January 29th, 2011
CR Editor's note: Hooray! What? Oh.... this is what the certficate should like like....a circa early 60's Hawaii birth certificate. Abercrombie could not find it, although, he did find an "entry in the archives." Personally, we can't wait until they do find it so that all of us who have been wondering about this will then look "stupid"....this according to the rants from the unskeptical mainstream media....
HONOLULU -- Anyone would be able to get a copy of President Barack Obama's birth records for a $100 fee under a bill introduced in the state Legislature that backers hope will finally dispel claims he was born elsewhere.
The bill would change a privacy law barring the release of birth records unless the requester is someone with a tangible interest, such as a close family member.
The measure was introduced by five Democrats but has not yet been scheduled for a public hearing, a required step before it can move forward. A decision on considering the bill will be made by the House's Democratic leadership and committee chairmen.
The idea behind the measure is to end skepticism over Obama's birthplace while raising a little money for a government with a projected budget deficit exceeding $800 million over the next two years.
"If it passes, it will calm the birthers down," said the bill's primary sponsor, Rep. Rida Cabanilla. "All these people are still doubting it because they don't want the birth certificate from Obama. They want it from our state office."
So-called "birthers" claim there's no proof Obama was born in the United States, and he is therefore ineligible to be president. Many of the skeptics question whether he was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country.
The Obama campaign issued a certification of live birth in 2008, an official document from the state showing the president's Aug. 4, 1961, birth date, his birth city and name, and his parents' names and races.
Hawaii's former health director also has said she verified Obama's original records. And notices were published in two local newspapers within days of his birth at a Honolulu hospital.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama's parents and knew him as a child, said last month he wanted to release more of the state's birth information about Obama. But he ended the effort last week when the state attorney general told him that privacy laws bar disclosure of an individual's birth documentation without the person's consent.
The new legislation to release records may run into similar legal problems because of Hawaii's strong constitutional privacy protections, said Rep. John Mizuno, a co-sponsor of the bill.
"If people really want to confirm Barack Obama is born in Hawaii, that's fine," Mizuno said. "I don't have a problem with looking at innovative ways to bring revenue to the state. The taxpayers deserve a break."
The $100 fee would help offset the extra work by state employees who handle frequent phone calls and e-mails from people who believe Obama was born elsewhere, Cabanilla said.
But the number of birther requests has been declining from the 10 to 20 weekly inquiries received early last year, according to the Department of Health.
"Requests have decreased significantly over the years. Currently we receive anywhere from zero to five per week," said department spokeswoman Janice Okubo.
The Health Department is still reviewing the bill, Okubo said.
House Health Committee Chairman Ryan Yamane didn't immediately return messages seeking comment on whether he would hold a hearing on the bill.
January 29th, 2011
For the third time in about a week, Jon Stewart has dedicated a "Daily Show" segment to dealing with angry, Nazi-related rhetoric used in media and politics. But what seems to bother him more than nonsensical Hitler comparisons is Fox News pundits' inability to see their own Nazi references as inappropriate.
After Stewart called out Steve Cohen's use of a Goebbels reference to describe GOP behavior, Megyn Kelly of Fox News said there is no Nazi rhetoric used on Fox News. But Stewart proved with a slew of clips that Fox was being hypocritical.
In one of those clips, Bill O'Reilly made a mind-boggling comparison between HuffPost and Hitler. Seeing it on "The Daily Show" didn't sit well with the Fox News host, who said on his next show that the clip was edited in a way took it out of context. Stewart responded:
Why you used the Nazi reference doesn't really matter in this. The segment is for Megyn Kelly to take offense to, not you. It's not all about you, Bill!"
The point of the segment was to show that contrary to what Kelly said, Nazi references run amok on Fox News. But since O'Reilly seemed so eager to provide context with his baseless claim, Stewart obliged him. The content that O'Reilly found suitable to compare to the work of Nazis? It turned out to be a nasty comment someone wrote on a post about Nancy Reagan that violated our commenting policy but slipped by our comment moderators.
"That was a horrible thing for someone to write," Stewart said. "...But being a heartless douche isn't exactly the same as being a Nazi propagandist."
Like he does best, Stewart pointed out that Fox News' website also has some offensive comments, and produced a particularly bad one regarding Michelle Obama's backside. But Stewart's point wasn't that commenters are mean, it was that Fox News does use Nazi rhetoric, and with this rebuttal O'Reilly was basically saying, "Yeah, but I had a good reason."
Watch the rest of the clip to hear Stewart's impeccable speeding analogy that should really put the entire Nazi name-calling debate to bed.
Related on Huff
January 29th, 2011
Obama surprisingly addresses a wide swath of individual rights issues in Egypt...(we hadn't realized he cared so much about rights issues!)
January 29th, 2011
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as "infiltrators" who seek to destabilize their country Saturday while an Iranian official called on Egypt to "abide by the rightful demands of the nation" and avoid violent reactions.
Saudi King Abdullah called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and "was reassured" about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
"During the call, the king said, 'Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,'" the news agency said.
Saudi Arabia "strongly condemns" the protest, it said.
Mubarak assured the Saudi king "that the situation is stable" and that the protests "are merely attempts of groups who do not want stability and security for the people of Egypt, but rather they seek to achieve strange and suspicious objectives."
Mubarak added that Egypt will "deter anyone who tries to exploit the freedom of (the) Egyptian people and will not allow anyone to lure those groups or use them to achieve suspicious and strange agendas," the news agency said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Mubarak and "affirmed his solidarity with Egypt and and his commitment to is its security and stability," according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
In the wake of protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen, analysts say other Arab governments in the region are wary of demonstrations spreading to their countries.
In Iran, meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Egyptian authorities should respect the demonstrators.
"Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement,"the state-run Press TV quoted Mehmanparast as saying.
On the streets of Abu Dhabi, CNN spoke with people to gauge their views of the demonstrations.
"It's great that everyone is coming together," said Ayat el-Dwary, an Egyptian. "These are not just one group of people or one faction... It's a revolution, absolutely."
"Tunis opened the door, but it was bound to happen -- it was inevitable," el-Dwary added. "Change is coming to Egypt."
Samar Barakeh, who is Lebanese, said, "It's time for them to change their government and they have the right to say whatever they want."
Fellow Lebanese Antoinet Ghanem said, "It's about the whole regime structuring themselves to create more opportunities for these people to realize their ambitions and dreams... It's about the people trying to express what they need."
CNN's Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.
January 28th, 2011
Himalayan glaciers are actually advancing rather than retreating, claims the first major study since a controversial UN report said they would be melted within quarter of a century.
Researchers have discovered that contrary to popular belief half of the ice flows in the Karakoram range of the mountains are actually growing rather than shrinking.
The discovery adds a new twist to the row over whether global warming is causing the world's highest mountain range to lose its ice cover.
It further challenges claims made in a 2007 report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the glaciers would be gone by 2035.
Although the head of the panel Dr Rajendra Pachauri later admitted the claim was an error gleaned from unchecked research, he maintained that global warming was melting the glaciers at "a rapid rate", threatening floods throughout north India.
The new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that half of the glaciers in the Karakoram range, in the northwestern Himlaya, are in fact advancing and that global warming is not the deciding factor in whether a glacier survives or melts.
Dr Bodo Bookhagen, Dirk Scherler and Manfred Strecker studied 286 glaciers between the Hindu Kush on the Afghan-Pakistan border to Bhutan, taking in six areas.
Their report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found the key factor affecting their advance or retreat is the amount of debris – rocks and mud – strewn on their surface, not the general nature of climate change.
Glaciers surrounded by high mountains and covered with more than two centimetres of debris are protected from melting.
Debris-covered glaciers are common in the rugged central Himalaya, but they are almost absent in subdued landscapes on the Tibetan Plateau, where retreat rates are higher.
In contrast, more than 50 per cent of observed glaciers in the Karakoram region in the northwestern Himalaya are advancing or stable.
"Our study shows that there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover for understanding glacier retreat, an effect that has so far been neglected in predictions of future water availability or global sea level," the authors concluded.
Dr Bookhagen said their report had shown "there is no stereotypical Himalayan glacier" in contrast to the UN's climate change report which, he said, "lumps all Himalayan glaciers together."
Dr Pachauri, head of the Nobel prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has remained silent on the matter since he was forced to admit his report's claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was an error and had not been sourced from a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It came from a World Wildlife Fund report.
He angered India's environment minister and the country's leading glaciologist when he attacked those who questioned his claim as purveyors of "voodoo science".
The environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had cited research indicating some Himalayan glaciers were advancing in the face of the UN's claim.