Saturday, April 23, 2011

LIST OF INVITED TO OBAMA'S FUND RAISER (includes two Iranian names)

Obama’s $3 million S.F. dinner — the complete guest list.

TWO clearly Iranian names - both female - on the list. (Also "Shari" could be Iranian and short for Sharareh among some other possibilities)

Craig Newmark, Cissie Swig, Steve Westly and each happily dropped $35,800 to dine with President Obama at billionaire Marc Benioff’s San Francisco home Wednesday evening. These are just some of the 85 famous names on the fundraiser’s guest list which was plainly visible to rubberneckers as attendees checked in. Combined, Obama’s take for the 90-minute event was a cool $3 million — or $3,043,000 to be exact (85 guests x $35,800 each).

The record-setting price tag for the dinner was part of Obama’s highly profitable fundraising swing through the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday, April 20.
A small cluster of onlookers — a few Obama fans, a few protesters, but mostly local residents who happened to pass by — watched and waited on the sidewalk at the intersection of Presidio and Pacific avenues for the President to arrive. While his motorcade was delayed for hours, a steady stream of well-dressed guests showed up and were let in one by one. Each name was checked on a master list of attendees held by a staffer who (unintentionally, one presumes) allowed nearby rubberneckers to get a glimpse of it as she flipped the pages.

The photographs below (use link at the end of the article) were taken of the fundraiser’s official guest list as the staffer checked the ID of each arrival. In total, 85 entries are visible on two different pages, though only about 50 of the names are fully legible.

Craig Newmark is the founder of craigslist and is a well-known internet entrepreneur. Cissie Swig is a wealthy philanthropist and a member of San Francisco’s famous Swig clan. Steve Westly is a California politician, candidate for governor, venture capitalist, and ardent Obama supporter. And is a musician and producer, best known as the leader of the Black Eyed Peas.

Several other famous names are on the list. Readers interested in seeing who can afford to spend $35,800 for a 90-minute dinner can scan the photos below.

The full list of legible names is presented after the photos. (This short report will be followed by a more thorough photo essay soon.)

Here’s the only report I could find from a pool reporter allowed into the event. A snippet — yes, that really is the “Stevie Wonder” on the list!:

The press corps was ushered into a large tent set up in the courtyard in the middle of Benioff’s block-wide residence, to find Stevie Wonder entertaining the crowd; his final song was a new one composed for the occasion, entitled “Ten Billion Hearts,” about joining together to heal the world.

The President was seated at Benioff’s table; Wonder returned to sit at the President’s side as Benioff introduced POTUS, saying that in a time of many crises, “we have the right person to lead us here.” Recording artist was seated at the same table.

…and the rest seemed to be not much more than a boilerplate stump speech. But… at the table of honor?

Denise Bauer
Russell Benioff
Joelle Benioff
Lynne Benioff
Marc Benioff
Jan Birenbaum
Larry Birenbaum
Zachary Bogue
Brian Buenneke
Kelly Bulkeley
Jon Burgstone
Lee Christensen
Ron Conway
Frank Currie
Stephen Davis
Quinn Delaney
Michelle Douglas
Alec Douglas
Jake Douglas
Becky Draper
Leni Eccles
Tawnie Farmer
Jerry Fiddler
Denise Foderaro
Rufus Gifford
Cindy Goldberg
Evan Goldberg
Lisa Goldman
Doug Goldman
Matthew [Goldman]
J… [Goldman]
M… Goldman
Jim Greenberg
Eric [Green]
Lee Greenberg
Bob Gregory
[Colleen Haas]
Doug [Haas]
Drew [Hickory]
Wayne Houston
Jon Jordan
Tony Kap…

Craig Newmark

Lisa O…
Rafael O…
Renuka P…
Frank Q…
Lorna R…
Andy R…
Deborah R…
Peter R…
Sandy R…
Jeanne R…
Mendel R…
Autumn S…
John [Scully]
Regina [Scully]
Steve Spinner
Garen Staglin

Noosheen Hashemi (IRANIAN NAME)

Shari Staglin
Jeremy Stoppelman
Jon Streeter
Cissie Swig
Ronald Taylor
Sandi Thompson
Ellen Thrower
Jeff Ubben
Raju Vegesna
Bala Vegesna
Steve Westly
Stevie Wonder
Pegi Young 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Give up some of your GPA scores to less successful students! Just like taking away money from successful people to give away to those who are less so or just lazy.

See how different it seems to students when approached with that concept. Give away the fruit of THEIR studying and scores? NOT so fair!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


By Rania Abouzeid

For years, Iraq’s increasingly pro-Iranian government has threatened to evict the 3,400 Iranian members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a fiercely anti-Tehran group, from its sprawling former military base at Camp Ashraf, some 40 miles (65 km) from Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, and 50 miles (80 km) from the Iranian border. Despite the heated rhetoric, however, Baghdad has never fully articulated how it will uproot the exiles — who refuse to leave their decades-old enclave — beyond saying it will not forcibly do so. That has now been given the lie, after an Iraqi military raid on the base last week left some 34 people dead and dozens (some 300) wounded, according to the U.N.

The dead include at least seven women, according to Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Most of those killed appear to have been shot. However, several suffered other types of injuries that would suggest they were hit by vehicles,” he told TIME from Geneva. “It has been extremely difficult to gain access to the camp, and many details about the exact circumstances surrounding this tragedy remain unknown at this point. The Iraqi authorities and the [MEK] are giving wildly differing accounts.”

The Iraqi military, which rings the perimeter of the 19-sq.-mi. (49 sq km) camp, denies using firearms and says only three residents were killed — when they threw themselves in front of military vehicles. Major General Ali Ghaidan, commander of Iraqi ground forces, told a group of reporters briskly bused to the vicinity of (but not into) Camp Ashraf that violence broke out after security forces sought to give parts of the camp back to farmers who allegedly owned it before Iraq’s then dictator Saddam Hussein gave the land to the MEK in the 1980s. He insisted that only batons and water cannons were used. Government spokesman Ali Dabbagh sought to explain the shooting deaths by telling Agence France-Presse that “the dead were killed by their own guards because they were trying to escape.”

“The Iraqi military were well aware of the risks attached to launching an operation like this in Ashraf,” said Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement. “There is no possible excuse for this number of casualties. There must be a full, independent and transparent inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive force should be prosecuted.”

Shahriar Kia, an MEK representative in Camp Ashraf, said the attack started before dawn and involved “armored vehicles, commando forces, motorized, engineering and antiriot forces, with the help of police and rapid-deployment forces.” “The attack lasted more than seven hours,” he told TIME from Iraq on Friday, April 15. The Iraqi forces continue to occupy the northern part of the camp, he said, adding that he fears they are preparing another attack. (See “Iraq’s Assault on Camp Ashraf: The Tenuous Life of a Fringe Iranian Faction.”)

The camp is a major irritant to Baghdad’s ties with Tehran and is perhaps one of the strangest holdovers from the dramatic shift in relations between Iraq, its once bitter foe Iran and their former and current mutual enemy the United States. The MEK, which is also known by the acronym MKO and by the name the People’s Mujahedin, was given Camp Ashraf by Hussein during his bitter eight-year war with neighboring Iran. He funded and armed the group, which launched attacks on Iran from Iraq.

Although the camp was disarmed in 2003 by the U.S. military, both Baghdad and Washington consider the MEK a terrorist organization. Washington has blacklisted the group for its attacks against U.S. interests in the 1970s and ‘80s. Iraqi officials have frequently said the Iranian exiles are “illegal aliens” with no legal right to remain in the country and that they must travel to either Iran or another country. They have repeatedly warned that they will close the camp, which was under U.S. military protection until 2009, when responsibility was transferred to Iraq under a comprehensive bilateral agreement. Deadlines for closing Camp Ashraf have come and gone. This week Iraq said the group must leave the country by the end of the year.

Camp Ashraf, with its gender-segregated dormitories, manicured lawns, flower beds and tree-lined streets, is the only home many of the residents have known. The MEK maintains firm control over its members, preventing them from marrying and restricting or preventing contact with family elsewhere. (See “Humanitarian Intervention: Whom to Protect, Whom to Abandon.”)

The standoff is unlikely to end well or soon, given that the MEK won’t even consider relocating within Iraq (the government wants to move the group away from the Iranian border), let alone overseas, unless strict (and some say unrealistic) conditions are met. Kia, the MEK representative, says the group will consider returning to Iran if “freedom of speech and political activities are guaranteed,” an impossibility for a group determined to bring down Tehran’s clerical leaders. “The second option is to transfer all of the residents to the U.S. or one of the E.U. member states,” he says.

In his statement, U.N. commissioner Pillay said, “I am well aware that this is a contentious group with a complicated history, but leaving them to fester in Camp Ashraf was never going to be a solution. Clearly, since they are unable to go back to Iran and are in danger in Iraq, the solution is most likely to involve moving them to third countries. I urge governments to take the necessary pragmatic and generous steps to resolve what is an untenable situation.”

The recent raid wasn’t the first instance of bloodshed between the Iraqi military and the camp’s residents since the U.S. handed over responsibility for it, but it was the most serious. In mid-2009, Iraqi security forces briefly tried to wrench control of the MEK base from its leaders after the Iraqis were denied a request to establish a police station inside the camp. At least six residents were killed and dozens wounded in the ensuing clashes. Things can rapidly devolve into violence once again, given growing Iraqi frustration with the organization, whose members exhibit a cultlike obedience and willingness to sacrifice themselves for their cause. (See pictures from the Fars News Agency in Iran.)

The MEK’s slick and efficient p.r. machine is well primed to exploit the situation. It has a ready list of European and American political figures eager to defend it (and who are looking for reasons to argue against its terrorist designation in the U.S.). These include former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former National Security Adviser General James Jones and former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. After a legal battle, the E.U. removed the organization from its terrorist list in 2009; the U.K. did so in 2008.

While the U.N. continues to try to determine the details of this most recent raid, the rhetoric continues to be ratcheted up by both sides. “The crime committed by [Iraqi Premier Nouri al-]Maliki and the Iranian regime clearly indicates Maliki’s filthy intention to satisfy Tehran’s mullahs, to whom he owes his renewed premiership,” Kia says. Things are unlikely to calm down anytime soon.