Bob Barr wins the Libertarian Party presidential nomination

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At the 2008 Libertarian Party National Convention in Denver, Colorado former Republican Congressman Bob Barr (GA) was nominated as the presidential candidate for the party. He served in Congress from 1995–2003.

Barr officially entered the race on May 12, two weeks before the convention amidst months of speculation. He won the nomination on the sixth ballot of the convention edging Mary Ruwart 324–276. Wayne Allyn Root was nominated as his running mate after losing on the fifth ballot and throwing his support to Barr.

Barr’s main opposition in the Libertarian race highlighted his vote in Congress in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. He has since renounced the vote, and has worked to repeal the act. Barr’s candidacy was also seen by Libertarian “radicals” as an attempt by conservatives to take over the party.

Following his nomination Barr remarked that he “will not let [the Libertarian Party] down” and that it “will be a historic and positive campaign that will succeed.” To detractors who say he will take votes away from Republican candidate John McCain, Barr stated that “If Senator McCain … does not succeed in winning the presidency … it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs that actually resonated positively with the American people.” Party spokesman Andrew Davis described the situation among the electorate as “want[ing] and need[ing] another choice” and stating that “that choice is Bob Barr.”

Barr’s nomination made former Alaskan senator Mike Gravel — who recently switched from being a Democratic candidate to a Libertarian candidate for President back on March 25, 2008 — announce he is ending his political career.

Gravel said, “I just ended my political career, from 15 years old to now, my political career is over, and it’s no big deal. I’m a writer, I’m a lecturer, I’m going to push the issues of freedom and liberty. I’m going to push those issues until the d … Read More


Michael Schumacher wins the European Grand Prix

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In spite of his second “defeat”, Fernando Alonso stands in the lead of the drivers championship, 13 points ahead his closest competitor, Michael Schumacher.

Felipe Massa, the second Ferrari driver, was third. This achievement is the first podium of his Formula 1 career.

Kimi Räikkönen struggled with the car this weekend, but ended up finishing the weekend with a fourth place. Kimi pushed hard on the closing laps and closed the gap to Felipe Massa to +0.4 seconds upon crossing the finish line.

Nico Rosberg, the “discovery of the season”, had a nice race for the Williams Formula 1 team. He fin … Read More


New York Times reporter rescued in Afghanistan

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This past week, British Commandos saved a British journalist, Stephen Farrell from what could have been a very dangerous situation as he had been abducted by Taliban insurgents in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan last weekend. During the raid, one of the rescuers and the journalist’s translator were killed in addition to about three others according to conflicting reports.

Kunduz Province, Afghanistan in 2005
Image: M. Michael.

Farrell, a journalist from The New York Times and dual British-Irish citizen, and his Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi, were taken captive by the Taliban while covering a September 4th bombing by coalition aircraft not far from Konduz City, Afghanistan. A local Afghan reported that while Farrell was interviewing individuals that witnessed the bombing, he received a warning from another Afghan that he should leave the area. Soon after, gun-shots were heard and the Taliban was said to be approaching. Reportedly, police warned journalists covering the strike that insurgents controlled the area surrounding the tanker and that they should take precautions for their personal safety.

When Farrell was taken, few major news outlets reported his capture for security reasons. NY Times Executive Editor Bill Keller earlier said “We feared that media attention would raise the temperature and increase the risk to the captives.”

According to Farrell, while he was treated well — given food, water, and other provisions — his captors taunted Munadi. During their captivity, Farrell commented that his captors would drive within 1500 feet of NATO and Afghan outposts with weapons displayed to prove their daring. Six to eight guards took turns monitoring the captives.

Farrell is the second NY Times journalist to be taken captive in Afghanistan in less than a year. In November 2008, reporter David S. Rohde and his colleague Tahir Ludin were taken captive south of Kabul and moved to Pakistan before they managed to escape in June of this year. Farrell was also kidnapped in April 2004 while on-assignment in Fallujah, Iraq.

Kidnappings are done for ideological reasons by some Taliban members but are also conducted by local insurgents for ransom. At least 16 journalists have been kidnapped since the beginning of the Afghan war.

According to Keller, the possibility had arisen that Farrell and Munadi would be moved, possibly to Pakistan, which may have caused the military to act much sooner. On the morning of September 9th, Mohammad Sami Yowar, a spokesman for the Konduz Governor’s Office, briefed that British Commandos conducted a helicopter assault on the house in which the captives were held and subsequently a gun-battle erupted. A Taliban commander inside the house where Farrell and Munadi were being held was reportedly killed during the raid. Munadi was killed during the firefight and British officials said that they could not rule out the possibility he was killed by one of the Commandos. The Konduz Governor, Abdel Wahid Omar Khil, indicated that a woman and child probably caught in the crossfire were also killed during the raid. Farrell indicated that he was not harmed.

Reporters Without Borders has called for an investigation of the Munadi killing stating that “The tragedy that took place this morning in northern Afghanistan raises many questions.” U.S. military officials confirmed the raid was carried out by NATO and Afghan soldiers; no further details were … Read More


Bush nominates Harriet Ellan Miers for U.S. Supreme Court

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President George W. Bush today nominated Harriet Ellan Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who announced her retirement intentions July 1, 2005.

Bush originally nominated John G. Roberts, Jr. to replace O’Connor, but following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Roberts was renominated and confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States.

Bush’s nomination was not totally unexpected because senators from both political parties reportedly suggested her as a potential nominee, and because she had lead Bush’s search team for his second nominee. That mirrors Dick Cheney’s selection as Bush’s Vice Presidential candidate in 2000 after Cheney led the search team for that post.

Miers attended Southern Methodist University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and a law degree. She was in private law practice from 1972 to 1999, served one term as a member of the Dallas City Council, and as Chair of the Texas Lottery Commission. Since Bush’s 2000 election she served in a variety of roles in his administration, and is currently White House Counsel.

Some critics have opposed Miers’ nomination, noting that she has never served as a jurist or argued a case before the Supreme Court. The White House in response noted that neither the late judge William Rehnquist nor 35 other past Supreme Court nominees had judicial experience before being named to the Court. It also noted that 10 of the last 34 justices appointed since 1933 were appointed directly from positions within the respective sitting presidents’ administrations.

Senate hearings on the nomination are been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005 at 2:30pm

Chief Justice Roberts was confirmed with 78 to 22 favorable vote. In recent decades confirmation hearings have been more contentious because politicians have attempted to maintain a perception of balance on the court. While Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was confirmed easily in 1993 following a 96 to 3 vote, Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a 52 to 48 vote — largely along party lines.

The website, which is running banner ads supporting the nominee, was registered September 29th, 2005 to Progress for America. The registration was made several days before the nomination was announced. According to SourceWatch, Progress for America is a non-profit organization closely associated with the Bush admin … Read More


Karzai visits UK for talks with new PM

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday visited the UK for talks with newly-elected Prime Minister David Cameron. The meeting took place at Chequers, the prime minister’s official country residence and is Cameron’s first since last week’s general election. Karzai was en route back to Afghanistan from a visit to the United States where he held talks with President Barack Obama.

Downing Street called the meeting “an opportunity for early discussions” between the Afghan president and the new prime minister, pointing out that Karzai himself had requested the meeting to follow up on conversations the two leaders had had while Cameron was leader of the opposition.

David Cameron giving a speech to the World Economic Forum earlier in 2010

According to a spokesman, the discussions had centred around Karzai’s visit to the US, which he called “very successful”, and “[b]oth the president and prime minister agreed that the relationship between Afghanistan and Britain should be further strengthened […] The president and the prime minister expressed their admiration for the courage and skill of the British military in Afghanistan, and the sacrifices that British forces have made”.

After the meeting with Karzai, Cameron held further discussions with his Defence Secretary Liam Fox along with senior civil servants and service chiefs. The UK’s contingent of the NATO force in Afghanistan currently numbers around 9,500— the second largest contingent after the Unit … Read More


Football: Manchester United push past Sheffield

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Match Stats
Attendance 75,540
Goalscorers for Manchester United Carrick (4′), Rooney (50′)
Goalscorers for Sheffield United None
Bookings (Manchester United) Smith, Rooney, Ronaldo (Yellow (3))
Bookings (Sheffield United) Geary, Morgan, Armstrong (Yellow (3))

Manchester United opened a temporary six-point lead over Chelsea on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United. The Blades are stuck in the relegation battle in the league, having only jumped out of the bottom three this past weeking after a 3-0 thumping of fellow strugglers West Ham. The Red Devils on the other hand came into the game on a two game winning streak, having scored 11 goals in those two matches. Man United started with the same striking pair used in the last two games in Wayne Rooney and Alan Smith. Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock played Colin Kazim-Richards up front with Luton Shelton, who was earning his first start, on the attack.

The first chance of the match fell to the Yorkshire side as a free Kick by Tonge was driven low, but lacked the power to beat Reds keeper, Tomasz Kuszczak. The Premiership leaders quickly made the Blades pay, and on 4 minutes, Michael Carrick received a pass from Cristiano Ronaldo, and chipped the ball over the sprawling Paddy Kenny. Wayne Rooney then had a chance to double the Red Devils lead, but his shot lacked power and Kenny patted the ball away. Another free kick was taken by Tonge for the Blades, and this one packed more power, but Kuszczak sprawled to make the stop. Patrice Evra then had to be substituted for the Reds when he took a high challenge from Kazim-Richards, and was replaced by Keiron Richardson. Smith was then forced to change his shorts after being caught by Matthew Kilgallon. Luton Shelton continued to make an impact for Sheffield United as he blasted a shot just wide.

After the break, Rooney again had a chance to double United’s lead, but he was stopped by a well timed tackle from Chris Morgan. Shelton meanwhile caused unrest in the Man United defence with strong runs, but no goals came of them. Rooney finally scored his goal on 5 minutes when his run was met by Ryan Giggs’ pass, and the young Englishman blasted the ball far side on Kenny. Shelton again threatened as he turned away from Wes Brown, but he then scooped the ball over the bar. Danny Webber then had a chance for the Blades after beating out Heinze, but he raked his shot wide. Kenny was then forced into action to make saves off both Ronaldo and Rooney, to keep the game at a respectable scoreline. Shelton then had a legitimate claim for a penalty when he was brought down by Heinze in the area, but referee Rob Styles waved play on. The decision all but ended the Blades hopes of a comeback, but they still continued to press as Tonge hit the post with a curling shot. Kuszczak kept his clean sheat, however, and the Red Devils earned a valuable three points in the title race.

Manchester United’s next match will be another Premiership game against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford. Sheffield United’s next, also in the Premiership, will be against main relegation rivals Charlton Athletic, and that match will be very important for b … Read More