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Bush calls for US offshore oil exploration

Thursday, June 19, 2008

United States President George W. Bush delivered a speech Wednesday in which he urged the United States Congress to end a ban on oil exploration off of US shores. Currently there is both an executive order and a Congressional moratorium against such exploration.

The Congress issued its moratorium in 1981. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

President Bush said that “we should expand American oil production by increasing access to the Outer Continental Shelf, or OCS. Experts believe that the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to match America’s current oil production for almost ten years.”

“I know the Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past,” President Bush said. “Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If Congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.”

Senator John McCain, who is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, said on Tuesday that he favors offshore drilling.

Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from the Democratic Party, said: “This week’s flip-flop on offshore oil drilling by President Bush and Senator John McCain is nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy that will do nothing to lower energy prices, and represents another big giveaway to oil companies already making billions in profits.”

“It’s cynical to say that we can drill our way out of this mess,” said Athan Manuel, of the environmental group Sierra Club. “The solution to $4 gas is not off our coast.”

A recent poll conducted by Reuters/Zogby showed that about 60% of Americans support more oil drilling and refinery construction, yet nearly the same percentage also say they are in favor of conservation.

“We will take pressure off gas prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline. We will strengthen our national security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. We will benefit American workers by keeping our nation competitive in the global economy — and by creating good jobs in construction, and engineering, and refining, maintenance, and many other areas,” said Bush in his speech.

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Furry fans flock to Further Confusion 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

San Jose, California –Cell phones, cigarette lighters and glowsticks are raised in tribute as Circle of Life begins playing. Soon cheers drown out the song as the multicoloured performers appear on stage. A somewhat unusual introduction; but this is no ordinary show, and these are no ordinary attendees. This is Further Confusion, the second largest furry convention in the world.

The volunteer organizers have something to cheer about, too; Furry fans have gathered from far and wide at the DoubleTree Hotel to indulge their love of anthropomorphics, and Further Confusion’s 9th year is its largest, with a paid attendance of 2061. Their gains mirror those of Midwest FurFest, a similar convention held in Schaumburg, Illinois which grew 35% last November.

Both events feature art shows and auctions, live puppetry performance, masquerades, variety shows, games and parades, as well as panels that range from science and technology to society, sex and spirituality. Filling out the schedule, the hotel walls are lined with announcements of public and private room parties for separate groups. At night, the disco floor fills with dancing cats, dogs, and dragons.

For some, dressing up plays a large part of the convention – almost 300 brought a full costume. There are few professional mascots here, though, and only one or two of the costumes would be recognized by even the most avid cartoon-watcher. Instead, each act is planned and performed by other attendees, wearing “fursuits” of their own design. Many play off the year’s secret-agent theme — “Fur Your Eyes Only”.

Other fans seem content to restrict themselves to small accessories — perhaps some combination of paws, ears, or tail. Each fur bears a 3″x2″ badge detailing their personal character, or “fursona“. Often these characters are better-known than the people who play them.

It may seem lighthearted, even frivolous, but these conventions are becoming big business. Furry fans spent over $180,000 for lodging during the five days (Jan 18-22) of Further Confusion, and another $50,000 at the art auction. Attendees also purchase all manner of merchandise from attending dealers and artists, from on-the-spot art commissions and comic books of all ratings to prints, sculptures, and plush toys – even their very own fluffy tail.

Of course, any business has risk, and conventions can drain wallets when the sums just don’t add up. The first furry con, ConFurence in Southern California, ran successfully for over a decade, but cost its new organizer an estimated $60,000 in its last four years due to falling attendance before folding in 2003.

Anthropomorphic Arts and Education board member Peter Torkelson says that won’t happen to Further Confusion. Indeed, the convention ran a healthy surplus of almost $30,000 on $125,000 revenue last year, allowing it to pay off the last of its old debts and save for the future. As Torkelson explains: “The idea is if for some reason, say an earthquake happens, and it cripples the revenue stream, the convention will be able to survive into the next year. It does help our staff to know that we have [a reserve].”

The reserve also gives AAE the financial flexibility to fund charities throughout the year, a big part of its 501(c)(3) mandate. Over the nine years of the convention, attendees have raised over $60,000 for a variety of animal sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Further Confusion’s hopes for the future are high. Chairwoman Laura Cherry noted that, unlike previous years, the board has “gone all out” for next year’s tenth anniversary, booking as many rooms as the hotel could offer. The host for 2009 has yet to be decided, but for many fans the question was not whether the current hotel will reach a limit, but when – and where – the convention will find a new home.

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Psychiatrist Dr. Jerald Block tells Wikinews about addiction to the Internet

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dr. Jerald Block is a psychiatrist based in Portland, Oregon, United States. Dr. Block has attracted some media attention due to one theory of his – the idea that Internet addiction can be viewed as a distinct mental condition.

In an interview with Wikinews, Dr. Block discusses this theory, including what needs to be done about it, and the alleged violent response that can arise from an addict’s withdrawal. Below is the full exclusive interview.

April 18th, 2019

Getting The Best Bed Bug Exterminators In Bronx

byAlma Abell

Bed bugs in your home can really make your nights very uncomfortable. If your house has been infested with bed bugs, do not panic. There are experts out there, ready to take care of this menace and clear it once and for all. You can also get regular inspections in your home to assess the problem by calling on Bed Bug Exterminators in Bronx.

When there are bed bugs in your home, one of the options that you may have is to move out and come back when the problem is over. Therefore, your interest is on getting efficient services by qualified personnel who will understand what you are going through and not harass you over something that you have no control over. It should be a company that you can entrust the job to, and one that is fully committed to serving you.

Ensure that the methods used are safe for you and your family, though. On this, you can do some independent research on effective and safe chemicals that eradicate bed bugs without contaminating the environment you live in. By doing this, you can be sure that you will be almost as knowledgeable as the Bed Bug Exterminators in Bronx that will help you with your infestation problem.

After the professionals finish their work, it’s normal to still feel uncomfortable. It is for this reason that you should only contact a company that minds your welfare. They should do a follow up to make sure that the treatment was efficient, and if there are still some bedbugs, they can conduct a second treatment process. They should even conduct more treatments if the situation calls for it. This will give you assurance and peace of mind, and will take away the worry of not living in a bed bug-free house after the treatment.

A good company will be efficient. If you hire a company that does shoddy work, you should be able to call them back for a second treatment without you having to incur the cost. A company that is committed to doing its job well will provide subsequent treatments without charging you more. The exterminators at Metro Pest Control give that guarantee, and are ready to serve their customers at any time.

If you’re looking for a pest control company to eradicate bugs and other types of infestations in your home, make sure to hire the best in the market. Click http://www.metropest.com for more information on the best bed bug extermination solutions in the Bronx, NY area.

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France votes no in EU referendum

Sunday, May 29, 2005

In a result predicted by polls, a 54.87% majority of French voters voted non in Sunday’s European Constitution referendum. Of France’s 42 million eligible voters, over 70% turned out at the 55 thousand polling stations across the country, which were open from 8:00 to 20:00 on Sunday (except in Paris and Lyon where voting finished at 22:00, and French oversea possessions and other polling centers in the Americas, which voted on Saturday in order not to have them vote when the results are already known). A 70% turnout is very large compared to Spain 42%.

The result comes as no surprise to European political commentators as opinion polls had consistently suggested that the “No” camp was on course for a strong victory. Indeed, the last opinion poll before the actual referendum suggested a 56% win for the “No” camp.

The treaty was supported by all 3 major political parties (center-left PS, center-right UMP, center-right UDF), though a significant minority of the PS, and some in the UMP, chose to oppose it.It was opposed by the French Communist Party, as well as Trotskyite movements such as the Revolutionary Communist League, other far-left movements such as the Party of the Workers, parts of the Socialist party, parts of The Greens some members of UMP, and the nationalist National Front.

According to polls, the vast majority of blue collar workers, farmers and other categories threatened by globalization and international concurrence voted against the treaty. The urban, better educated or richer population voted in favor.

Some supporters of the “No” camp have argued that the mainstream media was biased in favor of the “yes” cause, and this was supported by some analyses of times awarded by television to both camps. However, the “no” camp also waged an aggressive campaign, with the walls of major cities being plastered with posters linking the EU Constitution and the European Union to all kind of social ills, such as high unemployment.

You can read the entire proposed European Constitution at Wikisource

Contents

  • 1 Polls
  • 2 Arguments of the “No” vote
    • 2.1 Left-wing arguments
    • 2.2 Right-wing arguments
  • 3 Arguments of the “YES” vote
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sister links
  • 6 Sources
  • 7 External links
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Politically concerned movie Zootopia wins Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On Sunday, Disney’s Zootopia won the Oscars award for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at Los Angeles. Pixar’s animated short Piper won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film and Disney’s The Jungle Book won for Visual Effects.

Others competing with Zootopia in the category were Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Disney’s Moana. This was the first Oscar for directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore who were previously nominated for, respectively, Bolt and Wreck-It Ralph.

In the acceptance speech, director Byron Howard said, “About five years ago, almost six now, […] we got this crazy idea of talking about humanity with talking animals in the hopes that, when the film came out, it would make the world just a slightly better place.” The Disney movie addresses several social problems such as racism, sexism, prejudice, stereotyping, and fear. The New York Times said the parental guidance (PG) rated movie was “Funny, smart, thought-provoking — and musical, too.”

Before announcing the award, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal said, “As a Mexican, as a Latin-American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.” The movie was released in March, during the 2016 US presidential race.

In an interview with Variety, the directors of Zootopia said movies about bias and discrimination haven’t been Disney’s main focus, but during its production, “Things were not great in the world. […] It was more like we had our finger on something important right now and we really need to do our best to portray this as honestly as we can. Then with the election and the campaign, the real move towards governing by fear […] I don’t think we could have predicted it any closer with this film.”

With this win, the Walt Disney Company has won nine out of ten Best Animated Feature Film Oscars in the last decade, with Pixar Animation Studio winning six out of them. Zootopia also won Best Animated Film at the Annie Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

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White House accepts judicial review of NSA eavesdropping

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The US President George W. Bush agreed to sign a bill that would allow for a limited judicial review of the National Security Agency‘s controversial eavesdropping program, said the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R). A White House spokeswoman also confirmed the same.

Sen. Specter said that the bill will clear the way for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to “consider the program as a whole and to make a decision on it.”

Under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program”, NSA conducts surveillance on international and domestic phone calls without FISA court authorization, an action the text of the FISA act calls a Felony. The Bush administration maintains that the program is legal, arguing that FISA is an unconstitutional violation of the President’s “inherent powers” and/or that FISA was implicitly overridden by other acts of Congress. Revelation of the program by a New York Times newsreport triggered a controversy over the legality of the program and the scope of Congressional oversight.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently considering two bills proposed respectively by Sen. Specter and Sen. Mike DeWine (R) over the issue. The Specter bill provides for retroactive amnesty for NSA’s actions and brings the program under the FISA court, whereas the DeWine bill provides a legislative foundation for the program.

Sen. Specter said that the bill will allow greater flexibility in emergencies by updating legal language to reflect recent technological developments such as cell phones, allowing NSA a seven day period for obtaining retroactive warrants and allowing “roving wiretaps” which target an individual rather than a particular phone connection. He added that the bill will require government officials to explain why they suspect intercepted communications involve terrorism and creates penalties for misuse of the powers.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat said that the proposed bill is an “interesting bargain” in which the President “is saying ‘if you do every single thing I tell you to do,’ I will do what I should have done anyway,”.Sen. Charles Schumer (D) is reported to have proposed a different bill.

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SpaceX scrubs Falcon I rocket launch

Monday, November 28, 2005

SpaceX called off the much-delayed inaugural launch of their new Falcon 1 rocket on Saturday from Kwajalein’s Omelek Island launch site. The intent was to launch the U.S. Air Force Academy’s FalconSat 2 satellite, which will monitor plasma interactions with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetosphere.

The launch was delayed, then finally cancelled after an oxygen boil-off vent had accidentally been left open. The oxygen was unable to cool the helium pressurant, which then proceeded to evaporate faster than it could be replenished. A main computer issue, probably serious enough to cause a scrub on its own, was also discovered.

This long-anticipated flight was originally expected to be launched in January 2005, however a series of setbacks forced a series of delays, with the flight most recently scheduled to be in early 2006. It was intended to be launched from the Kwajalein atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The maiden voyage was originally intended to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with a Naval Research Laboratory satellite and a Space Services Incorporated space burial payload.

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Proton rocket fails during launch of JCSAT-11 satellite

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Proton rocket which was intended to launch the JCSAT-11 satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit lifted off and successfully completed its first stage burn, but the second stage failed leading to loss of the rocket and satellite.

The launch vehicle was a Proton M booster with a Breeze M upper stage. More than 300 Proton rockets have been launched, all from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Following the launch failure, Kazakhstan suspended the launch of Proton rockets from Baikonur, Interfax news agency reported.

JSAT Corporation immediately placed an order with Lockheed Martin, the satellite manufacturer, for an identical replacement satellite based on the A2100AX design.

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Clash of cultures: Somali and Latino workers at U.S. meat packing plants

Friday, October 17, 2008

Muslim Somali workers at a meat packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska wanted to pray. Their colleagues from Latin America wanted to work. A dispute over the company’s break schedule led to formal discrimination claims, mass job walk-offs and public protests by both sides last month, and a reported 200 firings.

Tensions at the plant began after a Federal government raid in December 2006 removed 200 undocumented workers. An equal number of employees quit shortly afterward. Altogether, six government immigration raids at meat packing plants of Brazilian-owned JBS Swift & Co. had removed 1,200 employees from the company’s work force, which caused substantial production problems. Management at the Nebraska plant responded by hiring approximately 400 Somali immigrants who resided in the United States legally as political refugees. Stricter Federal enforcement of immigration laws has had a significant impact on the meat packing industry because few native-born Americans are willing to work in its low-wage factories. Employers advertise to immigrant communities and after the immigration crackdowns the company turned to the Somali community, which was unlikely to be targeted for deportation.

They shouldn’t be forced to choose between their job and their religion.

Many of the new Somali workers were observant Muslims who wanted to practice the traditional religious prayer schedule, and few spoke English. The existing union contract had been negotiated before Muslims became a significant part of the factory work force, when religious needs had not been an issue, and break times were assigned according to a rigid schedule to ensure continuous production and prevent workers from working too long without a break. The sharp knives the meat packers wield for their job pose a substantial risk of accidental injury.

At first the Somali workers prayed during scheduled breaks and visits to the rest room. A few Somalis were fired for “illegal breaks” they had spent praying. Rima Kapitan, a lawyer who represents the Muslim meat packers of Grand Island, told USA Today, “they shouldn’t be forced to choose between their job and their religion.” The Somalis offered to let their employer deduct pay for time at prayer, but supervisors considered it unworkable to lose the labor of hundreds of people simultaneously, even if the interruptions lasted less than five minutes.

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Plant worker Fidencio Sandoval, a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Mexico, had polite reservations. “I kind of admire all the effort they make to follow that religion, but sometimes you have to adapt to the workplace.” An immigrant from El Salvador was less sympathetic. “They used to go to the bathroom,” said José Amaya, “but actually they’re praying and the rest of us have to do their work.” Raul A. García, a 73-year-old Mexican meat packer, told The New York Times, “The Latino is very humble, but they [the Somalis] are arrogant… They act like the United States owes them.”

Differences of opinion arose over whether the prayers, which are a religious obligation five times a day for practicing Muslims and vary in exact time according the position of the sun, constitute a reasonable accommodation or an undue burden upon non-Muslim coworkers. Abdifatah Warsame, a Somali meat packer, told The New York Times that “Latinos were sometimes saying, ‘Don’t pray, don’t pray’”.

I kind of admire all the effort they make to follow that religion, but sometimes you have to adapt to the workplace.

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached during 2007 the Somalis requested time off for religious reasons. Observant Muslims fast throughout daylight hours during Ramadan. Management refused, believing it would affect the production line. Dozens of Somali workers quit their jobs temporarily in protest. Negotiations between the Somali workers and management broke down in October 2007. Some of the fired Somalis filed religious discrimination complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Problems resurfaced after September 10, 2008 when Somali workers approached plant general manager Dennis Sydow with a request to start their dinner half an hour before the usual schedule in order to break their Ramadan fast closer to sundown. Sydow refused due to concern the request would slow production and burden non-Muslim workers. During the same month a Somali woman complained that a plant supervisor had kicked her while she was praying. The union investigated the charge and the supervisor responded that he had not seen her while she bent in prayer and had only kicked the cardboard that was underneath her.

Somali workers walked out on strike September 15 and protested at Grand Island City Hall, asking for prayer time. The following day the union brokered a compromise with plant management to move the dinner break by 15 minutes. Plant scheduling rules would have reduced the work day by 15 minutes with resulting loss in pay for the hourly workers.

A Somali worker, Abdalla Omar, told the press “We had complaints from the whites, Hispanics and [Christian] Sudanese“. False rumors spread about further cuts to the work day and preferential concessions to the Somalis. Over 1,000 non-Somalis staged a counterprotest on September 17. Union and management returned to the original dinner schedule. Substantial numbers of Somali workers left the plant afterward and either quit or were fired as a result. Sources differ as to the number of Somalis who still work at the plant: The New York Times reports union leadership as saying 300 remain, while Somali community leaders assert the number is closer to 100.

The EEOC has sent staff to determine whether treatment of Somali workers has been in compliance with the The Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the law, employers must make reasonable accommodation for religious practices, but the law grants exceptions if religious practice places substantial hardship on an employer’s business.

Doug Schult, the JBS Swift manager in charge of labor relations, expressed frustration at the inability to resolve the problem, which had surfaced in a Colorado plant as well as the Nebraska plant. He told The Wall Street Journal that his office had spent months trying to understand and comply with new EEOC guidelines in light of conflicting pressures. Local union chapter president Daniel O. Hoppes of United Food and Commercial Workers worries that similar problems could continue to arise at the plant. “Right now, this is a real kindling box”.

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