Archive for October 24th, 2008
Online divorcee jailed after killing
virtual ex-husband’s avatar (extracts)
Mari Yamaguchi, AP
A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday. The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game Maple Story to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said. “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations. Players in Maple Story raise and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles. The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.
Anti-Semitic literature at Frankfurt Book Fair :
Official Turkish booths at international German bazaar
present publications dealing with Jewish conspiracies
Eldad Beck, YNet, 10.23.08
BERLIN – The Frankfurt Book Fair already had a reputation of being an anti-Semitic stage. This time however, the sources are not the Iranian or Syrian booths but rather that of Turkey, the guest country of honor. Various Turkish booths carried books whose content includes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories stating that the Jews and Israel are the true leaders of Turkey, the United States and Iraqi Kurdistan. In one of the Turkish government’s official booths, bookshelves displayed publications “revealing” the Jewish roots of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country’s President Abdullah Gül, and co-founder of the Justice and Development party Bülent Arınç. Pictures of the three figures surrounded by Stars of David appear on book covers. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which confronts anti-Semitism, sent the fair’s director a letter of protest stating that this is the sixth consecutive year that the event is used to disperse anti-Semitic literature. In years prior, the Iranian, Syrian, Libyan, Egyptian and Palestinian booths displayed books of an anti-Semitic nature. Despite the promises made by the fair’s management to increase the supervision over the content of the books presented at the event, this phenomenon continues to spread each year.
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — County and state GOP officials criticized the head of a New Mexico Republican women’s group for calling Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama a “Muslim socialist” and stating that “Muslims are our enemies.” Marcia Stirman, the head of the Republican Women of Otero County, will be asked to step down, Sassy Tinling, the chairwoman of the Otero County Republican Party, said Wednesday. In a letter published Tuesday in the Alamogordo Daily News, Stirman wrote that she believes “Muslims are our enemies.” Stirman told AP in an interview:
I don’t trust them at all. They’ve sworn across the world that they are our enemies. Why we’re trying to elect one is beside me.
Obama, an American-born Christian, has fought false rumors that he is a Muslim throughout the presidential campaign. Tinling told KOAT-TV that Stirman’s opinions do not reflect those of the county GOP or the Republican Women of Otero County. The executive director of the Republican Party of New Mexico, Matthew Kennicott, has said Stirman does not speak for the GOP and that her comments do not reflect its values and beliefs. Stirman, 56, an interior decorator, wrote in the letter titled “Why I’m a Republican” the 16 reasons for her party affiliation. – AP via HuffPost
Now in the clip below, Olbermann ends up dissecting the implications of McCain’s appearance at a fundraiser for the the ultra-right wing Oregon Citizens Alliance in 1993. McCain shared the stage with Marilyn Shannon, who during her own speech praised a local woman who had shot a doctor because he performed abortions. Olbermann said:
Unlike Ayers, who did not endorse terrorist activities during his meetings with Obama, this woman, Shannon — as McCain sat there — said of the shooter, quote, “She’s a fine lady.” A judge who later sentenced this fine lady for a campaign of, yes, bombing women’s clinics, said, quote, “Though I am loath to call anyone a terrorist, you are a terrorist.”
Olbermann’s segment does not mention that McCain voted against making abortion clinic bombings a federal crime, three months after the OCA appearance.
Council Votes 29 to 22 to Extend Term Limits (extracts)
Sewell Chan, Jonathan P. Hicks, NYT, Oct 23 2008
After a spirited, emotional and at times raucous debate, the New York City Council voted 29 to 22 on Thursday afternoon to extend term limits, allowing Mayor Bloomberg to seek re-election next year and undoing the result of two voter referendums that had imposed a limit of two four-year terms. The vote was a major victory for Bloomberg, and for the Council’s speaker, Christine Quinn, but the intense acrimony surrounding the decision left a sharply divided Council and could ultimately damage the mayor’s popularity. The new law, which earlier on Thursday sailed through a committee vote, limits elected officials to three consecutive terms and applies to all of the city’s elected officials. It has already begun to upend municipal politics, reshaping the dynamics of next year’s races. Of the Council’s 51 members, 35 would have been barred by term limits from seeking re-election next year. On Thursday, 23 of those members voted in favor of extending term limits, and 12 voted against. The Council has 48 Democrats and three Republicans. All three Republicans (two from Staten Island and one from Queens) voted no.
After Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, who presides over the Council, announced the final result at 4:35 p.m., the balcony erupted in shouts of “The city’s for sale!” and “Shame on you!” The city comptroller, William Thompson, a Democrat who had planned to run for mayor next year, condemned the vote, calling it “an affront to New Yorkers. It says that their votes and their voice do not matter, that bullying and heavy-handed threats are more powerful than democratic ideals. I am saddened that our mayor and majority of City Council members have put individuals before principles. Today our government chose to empower itself rather than the people it serves.” Representative Anthony Weiner of Queens and Brooklyn, who sought the Democratic nomination for mayor in 2005, said outside City Hall, “Today is a sad day for New York’s democracy, and I’m disappointed. I’m running for mayor. The middle class and those struggling to make it in this city deserve to have a voice. They had their voice taken away from them today, and I’m going to fight to be that voice.” Opponents of the bill to extend term limits without a public vote crowded the balcony of the Council chamber. Earlier, the Council rejected a key amendment that would have called for a public referendum on term limits by summoning a Charter Revision Commission, which would schedule a special election. When Gotbaum announced the vote count on the amendment, groans erupted from the balcony, which was packed with members of the public opposed to extending term limits without a public vote.
Councilman Bill de Blasio of Brooklyn, who supported the amendment, warned his colleagues that the Council’s legitimacy would be forever tarnished. “The people of the city will long remember what we have done here today, and the people will be unforgiving,” de Blasio said. “We are stealing like a thief in the night their right to shape our democracy.” Councilman Tony Avella of Queens called the term limits bill “an absolute disgrace. You’re not conning anybody. The public of this city knows that the fix was in from the beginning. You should all be voted out of office for voting for this. Vote this down!” Councilman John Liu of Queens denounced what he called the “arrogance” of Bloomberg, who promised Ronald Lauder that he would convene a charter revision commission in 2010 to revisit the issue of term limits. Such a commission should be convened next year instead, he said. Councilman Eric Gioia of Queens urged his colleagues to preserve the existing term limits, saying, “It’s no wonder that people no longer trust politics or politicians.” Councilman Miguel Martinez of Manhattan said, “If my constituents are not satisfied with the work I’ve done on the City Council, they will vote me out,” as he voted yes. “Yes, we will!” came a cry from the balcony, as Gotbaum banged the gavel, calling for order. Similarly, as Councilman James Vacca of the Bronx announced that he was voting yes, a voice from the balcony cried out, “Sell-out!”
You will observe at one point in that text box that the sky news editors have seen fit to state that “William Rodriguez is a vocal opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” and that “In the US, national security policy and foreign policy are closely connected.” – RB
Arise, Shimon Peres, knight commander?
Herb Keinon, Jonny Paul, JPost, Oct 24 2008
Efforts to have President Shimon Peres “knighted” during a visit to London next month may have been set back by premature publication of the move, Foreign Ministry sources said Thursday. Yediot Aharonot, under a headline “Sir Peres,” reported Wednesday that Peres was expected to be appointed an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II in appreciation of his contribution to peace efforts in the Middle East and to furthering Israeli-British ties. While admitting that the embassy in London was working on the issue, the sources said that revealing these efforts prematurely could lead anti-Israeli forces in Britain to try to scuttle the idea. What is at issue is an appointment for Peres as an honorary member to the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Appointment to this Order, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica Web site, is conferred mostly on officials in colonial affairs, foreign-service officers and diplomats, and others who have performed important duties in Commonwealth countries. Foreigners may be admitted as honorary members, but they cannot prefix “Sir” to their first names. They can, however, place the initials of the order after their last name. In Peres’s case, therefore, he would become President Shimon Peres, KCMG, for Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George. Bill Gates and Rudolph Giuliani are among foreigners with honorary knighthoods. The honorary appointment of Peres to this order is still under discussion between Buckingham Palace and the Foreign Office, which refused to comment on the matter Thursday. Peres will be making a three-day visit to the UK on Nov 18. Although this is not an official state visit, Peres will be a guest of the Queen. The Israeli Embassy in London said it was currently putting together Peres’s schedule with Buckingham Palace, the Foreign Office and Downing Street.
Peres to be knighted
Itamar Eichner, YNet, Oct 23 2008
Queen Elizabeth II is expected to bestow an unusual honor on President Shimon Peres in a few weeks, and name him a knight in her order. Peres is to be awarded the title, regarded as the United Kingdom’s highest honor, for his contribution to world peace and the relationship between Israel and the UK. Peres is expected to leave for an official presidential visit in Britain on Nov 18. When in London, he is slated to meet with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband. The highlight of Peres’ visit will be a speech before both houses of the British Parliament – the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Peres is also scheduled to visit Oxford University and speak before 1000 of its students. The president will also meet with heads of the British Academia and urge them to lift the unofficial academic ban placed on Israeli institutions. The next stop on the tour will be the City of London, where he will usher the London Stock Exchange’s trading day. Once officially titled “Sir”, Peres will join an exclusive list of modern world figures the like of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, former US President Ronald Regan, U2′s lead singer Bono and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Standing in front of her net curtains, a half-eaten pancake on one side and a bottle of washing-up liquid on the other, no one could possibly confuse the bespectacled Icelandic lady with Osama bin Laden. But just to ram the point home, she brandishes a handmade sign: “I’m not a terrorist!” Accompanying the petition is a series of portraits of Icelanders holding up their own protestations of innocence. There is the family posing in front of their skiing photos in matching brown and cream knitted jumpers, reassuring “Darling Brown. We are not terrorists but terribly nice and friendly”. And there’s the blonde toddler. “What did you call me?” she asks, midway through devouring a bowl of ice cream. Then there are the off-the-wall defences (“I’m too handsome to be a terrorist,” beams the blond-haired, blue-eyed footballer) and the ironic admissions of guilt. With Islamic terrorists so yesterday, one craggy-faced fisherman has stamped “Icelandic Terrorist” on to his orange overalls. – Claire Soares, Independent
and here is the petition, though I don’t see any video there yet: