Archive for August 2008
Straight from This Is London: “Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a “declaration of war” by Russia.
The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin’s envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.
And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea.”
“A US official said Tuesday, Aug. 19, that the dummy Safir satellite carrier launched by Tehran Sunday, Aug. 17, failed “shortly after liftoff and in no way reached its intended position.” DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources disclose that the launch did not fail at that point but nevertheless did not reach its intended orbit around Earth.”
Straight from the Debka File: “The head of Iran’s aerospace program qualified Tehran’s earlier announcement that its first home-made communications was launched Sunday, Aug. 17. Reza Taghizadeh said: “The Safir satellite carrier was launched today and for the first time we successfully launched a dummy satellite into orbit.”
Earlier, the Iranian news network IRNN showed footage of what it called a domestically-manufactured communications satellite named Safir-e Omid being launched in darkness, accompanied by patriotic hymns.
DEBKAfile reports form one Iranian source that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally recited the countdown.
Our military sources stress that confirmation of Iran’s successful launch would represent a strategic breakthrough, testifying to Tehran’s long-range missile delivery capability, possibly armed with nuclear warheads, to distances of thousands of kilometers, against Israel and beyond; Europe and parts of Asia would also be in range. The missile program has been advancing in parallel to Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon.
Iran would also have paved the way for spy satellites. If verified, Iran’s space achievement would offset one of Israel’s prime military assets, its superiority in space technology.
According to our sources, Tehran caught Israel, the United States and both their undercover agencies by surprise. They knew Iran was working on a space program but not how close the Iranians were to placing a satellite in orbit.
Our sources believe that the capsule was boosted by the Shehab-5 missile, whose range the Iranians boast is up to 5,000 km and, according to some military experts, reaches 7,000 km.
The Islamic Republic’s reported feat comes at a bad time for Moscow internationally. The Russians emphatically dismiss America’s argument for installing missile interceptors in Poland as a shield against Iranian ballistic missile attack, claiming they were aimed at Russia. The Kremlin accuses the Bush administration using this false claim as a pretext, because Iran had not so far developed a ballistic threat. Now, that proof may have been provided Sunday, Moscow will have to reconsider its position.”
Straight from LatinoReview: “Following up on an earlier article, one of my contacts deep within the bowels of Hollywood and close to the Punisher: War Zone project (source will not be named. Sorry!) told me today that the big fight over the Punisher project is Lionsgate wants a PG-13 cut to be released.
We already know that Lexi Alexander has allegedly been fired from the film. Her own website doesn’t even mention anything about the Punisher movie anymore. You would think that even if she were a consultant on the project, she’d be mentioning this huge comic book movie coming out later this year, but that isn’t the case.
Of course, Lionsgate can always say, “This was never intended to be PG-13. We always had an R rating in mind.” but I trust Hollywood as far as I can throw it. I’m sure there’s some Lionsgate exec thinking this film can do what The Dark Knight has done with a PG-13 rating.
And I’m betting it’s the Dark Knight impact having something to do with this internal battle over the cut of the film. Dark Knight is PG-13 and made a ton of money. But this isn’t Batman. This is The Punisher. The Punisher kills people. Violently. I don’t want a PG-13 movie, and I especially don’t want one after seeing the ultra violent red band trailer.
What do you guys think? Is Lionsgate going nuts over here? Who really wants a PG-13 Punisher movie? I’m pretty sure the actual fans of the comic book don’t. Voice your opinion below or e-mail email@example.com and let Lionsgate know fans of the comic want to see The Punisher do some actual punishing!”
Straight from Fox News: “PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan’s top civilian security official has vowed to “wipe out” Islamic militants in a volatile tribal region where more than 460 insurgents and 22 troops have died in 10 days of fighting.
Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said Pakistani intelligence have reports that about 3,000 armed militants are present in the northwestern region of Bajur, which borders Afghanistan. He said they included Pakistanis, Afghan Taliban and Central Asians.
Pakistani army helicopter gunships and jets have been pounding militant positions since the fighting broke out Aug. 6. Malik told a news conference Friday, “We will wipe them out.”
Provincial Gov. Owais Ahmed Ghani said some 219,000 residents have been displaced by the fighting.”
Straight from TorrentFreak: “If you read a mainstream media news report about file sharing or talk to a reporter about (illicit) filesharing, you would think that the only case involving the RIAA was Capitol V Thomas, a case that made news nationwide for the size of the fines. However, there are a number of cases going on around the country, cases where the RIAA did not win.
One of the most under-reported is Atlantic V Anderson, which has taken over 3 years from start to finish. The RIAA eventually dropped it with prejudice, meaning they accept the fault was theirs in this case. A similar thing happened in the case against another alleged filesharer, Foster, but both cases were relatively under-reported in mainstream media.
Copyright law, like most other aspects of civil law, allows for the prevailing party to recoup legal fees and costs incurred in the case. This is exactly what Foster and Anderson did, with success. The Foster case was awarded over $68,000 in attorney fees and costs. Likewise, the Anderson case was awarded fees and costs but of a substantially greater amount; $107,834 to be precise, in an order dated July 28th 2008.
It is encouraging to finally hear that last night, the RIAA and the member companies that were involved in the case finally paid the fees (they refused first), putting an end to this protracted legal wrangling. The amount paid was not, however, $107,834 but a figure of $107,951 – a figure which takes into account interest accrued due to delay.
It should be noted that while this is the end of Atlantic V Anderson, it is not the end of Anderson V Atlantic, the case where Ms Anderson is taking her former accusers to task over their practices in this field. It is a heartening victory, and one that is spurring the tide.
So, with Thomas looking to head to a mistrial, making the $222,000 judgment null and void, the two largest decisions in the RIAA’s ‘war on downloading’ have been against them. In both cases the RIAA admitted it was wrong, and ordered to pay the fees.”
Straight from the Football Wire: “
- The Jets will give up a third rounder if the team doesn’t win the Super Bowl. If they do, and Favre plays 75% of the snaps then that will turn into a first rounder.
- The Jets protected themselves against a one-and-done year from him. If he doesn’t play beyond 2008 then the Packers will give up a late round pick (5th, 6th or 7th).
- The Packers did include a clause in the contract that states if Favre is traded to the Vikings then the compensation escalates to three first round picks.
- He will be in New York for their first preseason game but won’t play.
- Chad Pennington is likely gone. He’s due $6 million this year.
- By week 8 of the season, the Packers will be very sorry for trading Favre.
- The Bucs were sure they had Favre wrapped up. Even the way Gruden and Garcia talked it sounded like it was a done deal.”
Straight from Yahoo Sports: “GREEN BAY, Wis. – If you’re one of those people who’s sick and tired of the Brett Favre Saga, rest assured that Michael John McCarthy is a kindred spirit.
It was the Packers’ third-year coach whose distaste for the drama pushed the situation to its imminent resolution, with a reported trade to the New York Jets late Wednesday night. McCarthy is also responsible for having successfully persuaded the legendary quarterback to give up his dream of playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay’s NFC North rival, in an effort to end the month-long stalemate between Favre and his soon-to-be-former employers.
After the Packers’ training camp practice at Clark Hinkle Field on Wednesday morning, McCarthy smiled broadly when asked about his team, rather than the messy departure of its longtime quarterback.
Naturally, his answer quickly devolved into an assessment of Favre’s three-day sojourn to Green Bay and its effect upon the 79 other players he has been short-changing in terms of attention.
“From the outside of the white lines to the inside, they just want it resolved,” McCarthy said. “They don’t want to answer the questions anymore. They’re a little irritated. Unfortunately, they watch TV, they go home to their families, and everybody is asking them what’s going on. It will be nice to finally have an answer.”
A resolution came Wednesday night, and that was largely because McCarthy demanded it. If Favre wanted to force the Packers’ hand by flying from his Mississippi home to Green Bay on Sunday and reporting to camp the next day, he was ultimately successful. However sloppy his delivery and subsequent sniping at his superiors in the media, the quarterback brought an uncomfortable situation to a pressure point and compelled the Packers to act.
When McCarthy saw the drama and uncertainty negatively impacting his players, specifically in the form of a ragged practice on Tuesday afternoon, he decided he’d had enough.
On Tuesday night, McCarthy addressed the players and told them that the “worst was over” and that it was time for the team to move on. He also apologized for the events of the previous night, when his sit-down with Favre dragged on so long that he was forced to cancel a team meeting and skip a position meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ other quarterbacks.
“At some point, for me, it’s an issue of job-responsibility,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “If you’re doing six hours of this stuff, that takes you away from all of your other duties as a head coach. I know I still gave them a plan going into (Tuesday’s) practice, but when you see it look so lousy, you feel responsible.”
He was happier after Wednesday morning’s practice, which he said was much crisper. By then, Favre was preparing to fly home to Mississippi (he departed Wednesday afternoon), content that a trade had been fast-tracked and that he’d soon be reporting to another team’s training camp.
If Favre’s return galvanized the franchise, McCarthy and his fellow decision-makers (CEO Mark Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson) nonetheless continued to regard the quarterback’s steadfast desire to play for the Vikings as unacceptable. The animosity between the organizations had increased after the Packers formally accused the Vikings of tampering in conjunction with an effort to obtain Favre, a charge that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later ruled was unfounded.
McCarthy, for his part, had to convince Favre to let go of his yearning to play for the Vikings. The coach told Favre that it wasn’t going to happen, that the tension between the franchises predated both of them and would outlive each of them.
Once Favre wrapped his head around that, going to Tampa Bay (the Bucs were also heavily involved in trade talks with the Packers) or New York didn’t seem so distasteful.
It wasn’t merely that the Packers wanted to keep Favre away from the Vikings or fellow NFC North foe Chicago. Thompson and McCarthy also had a strong desire not to give away their still capable quarterback for nothing, or close to it.
Most of all, the organization didn’t want to validate Favre’s behavior of the past few months by letting him get his way. Since Favre retired in March – and told McCarthy he’d had a change of heart weeks later, only to change his mind again – McCarthy and Thompson have repeatedly been stung by the critical comments he has made to various reporters about them, including the assertion that they were dishonest. To allow him to go to Minnesota would be catering to the wishes of an employee they felt was borderline insubordinate.
“No way,” one source familiar with the GM’s and coach’s thinking said on Tuesday. “Not with the way he keeps opening his mouth and trashing everybody. We keep biting our tongues and trying to take the high road, and every time he goes into a meeting and they agree to keep it confidential, he goes running to the media and rips them in the press. And now, to give him exactly what he wants and let him go for nothing? Forget about it.”
How blatantly did Favre disregard the wishes of his superiors? In his hours-long meeting with McCarthy on Monday night, one of the coach’s direct complaints to the quarterback was that he was tired of having their supposedly confidential conversations leaked in the press. McCarthy told Favre, point-blank, that he didn’t want to turn on his TV or computer after the meeting ended and see quotes from Favre, anonymous or otherwise, discussing the interaction.
Yet on Tuesday morning, an article turned up on espn.com with numerous quotes from Favre. The quarterback said, among other things, the Packers had “planted” inaccurate stories about him and that “they tried to buy me off to stay retired” – a reference to the reported 10-year, $20-million marketing deal the team offered. Favre also provided specifics of his conversation with McCarthy, in direct violation of the coach’s previously stated wishes.
The Packers believe Favre’s wife, Deanna, and agent, Bus Cook, helped inflame the situation by advising him to speak out and by amplifying the negative rhetoric about the way he was treated by the team. At one point during the meeting with McCarthy on Monday night, Favre fielded a phone call from his wife and had a conversation with her as the coach waited, a source said.
At that point, the coach was already fed up – and he became less inclined to sanitize his thoughts about the situation. As McCarthy mentioned in his news conference Tuesday, when he essentially announced that Favre’s time as a Packer had ended, his role as a team spokesman during the month-long saga had worn on him as well.
“I’m a football coach,” he said Wednesday. “I know (talking to the media) is part of my job description, and I don’t mind doing it, but I have no desire to stand out there and answer all the political questions. I’m going to tell the truth, and that’s that. I’m not going to be politically correct. I’m sick of it.”
He was sick of the whole thing. And because of that, Favre will soon be wearing a Jets uniform.”
Straight from Fox Sports: “Packers trade Favre to Jets. The month-long saga has finally come to an end, with the Packers agreeing to trade their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to the New York Jets, FOXSports.com first reported Wednesday night. In return, the Packers will receive a conditional fourth-round pick that could end up as high as a first-rounder depending upon how the Jets perform during the 2008 season.”