“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Knock and Talk; Another governmental assault on the Fourth Amendment

An eccentric has the same rights as any other American citizen. A person domiciled in an American house does not have to prove his citizenship to a governmental official without a proper court warrant. The Constitution was created to protect citizens from the government. You do not have to prove that you have nothing to hide.


Immigration Raids Circumventing the Fourth Amendment
Posted on August 1, 2009, 5:41pm | Radley Balko Reason

Edward Schumacher-Matos writes in today's Washington Post that Immigration and Customs Enforcement teams conducting immigration rates are routinely violating the Fourth Amendment. After discussing a wrong-door immigration raid on a former Marine and his wife in Arizona, Schumacher-Matos explains:

It would be easy to dismiss the episode as isolated, but 100 seven-member teams of ICE agents across the country are regularly making similar house calls, usually in the pre-dawn hours, in SWAT-like raids with shotguns and automatic rifles, sometimes crawling through open windows. In place of search warrants issued by a judge, ICE agents carry administrative warrants issued by one of their own officials that require that they "knock and talk" to gain entry into a home, a policy often abused...

The raids are supposed to be aimed at fugitive illegal immigrants who have committed criminal acts, but it appears they're being used to rope up non-criminal undocumented workers (illegal immigration is a violation of civil law, not criminal law).

The "knock and talk" warrants require the police to get permission before entering. But that didn't happen in the wrong-door example Schumacher-Matos used to lead off his column. And it doesn't appear to be happening elsewhere, either.

The Cardozo study examined 700 arrests between 2006 and 2008 on Long Island and in New Jersey and found that agents said they had not received informed consent to enter the homes in 86 percent of the Long Island cases and 24 percent of the New Jersey ones. Conflicting information in the New Jersey arrest records suggests that the reported consent there was often fabricated or misreported, the Cardozo study says.

Two-thirds of the arrests were happenstance -- they were mostly of Latinos whose only crime was a civil one of working here illegally. "The high percentage of collateral arrests is consistent with allegations that ICE agents are using home raids for purported targets as a pretext to enter homes" and arrest as many people as they can to meet quotas that in 2006 were increased eightfold to 1,000 a year per team, the report said.

Violations were so flagrant on Long Island that local police withdrew their support and accused ICE of being reckless and dangerous, and of undermining a relationship of trust with the Latino community that had been helping to reduce crime. Mounting evidence elsewhere suggests that the raids are out of control nationally.

It looks as if we can add "illegal immigration" to the growing list of issues so critical, they deserve exceptions to the Fourth Amendment.


  1. Bullshit.

    "Civil?" "Criminal?" Your Ass.

    If they're here, illegally, they're in violation of the law.

    Furthermore, if they're not "Citizens" the 4th amendment doesn't apply.

    If a citizen gets imposed upon, tough titty. It happens all the time. Aplogize for the inconvenience, thank them for their patience, and wish'em a G'day.

    Arrest the illegals, send'em home, and let their "State Dept." write a stern letter.

    Give the Cops a "Raise." That makes them the only ones in the whole damned government that's doing anything worthwhile.

  2. Yhe Constitution applies to persons and people, not only to citizens.

    That is settled law, rufus.

    To enter a home, without a warrent is illegal for government agents to do. That in NJ the officials lie about it, unremarkable, for NJ.

    If the Government knows there are illegals in a building, they should get their warrant and raid the building. Not take it upon themselves to violate the law, in an attempt to wrongfully enforce it.

  3. Unlawful government wiretaps lead to unlawful government raids.
    All for our own good.

    What a revelation!

  4. Who'd have ever thought that could happen?

  5. Tim Cahill (the "politician" running for Gov of Mass against the Dem Duvall) said this:

    We thought this program would mean fewer people would go to hospitals, which is the highest cost any insurance plan has to pay. In fact, fewer people are not going to hospitals.

    Well, that doesn't make any sense. If you have half a million people that have been without healthcare for years, of course they're going to go to the hospital.

    Would "starving" people line up at a supermarket once they had money?

    Sure their costs went up. There was a huge backlog of work that needed to get done.

    Are a lot of people in the $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 income bracket unhappy? Sure. They were (or, thought they were) "free-riding." Now they have to pull their own load.

    "Today, they're mad. Tomorrow, they'll be glad," as "Pee Wee White" used to say.

    The Bottom line is, a half a million that weren't being treated, are NOW being treated.

    And, I "still" haven't seen any Massachusetts Doctors show up in Memphis.

  6. I repeat, the constitution was written to protect the people from government, not to make it convenient for the government to usurp rights.

  7. I repeat, the police were there for "Probable Cause."

    They had reason to suspect a "Crime" was being committed (It IS a Crime to be in the U.S., illegally.)

    One of our Justices said, "The Constitution is NOT a "Suicide Pact."

  8. I would like to know the outcome of the trespass case in the video.

  9. Does not work that way in drug cases, rufus.
    Nor guns. Crawling in through the window, that is not about 'probable cause', it's a preplanned raid.

    In any case, this is so much 'better' and in the same vein.

    The solution for GM and Chrysler might be good medicine for U.S. health care system.

    By Scott Barnhart

    AN epidemic of cold feet is about to lay low efforts to achieve health-care reform.

    Why? Because real reform of health care — reform that includes cost control — is unacceptable to health-care stakeholders who earn profits and income from the current system. Should President Obama roll the dice and declare the current system of medical care bankrupt? He holds the power to so do if he chooses.

    He forced GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy when attempts to bring the stakeholders to the table failed as the parties held out for better deals. Bankruptcy offered the crucible and incubator for GM and Chrysler to remake themselves and emerge viable. A similar crucible is needed now for health-care reform.

    The federal government directly or indirectly pays for nearly 50 percent of all medical care. Of course none of the medical-care stakeholders would have to participate in the equivalency of a bankruptcy proceeding, but the sheer size of government purchasing and regulatory power leaves stakeholders no real choice.

    Is medical care at a place where reform must be forced? Yes. Like GM's and Chrysler's cars, only worse.

    Current health care is 50 to 100 percent more expensive than in other industrialized countries. This represents $600 million to $1.2 trillion expended annually above what our global health-care competitors spend.

    Viewed in another way, medical care is too expensive by $2,000 to $4,000 per year, per person. Like GM and Chrysler, the quality of U.S. health care is fair to good. Like GM and Chrysler, the design features that consumers want are lagging compared to other health systems

  10. Back to Massachusetts: Would you rather live in the Socialist State of Boston, or "free-market" Birmingham?

    Well, Birmingham does benefit from receiving a substantial amount of money from the State with just about the highest GDP per Capita in the Nation.

    Other than that? Not much contest, I think (unless, you're old, and web-footed like me, and like to hunt and fish. Hell, I don't know; they got a whole Ocean to fish in up there.

    The thing is, the Republicans put down the Socialist, Welfare-ridden Blue States; and the "Socialist, Welfare-ridden" Blue States Support the brave, poor, "Red" States.

    There Must be a lesson there, somewhere.

  11. Gotta admit, I didn't watch the Video.

  12. First, President Obama must control costs and use this lever to force change. He should mandate stakeholders enter the crucible of a medical-care equivalent of bankruptcy court. He can do this simply by stating he will veto all federal appropriations for health care after Jan. 1, 2010, that fail to meet these three criteria:

    • Total payments for medical care in calendar years 2011-2015 are capped at a level no greater than expended in 2008 or $2.4 trillion;

    • Universal access will be provided to all residents so long as patients seeking to benefit from any direct or indirect federal funding (including tax-deferred employer-sponsored benefits) join an integrated delivery system.

    • Integrated delivery systems must provide a minimum set of benefits, must meet progress toward quality targets and must provide these services for a fixed actuarially risk-adjusted per-capita rate.

    Capping expenditures for five years with no hope of inflation will create formidable pressure for medical-delivery stakeholders to restructure. A five-year cap will realign service delivery and cost structures to be more globally competitive.

    Universal access doesn't require more funding, as proposed by the president. Controlling costs opens the door to addressing funding mechanisms in a sustainable manner. There already exists $2,000 to $ 4,000 of excess funding per person to support redesign and more equitable access to high-quality care. Medical care won't fall off a cliff with that cushion!

    Why choose integrated delivery systems (IDS)? For a cap on expenditures to work we must all be in the same lifeboat with a governance system to provide for evidence-based, rational, fair apportionment of resources.

    IDS organizations such as Kaiser Permanente and Group Health Cooperative, insurance plans that deliver care, and the Veterans Health Administration, a government-based single payer, are efficient, fair and above average in patient satisfaction and quality when compared with other models

  13. I just watched the video.


    I'd like to know how That shakes out.

  14. Well, actually, the VA is a bit of a "free rider," also.

    You see, Crestor would never have been developed if it was up to the VA. They wouldn't have paid for it. Their mantra is, 80 mg of Zocor is just about as good.

    That's a small thing, but it's indicative of a larger reality. The VA still uses outdated machinery to do Prostate biopsies. They, always, use equipment that is one, or two generation behind "state of the Art."

    That's why almost All of the new stuff is developed for the U.S. market. Once we become like France, or England (not much comparison, I know) there won't be nearly as much financial incentive to create.

  15. It's being Very disingenuous to promote the idea that we can "cut costs" by insuring an extra 20 Million poor, and sick. Ain't gonna happen.

    Or, as the little baby dolls used to say, "Never hoppen, GI."

  16. The first thing that will happen is we will get hit by a "tidal wave" of pent-up demand. Prices will spike.

    In the longer run, it will still be more expensive, but not as much as will be feared during the initial "tsunami."

  17. Just because it is possible does not mean that it is cost effective.

    A what point of GDP does medical care cost to much?

    The last year of mortality at what cost to the rest of society?

    Like the F22, just to costly, no matter how keen a plane it is.

    Everyone dies, everywhere.

    Gotta find a balance, where the fellow calling the ambulance is treated, instead of transported.

  18. It's a "toughie," Rat. No question about it. There will, Always, be someone that's unhappy.

    I guess, in the end, we just have to try to do "the right thing."

  19. I've already had my talk with the VA, and with my son (I'm informed that he'll probably be the one that has to, in the end, make the call.)

    No heroic measures. Period.

    When the words, "coma," or "brain-dead" come up: Pull the Plug. Before Lunch. Go have a Beer.

  20. Country Doctor back in my hometown let my father die. Took too long to get him to the hospital after his second heart attack. He would have been brain-dead.

    The Doctor didn't tell me, but I knew. He loved my father, and I could tell how he was acting, and how the younger, more inexperianced Doctor with him was acting.

    I didn't say anything. I knew he'd done the right thing. I was heartbroken, and there was a funeral to be taken care of.

    A Doctor, today, would have to have it "in writing." And, seconded by the family.

    Some days are just plain "tough."

  21. The "Conservatives" Wailed, and "Rent their Clothing" over Dubya's Medicare Plan D; but, from what I'm hearing it's costing us almost nothing. The competition between Drug Companies is "Intense."

    I was hoping we could pull off some kind of a cross between that, and SR-22 auto insurance (the Repubs railed on that one, too) but, it's not to be.

    Man, it's gonna be a mess.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. What that fellow really needed, a 6 foot chainlink fence.
    That on the perimeter.

    Then concrete block walls, cores poured solid, around an inner perimeter. Any gates at 90 degrees to the street and not in front of a door or window.

    If you really want your home to be yuour castle.

  24. I bet that poor old Depitty would have rather been just about any old where in the world other than there.

    He's gotta be thinking, "Damn, my old man told me to go into auto mechanics."

  25. What ya wanna bet he was digging his own, do-it-yourself septic tank?

    Prolly some law you gotta file "plans," or somesuch.

    Pissed some neighbor off.

  26. Come to think of it, I didn't see any "tank." Maybe he was just going for septic "hole."

    The neighbors are sure to "catch wind" of that. :)

  27. "If we have a good weather, we could search at 07:00," said Colonel Suwandi Mihardja, the coordinator of the searching team, on Sunday night.

    Suwandi said that the lost plane departed from Sentani at 10:15a.m. The plane was scheduled to arrive at Oksibil at 11:05 a.m.

    So far in 2009, six planes had accidents in Papua, taking 17 lives.

    Plane Loses Contact

  28. Ontario Provincial Police say they received a distress call early Sunday afternoon from Moon River Falls near MacTier, about 25 km west of Lake Muskoka.

    A police spokesman would not confirm a media report that locals fear as many as three swimmers may have drowned.

    The spokesman would only say that the local OPP detachment would issue a statement once it had further details to release.

    Ontario Lake

  29. Here I thought he was diggin' a catfish pond.

  30. How did this happen to Avigdor Lieberman, perhaps the most careful man in the history of Israeli politics - to reach the point where the police are recommending that serious charges be brought against him? Human error is to blame. A group of documents that Lieberman forgot at a certain office reached the attorney general and eventually led to the unequivocal police recommendation.

    Since 1996, when he was tapped as director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Lieberman has been under police investigation on many issues. All ended with nothing. He was suspected of receiving bribes from businessman David Appel, of scheming to have Roni Bar-On become attorney general, of fraud involving the Israel Broadcast Authority, and much more. Lieberman managed to emerge from all these cases without a scratch, and no less important, with a constant increase in the number of seats in parliament for his party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
    What started the snowball that led to the police recommendation to indict was a group of documents sent to Lieberman's attorney from Cyprus in late 2001. These documents were forgotten by him at a certain office. Human error proved to be decisive. In 2006 the documents found their way to the office of Mazuz, who ordered the police to begin yet another investigation against Lieberman.

    The documents, in English, listed private accounts held by Lieberman, as well as commercial accounts handled at the Cyprus Popular Bank. The documents showed data on Lieberman from 2001, when he was an MK and national infrastructure minister in Sharon's government.

    The documents had been sent from a Cypriot attorney's office to Lieberman's attorney, Yoav Many, and showed the movement of $500,000 from MCG Holdings to Mountain View Assets. The latter is a company held by a Lieberman associate, Michael Chernoy.
    "This is an octopus," one of the investigators said in describing Lieberman's activities. "We did not believe we would get this far in this investigation."

    If he is indicted, Lieberman will pass on his portfolio to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, but will not step down from government.

    He has also reiterated with confidence that "nothing will come of this, either." But police investigators are unusually confident that this time the minister will find it hard to extricate himself from the evidence against him

  31. The IEA has always pushed back against the idea of "Peak Oil." Now, even they are trying to prepare us for the shock.

    800 Largest Fields Declining at 6.9% annually, not 3.7

    Oil is pushing on $70.00/bbl, tonight; and gasoline is up another $0.03 to about $2.04.

    The bad (even worse) part is: When "exporting" countries' production starts to decline, their "consumption" invariably continues to grow. Ergo, if production declines 2% this year, exports could easily decline 4%.

    Gotta get back to work on that still.

  32. Meanwhile, our beefed-up border is on steroids, to include a village 80 miles away. A dozen agents in a half-dozen Border Patrol Blazers are visible around Hatch.

    Happily, their presence thwarted a bank robbery, and with our large Hispanic population, profiling shouldn't be an issue. Stopping cars for a minor traffic violation in order to detain and deport immigrants misuses an excellent law, the 287 (g) authority between border agents and police officers that Congress intended for serious crimes.

    A Mexican without a taillight or papers caught by tweaking the law has few defenders, but it is big business in Alabama and Texas, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. Any cash found in the car is confiscated by the state.

    Beefed-up Border

  33. "News" ca: 2009
    Front page, NY Times:

    This is the picture on the front page of the NY Times, presented without a caption, above the following lede:
    Evidence Points to Venezuelan Aid to Rebels

    Despite denials by President Hugo Ch├ívez, Venezuelan officials have continued to help Colombia’s largest rebel group, according to new evidence. Above, a Colombian soldier inspected an area after an attack in July.

  34. "Above, a Colombian soldier inspected an area after an attack in July."
    I guess that passes for a caption.

  35. "While the souls of these dead pups look down in disgust from Doggie Heaven, Vick’s apologists sing his undeserved praises.

    Responding to reports that Vick faces a four-game suspension before resuming play, Buffalo Bills receiver Terrell Owens said: “The guy’s already suffered so much. And to add a four-game suspension on a two-year prison sentence, that’s ridiculous.” He later told ESPN: “The commissioner needs to go sit in jail for 23 months.”

    As USA Today reported, Owens recruited other footballers to support Vick via Twitter. Their rampant errors of grammar, spelling, and syntax are preserved here for posterity:

    “im in support of mike vick too man,” wrote Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. “I wanna c him back in action being the human highlight file he is.Im with ya bro.”

    “Never heard him complain or wine,” remarked Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. “Let the man play.”

    “He did time and lost his shoe deal,” pleaded Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett. “Dear Commissioner please reinstate mike vick.”

    Having completed his prison sentence, Vick is even-steven with Uncle Sam. Now the private sector must address this man’s evil.

    Vick does not deserve any prestigious position of visibility, glory, or adulation. Any team that hires this dog killer should be boycotted by dog lovers and decent people everywhere, as should that team’s sponsors. If he ever enters an athletic venue, he should be booed off the field, out of the stadium, and beyond the parking lot.

    Rather than letting him resume his multi-million-dollar sports career, someone somewhere should hand Michael Vick a mop."

    Down with Dog-Killer Michael Vick

  36. "The thing is, the Republicans put down the Socialist, Welfare-ridden Blue States; and the "Socialist, Welfare-ridden" Blue States Support the brave, poor, "Red" States."
    Ponzi schemes only last so long, Rufus:
    California ain't gonna be supportin nobody else anytime soon.

  37. (part of the team effort to make poor Rufus stroke out!)

  38. ...and there are reports of GP's leaving Mass, just as are specialists leaving Canuckistan.

  39. Been hearing that a long time, Doug.

  40. Nevertheless, the Socialist, Welfare State of Massachusetts has a Mean Income of $56,592.00, whereas good ol' Red State Alabama has an average income of $29,697.00.

  41. I do have a prediction. If HR 3200 becomes law in any form, then the quality of health care in the United States will decline.

    Government interference will mean fewer physicians, fewer individual choices for health care, and fewer dollars in all of our pockets.

    Information is readily available on-line and in libraries. Do your homework.

    Government Inefficiency

  42. "News" ca: 2009
    Front page, NY Times:

    Evidence Points to Venezuelan Aid to Rebels

    Gift from the administration to the good nation of Colombia, via the editors of the Times.

    There are certainly worse ways to start the week.

  43. Alt-A Loans and Pesky Resistant Subprime Loans: The Lingering Mortgage Beast. $1.1 Trillion in Active Toxic Waste Mortgages. PennyMac Ready for Toxic Mortgages. What Happened to the Public-Private Investment Program?

    One thing the happy cheerleaders in the financial circuit fail to have is basic logic.
    Think of it this way.
    Why would we need all those trillions in backstops if we are now officially out of the recession?
    I’ll tell you why:

    These are the same people who led us to financial Armageddon and here they are promising the public once again that all is well yet quietly, they are developing methods to unload the remaining toxic mortgage waste so they can effectively be absolved from their massive financial sins. Who better to know what crap is on their balance sheets than the mortgage manure producers?

    This is certifiable insanity!

    Now wouldn’t you think it would be prudent to at least call in folks who were whistle-blowing before the crisis to buy up some of these mortgages at the right price or at the very least, didn’t produce the actual junk?

    Of course this isn’t going to happen because crony Wall Street knows that once we open up the books, we know what kind of toxic mortgage waste we are going to find in their Pandora ’s Box.
    Their plan is to unload this mortgage chum to the U.S. taxpayer now that they are drunk on financial happy talk so once things sour again, the mortgages will now be fully on the taxpayer’s back.
    Now it’s your problem.


    The American Household Balance Sheet. Lessons from the Great Depression Part XXVII: Household Net Worth Drop in Great Depression 11 Percent. Current Net Worth Drop of $13.8 Trillion Equivalent to 21 Percent Drop.

  44. Median Household Income by State

    How about the Grreat Red State of Mississippi, huh?

  45. Doug, losing net worth is irritating. Losing your job, and all hopes of finding another is a Depression.

    True, they preserved most of the net worth for those that Had Net Worth, but at the expense of people damned near "Starving to Death.

  46. That first graph.

    Majority of people earn 15k/year.

  47. Sam, it's true; the quality of your health care will probably decline a bit.

    But, it's going to be an "Immeasurable" Improvement for those Millions, who, currently, Can't Get Healthcare.

  48. Another way of looking at it:

    1/3 of Americans earn less than $30,000.00/Yr.

  49. Excuse Me, That's Wrong.

    1/3 of American HOUSEHOLDS earn Less than $30,000.00/Yr.

  50. Their take-home would, I guess, be in the $2,200.00/Mo. range. Let's say their bill for gasoline goes up $300.00/Mo. Think they might be in a little trouble?

  51. Ya think they're going to be "pitching in" there? Going to the Mall? Helping to "Pull" the United States "Out of Recession?"

  52. Ya think "Pigs Fly?"

    Now, here's the thing. A LOT of those folks either don't have health insurance, or have a policy with a $3,000.00/Yr Cap.

    Does someone want to make the obligatory "Richest Country in the World," comment?

  53. (I, for one, am celebrating. With a fine bottle of something called Walk Back That Cat.)

  54. You say you want to run for office as a Republican? Okay, but there sits 33% of eligible voters that you have absolutely, NO shot at. Nada. Zilch. El Zippo.

    To get 51% you've gotta get 51/66 of the remaining voters. That's almost 80% of the rest. And, SOME OF THEM are Minorities, and HALF OF THEM ARE WOMEN.

    I know, let's run the dumbest, sonofabitch in the Republican Party. Yeah, That's the Ticket.

  55. Let's run an 80 year old sonofabitch, that when asked by a little gal in the $15,000.00/Yr group how she was ever going to get "well enough" to hold a job will tell her that he'll Give her a Fucking "Tax Credit."

  56. We have seen New York, the second-biggest progressive state, have a nervous breakdown. The governor had to threaten the legislature with arrest just to get a quorum so that a state budget could be passed, except it wasn’t.

    Then there’s South Carolina, where the legislature wants the governor to resign because he was slipping off to Argentina to make whoopee, and Illinois, where the governor did resign after being found trying to sell a seat in the U.S. Senate on eBay (more or less).

    You have to wonder what they’re putting in the drinking water in the statehouses of America.

    American Statehouses

  57. And, then, just to "Make Sure" we've got a "Winner," we'll send him up to Iowa to piss on the face of every corn farmer in the Midwest.

    If he can manage to even Lose Indiana, we'll know we have "Our Man."

  58. (And by marveling at rufus' willingness and ability to post figures and other general nonsense at one in the morning EST.)

  59. Just trying to keep you entertained, Dear.

    After all, the Wine will only take you so far, right?

  60. As White House officials and members of Congress began fanning out across the country on Sunday to make the case for or against a health-care overhaul, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said that the White House still preferred a bipartisan approach but hinted that it might consider moving forward without one.


    Action by House committees gives President Obama a fragile political victory but falls far short of his original goal of passage by both houses of Congress before the August recess. The Senate remains in session through Friday, but the Finance Committee chairman said the issue would have to wait.


    Lawmakers of both parties agree on the need to rein in private insurance companies by banning underwriting practices that have prevented millions of Americans from obtaining affordable insurance. Insurers would, for example, have to accept all applicants and offer a minimum package of benefits, to be defined by the federal government.

    Without GOP

  61. Oil, $70.20

    Here we go, again.

  62. Commitments of Traders

    * Crude Oil: Net speculative long positions recovered to 4576 contracts last week but remained at historical-low level

    * Natural Gas: Net shorts remained at high level. The trend is still bearish as investors remained concerned about the huge gas storage

    * Gold: Net speculative long positions were largely unchanged at 173K contracts. Investment demand for gold has diminished significantly from the peak in February

    Good News From China

  63. I'm also listening to Alabama. That adds entertainment value.

    What is wine without song? the poet asks.

    The poet does not ask, What is wine without rufus? That I know of.

  64. I figured you for the "Get Drunk and Pick a Fight" type.

  65. Trying to live out your favorite country/western songs can lead to a bad result.

    Got the T-Shirt.

  66. Huh, just thought. A cold bud light would sound pretty good, right now.

    Excuse me for a moment.

  67. Okay, I'm here to be entertained. Regale me, O' Queen of the Sacred Colombian Grape.

  68. Sorry.

    I'm in far too benign a state of mind. Must be the yoga.

    It's certainly not the weather. (Well, at the moment it's not horrendous, but it will be within hours.)

  69. Anyway, optimism on the matter of Colombia was well-placed and we may have our ducks in a row.

  70. My God, I love that song and was just thinking of it last week.

  71. Uh Oh,

    You better pour yourself another glass of that grape, toots.

    Is This the "Other Shoe" dropping?

    Saudi Prince under Arrest - foiled plot against the Monarch

  72. KUWAIT

    Some 54 new swine flu cases were reported by Kuwait on Sunday, taking the country’s total number of patients up to 265, the Ministry of Health said. As their health conditions are not serious, the new cases have been allowed to receive necessary medication at home, the ministry’s spokesman Yussef Al-Nesif told KUNA.


    A Qatari man has died of swine flu in the capital Doha, the first such death in the tiny Gulf country, a local newspaper reported on Sunday. The man had been staying in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates where he was admitted to hospital after being sick but was released without being diagnosed with A(H1N1), Al-Sharq newspaper said, citing a health ministry statement.


    Israel has recorded its second death from swine flu, that of a 24-year-old Arab woman in the north of the country, the health ministry announced on Sunday. It said Jihan Assad Mussa, from Tarshiha, who was chronically overweight, had been hospitalised in Nahariya several days previously suffering from pneumonia.

    54 New in Kuwait

  73. Okay, it's time to "earn your keep" O' Plugged-In One.

    Query the maid. Call the Butler. Wots hoppening in the "Kingdom?"

    A thousand oil traders want to know.

  74. Let's get some "inside" info, here.

    Is Ghawar "tanking?"

  75. That's interestin. Oil prices haven't budged. Strange.

  76. Wots hoppening in the "Kingdom?"

    - rufus

    I dunno. How much faith do you have in the opposition group that put the story out?

    My housekeeper certainly wouldn't know anything.

  77. Good point. Oil prices aren't flying. Must not be much to it.

  78. I thot you guys wuz statesmen, and spies.

    The "housekeeper" always knows Everything.

  79. "I thot you guys wuz statesmen, and spies."

    We DO watch a lot of television.

  80. Me, too. G'nite all.

  81. He went on to say that even if Obama manages to reach an agreement with Israel to freeze settlement construction, the deal would likely not be one that "everyone is going to stand up and cheer about."

    "The question is, 'Will it be substantial? Will it be meaningful?

    Will it enable us to achieve what is, after all, the overall objective?'" Mitchell told the New York Times. "The phase we're now engaged in is a means to an end; it is not an end in itself.

    Push Misinterpreted

  82. Schools run by Christian missions in Pakistan's Karachi city have closed for three days to mourn the killings of Christians in Punjab province.


    Southern Karachi city is home to some of the best known mission schools and colleges in the country.


    A spokesman for Pakistan's president said a judicial panel would probe the incident.

    Shut Over Unrest

  83. In 2004, eight villagers in Qinghai province died of plague, most of them infected after killing or eating wild marmots. Marmots are related to gophers and prairie dogs.

    They live in the grasslands of China's northwest and Mongolia, where villagers often hunt them for meat.

    A woman who lives in Ziketan who refused to give her name said county officials distributed flyers and made TV and radio announcements on how to prevent infection. The woman contacted by phone said police checkpoints have been set up in a 17-mile (28-kilometer) radius around Ziketan and that residents were not allowed to leave.

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