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Showing posts from December, 2007

See you next year

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Alright Miss Buttercup, it's time to wrap this mother up! Jerry Curl wishes everyone a safe and festive New Year's Eve.

May the new year see us all happier, wealthier, and above all peaceful. Take us out John...

John Lennon' "Imagine"

Secret postcards

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(Via PostSecret)

For Perry Ellis

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North Korea likely to miss end-of-year deadline

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North Korea appeared set Monday to miss a year-end deadline to disable a key nuclear reactor and declare all its nuclear programs, key elements of its disarmament as agreed to in an international accord.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea expressed disappointment. But there was no indication that North Korea would immediately face any sanction — suggesting countries involved in negotiating the agreement were reluctant to raise tensions after a year of progress in the long-standing dispute.
The communist country promised in October to disable its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, and give a full accounting of its nuclear programs by Dec. 31 in return for energy aid and political concessions.
The North shut down the plutonium-producing facility in July and disablement work is under way in cooperation with U.S. experts.
But diplomats have said the North is likely to miss the year-end deadline for disablement because a key step — removing fuel rods from the reactor — could ta…

Vandals rip into Robert Frost home

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CNN is reporting that a former home of poet Robert Frost has been vandalized, with intruders destroying dozens of items and setting fire to furniture in what police say was an underage drinking party.

Homer Noble Farm, a former Frost residence that's now a historic landmark, was ransacked late Friday night during a party attended by up to 50 people, Sgt. Lee Hodsden said Monday.

The intruders broke a window to get into the two-story wood frame building -- a furnished residence open in the summer -- before destroying tables and chairs, pictures, windows, light fixtures and dishes. Wicker furniture and dressers were smashed and thrown into a fireplace and burned, apparently to provide heat in the unheated building, he said.

Empty beer bottles and cans, plastic cups and cellophane apparently used to hold marijuana were also found, according to Hodsden. The vandals vomited in the living room and discharged two fire extinguishers inside the building, located on a dead-end road off Route 1…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five
#1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets ($35.6M)
#2 Alvin and the Chipmunks ($30M)
#3 I Am Legend ($27.5M) #4 Charlie Wilson's War ($11.8M) #5 Juno ($10.3M)

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Todd Sanfield as featured on DNA.

Riots, deaths follow Kenya's elections

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UPDATE: CNN is reporting that at least 124 people have reportedly been killed in violence sparked by allegations of vote-rigging in Kenya's disputed presidential elections.
Kenya's national broadcaster KTN reported the death toll on Monday following two days of violence across the African nation, from Nairobi's shantytowns to the tourist-friendly coast.
Earlier, media reports said 46 bodies were taken overnight to a morgue in the western Kenyan city of Kisumu -- its third largest city and a bastion of defeated opposition challenger Raila Odinga.
Police fired warning shots and tear gas at opposition protesters in Nairobi on Monday, a day after President Mwai Kibaki was controversially returned to power.
Several officers, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said they were ordered to shoot to kill to halt the violence.
However, a government spokesman insisted that no such order was given, AP reported.

Count Basie Orchestra's "Corner Pocket"

Quoteables

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"Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself." - Gore Vidal

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Luke Dennet as featured on Burbujas de Carne.

The Tudors Season 2 Ad

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Riots Erupt Across Kenya as Rivals Declare Victory

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UPDATE: The NYT is reporting that with the results from Kenya’s closely contested elections still up in the air, riots erupted across the country on Saturday.

Columns of black smoke boiled up from the slums ringing Nairobi, the capital, as supporters of Raila Odinga, the leading presidential challenger, poured into the streets to protest what they said was a plot by the government to steal the election.
The demonstrators clashed with police officers in riot gear and tore apart metal shanties with their bare hands. The scene replayed itself in Kisumu, Kakamega, Kajiado, Eldoret and other towns across Kenya, mainly in strongholds of Mr. Odinga.
Just 12 hours before, Mr. Odinga, a flamboyant politician and businessman, had been cruising to victory, according to preliminary results. He was leading Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, by about one million votes in an election that was predicted to be the most fiercely fought in Kenya’s history and perhaps the greatest test yet of this young multip…

Letterman Makes Deal With Striking Writers

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David Letterman has secured a deal with the striking Writer Guild of America that will allow him to resume his late-night show on CBS next Wednesday with his team of writers on board, executives of several late-night shows said today.
Most of television’s late-night shows are scheduled to return to the air that night after being off for two months due to the strike, but it is likely that only Mr. Letterman, and the show that follows him on CBS hosted by Craig Ferguson, will be supported by material from writers.
The reason is that Mr. Letterman’s company World Wide Pants, owns both those shows. The company announced two weeks ago that it was seeking a separate deal with the guild that would permit the two World Wide Pants show to return to the air. The talks seemed to be at an impasse until today when the deal was completed.
A spokesman for Mr. Letterman’s company declined to comment.
(Via NYT)

Bush to veto defense spending bill

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CNN is reporting that President Bush plans to veto a defense spending bill that Congress passed this month, the White House said Friday.
The president has concerns over a provision that would let victims of Saddam Hussein's regime with legal claims in U.S. courts seek compensation from the Iraqi government.
If enacted, the White House said, the act "would permit plaintiff's lawyers immediately to freeze Iraqi funds and would expose Iraq to massive liability in lawsuits concerning the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime.
"The new democratic government of Iraq, during this crucial period of reconstruction, cannot afford to have its funds entangled in such lawsuits in the United States."
A veto would block a pay raise for members of the U.S. armed forces. It also would block more money for veterans' health care.

Pakistan: Fractured skull killed Bhutto

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UPDATE: Benazir Bhutto died from a fractured skull caused by hitting her head on part of her car's sunroof as a bomb ripped through a crowd of her supporters, a spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Friday.
"When she was thrown by the force of the shockwave of the explosion, unfortunately one of the levers of the sunroof hit her," said spokesman Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema.
The explanation is the latest from the Interior Ministry. It initially said Bhutto was killed by shots fired by the bomber, and then, via the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan, it said the cause of death was a shrapnel injury.
(Via CNN)

Scantily Clad for Go SoftWear

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Diana Ross and Ru Paul's "I Will Survive"

New Year's Eve Icon Goes Green

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At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2008, those people in Times Square in New York City will ring in the New Year under the glow of a Times Square ball illuminated by LED technology.
“For the first time in history, New Year’s eve’s most iconic image, the Times Square Ball, will be lit by LEDs,” said Govi Rao, chairman and chief executive officer of Lighting Science Group, the company responsible for the lighting system being used.
Lighting Science Group (LSG) was commissioned by Philips Lighting to develop an LED lighting system to deliver the first environmentally friendly, brighter, more responsive New Years Eve ball, while maintaining the core lighting elements of the old ball. The new ball is 6 feet in diameter and weighs 1,200 pounds, and consists of 9,576 Philips’ LEDs and 672 of Waterford’s double-cut crystals.
(Via FacilityBlog)

Pakistan says al Qaeda behind Bhutto killing

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UPDATE: Pakistan has "intelligence intercepts" indicating that al Qaeda was behind the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.
Former prime minister Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, plunging nuclear-armed Pakistan into one of the most serious crises in its 60-year history.
"We have intelligence intercepts indicating that al Qaeda leader Baitullah Mehsud is behind her assassination," ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told a news conference.
Mehsud is one of Pakistan's most wanted militant leaders and is based in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border.
Cheema also said Mehsud was behind a suicide bomb attack on Bhutto in Karachi that killed about 140 people hours after she arrived back in the country from eight years of exile on October 18.
(Via Reuters)

Six convicted aid workers flown from Chad

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UPDATE: The plot thickens for the aid workers we reported on in October. The six French aid workers who were sentenced to hard labour in Chad for trying to kidnap 103 children flew out of the African nation on Friday bound for France, where they are due to serve their eight-year sentences in jail.
The four men and two women, from humanitarian group Zoe's Ark, were stopped in October from flying the children, aged between one and 10, out of Chad to Europe. Chad said they had no authorisation to take the minors out of the country.
More of the back story over at Reuters.

Quoteables

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“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” - Coco Chanel

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Henry Diaz as featured on We Love Guys.

With Pakistan Reeling, Bhutto Is Buried

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UPDATE: The NYT is reporting that hundreds of thousands of emotional mourners bade farewell Friday to Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister and one of the most iconic figures in Pakistani politics, who was buried in her ancestral village a day after being assassinated at an election rally.
As Ms. Bhutto was buried in the midst of a chaotic but peaceful crowd, violence continued to flare across the country and the political situation remained deeply uncertain.
Supporters of Ms. Bhutto went on rampages in several cities, torching cars and stores and ransacking banks in street violence that claimed at least 10 lives, news wires reported. The government ordered paramilitary forces in Ms. Bhutto’s southern home province of Sindh to shoot rioters on sight.
A senior government official said there were no immediate plans to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan. 8, which are intended to restore democracy after eight years of military dictatorship. Ms. Bhutto, as the leader of …

Kenya Opposition Poised to Sweep

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UPDATE: The opposition appears to be sweeping Kenya’s elections, according to preliminary results released on Friday, with a populist challenger poised to unseat the incumbent president and several high profile ministers voted out of office.

According to partial results aired on three Kenyan television stations, Raila Odinga, a flamboyant businessman campaigning as champion of the poor, has about 57 percent of the vote, compared to less than 40 percent for Mwai Kibaki, the incumbent who is known for boosting Kenya’s economy but favoring his own tribe.
Perhaps even more telling, though, is the rising casualty count among Mr. Kibaki’s inner circle. The foreign minister, the information minister, the vice-president and more than a dozen other politicians considered to be the nucleus of Kenya’s politico-economic establishment have lost their Parliament seats and therefore their influential jobs.
(Via NYT)

Evandro Soldati for Vila Romana

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The Funnies

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Pick Me Up of the Day

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Actor Michel Brown

Barron Hilton to donate most of fortune

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Hotel magnate Barron Hilton, grandfather of heiress Paris Hilton, has bequeathed 97% of his estimated $2.3-billion net worth to his father's charity foundation, officials said Wednesday.
The contribution to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, to come from the sale of Hilton Hotels Corp. and the pending sale of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. after the money is placed in a trust, is the largest in the foundation's history and will bring its value to about $4.5 billion.
Barron Hilton, 80, pledged an immediate $1.2-billion donation to the foundation, with an estimated $1.1 billion to follow after his death.
Paris Hilton, the most famous of Barron's 23 grandchildren, could not be reached for comment.
(Via Sun Sentinel)

Kenyans Vote in Test of Democracy

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The NYT is reporting that millions of Kenyans waited in the muggy darkness for the polls to open and for a chance to scratch their Xs in an election that is predicted to be the tightest race in the country’s history — and the greatest test yet of Kenya’s young, multi-party democracy.

The contest pits the incumbent president, MwaiKibaki, a man who has a reputation as a courtly gentleman, an economics whiz but also as a tribal politician, against RailaOdinga, a rich, flamboyant businessman who rides around in a bright red $100,000 Hummer and is running as a champion of the poor.
The polls were packed with young women carrying babies on their backs, students chatting on cell phones, wrinkled old men teetering on canes and muscled youth smelling like they just tumbled out of a bar. Security was tight. Truckloads of helmeted soldiers prowled the slums. Policemen swung canes beat to back throngs of voters trying to squeeze into polling booths. So many people were eager to vote. One woman outs…

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

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Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday outside a large gathering of her supporters where a suicide bomber also killed at least 14, doctors and a spokesman for her party said.
While Bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.
President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.
Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.
Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.
--> It's a sad day for democracy everywhere. We've lost a great political symbol today.

Gloria Estefan's "Coming Out Of The Dark"

NRA returning guns to Katrina survivors

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CNN is reporting that the National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the August 29, 2005, hurricane.
In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina.
The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.
"Finding these folks has been a nightmare," NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said…

Quoteables

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"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." - George Carlin

Pick Me Up of the Day

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The infamous Michael Bistera.

Die-hard Gators could get campus urns

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For years, University of Florida alumni have insisted that the path to heaven runs through Gainesville. Well, they may soon have a point.
The university wants to build a columbarium to bury the ashes of loved ones right on campus, in a serene spot next to Lake Alice, where alligators roam freely.

UF would be the first university in the state to do it, and one of only a handful around the country.

But the school isn't doing it for the money. It would charge just enough for upkeep, said UF Vice President Paul Robell, one of the people overseeing the project.

The school is doing it for the soul. Gator spirit, to be precise.

''I understand that when you first hear about it, it might sound strange, but when you really think about what's important to you and the happiest times in your life and the passions you hold of where you went to school, it does make sense,'' said Katie Marquis, director of membership and marketing for the UF Alumni Association. ``People just live a…

Malnutrition Up in Darfur Despite Aid

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Child malnutrition rates have increased sharply in Darfur, even though it is home to the world’s largest aid operation, according to a new United Nations report.
The report showed that 16.1 percent of children affected by the conflict in Darfur, a vast, turbulent region in western Sudan, are acutely malnourished, compared with 12.9 last year. For the first time since 2004, the malnutrition rate, a gauge of the population’s overall distress, has crossed what United Nations officials consider to be the emergency threshold.
Just as important, the increase has occurred despite the efforts of more than 12,000 relief workers in Darfur, drawing from an annual aid budget of about a billion dollars. Aid officials said that they were concerned that even with all these resources, the people in Darfur seemed to be getting worse.
“This is a big deal,” said Jean Rigal, the head of a branch of Doctors Without Borders in Sudan. “The system is not working as expected.”
Dr. Rigal said he was not exactly su…

We're closing up shop...

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Queen Elizabeth gets her own YouTube channel

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Seventy-five years ago, courtesy of what he referred to as “the marvels of modern science,” King George V became the first British monarch to broadcast a message to his subjects at Christmas time via the radio.

“I take it as a good omen that the wireless should have reached its present perfection at a time when the empire has been linked in closer union,” George said in his address, which became an annual ritual here.
The British empire has long since gone, and the term “wireless” no longer refers to radio. But the royal family is still gamely embracing brave new gadgetry. This week, Queen Elizabeth announced that she had not only started a new channel on YouTube — the Royal Channel — but also planned to use it to broadcast her own Christmas address, at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. Eastern time) on Tuesday.
“If you look through the years, the queen’s always kept up to date with changes in technology,” a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said. In fact, the monarchy has had its own Web site for the pas…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Francis Carter as featured on We Love Guys.

Poolside Gentlemen for Coors Light

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Japan halts humpback whale hunt

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Japan has "temporarily halted" its much-criticized plan for a humpback whale hunt in the seas near Antarctica, said the chief Japanese government spokesman last Friday.
Nobutaka Machimura said Japan is removing humpback whales from its hunting list for now in a gesture to enhance the dialogue at International Whaling Commission, torn in an emotional argument about whaling.
The IWC chairman had asked Japan not to hunt humpback whales while negotiations between Japan and anti-whaling nations continue, said Machimura.
Japan wants rational discussion based on scientific data and hopes the move will calm public opinion in Australia, which has been in an uproar over Japan's plan, Machimura said.
Japan has said the hunt is for scientific research and believes the practice is environmentally and scientifically sound.
Many in the international community believe such hunts amount to needless slaughter and serve only as a a pretext for retrieving whale meat to be sold in markets and res…

Secret postcards

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(Via PostSecret)

Makeover designed for Havana's Malecón

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The Miami Herald is reporting that Havana's famed Malecón could become the future site of seven public gathering places that could modernize the popular avenue, yet still protect its urban tradition.
The idea to reconstruct seven kilometers of the Malecón -- from a castle at one end to where it feeds into the mouth of the Almendares River -- is the final chapter of ''Havana and its Landscapes,'' a study aimed at the architectural rescue of the capital city under the auspices of Florida International University in Miami-Dade County.
In charge of the project is prominent Cuban architect Nicolás Quintana, a professor at FIU who has become an expert on the way Cuba looks today by poring over textbooks, photos, illustrations, maps and virtual images of island scenes.
For more details on the project, click here.

Baby Jesus Statue Gets GPS for Christmas

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A baby Jesus statue here is getting a Global Positioning System for Christmas. The statue, part of a nativity scene, will be equipped with the device after the previous statue went missing, even though it had been bolted down.
"I don't anticipate this will ever happen again," said Dina Cellini, who oversees the display, "but we may need to rely on technology to save our savior.
"The Mary and Joseph statues will also be fitted with GPS devices, she said.
The devices are being bought using residents' contributions and Cellini's own money.
(Via Sun Sentinel)

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five
#1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets ($45.5M)
#2 I Am Legend ($34.2M) #3 Alvin and the Chipmunks ($29M)
#4 Charlie Wilson's War ($9.62M)
#5 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ($9.35M)

The Funnies

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Beach Bum for AussieBum

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Quoteables

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"It's not enough to be against something...you have to be for something better."
- Iron Man

Orgasms for Peace Tonight

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In 2006, the first Global Orgasm for Peace focused on the escalation of tensions between the Government of the USA and Iran. One year later, some of those in power still want to declare war and Americans are waiting to be given another manufactured excuse to support it. So we are launching the Second Annual Synchronized GlobalOrgasm for Peace.

This year we are synchronizing on the actual moment of the Solstice (Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the south) for maximum concentrated effect: Solstice Day - Saturday, December 22nd at 06:08 Universal Coordinated Time (GMT), which is 09:08 Baghdad time; 09:38 Tehran time; 01:08 Washington, DC time; 17:08 Sydney time; 14:08 Hong Kong time; 11:38, New Delhi time; 09:08 Moscow time; Friday, December 21st, at 22:08 San Francisco time.
WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone you know.
WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction and places where violence is used in place of mediation.
WHY? T…

Jamie Cullum's "Get Your Way"

CIA tapes case goes to court

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Bush administration lawyers appear in court Friday to answer allegations that the administration defied a federal judge's demand to preserve evidence that may have included CIA interrogation videos of terrorist suspects in U.S. custody.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy ordered the hearing earlier this week, rejecting White House arguments that court intervention would be premature, because Congress and government officials are looking into the matter.
In an emergency request filed Monday, lawyers for a group of prisoners held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, urged the judge to step in now. They accused the White House of blocking outside inquiry into the tapes and trying to ensure that only federal agencies implicated in the destruction would carry out an internal inquiry.
(Via CNN)