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Thu, 30 Nov 2023
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Warmonger senior Bush still hospitalized

George H.W. Bush
© Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Former President George H.W. Bush talks with Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, at Bush's office on March 29, 2012 in Houston.
Former President George H.W. Bush won't be home for Christmas, remaining in the hospital because of a fever.

Plans to send the 88-year-old to his Houston home for the holidays were put on hold after he developed the fever. Bush was hospitalized Nov. 23 with bronchitis. No date has been set for his discharge.

"We were hoping to get him out but he's just got a few setbacks that they think they've got a handle on," said his spokesman, Jim McGrath. "Doctors express confidence that they have the situation under control and are cautiously optimistic going forward."

Bush had a lingering cough and remained in the hospital to improve his strength. Then came some "low-energy days" and the fever, McGrath said.

"It's been one thing after another," McGrath said. "He's just had a couple of steps backward."

Bush is the nation's 41st president and father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.

Bad Guys

The scapegoating of Nancy Lanza

Nancy Lanza
© Handout/Reuters
According to the script in progress, implicitly or explicitly, we blame Nancy Lanza for her son Adam's baffling rampage – if only for keeping five weapons in her home.
She was Adam Lanza's first victim. Yet while the other 26 dead in Sandy Hook are rightly mourned, Nancy is being disgracefully smeared

Addressing the bereaved community of Sandy Hook last week, President Obama read the names of Adam Lanza's victims - all 26. On the one-week anniversary of America's second-most lethal school shooting, bells tolled across the nation - 26 times. But even omitting his suicide, the impenetrable killer's victims numbered 27.

American education has not so deteriorated that even the president can't count. The discreetly deleted fatality was Adam's first and no doubt primary target: his mother, shot in her bed, four times in the head. Yet grief on Nancy Lanza's account has been stinting. With funerals of children and teachers standing-room-only, Nancy's service last Thursday drew a sparse two dozen relatives.

Comment: Who is Adam Lanza?

Snakes in Suits

Ex-TSA agent: We steal from travelers all the time

TSA Kennedy Airport
© Reuters / Andrew Burton
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security agent takes a traveler's luggage for a second security check at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
A TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers said this type of theft is "commonplace" among airport security. Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers since 2003.

­Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash.

Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.

"I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag," he said.

Brown often worked alone, screening luggage behind the ticket counters. He was frequently told the overhead surveillance cameras, installed to prevent theft, were not working.

"It was so easy," he said. "I walked right out of the checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in my hand. Nobody said a word."

With more electronics than any one individual could need, Brown began to sell the stolen items on eBay. At the time of his arrest, he was selling 80 cameras, video games and computers online. Brown said the theft was comparable to an addiction.

Che Guevara

As Chief Spence starves, Canadians awaken from idleness and remember their roots

© Sean Kilpatrick /THE CANADIAN PRESS
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, shown in December, 2011.
I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold - the second of his short life - and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide awake.

A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Actually it wasn't a thought. It was a feeling. The feeling of hunger. Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.

I had of course been following Chief Spence's protest and her demand to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the plight of her people and his demolition of treaty rights through omnibus legislation. I had worried about her. Supported her. Helped circulate the petitions. But now, before the distancing filters of light and reason had a chance to intervene, I felt her. The determination behind her hunger. The radicality of choosing this time of year, a time of so much stuffing - mouths, birds, stockings - to say: I am hungry. My people are hungry. So many people are hungry and homeless. Your new laws will only lead to more of this misery. Can we talk about it like human beings?


Bogus book reviews get the axe by Amazon

Book Reviews
© Amazon
According to a report by the New York Times, Amazon has started to crack down on thousands of fake book reviews that have popped up on the site in recent years.

Some writers on the online retailer rely on fake reviews to help sell copies of their books, but Amazon is laying down the hammer in an attempt to stop this.

The New York Times reports Amazon will not say how many reviews it has erased so far, and it has also declined to offer any public explanation.

Several writers have sounded off to express their frustrations with the move, some saying the reviews cause zero harm.

"Over the last few days, quite a few reviews have disappeared from books on Amazon," blogger Ed Robertson wrote in October. "I was alerted to this by someone who had reviewed Breakers and was upset to see their review had been pulled. This is a fellow KB author, but I don't know them. I'm not sure we've ever spoken directly before."


America's culture of "Me, Myself, and I"- Discussion with Dr. Morris Berman

Dr. Morris Berman
© The Washington Times Communities
Cultural, as well as scientific, historian and social critic Dr. Morris Berman.
Florida - Many Americans think that their culture is on a downward spiral; Morris Berman thinks that Americans can't think.

Our economy is weak, our education system is failing, and we've substituted the internet for real social interraction and real thought. We live in an ocean of information and have lost the capacity to pull knowledge from it, the critical capacity to test information for truth.

Morris Berman is a prominent cultural and scientific historian, and also a well-known social critic. He's written extensively about everything from the values of Western civilization to our country's financial woes. His work challenges us to look at facts from a far more comprehensive perspective.

In this first part of our discussion, Dr. Berman shares his views about contemporary American thought - or lack thereof - as well as the relationship between personal responsibility and individualism.


Update: Two West Webster, New York firefighters shot dead while trying to battle blaze by 'man brandishing assault rifle' - 'one or more shooters'?

Two brave volunteer firefighters were shot dead today and two injured when a lone gunman started a blaze as a trap to lure the men and opened fire on Christmas Eve.In addition a single police officer from the West Webster police force in New York was hit by shrapnel during the shooting which comes just ten days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre rocked the nation.

The firefighters were called out to the fire on the shores of Lake Ontario at around 5.35 a.m. and the unidentified shooter immediately opened fire and initial reports claimed he was using an assault rifle - before a police SWAT team arrived and soon after the gunman died from a gunshot would. It is unclear if the wound was self-inflicted.

The unidentified man opened fire as soon as the firefighters arrived, killing police lieutenant Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, a 911 dispatcher, who had both volunteered with the West Webster fire department. In addition, two full time fire men, Joseph Hofsetter and Theodore Scardino were shot and injured by the gunman and are currently in nearby Strong hospital along with John Ritter, an off duty police officer who was hit by shrapnel from the volley of bullets.

All three men are in a guarded condition according to West Webster fire Chief Gerald Pickering, who confirmed that there was only one gunman and that it appears the fire was started as a trap.'It does appear it was a trap set for first responders,' said a visibly emotional Pickering at a press conference this morning. 'These people wake up in the middle of the night to fight fires , they don't expect to get shot.'

After the firefighters were shot police SWAT teams were called to the scene and they engaged managed to recover the dead and injured firefighters who had been shot.They then engaged in a pursuit of the unidentified suspect which ended in the shooter losing his life near to the home which he had set ablaze.


Update: Looting sweeps Argentina, spreads to Buenos Aires

At least two people were killed and dozens of others injured on Friday as looters targeted supermarkets and petrol stations across Argentina, including the capital Buenos Aires. The looting began on Thursday and has led to at least 500 arrests.

Looters ransacked supermarkets in several Argentine cities Friday, causing two deaths and evoking memories of widespread theft and riots that killed dozens during the country's worst economic crisis a decade ago.

Santa Fe Province Security Minister Raul Lamberto described the attacks on stores as simple acts of vandalism and not social protests.

Lamberto said two people were killed by a sharp object and gunfire after attacks early Friday on about 20 supermarkets in the cities of Rosario and Villa Gobernador Galvez. He declined to identify the victims or the attackers, but said 25 people were injured and 130 arrested during the looting about 190 miles northeast of Buenos Aires.

Closer to the capital, riot police fired rubber bullets to drive off a mob that was trying to break into a supermarket in San Fernando, a town in Buenos Aires province.

A police lieutenant was hit on the head with a crowbar and suffered severe injuries during the clashes in San Fernando, authorities said. Officials said 378 people had been arrested in those confrontations.

Some shops closed in several cities despite the busy Christmas shopping season, worrying that the looting might spread.

The troubles followed a wave of sporadic looting that began Thursday when dozens of people broke into a supermarket and carried away televisions and other electronics in the Patagonian ski resort of Bariloche. The government responded by deploying 400 military police to that southern city.

Eye 2

Child porn charges shock Montreal church

© Montreal police/Canadian Press
William Kokesch is shown in this undated police handout photo. The Montreal deacon has been accused of producing and distributing child pornography.
Deacon was 'a big part of the church,' parishioner says.

Some parishioners at a Montreal Catholic church were shocked to learn Sunday that a deacon is being charged with producing and distributing child pornography.

William Kokesch, 65, was arrested Friday morning and charged on Saturday via video link at the Montreal courthouse.

Police said they found more than 2,000 images of children on a computer. His bail hearing will be held Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

Kokesch, who lives in Pointe-Claire, was a deacon for the St-Edmund of Canterbury parish in Beaconsfield on Montreal's West Island.

Carmella Guerriero told CBC News she was mortified by the news.

"I'm here this morning without my kids," Guerriero said on her way into the church.

"I just want to see if they have anything to say about what's happened. It's horrible," she said, adding that she is no longer comfortable having her children attend the church.

Birthday Cake

Stalin's birthday marked in Russia and beyond

© The Associated Press/Shakh Aivazov
Ushangi Davitashvili kisses the bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin that stands in the courtyard of his apartment building in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
Tbilisi, Georgia - People across the vast territory where Josef Stalin once imposed his terror have marked the 133rd anniversary of the dictator's birth, some in hatred but others in reverence.

In Moscow, several hundred Russian Communists led by their leader Gennady Zuyganov laid flowers at Stalin's grave at the Red Square Friday, while smaller rallies were held across Russia and several former Soviet republics.

Leftists in neighboring Belarus said they found a Stalin statue that was buried after denunciation of his personality cult in 1956, but refused to specify its whereabouts because they fear authorities will order its destruction. Authorities in Stalin's hometown of Gori, Georgia, they will reinstall his statue that was removed in 2010.

In southern Ukraine, several ethnic Crimean Tatars trashed a small street exhibition on Stalin. The entire Crimean Tatar population of Ukraine was hastily deported in cattle trains on Stalin's orders in 1944 for their alleged collaboration with Nazi Germans during World War II. Of the 200,000 Crimean Tatars, almost a fifth died of starvation and diseases, and the survivors were allowed to return only in the late 1980s.