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Weekend News Digest

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Now with World, U.S. News, and Politics.

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1 Pakistanis flee offensive as U.S. sees fresh resolve

By Junaid Khan and Paul Eckert, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

KOTA, Pakistan/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistan has been roused to fight the “existential threat” of a growing Islamist insurgency, the top U.S. commander for the Afghan-Pakistan war theater said on Sunday, as Islamabad intensified an offensive against Taliban militants.

Army General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said Pakistan’s fierce campaign against the Taliban in the Swat valley was a sign its political leaders, people and military were united against the Islamist fighters.

“The actions of the Pakistani Taliban … seem to have galvanized all of Pakistan,” he told the “Fox News Sunday” program.

Happy Mother’s Day

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

Weekend News Digest

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1 Gunships and planes strike Pakistan Taliban in Swat

By Junaid Khan, Reuters

32 mins ago

MINGORA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistani helicopter gunships and warplanes hit Taliban positions in the militants’ Swat Valley stronghold Saturday, while a curfew prevented civilians from fleeing the fighting.

The struggle in the northwestern valley 130 km (80 miles) from Islamabad has become a test of Pakistan’s resolve to fight a growing insurgency that has alarmed the West.

The military said up to 55 militants were killed in the day’s clashes in Swat and four soldiers wounded, and that several militants had died in separate clashes close to the Afghan border. The figures could not be independently confirmed.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

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1 U.S. House climate control negotiations intensify

By Richard Cowan, Reuters

Tue May 5, 12:03 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Negotiations in the U.S. House of Representatives on how to cut industrial pollutants that cause global warming reach a critical stage this week as President Barack Obama huddles with key lawmakers on Tuesday and Republicans ready for a fight.

A House Energy and Commerce panel hopes to fill in details later this week on a bill that aims to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 — using 2005 as a base year.

A White House official said the meeting between Obama and some Democratic members of the panel would review provisions being negotiated by lawmakers, as well as the timetable for moving the controversial legislation through the House.

Weekend News Digest

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1 Gates optimistic on 2010 U.S. defense budget success

Reuters

2 hrs 18 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview aired on Sunday that he is optimistic his recommendations for overhauling defense spending can survive an upcoming budget fight in Congress.

Gates told CNN that he has been surprised by the limited scope of criticism aimed so far at his recommendations for the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins October 1, and had heard some “important voices raised in support.”

“I’m relatively optimistic, actually,” he said in the interview, which was taped last week. “I think we’ve presented, as one news magazine referred to it, a radically sane set of proposals. They don’t represent a cut, and where we have eliminated one program, you have added to others.”

Late Edition

I’m sorry but my machine is acting really hinky and while I’ve been working on it for 4 hours now, my next diagnostic step involves a fresh OS install which will take about 2 hours and during which I’ll not have ‘net access.

I’ll be back when I can with WND and in the mean time you can use this open thread to complain about your computers so I won’t feel so stupid.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

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1 Mexico sees flu stabilizing but world on guard

By Catherine Bremer, Reuters

40 mins ago

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s flu outbreak appeared to be stabilizing on Saturday but officials warned it was too early to ease vigilance against an unpredictable virus which still threatens a global pandemic.

“It would still be imprudent to say that we’re past the worst of it but I do think…we are in a stage of stabilization,” Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters.

In Geneva, a World Health Organization official said the virus had not spread in a sustained way outside North America, as would be required before the global pandemic alert level is raised to its highest level — but he added he still expected this to happen.

Our Place in the Universe

I really like DocuDharma and my family does too.  My brother actually posts here on occasion and my Aunt is a regular reader.

What they tell me sets this place apart is that we are mellow and relaxed and I definitely think that’s the kind of atmosphere that buhdy and the rest of the founders intended to create, a space where you are free to express yourself in ways that are not rigidly limited by considerations of electoral victory.

I think our site’s tone is an accurate reflection of it’s readership and contributors.  I’ve always tried to feature the essays of others.  My opinions are mine to the extent I express them and to me that includes signing off on my promotions though I don’t always check every link.  All the Contributing Editors have the power to promote or at least draw attention to content so if you feel you’ve been unfairly overlooked all I can say is I’m sorry my arbitrary laziness offended.

While others aspire to more lofty goals I’m happy that we can give some exposure and consideration to content that might get missed at faster paced blogs, not that we’re slow.  We have 14 regularly scheduled slots a day that we mostly fill with member promotions.

Our anchor spots are mishima’s Late Night Karoke (3 am et) and early morning (7:30 am et) DocuDharma Times, Robyn’s (6 am et) Muse in the Morning, and Magnifico’s 4 @ 4 (pm, et).

Almost every day buhdy has something to say around 2 pm (et).

The regular weekly contributors are mishima again with Random Japan Fridays midnight (et), Pony Parties are published 2 pm (et) Wednesdays and 11 am (et) Sundays.  I kick in with Weekend News Digests on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm (et), Monday Business Update and Wednesday Science Supplement at 8 am (et).  Robyn has Friday Philosophy (6 pm et), Nightprowlkitty the aptly named Friday Night at 8 (pm et).  NLinStPaul is Sunday at 11 am (et).

Otherwise it’s up to you.

The payoff should be eyeballs.  In addition to the editorial freedom you have to create something that conforms to your own “artistic vision” (that I have no hesitation crushing like a bug without explanation should I decide to promote you), everything you publish here is more exposure for your work.

You can’t count on comments to measure effectiveness, between us and Democrats.com we’ve rounded up about 50,000 signatures urging AG Holder to prosecute torture.

But the bottom line is that I want to encourage your active participation- commenting, publishing, and contributing.  I value the service we provide and I hope you do too.

Also.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Purity

HarlequinSome people are using Arlen Specter as an example of what happens to a party that demands “purity”.  Instead it’s a perfect example of “beltway think”.

You see Arlen feels his 29 years as a Washington Weasel entitles him to another six regardless of his constituents.

He is a valuable unique man.  A Galtian architect of policy.  A super hero of moderate conservatism and upholder of the two party system.

A thoroughgoing Villager with no connection to the voting public he supposedly Represents.

He actually represents only those interests who promote and provide his lifestyle of privilege and uses his power only to protect them from the righteous wrath of the shafted 99%.

What an aristocrat.

What a vain pompous ass.

How typical.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

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1 Envoys more optimistic for climate treaty

by Shaun Tandon, AFP

Tue Apr 28, 10:52 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Top climate envoys said they were more optimistic about sealing a global warming deal this year after a US-led meeting of major economies, but they sparred on the level of their commitments.

US President Barack Obama, who champions aggressive action against global warming, invited negotiators from 17 other major economies including developing powers such as China and India to meet in Washington.

The talks came as the clock ticks to a December meeting in Copenhagen that is meant to approve a new global treaty to slow down the planet’s rising temperatures.

Breaking: Specter Switches!

Arlen Specter has released a statement that says he will change party affiliation to Democrat, giving Democrats a 60 – 40 margin in the Senate when Al Franken is seated.

This is no doubt due to polls showing that Toomey easily wins the Republican primary.

His full statement below.

Monday Morning Business Update

Old News

Saturday

1 U.S. offers strong backing for IMF governance overhaul

By Glenn Somerville, Reuters

2 hrs 46 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Saturday pledged robust support for an overhaul of governing power within the International Monetary Fund so key emerging-market nations get more say in how the lender operates.

In a speech to the IMF’s steering committee, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also called on the Fund to be prepared to offer loans to recapitalize banks or to aid developing countries in rolling over corporate debt.

Geithner’s proposals, delivered in a strongly worded address at the IMF’s semiannual meeting, are likely to provoke some controversy among the other industrialized countries who, with the United States, have long dominated the global lender.

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