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Whether it was promising repeatedly to put all healthcare negotiations on C-SPAN or to not hire lobbyists, President Obama has now shown several times his willingness to break his word. The latest example comes from the president’s Department of Interior, which has refused to release its own tabulations showing Americans support offshore drilling by a 2-to-1 margin, which was recently confirmed thanks to two requests made by American Solutions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In April last year at a forum on offshore drilling, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that President Obama directed him “to make sure that we have an open and transparent government” and that “these are not decisions that are going to be made behind closed doors.” Salazar went on to say that President Obama wanted to make sure that the Department of the Interior was “maximizing the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what it is that they want to do.”
As snowmaggedon continues to wreak havoc on the Capitol, the House has suspended all votes through Friday . Congress taking an entire snow week is rife with opportunities to mock the government’s uncanny ability to use any and all excuses to justify inaction. One editorial cartoon , a drawing of our nation’s capital blanketed in snow, comes with the tagline: “where every day is a snow day.” But if you want to talk about really egregious government shutdowns explained with implausible excuses, just take a look at our neighbors to the north (incidentally, this Gaggler's home country): using the Olympics as a partial justification, the Canadian Parliament is in the middle of a two-month shutdown. For those of you who have gotten behind on your Canadian politics, here’s a basic rundown .
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Many snouts in the public trough The Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of Malaysian scandals going back to the early 1980s. Time Magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, saying that the country might have lost as much as U$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption." The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country's coffers:
Arrested on false charges of spying, Ching Cheong served three years in a Chinese prison Ching Cheong, a Hong Kong journalist who became an international cause célèbre when he was lured over the border and arrested on dubious charges of spying in China in 2005 and sentenced to five years in prison, has retired to write a book giving his observations on 35 years in journalism. Ching was freed in January 2008 and returned to his job as China bureau chief for the Straits Times of Singapore. The arrest was the first of a Hong Kong journalist after the handover of the former British colony in 1997. Given the unwillingness or inability of the Hong Kong government to intervene, the case was deeply unsettling to the territory's press establishment.
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Customs sits on a controversial new biography of the former prime minister Malaysian customs authorities have been holding up delivery of 800 copies of an authoritative new biography of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for the past three weeks at the Port Klang customs office. The book, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times," written by former Asian Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Barry Wain, is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power. It is certain to become an essential study for scholars seeking to understand the onetime premier's reign and its consequences. But maybe not in Malaysia itself unless the locals buy through Barns & Noble (available Jan. 10) or Amazon (Jan. 5) for US$60.75. Reports of the book have created considerable stir in Malaysia after the popular Malaysiakini news website ran reports of it along with a review first published in Asia Sentinel.
Fight me in Gelang Patah, Kit Siang dares Dr M KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 – Lim Kit Siang dared his long time arch rival Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to face-off in Gelang Patah this Election 2013 for a polls contest to determine who should retire from ... Read More
( Corrected at 7:25pm, 15 Jan 2010) How will Najib put out the fires? (Fire pic by straymuse / sxc.hu)
PETALING JAYA, 13 Jan 2010: Even though the government banned the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims in 1986, the churches refrained from court action for more than 20 years because of assurances from two prime ministers. Shastri Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri told The Nut Graph that Christian leaders were assured that “Allah” could be used, as long as it was limited to within the Christian community. This was in spite of a 1986 government gazette and 1988 state enactments that declared the words “ Allah “, “solat”, “ka’abah” and “Baitullah” as exclusive to Islam. “(Former Prime Minister Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad’s) position was if Christians use the word ‘Allah’ among ourselves, sell our bibles in Christian bookshops, and indicate it’s a Christian publication, then that was fine,” said Shastri.
As Middle East intrigue goes, it doesn't get much stranger than this: at approximately 8 a.m. this morning, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a nuclear physics professor at Tehran University, was killed by a bomb outside his home in a quiet northern suburb of Tehran. This may not have seemed that odd if it had taken place in Baghdad or Kabul. But assassinations─particularly with a remote-control bomb hidden inside a motorcycle─are not common in Iran. A Foreign Ministry spokesman quickly pointed fingers outside the country's borders, blaming Israel and the United States for the killing as a means of thwarting the country's nuclear program.