Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin, Missouri Tornado, Total Devastation (pictures)

Tornado Ravages Joplin, Missouri Amazing Pictures

Tornado Ravages Joplin, Missouri - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic

First Person video of Joplin MO tornado 5/22/11

Europe's Obamaphilia says more about its own weakness than the US president

Europe's Obamaphilia says more about its own weakness than the US president | Gary Younge | Comment is free | The Guardian

Obama in Berlin
Barack Obama greets a Berlin audience during a visit in 2008, before he was elected US president. Photograph: Rainer Jensen/EPA

In his book Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama described himself as a Rorschach test – the famous psychological experiment where people are shown a series of ink blots and asked to identify what they see in them. There is no right answer. But each response in its own way, is thought to reveal the patient's obsessions and anxieties.

So it is with Obama. In the last week he has been disparaged as the "most successful food stamp president in history" by Newt Gingrich and a spineless "black mascot" of Wall Street by the prominent black academic Cornel West.

"I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views," he said. "As such I am bound to disappoint some if not all of them."

But one of the most curious things about those who support him most is not their disappointments – given their high hopes for him, that's to be expected – but their enduring devotion in the face of those disappointments. It's as though each single disillusionment is consumed as its own discrete letdown. String them together and you have not a narrative of failing to deliver on promises, but a litany of isolated, separate chapters – each with its own caveats, exceptions and explanations.

This has long been true of black voters in the US, who somehow manage to feel more optimistic about America than ever, even as they are doing worse in it. Unemployment, poverty and foreclosure rates have risen to rates far higher than under George Bush, and the gap in opportunities between blacks and whites increases. Nonetheless, black Americans remain Obama's most loyal base. They are suffering from 16% unemployment, but they continue to give him 80% approval.

The same apparent contradictions underpin European attitudes to Obama, which have barely changed since his emergence as a credible presidential candidate. A Pew research poll published in July 2008, before the elections, revealed that Obama was more popular in Europe than any other continent, including North America.

116 killed by Missouri tornado, tying it for deadliest on record

116 killed by Missouri tornado, tying it for deadliest on record -

On CNN tonight at 9 ET, Piers Morgan has more on the recovery effort. At 10 ET on "AC360ยบ," Anderson Cooper reports live from Joplin and has firsthand accounts of surviving the tornado.
Read more about this story from CNN affiliates KOTV, KSHB andKODE. Share your stories, photos and video with iReport.

Joplin, Missouri (CNN) -- The toll in the tornado that ripped through Joplin soared to 116 on Monday, a city official said, tying it for the single deadliest twister to ever hit American soil since the National Weather Service began keeping records 61 years ago.

City Manager Mark Rohr told reporters that people from more than 40 agencies are on the ground in the southwest Missouri city, braving relentless rain and devastating wreckage looking for survivors. They found seven people alive Monday, he said, though the number of fatalities rose to a level unmatched since a tornado struck Flint, Michigan, on June 8, 1953.

"We're going to cover every foot of this town," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said from the National Guard Armory in Joplin. "We are ... optimistic that there are still lives to be saved. But (first responders) have seen a tremendous amount of pain already."

The Sunday-evening tornado chewed through a densely populated area of the city, causing hundreds of injuries as it tore apart homes and businesses, ripped into a high school and caused severe damage to one of the two hospitals in the city. Based on preliminary estimates, the twister ranked as an EF4 with winds between 190 and 198 mph, National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said.

Live Blog: Latest updates on the tornado

Rand Paul on Extension of the Patriot Act: 05/23/11

Joplin Missouri Tornado - BEST AfterMath Video (Dog Saved Live) (Has Som...

Joplin Missouri Tornado - Hospital Destroyed - 5/22/2011

Joplin, Missouri Tornado Video: Storm Chasers Capture Storm's Fury (05.2...

The Real Reason for NATO Attacking Libya EXPOSED

Luke's Tour

Why is America the 'no-vacation nation'?

Why is America the 'no-vacation nation'? -

(CNN) -- Let's be blunt: If you like to take lots of vacation, the United States is not the place to work.

Besides a handful of national holidays, the typical American worker bee gets two or three precious weeks off out of a whole year to relax and see the world -- much less than what people in many other countries receive.

And even that amount of vacation often comes with strings attached.

Some U.S. companies don't like employees taking off more than one week at a time. Others expect them to be on call or check their e-mail even when they're lounging on the beach or taking a hike in the mountains.

"I really would like to take a real, decent vacation and travel somewhere, but it's almost impossible to take a long vacation and to be out of contact," said Don Brock, a software engineer who lives in suburban Washington.

"I dream of taking a cruise or a trip to Europe, but I can't imagine getting away for so long."

The running joke at Brock's company is that a vacation just means you work from somewhere else. So he takes one or two days off at a time and loses some vacation each year. Only 57% of U.S. workers use up all of the days they're entitled to, compared with 89% of workers in France, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Brock's last long holiday was more than 10 years ago, when he took a two-week drive across the country.

'Americans work like robots'

It's a totally different story in other parts of the world.

Nancy Schimkat, an American who lives in Weinheim, Germany, said her German husband, an engineer, gets six weeks of paid vacation a year, plus national holidays -- the norm. His company makes sure he takes all of it.

It's typical for Germans to take off three consecutive weeks in August when "most of the country kind of closes down," Schimkat said. That's the time for big trips, perhaps to other parts of Europe, or to Australia or North America. Germans might also book a ski holiday in the winter and take a week off during Easter.

Schimkat's family back in the United States teases her that she's spoiled. But when she tells Germans that workers in the U.S. usually get two weeks of vacation a year, they cringe.

"They kind of have this idea that Americans work like robots and if that's the way they want to be, that's up to them. But they don't want to be like that," Schimkat said.

Saif al-Adel, Al Qaeda Leader, Linked To Murder Of Daniel Pearl: Study

Saif al-Adel, Al Qaeda Leader, Linked To Murder Of Daniel Pearl: Study

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian militant recently appointed interim leader of al Qaeda operations, has been linked to the killing of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, U.S. investigators said in a report.

A Wall Street Journal reporter, Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan's biggest city of Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on Islamist militants, and was later beheaded.

The findings by investigators of the Pearl Project revealed al-Adel had discussed Pearl's abduction with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, also known as KSM, the accused mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

"KSM told the FBI that he was pulled into the kidnapping by a high-level leader in al Qaeda circles, an Egyptian named Saif al-Adel, who told him to make the kidnapping an al Qaeda operation," said the investigators in their report which was published in January.

Journalism academics and students set up the Pearl Project at Georgetown University in the United States to investigate Pearl's kidnapping and murder.

The linkage of al-Adel to Pearl's murder shows the long-standing ties between al Qaeda and Pakistan militancy, which flourishes not only in the lawless northwest along the Afghan border but in Karachi and other urban centers.

Barack Obama agrees to form joint national security body with UK

Barack Obama agrees to form joint national security body with UK -

Source: Guardian

Barack Obama will announce during his first state visit to Britain this week that the White House is to open up its highly secretive national security council to Downing Street in a move that appears to show the US still values the transatlantic “special relationship”.

A joint National Security Strategy Board will be established to ensure that senior officials on both sides of the Atlantic confront long-term challenges rather than just hold emergency talks from the “situation room” in the White House and the Cobra room in the Cabinet Office.

Obama will arrive in London on Tuesday from Dublin on the second leg of a European tour that will also take him to Warsaw and the G8 summit in Deauville in France on Thursday and Friday. The president, who will stay at Buckingham Palace with his wife, Michelle, will hold separate meetings with David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

The main talks between Cameron and Obama on Wednesday will cover Afghanistan, Libya and counter-terrorism. The two leaders, who will serve the food at a barbecue hosted by their wives in the Downing Street garden for US and UK military veterans, will make two major announcements:

• Tom Donilon, the US national security adviser, will work more closely with his British counterpart, Sir Peter Ricketts, to examine longer-term issues on the new National Security Strategy Board. Ricketts is to be replaced in the summer by Kim Darroch, currently Britain’s permanent representative to the EU.

Read Full Article Here...

Excited by power, Obama ignores legal restraints

Excited by power, Obama ignores legal restraints | Timothy P. Carney | Politics | Washington Examiner

Rand Paul On AC 360 About Obama Breaking The Law In Libya (War Powers Act)

Donald Rumsfeld confronted on Aspartame and Iraq War

Monday Morning Commoncents with Jay 05/23 by Commoncents Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Monday Morning Commoncents with Jay 05/23 by Commoncents Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Rand Paul pushes Libya resolution, decries ‘do-nothing’ Senate

Rand Paul pushes Libya resolution, decries ‘do-nothing’ Senate | The Raw Story

In a contentious interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) expressed frustrationat the slow pace of the U.S. Senate, saying that given how little the deliberative body actually accomplishes, he feels sometimes, "like I should return my check".

“We go up week to week, and there's no debate in Congress, no debate in the Senate. We sit idly by," he said.

Paul's frustration stems from the lack of support by Democratic and Republican colleagues for his resolution claiming that U.S. intervention in Libya is "unconstitutional". The Senator has struggled to even bring the resolution to the floor, where it was tabled in a 90-10 vote.

The son of presidential hopeful Ron Paul is invoking the 1973 War Powers Act, which states that the President of the United States must get Congressional authorization within 60 days of taking any military action. If the Congress rules against the action, then it must stop within 30 days.

President Obama notified Congress of the Libyan intervention by letter on March 21, meaning that the 60-day wait expired on Friday.

Paul is facing resistance from members of both parties, who are currently drawing up a bipartisan resolution in the Senate affirming Congressional support for the Libya mission.

Jerome Corsi: Criminal Fraud Committed By White House To Keep Obama In Office; Challenges Mainstream Media & Bill O’Reilly

Jerome Corsi: Criminal Fraud Committed By White House To Keep Obama In Office; Challenges Mainstream Media & Bill O’Reilly

Birther Report
May 23, 2011

Video: WND’s Dr. Jerome Corsi challenges the mainstream media and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. The White House committed criminal fraud to keep Obama AKA Soetoro AKA Soebarkah in office. The interview was on WABC Radio and aired on 5/22/11.

IMF Board Approves $36.8 Billion Loan to Portugal

IMF Board Approves $36.8 Billion Loan to Portugal - Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund approved a 26 billion-euro ($36.8 billion) loan to Portugal as part of a joint bailout with the European Union in the latest effort to stem the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

The Washington-based institution will make 6.1 billion euros available immediately, the fund said in an e-mailed statement today. The IMF followed European officials, who on May 16 endorsed the 78-billion ($110 billion) joint package.

“The Portuguese authorities have put forward a program that is economically well-balanced and has growth and job creation at its center,” Acting Managing Director John Lipsky said in the e-mailed statement today. “It addresses the fundamental problem in Portugal - low growth - with a policy mix based on restoring competitiveness through structural reforms, ensuring a balanced fiscal consolidation path, and stabilizing the financial sector.”

The backing for Portugal comes less than two days after the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director, who was indicted yesterday in New York on charges including attempted rape. French Finance Minister Christine Lagardeemerged as the leading contender to replace him, with officials including Angela Merkel arguing that a European is needed for the job because of the region’s debt woes.

The loan to Portugal has a duration of three years, the IMF said.

“The financing package is designed to allow Portugal some breathing space from borrowing in the markets while it demonstrates implementation of the policy steps needed to get the economy back on track,” the IMF said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington

After Altercation, Philadelphia Police Say They Won't Look the Other Way on Open-Carry Gun Owners

After Altercation, Philadelphia Police Say They Won't Look the Other Way on Open-Carry Gun Owners -

With a shocking altercation between Philadelphia police and a 25-year-old IT worker putting the spotlight back on open-carry gun laws, local authorities are warning gun owners that they will be "inconvenienced" if they carry unconcealed handguns in the city.

Lt. Raymond Evers, a spokesman for the city police, told that gun owners who open carry, which is legal in the city, may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits.

"Philadelphia, in certain areas, is very dangerous," he said. "There's a lot of gun violence." Several officers have been killed in the line of duty in the past three years, local authorities say.

The warning comes after Mark Fiorino, a suburban Philadelphia IT worker, posted an audiotape to YouTube of his tense, 45-minute encounter with police in February over his exposed handgun. The video went viral and captured national attention.

After Fiorino released the audiotape, he was charged with disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. He now faces up to two years in prison.

Read more:

Joplin tornado death toll soars to 89

Joplin tornado death toll soars to 89
Midwest Storms

UPDATED at 5:40 a.m. with death toll at 89; at 6:10 a.m. with information from fire chief.

JOPLIN, Mo. • A massive tornado that tore through the southwest Missouri city of Joplin killed at least 89 people, but authorities warned that the death toll could climb Monday as search and rescuers continued their work at sunrise.

City manager Mark Rohr announced the number of known dead at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday's storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town.

Much of the city's south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.

Fire Chief Mitch Randles estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the city was damaged, and said his own home was among the buildings destroyed as the twister swept through this city of about 50,000 people some 160 miles south of Kansas City.

"It cut the city in half," Randles said.

An unknown number of people were injured in the storm, and officials said patients were scattered to any nearby hospitals that could take them.

A door-to-door search of the damaged area was to begin Monday morning, but authorities were expected to move gingerly around downed power lines, jagged debris and a series of gas leaks that caused fires around the city overnight.

"We will recover and come back stronger than we are today," Rohr said defiantly of his city's future.


Gov. Jay Nixon activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency Sunday night. His office said that state and local law enforcement agencies were coordinating search and rescue and recovery operations in the stricken areas.

Emergency management officials rushed heavy equipment to Joplin to help lift debris and clear the way for search and recovery operations.

Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer said St. John's Hospital on the city's south side had taken a "direct hit." He said there were multiple reports of injuries from the twister, which struck about 6 p.m. Sunday.

Cora Scott, a spokeswoman at the hospital's sister facility, St. John's Hospital in Springfield, said the tornado had hit a patient wing in Joplin.

Hundreds of windows were blown out at the hospital, where a few moments' notice gave staff time to hustle patients into hallways before the tornado struck the building. The patients were evacuated into the parking lot to be moved to other hospitals in the region.

The storm spread debris about 60 miles away, with medical records, X-rays, insulation and other items falling to the ground in Greene County, said Larry Woods, assistant director of the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.

Stammer said emergency responders were conducting search and rescue operations. The Joplin Globe reported that widespread damage could be seen along the city's most densely built commercial strip.

The paper cited catastrophic damage to Joplin High School, as well as major damage to an elementary and middle school in town.

Angie Besendorfer, assistant superintendent of the Joplin School District, said the twister damaged Joplin High, Cecil Floyd Elementary, Franklin Technology Center and the central office building. Some of the schools that escaped damage were being opened as shelters.

The high school graduation had been held at Missouri Southern State University in the afternoon. Many people barely got home before the twister hit.

There also were broadcast reports of damaged businesses and vehicles overturned on highway entrances elsewhere around or near the city. The roofs of two city fire stations collapsed.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Missouri Southern for people left homeless by the tornado. Red Cross shelter manager Perry Elkins said people were already waiting at the university's Leggett & Platt Athletic Center as he drove up about 11 p.m.

In addition to food and cots, the Red Cross had mental health counselors on hand at the shelter.

Missouri Southern and the regional Red Cross chapter signed an agreement just three weeks ago to work together in emergency preparedness and response.

President Barack Obama said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was working with state and local agencies in response to a tornado. He also issued a statement Sunday night sending condolences to families of those who died in storms in Joplin and others across the Midwest.

Earlier in the day, a weak tornado began to form near Higginsville, Mo., and dissipated just as it hit the town of Waverly, said National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Bailey. The twister caused minor damage to trees and removed the roof of a mobile home, Bailey said.

Waverly is about 55 miles east of Kansas City in Lafayette County.