February 3, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Five

Hello again, astute readers! Last weeks publication got scrapped due to poor communications on my part, the editor. This week we have been busy campaigning for the UNL student body government, the elections are coming up in a month! While the other big party is running on a platform of "diversity" and "school tradition", I am excited to support the best of the best, the Party of Hope and Change running on a platform of "lower student fees by increased budget transparency." You can check them out on Facebook.

ASUN Report
By Francis Mader

The ASUN is working on getting a new rec center built on the East Campus. I would probably support such a thing, except that they tacked on several more items with the bill.

Obama and Pelosi don't want you to have kids.
By Andrew Lacy

Last time we reported that Russia is honoring families with many children. Here in America we do things differently: We like to turn the birth rate to a negative so the trillions in debt can be paid off by fewer people. Smooth moves, Pelosi.

B.O. jumps the gun in Cuba.
By Benjamin Kantack

While many people laud the closing of the Guantanamo prison as amazing move, the problem of releasing known terrorists has not been unnoticed. Not unnoticed by terrorists, who are real excited.

Freedom of Speech tested.
By Nathan Davis

While here in America North Carolinan taxpayers have unwittingly given $300K for the production of a child rape movie, Dutch filmmakers are being told their anti-Muslim movie can't be shown.

News Clips: Full List
Compiled by Tobias Davis

Crazy abortion "doctors" finally getting sued, young men in Italy lit a man on fire, Hamas shields themselves with civilians and ambulances, Obama has been working with terrorists, and more!

News Clips: February 3

Recently released Guantanamo prisoners return to terrorism

NEFA - A recently obtained and translated video from the Al-Qaida organization released January 23 features two former inmates at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay who have returned to senior positions within Al-Qaida. Notable quotes are "By Allah, our imprisonment has only increased our persistence and adherence" and "we will serve as a buttress for the jihad to expand." Later in the video, former Gitmo prisoner, Mohammed al-Awfi, threatened the camera, saying "we say to the Christian countries ... by Allah, we are surely coming for you! And we say to ... those who gaurd the Jews and the Christians: repent to Allah." While the closing of Guantanamo bay was seen as a victory by a few, it has bolstered the terrorism community at large by releasing known terrorists.

Hamas receives terrorist support
Brietbart.com - Israel and the United States have accused Hamas of recieving weapons from the known terrorist country of Iran. Iran denies it, but it has admitted to supporting Hamas financially, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Khaled Mashaal, who heads the Hamas leadership, said "You are our partners in the victory in Gaza," in public thanks to Iran for support. Saeed Laylaz, a prominent Iranian political analyst, said Iran was unlikely to cut of the cash flow to Hamas completely, even with tumbling oil prices, because Hamas is "important for Iran's foreign policy toward America."

Oil prices continue to fall, fuel prices expected to increase
AP - Oil prices for March delivery fell to $40.22 a barrel, even though retail gasoline has been rising for a month as refiners cut back production. Last week nearly 24,000 refinery workers threatened to strike while Gasoline futures tumbled 9 percent. After a year when oil prices soared to a record $147 a barrel in July only to collapse to $33 in December, crude has traded in the low $40 range for the last week or so as investors eye weakening crude demand matching OPEC production cuts. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has promised to slash output by 4.2 million barrels and has suggested more production cuts may be on the way.

Treasury Department to borrow money. Again.
AP - The Treasury Department says it will need to borrow $493 billion in the first three months of this year, a record amount for the January-March period. The Treasury Department says that figure comes on top of $569 billion the government borrowed from October through December, the all-time high for any quarter. The huge amounts of borrowing in the first six months of the budget year reflect the impact of soaring costs to cover the $700 billion financial rescue program and a deepening recession that has cut into tax revenues.

Personal Trainer putting on the pounds
News.com - A personal trainer from Melbourne, Australia, is on a bacon and chocolate milk diet to stack on 40kg to better understand obese gym clients. Paul "PJ" James, a Coburg model who has strutted catwalks in Milan and Tokyo, is halfway to his goal of reaching 120kg. He plans to stay at that weight for three months before shedding the kilos with his Doherty's gym clients in Brunswick. He has cut out exercise and admits to enjoying the occasional full chicken with skin, stuffing and chips at night to boost his calorie intake. But a leading obesity and health expert, Prof Boyd Swinburn, said PJ risked damaging his liver and suffering heart problems from the stunt, which will be filmed as a documentary. PJ, 32, has already gone from 80kg to 100kg since making his New Year resolution to boost his flab.

"Girls Gone Wild" founder has an arrest warrant
LATimes - A Los Angeles federal judge today issued a bench warrant for "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis after he failed to appear for a hearing in a tax-evasion case. U.S. District Court Judge S. James Otero issued the warrant, which directs any law enforcement agency that has contact with Francis to take him into custody and present him in court, according to Tom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. Last year, a grand jury in Reno accused Francis of two counts of tax evasion. Prosecutors allege Francis improperly deducted more than $20 million from his companies.

"Global Warming" gets cold shoulder in UK
Independent.co.uk - Thousands of people were left stranded from the heaviest snowfall to hit the UK in 18 years. Thousands of schools were closed, air, rail, and road services were severely disrupted and one snapshot survey of more than 300 employers found one in five adults stayed away from work because of the extreme weather. Speaking at a press conference at the Foreign Office in London, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said: "We are doing everything in our power to ensure that the services - road, rail and airports - are open as quickly as possible and we are continuously monitoring this throughout the day." Motorists, who were warned only to make essential journeys, were caught in lines of up to two-and-a-half hours as they battled against the heavy snow across the country.

Google Earth to add the Ocean
Independent.co.uk - Google Earth users will soon be able to use a newly announce "Ocean in Google Earth", a new feature released that enables users to dive beneath the water surface and explore the 3D terrain. Ocean in Google Earth combines underwater terrain and content contributed by marine scientists to enabling users to explore some of the most difficult-to-reach parts of the world. Virtual travellers can swim around underwater volcanoes, watch videos about exotic marine life, read about nearby shipwrecks and contribute photos and videos of favourite surf and dive spots.

Obama working with terrorists before election began
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama was working with Arab intermediaries to establish an unofficial dialogue with Al Qaida long before his election as the 44th U.S. president, according to a report in the upcoming weekly edition of Geostrategy-Direct.com. Al Qaida has offered what has been described as a truce in exchange for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to the report. Obama has deemed the U.S. reconciliation with the Muslim world, including Iran, as his main foreign policy goal, sources quoted in the report said. The president has been aided by several Persian Gulf Arab Muslims with ties to Al Qaida's leadership in Pakistan, they said.

Obama to cut defense budget
Fox - The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News. Last year's defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend "burning the midnight oil" looking at ways to cut the budget -- looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday. Obama met Friday at the White House with a small group of military advisers, including Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman, and Gen. Jim Jones, National Security Council chairman.

Police in Italy arrest men for lighting immigrant on fire
SFGate.com - Italian police have arrested three young men for allegedly beating and setting on fire an Indian immigrant who was sleeping on a train station bench in a seaside town near Rome, investigators said Monday. The attack on the 35-year-old man in Nettuno sparked outrage in Italy and fueled a debate on attitudes toward immigrants. Carabinieri paramilitary police said the three poured gasoline on the man early Sunday, then set him on fire. The man has severe burns over 40 percent of his body, said Dr. Paolo Palombo, an official of Sant'Eugenio hospital in Rome, where the immigrant was taken for treatment. Palombo told SKY TG24 TV that the patient would undergo skin grafts Friday to help fight the danger of infection. The mood among some citizens has turned ugly in recent years following the arrest of immigrants as suspects in several high-profile crimes, including the slaying of an Italian admiral's wife in suburban Rome and the rape of a young Italian woman in the countryside near Rome.

Hamas shielding themselves with civilians and ambulance
WND.com - More tales are emerging of the ways Hamas utilized civilians during Israel's 22-day war against the terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, including accounts from Gaza residents who accuse Hamas of using them as human shields. In one case, after engaging with terrorists holed up inside a civilian apartment complex, the Israel Defense Forces seized an Arabic-language note left behind, addressed to one of the apartment's occupants. "Greetings, honored residents of this house," reads the note, obtained by WND. "We, your brothers, holy war fighters used this house and some of the things in it. Our apologies." Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Muhammad Shriteh, a Gaza-based ambulance driver, who complained Hamas would "lure the ambulances into the heart of a battle to transport fighters to safety." He told the paper his ambulance company "coordinate[d] with the Israelis before we picked up patients … so they would not shoot at us." Shriteh recounted one instance when he was called to an emergency in the Jabaliya camp in the northern Gaza Strip only to find Hamas terrorists waiting inside a civilian apartment complex, hiding from Israeli fire. "They were very scared, and very nervous," he said. "They dropped their weapons and ordered me to get them out, to put them in the ambulance and take them away."

Another child left to die at abortion clinic
LifeNews.com - A leading pro-life law firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a baby born alive after a failed abortion at a Miami abortion business. Following Shanice Denise Osbourne's birth in July 2006, staff at the abortion facility put her body on the roof of the building to hide her death from local police. According to witnesses, a young woman went to the GYN Diagnostic Center abortion facility in Hialeah, outside Miami, for an abortion. Police say the 18-year-old had an abortion and returned the next day complaining of severe stomach pains. Abortion facility staff told her the abortion practitioner was not available and that she would have to wait. After being taken to a waiting area, the woman allegedly gave birth to the baby that she thought had been aborted the day before. Officials hid the baby's body when local officials investigated.
Now, representatives of the Thomas More Society, a leading pro-life law firm, have retained prominent Miami personal injury attorney Tom Pennekamp to prepare and prosecute the case.
The Thomas More Society alleges that abortion center owner Gonzalez was ultimately responsible for the baby's death. Thirteen defendants (including Gonzalez, abortion practitioner Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique and their conglomerate of four South Florida abortion clinics) have been sued for unlicensed and unauthorized medical practices, botched abortions, evasive tactics, false medical records and the killing, hiding and disposing of the baby.

Egyptian Christians imprisoned for opening on Ramadan

CrossWalk.com - In Port Sa'id, a city in Egypt, a cafe owned by six Christian brothers was raided and the brothers were beat with sticks. Two of the brothers had broken arms, and a third needed 11 stitches for a head wound. “The police attacked these people and assaulted them unjustifiably,” said Ramses el-Nagar, the Christians’ lawyer. “Police did not want to see people eating during Ramadan." There is no law in Egypt under which the brothers could be prosecuted for opening their cafĂ© during Ramadan, however, the brothers were arrested later on charges of resisting arrest. Even though video of the incident was taken by an onlooker as evidence of police brutality, the footage did not sway judge Mohammed Hassan. El-Nagar, the brothers lawyer, has 30 days to appeal the decision before the Court of Cassation, a high appeals tribunal. He said he plans to do so.

Freedom of Speech tested

Nathan Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major

Geert Wilders, a Dutch filmmaker, is finding his basic freedom, the freedom of speech, put into question. Wilders is a leader of the Dutch Freedom Party as well as a voice for freedom in the Dutch parliament.

In March 2008, Wilders released a revealing video on the Internet. “Fitna”, equates Islam with violence and the Koran with Hitlers book, “Main Kampf”. The release of this short 17 minute film has had certain Muslim groups up in arms.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has gone so far as to promise a review of Iran's relationship with the Netherlands if Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' work is shown.

"If Holland will allow the broadcast of this movie, the Iranian parliament will request to reconsider our relationship with it," Boroujerdi said, according to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency. "In Iran, insulting Islam is a very sensitive matter and if the movie is broadcasted it will arouse a wave of popular hate that will be directed towards any government that insults Islam.

Under great pressure from these Muslims, the Dutch Court of Appeals has ordered a criminal prosecution against Wilders. "The Amsterdam appeals court has ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs," the court said in a statement.

Columnist Mark Steyn went on trial in Canada in 2008 for “Islamophobia.” For Wilders this consisted of directly quoting the Koran, reporting the statements of Muslim organizations and their supporters, and drawing obvious conclusions. Although Steyn won his case, Canada currently has laws in effect against free speech: It is illegal to speak against homosexuality and many pastors who resisted are now in jail.

One of the leading groups trying to eradicate free speech in the west is the the Organization of the Islamic Conference. According to Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the OIC, the group has already targeted the United States. "We have established an OIC group in Washington, D.C.," he announced recently, "with the aim of playing a more active role in engaging American lawmakers." Ihsanoglu also gave us a warning: "In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film 'Fitna,' " he said, "we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed."

ASUN Report

"Francis Mader"
UNL Business Major

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, or ASUN, has had a busy year. Not unlike Congress in Washington, D.C., it appears as if the senators and executives feel as if they are not productive unless they are creating programs and then finding ways to fund them from those they claim to represent. Low voter turnout statistics aside, the ones in office are always ready to reallocate the people’s income and decide to which contractor or interest group it should go.

Recently the ASUN senate passed an interesting legislation from the Campus Wellness Ad Hoc Committee almost unanimously. SB #4 addresses the legitimate issue of replacing the East Campus Rec Center, and then attaches the far less urgent concerns of adding 3,000 sq. ft to the City Campus Rec and a brand new health center. Concerns for the health center primarily included that there is not an isolation, in the event of an airborne disease, and that On March 4th, the students get to vote on all three projects at once, since ASUN senators decided that the health center and city Rec addition would have greater chances of getting approved if attached to East Campus Rec. Keep an eye out for ASUN advertisements “educating” the students about the proposal to increase student fees $80 per student per semester.

The Dailyer Nebraskan was projected to end in December due to lack of advertising, but a recent request went to the Committee for Fee Allocation for an amount of $12,000 to print bimonthly for the 2009-2010 year along with the requested increase from student fees.

Currently the Committee for Fee Allocation is considering ASUN’s budget proposals to more than double the executive benefits to $2720, which will include cell phone stipends, parking passes, and meal plans. The committee is also considering increasing the funding for NU on Wheels, since the popular ride home was supported by contingency funds for the end of the fiscal year.

Obama and Pelosi don't want you to have kids

Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major

While the Daily Nebraskan editorial board has been worshipping at the altar of President Obama,‭ ‬we here at the Student Newspaper have been keeping a close eye on his actual policies.‭ ‬As expected,‭ ‬it took only a few days for the president to take a hard left turn against the rights of the unborn.

One of the first executive orders issue from the Obama White House is aimed a rolling back the Mexico City Policy.‭ ‬This policy,‭ ‬which was established under Ronald Reagan and expanded by George W.‭ ‬Bush,‭ ‬prevented taxpayer money from being used to support organizations that perform abortions in foreign countries.

Shortly afterward,‭ ‬Obama also lifted President Bush’s policy against taxpayer funding to support embryonic stem cell research.‭ ‬Bush instituted the policy during his first year in offices in‭ ‬2001,‭ ‬and instead directed public funding toward research with adult stem cells,‭ ‬which present no ethical problems and have proven more effective than embryonic cells.

Despite the fact that a majority of Americans‭ – ‬55‭ ‬percent according to a‭ ‬2006‭ ‬Rasmussen study‭ – ‬consider abortion morally wrong,‭ ‬President Obama has laid the groundwork to force those people to fund actions that destroy unborn life whether they like it or not.‭ ‬I guess that’s what the pro-abortion movement means when they say they’re for‭ ‘‬choice.‭’

Meanwhile,‭ ‬Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos she wants‭ ‘‬family planning services‭’ ‬to be included in Obama’s pork barrel stimulus proposal.‭ ‬For those of you who voted for Obama,‭ ‬family planning is a euphemism Democrats like to use when they don’t want people to know they’re talking about abortion.‭ ‬Pelosi’s reasoning is that many states are in a budget crisis and healthcare and education for children puts a strain on the economy.‭ ‬In other words,‭ ‬children are a burden on the economy and we need to have fewer of them.

Fortunately,‭ ‬AP reports House Democrats are likely to leave Pelosi’s proposal out of the stimulus bill.‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬they’re doing it for purely political reasons.‭ ‬President Obama has been courting House Republicans to support the bill in order to create an illusion of bipartisanship‭ – ‬translation:‭ ‬Republicans compromise their principles.‭ ‬Obama sees abortion funding as a hindrance to garnering Republican support for the pork bill,‭ ‬and pressured Democrats to exclude it.

For those of you keeping score,‭ ‬Obama has issued an executive order extending protection to terrorists,‭ ‬and two that take protection away from the unborn.‭ ‬Is that change you can believe in‭?

B.O. jumps the gun in Cuba.

[Due to an editing error, the entire article was not printed in the paper version. I present it to you in full here. ---Editor]

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Poli-Sci and Spanish Major

The age-old maxim, "Only a fool tests the water with both feet," reminds us not to leap brashly into unknown bodies of water that might be cold, deep, and/or shark-infested.

On January 22nd, President Obama signed an executive order mandating that the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, close within one year. The infamous torture allegations against "Gitmo" have drawn much international criticism, prompting New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to call it the "Anti-Statue of Liberty."

I, for one, believe that torture ought to be eradicated, and to that end I applaud President Obama's efforts. But while many are celebrating, I feel that the decision lacks logistical feasibility. Obama has "jumped the gun" on Guantanamo, and unfortunately for America the waters are infested – not with sharks, but with terrorists.

The biggest unknown regarding Obama's Guantanamo policy is what to do with the detainees – a dilemma which on face value seems easily solvable, since there are only two options: send them to the U.S., or send them to other countries. But, as John McCain reminded Larry King, "[N]o country will take them back." NPR concurred one day later: "Detainees will likely end up in the U.S. anyway."

But of course, we'll welcome them with open arms. John Bellinger, a former legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice, predicts that "[T]he Obama administration will take a much closer look at whether they could take a handful of individuals into the United States as a way, essentially, to prime the pump and remove that reluctance from other countries."

But where do we put them? Most proponents of Obama's hasty decision have suggested American prisons, but many facilities posited as new detention sites aren’t up to snuff; Fort Leavenworth military prison, for example, doesn't even have a perimeter fence, and civilian homes are within a few feet of the building.

Even if security hurdles are overstepped, legal obstructions follow; according to a recent CNN.com article, "Existing laws…prohibit the co-mingling of detainees with other types of prisoners – civilian or military." But law enforcers are undeterred by such trifles as "the law." Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN that "We have identified a number of possible prisons here in the United States…. [However,] I've heard from members of Congress where all those prisons are located. Their enthusiasm is limited."

And it’s no wonder they aren’t jumping for joy. According to the Pentagon, approximately 11% of the 520 detainees released from Guantanamo to date have engaged in terrorist activities since their release. 11% may be a reasonable dropout rate for a high school, but for stopping terrorism it's nothing short of appalling. Ali al-Shiri and Saeed Shihri, two recent Gitmo "graduates," are suspected in the 2007 U.S. embassy bombing in Yemen, which killed sixteen.

Other nations don't want Guantanamo exiles, but neither do U.S. states. Placing terrorists in existing U.S. prisons is both illegal and insecure. Plus, about one in ten of the prisoners we release will return to reinforce the enemy's ranks. Is all this worth it to improve our international reputation?

Fulfilling a campaign promise should not be an excuse to throw caution to the wind. Yes, torture is bad. But we should not "jump the gun" and set deadlines without a clear plan of action.

I will close with the words of Senator Sam Brownback: "I disagree with setting a date for closing Guantanamo Bay's detention facility because I believe that adhering to a schedule is less important than preserving our security."