“Die Gedanken sind frei.” —“Thoughts are Free,” famous German song about freedom of thought, 1810-1820, author unknown Shortly after I arrived in the U.S., I realized that the freedom of speech Americans thought they had, was, let’s just say, with no intention of offending anyone, a figment of their naïve imagination. I was naïve too, having escaped a communist dictatorship, I felt free to speak my objective opinion, thinking that there would be no harmful consequences since my freedom of speech was guaranteed. I felt elated. I did not have to fear the security police day and night; and I did not have
WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama is getting ready to speak about Syria from the White House. Obama has been considering a limited military strike against Syria, but he said Friday that he hadn´t yet made a decision. The strike would be in response to a chemical weapons attack the U.S. says Syrian President Bashar Assad´s government carried out against Syrians. The U.S. says more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in that attack last week. The White House is also briefing senators Saturday about Syria. Obama´s statement is set for 1:15 p.m.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit out at Russia and China over their stance in the Syrian crisis, saying in an interview published Saturday that their action weakened the United Nations. "It is very regrettable that Russia and China have refused for some time to come to a common position (with Western partners) on the Syrian conflict. This considerably weakens the role of the United Nations," she said in an interview with regional daily Augsburger Allgemeine. Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions that would increase pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the conflict in March 2011.
First Lady and style icon Michelle Obama has come a long way from her preppy school girl look. The White House tweeted on Thursday a photo of Michelle Obama as a fresh-faced 14-year-old in 1978. The black and white portrait shows her sporting a collared shirt under a sweater and what is perhaps her best fashion accessory: her beaming smile. The tweet was accompanied by a link to a White House blog post about the First Lady´s call to arms for young people to be the "next agents of change" as she hosted a viewing of a new documentary about civil rights
BOWDOINHAM, Maine- It´s not quite winning the lottery, but the odds are about as remote: A lobsterman off the coast of Maine recently hauled in an almost perfectly two-toned lobster - half orange, half brown. The chances, according to scientists, are approximately 1-in-50 million. "It looked as if someone had taken painter´s tape and run it from proboscis to tail, then spray-painted one side. It´s a perfectly straight line," said Alan Lishness, of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. "You don´t usually see such hard edges in nature." (Snip) The lobster was caught by Jeff Edwards, a lobsterman from Owl´s
Home bakers tasted victory two years ago when the Texas Cottage Food Law made their businesses legal. A set of revisions that take effect Sunday will sweeten the deal by expanding the list of places where home bakers can peddle their treats. Under the updated law, cottage food producers can sell their goods at farmers markets, farm stands, fairs and festivals. Current rules require sales to take place exclusively at the baker’s house. “Most of us do custom work, so we just don’t have people walking off the street to our homes,” said Denise DelVecchio of Midlothian, a home baker
Tehran -- The Iranian army will stage a large- scale military maneuver in late September, a senior Iranian commander said Saturday. Quoted by Press TV, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, said the exercise, dubbed the Modafe´an-e Aseman-e Velayat 5 (Defenders of the Velayat Skies 5), will be larger than the previous one held in the eastern part of Iran last year. Various long-range radars and passive defense systems will be tested during the drill, he was quoted as saying without elaboration on the area and scope of the exercise.
WASHINGTON—The White House continues this weekend to reach out to Congress, as President Barack Obama tries to build support for a potential military response to the Syrian regime´s alleged use of chemical weapons. Republican members of the House were notified Saturday in an email that administration officials delivered classified intelligence to the Capitol late Friday night for House members to review. Administration officials also are briefing Senate Democrats and Republicans Saturday afternoon about Syria, congressional officials said. The White House on Friday made public some of the evidence that it says ties the Syrian government to a chemical weapons attack outside
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will have a monitor to ensure that the agency complies with a federal court order designed to prevent discrimination against Latinos, a judge again made clear Friday. But the monitor will not have veto power over Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s operations, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow told attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sheriff’s Office.
Daqmascus -- Chief of the Iranian parliament´s security and foreign policy commission arrived in Syria Saturday as the country is poised to come under a U.S. strike due to its alleged use of chemical weapons. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, heading a parliamentary delegation, is expected to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and hold a press conference at the end of his two-day visit, sources told Xinhua. The delegation arrived in Damascus hours after the departure of a UN investigation team after days of inspections at the site of purported chemical weapon attacks outside the Syrian capital.
WASHINGTON — In October 2002, more than five months before the U.S. would invade Iraq, an Illinois state senator named Barack Obama said at an anti-war rally that he was not against all wars, just "dumb war." Obama, who later made ending the war in Iraq a critical plank in his presidential campaign, would later go on to lament that the U.S. made a crucial mistake when it bypassed the United Nations and went to war despite skepticism in much of western Europe. A decade after the U.S. military started the Iraq campaign with a shock-and-awe air assault, Obama finds himself battling
ANCHORAGE, AK- Several aftershocks rattled a remote Aleutian Island region off Alaska in the hours after a major 7.0 temblor struck with a jet-like rumble that shook homes and sent residents scrambling for cover. At least three dozen aftershocks, including one reaching magnitude 6.1 in strength, struck after the major quake Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "I heard it coming," said Kathleen Nevzoroff, who was sitting at her computer in the tiny Aleutians village of Adak when the 7.0 temblor struck at 8:25 a.m. local time, getting stronger and stronger. "I ran to my doors and opened them
American President Barack Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people." The head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov suggested U.S. President Barack Obama should be deprived of the Nobel Peace Prize in the event the Americans strike a military blow on Syria, he wrote on Twitter on Friday, August 30. "If the United States strike Syria without a sanction from the UN, the world community must demand the Nobel committee should deprive Obama of the Peace Prize," he wrote.
The United States and European countries should attack Syria but Israel should not, two separate polls in weekend Hebrew newspapers found. While polls in the US and United Kingdom have found overwhelming opposition to their countries attacking Syria, a Gal Hadash poll published in Israel Hayom found that 66.6 percent of respondents would be in favor of American and European military intervention in Syria. Only 17% opposed a US/EU strike and 16.4% did not know. When asked whether they thought such an attack would take place, 72.8% said yes, 15.8% no, and 11.4% did not know.
Army chiefs who led Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan have praised Parliament for its decision not to join the U.S. in any military strikes against Syria. As America prepares for missile strikes against the war-torn country--possibly as early as tomorrow--David Cameron is still reeling from Thursday´s shock Commons defeat. But despite the anger and frustration of the British government--and many Conservative MPs--generals who led the British Army in recent campaigns said not taking action against Syrian president Bashar Assad was the correct decision. [Snip] ´The will of the people has been expressed through the House of Commons that we don´t
U.S. military analysts say any Western strike against the Syrian government is unlikely to draw an immediate counterattack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. That, however, does not make the response of the Syrian government — or its allies Iran, Hezbollah and Russia — any easier to predict. Assad possesses few if any real defenses against long-range precision missiles launched from U.S. ships far away. Russia and Iran, which have navies capable of engaging those U.S. ships, are not expected to do so, defense and diplomatic experts said. Still, the consequences of a U.S. strike could be complex: the Assad regime
U.S. military action in Syria could give the White House an advantage in the looming fiscal showdown with congressional Republicans, according to defense and budget experts. They said the Syria crisis could boost calls by President Obama and defense hawks to reverse the automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon known as sequestration. Steve Bell, a budget expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said if the U.S. moves forward with military action, it will underline the arguments of those who say keeping the sequester in place impairs U.S. military readiness. “I think it has the possibility of advancing fiscal talks, I really do,” he
George W Bush has made his foray into Instagram, posting a couple of patriotic pictures at the start of the Labor Day weekend. The 43rd President has attracted just over 11,000 followers since uploading his first picture on Friday. Bush is featured in two group shots, the first with Southern Methodist University football team´s black Shetland stallion Peruna Tonic, and the second on a Dallas golf course. In the wake of the Syria crisis the former president received plenty of praise from commenters saying they wished he was still in office. On the Instagram picture of him posing with children on a Dallas
On June14, 1982, I watched the leading elements of Britain’s task force march wearily but triumphantly into Port Stanley, as the Argentine forces in the Falkland Islands surrendered. [Snip] The Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment put to flight a rabble of Argentine conscripts who were playing way out of their league--Wigan Athletic against Manchester United. We came home in a haze of euphoria to find the British people likewise. The ghost of the Suez Crisis, a 1956 national humiliation, was laid at last. We had reasserted the nation’s proud martial heritage. The Argies discovered that whatever their prowess at football
SUGARCREEK, Ohio—The corn stands 5 feet tall, the temperatures are in the 90s and Johnny Byler got hooked on his head while fishing with a friend, reported Mrs. Jerry Ray Byler in a recent front-page article of the Budget. Mrs. Byler is one of about 860 correspondents for the Budget, a 123-year-old weekly newspaper, which carries the news of Amish and Mennonite communities, from Diagonal, Iowa to the three Minnesota outposts of Bertha, Clarissa and Lenora. They write about who got married, who went to church, who received dentures—and how 11 chickens went missing when Toby Schrocks of Cisne, Ill., forgot
Earlier this week we talked about the shocking case out in Wyoming Montana where a 49 year old school teacher, Stacey Rambold, received a thirty day jail sentence for raping a 14 year old student who later killed herself. Just yesterday I was commenting to a friend on how I was surprised that the story hasn’t been receiving even more national attention than it has. Apparently I spoke too soon, because at least one editorial columnist at the Washington Post – Betsy Karasik – certainly had something to say on the subject. But against all belief, Betsy seems to think
U.S missile strikes against Syria could start tomorrow after U.N. weapons inspectors left the war-torn country earlier than expected. The team of chemical weapons inspectors left their Damascus hotel early today--possibly for neighboring Lebanon--fueling speculation of an imminent attack. It came as the White House delivered an astonishing snub to Britain following Thursday´s shock Commons defeat, with sources saying David Cameron had ´bungled´ securing British support for military action and that Britain ´cannot be counted on´. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last night paved the way for war by saying the American intelligence community had ´high confidence´ that the
The real fight in Congress in September isn’t over Obamacare. It’s about the money. After all, the money is crucial to how much of President Barack Obama’s tattered agenda will be implemented in his second term. And how much money he gets may come down to whether the president will finally use his veto power to bring House Republicans to heel. Unlike in 2011, when Republicans successfully held a critical debt limit increase hostage to extract more than $2 trillion in spending cuts, Obama no longer has to worry about a default crisis imperiling his re-election. His charm offensive with Senate Republicans
It is impossible to approach the debate in Parliament about intervention in Syria without recalling the day in March 2003 when Tony Blair set out his arguments for attacking Iraq. This newspaper described his performance as one of the finest in recent Commons history: he marshalled a moral, legal, geopolitical and humanitarian case with such conviction that a Labour rebellion was contained and a large majority secured. [Snip] David Cameron is also a noted parliamentary performer, especially at moments of crisis, and we would expect nothing less than a polished and persuasive speech. Yet the fact that so few people--less
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama released a video message congratulating American Muslims on the many achievements and contributions they have made to American society from its early history to present day. The video, which will be aired today at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual convention, highlights the myriad of ways the American Muslim community, and specifically ISNA leadership, has served as an effective partner in promoting inter-religious initiatives in the U.S. and religious freedom for minorities around the world. DC Mayor Vincent E. Gray, one of the convention´s keynote speakers, also recognized the significance of the American Muslim experience