Curtis plays charades

"Your career? Your dignity? Your boobs?"

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis stumbles as she comes out to present Shirley Temple Black with the Screen Actors Guild Awards life achievement award at the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Teri Hatcher v. Botox

"Must smile...move cheeks...fight botox...look happy..."

REUTERS/Fred Greaves


"Chavez is a good guy"

"Chavez was elected, he only has peaceful designs on the region, only wants to reclaim what is fair for his country, only wants to be friends with his neighbors."

U.S activist Cindy Sheehan (L) meets Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 28, 2006. Thousands of international activists have gathered in Caracas for the sixth World Social Forum, to protest against war, U.S. economic policies and debate on topics from fair trade to indigenous rights. Picture taken January 28, 2006. NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/Ho-Miraflores Palace


Kwan v. Monkey...Who will win?

REUTERS/You Sung-Ho AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Fans storm ice to congratulate medalist

AFP/File/Yury Kadobnov REUTERS/You Sung-Ho

Who gave her clothes?

Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen wears a creation from Colcci's 2006 autumn/winter collection during Fashion Rio Show in Rio de Janeiro January 13, 2006. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos


More Capitalism at Communist March

Another picture from the Sheehan-attended Chavez rally. I like how the AP caption ridicules the marchers. Now if only they could examine Cindy Sheehan with the same scrutiny.

AP - Thu Jan 26, 3:32 PM ET
Pins with the image of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, Manuel Marulanda, the 'commandante' of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are seen on the ground at a street market during the 6th World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006. In an ironic twist, delegates protesting the evils of capitalism at the World Social Forum are digging into their pockets to buy T-shirts embossed with the image of Argentine revolutionary hero Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and talking dolls of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

"Bye Bye Bubbles!"

REUTERS/You Sung-Ho AP/Michael A. Mariant

Kate's Confused

"No Kate, STAND on the white line, not SNORT the white line!"

Supermodel Kate Moss during the 2002 London Fashion Week. Moss, at the center of a scandal last year after being filmed apparently snorting cocaine, has agreed to publish her autobiography. (Stephen Hird/Reuters)


I can't question her patriotism?

Cindy Sheehan was flown down to Venezuela, courtesy of the dictator Hugo Chavez. She is participating in an anti-American orgy, where as you can see they celebrate communism. Could you imagine someone beloved by a major political party going to a Nazi rally (besides Senator Robert "Kleagle" Byrd)? Of course not, but communism gets a pass, and the media and Democrats still adore Cindy Sheehan and her traitorous actions.

Reuters - Tue Jan 24, 12:34 PM ET
People walk past a mural promoting the World Social Forum in Caracas January 24, 2006. Tens of thousands of international activists gathered for the World Social Forum to protest against U.S. imperialism and debate topics from fair trade to indigenous rights. The sixth world forum, an event that began in Port Alegre in Brazil, has registered more than 67,000 participants and starts with a march against imperialism and war that will likely focus on U.S. George W. Bush and the conflict in Iraq. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

AP - Tue Jan 24, 6:47 PM ET
American peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, participates in an anti- war march that kicked off the sixth World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Communists are like so anti-capitalism

Reuters - Tue Jan 24, 2:57 PM ET
Watches with pictures of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine revolutionary hero Ernesto 'Che' Guevara on sale outside one of the venues of the World Social Forum in Caracas, January 23, 2006. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Liberal Meglomaniacs

Who knew Bush was after these people...crazy white people at it again, think everyone cares about their meaningless lives and ridiculous GOOGLE searches

January 25, 2006
After Subpoenas, Internet Searches Give Some Pause

Kathryn Hanson, a former telecommunications engineer who lives in Oakland, Calif., was looking at BBC News online last week when she came across an item about a British politician who had resigned over a reported affair with a "rent boy."

It was the first time Ms. Hanson had seen the term, so, in search of a definition, she typed it into Google. As Ms. Hanson scrolled through the results, she saw that several of the sites were available only to people over 18. She suddenly had a frightening thought. Would Google have to inform the government that she was looking for a rent boy - a young male prostitute?

Ms. Hanson, 45, immediately told her boyfriend what she had done. "I told him I'd Googled 'rent boy,' just in case I got whisked off to some Navy prison in the dead of night," she said.

Ms. Hanson's reaction arose from last week's reports that as part of its effort to uphold an online pornography law, the Justice Department had asked a federal judge to compel Google to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries. Google is resisting the request, but three of its competitors - Yahoo, MSN and America Online - have turned over similar information.

Jim Kowats, 34, a television producer who lives in Washington, has been growing increasingly concerned about the government's data collection efforts. "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I just feel like it's one step away from ... what's the next step?" Mr. Kowats said. "The government's going to start looking into all this other stuff."

Until last year, Mr. Kowats worked at the Discovery Channel, and a few years ago, in the course of putting together a documentary on circumcision, he and his colleagues were doing much of the research online. "When you're researching something like that and you look up the word 'circumcision,' you're going to end up with all kinds of pictures of naked children," he said. "And that can be misconstrued."

"There're so many things you can accidentally fall into when you're surfing on the Internet," he said. "I mean, you can type in almost anything and you're going to end up with something you didn't expect."
Privacy is an elusive concept, and when it comes to what is considered acceptable, people tend to draw the line at different points on the privacy spectrum.

Ming-Wai Farrell, 25, who works for a legal industry trade association in Washington, is one of those who draw the line somewhere in the middle. They are willing to part with personal information as long as they get something in return - the convenience of online banking, for example, or useful information from a search engine - and as long as they know what is to be done with the information.

Yet these same people are sometimes appalled when they learn of wholesale data gathering. Ms. Farrell said she would not be able to live without online banking, electronic bill paying or Google, but she would consider revising her Web activity if she had to question every search term, online donation or purchase.

"It's scary to think that it may just be a matter of time before Googling will invite an F.B.I. agent to tap your phone or interrogate you," Ms. Farrell said.

Mike Winkleman, 27, a law student who lives in Miami and, like Ms. Farrell, belongs to the generation of people who came of age with the Internet, said he would like to think that the erosion of his privacy was for "a good cause, like national security or preventing child porn," he said. "But I can't help but feel that for each inch I give, a mile will be taken."

But Josh Cohen, a financial adviser in Chicago, identifies more closely with a subset of Internet users who see the loss of at least some privacy as the price they pay for being on the Web. Mr. Cohen, 34, said he was willing to accept that tradeoff in the pursuit of national security.

"We as U.S. citizens have got to start making concessions," he said. "In order for the government to catch people that prey on children, or fight the war on terror, they are going to need the help of the search engines."
Mr. Cohen said he doubted there would be much compromising of his individual privacy because the amount of data collected by the government was so voluminous. "My rationale tells me that with close to 300 million people in the U.S., and about 45 to 50 percent of households having Internet access, that I don't need to be too concerned with my search engine behavior," he said.

Susan P. Crawford, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, agreed that the sheer volume of information obtained by the government was likely to dilute privacy threats.

"More experienced Internet users would understand that in the mountain of search-related data available in response to a subpoena, it is very unlikely that anything referring to them personally would be revealed," Professor Crawford said.

She likened one's online activity to walking down the street. "We walk down the street all the time and we can be seen there," she said. "We also move around online, and can be 'seen' to some extent there as well. But we continue to go for walks."

Nevertheless, last week's court motion is giving some people pause. Sheryl Decker, 47, an information technology manager in Seattle, said she was now thinking twice about what she said in her personal e-mail correspondence. "I have been known to send very unflattering things about our government and our president," Ms. Decker said. "I still do, but I am careful about using certain phrases that I once wouldn't have given a second thought."

Ms. Decker's caution is being echoed by others. Genny Ballard, 36, a professor of Spanish at Centre College in Danville, Ky., said she had grown more conscious about what she typed into the Google search box. "Each time I put something in, I think about how it could be reconstructed to mean that I have more than an academic curiosity," Ms. Ballard said.

To be sure, Google is citing a number of reasons for resisting the government's subpoena, including concern about trade secrets and the burden of compliance. While it does not directly assert that surrendering the data would expose personal information, it has told the government that "one can envision scenarios where queries alone could reveal identifying information about a specific Google user, which is another outcome that Google cannot accept."

Ms. Hanson, who did the "rent boy" search, said that although she was aware that personal information was not being required in the Google case, she remained uneasy.

She pointed to a continuing interest she has in the Palestinian elections. "If I followed my curiosity and did some Web research, going to Web sites of the parties involved, I would honestly wonder whether someone in my government would someday see my name on a list of people who went to 'terrorist' Web sites," she said.

Mr. Kowats, the television producer, shares that fear. "Where does it stop?" he said. "What about file sharing? Scalping tickets? Or traveling to Cuba? What if you look up abortion? Who says you can't look up those things? What are the limits? It's the little chipping away. It's a slippery slope."

David Bernstein and Michael Falcone contributed reporting for this article.


More on abortion

This website has a good overview of an abortion protest versus abortion celebration. The pics looked like all the anti-war protests I've gone to, with the freaks and ghouls crawling out of the moral and intellectual gutter. This just shows how afraid people are to let abortion be voted on.

GOOGLE Hypocrisy

Public Backs Google Against Government
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) -The US public backs internet search giant Google in its refusal to give in to government demands for data on online searches.

Google decided last week to "vigorously" oppose a government subpoena to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries.

A survey from the Michigan-based Ponemon Institute, released Tuesday, indicated that approximately 56 percent of respondents believed Google shouldn't hand over the information demanded by the Department of Justice.

Of course, GOOGLE has no problem cooperating with the Chinese dictatorship. This hypocrisy illustrates typical liberal thought: fear Bush, ignore China, Chavez etc. As GOOGLE claims they needs to protect people in the US who maybe searching for child porn, they gladly cooperate with the commies in China for fear of losing market share. Although GOOGLE may be right to fight the US government on privacy grounds, there is no excuse for their (and everyone else's) behavior in China. See story below, from the London Times.

The Times
January 25, 2006
No Tibet or Tiananmen on Google's new Chinese site
By Dan Sabbagh, Media Editor

GOOGLE will today cave in to pressure from the Chinese Government by launching a local website that strips out information not approved by the Communist authorities.

The company, whose motto is “Don’t be evil”, is launching a version of its site that restricts Chinese people from searching for information about Tibetan independence or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy,” the internet company said in a statement issued yesterday.

Google insiders acknowledge that the company is likely to be criticised for its actions. Its motivation is partly a need to restore its declining market share in China and partly a hope that providing a restricted service will help to unleash information in the country.

The search terms blocked by Google.cn will include what are known as the “the three t’s and the two c’s”: references to Taiwanese or Tibetan independence, the Tiananmen massacre, cult-related searches, which may trigger reference to the banned Falun Gong organisation, and information about Communist party supremacy.

Google is already subject to Chinese government censorship, which blocks search results returning undesired information. The country maintains a sophisticated system of internet monitoring — known as “The Great Firewall of China” — that restricts access to a range of Western sites.

The company estimates that about 1,000 search catagories are blocked by this filtering. No published list of barred terms exists, although the authorities are quick to complain if offending information becomes available.

As a result of the filtering, access to Google’s website is slowed down, and its position is under threat from Baidu, a Chinese company that is the local market leader. According to research published last July, Google had a share of about 28 per cent and falling, while Baidu’s share was just over 40 per cent and rising.

Until now, Google has held out from doing a deal in China, while rivals Yahoo! and Microsoft, owner of MSN Search, have shown a willingness to compromise with the authorities. Last year Yahoo! provided information that helped to jail a dissident for ten years, after he used a Yahoo! e-mail to relay the contents of a secret government order. In December, Microsoft closed down a political blogger’s site, arguing that he had failed to comply with local laws.

Seeking to avert these types of dispute, Google will not introduce a version of its e-mail or blog software for the time being.

Google’s founders agreed to be paid annual salaries of $1 each in 2006, counting instead on the search engine’s shares to pay their way. Google has approved the $1 base salary for chairman and chief executive Eric Schmidt, as well as co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The trio were also paid $1 in salary during 2005.

Censorship could undermine integrity

GOOGLE’s reputation is built on the integrity of its search results but its expansion has put that aspiration under pressure.

The decision to censor some of its database results in China was the latest difficult decision that the search engine has had to make.

In Germany, searches on Nazi-related topics were already blocked; in America, copyright infringement was carefully policed.

However, neither of those restrictions were as dramatic as the political censorship that Google accepted on its results in China.

So far, such censorship has not dented Google’s position as the world’s most popular search engine — although it was not clear whether users of its search engine were aware of the censorship that the company has imposed.

However, such compromises could affect the image of the company.

The company was probably the most sensitive of internet search engines to political or privacy concerns.

Last week, it emerged that Google was in dispute with the US Attorney-General over his demand to access a week of records on search terms by users. The Attorney-General wanted the records to help to establish the extent of child pornography on the internet. Other search engines complied with a broader request without complaint.

Market is too large to ignore

THE theory was that the internet could never be censored but with impressive technical effort and willing Western companies the Chinese authorities appear to have succeeded.

Google is simply the latest internet company to conclude that the world’s most populous country is too important a market to ignore. It has accepted local censorship requirements that have already been endorsed by both Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Time Warner, the media group, is one of the few companies to have walked away from China. In 2002 it abandoned a planned internet joint venture in the country because of concerns that local authorities would want to access private e-mail accounts.

Google says that it is important to engage with China, even in a restricted form. It says that “providing no information, or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information, is . . . inconsistent with our vision”.ave a valid defense against the US government, there is no defense to giving user info to the Chinese.

Al-Osthoff Precedent's Consequences

Two German Engineers Kidnapped in Iraq

By PAUL GARWOOD, Associated Press Writer Tue Jan 24, 1:01 PM ET

Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped two German engineers Tuesday in northern Iraq, and British troops detained several police officers among more than a dozen people linked to a series of killings, bombings and kidnappings in the southern city of Basra.

The kidnapped Germans worked at an Iraqi state-owned detergent plant near the oil refinery in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad and were seized by gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms, said police Capt. Falah al-Janabi.

The German government confirmed that two young German males from Leipzig had been abducted and a special crisis team has been sent to Iraq to deal with the matter.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Berlin is doing "everything in our power so that we not only receive information, but the hostages will be returned to us safely."

The first German kidnapped in Iraq was Susanne Osthoff, an aid worker and archaeologist who disappeared with her Iraqi driver in northern Iraq on Nov. 25. Her release was announced Dec. 18.

This is no surprise. When the German government pays off these groups, and then releases terrorists in prison, it only shows the terrorists that kidnappings pay. The only way to stop these events is by not negotiating, and betting on the public reaction in the Muslim world turning against the kidnappers after hostages are killed, especially beheaded.

Sheik Your Booty

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee


Scarlett Turns Baywatch Babe

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic
Kaiser News Service
Los Angeles, CA (Jan 23, 2006)- Starlett Scarlett Johannson stunned suprised sunbathers on Sunday when she dove into the Pacific Ocean to rescue two suffering surfers. After reaching the distressed dudes, Scarlett swam the petrified pair back to shore. "When she reached them, she told them 'each one of you grab one.' They made Isaac Mizrahi proud," snarked our spy.


"I Heart Abortion"

The story refuses to mention that the pro-choice marchers, who are portrayed as simply wanting legal abortion, are sponsored by ANSWER Coalition. ANSWER is a communist front, and support the terrorists in Iraq, Cuba, Palestinian suicide bombers etc. If Democrats want to know why pro-life people don't trust their party, it may have something to do with the bloodlust many pro-choice people exhibit, the morbid desire they have to encourage abortion as birth control. These two images illustrate just that.

Reuters - Sat Jan 21, 7:19 PM ET
Abortion rights activists protest against a march by anti-abortion activists in San Francisco, California January 21, 2006. Thousands of anti-abortion activists marched through city streets on the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. REUTERS/Kimberly White

More on Susanne Al-Osthoff's "ordeal"

DW staff / AFP (nda) www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle.
Germany 29.12.2005
Al Qaeda Responsible for Kidnap Says Freed Hostage Osthoff
Susanne Osthoff also denied reports that she was considering returning to Iraq

Amid confusing and contradictory remarks about her capture and alleged return to Iraq, former German hostage Susanne Osthoff claimed that a group affiliated to al Qaeda was behind her kidnapping.

Susanne Osthoff, the German archeologist who was abducted in Iraq and released after 24 days in captivity, has said a group linked to al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was behind her kidnapping last month, as a report Thursday said she is planning to return to the country.

"I was informed who it was, namely a group linked to Abu Musab al Zarqawi's group," Osthoff, 43, told ZDF public television about her abduction with her Iraqi driver on November 25.

Osthoff, speaking from Doha and dressed in a yashmak or black veil covering all but her eyes, described the psychological terror she experienced during her 24-day captivity. "You do not have any feelings any more because you are on the verge of death," Osthoff said.

Osthoff "lucky to be alive"

She said that she was kept bound part of the time and that she was lucky to be alive.

"If there were no mercy in Arabia, I would have been eliminated after an hour in the trunk (of the kidnappers' car) and then tossed in the canal," she said.

She was freed on December 18 and has reportedly not been in direct contact with her family in Germany, who made frequent media appearances during her ordeal to demand her release.

The remarks appeared to contradict an interview she gave Monday to Doha-based satellite channel al Jazeera in which she said her kidnappers were not criminals and had only demanded humanitarian aid for Sunni Arab regions.

She had described her captors as "poor people" and that she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter (Baghdad's heavily fortified) Green Zone to kidnap Americans."

Conflicting reports of Osthoff's future intentions

Meanwhile, the German daily Die Welt said that Osthoff was currently in Jordan and was planning her return to Iraq.

Asked by ZDF if it was indeed her intention to head for Iraq, Osthoff replied: "That's a lie, I have the cassette here ... I have never said that, I wouldn't do so to such a dumb question and it has never been asked by the Arabs."

The Die Welt report suggested that if she were to return to Iraq then the 900-kilometer (560-mile) journey from Amman in Jordan to Baghdad, notoriously dangerous due to roving bands of thieves and kidnappers, would be avoided and that an alternative would be to enter the country via Syria.

But the newspaper reported that the government in Damascus had said that while Osthoff, a Muslim convert and fluent Arabic speaker, would be welcome in the country she would not be permitted to cross the border into Iraq.

Foreign Ministry angered at rumors of a return to Iraq

Speculation that Osthoff might return to Iraq has met with outrage in Germany and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has explicitly called on her not to return to the strife-ravaged country.

It is unclear whether Germany paid a ransom for her release but many officials have noted the expense of the effort to free her, including the establishment of a round-the-clock crisis team operating at the foreign ministry.

White people won't give it up

White people are out of control. Everyone wants to be a victim. Of course, whites love to patronize minorities and label them victims, who of course need white people to rescue them. Then, white people try and create their own victim groups, so others can feel the need to pat them on the head and tell them they're special. Also, white people love "ethnic" things, as if German or French is not ethnic but Vietnamese is. Every rich liberal has said "I love ethnic food," which of course makes no sense at all. Nutty, nutty white people.

DER SPIEGEL 3/2006 - January 16, 2006 URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,395703,00.html

Going Native in America
The Benefits of Becoming Indian
By Jörg Blech

In the United States a growing number of white people are discovering their Native American roots. Some are doing so for financial gain, but most are just looking for the meaning of life.

A few weeks, Betty Baker was still just a white housewife. But now the woman, with her piercing blue eyes, goes by the name "Little Dove" --and has jettisoned her apron for an elaborate deerskin dress. "I am an Indian and I've sensed this my whole life," says the 48-year-old Baker, who lives in a wooden house on the edge of the small town of Pinson, Alabama.Five years ago, after her parents told her that her family probably had some Native American ancestry, she assembled documents and birth certificates and last September was accepted into the Cherokee Tribe of northeast Alabama. The cultural neophyte is now zealously learning the rituals and dances of her newly discovered ancestors. But she certainly isn't alone. Little Dove is just one of thousands of people in the United States who are becoming Indians. The government's official grouping of "Native Americans" is an extremely fast growing minority: between 1960 and 2000 it grew by 640 percent. More than 4 million Americans now describe themselves as Native American, which cannot be explained by the birth rate alone. Much of the growth is due to people like Betty Baker changing their ethnicity.Most of these new Indians have pale skin, some are even blond, and almost all were considered white before. Others point to high cheek bones, brown eyes and straight, glossy hair in their families as unmistakable signs of Indian ancestry.

The self-described 'half bloods' may still live in their old homes, but their free time is now taken up by organizing powwows and walking around in costumes like those straight out of old Western movies.

Financial benefits

But the benefits of racial identity aren't the only ones Indian converts are after. The Indian identity has attracted some poor Americans for the access to university scholarships or free health insurance that comes with it. Potential income from casinos. Indian tribes are allowed to have gambling on their reservations, as long as the tribe is recognized by the US government. A loophole that was originally intended to help many Native Americans out of poverty and deprivation has developed into a huge business. The gambling income nationwide amounts to over $18 billion annually and much of it is distributed among the members of the tribes. One of the biggest casinos in the world -- with 40,000 visitors a day -- is run by the Mashantucket Pequot near Norwich, Connecticut. Since gambling was established in 1986 the number of Indians living there has increased tenfold -- and each week there are new applications.

According to Joyce Walker, the administrator of applications, "People say: I've just found out that I'm an Indian, and want to know how I can get my cash." Meanwhile the Mashantucket Pequot have made their entry requirements tougher and demand proof of blood ties. They and other tribes recognized by the state insist that they alone can decide who they accept and who they don't. Even those who turn up with DNA proof can be rejected. This doesn't seem to be putting off these "wannabe" Indians. If they are not accepted by the established tribes many simply found their own. While there are only three recognized Cherokee nations (two in Oklahoma and one in North Carolina), for example, there are now more than 240 tribes from Alaska to Mexico that have been attempting to gain government recognition for years. So far without success.

A sense of belonging

Circe Sturm of the University of Oklahoma believes these second-class Indians are often simply enjoying themselves. The anthropologist has interviewed more than 70 people who changed ethnic groups about their motivation. She doesn't believe that most of them are just after the money. Many are frustrated and are looking for some kind of meaning in their lives. "If being white is just an empty plate," she says, "then being Indian is a gourmet buffet."

Many of the converts connect the indigenous existence with ideals such as equality between the sexes, more democracy and a romantic affinity with nature. The anthropologist found that two things were particularly attractive to the pale-faced Indians: the spiritual rituals and the idea of belonging to a group. An increasing number of Americans want to experience those pleasant feelings -- and that is causing some unrest amongst Indians. In order to escape an invasion of outsiders, even many of the newer tribes are trying to seal themselves off from further claimants. Little Dove's husband Steve Baker is a mechanic and also feels like an Indian. He wears moccasins and a loin cloth, goes to the folklore meetings and wants to be accepted into his wife's tribe as "Running Bear."

However, this isn't likely to happen anytime soon. The once so modest hobby tribe in northeast Alabama has swelled to 4,000 Cherokees and is now re-examining its integration policies. Until further notice, no new Indians will be accepted.

Kerry, say goodbye to your relevance!

AP - Thu Jan 19, 12:03 PM ET
Visiting U.S. Sen. John Kerry, left, and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari wave to media after a press conference, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006, in the secure 'green zone' area of Baghdad, Iraq. Kerry said Thursday that 2006 will be 'crunch time' for Iraq's new government, which must show it is capable of running an ethnically divided and violence-wracked country. (AP Photo/Faleh Kheiber/pool)

Say it aint so, Angie!

Report says ransom money found on Osthoff
Saturday January 21, 10:34 PM
BERLIN (Reuters) - Part of the ransom money alleged to have been paid by the German government to win the freedom of Iraq hostage Susanne Osthoff last month was found on Osthoff after her release, the German magazine Focus said on Saturday.

Without citing its sources, Focus said officials at the German embassy in Baghdad had found several thousand U.S. dollars in the 43-year-old German archaeologist's clothes when she took a shower at the embassy shortly after being freed.

The serial numbers on the bills matched those used by the government to pay off Osthoff's kidnappers, the magazine said.

Efforts to contact Osthoff for comment through her mother and a friend failed.
A spokeswoman at the German Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report. The German government is known to have paid ransoms for hostages in the past, but has refused to comment on whether it did so for Osthoff.

Osthoff, who converted to Islam and lived in Iraq, was seized heading north from Baghdad on November 25 by gunmen who threatened in a videotape to kill her and her driver unless Germany ended all support for the Iraqi government.

Speculation about the circumstances of her kidnapping and release has swirled in the German media since the German government announced on December 18 that she was free.
Two days after her release, the German government freed a Hizbollah member jailed for life in 1985 for the murder of a U.S. Navy diver. Berlin has denied a connection between the two events.

Osthoff herself caused a stir when she said in an interview at the end of December that she did not believe her kidnappers were criminals.

I always thought there was something fishy with this lady, and I bet she staged the whole thing with the terrorists for money. Too bad Germany didn't call the bluff. Reuters reports:

Osthoff, held hostage in Iraq for three weeks, believes a group allied to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, abducted her and yet also set her free. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Now way Zarqawi would release someone, this guy beheads people like no tomorrow. It was a set-up, I tell you.

Pakistani Sheehans

Notice how they are described as "peace activists"- also, if they don't want our "meddling," we'll gladly take back all the money we gave them after their earthquake and not bother to send help if it happens again (to see what we did, check out http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2005/57890.htm). Sadly, Cindy Sheehan has said all the same slogans as those signs, and she's applauded.

Reuters - Sat Jan 21, 8:47 AM ET
Pakistani peace activists hold placards during a protest in Islamabad, January 21, 2006, against U.S. airstrike in a tribal region, near Afghan border. U.S. officials say the strike was aimed at al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al Zawahri in which 18 civilians were also killed. Pakistani officials say Zawahri was not present at the time of attack. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood


"Muslims are funny...that's hot"

(AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc) (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Rosie O'Donnell lost on way to London Airport

AFP - Sat Jan 21, 11:00 AM ET
A northern bottle-nose whale stranded in the River Thames in central London is being transported on a barge out to the nearby estuary, in an urgent measure to rescue the endangered animal.(AFP/John D McHugh)
"Tonight, we dine on Kielbasa"

AP - Mon Jan 16, 10:42 AM ET
From right, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, left, toast with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Moscow Kremlin, Monday, Jan. 16, 2006. Merkel arrived in Russia on Monday for her first visit as Germany's chancellor, aiming to underscore a 'strategic partnership' with an important energy supplier while still meeting with representatives of human rights groups. (AP Photo/ ITAR-TASS, Presidential Press Service, Vladimir Rodionov )
"Who let Poland in?"

AFP/Itar-Tass/File - Mon Jan 16, 11:36 AM ET
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint press conference in Moscow. Putin warned against taking "abrupt" steps over Iran's nuclear ambitions and said Tehran had not ruled out a Russian proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian territory.(AFP/Itar-Tass/File)
"We shall burn it, then you will have your total war"

AFP/DDP/File - Wed Jan 11, 11:54 AM ET
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice look to the German Reichstag (background) from a balcony of the Chancellory, December 2005. Merkel embarks on her first visit to the United States after eight weeks in power in which she has repeatedly signalled the need for a sea change in transatlantic ties(AFP/DDP/File/Michael Kappeler)
"My mind is telling me no, but my heart is telling me..."

AFP/DDP/File - Wed Jan 11, 11:54 AM ET
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) address a press conference in Berlin, December 2005. Merkel embarks on her first visit to the United States after eight weeks in power in which she has repeatedly signalled the need for a sea change in transatlantic ties(AFP/DDP/File/Marcus Brandt)