Friday, February 18, 2011

911 audio released of call made

PHOENIX - A week after "Malcolm in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz called police from his Phoenix home, we are getting a glimpse of the fight that prompted the 911 call that was made at 10:18 p.m.

911: Tell me your name
Muniz: I, I don't want to make a big deal because I’m, I’m a celebrity.

A woman in the background cries out: “Oh my God!”

That’s about the only time you can make out what she is saying.

Muniz: You need to calm down. (woman heard screaming in the background)
911: Frankie? She sounds really upset.

Muniz says that woman is his girlfriend, “her name's Elycia.”

Police list 25-year-old Francisco Muniz and 33-year-old Elycia Marie Turnbow as both suspect and victim of disorderly conduct.

Muniz told the operator, “Like, my girlfriend is drunk and she's going crazy and she's trashing my house. Literally lamps, everything and she's going crazy she's hitting me in the face. I don't know what to do because I’m, I’m about to lose control.”

As the 911 dispatcher tries to gather more information Muniz begs with her not to make this a big deal. He even begins to backtrack letting the dispatcher know he doesn’t even want anyone to come, he just was hoping she could help him calm her down.

“I don't want any charges; I just want her to stop throwing stuff,” Muniz says.

According to the police report, when officers arrived, Elycia claimed Frankie hit her and at one point held a gun to his own head.

Since nobody was there, it’s a he said, she said.

All we’ve got is what we can hear on the tape.

Muniz: Babe you just damaged the house you're still damaging it. Just leave it, leave it where it is babe.
Turnbow: You just hit me!
Muniz: I did not hit you, you punched me in the face because I was sleeping.

To the 911 dispatcher he added, “Ma'am I was literally sleeping and she came in, she had a pretty bad day, but she came in and punched me in the face.”

A gun was found in a closet and police removed it from the home.

For all the drama, the report says there were “no signs of injury, no signs of damage."

Police did not charge either of them, instead they offered a warning saying next time they could face jail time.

Frankie tells the 911 operator, “I love her so much. Now my, the love of my life hates me because she's, you know, having a bad day.”


Remarks on breast-feeding draw criticism from Palin, Bachmann

It began with a modest remark during a roundtable discussion with reporters: First lady Michelle Obama said she supports making it easier for mothers to breast-feed their babies, because "kids who are breast-fed longer have a lower tendency to be obese."
Within days, the sentence - and a new Internal Revenue Service policy offering tax deductions for breast pumps - had touched off a political firestorm. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) blasted the Obama administration for trying to impose a "nanny state" on mothers. Another potential 2012 presidential candidate, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), mockingly said the first lady was trying to compensate for high milk prices. The East Wing withdrew, issuing a brief statement calling the subject "personal."
For Michelle Obama, the moment is a reminder that she will inevitably become more of a target as the 2012 campaign gets underway. After cultivating a non-controversial image as the "mom in chief" over the past two years, she remains overwhelmingly popular with the public, yet even her most carefully planned moves will not be immune to political jabs.
But the incident goes well beyond the first lady - raising questions about health policy and the role of government. Should the tax code offer an incentive aimed at working mothers who pump breast milk and not at those who stay home or give their children formula? Are breast pumps any different from other routine medical items that qualify for tax deductions? Is breast-feeding truly better for children?

The discussion has both riveted and dismayed those involved in the breast-feeding issue. "We all expect this - we all know the Republicans and Democrats have their differences," sighed Marsha Walker, a registered nurse who is executive director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy.
Referring to Bachmann, Walker said: "It's not that she's against breast-feeding. It's that she's using it as a vehicle of attack. And it's unfortunate, because breast-feeding isn't a political entity. It's a public-health entity that doesn't deserve to be used as political leverage."
Much of the discussion centers not only on Obama's remarks but also the new IRS rules, which were announced Feb. 10 and will apply retroactively to devices purchased in 2010 and in the future. The tax authority found that breast pumps "are for the purpose of affecting a structure or function of the body of the lactating woman," thus putting them in the category of a medical device.
Nursing mothers now have two options: If they have a medical flexible-spending account, they can potentially use pretax dollars to buy nursing supplies and breast pumps, which can run as much as $330 or more. Which devices will qualify will depend on each FSA's rules.
If a woman does not have an FSA, she can itemize her taxes and deduct breast-feeding equipment costs, as long as her overall out-of-pocket medical costs exceed 7.5 percent of her income. Only about one-third of taxpayers itemize their taxes. In no case will breast-milk equipment receive a tax credit, the IRS said.
Nor is the federal government purchasing breast pumps for women, as Bachmann claimed. In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Bachmann said she gave birth to and breast-fed five children without government help and described the new policy as part of a liberal agenda.
"To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump. . . . You want to talk about nanny state, I think we just got a new definition," Bachmann said.
After her remarks drew attention, Bachmann added in a statement: "The issue is not breast feeding, but is rather Washington's use of the tax code to tell people how to run their lives."


Mobile World Congress

Another Mobile World Congress is in the bag and as the CNET crew leaves Barcelona we can take stock of the mobile madness that was. It was my fourth year attending the show and I can report that 2011 was one the busiest I've seen with a ton of new smartphones and tablets. It was a lot to handle, but Bonnie Cha of CNET Reviews, CNET's Ariel Nunez, and Maggie Reardon, Stephen Shankland, and Elinor Mills were along for the ride.
As with any trade show, Mobile World Congress (MWC) offered a series of satisfying devices and a couple of instances where companies fell short. Here's the report from Barcelona as we saw it. And don't forget to check out Maggie's insights in her Ask Maggie column.
Sony Ericsson
Even before Mobile World Congress began almost everyone knew about the Xperia Play. It wasn't just the endless leaks, but Sony Ericsson also teased us with a Super Bowl commercial a week before the company held its MWC press conference. We were glad to finally see the Xperia Pay for real, and shocked by the news that it would come to Verizon Wireless. I liked the the handset when I finally got my hands on it, though I was hoping for more on a couple fronts. And my colleague Scott Stein thinks it's not quite the gaming device he wanted.

Mobile World Congress had a lot to offer.
(Credit: Kent German/CNET)
Sony Ericsson also debuted the Xperia Pro and Neo (the former has a physical keyboard, the latter does not). They're not especially powerful devices, but they offer attractive hardware in the style of the recent Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. I hope they make it to a U.S. carrier.
We got only two devices from our friends at LG, but that was more than enough. The LG Optimus Pad, and its G Slate counterpart at T-Mobile, won Bonnie's outright approval (not an easy feat, mind you). She liked the hardware and display and thought that the 3G video was cool if not entirely necessary. I agreed when I looked at the Optimus 3D smartphone. It's also a lovely device that feels good in the hand. And while the 3D capability is nifty, it's not a selling point for me.
In an effort to be different and "simply brilliant," HTC revealed its new products on the second day of the show. It certainly succeeded on the first front when it put another rumor to rest by introducing the elusive and poorly-named Facebook phones. The Salsa and ChaCha (no relation to Bonnie) aren't really more than regular Andorid smartphones with Facebook content surfaced at a high level. The hardware doesn't look like much right now, and we're still wary on the whole concept, but we'll give them a closer look once we have the opportunity.
HTC also introduced the Flyer tablet and the Desire S, Wildfire S and Incredible S. The Flyer has a few things going for it including HTCs Scribe technology, but Bonnie didn't like it as much as the G Slate. The smartphone trio weren't bad either, but they're not much more than upgrades to previous models.
Sammy also kicked off MWC with a Sunday night press conference and true to its reputation it did its best to entertain (for proof, check out the above slide show). It unveiled the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy S II. Both devices have dual-core processors.

Yeah, Android was huge in Barcelona.
(Credit: Kent German/CNET)
Judging from Android's booth alone (again, check out the slide show), the OS ruled Barcelona. Almost all of the 24 new phones introduced at MWC run Android and Sony Ericsson isn't shy about its desire to be the number one Android player. If you're still doubting that Android is on a roll, than MWC will convince you otherwise.
Just as they did at CES, tablets arrived at MWC in force. Indeed, seven new tablets had their debut from not only the manufacturers mentioned above, but also Huawei and Viewsonic.
The lows

Moto had big booth, but that was it.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
After going big at CES, Motorola made barely a dent at MWC. It had a big flashy booth, but revealed only that it was bringing the existing Moto Droid Pro and Xoom to the European market. Honestly, we were hoping for more.
RIM was another company that kept a low profile in Barcelona. It announced plans for two new PlayBook tablets, but it didn't demonstrate any new devices either. Maybe it knew about the Android onslaught and is biding its time for CTIA.
And the in betweens

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, speaks at a MWC keynote.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
Nokia entered MWC with a lot of buzz having announced only days before that it was pursuing a partnership with Microsoft to introduce Windows Mobile phones. Much of the mobile industry is still trying to digest the news--and opinions vary widely on how fruitful the relationship will be--but Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made his case at a press conference and a keynote address.
It may still be growing in the U.S. market, but ZTE tried to make its presence known at MWC. Yet, its three new phones, the Skate, Amigo and Blade didn't leave a lasting impression.
The same was true for ZTE's main Chinese competitor. Though its new Ideos X3 was kept mostly behind glass during the show, we did get to handle its Ideos Slim S7. But when compared with the tablets I mentioned above, I like it least of all.


Planned Parenthood: Game on

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to eliminate $317 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood, not a nickel of which can or is spent on abortions, in spite of some of the political points that are scored by inferring that.

Republicans argued, as they have before, that putting so much as a nickel of federal money in Planned Parenthood -- which uses the money to provide services like reproductive health tests and checkups, pelvic and breast exams, infertility and safe-sex counseling to millions of women who can't afford them -- could actually be subsidizing abortions, because it's money that Planned Parenthood doesn't have to raise on its own to spend on those services.

One Republican-sponsored bill would even deny the standard federal tax credits to any private insurance plan that pays for abortions, the real motivation pretty obviously being to try to force those plans to drop coverage for a legal medical procedure. There are lots more bills along these lines, which purport to be about cutting the budget but that really, like the magician's trick of misdirection, are about cutting back women's reproductive rights.

Ten years ago, after George W. Bush was sworn in as president, he almost instantly rolled back abortion-rights polices and appointments. I suggested in a column that, for President Bush's first Presidents Day in the White House, Americans who disagreed with the president but agree with his wife, Laura (who is for abortion rights, as are Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford and Condoleezza Rice) should let the president know, and put their money behind their message.

Here was my thought: You know how, if you make a gift to a cause in someone's name, that organization will send the designated honoree a card noting, "A gift has been made in your name to xxx"? I envisioned sacks of such cards arriving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue reading something like "President Bush, a gift of $__ has been made in your name to Planned Parenthood."

And, as House Speaker John A. Boehner is fond of saying, "So be it." Or so it was. That suggestion wound up making Bush, indirectly and inadvertently, one of the biggest fundraisers in Planned Parenthood history, to the tune of about $1 million. Somebody revived my idea a couple of years ago, when it was learned that then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had said in an Alaska gubernatorial debate that even if her own daughter were a rape victim, she -– not the daughter, but Palin herself -– would "choose life." That too made Palin an indirect benefactor of Planned Parenthood.

Now we have several members of Congress, foremost among them Mike Pence of Indiana and Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, as major movers behind the legislation throttling women's reproductive rights in the name of budget cuts.

And once again, I must think that it would deliver no end of displeasure to them were they to find out that thousands of contributions were being sent to Planned Parenthood in their names -- that they, in fact, had become fundraisers for an organization they evidently despise.

Gentlemen, the checks, and the notes, may be in the mail.

And for you budget-conscious taxpayers: The Republican majority decided to let the Army go ahead and keep spending $7 million a year to sponsor a NASCAR driver.


Right Thing – Eventually

No need to do a careful analysis of the budget President Obama dropped on the desks of the Congress last week – a few broad brushstrokes paint the picture. Debt triples from 2008 levels by 2021; debt as a percent of GDP goes from 41 percent to 77 percent. Not a word about how to reform Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements that the country can no longer afford. Not a word endorsing the specific recommendations of his own deficit-reduction commission, which called for a $4 trillion deficit cut over ten years, quadruple that contained in the president’s budget. A few inconsequential slices in one small part of the budget, a call for “investment” in green energy projects – never mind that several of the firms receiving subsidies have gone broke – and in high-speed rail – never mind that the governors of the states slated to receive the funds are turning them down lest their taxpayers get stuck with huge cost overruns.

In the end, the president delivered more spending, more taxes, and deficits as far ahead as the eye can see. But the financial and currency markets were unperturbed. For several good reasons.


On the jobs

President Obama is leading a toast while dining with Silicon Valley's tech moguls -- including Apple's Steve Jobs -- in a photo released by the White House yesterday.
To Obama's left is Jobs, wearing his trademark black turtleneck.
Jobs has taken a leave of absence from Apple to deal with health issues. Of the 15 honchos seated around the table, Jobs is the only one who didn't lift his elbow off the table for the toast.
Mark Zuckerberg is seated to the right of Obama in the Silicon Valley fete.
The Facebook wunderkind ditched his hoodie, T-shirt and jeans for a starched white dress shirt and suit.
At one end of the table is Google's Eric Schmidt, and at the other end is Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo.
Costolo was hush-hush about the event. He didn't tweet about the two-hour Thursday night dinner hosted by Silicon Valley tech investor John Doerr.
Stanford University President John Hennessy, another dinner guest, also kept mum about what transpired.
But he called it "a good meeting with a frank and vigorous exchange of opinions focused on innovation and economic growth, including topics such as the nation's investment in research and education, high-skill visa reform, and educating more engineers and scientists."
Other than the release of the photos, the White House did not divulge many details about the event.
Press photographers were banned from taking photos. That prompted some news agencies to refuse to distribute the White House photos in protest.
Obama felt at home. Eight of the tech honchos were major campaign contributors to the president or the Democratic Party.
"The president specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research, and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
One source involved in arranging the meeting said the tech moguls applauded Obama's funding of science and technology programs and research and development. But they also pushed the president to back corporate tax reform, including lowering taxes on profit generated overseas.
"I was honored to be part of the discussion with President Obama and Silicon Valley business leaders. Government and private industry must work hand-in-hand to spur innovation, strengthen our economy, and get Americans back to work," John Chambers chairman and CEO of Cisco, who sat across the table from the commander-in-chief, said in a statement.
Many of the attendees are members of TechNet, an advocacy group for high-tech CEOs.


Obama's Wisconsin remarks ease labor's doubts

A prominent union official in Washington says he's often wondered how President Barack Obama would answer the old organizing song, "Which Side Are You On?" -- until Obama weighed in on the Wisconsin labor war this week.

Obama's strongly-worded opposition to GOP plans to repeal the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin public state employees, which he termed an "assault" on workers' rights, has gone a long way towards repairing the relationship between the president and his union allies after two years of mutual disappointment and friction.

But Obama, ever seeking the center, was careful to limit his criticism to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to roll back collective bargaining rights, and not Walker's attempt to plug his state's budget gap by forcing employees to pick up a greater share of the pension and health insurance costs.

"The president has been accused of watching situations to see how they develop so I think the fact that he issued a clear, clean, quick statement was critical for the relationship. It helps enormously," said former SEIU president Andy Stern, a key Obama labor ally who served on his deficit commission.

"But he's trying to walk the appropriate line here too??? We all clearly need to recognize that the states these battles are going to take place in are critical states for the president and other Democrats in 2012," he added.

Republicans tried to blur that line on Friday, arguing that Obama is sticking his nose into a state's fiscal matters, while burdening local governments with onerous health reform mandates.

The White House spent much of the day counterpunching.

"He is very understanding of the need for state governments, governors, state legislatures to reduce spending, to make tough choices, to be fiscally responsible," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Portland, Ore.

"But he also feels very strongly that we need not to make this an assault on the collective bargaining rights of workers in a given state. Public service workers need to make sacrifices just like everyone else, but there's a distinction here that he sees. And I just want to make sure that people see that he was very clear about his recognition that states need to deal with their budgets just like the federal government needs to deal with its budget."

It's all part of the Obama's tricky Midwestern two-step -- an attempt to energize a heavily unionized Democratic base in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania who sat out the 2010 midterms, while not alienating the independents who helped evict dozens of Democratic incumbents from state houses and Congress last November.

Obama came into office on a crest of union support and supported many of the big ticket items at the top of its agenda: the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier to unionize closed shops, health care reform and the stimulus bill, which pumped billions into projects and government services that employ unionized workers.

But the relationship has frayed over the particulars. On health care, Obama punted on the labor-backed public option, he never made the free choice act a top legislative priority. He vigorously supported Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in a primary with labor's chosen candidate. And last, but certainly not least, he proposed an across-the-board federal pay freeze that many workers' groups viewed as an attempt to woo white independent votes -- many of whom view the government workforce as a pampered special interest.

But in Wisconsin, Obama had no choice but stand up for his friends in labor, according to Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin, Madison political scientist and polling specialist. "The unions are seeing it as essentially a threat to their existence."

And the protests against Walker and the Republican legislature -- fueled by the disappearance of Democratic legislators who are refusing to vote on Walker's plan -- have energized labor supporters more than anything since - well, Obama's 2008 campaign there.

"It just invigorated the Democrats in Wisconsin," said Ed Huck, a Wisconsin Republican political consultant. "On Saturday there are going to be 30,000 people that may not have been going door-to-door in Wisconsin that is now going to be going door-to-door in Wisconsin???Something has happened here, a fight has come back with a vengeance in the Democratic party. So I think there will be something in 2012 that will benefit the president."

On Friday, for the second day in a row, Democratic state senators, who had fled to neighboring Illinois, missed a scheduled vote on Walker's budget measure, successfully preventing the legislature from moving forward.

But the leader of the state's largest public worker union said the union would agree to concessions on pensions and insurance benefits, if Walker abandoned his bid to weaken the union's bargaining power, according to news reports. Walker is reviewing the proposal, his spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

For Obama, who won Wisconsin by a whopping 56 to 42 percent in 2008, Wisconsin holds major risks.

Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are now accusing him of inciting rowdy protesters flooding the state sapitol in Madison, citing reports in POLITICO and elsewhere that Organizing for America, keeper of Obama's grassroots database and now part of the Democratic National Committee, has provided logistical support for the demonstrators.

Walker, who has had to use a back entrance to the capitol to avoid catcalls, said Friday that it would be "wise" for Obama to focus on the federal budget instead of the situation in his state.

Yet small gestures matter during huge crises, and Obama's brief remarks have earned him instant good will from union leaders who privately grouse about his caution.

"Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama told a Milwaukee television reporter Wednesday night when asked about the battle in Madison. "I think everybody's got to make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."

Union leaders have seized on that one word -- "assault" -- as providing the movement with precisely the right messaging in decrying Walker's initiatives, which labor leaders claim is an attack on workers' rights and a brazen effort to weaken a pillar of the Democratic Party.

"He's given labor a quote they can use and we're using it," said an aide to one of the country's top labor leaders.

But the people around Obama are contributing more than just words. OFA has set up 15 phone banks to rally Democrats to the union cause and helped organized some of the transportation to rallies. Late Thursday, OFA leaders posted a statement on the group's web site announcing it "is mobilizing on the ground in Wisconsin to defend the rights of public employees from an attempt by the governor to take away their rights."

That created an immediate attack from Republicans, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who accused OFA of coordinating the protests in Madison.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan disputed that, saying, "Our role in this is being exaggerated by others to distract attention from the passionate grassroots activism that is being displayed on the ground in Wisconsin."

Yet the Bachmann attack exposed Obama's considerable vulnerabilities in a state that swept Republicans like Walker and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson to victories just four months ago.

"[Obama's] big margin [in 2008] was the exception not the rule for presidential elections, which have been hair thin in the state," says Franklin. "For a national organization like OFA you would certainly expect them to side with the base. Not to mention picking up a few emails in the process??? [But] mobilizing your base won't help you with independents."


Obama administration replaces controversial health-care workers

After two years of struggling to balance the rights of patients against the beliefs of health-care workers, the Obama administration on Friday finally rescinded most of a federal regulation designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds.

The decision guts one of President George W. Bush's most controversial legacies: a rule that was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.

Friday's move was seen as an important step in countering that trend, which in recent years had led pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, doctors in California to reject a lesbian's request for infertility treatment, and an ambulance driver in Chicago to turn away a woman who needed transportation for an abortion.

Without the rescission of this regulation, we would see tremendous discrimination against patients based on their behavior and based just on who they are," said Susan Berke Fogel of the National Health Law Program, an advocacy group based in the District. "We would see real people suffer, and more women could die."

The new rule leaves intact only long-standing "conscience" protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to perform abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the process for allowing health workers whose rights are violated to file complaints.

Calling the Bush-era rule "unclear and potentially overbroad in scope," the new, much narrower version eliminates language that had triggered alarm among reproductive health advocates, women's groups, stem cell scientists and proponents of honoring end-life-life wishes of terminally ill patients.

"We've had conscience protections on the books in some cases for more than 30 years," said Rima Cohen, the counselor for health policy to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "When the Bush administration put these rules out, they really contained overly broad language that was confusing to people. We didn't think that was necessary."

Friday's decision was condemned by proponents of stronger protections, who say doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other workers regularly face discrimination, firing and other punitive measures because of their deeply held convictions.

"Any weakening of conscience protections opens the door that much further to discrimination against life-affirming health-care professionals and institutions," said Jonathan Imbody, vice president for government relations at the Christian Medical Association. "With many areas already facing critical shortages of professionals and institutions, this is no time to be risking the further loss of health-care access for poor patients."

The new rule, which goes into effect in 30 days, is likely to fuel the intensifying debate over abortion and related issues. House Republicans have introduced several pieces of legislation containing provisions that would replicate many of the effects of the Bush rule.

"Today, the Obama administration demonstrated exactly why we need to have strong conscience protection for health workers written into our laws," said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), who is sponsoring the Protect Life Act, which would write more protections into the health overhaul legislation. "Without legal protection, we can certainly expect even more bureaucratic assaults on the conscience of medical workers."

The Bush regulation, which was implemented during his final days in office, would have cut off federal funding for thousands of entities, including state and local governments, hospitals, health plans and clinics, if they did not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other employees who refused to participate in care they felt violated their personal, moral or religious beliefs. It also would have required all those entities to formally detail how they were complying.


Spot At Madame Tussauds in Washington D.C.

The rather spooky assemblage shown above is something that could never happen in real life, a gathering of all 44 U.S. Presidents. The figures are part of a new American presidents exhibit at Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Washington. The gallery will show all of the presidents together in the nation's capital for the first time as part of a $2 million renovation of the wax museum. Each president is surrounded by items that relate to his presidency and life.

Some presidents are shown with low lights from their presidency. Herbert Hoover stands with a display of Hooverville, the name given to the shanty towns of the homeless and jobless that sprung up during the Great Depression.

President Carter is posed next to a gas pump, a reference to the late 1970s gas crisis.

President George W. Bush stands with images from 9/11 including the crash at the Pentagon.

Presidents James K. Polk, President John Tyler, President William Henry Harrison, and President Martin Van Buren stand amidst campaign memorabilia.

President John Adams and President Thomas Jefferson seem posed for a spirited debate on the principles of founding a nation.


Subaru to Donate Award-Winning Science Books to Washington D.C.

CHERRY HILL, N.J., Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Subaru of America, Inc. in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced today that it will donate up to 1,250 science books to Washington D.C. area schools. Subaru will donate one book for each person who submits a form at their booth at the annual meeting of the AAAS being held at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, February 18th – 20th.
Subaru is proud to once again sponsor the AAAS this year," said Tom Doll, Subaru of America Executive Vice President and COO. "Assisting science learning in the classroom through top rated educational, yet fun to read literature will help spur the imaginations of future science professionals."
In their nine-year partnership, Subaru and the AAAS have worked together to provide scholarships as well as opportunities for women in the science fields. This year the two organizations are also targeting four Washington D.C. area schools that are in critical need of quality science books. The donated books will come from the Subaru / AAAS Science Book and Film "2011 Excellence in Science Books Awards." The winning books were chosen for their outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults; the AAAS believes that through good science books, students will have a better understanding and appreciation of science.
Also unveiled today was the 2011 "Subaru Loves Science!" Subaru Forester. Local area dealerships: Herb Gordon Subaru, of Silver Springs, MD, Fitzgerald Subaru of Kensington, MD, and Fitzgerald Subaru of Gaithersburg, MD will have the "Subaru Loves Science!" Forester on display this spring.
Any customer who visits the dealerships during the book mobile tour will have the opportunity to commemorate one of the donated books with a personalized bookplate in their name. The Forester will then be used to deliver the books to the schools.
Washington D.C. area residents are encouraged to attend the free AAAS family science days, sponsored by Subaru, Saturday and Sunday, February 19th and 20th. The event features fun, hands-on science learning activities, plus a jam-packed "Meet the Scientists" speaker series that is designed especially for middle and high school students. Winning science book authors will be signing copies of their award-winning books at the Subaru display on February 19th and 20th.
More information can be found here:
About AAAS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science ( as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, reaching 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS ( is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!,, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.
For more information on AAAS awards, see
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit:


King calls for talks amid escalating violence

Bahrain's king has offered a national dialogue "with all parties" in an effort to resolve a crisis that has killed four people and wounded hundreds.

More than 60 people are in hospital undergoing treatment for wounds sustained when Bahraini security forces fired on protesters as they headed to Pearl Square on Friday.

The shootings occurred on a day of mass mourning when Shiites buried the four people killed a day earlier in the police raid on the Pearl Square traffic circle.

In response to protests against his government, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa announced the crown price had been granted "all the powers to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of all gracious citizens from all sections" in the national dialogue.

US president Barack Obama spoke with the king on Friday evening, condemning the violence and urging the government to show restraint.

Mr Obama said the stability of Bahrain, home to the US Middle East fleet, depended upon respect for the rights of its people.

Overnight, democracy protests were met with brute force not only in Bahrain but also in Libya, Yemen and Djibouti.

Streets were filled with tens of thousands of protesters demanding political reform and improved human rights conditions.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd also called on the authorities in Bahrain to respect the right of their people to protest peacefully.

He also says the Government in Bahrain needs to do more to meet the desire for political and economic reform in the country.

Australia has updated its travel advice for Bahrain, saying people should avoid all travel to the country.

Mr Rudd says there are about 1,000 Australians in Bahrain at the moment and they should stay away from any protests.

Protest ban defied

On Friday, thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets despite a government ban on protests.

Bahrain's opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif has told the BBC that troops have fired on protesters in the capital, Manama.

"Today people went to the graveyard to pay their respects for one of the first person who was killed three days ago," he said.

"And after they had paid their respects and prayed on the grave they went towards the Lulu roundabout - it's about three kilometres away from the village - and they approached the Lulu roundabout, about 300 metres. They were attacked by uniformed troops, the army."

Mr Sharif says the wounded have been taken to hospital.

"We understand there are about 22 injured people, including two in critical condition in the operation room," he said.

"The number was not very large - about a couple of thousand people - and the live ammunition had been used.

"I don't know what kind of ammunition but there are bullet wounds in the protesters."

The country's Crown Prince, Sheik Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, has appealed for calm.

"I express my condolences to all Bahrainis because of the painful days that we are living through," he said.

"I would like to address them with a message, a message of a citizen, a message for men to be calm.

"We need time to evaluate what happened and to regroup together again, and to restore our humanity, culture and future."

Benghazi uprising

In North Africa, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is facing an uprising in the coastal city of Benghazi and used security forces to hit back at protesters.

While information is difficult to get out of Libya, there have been reports of at least 46 deaths.

Journalists are not allowed to travel to Libya, but a Benghazi resident says authorities have warned of a fierce response to unrest.

"Anybody that they find the government kills. They'll check their ID, okay, and if they find out which family you're from they will go and imprison your family or they'll demolish your house," the resident said.

"This is what happened to five people in Benghazi."

Colonel Gaddafi's supporters have taken to the streets of the capital, Tripoli, to enforce the message.

In neighbouring Egypt the fallout from the toppling of president Hosni Mubarak is still being felt.

Huge crowds again packed Tahrir Square in Cairo for what is becoming a regular Friday demonstration of people power.