Monday, May 28, 2007




ORLANDO SENTINEL - Sheriff's investigators are looking at
surveillance-video footage in hopes of discovering who got on the
public-address system at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
this week and quoted a Bible passage that denounces homosexuality. . .
The unauthorized announcement quoted from Leviticus 20:13, which
depending on the translation of Bible, states that: "If a man lies with
a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is
detestable. They must be put to death." The passage was read more than
once over the public-address system in the baggage area of Terminal 3 at
12:45 a.m. Tuesday, prompting complaints from a gay couple. "It was
almost so threatening I was frightened," said Waymon Hudson, who
overheard the message while in the airport with his partner of six

RICHARD FAUSSET, LA TIMES - Welcome to Abdullah the Butcher's House of
Ribs & Chinese Food, a few miles northwest of the Atlanta airport. Your
eponymous host earned his fame as a professional wrestler - "the Madman
From Sudan," they called him. He started out in a fez, graduated to a
kaffiyeh. Over time, he perfected a wild-eyed stare. He dismantled foes
with his signature "Sudanese meat cleaver," a running elbow drop to the
throat. He ate light bulbs and raw meat. He was, in short, a nightmare
of political incorrectness. In real life, the man who insists on going
by his "Abdullah" stage name is a sweet sexagenarian, though he remains
an imposing lump of man-meat, still quick with the fake scowls and
boasting a waistline as wide as a ring of Saturn. He will reluctantly
tell you, after some prodding, that he is, in fact, a Canadian native
named Lawrence Shreve, the son of a Blackfoot Indian father and an
African American mother. Abdullah and his wife, who is half-Korean and
half-Japanese, thought up the barbecue-and-Chinese-food concept 14 years
ago. Today, he has three locations in metro Atlanta and one in South
Korea, where he also claims minor celebrityhood. . . If you find the
ethnic act offensive, he says, tell it to the wrestling fans of Kuwait
and Lebanon. He's fought as Abdullah in both countries, and it went over







BBC - That trademark Irish venue, the country pub - renowned as a place
to chat, have a pint, hear some music and soak up the atmosphere - is
facing challenging times. Recent figures suggest that many rural pubs
are shutting their doors, their owners selling up and moving out. One
report put the figure at a pub closing every day. In 2005, almost 440
fewer pub licences were issued. In the year up to November 2006, more
than 60 pubs shut down in two of the bigger counties - 20 in Clare, 42
in Cork. . . The culture is changing in that there's a drift towards
people having parties at home, and maybe just having a few drinks at
home at the weekend before going to the bigger . . . Publicans point to
three main factors for dwindling trade in rural areas. One is the
smoking ban which was introduced three years ago. While many, such as
health campaigners, view it as a success, many pub owners say it has
damaged their trade. Then there are new drink-driving laws. Random
breath tests were introduced last year, allowing police to stop drivers
at their discretion. Publicans are keen to stress that they do not
object to tighter drink-driving rules, and certainly do not condone
driving under the influence.. . . Finally, habits are changing. Much of
the evidence here may be anecdotal, but it seems more young people are
either buying alcohol at the off license, or heading to the larger towns
to smarter, bigger bars.



ROBERT PEAR, NY TIMES - Insurance companies have used improper hard-sell
tactics to persuade Medicare recipients to sign up for private health
plans that cost the government far more than the traditional Medicare
program, federal and state officials and consumer advocates say. . .
Insurance agents, spurred in some cases by incentives like trips to Las
Vegas, have aggressively marketed the private plans, known as Medicare
Advantage plans. Enrollment in them has skyrocketed in the last year,
and Medicare officials foresee continued rapid growth in the next
decade. . . These "private fee-for-service plans" allow patients to go
to any doctor or hospital that will provide care on terms set by the
insurer. In most cases, no one manages the care. And some patients have
found that they have less access to care, because their doctors refuse
to take patients in private fee-for-service plans. Moreover, those plans
may be more expensive than traditional Medicare for some patients,
because the co-payments for some services may be higher. The Medicare
Payment Advisory Commission says that the cost to the government is also
higher because it pays the private fee-for-service plans, on average, 19
percent more than the cost of traditional Medicare.



GUARDIAN, UK - Blacks Leisure, which operates 400 high street stores ,
reported a huge drop in profits and said it was being forced to make big
changes in its goods as a result of global warming. Sales of winter and
wet weather gear have fallen off a cliff and Blacks - which includes
Millets and has always been a destination store for waterproofs and cold
weather clothing - has felt the chill. Chief executive Russell Hardy
said the group now had to make wholesale, and continuing, changes to its
ranges to deal with "the new weather realities". Over recent months
numerous organisations have woken up to climate change and consumers'
increasing concerns about global warming but few of them have so far
felt the direct impact of changing temperatures - and buying patterns -
on their bottom line.,,2072257,00.



SARAH-KATE TEMPLETON, AUSTRALIAN - Having large families should be
frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanor in the same way as frequent
long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags,
says a report to be published today by a green think tank. The paper by
the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children
instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by
the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.
John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family
planning at University College London, said: "The effect on the planet
of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these
other things we might do, such as switching off lights. The greatest
thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would
be to have one less child." In his latest comments, the academic says
that when couples are planning a family they should be encouraged to
think about the environmental consequences,23599,21684156-5009760,00.html

BBC - China's top family planning body has warned of a "population
rebound" as couples flout one child policy rules. The widening wealth
gap could lead to a rise in birth rates, Zhang Weiqing, from the
National Population and Family Planning Commission, told state media.
Newly rich couples can afford to pay fines to have more than one child,
while rural couples are marrying earlier, he told Xinhua news agency.
China has about 1.3 billion people, 20% of the world's total. . . Last
month, a survey by the National Population and Family Planning
Commission found that the number of rich people and celebrities having
more than one child was on a rapid increase, and nearly 10% of people in
this category had three children.



LARRY ROHTER, SPIEGEL, GERMANY - In the early 1980s, when Pope John
Paul II wanted to clamp down on what he considered a dangerous,
Marxist-inspired movement in the Roman Catholic Church, liberation
theology, he turned to a trusted aide: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Now
Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI, and when he arrives here on
Wednesday for his first pastoral visit to Latin America he may be
surprised at what he finds. Liberation theology, which he once called "a
fundamental threat to the faith of the church," persists as an active,
even defiant force in Latin America, home to nearly half the world's one
billion Roman Catholics. Over the past 25 years, even as the Vatican
moved to silence the clerical theorists of liberation theology and the
church fortified its conservative hierarchy, the social and economic
ills the movement highlighted have worsened. In recent years, the
politics of the region have also drifted leftward, giving the movement's
demand that the church embrace "a preferential option for the poor" new
impetus and credibility. Today some 80,000 "base communities," as the
grass-roots building blocks of liberation theology are called, operate
in Brazil, the world's most populous Roman Catholic nation, and nearly
one million "Bible circles" meet regularly to read and discuss scripture
from the viewpoint of the theology of liberation.,1518,481434,00.html


The New Liberal Menace in America

Stephen Marshall

DISINFORMATION COMPANY - Stephen Marshall, Sundance-award winning
director and co-founder of Guerrilla News Network, hits the road and
travels from the front lines of the Iraq War, through the wasteland of
the former communist Eastern bloc, into a coke-dusted sex party of
Britain's intellectual elite, and into the minds of America's most
influential liberal figures. Marshall recounts his meetings and
conversations with Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal, David Horowitz,
Lewis Lapham, John Avlon, the Economist's John Micklethwait, the
Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger and best-selling authors Todd
Gitlin, Paul Berman and John Perkins. He finds that American liberals
have dumped the '60s era radicalism of their youth and become complicit
in a complex game of bait-and-switch, selling the world a vision of
liberal democracy in which they, in fact, no longer believe. Have
liberals buckled under the pressure of America's declining fortunes and
taken on the role of good cop to the conservatives' bad?


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