Weise retired at the end of September after spending almost four decades clearing munitions from one of the most bomb-contaminated regions in Europe — the state of Brandenburg surrounding Berlin. In Brandenburg alone, an average of 631 tons of old munitions from the two world wars and from Soviet army exercises in East German times are found every year by builders, bomb location squads or children playing.
In the whole of Germany, more than 2,000 tons of American and British aerial bombs and all sorts of munitions ranging from German hand grenades and tank mines to Russian artillery shells are recovered each year. Barely a week goes by without a city street or motorway being cordoned off or even evacuated in Germany due to an unexploded bomb being discovered.
“When you’re on your own in that pit with the bomb in the middle of a city, it’s strange how everything suddenly goes totally quiet,” said Weise. “Sometimes even the birds stop singing. That’s always the point when you feel edgy. After the Potsdam bomb last month I thought, you’ve been lucky so many times, that’s the last one today, now you’ll stop.”
The European delay of LittleBigPlanet we mentioned earlier has blossomed into a worldwide recall of the game due to passages from the Islamic holy text Qur’an being included in the background music in one of the levels.
“During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur’an,” admitted the company in a statement.
“We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused.”
Religion demands not merely respect, but hyper-respect, way-more-important-than-anything-else respect.
According to Acorn, most of the forms that are now causing controversy are ones that it flagged and that unsympathetic election officials then publicized.
Acorn’s critics charge that it is creating phony registrations that ineligible voters could use to cast ballots or that a single voter could use to vote multiple times.
Acorn needs to provide more precise figures about problem forms and needs to do a better job of choosing its canvassers.
But for all of the McCain campaign’s manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence — anywhere in the country, going back many elections — of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to.
Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t saying anything about another more serious voter-registration scandal: the fact that about one-third of eligible voters are not registered. The racial gaps are significant and particularly disturbing. According to a study by Project Vote, a voting-rights group, in 2006, 71 percent of eligible whites were registered, compared with 61 percent of blacks, 54 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.
Much of the blame for this lies with overly restrictive registration rules. Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters halted its registration drive in Florida after the state imposed onerous new requirements.
The answer is for government to do a better job of registering people to vote. That way there would be less need to rely on private registration drives, largely being conducted by well-meaning private organizations that use low-paid workers.
Since that would benefit minorities more, the GOP will be against it. Most democracies have a simple rule – if you’re a registered citizen, you’re registered to vote, and you get a ballot sample and invitation about a month before the vote.
You’d almost start thinking the US isn’t that great a democracy.
Palin also made a point of mentioning that she loved to visit the “pro-America” areas of the country, of which North Carolina is one. No word on which states she views as unpatriotic.
If Sarah hasn’t visited you, you have to ask yourself: why do you hate America so much?
We sailed west, towards Topeka. We were confident, in the beginning: the Abigail was a stout ship, trim and true, and we were doughty men, we whalers of the Flyover Country. We daily braved terrors the civilized world could not dream of: the predations of the wretched carnivorous quick-buffalo herds, the choking sargassum maize, and the constant threat of earthswimming praire sharks. A skilled whaling-ship captain can bring fame and fortune and fat barrels of whale oil to his crew. Poor captains face mutiny and marooning and the dreadful “prairie mercy”: a stiff shot of Napolean brandy and a pistol with only one shot.
For ninety one days we scoured the prairie harbors, and always we were informed that we had just missed him, that the man Obama had departed only yesterday, with a destination that no one could ever recall. It was clear that the outlaw prince had the sympathy of these common people, and we would find no succor here. We grew discouraged, and considered pitching the Sturmfrunten overboard and making for St. Louis, and points east. Then, on the ninety sixth day, as we put out of Wichita, we spotted the dust plume of a fat hover-ship.
It would be another two days until Obama’s ship as in sight. The Audacity of Hope was gravid and low and loose in stays, but she still gave us a merry chase. For a day and a night we pursued him, choking and half-blinded by the dust of his passage. At length, we stood two cables away. The Sturmfrunten – we never did learn his name, if such creatures have them – crouched on the foredeck and spat obscenities as we readied our cracked four pounders. Our guns made an awful din as we pulled aslant of the Audacity. For a moment there, I really thought we would win.
Will write good code for good money
Obama: 383 electoral votes, winning OH, IN, WV, VA, NC, MO, FL, ND, NV and many others
McCain: 155 electoral votes
The message that the Bush administration has evil designs on Venezuela has been a cornerstone of state policy here, frequently repeated in speeches by President Hugo Chávez and other officials, as well as on news shows and in documentaries by the omnipresent state media.
But with the president’s socialist party facing tough regional elections in November, the government is ramping up the warnings like never before and taking the requisite actions against what officials say are shadowy assassination plots and U.S.-orchestrated destabilizing plans.
Nothing Chávez has done in the past, though, compares to Venezuela’s $1 billion weapons deal with Russia and military exercises that are bringing Russian warplanes and ships to the Caribbean for the first time since the Cold War.
Former officials in the Chávez administration, pollsters and political analysts say the president is trying to raise the specter of U.S. meddling and whip up his followers in order to deflect attention from such issues as mounting crime, high inflation and a shaky economy.
“This is something Chávez has used to his favor,” said Milos Alcalay, who was Chávez’s ambassador to the United Nations until 2004, when he resigned. “President Chávez has used his anti-Americanism as a form of government policy, not only internationally but also when faced with a series of errors that he cannot explain.”
And as a result, the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) is currently visiting Willemstad in Curaçao.
SH: I’d say, of course the McCain campaign isn’t doing too well right now, and one of the consequences of that is we’ve got a lot of finger-pointing going on within the camp, and I’d say there’s a pretty broad agreement amongst a number of the senior-most advisors to McCain that the Palin pick is worse than disappointing. It’s a total disaster, as one describes to me. And there is a sort of blame game going on there.
Now, one of them described to me quite recently in some detail, who it was who introduced and pushed the Palin nomination, and he says it really boils down – there were a number of people behind the nomination, but there’s one person who was essentially the person who introduced her as a candidate and pushed her consistently and firmly all through the summer primary she was elected – and that person is Bill Kristol. And the interesting thing is of course, if we look across the whole horizon of conservative columnists, prominent conservative columnists, pretty much all of them are expressing reservations or concerns or they’re outright opposing Palin as a pick, with one really striking exception, and that’s Bill Kristol. And Bill Kristol, in none of his columns has acknowledged that he in a sense is the author of Sarah Palin. He discovered her, he promoted her, and he pushed her through to the vice-presidential nomination.
“I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls,” Obama told me. “If I were watching Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me, right? Because the way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?
“I guess the point I’m making,” he went on, “is that there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it’s powerful. People want to know that you’re fighting for them, that you get them. And I actually think I do. But you know, if people are just seeing me in sound bites, they’re not going to discover that. That’s why I say that some of that may have to happen after the election, when they get to know you.”
It’s surprising that someone who came into office as mayor to cut wasteful spending and lower property taxes, actually left office with Wasilla over $20 million in debt, when records show that she entered office with city debt at one million or less.
Some $14-15 million of that debt was due to a hockey rink she built while in office, land for which Wasilla negotiated the purchase for $145,000. They eventually paid out nearly $1.5 million for the land, not counting legal fees, due to Palin moving forward on the project before the city had clear title to the land.
So that is why they call her a hockey mom!
Arlington, Va.: The Secret Service has now labeled the “kill him” report as unfounded. Why isn’t The Post giving this report as much coverage as the original false report received?
Glad you asked, because I saw this earlier. This is actually about the incident in Scranton, not the one in Clearwater, Fla, that I wrote about here.
I wasn’t at the Scranton event, but I have to say the Secret Service is in dangerous territory here. In cooperation with the Palin campaign, they’ve started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd. This is a serious violation of their duty — protecting the protectee — and gets into assisting with the political aspirations of the candidate. It also often makes it impossible for reporters to get into the crowd to question the people who say vulgar things. So they prevent reporters from getting near the people doing the shouting, then claim it’s unfounded because the reporters can’t get close enough to identify the person.
This series of photos documents the measures taken to absorb the impact of a Harrier which was unable to lower it’s landing gear by normal means. As you can see ground crews secured mattresses beneith the aircraft.
What they didn’t count on was the Harrier sucking those mattresses into it’s engine.
We all know the story of the Miller-Urey experiment. In 1953, a young graduate student named Stanley Miller ran an off-the-wall experiment: he ran water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen in a sealed flask with a pair of electrodes to produce a spark, and from those simple building blocks discovered that more complex compounds, such as amino acids, were spontaneously produced. Stanley Miller died in 2007, and in going through his effects, the original apparatus was discovered, and in addition, several small sealed vials containing the sludge produced in the original experiment were also found.
This isn’t too surprising. I’ve gone through a few old scientists’ labs, and you’d be surprised at all the antiquities they preserved, all with notes documenting exactly what they are. It’s habit to keep this stuff.
Now the cool part, though: the scientists who unearthed the old samples ran them through modern analysis techniques, which are a bit more sensitive than the tools they had in the 1950s. In 1953, Miller reported the recovery of five amino acids from his experiment. The reanalysis found twenty two amino acids and five amines in the vials. He was more successful than he knew!
Yes, I know that Miller’s reducing atmosphere is no longer considered to be an accurate representation of the ancient earth’s atmosphere. However, the experiment still supported a key idea: that the synthesis of these organic compounds did not require any kind of guiding hand, but would naturally emerge from unassisted chemical reactions.
The Republican presidential hopeful walked into the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan as a clear underdog, not just in the polls, but also in a room filled with an overwhelming number of powerful New York Democrats. By the time he was through with his near-14-minute speech, he probably made a lot more friends and earned more respect than he’d had previously.
For his part, Barack Obama had plenty of his own funny moments, but following McCain on this night proved to be much more difficult than most out on the campaign trail.
McCain has been criticized for being combative and a bit of a bully in debates, but was anything but on Thursday night.
McCain brought down the house, lighting up faces and shedding a room full of tears with a speech that put a fun touch on countless issues that have been leading the news over the last few weeks.
A lobbyist on his way home from Parliament is stuck in traffic. Noticing a police officer, he winds down his window and asks: ‘What’s the hold-up?’ The policeman replies: ‘The Prime Minister is so depressed he’s stopped his motorcade and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire. ‘He says no one believes he can get us through the credit crunch. So we’re taking up a collection for him.’ The lobbyist asks: ‘How much have you got so far?’ The officer replies: ‘About 40 gallons, but a lot of people are still siphoning.’
Bradford & Bingley employees are concerned they were given no notice of the takeover by Santander Bank.
A Government spokesman said: ‘No one expected the Spanish acquisition.’
A director decided to award a prize of £50 for the best idea of saving the company money during the credit crunch.
It was won by a young executive who suggested reducing the prize money to £10.
Bush of course is getting it in the solar plexus. ”You think he even understands what’s going on?” Leno asked. ”Like, today, they asked about the credit crunch, he said it was his favorite candy bar.” And when the rescue bill went up to 450 pages, he joked that ”President Bush’s copy is even thicker, because they had to add pictures.”
And what are your investment goals?
The Android Market business and program policies also include an item that says users can return any application for a full refund within 24 hours of the time of purchase. In the absence of a trial version of applications, this offer will let users return an application that might not deliver exactly what they expected.
Apple, are you listening?
The more things change..
Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has wheeled in an “ordinary” developer to re-assure folks that Microsoft won’t repeat the mistakes of Windows Vista in Windows 7.
Microsoft employee Larry Osterman has been brought out to say Windows 7 won’t slip, and it won’t contain the kinds of bugs that dogged Windows Vista with hardware and software incompatibilities.
And to make sure they don’t slip, they’re already very busy cutting features:
According to Osterman, it’s the Windows 7 feature teams are calling the shots on cutting features with management “standing behind them.” “In Vista it would have been much harder to convince senior management to abandon features,” Osterman reckoned.
So Windows 7 will apparently consist of whatever is ready on ship date. How reassuring.
One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest house outside Toledo, Ohio, and thinking about how to buy the plumbing business where he works. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block last weekend to complain about taxes, he set himself on a path to becoming America’s newest media celebrity — and as such suddenly found himself facing celebrity-level scrutiny.
As it turns out, Joe the Plumber, as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday’s final presidential debate, may work in the plumbing business, but he is not a licensed plumber.
Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. Wurzelbacher had never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities. He also never completed an apprenticeship and does not belong to the plumber’s union, which has endorsed Mr. Obama. On Thursday, he acknowledged that he does plumbing work even though he does not have a license.
His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes back taxes, too, public records show. The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.
And in one day, Joe has done more press interviews than Sarah Palin since her nomination.