 witnesses, many dressed in black-and-gold to celebrate thePittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory the night before.

"There's significant buzz from the Steelers win and quite a few Terrible Towels floating from the crowd," said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism in Pennsylvania.

The annual ritual takes place on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, a borough of about 6,100 residents some 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced the forecast in a short proclamation, in which Phil acknowledged the Steelers' 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

According to German superstition, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 97 times, hasn't seen it 15 times, and there are no records for nine years, according to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Rowley said the Groundhog Day festivities is Pennsylvania's largest tourist gathering in the winter. And if Phil's forecast proves correct it should bring even more tourists to the state.

"It's six more weeks of skiing," Rowley said.