Saturday, February 24, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST February 24, 2007

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Technology Review

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Promise of Personal Supercomputers
What will it take to put thousands of microprocessors in cell phones andlaptops?

By Kate Greene

Last week, Intel announced a research project that made geeks jump withglee: the first programmable "terascale" supercomputer on a chip. Thecompany demonstrated a single chip with 80 cores, or processors, and showedthat these cores could be programmed to crunch numbers at the rate of atrillion operations per second, a measure known as a teraflop. The chip isabout the size of a large postage stamp, but it has the same calculationspeed as a supercomputer that, in 1996, took up about 2,000 square feet anddrew about 1,000 times more power.


Pew Research Center

Americans and Social Trust: Who, Where and Why

Just under half of Americans say most people can be trusted, while 50% say you can't be too careful, a new Pew survey finds. Whites are more trusting than blacks or Hispanics. High income folks are more trusting than those with low incomes. The married are more trusting than the unmarried. The old are more trusting than the young. And rural folks are more trusting than their city cousins. Read More at address above.


Pew Research Center

Voters Still in Neutral as Presidential Campaign Moves into High Gear

The latest Pew poll finds Republicans lagging Democrats in attention to the race and enthusiasm for candidates. Clinton is Democrats' strongest choice but Obama leads among independents; Guiliani tops McCain in popularity among Republicans and independents. Read more...


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Son of Key Iraq Shiite Arrested at Iran’s Border

BAGHDAD, Feb. 23 — The eldest son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, perhaps the most powerful political leader in Iraq and the head of the dominant Shiite political bloc, was detained by American forces for several hours on Friday after traveling across the border from Iran into Iraq.

Angry advisors to Mr. Hakim denounced the detention as an insult and said American forces had beaten several guards after stopping the convoy on Friday. The son, Amar Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is himself a senior official in Mr. Hakim’s political movement and has often taken a lead role in building support for his father’s political efforts.

An American military official declined to comment on the beating allegations, but said in an interview Friday night that the son had been detained because he had an expired passport and because he was traveling with people who had a large number of guns.

According to an Iraqi stringer for The New York Times, Mr. Hakim showed a passport that had an expiration date of September 17, 2007, and quoted him saying: "They claim the reason for the arrest was because my passport had expired, but as you can see my passport expires on the 17th of September."

Two news agencies also quoted Mr. Hakim as saying that the Americans had dealt with him harshly, but neither news agency reported that Mr. Hakim had shown them an unexpired passport. Whether Mr. Hakim had a valid passport could not be confirmed by late Friday.


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Canada's High Court Strikes Down Indefinite Detention
Filed at 10:40 p.m. ET

OTTAWA (AP) -- One of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism measures was struck down Friday by the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely while the courts review their deportation orders.

The 9-0 ruling dealt a blow to the government's anti-terrorism regulations. Five Arab Muslim men have been held for years under the ''security certificate'' program, which the Justice Department had insisted is a key tool in the fight against global terrorism and essential to Canada's security.

The court found that the system violates the Charter of Rights and Freedom, Canada's bill of rights. It suspended the judgment from taking effect for a year, to give Parliament time to rewrite the part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that covers the certificates.

The security certificates were challenged on constitutional grounds by three men from Morocco, Syria and Algeria -- all alleged by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to have ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.

The law now allows sensitive intelligence to be heard behind closed doors by a federal judge, with only sketchy summaries given to defense attorneys.


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Vilsack Withdraws From Presidential Race

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — Former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa withdrew from the Democratic presidential race today, saying the crowded field had made it impossible for him to raise enough money to wage a competitive national campaign.

“I came up against something for the first time in my life that hard work and effort couldn’t overcome,” Mr. Vilsack said, speaking at a news conference in Des Moines. “I just couldn’t work harder, couldn’t give it enough.”

Mr. Vilsack became the first Democratic candidate to enter the race, opening his campaign on Nov. 30 as the not-from-Washington candidate who pledged to renew a forgotten sense of community across America. He also became one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq war and called for an immediate withdrawal of United States troops.

But Mr. Vilsack, 56, conceded he was unable to compete in a contest where the ability to raise money trumps all. In recent weeks, officials said, his campaign has been unable to meet payroll, with some aides taking pay cuts and others being turned away for jobs.

“The reality is that this process has become to a great extent about money — a lot of money,” Mr. Vilsack said, lamenting the fact that today’s presidential campaigns are “simply about a money primary.”


The New York Times

The Presidential Candidates on Iraq

The war in Iraq is, as expected, one of the threshhold issues of the 2008 presidential election. A look at the candidates and what they have said on various aspects of the issue. - FARHANA HOSSAIN AND BEN WERSCHKUL


The Washington Post

Illinois Senate OKs Stem Cell Research

The Associated Press
Friday, February 23, 2007; 12:38 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Senate voted Friday to spend state tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research, despite objections from those who argue the research destroys human life.

The measure passed 35-23 and now goes to the Illinois House.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich has already used his executive powers to fund stem cell research. He created the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, which has awarded $15 million in grants.

The Senate legislation would make the institute and its grants a part of state law.

Supporters say embryonic stem cells could yield treatments for a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer's. They argue the cells are taken only from embryos created for in vitro fertilization that would otherwise be discarded.


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County -,,2019666,00.html

Published on Friday, February 23, 2007 by the Guardian / UK

US Intelligence on Iran Does Not Stand up, Say Vienna Sources

· Tip-offs did not lead to signs of banned activity
· IAEA report raises pressure for new sanctions

by Julian Borger

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UNinspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded,according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war,coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying aUN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general,Mohamed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on theimposition of stricter sanctions on Iran, and raises the possibility thatthe US might resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

At the heart of the debate are accusations, spearheaded by the US, that Iranis secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. However, most of the tip-offsabout supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other USintelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEAinspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.


Washington Post

McConnell Threatens to Block Bid to Repeal War Resolution
Republican Wants to Force Vote on Guaranteeing Funding for Troops

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A04

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned yesterday that a new Democratic effort to repeal the 2002 Iraq war resolution would meet the same fate as two previous efforts to limit President Bush's authority: blocked by procedural obstacles, unless Democrats relent to GOP terms.

Speaking to reporters by conference call from his Louisville home, McConnell compared the latest Democratic move to "trying to unring a bell." He warned that Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, would "have to surround himself with lawyers" to comply with the new resolution that senior Democrats are drafting.

McConnell predicted he could muster Republican support to block the measure, unless Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) allows a vote on a nonbinding GOP measure to guarantee troop funding.

A showdown over both measures could come as early as next week. Reid has signaled that Iraq-related amendments may be offered to an upcoming homeland security bill. "It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game," a senior Democratic Senate aide said.

Democratic leaders will present the repeal plan to their colleagues next week. The measure would replace the broad authority that Congress granted Bush in October 2002 with a narrower mandate establishing a March 31, 2008, goal for withdrawing combat troops. It also would restrict longer-term engagement in Iraq to a handful of high-priority realms, including counterterrorism, training for Iraqi troops and border security.


The Washington Post

Democrats Offer Up Chairmen For Donors
Party's Campaigns Had Faulted GOP For 'Selling Access'

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and John Solomon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A01

Eager to shore up their fragile House and Senate majorities, congressional Democrats have enlisted their committee chairmen in an early blitz to bring millions of dollars into the party's coffers, culminating in a late-March event featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 10 of the powerful panel chairs.

In the next 10 days alone, Democratic fundraisers will feature the chairmen of the House's financial services panel and the House and Senate tax-writing committees. Senate Democrats also plan a fundraising reception during a major gathering of Native Americans in the capital Tuesday evening, an event hosted by lobbyists and the political action committee for tribal casinos, including those Jack Abramoff was paid to represent.

Critics deride the aggressive fundraising push as the kind of business as usual that voters rejected at the ballot box last November -- particularly the practice of giving interest groups access to committee chairmen in exchange for sizable donations -- but Democrats are unapologetic.

"Financial services companies are inclined to give to me because I'm chairman of the committee important to their interests," said Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who will headline a breakfast Wednesday at a D.C. hotel, for which donations range from $1,000 to $15,000 for the Democratic National Committee. "I'm fundraising to give to others so I can help stay in the majority and do the public policy things I want."

Asked whether banking interests feel obligated to give to Democrats when he asks them for contributions, Frank answered: "Obligated? No. Incentivized? Yes." Frank said, however, that those donating "understand, and others do, too, that there are no guarantees of my doing what they want, or even my being pleasant."

"I'm getting a lot of fundraising invitations," said Robert E. Juliano, a Democratic lobbyist. "It's no different than any other year."


Washington Post

Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran

By Bill Richardson
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

The recent tentative agreement with North Korea over its nuclear program illustrates how diplomacy can work even with the most unsavory of regimes.Unfortunately, it took the Bush administration more than six years to commit to diplomacy. During that needless delay North Korea developed and tested nuclear weapons -- weapons its leaders still have not agreed to dismantle. Had we engaged the North Koreans earlier, instead of calling them "evil" and talking about "regime change," we might have prevented them from going nuclear. We could have, and should have, negotiated a better agreement, and sooner.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency just confirmed, Iran has once again defied the international community and is moving forward with its nuclear program, yet the Bush administration seems committed to repeating the mistakes it made with North Korea. Rather than directly engaging the Iranians about their nuclear program, President Bush refuses to talk, except to make threats. He has moved ships to the Persian Gulf region and claims, with scant evidence, that Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans. This is not a strategy for peace. It is a strategy for war -- a war that Congress has not authorized. Most of our allies, and most Americans, don't believe this president, who has repeatedly cried wolf.

Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war -- a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.

A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.

No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don't. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.


Washington Post

A Brave New Wikiworld

By Cass R. Sunstein
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that "anyone can edit," has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world's most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society's unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other's resources.

Developing one of the most important ideas of the 20th century, Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek attacked socialist planning on the grounds that no planner could possibly obtain the "dispersed bits" of information held by individual members of society. Hayek insisted that the knowledge of individuals, taken as a whole, is far greater than that of any commission or board, however diligent and expert. he magic of the system of prices and of economic markets is that they incorporate a great deal of diffuse knowledge.

Wikipedia's entries are not exactly prices, but they do aggregate the widely dispersed information of countless volunteer writers and editors. In this respect, Wikipedia is merely one of many experiments in aggregating knowledge and creativity, that have been made possible by new technologies.

The Central Intelligence Agency disclosed the existence of its top-secret Intellipedia project, based on Wikipedia software (and now containing more than 28,000 pages), in late October. The agency hopes to use dispersed information to reduce the risk of intelligence failures. NASA officials have adopted a wiki site to program NASA software, allowing many participants to make improvements.

In the private domain, businesses are adopting wikis to compile information about products, profits and new developments. The Autism Wiki, produced mostly by adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome, contains material on autism and related conditions., founded by dissidents in China and other nations, plans to post secret government documents and to protect them from censorship with coded software.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Hispanic help no sure thing for Richardson

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson brings his presidential campaign to South Florida but finds that support from fellow Hispanics is not universal.

WASHINGTON - Although he says he is not seeking the presidency as the ''Hispanic candidate,'' New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is proving a rock star among the Spanish-language press, and Democrats hope that his presence among presidential contenders will fire up Hispanic voters.Still, his popularity is not translating into unified support among prominent Hispanic Democrats, many of whom have signed on with Sen. Hillary Clinton, despite voicing pride in Richardson's candidacy.

Observers say the two-term governor has an impressive résumé -- a globe-trotting diplomatic troubleshooter and former seven-term member of Congress who served as a Clinton-era energy secretary. He has personality and garrulousness to spare.

But sheer political calculation and loyalty to Clinton and her husband are trumping ethnic ties, as Hispanic Democrats such as longtime former National Council of La Raza leader Raul Yzaguirre and 2004 Kerry campaign co-chairman José Villarreal sign up with the New York senator.

''A lot of people are thrilled with the historic significance for Gov. Richardson,'' said Villarreal, a San Antonio lawyer who was deputy campaign manager for Bill Clinton in 1992. ``But for a lot of us, our political identity is wrapped around the Clinton experience.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Stardom, money elude candidate who made sense

Ishould have known that any presidential candidate who would sit down and talk to me about carbon emissions trading was destined for Loserville.

Tom Vilsack, the Iowa Democrat you never heard of amid the Hillary hype and Obamania, dropped out of the race Friday. He is thoughtful and smart. If Democrats were looking for a candidate with a detailed energy plan and a strong, consistent stance against the war, he should have been on their radar screen.

But Vilsack is a somewhat boring white man at a time when the Democratic front-runners include a fascinating former first lady and a charismatic African American.
He wasn't even leading the polls in his home state, host to the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

And perhaps most important, his fundraising network was limited by the fact that he was governor of a state with a population smaller than Miami-Dade and Broward counties.


''It's really a shame that money propels someone forward and not issues or ideas or vision,'' said supporter Max Holtzman, a lawyer who lives in Miami Beach. ``I really believed in the guy.''


Feb. 24, 2007, 12:47AM
Oscar would energize Gore supporters

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Among the stars gathering Sunday night for the Academy Awards will be a man whose face may be rounder than in years past, but whose step down the red carpet may have more bounce.

Al Gore, the star of the global warming film An Inconvenient Truth, which is the odds-on favorite for Best Documentary, has been transformed in the eyes of many.
He's gone from an oft-maligned former vice president to being a best-selling author and nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, if the Oscar becomes his, his supporters are ready to demand an encore: another presidential run.

Gore has repeatedly said he has no plans to run, but his statements haven't foreclosed the possibility.

Many are already plotting ways to persuade Gore to run. One of them is Linda Sophia Pinti, a Democratic activist in Cambridge, Mass., who has held monthly "draft Gore" meetings since June. She said at least 25 other gatherings are held regularly around the country.


Obama ridicules Cheney's Iraq comments
By Kelley Shannon, Associated Press Writer | February 24, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas --Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama ridiculed Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday for saying Britain's decision to pull troops from Iraq is a good sign that fits with the strategy for stabilizing the country.

Obama, speaking at a massive outdoor rally in Austin, Texas, said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision this week to withdraw 1,600 troops is a recognition that Iraq's problems can't be solved militarily.

"Now if Tony Blair can understand that, then why can't George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?" Obama asked thousands of supporters who gathered in the rain to hear him. "In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.

"Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we'd be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we're in the last throes. I'm sure he forecast sun today," Obama said to laughter from supporters holding campaign signs over their heads to keep dry. "When Dick Cheney says it's a good thing, you know that you've probably got some big problems."

A spokeswoman for Cheney, traveling with him in Australia, said they had no comment on Obama's remarks.


Los Angeles Times,0,7134619,print.story?coll=la-ap-topnews-headlines

Americans Underestimate Iraqi Death Toll
Associated Press Writer

6:25 AM PST, February 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

When the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

Far from a vague statistic, the death toll is painfully real for many Americans. Seventeen percent in the poll know someone who has been killed or wounded in Iraq. And among adults under 35, those closest to the ages of those deployed, 27 percent know someone who has been killed or wounded.

For Daniel Herman, a lawyer in New Castle, Pa., a co-worker's nephew is the human face of the dead.

"This is a fairly rural area," he said. "When somebody dies, ... you hear about it. It makes it very concrete to you."


Feb. 23, 2007, 10:23PM
ACLU: US can't bar terrorism supporters

By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A civil rights group asked a judge Friday to find it unconstitutional for the federal government to exclude a prominent Muslim scholar or anyone else from the United States on the grounds that they may have endorsed or espoused terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the papers attacking the policy in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The group included in its submissions a written declaration in which the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, said he has always "opposed terrorism not only through my words but also through my actions."

The ACLU said schools and organizations who want to invite Ramadan and others into the United States are concerned about what is known as the ideological exclusion provision.

It said an entry in the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual says that the provision is directed at those who have voiced "irresponsible expressions of opinion."

The group said the provision violates the First Amendment and has resulted since 2001 in the exclusion from the United States of numerous foreign scholars, human rights activists and writers, barred "not for legitimate security reasons but rather because the government disfavors their politics."


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Misguided Missiles

Fifteen years after the cold war’s end, it would seem that everyone involved should know better. But the Bush administration’s tone-deaf plan to station parts of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and Moscow’s snarling response show that all sides could use a refresher course in diplomatic sense and civility.

American officials insist that the 10 interceptors it is planning to place in Poland and the early warning radar for the Czech Republic are supposed to defend Europe from Iran’s missiles — not Russia’s. And there is no doubt they’re telling the truth. The untested system could be easily overwhelmed by Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal.

It is unlikely, however, that more military posturing against Iran is going to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Russia’s furious reaction to the stationing of even weak missile defenses near its borders (and on the territory of its former satellites), while wildly out of proportion, was also utterly predictable. A top Russian general — who sounded as if he’d slept through the last 15 years — warned the Poles and the Czechs that if they went along with America’s plans, Russia’s missiles “will be capable of targeting the facilities.”

The mixture of crocodile tears and threats from Russian officials seems overly dramatic — and very much in character for President Vladimir Putin, who is hoping to divert attention from his own thuggery at home, not to mention his desire to reassert power in Russia’s old neighborhood.


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

Borders Without Fences
Kelly, Wyo.

IN the debate over how to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States — armed patrols, electronic surveillance, prison time for first offenders and a 700-mile-long 15-foot-high fence — few politicians have voiced concern over the last option’s profound effects on wildlife.

Authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, this barrier (83 miles of which have already been built) will bisect a border region that has some of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the hemisphere. It is here — in a land of deserts, mountains, conifers and cactus — that bird species from North and Central America share territories and cross paths during migrations. It is here that endangered wildlife, like the jaguar and gray wolf, have an opportunity to reoccupy lands from which they were extirpated during the last century.

The list of other beautiful common or rarely seen animals that live along the border is long. A small sampling would include cougars, desert bighorn sheep, ocelots, pronghorn antelope, road runners, white-tailed deer and hundreds of species of birds and insects. The fence would physically prevent both large and small mammals as well as reptiles from traveling across the border, and the lights atop the fence would attract insects, making them easier prey for birds that feed on them. Some of these insects pollinate the plants of the region, including cactus.

Since the secretary of homeland security will have authority to waive laws that stand in the way of building the fence — like the Endangered Species Act — wildlife and habitats could be destroyed on a scale not seen since the 1960s, when the nation’s first wilderness and environmental laws were passed. Of course, many argue that the fence is an issue of national security and the safety of the American people trumps that of American wildlife. But that reasoning is flawed. The economic health of many people is increasingly reliant on the health of their natural surroundings.


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

A Cat Without Whiskers

So some guy stands up after John McCain’s luncheon speech here yesterday to a group of business types and asks him a question.

“I’ve seen in the press where in your run for the presidency, you’ve been sucking up to the religious right,” the man said, adding: “I was just wondering how soon do you predict a Republican candidate for president will start sucking up to the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party?”

Mr. McCain listened with his eyes downcast, then looked the man in the eye, smiled and replied: “I’m probably going to get in trouble, but what’s wrong with sucking up to everybody?” It was a flash of the old McCain, and the audience laughed.

Certainly, the senator has tried to worm his way into the affections of W. and the religious right: the Discovery Institute, a group that tries to derail Darwinism and promote the teaching of Intelligent Design, helped present the lunch, dismaying liberal bloggers who have tracked Mr. McCain’s devolution on evolution.

A reporter asked the senator if his pandering on Roe v. Wade had made him “the darling and candidate of the ultra right wing?” ( In South Carolina earlier this week, he tried to get more evangelical street cred by advocating upending Roe v. Wade.) “I dispute that assertion,” he replied. “I believe that it was Dr. Dobson recently who said that he prayed that I would not receive the Republican nomination. I was just over at Starbucks this morning. ... I talk everywhere, and I try to reach out to everyone.”


The Washington Post

'Terrorist' Remark Puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy

Zumbo's Criticism of Hunters Who Use Assault Rifles Brings Unforgiving
Response From U.S. Gun Culture

By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A03

SEATTLE -- Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons
among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Legislature moves closer to abortion-ban agreement

"This is as good as we will get this session," committee chair says

By Natalie Chandler, February 23, 2007

A bill that would ban most abortions in Mississippi could be finalized asearly as next week since a key Senate chairman said he probably will agreeto changes the House made Thursday.

"My tendency is to say, this is as good as we will get this session, solet's take the offer and move on," Senate Public Health and WelfareCommittee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, said after the House approvedthe bill.

The apparent compromise would end an election-year push that appeared to beover when House Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman SteveHolland, D-Plantersville, emphatically said two weeks ago he was not goingto consider the legislation.

But Holland relented during a committee meeting Thursday, citing pressurefrom his fellow legislators and "about 800 and something phone calls fromthe general public. Phones have been jammed for 10 days."

After the bill passed out of Holland's committee, the House voted 97-16, andwith little debate, to approve legislation that combines threeabortion-related bills recently cleared in the Senate.


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