Deep inside caves, in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali, militants are burrowing into the earth, erecting a formidable set of defences to protect what has essentially become Al Qaeda’s new country.
They have used the bulldozers and earthmoving machinery left behind by fleeing construction workers to dig what residents and local officials describe as an elaborate network of tunnels, trenches, shafts and ramparts. In just one case, inside a cave large enough to drive lorries into, they have stored up to 100 drums of petrol, guaranteeing their fuel supply in the face of a foreign intervention, according to experts.
Northern Mali is now the biggest territory held by Al Qaeda and its allies. And as the world hesitates, delaying a military intervention, the extremists who seized control of the area this year are preparing for a war they boast will be worse than the decade-old struggle in Afghanistan.
“Al Qaeda never owned Afghanistan,” said the former United Nations diplomat Robert Fowler, a Canadian kidnapped and held for 130 days by Al Qaeda’s local organisation, whose fighters now control the main cities in the north. “They do own northern Mali.”
Past its own New Year’s deadline, a weary Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to avoid a national ”fiscal cliff” of middle class tax increases and spending cuts late Tuesday night in the culmination of a struggle that strained America’s divided government to the limit.
The bill’s passage on a 257-167 vote in the House sealed a hard-won political triumph for the president less than two months after he secured re-election while calling for higher taxes on the wealthy.
In addition to neutralizing middle class tax increases and spending cuts taking effect with the new year, the legislation will raise tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. That was higher than the thresholds of $200,000 and $250,000 that Obama campaigned for. But remarkably, in a party that swore off tax increases two decades ago, dozens of Republicans supported the bill at both ends of the Capitol.
The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 89-8 less than 24 hours earlier, and in the interim, rebellious House conservatives demanded a vote to add significant spending cuts to the measure. But in the end they retreated.
What’s it mean? See this post that details the changes at Slate
Renowned University of Illinois professor Carl R. Woese, who revolutionized biology with the discovery of a “third domain” of life, died Sunday at his home in Urbana after a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84.
Colleagues on Monday said Mr. Woese will be remembered as one of the most influential scientists in world history because of his contributions.
Mr. Woese and his colleagues wrote two papers published in 1977 that overturned a universally held assumption about the basic structure of the tree of life by adding a third primary division of life. They reported that the microbes now known as archaea (are-KEY-uh) were as distinct from bacteria as plants and animals. Scientists had previously lumped archaea together with bacteria.
Mr. Woese figured out the early form of evolution by studying the genetic codes, or sequences, of different types of cells. He developed a DNA fingerprinting technique to show his finding.
He recalled how the scientific community derided his finding. He was vindicated 19 years later after a research team confirmed his work.
Yet Mr. Woese retained his revolutionary nature: He shunned media attention; had no interest in obtaining patents or realizing financial gain from his work; wore khakis, plaid shirts and sneakers every day; enjoyed the music of jazz greats such as Miles Davis; read poetry to and with his wife, and walked to work each day from his modest on-campus home of 48 years, Lewin said.
Read the whole thing.
And for a limited time, you can read his essay from 1981 that outlines the evidence for archaebacteria as a domain of life, for free, here.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the recent discoveries in molecular phylogeny is that they show how much information about the very early stages of evolution is locked into the cell itself. It is no longer necessary to rely solely on speculation to account for the origins of life.
New Year’s Day started with a bizarre stand-off for San Jose police.
They were called to Ezie Street and Cas Drive in San Jose after several people called 911 to report a man standing in front of a home with an assault rifle just after 8 a.m.
As police rushed to the scene, witnesses said the man got in a car and drove to Southwest Expressway and Bascom Avenue. That’s where police pulled him over.
Police said the suspect immediately got out of his car and started yelling, “You’re going to have to kill me.”
He was naked and holding a large “Samurai”-type sword, according to police.
One witness told NBC Bay Area that the man was pacing back and forth waving the sword at times.
San Jose Police Department “Crisis Intervention Team” members were called to the scene and a stand-off began.
Just before 11 a.m., the man was arrested without incident. Police took Coco Bennett, 29, into custody. Police said Bennett, who was still carrying the sword, bolted toward a fence and tried to scale it, fell down, and dropped the weapon. That’s when officers moved in.
Police recovered an AR-15-type assault rifle, with a magazine and live ammunition, from Bennett’s car during the standoff which happened at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail station.
This is really a pretty good list of firms and products sane people could support, simply reverse and apply:
Formatted for easier reading:
AARP - Interest Group (Supporter of obamacare despite member-majority opposition, supporter of Planned Parenthood)
Amazon.com - Retailer (Founder/CEO donated $2.5 million to same-sex marriage campaign in WA)
American Apparel - Clothing (100% political contributions to democrats, ads featuring porn stars, Gay Pride parades)
Apple - Electronics (98% political contributions to democrats)
Barnes & Noble - Retailer (98% political contributions to democrats)
Bed, Bath & Beyond - Retailer (97% political contributions to democrats)
Best Buy - Electronics (Supports the Council of Islamic-American Relations, which supports Hamas & Muslim Brotherhood)
Ben & Jerry’s - Ice Cream (100% political contributions to democrats, supporter of many far-left causes; ie: TrueMajority)
Cablevision - Television (96% political contributions to democrats; 2010) Chrysler - Automobiles (Billions of wasted taxpayer dollars in “bailout”)
Citgo - Gas (100% owned by Hugo Chavez’s anti-American, socialist, Venezuelan government)
Costco - Retailer (99% political contributions to democrats, Founder/CEA spoke at 2012 Democrat National Convention)
Crate & Barrel - Housewares (83% political contributions to democrats, financial proponent for gay agenda)
Diamond Resorts/DRI - Hospitality (98% political contrib. to dems; 2008, 2012)
Dick’s Sporting Goods - (Opponent of second amendment, denying delivery of ordered protected firearms) (Dicks cancelled assault rifle orders and stopped sales. Orders were refunded. This s all it takes to qualify as an evil lib in freeperland-SK)
Unilever (Dove, Hellman’s, Lipton) - (93% political contrib. to dems, financial supporter of gay agenda)
E. & J. Gallo Winery - Wine (93% political contrib. to dems, including top contributor to Nancy Pelosi)
Estee Lauder Companies - Beauty (91% political contrib. to dems, financial supporter of gay agenda)
Foot Locker - Athletic Apparel (100% of political contrib. to dems; 2008)
Gain (Procter & Gamble) - Detergent (Anti-constitution, Christian-hating commentator Wanda Sykes is ad spokesperson) Gap - Clothing (85% political contrib. to dems; 2012)
General Electric - Conglomerate (owner of far-left msnbc. #1 lobbying co. Supporter of cap & trade and obamacare. bit.ly/fBxjmO. CEO/Chairman is close friend of Obama’s and for 3 years in a row has paid $0 in taxes despite billions in profit)
General Motors - Automobiles (Billions of wasted taxpayer dollars in “bailout”)
Goldman Sachs - Investment Bank (Top 2008 contributor to obama. Complicate with dems in 2008 financial crisis)
Hess Corporation - Gas (98% political donations to democrats)
IAC/InterActiveCorp (About.com, Ask.com, Match.com, etc.) - Internet co. (100% political contrib. to dems; 2012)
JCP/JCPenney - Clothing (financial supporter of gay agenda)
Levi Strauss - Clothing (100% political contrib. to dems; 2008 & 2012)
Komen’s - Breast Cancer Awareness (Donates much of their received contributions to Planned Parenthood)
Netflix - Streaming Media (99% political contrib. to dems; 2008, 2012)
Oreo’s (sic) (Kraft Foods) - Foods (“proud supporter” of gay agenda)
Progressive - Insurance (99% political contrib. to dems; 2008, 2012. Chairman Peter Lewis has donated $15M to the ACLU, $10M to socialist-left political PAC’s MoveOn.org & America Coming Together (ACT). Financial supporter of gay agenda)
Sonic Corp. - Restaurant (96% political contrib. to dems; 2008, 2012)
Starbucks - Coffee (97% political contrib. to dems; 2008, 2012). Financial supporter of abortion pacs and gay agenda)
Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, W, etc) - Hotels Financial supporter of Planned Parenthood)
Viacom (Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon) - Entertainment (The entertainment industry is dominated by leftists, but Viacom may be the worst with their constant barrage of far-left television propaganda targeting children.
Alternatives to Support:
Chick-fil-A - Restaurant (Open about Christian values. Victim of harassment and vandalism for their principals)
Cintas - Business Services & Products (95% political contrib. to Republicans. CEO vocal critic of obamacare)
Coors - Beer (96% political contrib. to Republicans; 2008, 2012)
Cracker Barrel - Restaurant (94% political contrib. to Republicans; 2008, 2012. Harassed resistor of gay-bullying)
Dell - Computers (CEO/Founder contributor to Republicans and has dona$65 million to children’s health charities)
Oreos? Is nothing sacred to these people?
The subcontinent of South Asia has inexorably been developing into a cauldron of violence ever since the origins of Islam in Arabia and its steady expansion to the east. Here it clashed with Hinduism a religion that was an antithesis of Islam and over the centuries this unhappy mix has been smoldering and has now reached a point where there is likely to be a furious conflagration. During the course of the history of this subcontinent there have been many watersheds, ever since the advent of Islam into this region. The first serious clashes took place in the hot plains of North India when the Muslim armies clashed with the Hindu Rajput rulers. After some fierce battles, the Hindu peoples settled under the kings of the Muslim Sultanates of the earlier dynasties of the Slave kings, until the Mughals stabilized a Caliphate in North India. The Mughals after Aurangzeb declined and the dynasty petered out.
When the British East India Company was ruling the country, there was a second watershed between Hindu and Muslim cultures. This was the Sepoy Mutiny, when the rigid Wahabi philosophy was brought to India by Muslims who went for the annual Haj pilgrimage. While Hindu and Muslim sepoys were involved in the Mutiny against the British, the Sikhs and the Gurkhas did not side with the mutineers. The revolt was crushed and the British Government then took over the reins of the Government. The medium of administration was Urdu during the reign of the Mughals. After the British Government took over the reins of government after the Sepoy Mutiny, they changed the medium of administration to English. This had a major impact on the domination of the Muslims in administration. It was the Hindus who took to English education and who also took advantage of the hundreds of Catholic Convents and Protestant Mission schools that were set up by the Proselytising Christian missionaries both Protestant and Catholic. In a couple of years, the Muslim community had declined in Government.
The third flashpoint in this story took place when the British had to divide India between a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan.
The women, some of them teachers, were attacked near a children’s community centre. A male colleague died with them. All were Pakistani citizens.
Their vehicle came under gunfire near the centre run by Pakistani charity Ujala, or Light.
Militants targeting a vaccination programme are suspected. No group has said it carried out the attack.
The incident happened in the Swabi district close to a road connecting Peshawar to the eastern city of Lahore.
The centre was part school and part clinic, specialising in maternal health.
However you may feel about the Occupy movement, I think this is chilling:
It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.
The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).
As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:
“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”
CLOVIS, N.M. — New Mexico state police are investigating the shooting death of a former law enforcement official who was elected as a Tucumcari city commissioner in March.
Capt. Jimmy Glascock says circumstances surrounding Daniel Lopez’s death remain under investigation, but authorities are not searching for a suspect.
Lopez died at a hospital Sunday morning after police found him injured by a gunshot in his home Saturday night.
According to the UN, more than 40,000 truckloads of construction material have crossed from Israel to the Gaza Strip since June 2010. So why are many media outlets reporting that Israel this week lifted a five-year ban?