New Jersey governor calls television show “Jersey Shore” negative

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chris Christie, governor of the US state of New Jersey, complained on ABC’s Sunday morning talk show This Week that TV series Jersey Shore promotes a negative image of the state.

Prompted by a feature in The New York Times on Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, one of the stars of the MTV show, interviewer Jake Tapper asked the governor whether he thought the series was positive or negative for the state. Christie unequivocally answered that the show was “negative for New Jersey… It takes a bunch of New Yorkers, drops them on the Jersey Shore, and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey”. He concluded, “I can tell people: they want to know what New Jersey really is? I welcome them to come to New Jersey any time.”

In a wide-ranging interview the governor also faced questions about local and national politics, including New Jersey’s US$11 billion budget deficit. Specifically, he was challenged over his plans to not pay $3 billion into public pension funds, payments described by the interviewer as a “legal obligation”. He said that he “wasn’t going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system” and that there would be further reforms of pensions and health benefits.

Christie was further questioned over his ongoing conflicts with teachers unions. He responded that “we can’t have one sector of our society sheltered from the ravages of the recession, at the cost to people who have been hurt by the recession the most”, citing the example of construction unions in New Jersey currently suffering unemployment between 35 and 50%.

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Superlative Performances With A Proactive Storage Infrastructure

Superlative Performances with a Proactive Storage Infrastructure



Storage efficiency is one of the key elements in the Data Center and with business data expanding at a faster pace, storage systems need to cost-efficient and adapted to ensure that the business information can be accessed, stored and managed with ease and simplicity. The most important thing to note is the requirement for a secure, dependable and flexible IT infrastructure. If your infrastructure is not secure all the critical data will be either lost or manipulated which can cost your business a heavy loss.

The increasing data center size and complexities requires data center managers and IT professionals to adopt efficient storage solutions that can enable them to effectively access servers and data easily. Your infrastructure must have the capacity to filter the relevant information and store them in a secured location so that it can be accessed quickly whenever there is a requirement. If your infrastructure is not flexible you will not be able to make changes as per the changing demands in the market and you will have to suffer losses. A flexible infrastructure ensures that all your applications collaborate and integrate producing optimum results and provides you opportunities to earn more revenues.

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Tony Blair tells Iraq Inquiry he would invade again

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, appeared before the Iraq Inquiry today. He faced six hours of questioning, starting at 6:30 am, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London concerning his role in the 2003 Iraq invasion. During the inquiry, Blair stood by his decision to invade, saying he would make the same decision again.

This is the third time Blair has given evidence at an inquiry into the Iraq War, having already testified before the Hutton Inquiry and the Butler Review, as well as participating in an investigation by the Intelligence and Security Committee. The Hutton Inquiry found that the government did not “sex up” the dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The Butler Review uncovered “serious flaws” in pre-war intelligence, and this inquiry was set up by current prime minister Gordon Brown in order to “learn the lessons” of the war. Sir John Chilcott, the inquiry chairman, began by stressing that Blair was not “on trial”, but could be called back to give further evidence if necessary.

At the end of the session, Chilcott asked Blair if he had any regrets, to which Blair replied that he was “sorry” that it was “divisive”, but said that invading was the right thing to do since he believes “the world is a safer place as a result.” Blair said that the inquiry should ask the “2010 question”, which refers to the hypothetical position that the world would be in if Saddam Hussein were not removed from power. He said that “today we would have a situation where Iraq was competing with Iran […] in respect of support of terrorist groups”.

At the inquiry, the topics on which Blair was questioned included his reasons for invading Iraq.

At the time, he said that his reasons were based on a need to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction; however, interviews held later suggest that removing Saddam Hussein from power was his primary objective. Blair denies this, asserting that the need to dispose of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was the only reason for the United Kingdom’s participation in the invasion. He explained that, in an interview with Fern Britton, he “did not use the words regime change”, and, what he was trying to say was, “you would not describe the nature of the threat in the same way if you knew then what you knew now, that the intelligence on WMD had been shown to be wrong”.

He said, despite no weapons of mass destruction being found by UN weapons inspectors, he still believes that Saddam Hussein had the means to develop and deploy them; “[h]e had used them, he definitely had them […] and so in a sense it would have required quite strong evidence the other way to be doubting the fact that he had this programme […] The primary consideration for me was to send an absolutely powerful, clear and unremitting message that after September 11 if you were a regime engaged in WMD [weapons of mass destruction], you had to stop.”

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He also said that weapons of mass destruction and regime change were not separate issues, but “conjoined”, since “brutal and oppressive” regimes with such weapons are a “bigger threat” than less hostile nations with the same weapons. He said that Hussein’s regime was hiding important information from UN weapons inspectors, and had “no intention” of complying with them. He asserted that he has “no regrets” about removing Hussein, “[a] monster and I believe he threatened not just the region but the world.”

There were also questions about why the UN weapons inspectors were not given more time in Iraq in March 2003. Blair responded by saying that it would have made very little difference, as Iraq had the knowledge and “intent” to rebuild its weapons program from scratch if it were dismantled. He was also asked whether he still believed that the war was morally justified. He said that he did. He also said that the war was required because more diplomatic solutions had already failed, and the “containment” of Hussein’s regime through diplomatic sanctions was “eroding” when the decision to invade was made.

I never regarded 11 September as an attack on America, I regarded it as an attack on us.

He also said that attitudes towards Saddam Hussein and the threat he presented “changed dramatically” after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. He said, “I never regarded 11 September as an attack on America, I regarded it as an attack on us.” He said that he believed terrorists would use biological and chemical weaponry, and also said, “if those people inspired by this religious fanaticism could have killed 30,000 they would have. My view was you could not take risks with this issue at all.”

He later said, “When I talked earlier about the calculus of risk changing after September 11 it’s really important I think to understand in so far as to understanding the decision I took, and frankly would take again. If there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him. That was my view then. It’s my view now.”

He was also asked about his supposed commitment to George W. Bush that United Kingdom would join the United States in an Iraq war, which he is said to have made at Bush’s Crawford ranch in 2002. Blair stubbornly denied that this took place, saying that what was said is that Saddam Hussein had to be “dealt with”, and that “the method of doing that is open”. Instead, he says, his reasons for the invasion were moral.

The decision I had to take was … could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programme?

He also said, “This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception. It’s a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam’s history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programmes or is that a risk that it would be irresponsible to take?”

He said of Bush: “I think what he took from that [the meeting] was exactly what he should have taken, which was if it came to military action because there was no way of dealing with this diplomatically, we would be with him.” He did admit, however, that—a year later, as the invasion approached—he had been offered a “way out” of the war, which he declined. He said of this, “I think President Bush at one point said, before the [House of Commons] debate, ‘Look if it’s too difficult for Britain, we understand’. I took the view very strongly then—and do now—that it was right for us to be with America, since we believed in this too.”

Another line of questioning focused on his 45-minute claim, which was included in the September 2002 dossier but redacted after the war. It states that Hussein was able to deploy nuclear weapons within 45 minutes of giving the order. This dossier also contained the words, “the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons”. However, the inquiry has revealed that there were certain caveats involved, so the claim was not—anti-war campaigners claim—”beyond doubt”, especially since senior civil servants have told the inquiry that intelligence suggested that Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been dismantled.

Blair said that it “would have been better if (newspaper) headlines about the ’45-minute claim’ had been corrected” to state—as he admits he should have made clear—that the claim referred to battlefield munitions, rather than to missiles. He says that, with the benefit of hindsight, he would have liked to have published the intelligence reports themselves, since they were “absolutely strong enough”. He did insist, however, that the intelligence that was available at the time put it “beyond doubt” that Iraq was continuing to develop weaponry. He added that “things obviously look quite different” after the war, since weapons of mass destruction were not found.

One of the main topics was the legality of the war. Earlier this week, a senior Foreign Office legal advisor claimed that the war would be illegal without a further United Nations Security Council resolution—which was not obtained. The attorney general at the time, Lord Peter Goldsmith, said that the cabinet refused to enter into a debate over the legality of the war, and that Blair had not received his advice that a further UN resolution would be needed warmly. He insists that he “desperately” tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problem until France and Russia “changed their position” and would not allow the passage of a further resolution.

Blair also said that he would not have invaded had Goldsmith said that it “could not be justified legally”, and explained Goldsmith’s change of mind by saying that the then attorney general “had to come to a conclusion”, and his conclusion was that the war was legal. He did not know why Goldsmith made this conclusion, but said he believes that it may be due to the fact that weapons inspectors “indicated that Saddam Hussein had not taken a final opportunity to comply” with the UN.

Questions were also asked on the government’s poor post-war planning, and claimed confusion about whether the US had a plan for Iraq after the war was over. Blair was drilled about the lack of priority that was given to the issue of post-war planning. He was also asked about the lack of equipment that British soldiers were given. This line of questioning was pursued in front of the families of some of the soldiers who died in Iraq—many of whom blame the poor equipment for the deaths of their relatives.

Should Tony Blair be considered a war criminal?
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The families of some of the 179 British soldiers killed in the Iraq war, along with around 200 anti-war protesters, held a demonstration calling for Blair to be declared a war criminal outside the centre in London’s City of Westminster. They chanted “Tony Blair, war criminal” as the former prime minister gave evidence inside. Blair was jeered by a member of the audience as he made his closing statement, and the families booed him, chanting “you are a liar” and “you are a murderer” as he left the centre.

In order to avoid the protesters, he arrived early and was escorted by security as he entered through the back door, with large numbers of police officers standing by. One of these protesters, Iraqi Saba Jaiwad, said, “The Iraqi people are having to live every day with aggression, division, and atrocities. Blair should not be here giving his excuses for the illegal war, he should be taken to The Hague to face criminal charges because he has committed crimes against the Iraqi people.”

Ahmed Rushdi, an Iraqi journalist, said that he was unsurprised by Blair’s defence of the invasion, because, “A liar is still a liar”. He also claimed that the war had done more harm than good, because, “Before 2003 there were problems with security, infrastructure and services, and people died because of the sanctions, but after 2003 there are major disasters. Major blasts have killed about 2,000 people up till now. After six years or seven years there is no success on the ground, in any aspect.”

Why did we participate in an illegal invasion of another country?

Current prime minister Gordon Brown, who set up the inquiry, said before Blair’s appearance that it was not a cause for concern. Anthony Seldon, Blair’s biographer, called the session “a pivotal day for him [Blair], for the British public and for Britain’s moral authority in the world”. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who opposes the war, said in Friday’s Daily Telegraph that it was “a pivotal moment in answering a question millions of British people are still asking themselves: Why did we participate in an illegal invasion of another country?” He called the invasion “subservience-by-default to the White House”, and questioned the “special relationship” between between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Vincent Moss, the political editor of the Sunday Mirror newspaper, criticised the inquiry for being too soft on Blair. He said, “A lot of ground wasn’t covered, and in my mind it wasn’t covered in enough detail, particularly the dodgy dossier in September 2002. There wasn’t very much interrogation on that, they pretty much accepted what Tony Blair said about the intelligence. We could have had an awful lot stronger questioning on that”.

It is feared by some senior Labour Party politicians that today’s events could ignite strong feelings about the issue in voters, and thereby damage the popularity of the party, which is already trailing behind the Conservative Party with a general election required in the first half of the year.

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German intelligence participated in U.S. bombing of Iraq, media alleges

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) helped the U.S. military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, ARD‘s Panorama magazine and the Los Angeles Times concordantly reported on Thursday.

According to their information, two agents of the BND stayed in Baghdad during the war even after the German embassy was evacuated on March 17, 2003. A former “high-ranking official” in the U.S. Department of Defense told Panorama that the agents helped to track down targets throughout the Iraqi capital for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as they didn’t have enough reliable sources in Baghdad. A BND official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that there was “no dumbness between the BND and DIA” during that time and that it was part of the BND’s “job” in Iraq to identify “non targets” like hospitals or embassies. He said this was authorized by the chancellor’s office.

The Pentagon informant of Panorama however said that the German agents were much more involved. A common saying during the war was supposedly: “Do we have anything from the Germans?” According to him, they drove to a restaurant in Mansur district of Baghdad on April 6th where Saddam Hussein was assumed to be dining. The BND agents reported back to the DIA that many Mercedes cars were parking there. As those cars were presumed to be of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military conducted an air strike on the location. Hussein escaped, but twelve civilians were killed.

The BND confirmed that two of its agents operated in Iraq during the war but denied all other reports. A spokesperson told Panorama that it’s agency “did not provide target information or target coordinates to the warfaring parties.” The intelligence committee of the Bundestag exculpated the BND. Its chair Norbert Röttgen said that the in secret sitting committee, controlled by government parties, concluded with two-third majority that there are no indications that the agents aided the U.S. in selecting targets.

German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the accusations “schizophrenic” while opposition parties are demanding an parliamentary investigation committee. And during a visit of German chancellor Merkel to the White House, U.S. president Bush said in a response to a reporter’s question whether he knew anything about the allegations: “The truth of the matter is, the Chancellor brought this up this morning. I had no idea what she was talking about. The first I heard of it was this morning, truthfully”.

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British scholar Tony Judt dies aged 62

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

British historian Tony Judt died Friday of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 62. Judt was known for his contributions to European history and his controversial position regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Judt’s death was announced in a statement from New York University (NYU), where he was a professor. He died in his home in Manhattan, said the school. Judt is survived by his third wife, dance critic Jennifer Homans, and their two children, Nicholas and Daniel. Judt’s first two marriages both ended in a divorce.

Tony Robert Judt, a secular Jew, was born on January 2, 1948 in London, but spent much of his adult life in the United States. The descendant of Marxist Lithuanian rabbis, he was sent to a camp in Israel as a teenager, and became a Zionist. Later, he spoke at a Zionist convention in Paris and worked as a translator for the Israel Defense Forces in 1967, starting with the Six-Day War.

An alumnus of King’s College, he began teaching at NYU as Professor of European studies in 1987. Judt had previously taught at Cambridge, the University of California, and Oxford University.

Judt, also an author, became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 2005 book Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. The almost 900-page book covers the history of the development of Europe after World War II. He also wrote about topics such as the fall of Marxism and Communism.

In September 2008, Judt was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. One form of motor neurone disease, ALS targets nerve cells and causes a loss of speech and movement abilities. Left paralyzed and unable to breathe without assistance, Judt continued to lecture. Earlier this year, Judt was able to write a group of personal essays for The New York Review of Books, in which he discussed the disease. “In contrast to almost every other serious or deadly disease, one is thus left free to contemplate at leisure and in minimal discomfort the catastrophic progress of one’s own deterioration,” he wrote. In 2009, Judt was the recipient of a special Orwell Prize, given to him for “intelligence, insight and conspicuous courage.”

Judt’s later views on Israel differed from those he had held as a teenager. In 1983, he called Israel a “belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno state,” opposing a two-state solution. Earlier this year, he wrote, “most Israelis were not transplanted latter-day agrarian socialists but young, prejudiced urban Jews who differed from their European or American counterparts chiefly in their macho, swaggering self-confidence, and access to armed weapons.” His stance on the topic was the subject of much controversy, even leading to his removal from the editorial committee for The New Republic.

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Not A Wine Connoisseur? 3 Questions To Ask When Visiting A Wine Shop In The Hamptons For The First Time

byAlma Abell

Buying wine can be a fun experience for anyone, especially those looking for something new to try. But how do you know where to start if you’re not participating in a wine tasting with an experienced wine connoisseur? By asking the right questions, you can find the right bottle of wine to enjoy, and impress friends and family with your new found knowledge. Start by visiting a Wine Shop in the Hamptons with these important questions in mind.

What Varietals Does This Wine Shop Specialize In?Embrace your local wine culture and ask for wines that come straight from that area. Not only are you supporting local winemakers, you are also getting a unique experience with each varietal. Winemakers will have a special preparation method, and the wine will vary slightly from well-known brands. The term varietal can easily be confused with the word variety; both describe wine but are not the same things. A variety is the vine or grape whereas a varietal is the wine produced by the variety. So when asking this question remember you are asking which wine the shop specializes in, not the grape.

What Food Pairs Best With This Wine?Wine and food always go great together and while it isn’t wrong to drink any bottle of wine with food, having a bottle that pairs well with whatever you’re serving for dinner can make the experience that much better. When asking this question, you’re asking which flavors in certain foods will be accentuated more with your wine. It becomes a balance of complementing and contrasting where either the food or the wine intensifies the other. This question doesn’t have to be about pairing wines with fancier foods either. There are many varietals that pair excellently with burgers or barbecue.

What is the Best Way to Store This Wine?This question can include others such as can it be kept in the kitchen or does it need to be in a cellar? Or how long can this bottle of wine be kept shelved before it’s opened? Keeping the wine in a place that is too cool or not cool enough can age the wine or dry out the corks making the wine undrinkable. Be sure to ask a professional at a Wine Shop in the Hamptons about this when considering storage options. And for a vast selection of wines as well as wine lists, visit

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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2006 U.S. Congressional Elections

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

As of 10:00 p.m EST November 8, 2006, the Democratic Party is projected to have gained control of both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate in the 2006 United States general elections. MSNBC projects that the Democrats now control 234 seats in the House of Representatives, 16 more seats than the 218 needed to control the House of Representatives as all 435 seats were up for election. In the Senate, where the balance of power is closer, one-third of all seats were up for grab. As of 10:00 p.m. EST, AP and Reuters were projecting that the Democrats had picked up all six seats they needed to retake the Senate, including the seats of incumbents Rick Santorum (Penn.), Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Jim Talent (Missouri), Mike DeWine (Ohio), John Tester (Montana), and Jim Webb (VA). The Tester victory by less than 3,000 votes was projected at approximately 2 p.m. EST after the State of Montana announced the results of overnight recounts. Democrat Jim Webb has prevailed in that race by slightly more than 7,000 votes, though his opponent has not conceded and a recount may still occur.

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Lib Dems launch manifesto

Thursday, April 14, 2005

An exhausted Charles Kennedy returned to the election campaign to launch a twenty page Liberal Democrat manifesto targeted at disaffected Labour voters, promising a fairer tax system and withdrawal from Iraq.

Entitled The Real Alternative the manifesto pledges to reduce the lowest rate of income tax, but increase the rate on those earning over £100,000 to 50%. The party would also scrap the unpopular local council tax in favour of a new local income tax. The manifesto also promises to remove hidden “stealth taxes”.

Under this system the party claims the poorest 15 million (25%) of people in Britain would be better off, and the middle 50% would be paying no extra tax.

The manifesto promised to scrap the controversial university tuition fees, increase services for pensioners and add £100 a month to the state pension, and train 21,000 new primary school teachers and 10,000 new police. A Lib Dem government would make eye and dental checks free, and reduce the cost of prescription medicine.

The Liberal Democrats were the only one of the three largest parliamentary parties to have consistently voted against the Iraq war, and the manifesto has promised an exit strategy with a phased withdrawal of Britain’s 8,000 troops still in the country.

“We reject a foreign policy based on ‘my ally right or wrong’,” Kennedy said. “And we say that war should always be a last resort.”

Kennedy, who became a father on Tuesday, admitted he’d had little sleep before the manifesto launch, and stumbled while answering questions on the proposed tax system.

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US Federal Reserve raises interest rate from 5% to 5.25%

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The United States Federal Reserve has announced an increase of 25 basis points (0.25%) in the federal funds rate bringing it to 5.25 percent. It also announced its approval of a 25 basis point increase in the discount rate to 6.25 percent.

The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions such as banks lend balances they maintain at the Federal Reserve (called federal funds) to other banks overnight. The discount rate is the interest rate that an eligible bank is charged to borrow short term funds directly from the central bank through the discount window.

In its statement, the Fed said that growth is moderating from its quite strong pace earlier in the year, which it partly attributed to a cooling of the housing market and the delayed effect of increases in interest rates and energy prices. The Fed noted that inflation measures were “elevated” in recent months and that while productivity gains have held down increases in labor costs and inflation expectations “remain contained”. However, it pointed out that high levels of resource utilization and high energy and commodity prices have the potential to sustain inflation pressures.

In its outlook over its future moves, the Fed statement said “Although the moderation in the growth of aggregate demand should help to limit inflation pressures over time, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information.”

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