Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Sunday August 31 2008 - (813)

Sunday August 31 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

New Orleans Orders Manadatory Evacuation As Gustav Grows
2008-08-31 03:38:21
Residents were ordered to flee an only partially rebuilt New Orleans Sunday as another monster storm bore down on Louisiana nearly three years to the day after Hurricane Katrina wiped out entire swaths of the city.

Hurricane Gustav, which already killed more than 80 people in the Caribbean, strengthened quickly into a Category 4 and was poised to become a Category 5 storm, packing winds in excess of 156 mph. It slammed Cuba's tobacco-growing western tip before moving away from the island country into the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin used stark language to urge residents to get out of the city, calling Gustav the ''storm of the century.''

''This is the real deal, not a test,'' Nagin said as he issued the evacuation order Saturday night. ''For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.''

Forecasters were slightly less dire in their predictions, saying the storm should make landfall Monday afternoon somewhere between western Mississippi and East Texas, where evacuations were also under way. It's too early to know whether New Orleans will take another direct hit, they said, but city officials weren't taking any chances.

Gustav's center was about 485 miles southeast of the Mississippi River's mouth at 2 a.m. EDT, with top winds of near 135 mph expected to strengthen as it crosses the central Gulf. It was moving northwest near 15 mph.

Read The Full Story

Britain's Prime Minister: Russia Will Not Hold Us To Ransom
2008-08-31 03:37:56
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown warns today that the West will not be held to ransom by Russia, threatening a "root and branch" review of relations with the Kremlin and urgently moving to stop Britain's reliance on Russian oil and gas.

His defiant words in an article in today's Observer, following a "frank" conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Saturday, will heighten tensions ahead of Monday's meeting of European heads of state called to discuss the crisis in Georgia. The Prime Minister's intervention reflects fears that the territorial conflict over South Ossetia risks spilling into an energy war, with Russia using its vast supplies of oil and gas - on which many European countries depend - to blackmail the West into submission.

"No nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe," says Brown. He promises urgent action to prevent Britain "sleepwalking into an energy dependence on less stable or reliable partners", including seeking out alternative suppliers of gas and oil, as well as pushing ahead with plans for new nuclear plants and alternative fuels.

Brown argues for more funding to build a pipeline from the Caspian Sea carrying gas through Turkey to the West, avoiding the traditional route through Russia and its satellites. Analysts had speculated that the Nabucco pipeline project would be jeopardized by the invasion of Georgia.

Read The Full Story

Lots Of No-Shows Expected At Republican Convention
2008-08-31 03:37:02
As Sen. John McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination this week, his party's four-day convention will be notable in part for who isn't attending.

Compared with past Republican conventions, a surprising number of prominent lawmakers and candidates will stay away from the festivities Sept. 1 to 4 in St. Paul, Minnesota - chiefly citing tough reelection battles, previous commitments or other scheduling conflicts.

At least 10 incumbent senators, plus several Senate candidates, have sent their regrets. Only three incumbents in hotly contested races, including Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, will join the partygoers.

"It's probably easier to say who is attending," said Rebecca Fisher, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But the list is "a moving target," she added.

Republican officials have encouraged candidates to focus first on winning their own elections. But an aide to a Republican senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, offered another reason for the no-shows.

Read The Full Story

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Mexicans Protest Killings
2008-08-31 03:35:27
Hundreds of thousands of frustrated Mexicans, many carrying pictures of kidnapped loved ones, marched across the country Saturday to demand government action against a relentless tide of killings, abductions and shootouts.

The mass candlelight protests were a challenge to the government of President Felipe Calderon, who has made fighting crime a priority and deployed more than 25,000 soldiers and federal police to wrest territory from powerful drug cartels.

Cries of "enough" and "long live Mexico" rose up from sea of white-clad demonstrators filling Mexico City's enormous Zocalo square. The protesters held candles twinkling in the darkness as they sang the national anthem before dispersing.

"I've had enough. Kidnapping, corrupt police, a rotten judicial system," said Ricardo Robledo, a 43-year-old music producer who said he had been robbed numerous times. "This may begin a change."

City officials refused to give a crowd estimate, but the Zocalo can hold nearly 100,000 people. Tens of thousands overflowed into the surrounding streets, unable to squeeze into the square. Thousands more protested in cities across the country.

Read The Full Story

New Orleans Residents Flee As Gustav Surges To Category 4 Hurricane
2008-08-30 14:58:26
Gustav swelled into a fearsome Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph on Saturday as Cuba raced to evacuate more than 240,000 people and Americans to the north clogged highways fleeing New Orleans.

Gustav already has killed 78 people in the Caribbean and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it could strengthen even more after hitting Cuba and entering the warm Gulf of Mexico on a projected course for the Katrina-battered U.S. coast.

Cuba grounded all national airline fights, though planes bound for international destinations were still taking off at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. Authorities also canceled all buses and trains to and from the capital, as well as ferry and air service to the Isla de Juventud, the outlying Cuban island-province next in Gustav's path.

Heavy winds had already felled mango and almond trees and were shaking the roofs of buildings in the province, said Ofilia Hernandez, who answered a community telephone near downtown Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud's largest city.

"Everyone's at home. It's getting very ugly," she said. "All night last night there was wind, but not like now. Now it's very strong. Things are starting to fall down."

Read The Full Story

Russian Offensive Against Georgia Hailed In The Middle East
2008-08-30 14:58:05
For some in the Middle East, the images of Russian tanks rolling into Georgia in defiance of U.S. opposition have revived warm memories of the Cold War.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew last week to Moscow, where he endorsed Russia's offensive in Georgia and, according to Russian officials, sought additional Russian weapon systems.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's influential son, echoed the delight expressed in much of the Arab news media. "What happened in Georgia is a good sign, one that means America is no longer the sole world power setting the rules of the game," the younger Gaddafi was quoted as telling the Russian daily Kommersant. "There is a balance in the world now. Russia is resurging, which is good for us, for the entire Middle East."

In Turkey, an American and European ally that obtains more than two-thirds of its natural gas from Russia, the reaction was more complex. Turks watched as the United States, NATO and a divided European Union hesitated in the face of Russian military assertiveness, leaving them more doubtful than they already were about depending on the West to secure U.S.-backed alternative oil and gas supply lines.

"This Russian invasion of Georgia is a turning point in the relations of the Atlantic community with Russia, including, of course, Turkey," Ozden Sanberk, a former Turkish ambassador to Britain, said by telephone from Turkey. "There is a change in the paradigm, a change in assessment."

Read The Full Story

Gov. Sarah Palin Has Put Drilling Above Environment
2008-08-30 14:57:15
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may have swept into office as an independent thinker willing to challenge the establishment, but she has fallen in line with other Alaska politicians when it comes to environmental policies, according to interviews and a review of her record.

Palin, who was chosen Friday as presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, favored increased oil and gas drilling in sensitive lands and waterways, opposed federal action to list the polar bear as a species threatened with extinction and supports a controversial program to allow aerial shooting of wolves and bears as a means of predator control.

Alaskan natural resources have long served as a larder for the Lower 48. The state's vast gold deposits sparked a 19th century rush akin to California's, and when the trans-Alaska pipeline was completed in 1977 it supplied 20% of the country's oil. Alaskan waters today support a powerhouse fishing industry.

In her two years in office, Palin has given every indication that she intends to continue stocking the larder. She favors the construction of one of the world's largest mining complexes at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery. Palin opposes greater protections for beluga whales found in the Cook Inlet, where oil and gas drilling and other development is proposed. Unlike her running mate, Palin favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a recurring issue of debate during the Bush administration.

"She's continued the extractive political ideology that has defined Alaska for decades," said Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska marine biologist.

Read The Full Story

Agreement On U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq Said To Be In Peril
2008-08-31 03:38:08
At the "make-or-break" stage of talks with the U.S. on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has swept aside his negotiating team and replaced it with three of his closest aides, a reshuffle that some Iraqi officials warn risks sabotaging the agreement.

The decision on the team negotiating the pact, which the Americans have described as the basis of a long-term strategic alliance between the United States and Iraq, remains so sensitive that it has not been announced. In disclosing the switch to the Los Angeles Times this weekend, a senior Iraqi official close to Maliki also suggested that the two sides remained deadlocked on key issues.

The shake-up comes just four months before the expiration of the United Nations mandate that authorizes the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited the country recently, expectations rose that an agreement was imminent, but Iraq and the United States remain far apart on the matter of immunity for U.S. forces in Iraqi courts, said the official.

"People gave the impression we were close when Rice was here, but it's not over. We would have a serious problem if we took it to the parliament right now," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue.

The official insisted that if U.S. troops remained exempt from Iraqi rule of law, the pact would never get passed by the lawmakers.

Read The Full Story

American Petroleum Institute Joins Alaska In Lawsuit To Overturn Polar Bear Protection
2008-08-31 03:37:15
The American Petroleum Institute and four other business groups filed suit Thursday against Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, joining Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's administration in trying to reverse the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.

On Aug. 4, the state of Alaska filed a lawsuit opposing the polar bear's listing, arguing that populations as a whole are stable and that melting sea ice does not pose an imminent threat to their survival. The suit says polar bears have survived warming periods in the past. The federal government has 60 days from the filing date to respond.

One of the plaintiffs in Thursday's lawsuit, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), lauded the choice of Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee for reasons including her advocacy of Alaskan oil and gas exploration, which many fear could be affected by the bear's protected status.

NAM and the petroleum institute were joined in the lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute. They object to what they call the "Alaska Gap" in relation to the special rule the federal government issued in May in conjunction with the polar bear's protected status. The rule, meant to prevent the polar bear's status from being used as a tool for imposing greenhouse gas limits, exempts projects in all states except Alaska from undergoing review in relation to emissions.

Read The Full Story

Residents Of Palin's Home Town Surprised, Shocked At Selection
2008-08-31 03:35:44
Sarah Palin grew up, played basketball, wore a tiara and first stood for office in this town that is really an incorporated cluster of strip malls and lumber yards, 45 miles up the broad valley leading north from Anchorage. The newest and least-known figure in national politics has been known all along in Wasilla, where the governor lives with her husband and five children on Lake Lucille.

And yet, Sen. John McCain's announcement that Palin was his choice for vice president astonished Wasilla as nowhere else.

"It's kind of a shock. I think she's in a little over her head," Eric Thaler, 34, said over breakfast at the Mat-Su Family Restaurant. "But I think, of anybody, she's the kind of person who can rise to an occasion."

"She handles things with such grace," said his wife, Kelly Thaler, whose father employed the future governor 25 years ago to do office work for his land surveying business. "She handles tough questions well. It's hard to get elected - to be a woman and get elected - in Alaska.

"It's big, but it's small. Everybody knows everybody."

Read The Full Story

Bacteria In Water At Oklahoma E. Coli Site
2008-08-31 03:35:10
Bacterial contamination has been found in well water at a northeast Oklahoma restaurant linked to an E. coli outbreak that killed a man and sickened dozens of others, state health officials said Friday.

Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Skylar McElhaney said that more tests are needed to see if the bacteria found in the water includes the strain of E. coli implicated in the outbreak.

"While we cannot say this is the source of the outbreak, we also cannot rule it out," McElhaney said in an e-mail.

The outbreak connected to the Country Cottage restaurant in the town of Locust Grove sickened 116 people, and about 50 of those required hospitalization, health officials said.

Chad Ingle, 26, died Sunday, a week after eating at the restaurant. Several children sickened have needed dialysis treatment due to kidney failure.

Read The Full Story

Poverty Rises As Auto Jobs Vanish In Michigan
2008-08-30 14:58:16
Nancy Paul doesn't need a Census Bureau report to know poverty is rising in Michigan. She sees it in the moms and children who show up at her small nonprofit agency seeking free back-to-school clothes. She hears it in their plaintive requests for cereal or soap or assistance with utility bills. And she feels it in the strain of keeping the food pantry stocked.

And she sees more of it.

According to the Census Bureau, Michigan was the only state that experienced an increase in its poverty rate last year. It was also the only state where the median family income declined in 2007, thanks to an economy that is almost as rusty and untuned as a 20-year-old Chevy.

Michigan's poverty rate of 14 percent is high for a state than once prided itself on high-wage union jobs and well-tended middle-class neighborhoods. But the poverty rate has inched up every year since 2000, when it was 9.7 percent. Now one-third of the residents of three cities - Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo, live in poverty. Poverty and its sister, unemployment, have overstayed their welcome in those cities and moved into even well-heeled suburbs such as Chelsea, about 65 miles west of Detroit.

Poverty "tends to be more invisible here," said Chelsea Mayor Ann Feeney, who noted that some people "find it undignified to ask for help." But some do ask, for more time to pay their taxes or for assistance from Faith in Action, Paul's nonprofit group.

Read The Full Story

Palin Is Focus Of Ethics Probe In Firing Of Alaska State Troopers' Chief
2008-08-30 14:57:26

Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is an ethics reformer under an ethics investigation that is plowing through private domestic matters.

Palin is under investigation to determine whether she pressured and then fired the state Public Safety Commissioner in July because he refused to dismiss her former brother-in-law. At the time, the governor's younger sister was involved in a bitter divorce and child custody dispute with the man, an Alaska State Trooper. A bipartisan committee of the state legislature voted unanimously to hire a retired prosecutor to investigate. His report is due in October.

The firing of state Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan has unearthed a stream of private details about the governor, her husband and her family. The state probe is also focusing on a half-dozen top state officials accused of trying to drive trooper Mike Wooten from the force.

Critics say the episode - dubbed "Troopergate" in Alaska - cuts against Palin's reputation as an ethics crusader who holds even her own party accountable.

"It undercuts one of the points they are making that she is an ethical reformer," said state Sen. Hollis French, a Democrat who is managing the $100,000 investigation.

Read The Full Story

News Analysis: McCain's Choice Of Palin Is A Risk
2008-08-30 14:57:00
American voters on Friday began learning about Sarah Palin; but the selection of an obscure Alaska governor as the Republican vice presidential nominee also offers clues about the leadership style of the man who placed her on the ticket.

Though John McCain clearly concluded that Palin could attract female voters and grab his campaign some Barack Obama-style media buzz, he also is taking a risk that in elevating a largely unknown figure, he undermines the central theme of his candidacy that he puts "country first," above political calculations.

For a candidate known to possess a quick temper and an unpredictable political streak, the decision raises questions about how McCain would lead - whether his decisions would flow from careful deliberations or gut checks in which short-term considerations or feelings outweigh the long view.

"Americans like risk-takers, but they also want to know that in times of crisis, you're going to be calm," said Matthew Dowd, who was a senior campaign strategist for President Bush but is neutral in the McCain-Obama race.

"Americans don't necessarily want somebody in a time of crisis to be overly emotional," said Dowd. "That's the balance that John McCain's going to have to show the public."

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home