Monday, February 25, 2008

Man Bitten by Shark While on Dive in Florida Dies

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MIAMI  —  An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami.

The crew aboard the Shear Water, of Riviera Beach-based Scuba Adventures, immediately called the U.S. Coast Guard, which received a mayday from the vessel, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

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The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the man was diving with a company that specializes in arranging interactions with sharks. "Please be aware that these are not 'cage' dives; they are open water experiences," the company says on its website, according to the paper.

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The coroner is told that Jarrod Stehbens was not wearing a shark deterrent even though there was one available (file photo).
The coroner is told that Jarrod Stehbens was not wearing a shark deterrent even though there was one available.
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People rest in one of Nairobi's temporary shelters

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Zohra Bensemra of Reuters took this photo of people from the Kikuyu tribe resting today at a temporary shelter in Nairobi's Mathare slum. They are among the thousands of Kenyans who have been displaced in recent weeks by post-election violence in Kenya.
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Friday, February 22, 2008


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So, The New York Times today has a piece on how Hillary Clinton's spending habits aren't exactly in line with what you would expect from a presidential candidate who just recently had to loan herself $5 million to stay competitive with her rival, Barack Obama.
The candidates had to submit January campaign finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission. Clinton's can be seen here, while Obama's is here.
By Liza Porteus Viana
Feb 22nd 2008 11:45AM

Filed Under:eHillary Clinton, Democrats, Barack Obama, 2008 President

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Newborn lemur makes public apperance at Paris zoo

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This lemur, known as Propithecus verreauxi coronatus, is part of an endangered species native to Madagascar.
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Netscape Finally Really Dead

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AOL will officially pull the plug on the Netscape Web browser next week, which raises the question: Netscape is still alive?
This week, the diehards who still use Netscape’s browser received a notice telling them it was time to start using either the Firefox or Flock browsers — for some reason Netscape didn’t suggest switching to Explorer – officially marking the end of an era. This blogger will always remember Netscape fondly for providing access to out-of-town baseball scores in the early days of the Web.
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Football Forecasters Think Too Much

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Each year, columnist Gregg Easterbrook keeps track of errant NFL predictions. He acknowledges in his introduction to this year’s column that he’s only reporting the worst
Full disclosure: Mr. Easterbrook picks on my print colleague Allen St. John for missing on most of his playoff picks
“Here’s the beauty of the Isaacson-Tarbell Postulate: You don’t need incredible insider information, you don’t need to spend hours in fevered contemplation, you don’t even need to know who’s playing,” Mr. Easterbrook wrote. “Simply always check-mark the team with the best record, or, if their records are equal, check-mark the home team.
I’ve written before about how this maxim applies to hurricane forecasts, to conflict scenarios and to political punditry. I
In a recent recap of forecaster accuracy, the Journal’s Justin Lahart noted that the top forecaster scored just 41 out of 100, and the average score was just 18.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Hillary Clinton Will Win Texas

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People, it's not rocket science: If your supporters are so moved by your platform, message and mettle that they can't help but burst into song, nothing--and I mean not even the Swift Kids--can prevent you from mopping up the necessary delegates (and super-delegates) and hoisting your campaign onto the national stage.

In the last few weeks alone, Hillary Clinton fans have produced some memorable, heartfelt and original music videos, including "Hillary4U&Me" and "Hillary Clinton: Making Our Dreams Come True"--two tributes with a grassroots charm and sensitivity that money just can't buy.

Sen. Hillary Clinton will win Texas. And how am I so sure?
By Brandon Barker
Feb 21st 2008 2:55PM

Filed Under:eHillary Clinton, Featured Stories, Viral Video, LOLection

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama Shrugs Off Clinton Plagiarism Charge

Sen. Barack Obama made clear this afternoon that he is decidedly unimpressed with the flap over his decision to borrow a few memorable lines about speechmaking from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D).

Talking with reporters at a titanium plant near Youngstown, Obama said Patrick is a friend and supporter who suggested the lines in answer to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's implication that he offers the nation little more than a pretty voice.

All things considered, Obama said, he should have given Patrick credit for the lines he delivered Saturday night at the Wisconsin Democratic Party's dinner in Milwaukee.

"Well, look, I was on the stump," Obama said when asked why he didn't attribute the lines. "He had suggested we use these lines. I thought they were good lines. I'm sure I should have. Didn't this time."
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In Wisconsin, Obama has edge over Clinton

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While Clinton, the Democratic senator from New York, is behind rival U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in polls leading up to Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, she could pull off an upset, some pundits say.

Obama leads Clinton in pre-primary polls by four or five percentage points, well within the margin of error. And despite her claims that she's setting up a firewall in Ohio and Texas to stop what is becoming an Obama juggernaut, Clinton will be hitting the stump in the Badger State to make sure she at least captures a sizable chunk of the state's 92 delegates and super-delegates.

Wisconsin is a diverse state, known for its progressive politics. With an elaborate public school and college network, the state's electorate is highly educated and has large college-age populations in the capital of Madison as well as other cities throughout the state. There's also a significant working-class demographic in urban centers such as Milwaukee, which once elected a socialist mayor.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Pushing on a string

Ben Bernanke has cut interest rates a lot since last summer. But can he make a difference? Or is he just, as the old line has it, pushing on a string?

Here’s the Fed funds target rate (red line) — which is what the Fed actually controls — versus the interest rate on Baa corporate bonds (blue line), which is probably a better guide to what matters for actual business spending.

It’s pretty grim. Basically, deteriorating credit conditions have offset everything the Fed has done. Doubleplus ungood.

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Jaws Trailer

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Obama and the L-Word

It may no longer be surprising to watch so many young people, African Americans and well-off Democrats fall so hard for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as he battles for the Democratic presidential nomination, but it has been fascinating to see so many conservatives swooning over him lately.
Peggy Noonan, the Reagan-Bush speechwriter, calls him "thoughtful" and praises his "classy campaign."
George Will, the columnist and television pundit, describes him as "an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic 'fights' against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country."
Peter Wehner, the former Bush White House aide, calls Obama "a well-grounded, thoughtful, decent man" whom Republicans "would find it hard to generate much enthusiasm in opposing."

Morning Cheat Sheet

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How Bad is the ISM Report?

The ISM non-manufacturing report came in today, and it’s bad. As I suggested in an earlier post, we should take this seriously: the same report called the upturn in employment in summer 2003, so the fact that it has fallen off a cliff should worry us.
But how bad is it? The latest report has an employment diffusion index of 43.9 (50 means no change, anything less than 50 means job contraction). Here’s the historical relationship between the index (horizontal axis) and the actual monthly change in employment, in thousands (vertical axis), data since July 1997. If this report is at all right, we’re in serious recession territory.

Add: As explained above, the horizontal axis is the ISM employment index, the vertical axis is the change in nonfarm employment over the following month. Fwiw, the best-fit relationship says that this month’s report portends a loss of 137,000 jobs next month. You don’t want to take that too seriously, but it’s appropriate to cry “eek”.

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