Sunday, January 12, 2003

News Feed 20120225

Financial Crisis
»Italy: Ministers’ Salaries Posted on Government Website
»Italy: Premier’s Office Saves 53 Mln Euros in First 100 Days
»Gingrich Criticizes Quran Burning Apology by US
»The Democrats’ Fear of an Incipient Black Revolt in 2012
»US Navy Launches Next-Generation Military Satellite
Europe and the EU
»Chinese Tourists Bring Their Yuan to Germany
»Italians Not as Healthy as They Feel
»Italy: Fake Blind Woman Caught Red-Handed
»Italy: Provocative Bartender Causes a Stir
»Italy: Bribery Case Against Berlusconi is Thrown Out
»Italy: Five Arrested for Pastry Extortion in Palermo
»Marseillais: ‘Muslim Culture is Definitively Taking Over the Lower Levels of Society’
»UK: Teenager Hurt in Homophobic Attack
»Valuable Cowbells Stolen in Northern Italy
North Africa
»Insult to WWII Heroes: Graves of British Troops Smashed and Desecrated by Libyan Islamists in Protest Over U.S. Soldiers’ Koran Burning
Middle East
»IAEA Says Iran Speeding Up Unranium Enrichment
»Iranian-Born American Writer Amil Imani Speaks Out Against Satanic Islam
»New President Takes Reigns of Power in Yemen
South Asia
»Afghanistan: NATO Officers Shot Dead in Kabul Ministry
Sub-Saharan Africa
»Airstrike Kills Four Militants in Somalia
»Multiple Attacks Hit Northern Nigeria
Culture Wars
»California Asks Judges: Gay or Straight?
»Space Junk Janitors Should Sweep Up 5 Dead Satellites a Year, Experts Say

Financial Crisis

Italy: Ministers’ Salaries Posted on Government Website

Personal wealth and property included in financial statements

(ANSA) — Rome, February 21 — In a move to demonstrate reforms that include the Italian government along with its citizens, the tax returns of Premier Mario Monti’s ministers were posted online Tuesday.

The move, known as Operation Transparency, attracted a record number of visitors to the government home page, causing technical difficulties.

According to the figures Industry Minister Corrado Passera, who came from the private sector with a 3.5-million-euro salary, on which he paid 1.4 million in taxes in 2011, is the wealthiest of Monti’s ministers. The former of head of Italy’s second-biggest bank Intesa SanPaolo has liquid assets of 8.8 million euros from the sales of bank stock and private property. As a minister, Passera’s salary will drop to 220,000 euros.

In a video message broadcast Monday in Florence to Federmeccanica members, Italy’s Federation of Metalworking Industries, Passera said that it is “important to reduce tax evasion” and that by doing so, everyone would pay less.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi is listed as earning a 203,000-euro salary in 2011.

Justice Minister Paola Severino has the highest liquid assets among the women in Monti’s cabinet, just over seven-million euros, from her former law practice and as deputy head of LUISS University in Rome.

Severino’s annual ministerial salary is 195,2225 euros. Ministers also declared their cars, real estate and stocks.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Premier’s Office Saves 53 Mln Euros in First 100 Days

Cars and flights swapped for thrift, says internal review

(ANSA) — Rome, February 24 — The office of Italian Premier Mario Monti announced Friday it had saved over 43 million euros in its first 100 days. According to an internal audit, cutbacks on personnel, car service and flights topped the list of cost-saving measures implemented since the premier took the helm of an emergency government of technocrats after the resignation of former premier Silvio Berlusconi in November.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]


Gingrich Criticizes Quran Burning Apology by US

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday a U.S. apology to Afghan authorities for burned Qurans on a military base was “astonishing” and undeserved.

Gingrich lashed out at President Barack Obama for the formal apology after copies of the Muslim holy book were found burned in a garbage pit on a U.S. air field earlier in the week

Obama’s apology was announced Thursday morning. A few hours later, news organizations reported that an Afghan soldier had killed two U.S. troops and wounded others in retaliation for the Quran burning.

Campaigning in Washington state, Gingrich said Afghan President Hamid Karzi owes the U.S. an apology for the shootings.

“There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period,” Gingrich said.

“And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care.”

Even before Gingrich’s comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney sought to counter any criticism of the president’s apology.

“It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities,” Carney told reporters traveling to Miami with the president on Air Force One. “His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of the American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

Later Thursday, Gingrich continued his criticism of Obama’s foreign policy during a rally in the town of Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho, a stop in one of the 10 states that votes on March 6. He was spending Friday in Washington state, which holds caucuses a week from Saturday.

“This president has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief,” Gingrich said.

           — Hat tip: Paul Green[Return to headlines]

The Democrats’ Fear of an Incipient Black Revolt in 2012

By Norman Berdichevsky

This is the first time since the early 1920s that a realistic chance exists that both the Black and the Jewish vote will fall outside the Democrats’ pocket where it has been safely kept under lock and key.

The enormous Black and Jewish majorities in the 2008 presidential election of 95% and 78% respectively will undoubtedly tumble in the upcoming 2012 race.

How far and how fast remains to be seen but as all too few so called ‘pundits’ and young voters are aware, both the Black and Jewish vote from the mid-19th century until after World War I were predominantly Republican.

A recent PJ Media poll of 800 conducted during Feb 21-22 gave support to hypothetical Republican presidential candidates of from 14% for Mitt Romney to 23% for Condi Rice. The recent highest vote share in the African American community for a GOP presidential candidate was for George W. Bush in 2004, with 11%. Although this may appear as trivial, it is obvious that even this glacier like movement is likely to incite panic as a harbinger of things to come.

Similar even greater movements towards the GOP by Jewish and Hispanic voters are also viewed with alarm among the Democrats and pose the possibility that any brief examination of the past will reveal that ethnic loyalties are not etched in stone.

Few young blacks about to vote for the first time are aware that Martin Luther King Jr. was a lifelong Republican. But such a fact , equivalent to the displays at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, could lend weight to the gathering avalanche of a reversal in the future, enough in any case, to change the political map.

The issue came to the fore with the recent clashes between Congressman Allen West (R-22, Florida) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-20 Florida) in a heated exchange of views, made all the more poignant and media-worthy because both are from Florida and both are recent migrants to the state.

As a Black and a Jew, their constituencies represent the two strongest components of the Democratic coalition in Congress.

Their conflict reflects a much deeper cleavage — one between No-Nothing Northern carpetbagger ultra-liberal ignorance and deeply held prejudices against the South on the one hand, and West’s symbolic image as a return, after a gap of a hundred years, of the historic ties of common interests between African Americans and the Republican Party…

[Return to headlines]

US Navy Launches Next-Generation Military Satellite

The United States Navy launched an advanced tactical satellite today (Feb. 24), lofting to orbit the first spacecraft in a new communications constellation that should provide a big upgrade for American troops. The Mobile User Objective System-1 (MUOS-1) satellite blasted off at 5:15 p.m. EST (2215 GMT) today, riding an Atlas 5 rocket into the skies above Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after an eight-day delay. The satellite was supposed to launch last week, but strong upper-level winds and thick clouds caused scrubs on both Feb. 16 and Feb. 17.

MUOS-1 will settle into a geostationary orbit above the Pacific Ocean, then undergo about six months of checkouts and tests before becoming operational, Navy officials have said. The four-satellite MUOS constellation is designed to augment and eventually replace the current network that helps American warfighters around the globe communicate and coordinate.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Chinese Tourists Bring Their Yuan to Germany

As China’s middle class grows, travel is becoming increasingly prestigious. Germany is a popular destination for visitors to Europe. Hotel managers and shopkeepers are cashing in on the trend. Xin Hui seems particularly interested in an 18-piece stainless steel silverware set. She turns the package around and around and lights up when she discovers the “Made in Germany” label.

The 28-year-old is one of a group of 10 looking at household supplies at a souvenirs shop near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. She is happy with her catch because it’s “much cheaper than in China.” She places the silverware set in her basket and continues on to the ladles and potato peelers. “We allow time for shopping in all of our guided tours,” says Vanilla Kwo, who has already shown her group many of the German capital’s sights. On this cold winter’s day, they have seen the Berlin Cathedral, Potsdamer Platz and the Reichstag.

Xin Hui is astounded that Berlin is so empty and there are no skyscrapers. On the other hand, the sidewalks are littered with dog droppings — which she doesn’t like at all! On average, Chinese tourists will spend about 320 euros a day in Germany. Pots and pans, cosmetics, clothes and cuckoo clothes are what they’re most willing to shell out for — especially for German brand names.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Italians Not as Healthy as They Feel

Serious issues plague a nation of sedentary citizens

(ANSA) — Roma, February 17 — Though Italians may say that they feel good, in reality a high percentage suffer from serious health issues brought on by sedentary lifestyles, smoking and drinking, said a report by Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) on Friday.

Maladies ranging from high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory illness and type-2 diabetes, which are directly related to diet and lack of exercise, along with obesity are rising in what was once considered one of Europe’s healthiest countries.

One out of 10 Italians is considered obese, while 25% suffer from elevated cholesterol levels the ISS said. Health issues directly related to poor diet, smoking and drinking are more prevalent in central and southern regions and amongst the poorer sections of society, said the report.

Daily consumption of alcohol is more prevalent among men with 25% drinking daily compared to 15% of women, while smoking is common for 32% of men and 24% of women.

When polled, 66% of Italians responded that they felt in good health, while only 4% said they did not

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Fake Blind Woman Caught Red-Handed

235,000 euros falsely claimed

(ANSA) — Turin, February 17 — Police cited a woman Friday for collecting 235,000 euros in disability benefits over the course of eight years by falsely claiming she was totally blind.

The woman, 66, was photographed walking through markets in a town near Turin, crossing the street and looking in store windows without any help. Before issuing the citation, undercover investigators asked the suspect to sign a receipt, which they said she signed without putting on glasses. To guarantee reimbursement, police sequestered six properties belonging to the woman plus all the money in her bank account. Friday’s operation was part of a wider probe into false disability claims that started in 2009 and has led to the arrest of hundreds of people and the seizure of over five million euros of assets.

In one week last month police in different parts of Italy discovered three fake blind people who were claiming benefits they were not entitled to, including one caught driving a car.

Also on Friday, police in Pistoia, north of Florence, cited 38 foreigners for falsely claiming retirement benefits.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Provocative Bartender Causes a Stir

Enthusiastic male clients causing havoc

(ANSA) — Milan, February 22 — Well-known for her sexy attire, a 34-year-old bar owner in the town of Bagnolo Mella near Milan could face early closings imposed by town authorities due to disorder caused by clients arriving en masse nightly.

Male clients from up to 100 kilometers away frequent the bar “to have drinks and to see me,” said the bar owner Laura Maggi.

Police report frequent complaints of poorly parked vehicles and vandalism in front of the establishment.

“It is not the bar owner’s fault. The men are the ones with the weakness,” said Bagnolo Mella mayor Cristina Almici, who admits that she would not allow her husband to frequent the venue. Opening hours, presently until 8.30 pm weekdays and 1 am Fridays, risk being reduced.

“I never expected anything like this,” Maggi told ANSA, whose Facebook page has 13,000 followers and features photos of her topless on a beach, dressed as sexy Santa and wearing only a bra behind her bar.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Italy: Bribery Case Against Berlusconi is Thrown Out

A court in Milan threw out the bribery case against the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on Saturday, saying that the statute of limitations had expired, according to media reports.

Mr. Berlusconi, who had denied wrongdoing, had been accused of bribing a British tax lawyer to withhold testimony to protect him.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Berlusconi was not in court Saturday afternoon when the court read out its verdict at the trial after about two hours of deliberation.

In the trial, which began in March 2007, Mr. Berlusconi’s lawyer had argued that the statute of limitations on the crime had expired.

Prosecutors, however, said say they believed the statute of limitations on the crime will not run out until May at the earliest and they had asked that Mr. Berlusconi be sentenced to five years in prison.

[Return to headlines]

Italy: Five Arrested for Pastry Extortion in Palermo

Payoffs in sweets and lottery tickets

(ANSA) — Palermo, February 22 — Police clampdowns in Palermo resulted in the arrest of five suspects Wednesday after undercover agents discovered payoffs in the form of pastries were being forcibly taken from a local shop. Members of the Pagliarelli clan are being investigated for extorsion and Mafia activity. The owners of the bakery being blackmailed were also forced to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

Marseillais: ‘Muslim Culture is Definitively Taking Over the Lower Levels of Society’

What worries some Marseillais is not the caricature of Talibanization invoked by right-wing extremists but what they see as the creeping Islamization of the city’s largely working-class population—and not only those issus de l’immigration. “I think that Muslim culture is definitively taking over the lower levels of society,” says Michèle Teboul, of CRIF. “There are many mixed marriages with Muslims.”

“That’s real integration,” I say.

“That depends,” says Teboul. “It depends if there is a mixture of the two cultures and not one culture gaining the upper hand over another,” she says. In France, as she sees it, the institutionalization of secularism and the prevalence of political correctness have weakened the value systems in society and left people without any strong sense of tradition. “Loving your homeland, loving your country, having values— whether religious or other—has been put aside by the politically bien-pensant, and that has helped to break up families that no longer have points of reference, especially those that are underprivileged.” Islam, says Teboul, offers a structure to the lives of many people who feel they are adrift. “I’m convinced of that,” she says. [..]

What will Marseille be like by then? It may well be the first western European city with a majority of its residents from Muslim backgrounds. Many other cities will have as many as Marseille does today, and most will have their own uneasy experiments with integration. But it’s hard to imagine that on the Mediterranean coast here the beaches will be any less crowded or that the people on them will identify themselves as anything more, or less, than from Marseille.

           — Hat tip: Steen[Return to headlines]

UK: Teenager Hurt in Homophobic Attack

A Lancashire teenager suffered a broken jaw after he was assaulted by three men who shouted homophobic abuse at him.

The 16-year-old boy was attacked as he walked with his sister in Nelson.

Lancashire Constabulary say the offenders were described as Asian. The assault took place in Netherfield Road in the town centre at about 9.30pm on Saturday, February 11. The victim was punched and kicked in the face before a passer-by intervened.

Detective Constable Julie Leigh said: “This was a vicious and nasty assault and I am very keen to trace the people responsible. In particular, I would like to speak to the man who intervened and was able to stop the assault and would urge him if he sees or hears this appeal to contact us.

“I would also appeal to anyone else that may have been in the area at the time who may have witnessed anything or to anyone that recognises the descriptions of the offenders to contact us.”

The three men are described as Asian and aged between 16 and 19. One of them is said to be of medium build, between 5ft 8in and 5ft 10in, and clean shaven with short, dark cropped, hair. He was wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with any information should contact police by calling 101 or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

           — Hat tip: BF[Return to headlines]

Valuable Cowbells Stolen in Northern Italy

Three men face charges for assault and robbery

(ANSA) — Aosta, February 20 — Three men are under investigation for aggravated assault and robbery after stealing cowbells from a 90-year-old woman in the northern Italian town of Gressan near Aosta.

The collection of engraved cowbells and embroidered collars worth 20,000 euros stolen at the beginning of February was found hidden under a highway overpass near where they were stolen.

Police allege that the robbery was commissioned by 66-year-old Renato Quendoz and involved two other men, one of whom is still at large.

Three men entered the home of 90-year-old Cornelia Betral, the widow of a well-known cattle farmer, bound and gagged the woman and escaped with the valuable collectors’ items, said investigators.

The bells, considered collectors items, have been returned to the owner.

           — Hat tip: Insubria[Return to headlines]

North Africa

Insult to WWII Heroes: Graves of British Troops Smashed and Desecrated by Libyan Islamists in Protest Over U.S. Soldiers’ Koran Burning

A furious mob has desecrated dozens of Commonwealth War Graves in a Libyan cemetery amid continuing fury in the Middle East over the burning of the Koran by U.S. soldiers.

Headstones commemorating British and Allied servicemen, killed during World War II campaigns in the Western Desert, lay smashed and strewn across Benghazi Military Cemetery.

Protesters rampaged through site on Friday, despite efforts by America to calm tensions sparked when it emerged U.S. soldiers had burned Muslim holy books in a pile of rubbish at a military base in Afghanistan.

President Obama has apologised to President Karzai for the unintentional burning of the Korans at NATO’s main Bagram air base after Afghan labourers found charred copies while collecting rubbish.

White House spokesman Jay Carney sought to counter criticism, telling reporters on board Air Force One: ‘It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities.’

But it appears to have had little affect on sentiment among many in the Middle East.

Twelve people died today during the bloodiest day yet of protests over the incident.

Immediately after news broke of the incident, more than 2,000 furious Afghans — some chanting ‘die, die foreigners’, other throwing rocks — gathered outside the giant US air base at Bagram, 40 miles north of the capital Kabul, as reports of the burning spread.

Military sources said that books were removed from the library of a nearby detention center because they contained extremist messages.

Prisoners had been writing in the books as way of communicating.

There were immediate fears the Taliban and other insurgent groups would try to exploit the claims, using it as a rallying call against US, British and fellow Coalition forces.

The protests come as the FBI announced it has removed hundreds of pages of training documents that painted inaccurate or stereotypical views of Islam.

The counter-terrorism training materials referred to the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, as a cult leader and included graphs that implied devout Muslims got more violent throughout history, while Jews and Christians became less violent.

           — Hat tip: Nick[Return to headlines]

Middle East

IAEA Says Iran Speeding Up Unranium Enrichment

A report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog says Iran has been sharply stepping up its controversial nuclear program, heightening fears it may be close to building a nuclear bomb. Iran has greatly accelerated its production of enriched uranium over the last four months despite increased international pressure to give up its nuclear program entirely, a report by the United Nation’s nuclear agency said Friday.

Representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Iran this week to inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities and to get answers from the government on fears the country is planning to build a nuclear weapon. The confidential quarterly report obtained by multiple news agencies cites “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Iranian-Born American Writer Amil Imani Speaks Out Against Satanic Islam

For many years, Amil Imani has stood against the brutal and patently evil onslaught of Islam which continues to attack the population of his former country Iran—and now the world. Early on, Amil realized the inherent dangers associated with Islam. He and his family were able to flee the country after the Islamic revolution that was foisted upon Iran and in a recent phone conversation, Amil advised me that Iran had—culturally and historically—never been a Muslim nation until they were invaded by Islam…which was largely due to former Democrat US President Jimmy Carter He also very correctly advises his audience that the Left and Islam are part of the same insidious cabal.

The Interview

Sher: Thank you so much for your time, today, Amil. I’d like to jump directly into the subject matter and ask the reasons for your decision to stay in the United States after completing your education. Wasn’t it your initial plan to return to Iran?…

[Return to headlines]

New President Takes Reigns of Power in Yemen

After ruling Yemen for 33 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh has officially vacated the seat of power. Former vice president Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi won the single-candidate presidential election. Yemen’s electoral commission on Friday officially announced that former vice president Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi won the single-candidate presidential election and will succeed long-time ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who returned to Yemen from the US early on Saturday.

The vote was part of a US-sponsored power transitional deal drafted by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations. Mohammed Hussein al-Hakimi, head of the body that oversaw Tuesday’s election, said that 6.6 million people cast ballots out of 10 million registered voters. More than 99 percent of the over 6 million votes cast went to Hadi. Some 15,974 voters marked their ballots to indicate that they did not support the vice president, al-Hakimi said. The only official option on the ballot was to vote “yes” for Hadi.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the election “a positive step forward” and said “it speaks to the fact that Yemenis are ready to move on to their future.” Hadi is set to take the reigns of power after months of uncertainty about whether or not Saleh would actually leave office. Saleh, who was injured in a rocket attack in June 2011, returned to Yemen to attend Hadi’s inauguration ceremony after receiving medical treatment in the US.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: NATO Officers Shot Dead in Kabul Ministry

Two Nato officers have been killed in the interior ministry in the Afghan capital Kabul, coalition officials say.

Nato said an “individual” had turned his gun on the officers but denied earlier reports he was a Westerner.

Afghan security officials said those killed were an American colonel and major. Local media reports suggest the incident followed a “verbal clash”.

Nato commander Gen John Allen said all Nato personnel were being recalled from Afghan ministries on security grounds.

A UK embassy spokesperson had earlier said all British civilians were being withdrawn from the ministries in what was hoped would be a temporary measure.

The shootings come amid five days of deadly protests over the burning of copies of the Koran by US soldiers.

Taliban statement

The interior ministry was put in lock-down after the shootings, officials said.

The BBC’s Orla Guerin in Kabul says eight shots were reported inside the building, which should be one of the safest in the capital, and that any Afghan who carried out the attack would have had the highest clearance.

Local media reports said the gunman was an Afghan policeman but this has not been confirmed…

[Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Airstrike Kills Four Militants in Somalia

An airstrike in Somalia has killed four members of the Islamist group al-Shabab. Officials in Washington said the attack was a US drone strike. A US military drone launched a missile strike in Somalia on Friday, killing four Islamist militants, officials told the Associated Press. An official in Washington confirmed the attack was carried out by a US drone, while a second US official said that the target was an “international” member of the Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Multiple Attacks Hit Northern Nigeria

The northern Nigerian cities of Gombe and Kano have been hit by explosions and shootings that have left at least five people dead. The attacks occurred in an area where a radical Islamist sect is active. Two cities in northern Nigeria were hit on Friday by multiple explosions and the shooting deaths of five Muslim worshippers in an area where the Islamist sect Boko Haram has launched attacks in the past.

In Nigeria’s second city, Kano, police said that gunmen shot dead five people inside a local mosque during evening prayers. Boko Haram launched a devastating attack in Kano in January, which killed 185 people.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

California Asks Judges: Gay or Straight?

By Daniel Halper

In order to make sure gays and lesbians are adequately represented on the judicial bench, the state of California is requiring all judges and justices to reveal their sexual orientation. The announcement was made in an internal memo sent to all California judges and justices.

“[The Administrative Office of the Courts] is contacting all judges and justices to gather data on race/ethnicity, gender identification, and sexual orientation,” reads an email sent by Romunda Price of the Administrative Office of the Courts. A copy of Price’s memo was obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

“Providing complete and accurate aggregate demographic data is crucial to garnering continuing legislative support for securing critically needed judgeships,” Price writes.

The process of self-revealing one’s sexual orientation is an element of a now yearly process. “To ensure that the AOC reports accurate data and to avoid the need to ask all judges to provide this information on an annual basis, the questionnaire asks that names be provided. The AOC, however, will release only aggregate statistical information, by jurisdiction, as required by the Government Code and will not identify any specific justice or judge.”

Philip R. Carrizosa of the executive office of communications at the Judicial Council of California, the Administrative Office of the Courts, confirmed the authenticity of Price’s email regarding gender identification and sexual orientation to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

“Yes, the e-mail is authentic and accurate,” Carrizosa confirmed in an email. “The original bill, which simply provided for 50 new judgeships, was amended in the Assembly in August 2006, to address concerns that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not appointing enough women and minorities to the bench. In 2011, Senator Ellen Corbett expanded the reporting requirement to include gender identification and sexual orientation.”

California state senator Corbett, the Democratic majority leader from the San Francisco suburb San Leandro, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Price’s email also reveals that the Administration Office of the Courts (AOC) is asking for this personal information because of the new law. “For the past five years, the AOC has been required to collect and release aggregate demographic data relative to the ethnicity, race, and gender of justices and judges, by specific jurisdiction, on or before March 1 of each year.

           — Hat tip: JL[Return to headlines]


Space Junk Janitors Should Sweep Up 5 Dead Satellites a Year, Experts Say

Humanity can keep its space-junk problem under control by removing about five big pieces of orbital debris every year from the huge cloud surrounding Earth, experts say. Such an active remediation effort, combined with more passive measures like draining fuel from defunct satellites, would likely keep space-junk levels relatively constant for the next 200 years or so. And there’s more good news: We probably have a decade or two to figure out how to do it, researchers say.

“Orbital debris is a serious issue, but at the same time, the sky is not falling,” J.-C. Liou, of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office in Houston, said during a presentation with the agency’s Future In-Space Operations working group Wednesday (Feb. 22). “I think we can continue to manage the current environment for some time — maybe 10 years or 20 years — before we have to consider debris removal to better preserve the environment for future generations,” Liou added.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman[Return to headlines]