ONTD Political

A Republican staffer on Friday apologized for a Facebook post that criticized Malia and Sasha Obama's appearance at the annual White House turkey pardon ceremony, one of America's silliest holiday traditions.

Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), wrote that the two teenagers should "try showing a little class," "dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar," and, most of all, "don't make faces" at Very Serious public events.

Read the full rant via Gawker:

"Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events."

The First Daughters join President Obama at the ceremony every year, where they can hardly contain their disdain for the lame dad jokes that predictably follow. Before approaching Mac and Cheese, the two turkeys, the president remarked that it was "puzzling that I do this every year." Malia even declined her father's offer to pet one of the pardoned turkeys with a nonchalant, "Nah."

Lauten later apologized for rushing to judgment on Facebook.

"I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager," she said. "After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."

By Igor Bobic. Posted: 11/29/2014 3:13 pm EST.


Ira Hansen is a Republican member of the Nevada State Assembly. He's served since his 2011 swearing-in, and with his party's newly acquired majority, he was recently named its candidate for speaker.

Hansen also has a history of making sexist, homophobic and racist comments. He has gone after Israel, newcomers to Nevada and low-ranking members of his own party. To name a few.

Hansen wrote a column for the Sparks Tribune for a period of 13 years, in which he aired these -- and many, many other -- grievances. Since the Tribune only recently went online, these columns went largely unnoticed and were difficult to track. The Reno News and Review took the liberty of reviewing every single one of Hansen's columns on microfilm, and it published its findings Thursday.

The report summarizes some of the most contentious comments Hansen made about women, black and Hispanic people, gay individuals and others in the columns he wrote under a Confederate flag.

“I fly it proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause," Hansen wrote.

In the new term, Nevada Republicans will hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature as well as the governorship for the first time since the Great Depression. With Hansen as speaker, Nevada is in for a treat.

Below, some of The Reno News and Review's most notable findings.

On Women

"Today, when Army men look at women in the ranks with 'longing in their eyes' it very well may constitute ’sexual harassment.’ The truth is, women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields."

"Women, historically, have been the nurturers and mothers while men have been the providers and defenders."

“So what happened between 1960 and 2001? Major social changes that negatively affected the family. Childbearing was reduced to an average of two kids. … Divorce rates skyrocketed. ’Child care’ became an industry. Child abuse skyrocketed. Thanks to the ’sexual revolution’ and the ’women’s liberation movement,’ women chose to act as foolishly as men, and illegitimacy also went through the roof. … Abortions get about one out of every four children conceived.”

On Black People

"The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to."

"King's private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud."

"The shrewd and calculating [black] 'leaders' are willing to sacrifice the children of their own race to gratify their lust for power and position. The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies. For American blacks, being denied choice and forced to attend the failing and inferior government school system is a form of involuntary servitude. Let’s call it what it truly is -- educational slavery."

On Latinos

"Locally, gangs and their associated criminal activity are obviously dominated by immigrants, especially Hispanic immigrants. You cannot read a story about criminals or watch a news report locally without noticing a grossly disproportionate amount of Hispanic involvement."

On Gay People

"Considering only about 2 percent of adult males are homosexuals, the numbers show why homosexuals have been historically regarded as such a threat. Male homosexuals are grossly disproportionate in child molestation cases, and the youth orientation of male homosexuality drives this trend."

"I've been keeping a rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally, and roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys."

On Israel

"What exactly is it about Israel that makes it so important to the United States? Why are all our actions there designed exclusively to benefit Israel? If Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, what impact would that have on the U.S.? … Israel is a tiny country, roughly 8,000 square miles, about the size of Washoe County, with a total population of approximately 5.5 million people. Twenty percent of those are Arabs. By way of contrast, the Muslim world has about one billion people or roughly 995 million people more than Israel. And most importantly, the Muslim/Arab countries have something of utmost importance to the U.S. -- oil."

"The success of the Israeli propaganda machine, aided and abetted by many duped Christian simpletons in the United States, can be observed by the general consensus, frequently publicly expressed, that Jerusalem and the holy land was until recently almost meaningless to the Muslims. Our ignorance of history is taken advantage of, and this knowledge vacuum is felled with half-truths and distortions of fact."

Head over to The Reno News and Review for more.

By Ashley Alman. Posted: 11/20/2014 3:12 pm EST. Updated: 11/20/2014 3:18 pm EST.


A Gwinnett county man accepted a plea deal Monday for the fatal shooting of a man, who mistakenly pulled into the wrong driveway.

Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh was in the courtroom as Philip Sailors plead to the misdemeanor charge for the January 2013 shooting in Lilburn.

Channel 2 Action News broke the news Friday about the plea deal which reduced a murder charge to the misdemeanor charge oF involuntary manslaughter and spared the homeowner any jail time.

People Kavanaugh spoke with were surprised that Sailors made no statement and offered no apology to the victim's family during the hearing.

Rodrigo Diaz, the victim’s father, told Kavanaugh in Spanish he wasn’t expecting anything today.

Investigators say GPS misguided Rodrigo Diaz to the wrong house that night. Diaz was trying to get to the home across the street so he could pick up a friend to go roller-skating. When Sailors saw the strange car, he came out shooting. He fired once into the air. Investigators say the second shot went through the window and struck Diaz in the head.

With his guilty plea Sailors will serve 12-months’ probation and pay a $500 fine.

District Attorney, Danny Porter, said the family was on board with the plea deal.

"They are not in a position where they want to have Mr. Sailors sent to prison for the rest of his life,” Porter said in court. “They are in a position where it is most important to them, that the public understand that Mr. Diaz, who was driving the car, was not committing any crime. (He) was not engaged in any unlawful activity, was not engaged in anything even improper."

Sailors didn't address the court Monday, but the Diaz family did. Rodrigo's father had two questions for the court.

After the hearing, Diaz’s father, Rodrigo Diaz Senior. told Kavanaugh that Sailors could have received a stronger punishment, but he believed that would only end up destroying two families.

His eldest son, David, agreed.

"There is no point for him to be in lifetime in prison. What we get from that? Nothing,” said David Diaz.

During the hearing, Diaz addressed the court saying he still had two questions. He asked why Sailors used a bullet which he claims is particularly lethal.

“I understand that it is a bullet designed to kill, that it explodes the moment it penetrates,” Diaz said through a translator.

He also said it was his son’s dream that his little sister come to the United States. He asked the court if any doors could now be opened for that to happen.
Diaz got no response to either question.

As we first reported in May, the Diaz family sued Phillip Sailors citing he acted negligently.

Attorneys say there was a settlement in which the family received an undisclosed amount of money.

Sailors did not want to comment after the hearing. He was surrounded by friends and family who came to the hearing as a show of support.


SMH @ this, the family's response is weird too!

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election.

A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast ballots. Three justices dissented.

The law was struck down by a federal judge last week, but a federal appeals court had put that ruling on hold. The judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification. Early voting in Texas begins Monday.

The Supreme Court's order was unsigned, as it typically is in these situations. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying they would have left the district court decision in place.

"The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters," Ginsburg wrote in dissent.

Texas' law sets out seven forms of approved ID — a list that includes concealed handgun licenses but not college student IDs, which are accepted in other states with similar measures.

The 143-page opinion from U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos called the law an "unconstitutional burden on the right to vote" and the equivalent of a poll tax in finding that the Republican-led Texas Legislature purposely discriminated against minority voters in Texas.

Texas had urged the Supreme Court to let the state enforce voter ID at the polls in a court filing that took aim at the ruling by Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama. Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who's favored in the gubernatorial race, called Ramos' findings "preposterous" and accused the judge of ignoring evidence favorable to the state.

The court had intervened in three other disputes in recent weeks over Republican-inspired restrictions on voting access. In Wisconsin, the justices blocked a voter ID law from being used in November. In North Carolina and Ohio, the justices allowed limits on same-day registration, early voting and provisional ballots to take or remain in effect.

Ginsburg said the Texas case was different from the clashes in North Carolina and Ohio because a federal judge held a full trial on the Texas election procedures and developed "an extensive record" finding the process discriminated against ballot access.

Texas has enforced its tough voter ID in elections since the Supreme Court in June 2013 effectively eliminated the heart of the Voting Rights Act, which had prevented Texas and eight other states with histories of discrimination from changing election laws without permission. Critics of the Texas measure, though, said the new ID requirement has not been used for an election for Congress and the Senate, or a high-turnout statewide election like the race for governor.

Ramos' issued her ruling on October 9. Five days later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans put her decision on hold and cited a 2006 Supreme Court opinion that warned judges not to change the rules too close to Election Day.

The challengers in Texas said that the last time the Supreme Court allowed a voting law to be used in a subsequent election after it had been found to be unconstitutional was in 1982. That case from Georgia involved an at-large election system that had been in existence since 1911.

Republican lawmakers in Texas and elsewhere say voter ID laws are needed to reduce voter fraud. Democrats contend that such cases are extremely rare and that voter ID measures are thinly veiled attempts to keep eligible voters, many of them minorities supportive of Democrats, away from the polls.

By Sam Hananel. Associated Press writer Mark Sherman in Washington contributed to this report. Posted: 10/18/2014 6:45 am EDT.


Edited to add: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pens Scathing Dissent On Texas Voter ID Law
A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.

Jennifer Cramblett, of Uniontown, Ohio, alleges in the lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court that Midwest Sperm Bank sent her the vials of an African-American donor's sperm in September 2011 instead of those of a white donor that she and her white partner had ordered.

After searching through pages of comprehensive histories for their top three donors, the lawsuit claims, Cramblett and her domestic partner, Amanda Zinkon, chose donor No. 380, who was also white. Their doctor in Ohio received vials from donor No. 330, who is African-American, the lawsuit said.

Cramblett, 36, learned of the mistake in April 2012, when she was pregnant and ordering more vials so that the couple could have another child with sperm from the same donor, according to the lawsuit. The sperm bank delivered vials from the correct donor in August 2011, but Cramblett later requested more vials, according to the suit.

Cramblett is suing Midwest Sperm Bank for wrongful birth and breach of warranty, citing the emotional and economic losses she has suffered.

An attorney for Midwest Sperm Bank said the company would not comment on pending litigation.

Jennifer bonded with Payton ... and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton's future.

- Lawsuit against the Midwest Sperm Bank
"On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl," the lawsuit states. "Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton's future."

Raising a mixed-race daughter has been stressful in Cramblett and Zinkon's small, all-white community, according to the suit. Cramblett was raised around people with stereotypical attitudes about nonwhites, the lawsuit states, and did not know African-Americans until she attended college at the University of Akron.

"Because of this background and upbringing, Jennifer acknowledges her limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogenous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant," the lawsuit states.

Part of that learning curve has included getting her daughter's hair cut, which according to the suit requires Cramblett to travel to a black neighborhood, "where she is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome."

She fears that her "all white and unconsciously insensitive family," which has never been able to fully embrace Jennifer's homosexuality, could have a negative effect on her daughter, according to the lawsuit.

"Though compelled to repress her individuality amongst family members, Payton's differences are irrepressible, and Jennifer does not want Payton to feel stigmatized or unrecognized due simply to the circumstances of her birth," the lawsuit states.

"Jennifer's stress and anxiety intensify when she envisions Payton entering an all-white school."

Cramblett's therapists have advised her that for her and her child's psychological well-being, she must relocate to a racially diverse community with good schools, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges the error occurred because the sperm bank keeps handwritten instead of electronic records, which allowed the donor numbers to be misread.

A month after Cramblett said she learned of the mistake, according to the lawsuit, the sperm bank sent her a typed letter of apology along with a refund check for the six vials of incorrect sperm that were sent to her in September 2011.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-sperm-donor-lawsuit-met-20140930-story.html
Students Protesting Conservative Rewrite Of History Get Their Most Important Endorsement Yet

The organization that oversees the Advanced Placement curriculum, whose history course is being defended by massive, ongoing student protests in a Denver suburb, has now said that it backs those protests.

"The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colorado to protest a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course," said a statement from the College Board released on Friday.

"These students recognize that the social order can -- and sometimes must -- be disrupted in the pursuit of liberty and justice. Civil disorder and social strife are at the patriotic heart of American history -- from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. And these events and ideas are essential within the study of a college-level, AP U.S. History course," the statement continued.

Protests in Jefferson County, the state's second-largest school district, began a week ago Friday. By this Thursday, there were nearly 1,000 students marching in protest of the county school board's call for an Advanced Placement curriculum on U.S. history that promotes "respect for authority" and discourages "civil disorder, social strife or disregard for the law."

The proposal in question would create a school board committee tasked with ensuring that all U.S. history materials taught in Jefferson County "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights." The proposal also says that instructional materials "should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage." The committee would be directed to inform the school board of any "objectionable materials" it might encounter.

Julie Williams, one of three conservative members who control the county school board and who helped design the proposal, said on Friday that she's "not saying let's not teach history accurately," but what she is saying is "let's not encourage our children to disobey the law." When Denver's KUSA-TV asked Williams for examples of moments in history that might be misrepresented in the AP course and could lead to the negative outcomes she fears, Williams couldn't cite a single example.

"I'm not familiar enough with everything that is in AP history to make that judgment," she said.

In a statement posted to Facebook this week, Williams said she was "surprised" by the outrage her proposal has provoked and stood by her mission, arguing that the existing AP curriculum "rejects the history that has been taught in the country for generations" and that it "has an emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance and American-bashing."

Dakota Ridge High School senior Maggie Ramseur, who is involved in the protests, told HuffPost that the students fear that if the school board succeeds at changing the AP curriculum, a "dangerous" precedent would be set. "The policies they are suggesting are ridden with political agendas," Ramseur said, "something that belongs in our curriculum about as much as religious agendas do."

The school board is expected to take up the curriculum proposal in early October.

"The point of civil disobedience is to break an unjust law with the intention of bringing attention to it so that it may be rectified and made just," Ramseur said. "Teaching students about that does not encourage them to become anarchists. It encourages them to speak up about policy and make the government serve the people, which is what our democratic republic was designed for."

"And that is something that I learned in Advanced Placement United States History," she added. "The uncensored version."

Read the College Board's full statement below:

"The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colorado to protest a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course. The board member claims that some historical content in the course “encouraged or condoned civil disorder, social strife, or disregard for the law.”

These students recognize that the social order can -- and sometimes must -- be disrupted in the pursuit of liberty and justice. Civil disorder and social strife are at the patriotic heart of American history -- from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. And these events and ideas are essential within the study of a college-level, AP U.S. History course.

The College Board will always listen to principled concerns based on evidence -- and in fact has announced a public-review process for the AP U.S. History course framework. But in light of current events, an important policy reminder is in order:

College faculty and AP teachers collaborate to develop, deliver, and evaluate AP courses and exams. Their partnership ensures that these courses align with the content and rigor of college-level learning, while still providing teachers with the flexibility to examine topics of local interest in greater depth.

To offer a course labeled “AP” or “Advanced Placement,” a school must agree to meet the expectations set for such courses by the more than 3,300 colleges and universities across the globe that use AP Exam scores for credit, placement, or consideration in the admission process.

As vital context for the courageous voices of the students in Colorado, the AP community, our member institutions and the American people can rest assured: If a school or district censors essential concepts from an Advanced Placement course, that course can no longer bear the “AP” designation."

By Matt Ferner. Posted: 09/26/2014 8:10 pm EDT. Updated: 09/26/2014 8:59 pm EDT.

Source includes video, in case you feel like increasing your blood pressure. The interviewer tries to pin him down about his tweets on "homosexism" as well.

transphobia, homophobia, and whether mental health is stigmatised or not, under the cutCollapse )
In a little-noticed move, a small number of police officers are now routinely carrying sidearms while on patrol in parts of the mainland UK. How did this come about, and does it alter the relationship between the constabulary and the public?

Saturday night in Inverness. Outside a McDonald's restaurant, a scuffle between two men breaks out. Three police officers arrive to intervene. So far, so mundane.

Except that strapped around the hips of each of the policemen approaching the brawl is a holstered Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol.

It's a sight that once would have been unthinkable. In this corner of the Scottish Highlands - an area with one of the lowest crime rates in the UK - the officers showing up to a relatively workaday disturbance are armed.

Although every police force has a firearms unit, for decades it has been an article of faith that in the mainland UK, almost uniquely among major industrialised nations, the police do not carry guns as a matter of course.

But with little fanfare at first, a policy of routinely allowing specialist officers to wear sidearms as they walk the streets of Scotland has come into being.

After the incident in Inverness was captured by a local photographer on 12 July, local politicians expressed fears that the tradition of an unarmed constabulary was being surreptitiously eroded - a charge that would have implications for everyone in the UK.

John Finnie, an independent Member of the Scottish Parliament and former police officer, was approached by a constituent who said he had seen armed officers at the finishing line of the Highland Cross biathlon in the sleepy town of Beauly. The man told the MSP he "felt less safe", assuming some sort of major incident was under way.

Other sightings of armed officers in incongruous settings had emerged - at a bakery in the village of Brora, at a branch of Aldi in Inverness. They were also photographed at a routine traffic incident in Glasgow city centre.

Police Scotland, the single Scotland-wide force, says when specialist officers are not deployed on active firearms duty, it is expected that they carry out normal policing duties while carrying their sidearms. It says it is not the first force in the UK to routinely arm officers, and that 42 forces in England and Wales "carry the same standing authority and deploy similarly".

There seems however to be a lack of clarity about how widespread the practice is. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers says Police Scotland's policy has precedents in London in 2009 and Bedfordshire in 2012. The Metropolitan Police, however, says its officers on routine patrols are not armed.

This policy was introduced by the former Strathclyde force in 2008, and followed by Tayside in 2009 and Northern Constabulary just before the single force was created in 2013. Hitherto, firearms officers had to retrieve their weapons under a senior officer's authorisation from a locked safe in an armed response vehicle.

Until this point, most people hadn"t actually noticed that the policy had altered...Collapse )

Secondary article: Why British Police Don't Have Guns.

Creeped-out as fuck by this, to be honest. Fuck guns.

Source, over at Aunty Beeb.
A man who police say tried to defend a group of women from catcallers landed in the hospital after he was brutally assaulted in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square early Saturday morning.

WTFCollapse )

source this way

(if anyone thinks it needs a TW tag/warning, just say so--will add it in.)
Nothing Says “Sorry Our Drones Hit Your Wedding Party” Like $800,000 And Some Guns
On December 12, 2013, a drone struck and killed 12 members of a wedding party in Yemen. If the U.S., which claims the strike was clean and justified, didn’t pony up the $800,000 in cash and guns as reparations, then who did?

Muhammad al-Tuhayf was relaxing at his house late in the afternoon on Dec. 12, 2013, when his iPhone rang. A boxy, tired-looking Yemeni shaykh with large hands and a slow voice, Tuhayf heard the news: A few miles from where he was sitting, along a rutted-out dirt track that snaked through the mountains and wadis of central Yemen, U.S. drones had fired four missiles at a convoy of vehicles. Drone strikes were nothing new in Yemen — there had been one four days earlier, another one a couple weeks before that, and a burst of eight strikes in 12 days in late July and August that had set the country on edge. But this one was different: This time the Americans had hit a wedding party. And now the government needed Tuhayf’s help.

The corpses had already started to arrive in the provincial capital of Radaa, and by the next morning angry tribesmen were lining the dead up in the street. Laid out side by side on bright blue tarps and wrapped in cheap blankets, what was left of the men looked distorted by death. Heads were thrown back at awkward angles, splattered with blood that had caked and dried in the hours since the strike. Faces that had been whole were now in pieces, missing chunks of skin and bone, and off to one side, as if he didn’t quite belong, lay a bearded man with no visible wounds.

Clustered around them in a sweaty, jostling circle, dozens of men bumped up against one another as they struggled for position and a peek at the remains. Above the crowd, swaying out over the row of bodies as he hung onto what appeared to be the back of a truck with one hand, a leathery old Yemeni screamed into the crowd. “This is a massacre,” he shouted, his arm slicing through the air. “They were a wedding party.” Dressed in a gray jacket and a dusty beige robe with prayer beads draped over his dagger, the man was shaking with fury as his voice faltered under the strain. “An American drone killed them,” he croaked with another wild gesture from his one free hand. “Look at them.”
Read moreCollapse )
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