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When There's No High Road
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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Nigerian sect kills 15; Christians vow defense

By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — A radical Muslim sect attacked a church worship service in Nigeria's northeast during assaults that killed at least 15 people, authorities said Saturday, as Christians vowed to defend themselves from the group's widening sectarian fight against the country's government.

The attacks by the sect known as Boko Haram came after it promised to kill Christians living in Nigeria's largely Muslim north, exploiting long-standing religious and ethnic tensions in the nation of more than 160 million people. The pledge by the leader of an umbrella organization called the Christian Association of Nigeria now raises the possibility of retaliatory violence.

In the last few days alone, Boko Haram has killed at least 44 people, despite the oil-rich nation's president declaring a state of emergency in regions hit by the sect.

Speaking Saturday to journalists, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, vowed the group's members would adequately protect themselves from the sect. He declined to offer specifics, raising concerns about retaliation.

"We have decided to work out means to defend ourselves against these senseless killings," Oritsejafor said.

He later added: "We cannot sit back and watch people being slaughtered like animals everyday, going to the church, shooting people, killing them. This is unacceptable."

In Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, gunmen covered their faces with black cloth when they attacked Apostolic Church on Friday night, local police commissioner Ade Shinaba said. Shinaba said at least eight worshippers died in that attack.

At a nearby beauty salon, at least three others were killed in a similar attack.

"Three gunmen with their faces covered with black cloth burst into my salon and started shooting at customers, chanting, 'God is great, God is great,'" said Stephen Tizhe, 35.

Responding to the violence, Adamawa state Gov. Murtala Nyako ordered a 24-hour curfew throughout the rural state. The violence comes ahead of a planned gubernatorial election later this month.

In the town of Potiskum in Yobe state, gunmen set two banks ablaze with gasoline bombs, starting a gunfight with police that lasted three hours Friday, local police commissioner Tanko Lawan said. At least two people were killed in the fight, he said.

On Saturday, sect gunmen also shot and killed two Christian students who attend the University of Maiduguri in nearby Borno state, local police commissioner Simeon Midenda said.

No arrests have been made in any of the attacks, authorities said.

The attacks came after gunmen claimed by Boko Haram attacked a town hall earlier Friday in Mubi, Adamawa state, killing at least 20 people who had gathered for a meeting of the Christian Igbo ethnic group. On Thursday night, the sect also attacked a church in Gombe state, killing at least eight people.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for at least 510 killings last year alone, according to an Associated Press count. It has targeted churches in the past in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria.

The group claimed responsibility for attacks that killed at least 42 people in Christmas Day strikes that included the bombing of a Catholic church near Abuja. The group also claimed an August suicide car bombing that targeted the U.N. headquarters in the capital, killing 25 people and wounding more than 100.

Nigeria's central government has been slow to respond to the sect. On Dec. 31, President Goodluck Jonathan declared regions of Borno, Niger, Plateau and Yobe states to be under a state of emergency, meaning authorities can make arrests without proof and conduct searches without warrants. He also ordered international borders near Borno and Yobe state to be closed.

However, the areas where the recent church and town hall attacks happened are not in the areas marked by the president.

Boko Haram promised to begin attacking Christians in Nigeria's north several days before the recent violence. The new killings have sparked fears among Christians living in the north about the group and caused some to flee. There also has been at least one report of retaliatory violence against Muslims living in Nigeria's mostly Christian south in recent days as well.

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National Review:

Obama Skirts the Democratic Process

The president has exceeded his powers, and the GOP won’t stop him.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

President Obama has fulfilled a second Tom Friedman fantasy — the first being that he is, in fact, President Obama. “I have fantasized#…#that, what if we could just be China for a day,” the New York Times star columnist gushed for his ponderous fellow travelers on Meet the Press. “I mean where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions.”

It was May 2010, not long after Obama and a Congress dominated by Democrats had rammed through Obamacare, the most sweeping government usurpation of private industry and individual liberty in American history. Soon they’d be adding Dodd-Frank’s paralyzing intrusion into the financial sector. Yet, despite the shock and awe of hope and change, here was the Progressive Poobah, grousing that “my democracy” was failing “to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness” as a totalitarian Communist dictatorship. After all, unburdened by our remnants of free-market competition, by the gridlock and sausage-making of two-party politics, the Chicoms produce trade and budget surpluses, state-of-the-art airports, and enviro-friendly high-speed rail. All we can manage, “on everything from the economy to environment,” Friedman complained, are “suboptimal solutions” — apparently not to be confused with the optimal Chinese menu of forced abortions, religious repression, secret police, kangaroo courts, and air you could cut with a chopstick.

#ad#Friedman is surely smiling today. So, we can assume, are other leftists, such as Peter Orszag, Obama’s former budget-overrun director, and Bev Perdue, the governor of North Carolina. Right after the midterm shellacking that swept Republicans into control of the House — a roadblock that has stymied some, but by no means all, of Obama’s transformational agenda — they said aloud what other Democrats were thinking: America’s problem is too much democracy. This week, the president solved that problem, shoving another page of the suboptimal Constitution through his made-in-China shredder.

In sum, Obama dissolved the separation of powers, the framers’ ingenious bulwark against any government branch’s seizure of supreme power — and thus the Constitution’s bulwark against tyranny. The president claims the power to appoint federal officers without the Senate’s constitutionally mandated advice and consent. He does so by claiming unilateral powers to dictate when the Senate is in session, a power the Constitution assigns to Congress, and to decree that an ongoing session is actually a recess. This sheer ukase, he says, triggers the part of the Constitution we’re keeping because he likes it — viz., the executive power to fill vacancies without any vetting by the people’s representatives.

Mind you, a president is the only government official constitutionally required to swear that he will “preserve, protect and defend” that Constitution. We are talking here not just about Obama’s characteristically breathtaking arrogance. These are profound violations of his oath and of our fundamental law. But rest assured he will get away with them. For that, Republicans can thank themselves and their surrender to statism.

Obama is hot to move forward on two fronts. The first is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is the monstrous Dodd-Frank’s crown jewel. Congress unconstitutionally delegated to it virtually unreviewable power to “dictate credit allocation in the U.S. economy,” as C. Boyden Gray put it. Not just bank lending — the law invests dictatorial power in a single CFPB director over thousands of American businesses. The CFPB is not just part of Obama’s design to splay the government’s tentacles throughout the private economy; it is also key to his reelection narrative: Leviathan, no longer shyly creeping but heroically swashbuckling through predatory capitalists to rescue the noble “99 percent.”

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The Telegraph:

20 killed as Nigerian gunmen attack Christian mourners

Gunmen in Nigeria on Friday opened fire on friends and relatives gathered to mourn the deaths of three Christians killed on Thursday, leaving up to 20 more people dead.

Gunmen in Nigeria on Friday opened fire on friends and relatives gathered to mourn the deaths of three Christians killed on Thursday, leaving up to 20 more people dead.
Nigeria has recently experienced a surge in ethnic and sectarian violence Photo: AFP

It was the latest in a series of attacks blamed on radical Islamists who have vowed to wage a religious war on Nigeria's Christians and drive them from the country's majority-Muslim north.

Several dozen Christians had come together for a meeting in a town hall in Mubi, in Adamawa state, to mark the deaths the day before of several people killed in the town.

Up to four gunmen surrounded the building and opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles, killing up to 20 people and leaving another 15 badly injured.

"We started hearing many gunshots through the windows," said Okey Raymond, 48, who was at the meeting.

"Everyone scampered for safety, but the gunmen chanted: 'God is great God is great' while shooting at us."

Mr Raymond said he hid under a table and escaped through a rear door. The gunmen also carried knives and machetes, the local police commissioner said.

No arrests have been made in the attack, and no one has claimed responsibility.

A purported spokesman for Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mubi is close to the Cameroon border and is not in an area covered by a state of emergency declared by Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's president, following two weeks of sectarian violence.

The country's population of 160 million people is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

While Boko Haram has been blamed for increasingly deadly attacks for months, including an August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed 25, the violence has taken on a different dimension with recent church attacks.

A wave of Christmas bombings that killed 49 people, most of them outside a Catholic church as services were ending, has provoked outrage in Nigeria and intensified fears of more sectarian clashes.

There have been fears of reprisals from Christians, and Christian leaders have warned they will defend themselves if attacks against them continue.

Boko Haram is a shadowy group believed to have a number of factions with differing aims, including those with political links and a hard-core Islamist faction.

: Up to 3,000 people have died in a week of clashes in Southern Sudan between different cattle-herding tribes accusing each other of stealing herds, local officials said yesterday.

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Bloomberg:

Musharraf Will Be Arrested on Arrival in Pakistan, PTI Reports


Pervez Musharraf, who resigned asPakistan’s president in 2008, will be arrested on arrival in the country later this month, the Press Trust of India reported, citing a prosecutor.

Musharraf is a “proclaimed offender” and there’s no need for a warrant for this arrest, PTI reported today, citing Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, prosecutor at the Federal Investigation Agency. Musharraf lives in Dubai and London and plans to return to Pakistan on Jan. 25 or Jan. 27, according to the report.

A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf in February over allegations he played a role in the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the AP reported at the time, citing prosecutors. He hadn’t been charged in the case, AP said.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Art Blakey Jazz Messengers
Theme for Stacy


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Obama is DARING a republican house, and senate minority to give him some payback


Obama takes victory lap

By Amie Parnes 01/06/12 12:45 PM ET
Two days after defying Republicans and appointing Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama visited the new agency to take a little time to gloat.
Making a victory lap of sorts at the independent agency, Obama cracked a joke, telling employees that he came by to help their new director move in.
More seriously, a seemingly content Obama called the man he tapped a “great director who is tailor-made to lead this agency.”With Cordray at the helm, after months of delay, the agency will help Americans better digest mortgages, student loans and credit card fees before they become entangled in debt, Obama said before a packed room of more than 100 CFPB employees.
Did he just say americans are too STUPID to understand a mortgage? Understand a credit card?
Dem NLRB ‘recess’ appointments rushed, don’t appear on White House nominee list
The two Democrats that President Barack Obama appointed to the National Labor Relations Board during what he considered a congressional “recess” are not on the White House’s official list of Obama’s appointments and nominations for various positions.
Obama referred his two Democratic nominees, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, to the Senate on Dec. 15. The Senate adjourned for the year – but did not go into an official recess — on the following day.
WhiteHouse.gov tracks the status of all of Obama’s appointments and nominations. Block and Griffin do not appear on that list — a sign that the administration rushed the recess appointments through too quickly for the Senate to even consider them.
“It’s hard to argue that the Senate was obstructing these Democratic nominees when they don’t even appear on the administration’s own list of nominations and appointments,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce labor policy specialist Glenn Spencer told The Daily Caller.
Pres Clinton’s justice department, and SCOTUS both ruled that a recess must be > 3 days to be considered a recess. Neither side of the legislature has been out of session for more than 2 days.
 
The Republicans should send this to the courts, fast tracked, and call for more cooperation with Obama.
 
EASILY OBSERVED TRAP
 
However, if Obama goes out of office, unless the democrats in the legislature make a positive move, the sine waves of extreme behavior will only INCREASE in amplitude.
 
Obama is going to conduct a scorched earth campaign.

If this is going to be Romney, we all had better be ready for him to be portrayed as the handmaiden and protector of the (white) 1%, a prime member of the (white inherited moneyed) 1%, and a proper target of justified incitement, whose prior hob was to buy companies and fire the 99% for his 1% buddies.

Romney should FULLY prepared for this

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Honor Violence Increasing?

From Creeping Sharia:


The main point that looms before us:
As Muslims migrate to the West, and more Muslim young people adopt Western ways, honor violence is on the rise.

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The Present Constitutional Crisis

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This month's report from the Bureau of Lies and Statistics:

CNBC:

Unemployment Falls to 8.5%; 200,000 New Jobs Created


The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent last month as job creation was more robust than expected, providing continued signs that the nation's labor market is improving gradually.


Growth in manufacturing jobs helped offset a loss in government positions, while wages edged higher and the length of the work week also lengthened a bit.

The unemployment rate — a hotly contested number because of the rise in potential workers who have quit looking for jobs — has fallen 0.6 percentage points since August.

However, an alternative measure of unemployment that counts discouraged workers also dropped sharply. The so-called U-6 number, more encompassing than the headline number the government publicizes, dropped to 15.2 percent from 15.6 percent in November.

"Overall the report was pretty solid through and through," said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector analysis at Charles Schwab in San Francisco. "This helps to continue the snowball rolling downhill, as the more people hired and the more people working increases demand. Employers have to hire to meet that demand. It gets the ball rolling and we are starting to see a self-sustaining expansion phase take hold."

The labor-force participation rate, considered another key metric regarding optimism in the workforce, was unchanged at 64 percent. The average duration of unemployment remains near a record high at just under 41 weeks, though the number of those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer fell by 92,000.

Those not in the workforce at all finished 2011 at an annualized record high, but even that measure fell in December to 2.54 million, a drop of about half a million.

the rest of that nonsense here

Now, I'm not feeling up to the rant at the moment so I'm just going to borrow Zero Hedge's

Massive Beat? Not So Fast - Morgan Stanley Warns 42,000 "Jobs" Bogus Due To Seasonal Quirk
Tyler Durden's picture


Enamored with the 200,000 number? Don't be - the reason why the market has basically yawned at this BLS data is that as Morgan Stanley's David Greenlaw reports, 42,000 of the 200,000 is basically a seasonal quirk, which will be given back next month, meaning the true adjusted number is 158,000, essentially right on top of the expectation. From David Greenlaw: "some of the strength in this report should be discounted because of an seasonal quirk in the courier category of payrolls (Fed-ex, UPS, etc). Jobs in this sector jumped 42,000 in December, repeating a pattern seen in 2009 and 2010 (see attached figure). We should see a payback in next month's report."


And this piece as well:

Real Jobless Rate Is 11.4% With Realistic Labor Force Participation Rate
Tyler Durden's picture


One does not need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the fudging the BLS has been doing every month for years now in order to bring the unemployment rate lower: the BLS constantly lowers the labor force participation rate as more and more people "drop out" of the labor force for one reason or another. While there is some floating speculation that this is due to early retirement, this is completely counterfactual when one also considers the overall rise in the general civilian non institutional population. In order to back out this fudge we are redoing an analysis we did first back in August 2010, which shows what the real unemployment rate would be using a realistic labor force participation rate. To get that we used the average rate since 1980, or ever since the great moderation began. As it happens, this long-term average is 65.8% (chart 1). We then apply this participation rate to the civilian noninstitutional population to get what an "implied" labor force number is, and additionally calculate the implied unemployed using this more realistic labor force. We then show the difference between the reported and implied unemployed (chart 2). Finally, we calculate the jobless rate using this new implied data. It won't surprise anyone that as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) - basically where it has been ever since 2009 - and at 2.9% delta to reported, represents the widest divergence to reported data since the early 1980s. And because we know this will be the next question, extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

Labor Force Participation since 1980:

Reported and Implied number of Unemployed:


Difference between Reported and implied unemployment rate:

-----------


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File under AYFKM??


File under, AYFKM?


So if you're having dinner with Scarlett, as beautiful as she actually is, and assuming she is brilliant, and has a huge depth of knowledge about everything you are interested in....


HOW IN GOD'S NAME ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT?
Or are you?
This is a deep philosophical issue?
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The Four Tops



The Platters



The Righteous Brothers

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Horace Silver
Lonely Woman



Cool Eyes

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

This Week On The Gathering Storm

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, hosted by WC and Always On Watch. The show broadcasts live every Friday beginning at noon, Pacific Time, for 30 minutes.

The call-in number is 646-915-9870.

Listen to the January 6, 2012 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.

UPCOMING SHOWS:
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jesse “The Glass Chin” Ventura gets the smack down from a real seal for mouthing off at wake for a dead seal

from ace of spades~~~SEAL Chris Kyle Describes How He Punched Fake-Seal Jesse Ventura In The Face

Chris Kyle was having a wake for a fallen friend (Micheal A. Monsoor) and Jesse Ventura insisted on not only railing against the war, and not only claiming these guys were killing innocent women and children, but going to the next level — saying “we deserve to lose a few guys.”

At a wake. For a guy who’d jumped on a grenade to save his team.

He can’t go any lower, you say? Wrong. He can go down to the floor.

Via Breitbart.tv and @andrewbreitbart






heres a little about the man ventura was insulting, and by the way jesse glass jaw ventura just got a lesson in not speaking ill of the dead.

Michael Anthony Monsoor (April 5, 1981 – September 29, 2006) was a U.S. Navy SEAL killed during the Iraq War and posthumously received the Medal of Honor.[1] Monsoor enlisted in the United States Navy in 2001 and graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in 2004. After further training he was assigned to Delta Platoon, SEAL Team Three.

Delta Platoon was sent to Iraq in April 2006 and assigned to train Iraqi Army soldiers in Ramadi. Over the next five months, Monsoor and his platoon frequently engaged in combat with insurgent forces. On September 29, 2006 an insurgent threw a grenade onto a rooftop where Monsoor and several other SEAL and Iraqi soldiers were positioned. Monsoor quickly smothered the grenade with his body, absorbing the resulting explosion and saving his comrades from serious injury or death. Monsoor died 30 minutes later from serious wounds caused by the grenade explosion.

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Get Him Out Of Office Now!

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Is It My Imagination?

Or does Obama look terrible in this photograph?

Maybe it's the lighting, but he appears jaundiced.

And gaunt. Very gaunt.

He looks well beyond the age of 50, doesn't he?

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Not Too Big To Fail?

So a trillion dollars in bank bailouts (300 billion to Citi-idiots alone) was necessary good and proper.

But the American Military isn't worth 489 billion?

I guess Uncle Barry doesn't think they're too big to fail.

Obama plans to cut tens of thousands of ground troops

By Laura MacInnis and David Alexander

WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 4, 2012 6:55pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will unveil a "more realistic" vision for the military on Thursday, with plans to cut tens of thousands of ground troops and invest more in air and sea power at a time of fiscal restraint, officials familiar with the plans said on Wednesday.

The strategic review of U.S. security interests will also emphasize an American presence in Asia, with less attention overall to Europe, Africa and Latin America alongside slower growth in the Pentagon's budget, the officials said.

Though specific budget cut and troop reduction figures are not set to be announced on Thursday, officials confirmed to Reuters they would amount to a 10-15 percent decline in Army and Marine Corps numbers over the next decade, translating to tens of thousands of troops.

The most profound shift in the strategic review is an acceptance that the United States, even with the world's largest military budget, cannot afford to maintain the ground troops to fight more than one major war at once. That is a move away from the "win-win" strategy that has dominated Pentagon funding decisions for decades.

The move to a "win-spoil" plan, allowing U.S. forces to fight one campaign and stop or block another conflict, includes a recognition that the White House would need to ramp up public support for further engagement and draw more heavily on reserve and national guard troops when required.

"As Libya showed, you don't necessarily have to have boots on the ground all the time," an official said, explaining the White House view.

"We are refining our strategy to something that is more realistic," the official added.

President Barack Obama will help launch the U.S. review at the Pentagon on Thursday, and is expected to emphasize that the size of the U.S. military budget has been growing and will continue to grow, but at a slower pace.

Obama has moved to curtail U.S. ground commitments overseas, ending the war in Iraq, drawing down troops in Afghanistan and ruling out anything but air power and intelligence support for rebels who overthrew Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The number of U.S. military personnel formally assigned to bases in Europe - including many now deployed in Afghanistan - is also set to decline sharply, administration sources said, while stressing that the final numbers have not been set.

'BASICALLY DISAPPEAR'

"When some army brigades start coming out of Afghanistan, they will basically disappear," one official said.

Many of the key U.S. military partners in the NATO alliance are also facing tough defense budget cuts as a result of fiscal strains gripping the European Union.

The president may face criticism from defense hawks in Congress, many of them opposition Republicans, who question his commitment to U.S. military strength.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, are set to hold a news conference to flesh out the contents of the review after Obama's remarks, which are also expected to stress the need to rein in spending at a time when U.S. budgets are tight.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the defense cuts stemming from an August debt ceiling deal - worth about $489 billion over 10 years - need to be enacted carefully.

"The president made clear to his team that we need to take a hard look at all of our defense spending to ensure that spending cuts are surgical and that our top priorities are met," Carney told reporters this week.

The military could be forced to cut another $600 billion in defense spending over 10 years unless Congress takes action to stop a second round of cuts mandated in the August accord.

Panetta spent much of Wednesday afternoon briefing key congressional leaders about the strategic review. Representative Adam Smith, the senior Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said after speaking to Panetta that the review was an attempt to evaluate U.S. strategic priorities for the future rather than identify specific budget reductions.

Maintaining a significant presence in the Middle East and Asia, especially to counter Iran and North Korea, was a leading priority in the review, Smith said. So was making sure that military personnel are sufficiently cared for to guarantee the effectiveness of the all-volunteer force. Reductions in the size of U.S. forces in Europe and elsewhere are a real possibility, he said.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain John Kirby said with the military winding down a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is appropriate to re-evaluate the role of U.S. forces abroad.

"From an operational perspective it's ... an opportune time to take a look at what the U.S. military is doing and what it should be doing or should be preparing itself to do over the next 10 to 15 years," he said on Wednesday.

"So, yes, the budget cuts are certainly a driver here, but so quite frankly are current events," Kirby said.

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Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

Yeah, I really am posting this just because it's an excuse to run a tune at the end

WSJ:

Kodak Teeters on the Brink

By MIKE SPECTOR And DANA MATTIOLI

Eastman Kodak Co. is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would cap a stunning comedown for a company that once ranked among America's corporate titans.

The 131-year-old company is still making last-ditch efforts to sell off some of its patent portfolio and could avoid Chapter 11 if it succeeds, one of the people said. But the company has started making preparations for a filing in case those efforts fail, including talking to banks about some $1 billion in financing to keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings, the people said.

Eastman Kodak is preparing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy-protection filing in the coming weeks should efforts to sell a trove of digital patents fall through. Dana Mattioli has details on The News Hub. Photo: AP

A Kodak spokesman said the company "does not comment on market rumor or speculation."

A filing could come as soon as this month or early February, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Kodak would continue to pay its bills and operate normally while under bankruptcy protection, the people said. But the company's focus would then be the sale of some 1,100 patents through a court-supervised auction, the people said.

That Kodak is even contemplating a bankruptcy filing represents a final reversal of fortune for a company that once dominated its industry, drawing engineering talent from around the country to its Rochester, N.Y., headquarters and plowing money into research that produced thousands of breakthroughs in imaging and other technologies.

The company, for instance, invented the digital camera—in 1975—but never managed to capitalize on the new technology.

Casting about for alternatives to its lucrative but shrinking film business, Kodak toyed with chemicals, bathroom cleaners and medical-testing devices in the 1980s and 1990s, before deciding to focus on consumer and commercial printers in the past half-decade under Chief Executive Antonio Perez.

None of the new pursuits generated the cash needed to fund the change in course and cover the company's big obligations to its retirees. A Chapter 11 filing could help Kodak shed some of those obligations, but the viability of the company's printer strategy has yet to be demonstrated, raising questions about the fate of the company's 19,000 employees.

Such uncertainty was once unthinkable at Kodak, whose near-monopoly on film produced high margins that the company shared with its workers. On "wage dividend days," a tradition started by Kodak founder George Eastman, the company would pay out bonuses to all workers based on its results, and employees would use the checks to buy cars and celebrate at fancy restaurants.

Former employees say the company was the Apple Inc. or Google Inc. of its time. Robert Shanebrook, 64 years old, who started at the company in 1967 and was most recently world-wide product manager for professional photographic film, recalls young talent traipsing through Kodak's sprawling corporate campus. At lunch, they would crowd the auditorium to watch a daily movie at an on-site theater. Other employees would play basketball on the company courts.

"We had this self-imposed opinion of ourselves that we could do anything, that we were undefeatable," Mr. Shanebrook said.

Kodak's troubles date back to the 1980s, when the company struggled with foreign competitors that stole its market share in film. The company later had to cope with the rise of digital photography and smartphones.

It wasn't until 10 years ago that the mood began to sour, said Mr. Shanebrook. By 2003, Kodak announced it would stop making investments in film. "I didn't want to stick around for the demise," he said.

Kodak shares closed Wednesday at 47 cents, down 28% after The Wall Street Journal reported the company was preparing a Chapter 11 filing.

Kodak has lost money each year but one since Mr. Perez, who previously headed the printer business at Hewlett-Packard Co., took over in 2005. The company's problems came to a head in 2011, as Mr. Perez's strategy of using patent lawsuits and licensing deals to raise cash ran dry.

Hoping to plug the hole, Kodak put some of its digital patents up for sale in August. Efforts to sell the portfolio have been slowed by bidders' concerns that Kodak might seek bankruptcy protection. The company has talked to hedge funds about borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to bridge its finances until the patents sell, but the talks have faltered, people familiar with the matter said.

The first sign of acute cash pressure came in late September, when Kodak drew $160 million from its credit line at a time when it had told investors it would be building cash. The move sent Kodak's stock tumbling and raised fresh concerns about the company's viability.

Soon after, Kodak hired restructuring lawyers and advisers to help shore up its finances.

The company and its board have weighed a potential bankruptcy filing for months. Advisers told Kodak a filing would make its patent sale easier and likely allow the company to command a higher price, people familiar with the matter have said. The obligation to cover pension and health-care costs for retirees could also be purged through bankruptcy proceedings, the people said.

Those obligations—which run to hundreds of millions of dollars a year—as well as the unprofitable state of Kodak's new businesses, have made the company undesirable as a takeover target, people familiar with the matter said.

During a two-day meeting of the company's board, management and advisers in mid-December, executives were briefed on how Kodak would fund itself during bankruptcy proceedings should efforts to sell its patents fall short, a person familiar with the matter said.

Kodak is in discussions with large banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. for so-called debtor-in-possession financing to keep the company operating in bankruptcy court, people familiar with the matter said.

Kodak has also held discussions with bondholders and a group led by investment firm Cerberus Capital Management LP about a bankruptcy financing package, the people said.

Should it seek bankruptcy protection, Kodak would follow other well-known companies that have failed to adapt to rapidly changing business models. They included Polaroid Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection a second time in December 2008; Borders Group Inc., which liquidated itself last year; and Blockbuster Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 and was later bought by Dish Network Corp. A bankruptcy filing would kick off what is expected to be a busier year in restructuring circles, as economic growth continues to drag and fears about European sovereign debt woes threaten to make credit markets less inviting for companies that need to refinance their debts.

Mr. Perez decided to base the company's future on consumer and commercial inkjet printing. But the saturated market has proved tough to penetrate, and Kodak is paying heavily to subsidize sales as it builds a base of users for its ink.

The company remains a bit player in a printer market dominated by giants like H-P. Kodak ranks fifth world-wide, according to technology data firm IDC, with a market share of 2.6% in the first nine months of 2011.

As the company works on a restructuring plan, a key issue for creditors is whether the printer operations are worth supporting, or whether the bulk of the company's value is in its patents.

Nortel Networks Corp., a company that also had fallen behind the technology curve, opted to liquidate itself in bankruptcy court rather than reorganize, raising a greater than expected $4.5 billion for its patent trove.

Kodak's founder, Mr. Eastman, took his life at the age of 77 in what is now a museum celebrating the founder and Kodak's impact on photography. His suicide note read: "To my friends, my work is done. Why wait?"




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Humpday Blues

Son House
Death Letter

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

dont mess with mama bear

this is why we have the 2nd amendment, along with making potential tyrants think twice

Teen mom kills intruder while holding baby

Teen mom kills intruder while holding baby

KFOR-TVJanuary 2, 2012

BLANCHARD, Okla. — A man was shot to death after trying to break into a woman’s home through the front door. The shooting occurred around 2 p.m. Saturday near Blanchard. Police say 18-year-old Sarah Dawn McKinley was home with her 3-month-old son when 24-year-old Justin Shane Martin and 29-year-old Dustin Louis Stewart forced their way in.

The woman pushed a couch against the front door to prevent him from coming inside.

When she saw that he was carrying a weapon she shot and killed him.

Police say she will not face any charges since the shooting has been ruled self-defense.

Stewart later surrendered to police and is being held in the Grady County Jail pending arraignment.

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Front Page Mag:

Iranian War Drums
Posted by Stephen Brown

After threatening only days ago to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which twenty percent of the world’s oil supplies moves, the Iranian government has once again engaged in ominous sabre-rattling.

The mullah regime’s latest threat involves a warning to the United States on Tuesday not to send its naval task force group, headed by the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, back to the Persian Gulf. The Stennis had already left Gulf waters last week en route to the Afghan war theater and is now “somewhere between Oman and Pakistan.”

“I advise, recommend and warn them [the Americans] over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once,” Iranian Army Chief Ataollah Salehi reportedly stated.

The reason for Iran’s latest bellicose outburst is that the Obama administration is implementing a strict set of sanctions that could seriously damage, even topple, the Iranian government. The latest punitive measures are being imposed because Iran is still refusing, despite worldwide condemnation, to give up its nuclear weapons program. The fact Iran may be as little as a year away from developing its first nuclear weapon accounts for the sanctions’ severity. The International Atomic Energy Commission also reported recently that Iranian scientists are “working to design a nuclear warhead.”

Iran’s rulers have survived previous sanction attempts to halt their nuclear program because Iran is the fourth-largest energy exporter in the world. Its sales of oil and gas, which comprise the country’s largest exports, have allowed the Iranian government to maintain the enormous state subsidy system that has, more or less, maintained social peace in the country. There have been anti-government demonstrations in Iran, but they have failed to develop into “Arab Spring”-like movements that have brought about regime change in countries like Egypt and Tunisia.

But the latest restrictions were constructed to target those all-important oil revenues, the mullah regime’s life blood. In the future, countries that buy Iranian oil will not be allowed to “conduct financial transactions in the United States.” Governments who continue to do so would thus be excluded from a major part of the world’s financial system. In essence, what these new sanctions amount to is an embargo on Iranian oil.

It is obviously believed a US-induced boycott of Iranian oil will cause such economic havoc in Iran that the mullahs will give up their nuclear ambitions and “come back into compliance with its international obligations.” What is left unspoken, however, is that it is most likely hoped the ensuing economic disruption after the sanctions begin to bite will lead to the mullahs’ undoing. It was in response to this embargoing of its oil that the Iranian government issued its first threat to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s vice president stated “even one drop of oil” will not pass through the strait if Iran’s oil exports were affected.

But as with all plans, there are also setbacks. A major concern regarding the latest sanctions is that it is “unclear” whether there will be enough alternative sources of oil to make up for the expected reduction in Iranian exports. A second problem is that oil prices would also certainly rise at a time when many countries are in recession. And while Western nations are expected to co-operate with the boycott, China, which imports a lot of its oil from Iran, will definitely be more problematic.

“The only strategy that is going to work here is one where you get the cooperation of oil buyers,” said one analyst in the New York Times. “You could imagine the Europeans, the Japanese, and the South Koreans cooperating, and then China would suck up all of the oil that was initially going to everyone else.”

For its part, the United States regards the latest Iranian warning regarding its carrier battle group as a sign of desperation, caused by a wobbling economy and a weak currency brought on by previous sanctions. As expected, the US Navy said it will carry on as usual. Commander Bill Speaks stated in the Office of the Secretary of Defense that US naval deployment in the Gulf “will continue as it has for decades.”

The question that now has to be asked, however, is how desperate the Iranian regime really is and just how serious are its threats? With their possible demise staring them in the face, would the mullahs risk such reckless actions as a military attack on US warships or an attempted closure of the Strait of Hormuz that would provoke a heavy American military response?

With regard to the American sanctions, the mullahs are undoubtedly facing the greatest danger to their survival since the 1980s Iran-Iraq war – and fully realize it. The seriousness of their threats attests to this. So with economic strangulation a distinct possibility if no action is taken, the Iranian regime will probably choose to embark on a military adventure.

Such a grim course of action would not only serve to divert the Iranian people’s troubles away from the country’s economic woes, it would also fit in nicely with Shi’ite theology that wars and bloodshed have to occur before the twelfth imam reappears at the end of times. The belief in the ‘Hidden Imam’ is held so deeply among some Iranians that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even spoke about him from the podium at the United Nations.

In a loose comparison, Japan was also a country that at one time faced Iran’s current dilemma. After America embargoed oil shipments to the Asian power in July 1941, it was left with a choice of either military action or decline. As America soon, and painfully, found out, Japan preferred to fight rather than change its militaristic ways. And like Japan, Iran is also a country with a long and proud history with a sense of greatness and mission that comes from once being a great empire. It will most likely also rather fight than face inevitable decline.

Asia Times writer David Goldman, whose columns appear under the literary pseudonym Spengler, offers another reason why Iran will probably fight instead of capitulate. According to Goldman, if Iran is going to re-establish itself as a Middle Eastern power, it has to go to war now because the country’s fertility rate has dropped so low, 1.7 children per female, it won’t have the men in 20 years to wage war. Due to this “demographic catastrophe,” Goldman maintains it is now or never for Iran.

But an Iranian military assault may not involve the closing of the Strait of Hormuz or an attack on an American warship, although Iran does have a few modern, Russian-built submarines possessing anti-ship missiles. Iran could launch missiles at Saudi Arabia’s major oil facilities, located just across the Persian Gulf, on which America depends. Oil wells in neighboring Azerbaijan, which also exports to the West, would also be targeted for destruction. Missile development, aided by North Korea, is the one area of military technology, in which Iran has spent a substantial amount of money. And with the last American troops leaving Iraq, there is also nothing to stop that country from becoming a target for Iranian military aggression.

But whatever the Iranians decide, there is one thing that is certain in this high stakes game of Persian Gulf brinkmanship: when the next American aircraft carrier attempts to return to Gulf waters through the Strait of Hormuz, the world will be holding its breath.

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