Saturday, January 31

Obama's half brother arrested on charge of marijuana possession

So now, it's his brother; it's amazing how little we heard about his brother during the campaign. What we did hear was negative; he "lives in a shack and earns less than a dollar a day". I personally know people in African countries who, in American money, earn that, but in their countries currency they are quite well off. Everyone is held up to our standards of what is rich and what is poor, and of course those in the other countries always come out on the short end. I'm not defending the brother; if he was doing something illegal then he should be arrested, but why does he have to be shown in such a negative light? I doubt if they talked so badly about Billy Bush, and look at how close to the President he was!

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- George Obama, the half brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police on a charge of possession of marijuana, police said Saturday.
George Obama was arrested in Kenya on a charge for possession of marijuana, according to police.

George Obama was arrested in Kenya on a charge for possession of marijuana, according to police.

Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama was arrested on charges of possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and resisting arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Mutembei said.

He is being held at Huruma police post in the capital of Nairobi.

CNN Correspondent David McKenzie talked with George Obama at the jail where he is being held. Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations.

"They took me from my home," he said, "I don't know why they are charging me."

George Obama and the president barely know each other, though they have met before. George Obama was one of the president's few close relatives who did not go to the inauguration in Washington last week.

In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Barack Obama describes meeting George as a "painful affair." Barack Obama's trip to Kenya meant meeting family he had never known.

McKenzie tracked down George Obama in August 2008 and found him at a small house in Huruma, a Nairobi slum, where he lives with his mother's extended family. His birth certificate shows he is Barack Obama's half brother.

The two men share the same Kenyan father. In the memoir, Barack Obama struggles to reconcile with his father after he left him and his mother when he was just a child.

Barack Obama Sr. died in a car accident when George was just 6 months old. Like his half brother, George hardly knew his father.

George was his father's last child and had not been aware of his famous half brother until he rose to prominence in the Democratic primaries last year.

Unlike his grandmother in Kogela, in western Kenya, George Obama had received little attention from the media until reports about him surfaced in August 2008.

The reports sprung from an Italian Vanity Fair article saying George Obama lived in a shack and was "earning less than a dollar a day." Those reports left George Obama angry.

"I was brought up well. I live well even now," he said. "The magazines, they have exaggerated everything.

"I think I kind of like it here. There are some challenges, but maybe it is just like where you come from, there are the same challenges," Obama said.

Obama, who is in his mid-20s, said at the time that he was learning to become a mechanic and was active in youth groups in Huruma. He said he tried to help the community as much as he can.

Wednesday, January 7

Pink Foods Often Dyed With Bug Parts

Now THIS is totally disgusting, especially to someone like me who is a vegan. I DO NOT EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS, so not only do I now have to wonder if what I'm eating has bugs in it, these companies don't have to tell me! What if someone was allergic and died for crissake? How can today's society be so unbelievably uncaring? They put no value on human decency at all! And as much as I love making spaghetti.....

Jan 7th 2009
By Julieanne Smolinski

Freaked out by the idea of tiny legs, arms and wings in your food? Just remember to stop when you see red.

Many pink- and red-colored food, makeup and household products are tinted with the dyes carmine and cochineal. These natural hues come from the dried, dessicated bodies of the female cochineal bug. (Which is not, unfortunately, a naturally pink animal.)

The FDA, which regulates the amount of biological material in food products, recently moved to get companies to disclose the use of bug-based dyes in foods. But, as the New York Times story points out, regulators have no particularly strong feelings about alerting the public to the origins of the dye, which can be found in pink products by Tropicana, Dannon and Yoplait, among many others.

The lack of warning has doctors concerned because some people are allergic to bug parts. Believe it or not, they aren't bugged by the ick factor, as the FDA already allows for a certain portion of insect parts in your food -- for instance, a 24 oz. jar of tomato sauce is legally allowed to contain around 35 fly eggs).

The Times also pointed out that people who abstain from eating animals for personal or religious reasons might want to be informed that their fruit punch is filled with crushed critters. In the meantime, we'll take our Otter Pops in blue raspberry.

Friday, January 2

'Safest' seat remarks get Muslim family kicked off plane

So if I were overheard talking with several other people as we boarded the plane about which seat is the safest one to sit in during flight, would I and my family/friends be asked to leave the plane? Would everyone on the plane be asked to disembark and be rescreened? I think not....

By Mike M. Ahlers

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing.

A Muslim family was removed from an AirTran flight after a conversation about the safest place to sit.

Atif Irfan said federal authorities removed eight members of his extended family and a friend after passengers heard them discussing the safest place to sit and misconstrued the nature of the conversation.

Irfan, a U.S. citizen and tax attorney, said he was "impressed with the professionalism" of the FBI agents who questioned him, but said he felt mistreated when the airline refused to book the family for a later flight.

AirTran Airways late Thursday said they acted properly and that the family was offered full refunds and can fly with AirTran again.

"AirTran Airways complied with all TSA, law enforcement and Homeland Security directives and had no discretion in the matter," the company said in a prepared statement. Watch how Muslims find climate of fear at airport »

Family members said FBI agents tried to work it out with the airline, but to no avail. Share your story

"The FBI agents actually cleared our names," said Inayet Sahin, Irfan's sister-in-law. "They went on our behalf and spoke to the airlines and said, 'There is no suspicious activity here. They are clear. Please let them get on a flight so they can go on their vacation,' and they still refused."

"The airline told us that we can't fly their airline," Irfan said.

The dispute occurred about 1 p.m. Thursday as AirTran flight 175 was preparing for takeoff from Reagan National Airport outside of Washington, D.C., on a flight destined for Orlando, Florida.

Atif Irfan, his brother, their wives, a sister and three children were headed to Orlando to meet with family and attend a religious conference.

"The conversation, as we were walking through the plane trying to find our seats, was just about where the safest place in an airplane is," Sahin said. "We were (discussing whether it was safest to sit near) the wing, or the engine or the back or the front, but that's it. We didn't say anything else that would raise any suspicion." Watch Muslims recount how they were kicked off plane »

The conversation did not contain the words "bomb," "explosion," "terror" or other words that might have aroused suspicion, Irfan said.

"When we were talking, when we turned around, I noticed a couple of girls kind of snapped their heads," said Sobia Ijaz, Irfan's wife. "I kind of thought to myself, 'Oh, you know, maybe they're going to say something.' It didn't occur to me that they were going to make it such a big issue."

Some time later, while the plane was still at the gate, an FBI agent boarded the plane and asked Irfan and his wife to leave the plane. The rest of the family was removed 15 or 20 minutes later, along with a family friend, Abdul Aziz, a Library of Congress attorney and family friend who was coincidentally taking the same flight and had been seen talking to the family.

After the FBI interviewed family members, it released them, Irfan said.

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said the incident began when some passengers reported hearing suspicious remarks by a woman and alerted flight attendants. Two federal air marshals, who were on board the flight, notified law enforcement about the security-related issue, AirTran said.

After the family and Aziz were taken for questioning, the remaining 95 passengers were taken off of the plane and rescreened, along with the crew and the baggage, AirTran said.

Irfan said he believes his family is owed an apology.

"Really, at the end of the day, we're not out here looking for money. I'm an attorney. I know how the court system works. We're basically looking for someone to say... 'We're apologizing for treating you as second-class citizens.'"

"We are proud Americans," Sahin said. "You know we decided to have our children and raise them here. We can very easily go anywhere we want in the world, but you know we love it here and we're not going to go away, no matter what."

Aziz said there is a "very strong possibility" he will pursue a civil rights lawsuit.

"I guess it's just a situation of guilt by association," Aziz said. "They see one Muslim talking to another Muslim and they automatically assume something wrong is going on."