Friday, December 09, 2005

Agreement on USA PATRIOT Act Reached; F.O.P. Calls on Congress to Swiftly Adopt the Measure Next Week

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded today's announcement that the House-Senate conference committee had filed its report on H.R. 3199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act."
"The USA PATRIOT Act has enabled law enforcement officers to use the same investigatory tools used in criminal cases against suspected terrorists seeking to attack our nation and its people, and unless these provisions are reauthorized before the end of the year, the ability of law enforcement to prevent future attacks will be considerably lessened," Canterbury said.
The conference report, which will be considered by both the House and the Senate next week, makes permanent fourteen (14) of the sixteen (16) provisions that, under current law, expire on 31 December 2005. The conference report also extends the law's "roving" wiretaps provision and the FBI's ability to seek business records with court approval in intelligence cases, but places a provision on both of these authorities that will cause them to "sunset," or expire, in 2009. The conference report also places a four-year sunset to a provision of the 2004 intelligence overhaul law that allows law enforcement to seek warrants against "lone wolf" terrorists not connected to a foreign power and would require that notice be given within thirty (30) days of the use of any delayed-notice search warrant execution unless facts justify a specific later date.
"We are satisfied with the final language of the conference report, and are particularly pleased that the sunset provisions which remain in the bill are set to expire in non-election years, which we hope will eliminate political considerations when the time comes for Congress to reconsider those issues," Canterbury said.
"We want members of both parties to unite behind this bipartisan compromise and pass this bill next week, so it can be signed by the President before its important provisions expire," Canterbury said, adding that the F.O.P. was calling on its members to contact their Senators and Representatives to ask them to support the conference report on H.R. 3199.
"We can never forget that our terrorist enemies are determined, resourceful, and patient," Canterbury said. "We must not allow them any safe haven within which to work and plot their next strike. All of us--whether we are police officers or members of a Neighborhood Watch Program--must work together to prevent future terrorist attacks. This is the only way to keep our country united against terrorism, our communities safe, and our nation free."
The Fraternal Order of Police is the nation's largest law enforcement labor organization, with more than 321,000 members.

Groundbreaking Abortion Report Approved in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D., Dec. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- After hours of debate, the South Dakota Taskforce to Study Abortion approved a groundbreaking report on the effects of abortion on women, children and society.
The report examined the available scientific research, expert testimony, affidavits, and public testimony to determine the effects of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. The report includes findings on the physical and emotional complications of abortion, the lack of proof that condom-based sex education prevents teen pregnancy, and the destruction abortion has wrecked on the family structure.
The approval did not come without extreme antics from those who want to keep abortion legal, according to the Alpha Center.
Previously, Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood and a member of the Taskforce had threatened to leave the meeting if things did not go her way. Today, appearing frustrated, Ms. Looby left the meeting abruptly, saying, "I'm sick of this."
A supporter of Ms. Looby's, Sen. Stan Adelstein, followed Ms. Looby out of the meeting, making profane statements as he exited.
"The Taskforce worked long and hard to consider all the information that was brought forward," commented Leslee Unruh, founder of the Alpha Center, the largest pregnancy center in South Dakota, and whose husband, Dr. Allen Unruh, is on the taskforce. "Kate's actions seem very staged to me. She left with only a few minutes remaining in the day. Kate was argumentative all day, and in the end, even after the Taskforce made some of her changes, she walked. She lobbied against the Taskforce when it was in the legislature and then worked to be appointed to the Taskforce. She has been speaking publicly against the Taskforce ever since it began. This is just the final desperate act to distract media attention away from a great, groundbreaking report on the real dangers of abortion!"
The Alpha Center has been helping women and families facing an unplanned pregnancy since 1984. Over the last twenty-one years, women of all ages from various cultural backgrounds have received the help and support they needed when faced with a crisis pregnancy.

BOND Says 'No' to Kwanzaa; Rev. Peterson Launches 'Merry Christmas!' Not 'Happy Kwanzaa!' Campaign

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, author of the book, "SCAM: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America," which was just released in paperback, is trying to educate Americans that Kwanzaa (celebrated Dec. 26- Jan. 1) is not a legitimate holiday; it is a platform for racial hatred which was started in America by a Marxist ex-con who served four years in prison for torturing two women.
"Kwanzaa is not a legitimate holiday; it is a subversive black nationalist movement designed to create racial separatism and hatred. It is one of the biggest scams being perpetrated on black Americans," says Rev. Peterson.
In 1966, Ron Karenga, the leader of United Slaves Organization, a Marxist "black power" group, created Kwanzaa to help blacks get in touch with their African roots.
Rev. Peterson says, "Marxist Karenga's Kwanzaa celebration is really a banquet of socialism, worship of false gods and Afrocentrism. The Kwanzaa pledge of allegiance is a perfect example of racial hatred and black separatism: "We pledge allegiance to the red, black and green, our flag, the symbol of our eternal struggle, and to the land we must obtain; one nation of black people, with one God of us all, totally united in the struggle, for black love, black freedom and black self- determination."
Rev. Peterson adds, "This is not a celebration of African harvest; it is a political statement for the establishment of a black nation and racial hatred against whites."
According to the BOND website, Karenga explained the holiday as follows: "People think it's African but it is not. I came up with Kwanzaa because black people wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of Bloods would be partying."
Kwanzaa has been widely promoted in our culture; President George W. Bush even issued a proclamation celebrating Kwanzaa in 2002.
Rev. Peterson points out, "Most whites are fearful of telling the truth about Kwanzaa because they're labeled racist, anti- black and intolerant. Hate-filled men like Ron Karenga have used this bogus holiday to bash Christmas and preach anti-white views. The 'Merry Christmas!' Not 'Happy Kwanzaa!' Campaign is designed to expose the falsehoods of Kwanzaa and defend the celebration of Christmas."
For more information about The 'Merry Christmas!' Not 'Happy Kwanzaa!' Campaign, please visit the BOND website at
SCAM: HOW THE BLACK LEADERSHIP EXPLOITS BLACK AMERICA lays bare the black community's corrupt leadership, calling black Americans to shake off the stranglehold of these "leaders" and take control of a future full of hope and promise. Rev. Peterson courageously takes aim at the biggest names -- Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters -- claiming they are nothing more than scam artists profiting off the hatred and disorder they foster in the black community. SCAM is now available in paperback with a brand new foreword by Sean Hannity and a new afterword by the author. SCAM is available at all major bookstores, and online at
Media inquiries, contact Ermias Alemayehu, 323-782-1980, 213- 804-1872 (cell), E-mail:
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is the founder and president of the nationally respected nonprofit organization Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND), whose purpose is "Rebuilding the Family By Rebuilding the Man." He is also a nationally syndicated talk show host, guest columnist for World Net Daily and a highly sought after speaker.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor leads court in seizing Social Security benefits.

Still owe the governments for school loans? Well they might not have just disappeared and you could still be reponsible to pay them using your social security benefits.

A 9-0 supreme court ruling gave the government the green light to tap the social security benefits for repayment of delinquent student loans.The result was a ruling in the case of James Lockhart, who had received loans while attending four higher education institutions between the years of 1984 and 1989. Lockhart had received a total of nine federally guaranteed loans totalling $80,000.00.

Mr. Lockhart became disabled and was drawing a disabilty check of which $93 a month was being withheld by the government. When Lockhart reached the age of retirement the government increased his withholdings to $143 each month. Retirees are now responsible to pay as much as 15% of their income for repayment of school loans.

In response Lockhart filed a lawsuit to stop the seizure on his benefit, but federal judges in Seattle and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against him. Both judges cited that the Higher Education Act authorizes the government to seize all forms of funds as a way to repay debt.

Lockhart vs. United States was taken up by the Supreme Court to both resolve the dispute, and affirm the decision of the 9th Circuit Court. The justices concluded in a ruling written by Sandra Day O'Connor that the amended Higher Education Act had indeed repealed the 10-year limit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Plans for new countries The Christian Exodus and The Free State Project.

The country is breaking up. Within 20 years the country will lose two states. There are plans from at least two groups that are working to become independent from the United States. This is not a joke. Please read the statements of both organizations and visit their sites. is moving thousands of Christians to South Carolina to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christian Constitutionalists to protect our liberties in a State like South Carolina by interposing the State's sovereign authority retained under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.
Spread the word...who could have imagined such drastic changes in our lifetimes?

Sensenbrenner Introduces Immigration Reform Bill; Legislation Aims to Prevent Illegal Immigration by Controlling Our Borders and Holding People Accoun

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) today introduced legislation that aims to prevent illegal immigration by addressing the hiring of illegal immigrants and gaining control of our borders. H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, aims to reestablish respect for immigration laws and to hold people accountable by cracking down on employers hiring illegal workers, smugglers trafficking in human beings as well as confronting the emerging problem of alien gangs. H.R. 4437 also incorporates the border security legislation approved by the Homeland Security Committee last month, H.R. 4312. H.R. 4437 will be considered Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee with House consideration expected next week.
Chairman Sensenbrenner said, "It's my hope this legislative effort will not only help regain control of our borders and prevent illegal immigration, but will also help strengthen and promote our compassionate and welcoming legal immigration system. Everyone recognizes our current immigration system is broken, plagued by insufficient immigration enforcement and border security resources, and a wholesale disregard for our immigration laws."
"Fixing these enormous problems will require a comprehensive effort addressing alien removal, worksite enforcement, the hiring of illegal workers, border security and interior immigration enforcement as well as ensuring America's labor needs are met. This legislation, crafted in consultation with the House Leadership, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Bush Administration, addresses many of these key issues. I anticipate this legislation will serve as a solid legislative foundation for tackling problems with our immigration system," added Chairman Sensenbrenner.
The text of H.R. 4437 is available at . A section by section summary is available at . Information on the Homeland Security Committee's provisions from H.R. 4312 can be found at .
Some Highlights of H.R. 4437 (excluding Homeland Security Committee provisions from H.R. 4312):
-- Combat Hiring of Illegal Workers - Institutes an employment eligibility verification system in which employers will check the Social Security numbers and alien identification numbers provided by employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records in order to weed out fraudulent numbers and ensure that their employees are not working in the U.S. illegally. Modifies provisions from H.R. 19 introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) by building upon a voluntary pilot program currently in use. Increases civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or employing an illegal worker.
-- Increase Penalties for Alien Smuggling - Under current law, individuals convicted of alien smuggling crimes often receive lenient sentences. These provisions would greatly increase criminal penalties for alien smuggling by establishing mandatory minimum sentences, among other things. These provisions were recommended by a panel of border-area U.S. Attorneys to make it easier to deport smugglers and illegal entrants.
-- Crackdown on Alien Gang Members - This provision incorporates H.R. 2933, introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). This provision would render alien street gang members inadmissible and deportable, and authorize the Attorney General to designate groups or associations as criminal street gangs if they meet certain criteria. Also mandates the detention of alien street gang members and bars alien gang members from receiving humanitarian benefits.
-- Increase Penalties for Aliens Reentering Illegally - Incorporates H.R. 3150, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Calif.) that would stiffen penalties, including establishing mandatory minimum sentences, for aliens who reenter the United States after having been removed.
-- Aggravated Felony Provisions - The provisions would make aggravated felons inadmissible and would bar refugees and asylees with aggravated felony convictions from receiving green cards.
-- Cooperation between Border Sheriffs and Federal Law Enforcement - Based upon Rep. Culberson's (R-Tex.) "Border Law Enforcement Act of 2005" (H.R. 4360), authorizes and reimburses local sheriffs in the 29 counties along the southern border to enforce the immigration laws if authorized under a separate written agreement pursuant to section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and to transfer illegal aliens to federal custody. It also specifically reimburses those Sheriffs for costs associated with detaining illegal aliens whom they arrest until they are able to hand them over to federal authorities. This provision deems aliens in Sheriffs' custody to be in federal custody once determined to be in an unlawful status.
-- Increasing DHS Authority for Long-Term Detention - The U.S. Supreme Court has limited DHS's ability to detain dangerous aliens with decisions that have forced hundreds of dangerous aliens, such as murderers, to be released into American communities. One alien released because of these Court decisions later shot a state trooper in the head. This change would amend the INA to allow for continued detention of aliens who pose a threat to Americans.
-- Renewing DHS Authority to Use Reinstatement of Removal Process - In Morales-Izquierdo v. Ashcroft, the Ninth Circuit recently invalidated DHS reinstatement of removal regulations, which allows DHS to remove an alien previously deported by simply reinstating the alien's prior order of removal. The House Judiciary Committee has been told that this procedure was used in some 90,000 cases last year, and the Ninth Circuit's decision affects 40 percent of removals in the Ninth Circuit. This amendment to the INA would clarify DHS's authority to reinstate orders.
-- Barring Terrorist Aliens from Naturalization - This provision bars aliens who are terrorists or security risks from becoming U.S. citizens.
-- Deportation for DUI - Render multiple DUI offenses a deportable offense for aliens.

Department of Justice Statement on the Al Arian Case

To: National Desk
Contact: Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, 202-514-2007 or 202-514-1888 (TDD)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a statement of Tasia Scolinos, director of public affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, on the Al Arian Case:
"The Justice Department has a strong track record of success in prosecuting terrorists and those who support terrorist activities, as evidenced by the convictions in recent weeks in the Abu Ali and Paracha cases. We remain focused on the important task at hand, which is to protect our country through our ongoing vigorous prosecution of terrorism cases. While we respect the jury's verdict, we stand by the evidence we presented in court against Sami Al Arian and his co-defendants. Discussions are ongoing as to whether the government will seek to retry defendants Al Arian and Hatem Fariz on the outstanding charges."

Fla. Democratic Party Chair Blasts Jeff Miller for Trying to Distract from Bush Administration's Failed Leadership on Iraq

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman today demanded that Republicans like Rep. Jeff Miller stop trying to deflect attention from the Bush Administration's failed leadership on Iraq by attacking political opponents. Thurman issued the following statement:
"We cannot continue to have a permanent commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq. The brave men and women in uniform who are serving our country with honor and distinction deserve better. It is time to change course. Democrats will continue to fight for a plan that's as good as our troops, with clear benchmarks for success.
"With the President's latest PR campaign clearly failing, Republicans like Jeff Miller are now cherry-picking Governor Dean's words just like they cherry-picked the pre-war intelligence.
"But Floridians know better. They can see through the spin to see the truth about what Governor Dean said: we can only win if the Iraqi people are able to play a greater role in peacekeeping, if the president gives an honest assessment of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq, and if we take responsible measures to get the target off the backs of our troops. Staying the course is not a strategy; it's an excuse for not having a plan."
Paid Political Advertisement Paid for and approved by the Florida Democratic Party.

Red Cross Volunteer and His Sister Charged With Stealing More Than 100 Red Cross Debit Cards Intended For Hurricane Evacuees

DALLAS, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States Attorney Richard B. Roper announced that Brian Oneal Hines and his sister, Charmaine Denise Hines, surrendered to federal authorities today and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Wm. F. Sanderson, Jr., on charges outlined in a federal criminal complaints filed yesterday in the Northern District of Texas. Each complaint charges each with using stolen Red Cross debit cards to fraudulently obtain goods and services, in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1029(a)(2). Judge Sanderson detained each of the defendants.
The affidavit filed with the federal criminal complaint states that on Nov. 2, federal law enforcement agents received information from the Red Cross office located at 4800 Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas that a Red Cross volunteer/temporary worker, Brian Hines, was committing fraud with stolen Red Cross debit cards intended for hurricane evacuees.
A Red Cross employee stated while he was researching missing Red Cross debit cards on Sept. 27, Hines came into the office offering to volunteer. While the employee was working, he noticed that Hines had a small piece of paper in his hand and that every time he came around, Hines would crumple up the piece of paper in a suspicious manner. The employee was able to read numbers on Hines' paper and identified the numbers on this list as being consistent with a series of missing debit cards. The employee was able to determine that one of the missing debit account numbers had been activated with $4,695 loaded as the value of the card. The employee found that there were at least 100 debit cards missing. The national office of the Red Cross notified the employee that half of the missing one hundred cards had been activated, most of which with a value of $4,695 each, an unusual amount according to the Red Cross employee.
Prior to Nov. 2, the Red Cross employee had discussed his suspicions about Hines with another Red Cross employee, who thought it was probable that Hines might leave the Red Cross office and conduct a fraudulent ATM transaction using one or more stolen Red Cross debit cards. On the afternoon of Nov. 2, the employee observed Hines exit the Red Cross parking lot and drive to a Frost Bank branch located on Harwood in Dallas, where Hines pulled into the ATM lane of the bank. A few days later, a U.S. Postal Inspector and a U.S. Secret Service agent interviewed Hines who eventually admitted repeatedly using stolen Red Cross debit cards to fraudulently obtain large amounts of cash from Dallas area ATMs. Hines stated he gave 20 - 25 cards to his sister, Charmaine Denise Hines and her boyfriend. When asked what he bought with the proceeds from the debit cards, Hines stated that he bought jewelry for himself and his girlfriend and vehicles for both family members and friends. Hines also gave gifts of cash, clothing, shoes and jewelry to his family and friends
Hines also admitted that in October of 2005, he stole at least 100 Red Cross debit cards or "client assistance cards" from various locations. Hines stated that he was able to steal Red Cross debit cards from the Reunion Arena location with the help of security guard personnel. Hines confessed to activating and loading (values) on approximately 100 stolen debit cards.
When law enforcement interviewed Charmaine Denise Hines, she admitted that her brother had given her several stolen Red Cross debit cards and that she had fraudulently used the cards to obtain large amounts of cash.
While the investigation is ongoing to determine the scope of the fraudulent activity and the total dollar loss, Red Cross records reflect a loss of more than $230,000 at this time.
U.S. Attorney Roper praised the investigative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Jarvis.

Remarks by the President at Hanukkah Reception

5:37 p.m. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House. Laura and I are glad you're here, and we're glad to be here to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah. Hanukkah begins later this month; it's a time to remember the story of a miracle once witnessed in the holy temple in Jerusalem.
More than 2,000 years ago, the ancient land of Israel was conquered, and Jewish people were forbidden to pray, observe their religious customs, or study the Torah. In response, a patriot named Judah Maccabee led a revolt against the enemy army. Their numbers were small, yet their courage in defense of their faith was powerful -- and they were triumphant.
When the Maccabees returned to reclaim their holy temple, the oil that should have lasted only one day instead burned for eight days. During Hanukkah, Jews across the world signify this miracle by lighting the menorah. This act commemorates the victory of freedom over oppression, and of hope shining through darkness. Today, that light still burns in Jewish homes and synagogues everywhere. And, today, that light will burn here in the White House.
Laura and I are honored to have a beautiful menorah here from Park Synagogue in Cleveland, Ohio. Rabbi Skoff, thank you very much for sharing it with us. I also want to thank Rabbi Barry Gelman for his prayer and thank him for his deep compassion. As he mentioned, he is the rabbi from the United Orthodox Synagogue in Houston, whose members did so much to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I want to thank the West Point Jewish Cadet Choir for being here with us this evening. Our nation is grateful to the American troops of all faiths who are serving our country around the world, and who are away from their families this holiday.
The word "Hanukkah" and the Hebrew word for education both come from the same root word that means "to dedicate." And earlier today, I met with some of the leaders from our nation's Jewish day schools. As educators who dedicate themselves to teaching the faith and to teaching, they are fulfilling the true lesson of Hanukkah every day of the year. Just as the Maccabees reclaimed their holy temple, these teachers help ensure that Jewish traditions are passed from generation to generation.
Tonight, as we prepare to light the candles, we are grateful for our freedoms as Americans, especially the freedom to worship. We are grateful that freedom is spreading to still new regions of the world, and we pray that those who still live in the darkness of tyranny will some day see the light of freedom.
And now I invite Rabbi Skoff and his daughter and family to join me for the symbolic lighting of the White House menorah. The honor is yours. Thank you.

Excerpts from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's Interview on WOAI-AM, San Antonio; Chairman Responds to Yesterday's Iraq Comments by Howard Dean

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following are excerpts from a radio interview by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman on WOAI-AM, San Antonio. Chairman Mehlman responded to yesterday's comments on the same station by DNC Chairman Howard Dean.
Host: "Now I'm sure that you're aware by now because it's been everywhere, that we had an interview yesterday with Howard Dean, the, your counterpart over there at the Democratic National Committee, and he said some things that are lightning rod stuff. Some would call them even more than that. Without getting too graphic about the details and what he did, but what he said was basically this is the new Vietnam where we had 25,000 lives lost in a lost cause. He called Iraq a lost war. We can't win there. What is your response immediately hearing those comments?"
Ken Mehlman: "It's fairly extraordinary. I can't remember any time in history where the leader of a national party, one of our 2 national parties, predicted that America would lose a war we were engaged in. I think it sends the wrong message to our troops, the wrong message to the enemy, the wrong message to the Iraqi people just 10 days before the election."
"...You think about it, this isn't anything new. Just this past weekend on Sunday, John Kerry talked about American troops engaged in terroristic and other activity, terrorizing kids and children. He talked about we've already seen Nancy Pelosi embrace a retreat and defeat have the Democratic nominee in '04, Democratic national chairman, lead Democrat in the House, have all now come out embrace a retreat and defeat strategy while our country is at war."
Host: "Well I actually asked him about that. I mean, I think that Murtha is the one that started it. Nancy Pelosi is now agreeing with it, that we should have these troops, and they're using the word redeployed within 6 months. Howard Dean won't go there. He says he wants it to happen within 2 years. So, if anything, the Democrats seem to be undecided about, you know, about agreeing on a time frame here. And do you think that it's wrong from its get-go to have any sort of a time frame at all or should there be?"
Ken Mehlman: "'s why a time frame is a mistake.... If you tell the enemy when you're going to stop fighting, then the enemy knows when it needs to hold out (UI). If you want the Iraqi people to risk their lives, run for office (UI) vote in this election (UI) 10 days and do the things they're doing, if they know that after a given period, they're going to be abandoned to Zarqawi, they're much less likely to do it. You want the enemy to understand that there is no alternative but to air their grievances at the political process, then obviously, again, giving them a time frame is a mistake. Imagine if we had said to Hitler in 1942 that in 2 years we're going to pull out of Europe. Hitler would not have been, would not have ended his war. Hitler would not have surrendered. Germany would not have surrendered."
"It is always a mistake when you're fighting an implacable foe tell them the point at which you're going to stop fighting."
Ken Mehlman: "But think about it. Why would (UI) national party say America can't win a war while its troops are engaged in that war?"...
Host: "Well I think what's interesting also to add here, Ken, is that John Kerry also came out after the President's speech the other day and what he said was we don't want to redeploy; we don't want to get the troops; we just want to have a time frame for victory. So, again, in the Democratic party itself, there are varying answers. I want to throw this at you because Howard Dean brought this up yesterday, that 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out. And I asked him what is the source of that? Who exactly did the survey? Who did the poll and who exactly did they ask? And he didn't have an answer. Have you seen this poll that shows that 80 percent of the Iraqis want us out?"
Ken Mehlman: "No, not at all. I've seen polling that shows something very different, in fact, and that is that Iraqis increasingly understand and believe that they need (UI) their country is heading in the right, not the wrong, direction. They're optimistic about the future in a way they haven't been. ... Fundamentally it comes down to this. Do you believe this (UI) in the war on terror is victory versus defeat has a huge consequence for American security? Answer is unquestionably yes."
Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Leading Mercury Experts: Mercury in Fish Harmful, Harvard Study Shown to Have Major Weaknesses

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Mercury levels in fish are high enough to pose health risks to moderate and heavy fish eaters, mercury experts said in a report released today. Commissioned by Oceana and the Mercury Policy Project and written by mercury and environmental health expert Edward Groth, Ph.D., the report summarizes decades of scientific research and exposes weaknesses in recent reports from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis (HCRA), which were funded by the tuna industry and other fishing interests.
The report release coincides with an international Seafood and Health Conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Fisheries Ministries of Norway, Iceland and Canada. Dozens of conservation organizations in the U.S. and Europe have registered formal complaints about the conference due to the scant attention to mercury risks in the agenda.
"Several lines of evidence clearly demonstrate that mercury in fish represents a real and significant public health problem," said Dr. Edward Groth, the report's author. "Roughly 12 million people who rank in the top 5 percent for fish consumption are potentially at risk for elevated mercury exposure."
"Recent news suggesting that FDA/EPA advice could 'do more harm than good' missed the most important finding in the HCRA study: it showed that if current FDA/EPA advice were properly communicated and followed, mercury's detrimental effects would be avoided without any loss of nutritional benefits."
The Groth report is packed with information, including six key findings:
-- There is enough mercury in certain fish to pose health risks, especially for heavy and moderate fish consumers, women of child-bearing age and children.
-- The EPA definition of "safe" exposure to methyl mercury is not over-protective; more likely, it is not protective enough.
-- Potential health effects associated with mercury, but not considered in the current definition of "safe" exposure, may mean mercury poses wider risks than previously recognized.
-- Contrary to industry and media messages, fish consumption in the United States has been steadily increasing and is now at an all-time high.
-- A study by the HCRA, whose authors suggest that advisories could be harmful, has serious methodological weaknesses, and its results have been mischaracterized.
-- People can enjoy the benefits that fish provide and avoid the risks of mercury by choosing low-mercury fish.
"We wanted to show both sides of the picture -- the benefits as well as the risks of fish consumption. There is a clear win-win solution, and it's not as complex as risk assessment. It's as simple as signs in stores that would allow families to make informed choices when they buy fish," said Jacqueline Savitz, senior scientist for Oceana and director of the group's Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination.
"We commissioned this study because the industry is using its considerable resources to mislead the public about the mercury problem in order to sell more fish. This conference is a good example of where the risks of mercury are being given short shrift," said Michael Bender, executive director of the Mercury Policy project, which partnered with Oceana to commission the report.
Oceana's Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination is a global effort to reduce mercury levels in the environment and to educate the public about the risks of mercury in seafood. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned women and children to avoid swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel, and to scale back on some types of tuna, the public has not been adequately informed. This report summarizes the scientific literature to addresses common questions and make suggestions to help families balance government warnings about mercury with the need to maintain a healthy diet that includes fish. The report is available at
Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans. Their teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America (Washington, D.C.; Juneau, Alaska; Portland, Ore.; Los Angeles), Europe (Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium) and South America (Santiago, Chile). More than 300,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries have already joined Oceana.

Monday, December 05, 2005

McWane, Inc. and Company Executives Sentenced for Environmental Crimes

To: National Desk
Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-2007, 202-514-1888 (TDD); Web:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Cast-iron pipe manufacturer McWane Inc. (McWane) and company executives James Delk, Michael Devine, and Charles "Barry" Robison were sentenced today in federal court for environmental crimes connected with the operation of McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company in Birmingham, Ala.
Judge Robert Propst sentenced McWane to pay a fine of $5 million and serve a period of probation for five years. McWane, Inc. is also ordered to perform a community service project valued at $2.7 million. Judge Propst ordered McWane executive James Delk to serve probation for three years, including six months of home detention and a fine of $90,000; Mike Devine received two years of probation, including three months of home detention and a fine of $35,000; and Charles Robinson received two years of probation and a fine of $2,500. Additionally, Robinson will serve 150 hours of community service work.
After a six week trial McWane; James Delk, a former Vice President and General Manager; and Mike Devine, a former plant manager at and current employee of McWane in New Jersey, were found guilty in June of this year of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging industrial process wastewater into Avondale Creek in Birmingham through storm drains, in violation of their permit. McWane and Delk were also convicted of 18 counts of discharging pollutants-including hydraulic oil and sludge containing zinc and lead-into Avondale Creek and eventually Village Creek, which runs into Bayview Lake, between May 1999 and January 2001. Devine was additionally convicted of seven counts of discharging pollutants into Avondale Creek between May 1999 and January 2000. In a related count, McWane and Charles Robison-its Vice President for Environmental Affairs-were convicted of making a false statement to the EPA by misrepresenting that various locations relating to wastewater management were acceptable when this was not an accurate description of those locations. Further, many of the purported inspections had not been conducted.
"The evidence at trial depicted years of illegal discharges and concerted efforts by company officials to hide those discharges from state and federal regulators," said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The Department of Justice takes seriously its responsibility to enforce the nation's environmental laws and to prosecute to the fullest extent those who seek to break them."
One additional individual, Donald Harbin, pleaded guilty on to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate environmental laws connected with the operation of McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company. Harbin oversaw maintenance activities at the company during a period when it was allegedly discharging processed waste water into Avondale Creek in Birmingham in violation of a federal permit. Harbin is scheduled to be sentenced on December 19, 2005.
"Discharging of untreated or improperly-treated industrial wastewater and pollutants are primary contributors to the impairment of water quality in our nation," said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "These convictions clearly demonstrate that EPA is vigorously enforcing federal regulations to help reduce this problem."
"This jury found a conspiracy between McWane, Inc. and its highest positioned employees at the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company to violate the Clean Water Act and to make false statements to the EPA," said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "It is critical that we enforce criminal environmental laws against corporate wrongdoers and their employees, so that Birmingham residents are protected from the harm caused by a company putting pipe and profits above the public's welfare."
"The FBI is fully committed to investigating environmental matters that pose a significant risk to public safety. We are very pleased with the outcome of this case, the interagency cooperation involved, and the strong message sent that environmental crimes will not be tolerated, " said Carmen S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case represents the third conviction of a McWane company in the past year. The Department of Justice has taken the following actions against McWane nationwide:
-- In November 2005, Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company-a division of McWane, Inc. located in Provo, Utah-and two executives were charged with committing conspiracy, Clean Air Act violations, and submitting false statements to the government. The six-count indictment charged McWane, as well as Charles Matlock-former Vice President of McWane, Inc. and General Manager of Pacific States-and Charles "Barry" Robison-Vice President of Environmental Affairs for McWane, Inc.- with conspiracy to violate federal clean air regulations as well as the submission of false documents required by the EPA. Charges in an indictment are accusations. Each of the defendants is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in federal court.
-- In September 2005, Union Foundry Company, a division of McWane, Inc. and an iron foundry located in Anniston, Alabama, was sentenced to pay $4.25 million in criminal fines and community service, and serve probation for three years. The McWane Division pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging illegal treatment of hazardous waste and worker safety violations that resulted in the death of an employee, Reginald Elston.
-- In March 2005, Tyler Pipe Company, a division of McWane located in Tyler, Texas, pleaded guilty to submitting a false statement and violating the Clean Air Act. The federal district court ordered Tyler Pipe to pay a criminal fine of $4.5 million and serve probation for five years.
-- In December 2003 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Atlantic States-a division of McWane of Birmingham, Alabama-and several managers were charged with conspiracy to violate federal clean air and water regulations and laws governing workplace safety, as well as obstruction of criminal and regulatory investigations by EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This case is currently in the midst of a four month jury trial in Trenton, New Jersey.
The case in Birmingham was investigated by Special Agents of the EPA and the FBI. Senior Trial Attorney Christopher Costantini and Trial Attorney Kevin Cassidy of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey prosecuted the case.

Tax Scam Promoter 'Judge Rizzo' and Wife Sentenced to Prison

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Tax scam promoters John J. Rizzo and his wife, Carol A. Rizzo, were sentenced, respectively, to 43 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release in connection with a tax evasion scheme, the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. In addition to the prison sentences, each of the Rizzos was issued a fine of $10,000, instructed to cooperate with the IRS in payment of tax liabilities, and prohibited from providing tax advice. Both of the Rizzos-who have been in custody since their arrests in April 2003-were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Tax scam promoters should expect to be investigated, indicted, prosecuted, and upon conviction, to serve serious time in federal prison," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division. "The Department of Justice and the IRS will vigorously protect the integrity of the federal tax system."
On February 4, 2004, John J. Rizzo-a former municipal court judge-and Carol A. Rizzo each pleaded guilty to conspiring to impede and impair the IRS in the ascertainment and collection of income tax and willfully failing to file a federal income tax return for 2000. John Rizzo also pleaded guilty to felony charges of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return and perjury before the grand jury.
"The government will not tolerate abusive tax schemes that use offshore accounts to illegally escape taxes," said Nancy Jardini, IRS Chief, Criminal Investigation. "Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don't."
"It is tragic when a former member of the judiciary, charged with upholding the law, encourages others to violate those laws," said Paul K. Charlton, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
As described in the plea agreements, from 1999 to 2002 John Rizzo was a prominent speaker at offshore seminars hosted by Institute of Global Prosperity (Global Prosperity). At these seminars, Mr. Rizzo promoted the Millennium 2000 Reliance Defense Program (Millennium Program) to thousands of people resulting in more than $4 million in sales revenue for the Rizzos. The program included written materials taxpayers could use to establish purported good faith reliance defenses against potential criminal tax prosecutions. At an earlier court hearing, a videotape was played showing Mr. Rizzo appearing at Global Prosperity seminars wearing judicial robes and portraying himself as a former judge and an expert on tax law.
The Rizzos also admitted that they provided opinion letters, materials and documentation that claimed, among other things, that taxpayers could lawfully stop filing income tax returns and stop their employers from withholding income taxes from their wages. This claim was based upon the long-rejected notion that the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution had not been legally ratified.
The Rizzos further admitted that they concealed the income they earned from the sales of the Millennium Program through various means. They used offshore bank accounts, third-party merchant accounts to process credit card sales, and requested payments from customers in cash, money orders, and checks with the payee lines left blank. John Rizzo also admitted to knowingly providing false and misleading testimony to a grand jury by testifying that he and his wife filed federal tax returns for the years 1999, 2000, and 2001, when in fact, he and his wife had not filed such tax returns as required by law.
Assistant Attorney General O'Connor thanked Tax Division trial attorneys Larry Wszalek and Mark Odulio for prosecuting the case. She also thanked the special agents of the IRS whose assistance was essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of the case.

Consumer Reports Rates 2006 Mazda5 Best Overall Among Wagons and Hatchbacks

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Mazda5 is Consumer Reports' new top-rated vehicle among wagons and hatchbacks, following tests of four "tall wagons" for the January 2006 issue. The Ford Focus wagon had previously been CR's top- rated vehicle in that category.
New for 2006, the Mazda5 earned an "Excellent" overall rating in Consumer Reports' battery of tests-the only wagon or hatchback that has been recently tested by CR to achieve such a high score. The previously-tested Ford Focus wagon had a "Very Good" overall score.
CR tested the Mazda5 against the Pontiac Vibe, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and Chevrolet HHR. The Vibe and PT Cruiser earned "Very Good" overall scores, while the HHR received a "Good" score.
"The Mazda5 is a microvan-a small version of a minivan-that possesses many of the advantages of a traditional minivan yet is more agile, maneuverable, economical, and affordable," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut. Even with an optional navigation system, the Mazda5 costs less than $23,000.
Full tests and ratings of the four "tall wagons" appear in the January issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale December 6. The complete report is also available to subscribers of
Consumer Reports recommends two of the four tall wagons in this test group-the Pontiac Vibe and the PT Cruiser. Reliability for both the new Mazda5 and the Chevrolet HHR are unknown at this time. Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's surveys of its own subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.
Based on the excellent Mazda3 small sedan platform, the Mazda5 is styled like a minivan complete with sliding rear doors, but it is smaller than a conventional van. With seating for six in three rows, the vehicle offers some of the flexibility and versatility of a traditional minivan in a more compact package. The Mazda5 Touring ($22,615 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 157-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers adequate acceleration but lacks reserve power for passing, climbing steep grades, and carrying a full load. The four-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. Braking performance was very good overall. The interior is spacious and airy. But the third-row seat is useful only for small children-and then only if both second-row passengers move their seats forward.
The Pontiac Vibe and its twin, the Toyota Matrix, are tall wagons based on the Toyota Corolla. The Vibe's compact dimensions, versatile interior, and good fuel economy make it a handy, nimble, and economical runabout. But a flawed driving position and a boomy engine detract from the vehicle's overall performance. The Vibe is also the only vehicle in this group available with all-wheel-drive. The Vibe ($19,960 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 130-hp, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that provides adequate acceleration. The four-speed automatic transmission downshifts energetically and makes the Vibe feel responsive. Braking was very good overall. The 60/40-split rear seats easily fold in one step for extra cargo room. With the rear seats folded, the Vibe holds 26.5 cubic feet of cargo.
The PT Cruiser's interior versatility and ease of access make it a practical choice. Some controls have improved from previous versions, but outward visibility, a wide turning circle, and limited rear cargo space remain problems. The PT Cruiser Limited ($23,485 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 180-hp, 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers the best acceleration in this test group and better fuel economy than the base engine. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly but isn't very responsive. Braking distances were fairly long. The 60/40-split rear seats fold flat with the rear floor or can tumble forward for more cargo room. With the rear seats measured, CR measured 32 cubic feet of cargo space.
The HHR is similar in some respects to the PT Cruiser. But the new vehicle, based on the Cobalt small sedan, is styled to resemble Chevy trucks from the 1950s. The low roof, wide roof pillars, and small-window styling take a toll on visibility. The HHR LT ($22,055 MSRP) tested is equipped with the optional 172- hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that delivered good acceleration on CR's test track and reasonable fuel economy. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, though the transmission's shifting and tall gearing make the vehicle feel lethargic in normal driving. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded, the HHR holds 29.5 cubic feet of cargo.
Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Website; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645. Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at
EDITOR'S NOTE: An image of this month's Consumer Reports cover is available online for free editorial use at:

CORE Denounces Misinformation Campaign by CUB; Says New Attack Ads Are Merely 'Scare Tactics'

CHICAGO, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE) today derided new attempts by the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and its coalition to mislead consumers, restating its concerns about a potential Illinois energy crisis similar to the one that crippled California’s economy.
CORE, a group of Illinois business, labor and civic leaders and organizations, reiterated its position that extending the electric utility rate freeze created by state law in 1997 would force ComEd and Ameren into a "buy high, sell low" situation similar to what happened in California in 2000. Under the 1997 Illinois law, investor-owned utilities must buy energy in the open market beginning in 2007.
In California, officials failed to allow local utilities to enter long-term power purchase contracts. Utilities were forced to buy power on the spot market at a time when their Legislature artificially froze utility rates. The result was utility bankruptcy that required a $10 billion taxpayer bailout, power disruptions that cost California businesses $21 billion and an estimated loss of 135,000 jobs.
"What we need is a thoughtful, realistic plan to buy energy —- one that won't run our utility companies into the ground," said Avis LaVelle, CORE spokesperson. "A wide array of 14 groups –- including CUB -– came together last year to determine the best way for utilities to purchase power. The Illinois Commerce Commission staff -– the experts on this issue -– have endorsed that competitive bid process."
CORE has previously expressed its support of that process, which would require multiple companies to compete to sell power to the utilities at the lowest possible price. As a coalition of concerned parties that represent a variety of interests, CORE has said it is working to solve the issue positively and proactively.
"Every time CUB and its supporters speak on this issue, they try to frighten already -- worried consumers by using hugely inflated numbers about potential rate increases. They need to stop trying to create fear and work on creating a solution if they really want to solve this issue," LaVelle said. "It's easy to criticize and attack -- but where is their viable plan? CORE has clearly endorsed the competitive bid process. If CUB wants to actually represent consumers as it claims to do, they should come forth with a realistic solution of their own."
CORE is a coalition of business, labor, community and energy groups that support the preservation of reliable electricity, the transition of the industry to competition and energy decisions made by the experts at the Illinois Commerce Commission. CORE's Advisory Committee members represent more than 100,000 businesses and more than 1 million individuals across Illinois.
For more information, visit the CORE Web site at

Consumer Reports Updates Annual Holiday Giving Guide With Free Expert Advice for Online Shopping, Gift Cards, and Charities

YONKERS, New York, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumer Reports today updated its annual Holiday Giving Guide with valuable information on the finest online shopping sites, useful advice on bank gift cards, and tips for donating to charities. Available for free on its website,, the Holiday Giving Guide features useful shopping tips in areas including Games & Recreation, Home, Health, and Shopping & Spending, and also offers e-Ratings, unbiased evaluations of online shopping sites.
"With the new holiday gift ideas just posted on the site, shoppers can consult the Holiday Giving Guide for helpful buying tips and a variety of gift ideas," said Helen Popkin, Associate Editor of Online users will find useful advice on how to shop smarter and faster, while knowing that they are getting expert advice on products, services, and great tips for the holiday season."
Among Consumer Report's bargain-hunting tricks for shopping online:
-- Shop the bots -- no single site always delivers the best prices, so check out Consumer Reports' top-rated sites before making a purchase -- the savings can add up (e.g. when Consumer Reports hunted for the Rolling Stones' new CD, "A Bigger Bang," the best NexTag could do was $18.08; that was 58 percent higher than's low of $11.43).
-- Look for total costs -- make sure you research the total costs for items (e.g. shipping, handling and taxes) before making an online purchase.
-- Read item descriptions carefully -- bargain basement prices sometimes accompany merchandise that is "refurbished" or "reconditioned" -- the product description should note whether an item has been refurbished, but it's up to you to spot that information -- it won't necessarily pop out at you.
-- Stick with rated merchants -- deal only with merchants who have been rated by users or independent third parties.
-- Sort results by price -- when possible, sort search results based on low-to-high price.
-- Check the merchant's site -- sometimes these post lower total prices.
Among Consumer Reports' advice for preventing the bank gift card you gift (or get) from being pecked away by fees:
-- Check fees on the issuer's Web site or on the card sleeve -- Pick cards with no expiration date or maintenance fee, if possible.
-- Give retailer cards -- You won't have to pay a fee to purchase them.
-- Give cash -- this way the only thing that will deplete your gift is inflation.
-- Check the terms immediately if you receive a card -- cash it in before you lose any purchasing power.
Among Consumer Reports' advice for making charitable donations really count:
-- Visit the watchdogs: three groups put large, general-interest charities under the microscope: the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) ( or the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and Charity Navigator (
-- Crunch the numbers: Consider doing some of your own research. At you can download the "990" tax form of virtually any nonprofit. Only houses of worship and charities with revenues under $25,000 are exempt from filing this document.
-- Use umbrellas: When contributing, ask about the criteria a federation uses to select participating charities, advises Daniel Borochoff, President of the American Institute of Philanthropy. Find out whether the federation reviews its members' financial documents and management practices and whether it has enforced its policies by ejecting violators. Also, request information about how donations are distributed.
-- Be aware of scammers and charities with bad reputations: Sometimes scammers and charities with less-than-stellar reputations use look-alike names that can trick you into giving to the wrong organization.
-- Hang up on telemarketers: They often work for independent fund-raising companies that keep a large percentage of the donations they raise on a nonprofit's behalf. A study by Connecticut charity regulators found that telemarketers pocketed nearly two-thirds of every dollar they raised for the state's police, firefighter, and civic groups in 2003.
These useful online shopping tips, Hanukah and Christmas gift ideas, and much more can be found at in the Holiday Giving Guide section.
Consumer Reports and are published by Consumers Union, which accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. With more than 2 million active, paid subscribers, is larger than any other publication-based Web site. All site visitors have free access to helpful advice, safety alerts, recalls, e-Ratings of online commerce sites, and much more. Subscribers have access to Consumer Reports unbiased product and service Ratings and Recommendations, selections from the latest issue of Consumer Reports, a searchable archive of the past four years of ratings, Consumer Reports' exclusive product and car reliability reports, interactive decision guides, the ability to participate in expert discussions and much more There are two types of subscriptions to ( an annual subscription for $26 (current subscribers to the magazine can join for $19 per year), or a monthly subscription for $4.95.

Press Briefing Conference Call: Report Card of Federal and State Preparedness for Bioterror, Health Emergencies

News Advisory:
Audio Press Conference
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 10 to 11 a.m.
Report Card of Federal and State Preparedness for Bioterror, Health Emergencies
Press briefing conference call to discuss a new report from Trust for America's Health (TFAH), Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism -- 2005. The two-part report includes 1) grades of major federal government health emergency preparedness programs based on a survey of experts and 2) scores for states based on 10 key indicators to gauge preparedness for bioterrorist attacks and other health emergencies.
Topics include hospital and health care worker preparedness for major emergencies, testing capabilities for biological and chemical threats, and readiness for the Strategic National Stockpile.
This is the third year in a row that TFAH conducted a review of states' public health preparedness and the first year for the federal analysis. State-specific information is available.
WHEN: 10 to 11 a.m. (ET), Tuesday, Dec. 6
-- Lowell Weicker, Jr., former three-term U.S. Senator and Governor of Connecticut and Board President of Trust for America's Health
-- Shelley Hearne, DrPH, executive director, Trust for America's Health
HOW: Please call Michael Earls at 202-223-9870, ext. 273 at TFAH to reserve a line for the audio conference. The call is for credentialed media only.
The report will be made available on TFAH's Web site at 10 a.m. (ET) on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Affordable Housing for Grandfamilies to Become a Reality; $4 Million Appropriated for LEGACY Housing

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Generations United (GU) announced today that $4 million for LEGACY Housing Demonstrations was included in the Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill signed into law on November 30th. The LEGACY funds will provide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the necessary resources to help local organizations develop housing specifically for the grandparent and other relative headed households who care for 6 million of the nation's children.
"Over two million grandparents, including more than 70,000 in my home state of Michigan, are raising their grandchildren," said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who offered the amendment to include the LEGACY provisions in the American Dream bill. "This can be a very positive situation for a child or adolescent, but these 'grandfamilies' have some very special needs, including the need for appropriate housing."
Since 1999 GU and its members have led the efforts for fair housing on behalf of grandparent and other relative headed households across the country. Most notable are GU's significant efforts on Capitol Hill on behalf of the LEGACY bill since its introduction in 2002.
"Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, loving, and permanent home. LEGACY will make the dream of that home a reality for many grandfamilies," said Donna M. Butts, Executive Director of Generations United. "We have been very fortunate over the years to have worked closely with committed allies on Capitol Hill including Senators Stabenow, DeWine, Obama, and Landrieu who have made these important families a real priority."
To learn more about LEGACY and the funding available contact HUD at 202-708-1112 or visit Generations United at
Generations United is the only national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. GU represents more than 100 national, state, and local organizations and individuals representing more than 70 million Americans. Since 1986, GU has served as a resource for educating policymakers and the public about the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation. GU acts as a catalyst for stimulating collaboration between aging, children, and youth organizations providing a forum to explore areas of common ground while celebrating the richness of each generation. For more information on GU, visit

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments Tuesday in Military Recruiting Case; Armed Forces Should Play By Same Rules, Says SLDN

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow in FAIR v. Rumsfeld, a case challenging the federal Solomon Amendment. The Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) coalition of law schools is challenging the constitutionality of the amendment, passed in 1996, which requires universities to grant military recruiters full access to students despite university non-discrimination policies which bar recruiters who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Congress has threatened to withhold millions of dollars in funding to schools refusing to comply. In November 2004, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of FAIR.
"Our armed forces should recruit among the best and brightest for service to our country," said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "The best and brightest, however, include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, too. Law schools are simply asking the military to adhere to the same rule as every potential employer recruiting on campus: no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Military recruiters should not receive a special exception to university non-discrimination policies. Our country, and our students, would be better served by a welcoming policy in our armed forces."
A recent news report noted that three law schools –- New York Law School, Vermont Law School, and William Mitchell College of Law -- have already been targeted under Solomon. SLDN has filed an amicus brief in the case, supporting the law schools’ right to enforce non- discrimination policies and ensure equal employment opportunities for LGBT students.
For more information on the Solomon Amendment, visit
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit

AARP Calls on New York's U.S. Reps to Say 'No' to Harmful Medicaid Cuts in Budget

ALBANY, N.Y. Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As members of the U.S. House of Representatives return to Washington, D.C. today to address budget issues, the ability of millions of Americans to access long- term care under Medicaid is at stake. The narrowly passed House budget bill proposes drastic cuts to Medicaid, which would deny care to people when they need it most. AARP New York is urging all of its state's U.S. Representatives to oppose these cuts when they revisit the budget over the next several days.
AARP members across the country are calling on their members of Congress to defeat the House proposals and adopt the Medicaid provisions in the Senate budget reconciliation bill, which achieve significant Medicaid savings by getting better drug prices and targeting real abuses without harming beneficiaries.
"Medicaid is critical to helping New Yorkers meet their long-term care needs and this bill would deny them access to that care," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State director. "Our Representatives from New York need to take a stand by defeating proposals like those in the House budget that weaken Medicaid."
The House budget reconciliation bill would penalize older New Yorkers by extending the number of years the state can "look back" at an individual's financial records, imposing stricter penalties on people who innocently gave money to family or charity. The bill also contains provisions which would force people to sell their homes in order to get long-term care and unreasonably increases cost sharing that could deny care to people with limited incomes if they can't afford premiums or co-pays.
"The House bill goes too far and winds up punishing those people who have played by the rules and taken care of their families and their communities," added Aronstein. "New York deserves a strong Medicaid and when this issue comes back to the House we urge our Representatives to vote against it if it still includes these draconian cuts."
Medicaid provides necessary health care for one-in-every-six Americans. It is the safety net for older Americans needing long- term care, for the disabled, and for children in poverty and is an integral part of the entire health care system.
AARP has over 2.6 million members in New York State. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. AARP provides information and resources; engages in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assists members in serving their communities; and offers a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, the monthly newspaper; Segunda Juventud, the quarterly newspaper in Spanish; Live and Learn, the quarterly newsletter for National Retired Teachers Association members; and the Web site, AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Princeton University Says Campus Event On Terrorism is 'Too Inflammatory'

PRINCETON, N.J. Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In clear violation of free speech, Princeton University has cancelled a speaking event by three former Middle East terrorists because it says that the use of the word "terrorist" in the promotion for the event is "too inflammatory" the Walid Shoebat Foundation said today.
The speakers will still hold a press conference near the campus on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. The location will be announced in an updated media release the morning of the press conference.
"We believe Princeton is creating red tape to stop the event," said Keith Davies, the executive director of the Walid Shoebat Foundation.
The event organizers planned to bring Walid Shoebat, Ibrahim Abdallah and Zak Anani to the Ivy League school to lecture on the terrorist mindset and how they were indoctrinated into terrorism.
Walid Shoebat is from a prominent family in Bethlehem. After joining the PLO, he took part in numerous acts of violence against Israel including the bombing of a bank. He was also involved in the attempted lynching of an Israeli soldier. Feature stories on Mr. Shoebat have aired on the BBC, FOX News, MSNBC, CBS and have been published in the Telegraph and Calgary Sun.
Zak Anani was a leader of the most notorious Arab gangs prior to Lebanese civil war. Before he age 16, he killed numerous Arabs in gang warfare and hated the West.
Ibrahim Abadallah was born and raised in Dearborn, Mich. to a Jordanian father. At 17, he immigrated to Israel, where he joined the PLO. He injured many Israelis while rioting and throwing Molotov cocktails at them.
For more information, contact Keith Davies at 720-935-2826 or

Fidelis Launches Christmas Ad Campaign; Celebrates America's Judeo-Christian Faith Traditions, Defends Judge Alito

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today, Fidelis launched the first phase of an advertising campaign that celebrates America's Judeo-Christian faith traditions and defends Judge Samuel Alito.
Fidelis President Joseph Cella stated: "This season is a special time when many Americans commemorate our Judeo-Christian roots. So while we prepare for our celebrations and give thanks for our treasured religious freedom, we unfortunately have to prepare for those freedoms to be attacked by the ACLU and their allies. These same allies are fighting to topple the nomination of Judge Alito."
The initial phase of the campaign is a web-based commercial and advertisements with a planned radio phase to follow.
"On one front of the war on religious freedom we see liberal groups like People for the American Way and the Alliance for Justice willing to attack judicial nominees over their 'deeply held' Catholic and Christian beliefs. On the other front, we see it when seasonal displays reflecting America's Judeo-Christian heritage are attacked by the ACLU and others," said Cella.
Media and some liberal groups are now calling into question his Roman Catholic faith, by asking how a so-called "Catholic majority" on the Supreme Court would influence the direction of the court. Liberal groups are also citing Judge Alito's 1999 decision in ACLU v Schundler allowing a religious holiday display in front of the Jersey City, N.J. city hall that included a Christian Nativity scene and a Jewish Menorah as proof that Judge Alito would further erode their extreme version of the "wall of separation" between church and state.
Cella said: "We will provide a vigorous defense of Judge Alito who is being brought into the war on religious freedom by liberal groups who are out of touch with American values on religion."
The text of the ad can be viewed below.
To view the ad, go to
Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.
Fidelis Christmas Web Commercial
Pushes into a series of holiday photos. Holiday music under v/o.
Announcer: This season is a special time, when Americans have always celebrated their faith traditions in joyous moments with loved ones.
Images of Jersey City Hall.
For thirty-five years one Jersey City tradition included a Christmas and Hanukah display in front of City Hall.
Screen goes black. (change in sound effects to slow mourning-like piano music). "ACLU sued to remove display" slowly dissolves up.
But the American Civil Liberties Union sued, forcing the city to remove the display that included a Christian Nativity scene, a Jewish Menorah, and other holiday symbols.
Photo of Judge Samuel Alito up. Newsclip up.
Thanks to Judge Samuel Alito, the inclusive holiday display was restored.
Newsclip up.
Judge Alito ruled against the ACLU's attempt to scrub away our religious heritage.
Photo of Supreme Court. Font: "Judge Samuel Alito: Common Sense on the Supreme Court"
Judge Alito used common sense and applied the law. The kind of common sense that every American needs on the Supreme Court. Paid for by Fidelis.

December 2005 Marks 25th Anniversary of Wild Panda Conservation; World Wildlife Fund's Work on Wild Pandas Opened the Door to Conservation Efforts in China

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- December marks the 25th anniversary of wild panda conservation by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and China. On Dec. 23, 1980, World Wildlife Fund and Chinese researchers headed into the cold mountains of southwestern China to conduct the first-ever intensive research program on wild pandas, their habitat and their behavior. A quarter century of work moved giant pandas from the brink of extinction to a solid foundation for survival if conservation efforts continue.
"Contrary to popular myth, wild panda conservation is really about saving their forest homes, not improving their breeding," said Karen Baragona, head of the Species Conservation Program at World Wildlife Fund. "Wild pandas can be randy pandas when no one's watching so World Wildlife Fund's making sure they have safe and healthy places to live -— and a little privacy of course."
Protecting panda habitat means protecting some of the richest temperate forests on Earth that shelter more than 100 other mammals, 250 bird species, and thousands of other animals as well as the water supply for 400 million Chinese people.
"The most pressing threat to wild pandas is habitat fragmentation from economic development activities like road construction and timber extraction," said Baragona. "World Wildlife Fund's using a recent WWF-Chinese government panda survey to identify unprotected areas where pandas are present and trying to get them protected. Already, we've had some success —- there were about 40 panda reserves when we released the survey results in June 2004; today there are almost 60."
Across the panda's range, habitat is fragmented into many isolated patches -— some just narrow belts of bamboo 1,100 to 1,300 yards (1,000-1,200 meters) in width. Within these patches, a network of nearly 60 nature reserves protects nearly half of panda habitat. Small, isolated populations have less flexibility to find new feeding areas during periodic bamboo die-offs. WWF works with the Chinese government to reduce threats to panda habitat, restore forests and reconnect isolated patches by establishing new panda reserves in critical corridor areas.
Protecting panda habitat sometimes requires unusual efforts. Communities living on the outskirts of panda reserves often extract fuelwood -— illegally but of necessity -— from inside the reserves, amounting to about three tons a year per household. In several pilot sites, WWF offered farmers energy efficient stoves fueled by manure. Reconfigured pigsties and restrooms capture waste in a reactor tank and the gas produced in the tank is fed to stoves for cooking. With waste from just two pigs, a family can cook three times a day for at least ten months of the year without taking fuelwood from surrounding forests. People are happy with the arrangement because it saves the time and effort of collecting fuelwood, their food cooks faster, and odor and insects have been virtually eliminated from pigsties and toilets. Now the provincial government is considering subsidizing widespread conversion to biogas stoves.
When it began working on wild panda conservation, WWF became the first international conservation organization to work in China and opened the door to new conservation opportunities that benefit wildlife, places and people in the world's most populated and fastest growing nation.
Over the past twenty-five years, WWF achieved numerous conservation successes in China -— from laying the foundation for a scientific panda conservation plan to bringing Pere David's Deer back home to protecting over eight million acres of critical wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.
Small conservation achievements underlay larger ones. For example, WWF helped local villagers make and oversee plans for restoring reclaimed farmland to its former wetland state near Dongting Lake in Hunan Province. Villagers also participated in developing alternative livelihoods compatible with wetland conservation, establishing fish breeding and eco-agriculture associations. Over the course of this WWF restoration project, household incomes increased fivefold.
But, there are many challenges to building a sustainable future for China. WWF is still working to halt biodiversity loss in China, stop the degradation of freshwater systems and water quality, and build a culture of sustainability among other efforts.
Known in the United States as World Wildlife Fund and recognized worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF, the global conservation organization, works in more than 100 countries around the world. For more information on World Wildlife Fund, visit
Note to editors: High-resolution photographs and beta video are available to accompany press stories mentioning World Wildlife Fund or WWF. If used, appropriate credit must also be given to the photographer.
Contact: Kathleen Sullivan, 202-778-9576 or or Sarah Janicke, 202-778-9685 or; both of the World Wildlife Fund
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ohio Democrats to Protest Lamar Advertising's Rejection of DNC Jean Schmidt Billboards

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
Contact: Damien LaVera of the Democratic National Committee, 202-787-8953
News Advisory:
Ohio State Rep. John Boccieri, a major in the Air Force Reserve and a C-130 pilot who served four tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, will join Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Brian Rothenberg for a news conference on Sunday, Dec. 4 to protest the decision by Lamar Advertising to reject two billboards purchased this week by the Democratic National Committee.
The billboards sought to hold Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt accountable for attacking Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a decorated military veteran, during a Congressional debate on the Iraq war. After signing a contract with the DNC to run the ads this week, Lamar Advertising arbitrarily rejected the billboards, refusing to honor its contract for the Portsmouth billboards and to accept the same advertisement for placement on billboards in Cincinnati.
The news conference with Rep. Boccieri and Rothenberg will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. in front of Rep. Schmidt's Portsmouth office at 601 Chillicothe Street.
WHO: State Rep. and Iraq War Veteran John Boccieri and Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Brian Rothenberg
WHAT: News Conference to protest Lamar Advertising's Rejection of DNC Billboards on Jean Schmidt
WHERE: In front of Rep. Schmidt's office -- 601 Chillicothe Street, Portsmouth, Ohio
WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 4, 2 p.m.
For additional information, contact Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Brian Rothenberg at 614-221-6563, ext. 145.
Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/