January 8th, 2009

(no subject)

Reid: Burris may ultimately get Senate seat
Obama suggests he would accept Burris as his successor

WASHINGTON - Roland Burris said Wednesday he should be able to join the Senate "very shortly," after talking to newly supportive Democratic leaders and working on lingering legal obstacles.

Talking to reporters on the second day of a Washington power odyssey that would intimidate many, the 71-year-old Burris declared himself happy and said he was pleased with his meeting with Sens. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin.

"My whole interest in this experience is to be prepared" to lead Illinois, Burris said, "and very shortly I will have the opportunity to do that."

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cookie monster
  • capthek

I hear increasing complaints out there about Obama...

I am glad that people are very interested in politics and paying attention.

But, I do think that we all need to keep a little perspective.

W. and the damage done
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/01/08/damage/
President Bush inherited a peaceful, prosperous America. As he exits, Salon consults experts in seven fields to try to assess the devastation.

By Vincent Rossmeier and Gabriel Winant
Jan. 8, 2009 | After a couple of presidential terms, mismanagement in every area of policy -- foreign, domestic, even extraterrestrial -- starts to add up. When George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001, he inherited peace and prosperity. The military, the Constitution and New Orleans were intact and the country had a budget surplus of $128 billion. Now he's about to dash out the door, leaving a large, unpaid bill for his successors to pay.

To get a sense of what kind of balance is due, Salon spoke to experts in seven different fields. Wherever possible, we have tried to express the damage done in concrete terms -- sometimes in lives lost, but most often just in money spent and dollars owed. What follows is an incomplete inventory of eight years of mis- and malfeasance, but then a fuller accounting would run, um, somewhat longer than three pages.

THE ECONOMY

Until not too long ago, President Bush's supporters could be heard to argue that the economy was the unheralded success story of his administration. In 2006, Larry Kudlow called it "The Greatest Story Never Told." While praising Bush, Ramesh Ponnuru decried the unfairness of it all. "It seems to happen every week: Some new piece of good economic news comes out, and Republicans sink a little deeper in the polls." To share their admiration, it helped if you ignored the way the wealth was being distributed. Or if you were a repo man.

But the whole debate became moot on Sept. 15, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Now the economy may be the most burdensome of all the Bush legacies that Barack Obama will have to shoulder.

The current financial and economic crisis has grown so massive, consuming everything in sight, that one might be able to forget that it started with bad mortgages. Well, one could try to forget, as long as one still has a home, or is not among the nearly one in four mortgage-holders whose homes are worth less than the debt on their homes.
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America

And next month he'll be leading the Blue Lantern Corps



If you’re an “Amazing Spider-Man” completest, we suggest you get to your comic shop a little earlier than normal next week as the next issue is likely to fly off stands faster than you can say "Barack Obama."

The President Elect himself is precisely the reason why. USA Today is reporting that Barack Obama will appear in next Wednesday’s issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” #583 by Zeb Wells, Todd Nauck and Frank D'Armata. In the five-page back-up story, Spider-Man stops the Chameleon from spoiling the President Elect’s swearing in at his inauguration.

"It was a natural after we learned the new president is a Spider-Man fan," Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada told USA Today, following reports that Obama is a fan of the wall-crawler. "We thought, 'Fantastic! We have a comic-book geek in the White House.'”

I addition to the back up feature, the issue will also feature an Obama variant cover by artist Phil Jimenez.

The soon to be sworn in Obama has already had quite an impact in several comic book universes. He’s been endorsed by Erik Larsen’s “Savage Dragon,” had his own biography comic, was baited by Stephen Colbert with an autographed issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” featuring the conservative talk show host, and even peppered his own speech at the Al Smith Dinner in October with comics and pop culture references.

"We do our best to be completely non-partisan and treat presidents with respect," Quesada told USA Today. "This is not so much a pro-Obama statement but a tip of the hat to having a Spider-Man fan in the White House."

Look for more on this story as it develops.

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' jules
  • schmiss

O_O

al-Sadr Urges Attacks Against Americans Over Gaza Invasion



Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday urged reprisals against American forces in Iraq to protest Israel's Gaza offensive, as Arab anger grows over civilian deaths in the Palestinian territory.

The strongly worded statement signaled a threat by al-Sadr's militia fighters to renew violence against American troops after months of relative calm.


It was unclear, however, just how much influence the once-powerful Shiite leader - who is believed to be in Iran - still has. His fighters have been hit hard in U.S.-Iraqi military operations over the past year.

The U.S. State Department dismissed al-Sadr's calls, describing them as "outrageous."

"Any call for attacks against Americans is outrageous and, frankly, not worthy of much more comment," deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. "Outside calls to attack Americans for what's going on in the region are outrageous."

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Israel is using American chemical weapons in Gaza




Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces.

There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law.

The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition. The shell is an improved version with a more limited dispersion of the phosphorus, which ignites on contact with oxygen, and is being used by the Israeli gunners to create a smoke screen on the ground.

The rounds, which explode into a shower of burning white streaks, were first identified by The Times at the weekend when they were fired over Gaza at the start of Israel's ground offensive. Artillery experts said that the Israeli troops would be in trouble if they were banned from using WP because it is the simplest way of creating smoke to protect them from enemy fire.

There were indications last night that Palestinian civilians have been injured by the bombs, which burn intensely. Hassan Khalass, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told The Times that he had been dealing with patients who he suspected had been burnt by white phosphorus. Muhammad Azayzeh, 28, an emergency medical technician in the city, said: “The burns are very unusual. They don't look like burns we have normally seen. They are third-level burns that we can't seem to control.”


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5470047.ece
utah
  • pentha

Atheist Bus Campaign launched

A bus worth waiting for
This campaign is the antithesis of the 'shouty atheism' so beloved of religious caricaturists

o James Randerson
o guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 6 January 2009 18.30 GMT

"You wait ages for an atheist bus and then 800 come along at once," said Ariane Sherine at the culmination of her campaign to put anti-faith slogans on the sides of UK buses. Throughout, she has been the antithesis of the shrill, dogmatic and shouty atheist that is so beloved of religious caricaturists. She is charming, smiley and wonderfully unintimidating and her campaign has captured the imagination of thousands of people.

Last summer, she was irritated by an advert on a bus from a religious organisation that expressed a profoundly threatening message (essentially, think what we think or "you spend all eternity in torment in hell"). She wondered if there was a classier and more thoughtful way of putting the opposing point of view.

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According to the sources, what sparked this campaign was a Christian bus advert that had the message: "[You] will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell … Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire prepared for the devil."

Source: Guardian

More links:
Spread of controversial advertising campaign to Spain upsets members of Catholic church
Wiki article
ETA: fresher links: Monstersandcritics, Australa rejects campaign
' jules
  • schmiss

NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA, HEY HEY HEY, GOODBYE

Missouri Sen. Kit Bond to announce retirement



Missouri Sen. Kit Bond plans to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2010, according to high-ranking state Republicans.

Bond is expected to make the announcement shortly after Missouri lawmakers convene Thursday morning in the state Capitol. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging Bond's planned announcement.

Bond, 69, first was elected to the Senate in 1986 — the only Republican to capture a seat previously held by a Democrat that year. Missouri voters have re-elected him three times since, and as recently as a few months ago, Bond had told crowds that he would be seeking re-election to a fifth Senate term.

Before joining the Senate, Bond served as Missouri governor and state auditor.

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I assume he is dedicating more of his time to fighting judges who "have an empathy for the teenage mom, the minority, the gay".
Reese Witherspoon
  • shibato

Obama brings firsts for black press




Barack Obama’s election as president is prompting major changes in the nation’s black press, ushering in a series of firsts that editors say will reshape print, Internet, radio and television coverage aimed at African-American audiences.

Essence, the top-selling magazine among black women, will have a full-time White House reporter for the first time. Ebony magazine will add a White House reporter, either full time or as needed. Its sister publication, Jet magazine, will have a weekly two-page Washington report in every issue.

And Black Entertainment Television is scrapping its usual fare of videos and sitcoms for a four-hour live broadcast of Obama’s swearing-in — just as the leading cable network in black households did for both party conventions last summer, and on Election Day. TV One will do the same, airing 21 hours of inauguration coverage throughout the day.




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Robert Fisk: Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

 So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night's work in Gaza by the army that believes in "purity of arms". But why should we be surprised?

 

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?

What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. "Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties," yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night's butchery on their hands. Had George Bush had the courage to demand an immediate ceasefire 48 hours earlier, those 40 civilians, the old and the women and children, would be alive.

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Prosecutors: Madoff was ready to send out $173M

Prosecutors: Madoff was ready to send out $173M

Prosecutors said Thursday that investigators found 100 signed checks worth $173 million in Bernard Madoff's office desk that he was ready to send out to his closest family and friends at the time of his arrest last month.

The detail was provided in a court filing Thursday as prosecutors argued that Madoff should have his bail revoked and be sent to jail. They said the checks were further evidence that he wants to keep his assets away from burned investors.
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An Unnecessary War

By Jimmy Carter
Thursday, January 8, 2009; Page A15

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.

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' jules
  • schmiss

Get thee behind me, Satan!

Palin on Olbermann: ‘THAT guy is EVIL!’



Right-winger John Ziegler — who is waging a one-man crusade to prove that President-elect Obama won the election solely because of “media bias” — recently interviewed Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). In a gushing description published on a new website devoted to making Hollywood more conservative, Ziegler details Palin’s reaction to seeing a photo of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann:
[W]hen she looked at the back cover of my first film…and saw the photo of one of the film’s targets, Keith Olbermann, she literally let out a shriek and, pointing to his photograph, declared, “THAT guy is EVIL!”

Ziegler wrote that, after the interview, “I know, with moral certitude, that the media assassination of [Palin], her character and family, was one of the greatest public injustices of our time.”

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(no subject)


Anne Hathaway Wants Obama to Explain Rick Warren Choice

HathawayActress Anne Hathaway was interviewed by E! on the red carpet of the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this week, and she was asked what she expected of Obama.

Said Hathaway: "I expect him to explain that choice of Rick Warren. I don't get it. All my friends and I were trying to figure it out, but we just can't. So I'd love that."

Hathaway's brother is gay, as are 95% of her friends, according to her.

If you missed Max Blumenthal's article in The Daily Beast yesterday, don't.

(via defamer)

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(no subject)

Nine Men Jailed for Eight Years for Homosexuality in Senegal

A disgusting sentence in Senegal:

Senegal"Nine men, including a prominent activist, have been convicted of homosexual acts and sentenced to eight years in prison, a gay rights group said Thursday. Diadji Diouf, who heads an organization that provides HIV prevention services to gay men in Senegal, and the others were arrested Dec. 19 in a raid on Diouf's apartment. The men were sentenced Wednesday for unnatural acts and criminal conspiracy, said Joel Nana, Africa research and policy coordinator with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Cape Town, South Africa."

The BBC reports: "Homosexual acts are illegal in Senegal but the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) told the BBC it was 'shocked by the ruling'. The judge added three years to a five-year sentence, saying the men were also members of a criminal group. Most of them belonged to an association set up to fight HIV and AIDS. 'This is the first time that the Senegalese legal system has handed down such a harsh sentence against gays,' said Issa Diop, one of the men's four defence lawyers."

Nearly a year ago, a group of men were arrested in Senegal after photos of an alleged 'gay wedding' were published in a local magazine there. The men were later released.

It was then reported that because of the situation for gays in Senegal, they were fleeing to nearby Gambia, where an announcement was issued in May from Gambian President Yahya Jammeh that he would behead gays and all who befriend them.

Things are certainly not good for gays and lesbians in many African nations. Christian leaders who help to support anti-gay, anti-condom leaders certainly don't help.

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(no subject)

Westboro To Picket Inauguration

 

The Westboro Baptist Church has been given permission to picket Barack Obama's inauguration.
NBC reports that the US National Park Service has granted Westboro Baptist Church a permit to protest on Inauguration Day, January 20th. 15 members will be in a corner of John Marshal Memorial Park on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue. This year the inauguration parade will include the Lesbian and Gay Band Association as a marching contingent. It is the first time a gay group has been asked to march. During his inauguration parades President Clinton allowed the LGBA to perform on the street. Officials are unsure how many people will come to Washington to take part in the inauguration celebrations, but it has been reported that up to five million people may be on the streets, lining the parade route and packing into open spaces in front of the Capitol. Less than half a million attended the inaguration of George W Bush in 2005.
I still say the Westboro nutters are one of the best things ever to happen to the LGBT movement. Every time they leave their sewer, the MSM writes 100 sympathetic stories about gay rights. We should be paying these people.

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The Anti-Christian Top Ten For 2008

 

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has released their "Top Ten Instances Of Christian Bashing In 2008" list. Guess who's #1? Keep in mind that some of these items did not quite happen the way that CAC-head Dr. Gary Cass sees them, but then again the Christianist right has never been bothered by trifling little details like "truth" or "accuracy" or the need to tell the full story.

10. Jack Black Musical Video
9. Bill Maher Gratuitously Attacks Pope
8. ESPN Anchor Dana Jacobson's "F--- Jesus" Remark
7. Minnesota University Professor Desecrates Communion
6. Religulous the Movie
5. Chaplains Fired for Praying in Jesus' Name
4. Colorado Law Criminalizes the Bible
3. Barack Obama Defames Christianity
2. Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Is Attacked
1. Radical Homosexuals Assault Prop 8 Marriage Supporters in California - "During and after the November campaign stories flooded in of pro-Prop 8 signs being taken, people verbally and physically assaulted, church property and private automobiles vandalized, and person's jobs and pastor's lives threatened simply for exercising their right to campaign and vote in support of traditional marriage."

Shortly after this list was released, Dr. Cass was arrested by the Apostrophe Anti-Defamation Commission.

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omgangiepants - VA for Obama!

Palin: Media goes easy on Kennedy because of class

Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) believes Caroline Kennedy is getting softer press treatment in her pursuit of the New York Senate seat than Palin did as the GOP vice presidential nominee because of Kennedy’s social class.

“I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope,” Palin told conservative filmmaker John Ziegler during an interview Monday for his upcoming documentary film, “How Obama Got Elected.” Excerpts from the interview were posted on YouTube Wednesday evening.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.”

Palin said she remains subject to unfair press coverage of her and her family.

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I think the only class issue here is that Caroline Kennedy knows how to show some. Just me, though.
waiting
  • bispo

Cheney awkwardly stands before Congress as lawmakers interrupt his speech to applaud Obama’s victory

Today, Vice President Cheney stood before Congress and read the official results of the 2008 presidential election. After reading the electoral totals, he declared that they “shall be entered, together with a list of the votes, in the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives.” Just as he was about to move on to other business, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — who was sitting next to him at the podium — jumped up from her seat and began applauding, much to the surprise of Cheney. Within seconds, the rest of the chamber was loudly cheering, with Cheney left looking slightly uncomfortable. Watch it (Pelosi comes in around 3:00):
The Gavel has more coverage.
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waiting
  • bispo

Obama's Peace Offensive

2890200141_c9f7eb738b
Barack Obama has put on a good show of focusing his pre-Inaugural attention on the economy while largely ignoring the rest of the world—especially the Middle East. On Wednesday the president-elect even trotted out some rather quaint logic as to why he was staying away from foreign policy, harking back to the old idea that politics should stop at the water's edge. "In domestic policy Democrats and Republicans—we can have our back and forth about tax policies," Obama said at a news conference, but "when it comes to international affairs, other countries are looking to see who speaks for America." On "foreign policy I think the need to adhere to one president at a time is particularly important." Challenged by a reporter over what he really thought about Israel's Gaza invasion, Obama said everyone would find out after Inauguration Day. "On January 20th you will be hearing directly from me and my opinions," he said. "Starting at the beginning of the administration we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East … Until then, my job is to monitor the situation and to put together the best possible national-security team to hit the ground running."

One man who will probably be running ahead of the pack is Dennis Ross, the longtime Mideast peace envoy who suffered through the rise and fall of the Oslo process in the '90s—working for both the first President Bush and Bill Clinton—before writing a thick, largely ignored book on the experience. He spent most of the past decade at the policy wonk's version of purgatory, a think tank. Now Ross is back in a new, more powerful role that offers substantial evidence that Obama intends to treat the problems of Mideast peace as all of a piece, from Gaza to Tehran to Syria. In an announcement prepared by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, his current employer, Ross is described as the new Obama administration's "ambassador at large" and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton's top adviser on a wide range of Middle East issues, from the Arab-Israeli peace process to Iran."

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Obama Reaching Out to Teh Gays

The Advocate has reported that President-elect Barack Obama selected former Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund executive director Brian Bond to serve as the deputy director of the White House Office of the Public Liaison. Bond led the organization from 1997 to 2003.

In his role with the administration, Bond will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the entire Public Liaison office as well as function as the point person on LGBT issues.

“Brian Bond is a true champion for LGBT Americans. His service to his country and this community, both at the Victory Fund and in the Democratic Party, will now continue in the White House. I congratulate Brian and President-elect Obama on this outstanding appointment,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, told The Advocate that Bond’s experience at the Victory Fund helped prepare him for the job.

“Its mission is really to make our elected and appointed officials better policy people,” Witeck said. “So that connection — from his role at the Victory Fund into the realm of the Democratic Party and ultimately the White House — is to translate those skills into getting and keeping openly LGBT political leaders and policy makers in positions where they can do the most good.”

Bond was recommended for a White House position by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute’s Presidential Appointments Project.
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Former FEMA chief Michael Brown forced to evacuate from Colorado wildfires.»

In recent days, vicious wildfires have forced thousands of Boulder, Colorado area residents to evacuate. One of those residents: disgraced former FEMA chief Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown. This morning in an interview with a Colorado radio station, Brownie remarked, “Here I am on the other side of the fence now.” He added that “was strange being told to evacuate, because, you know, I firmly believe in evacuations. When they told me that, you know, I just loaded the dogs up, grabbed my briefcase and headed down the mountain.” Michael Roberts of Denver Westword writes, “Don’t gloat about that, Katrina survivors. Well, maybe a little gloating is okay.”

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Obama Still Fighting For His Blackberry



WASHINGTON (AP) -- For President-elect Barack Obama, parting with his Blackberry is such sweet sorrow.

In fact, it isn't yet certain that he'll give up his hand-held device once he takes office.

Obama acknowledged in a nationally broadcast interview Thursday that the Blackberry is a concern, "not just to the Secret Service, but also to lawyers."

Asked in an interview broadcast on NBC's "Today" show whether the issue had been resolved, Obama replied, "I'm still in a scuffle around that." He asked: "How do you stay in touch with the flow of everyday life?"

White House officials have worried that a president's e-mails can be subpoenaed by Congress and the courts and may be subject to public records laws. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton didn't e-mail while in office.

The Blackberry is made by Canada's Research in Motion Ltd.

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Gonzales claims he can’t get a job because of the ‘rough economy.


In April, reports revealed that former attorney general Alberto Gonzales was “unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster.” Gonzales has previously said that law firms were hesitant to hire him because of “all the investigations and the possibility that I might be indicted.” But in an interview with the Austin-American Statesman this week, Gonzales blamed the “rough economy” for his lack of work:
It’s a rough economy right now, and it’s a tough time for a lot of law firms right now. Obviously they are very careful about bringing on new people, and they are going to be careful about bringing on people where there are questions about things that may have happened in their past,” he said. “Over time, I’m confident those things will be resolved, and things will work themselves out.”
“Greater opportunities,” Gonzales, 53, said, “will present themselves once the stories are out there.”

Later in the interview, Gonzales mentioned that he did have some dream jobs outside of the legal profession. “I’m very fortunate that I’m at a point in my life where if I wanted to do something completely different — be baseball commissioner, for example, I would love a job in baseball, a plug there — I can do it,” said Gonzales.
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' jules
  • schmiss

Go team!

Obama Welcomes Kaine To DNC, Praises Dean's Legacy



Barack Obama heaped praise on incoming DNC Chairman Tim Kaine during a press conference with the Virginia Governor at the party's headquarters on Thursday. Arguing that Kaine was the right type of inclusive figure to help lead the party going forward, the president-elect promised to "build a movement for change that can go beyond a single election."

But as Obama and Kaine beamed about the party's future, noticeably absent was the man who defined the recent past. Howard Dean was traveling as his successor was introduced. But the Vermont Governor was not left out entirely from the proceedings.

Said Obama: "For nearly four years Howard has served our party and our nation as a visionary and effective leader. He launched a 50 state strategy that made Democrats competitive in places they hadn't been for years... Howard deserve enormous credit for helping usher in a new era in Washington."

Kaine echoed many of the compliments and promised to build off the legacy and ethos that Dean brought to the party.

With no questions afforded to the press, the event was far more pomp and circumstance than hard news. Kaine promised a three-prong approach during his tenure: "Promote this president's agenda, carry the proud banner of a proud party, and work to engage citizens in new ways..."

Obama, meanwhile, painted the incoming and outgoing DNC Chairs as cut from the same -- and his own -- political cloth.

"Tim [Kaine] knows that breaking free of the old orthodoxies and reaching across party line isn't just a way to build the Democratic Party but a way to achieve progress for all Americans," he said.

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Meanwhile... icu trying to start Team Rahm vs Team Howard vs Team Tim drama, Politico. And it's not gonna work...... except we're Democrats so, yeah, it's probably gonna work. But I like them all in different ways so w/e!
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U.S. Air Force releases flow chart of ‘counter-blog’ reponse plan.»

s part of its halting efforts to reach out to bloggers in constructive ways, the U.S. Air Force has assembled a “counter-blog” action plan aimed at responding to bloggers who have “negative opinions about the U.S. government and the Air Force.” The plan includes a detailed flow-chart that, as Danger Room explains, “lays out a range of possible responses to a blog post“:
air_force_blog.jpg

Danger Room notes that the Air Force is trying to catch up with the rest of the Defense Department in terms of blogger relations. Despite blocking a significant number of blogs on its networks, the Air Force now has a Twitter feed and a blog of its own, thanks to a new public affairs “social media guru.”

Update: Matt Yglesias writes, "Of course what this doesn't do is allay one's doubts that a branch of the military whose institutional identity and mission were a pure creation of the Cold War era may not be well-suited to the present-day geopolitical context."
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Analysis: Lebanese rockets raise fear of 2nd front

Analysis: Lebanese rockets raise fear of 2nd front

Residents of this northern Israeli town awoke Thursday to one of their country's worst nightmares: Rockets from Lebanon, and the possibility of a second front in a battle that has raged for two weeks in Gaza.

No armed group claimed responsibility for the two Katyusha rockets that lightly injured two Israelis. But the most likely suspects were small Palestinian factions operating in south Lebanon and known to possess Katyushas.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006, denied it was behind the attack. But Hezbollah has been suspected in the past by Israel and its opponents in Lebanon of using allied radical groups to irritate Israel with a lower risk of retaliation.

Quiet returned to the border after a brief retaliation by Israeli artillery. But the point had been made: Israel may be tied up in an offensive in the Gaza Strip in the south aimed at halting rocket fire from Hamas, but millions more Israelis are vulnerable to rockets from Lebanon to the north of its border.
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UN halts Gaza aid shipments, cites Israeli attacks

JERUSALEM – The United Nations halted aid deliveries to the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, citing Israeli attacks on its staff and installations hours after it said tank fire killed one of its drivers as he went to pick up a shipment.

The United Nations has already demanded an investigation into Israel's shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza that killed nearly 40 people earlier this week. Israel and residents said militants were operating in the area at the time.

For a second straight day, Israel suspended its Gaza military operation for three hours to allow in humanitarian supplies. Shortly before the pause took effect, however, the U.N. said one of its aid trucks came under Israeli fire, killing the driver.

U.N. spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the U.N. coordinated the delivery with Israel, and the vehicle was marked with a U.N. flag and insignia when it was shot in northern Gaza. The Israeli army said it was investigating.

"The U.N. is suspending its aid operations in Gaza until we can get safety and security guarantees for our staff," spokesman Chris Gunness said. "We've been coordinating with them (Israeli forces) and yet our staff continue to be hit and killed."

The U.N. provides food aid to around 750,000 Gaza residents, and runs dozens of schools and clinics throughout the territory. They have some 9,000 locally-employed staffers inside Gaza, and a small team of international staffers who work there.Collapse )

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It's a boy! Asian immigrants use medical technology to satisfy age-old desire: a son

It's a boy! Asian immigrants use medical technology to satisfy age-old desire: a son

Researchers are finding the first evidence that some Asian immigrant families are using U.S. medical technology to have sons instead of daughters, apparently acting on an age-old cultural prejudice that has led to high ratios of boys to girls in parts of China and India.

The new research, produced by independent teams of economists who arrived at similar conclusions, focused on Indian, Chinese and Korean families who first had girls and then used modern technology to have a son.

With birth records in Santa Clara County showing that Asian mothers are more likely to give birth to sons than white or Latino mothers are, the new data could reawaken a local controversy. Some local South Asian women have pressured local Indo-American newspapers and magazines in recent years to stop running ads for medical procedures that offer prospective parents the promise of a son.
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I remember the discussions I used to have on my bio-ethics class back in college. We talked about how the Chinese government was interested in using this technology and making it available to their people (because of their one child policy), it would reduce female infanticide, but it would cause a great gender ratio imbalance and this would trigger either a war with neighboring territories or a large increase in human trafficking or sex slaves, just to get enough 'women' for each of their male citizens...
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Another Day, Another Ponzi (WTF SEC???)

Another Day, Another Ponzi

What's another Ponzi scheme in the grand scheme of things?

A Philadelphia investment manager was charged Thursday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which says he ran a $50 million Ponzi scheme over more than a decade. Joseph Forte, 53, who also faces charges by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), allegedly sold limited partnerships in his eponymous firm to 80 people, telling them he would invest the money in securities futures contracts like futures in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Turns out, he did nothing of the sort. A federal court judge froze his and the firm's assets late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Richard Piccoli, 82, was arraigned in federal court in upstate New York Thursday in an alleged $17 million Ponzi scheme using his companies, Gen See Capital Corp. and Gen Unlimited. The prosecutor contends Piccoli targeted Catholics in particular, advertising in Catholic newspapers with offers of term certificates that earned a guaranteed 7.1% annually. Prosecutors say he explained in detail to a prospective investor how he invests that money in discounted real estate mortgages, but his bank records indicate otherwise.
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BART directors face demands of police oversight

BART directors face demands of police oversight

Dozens of angry community members crowded into the BART board of directors meeting this morning in Oakland to express anger and outrage over the New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant.

The public, along with several officials, demanded that BART directors set up an independent police oversight board and turn over its investigation of the shooting to state and federal authorities.
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Lawmakers propose bill for BART Police oversight

A pair of Bay Area lawmakers want to increase accountability and public oversight for BART Police in the wake of an officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed man early on New Year's Day in Oakland.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, issued a joint statement today announcing they'll introduce a bill "that will finally ensure an independent oversight body is established, public input is accepted, complaints and grievances are fairly considered, and responsible action is taken."
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Cheney: CIA did nothing illegal in interrogations

Cheney: CIA did nothing illegal in interrogations

Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that he sees no reason for President George W. Bush to pre-emptively pardon anyone at the CIA involved in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists. "I don't have any reason to believe that anybody in the agency did anything illegal," he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Cheney also said that Bush has no need to apologize for not foreseeing the economic crisis.

"I don't think he needs to apologize. I think what he needed to do is take bold, aggressive action and he has," Cheney said.

"I don't think anybody saw it coming," he said.

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You may be more racist than you think, study says

(CNN) -- Would you get upset if you witnessed an act of racism?

A new study shows that many people may unknowingly hold racist views, contrary to how they view themselves.

A new study shows that many people may unknowingly hold racist views, contrary to how they view themselves.

A new study published Thursday in the journal Science suggests many people unconsciously harbor racist attitudes, even though they see themselves as tolerant and egalitarian.

"This study, and a lot of research in social psychology, suggests that there are still really a lot of negative associations with blacks," said Kerry Kawakami, associate professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, Ontario, and lead author of the study. "People are willing to tolerate racism and not stand up against it."

The authors divided 120 non-black participants into the roles of "experiencers" and "forecasters." The "experiencers" were placed in a room with a white person and a black person, who played out pre-arranged scenarios for the experiment. The scenarios began when the black role-player bumped the white role-player's knee when leaving the room.

In the first scenario, the white person did not comment afterwards. In the "moderate" case, the white person said, "Typical, I hate it when black people do that," after the black person left the room. In the "extreme" case, the white person remarked, "Clumsy n****r."

The "forecasters," meanwhile, predicted how they would feel in these situations.

 

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waiting
  • bispo

Bush: I liberated America’s school children.

President Bush is fond of saying that he “liberated 50 million people” by taking military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the populations of those two foreign countries aren’t the only people that Bush claims to have liberated. In his last policy speech as President, Bush said today that No Child Left Behind has led to the “liberation” of America’s school children:
By the way, school choice was only open to rich people up until No Child Left Behind. It’s hard for a lot of parents to be able to afford to go to any other kind of school but their neighborhood school. Now, under this system, if your public school is failing, you’ll have the option of transferring to another public school or charter school. And it’s — I view that as liberation. I view that as empowerment.
During his speech today, Bush also finally fixed one of his most notorious Bushisms — “Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?” — stating, “Rarely was the question asked: Can you read? Or can you write? Or can you add and can you subtract?” Watch it:

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Madoff 'victims' do math, realize they profited

Madoff 'victims' do math, realize they profited

The many Bernard Madoff investors who withdrew money from their accounts over the years are now wrestling with an ethical and legal quandary. What they thought were profits was likely money stolen from other clients in what prosecutors are calling the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Now, they are confronting the possibility they may have to pay some of it back.

The issue came to the forefront this week as about 8,000 former Madoff clients began to receive letters inviting them to apply for up to $500,000 in aid from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.

Lawyers for investors have been warning clients to do some tough math before they apply for any funds set aside for the victims, and figure out whether they were a winner or loser in the scheme.

Hundreds and maybe thousands of investors in Madoff's funds have been withdrawing money from their accounts for many years. In many cases, those investors have withdrawn far more than their principal investment.
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For God's sake, give the money back if you made a profit! A lot of people got hurt, stop being selfish!
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UN: 257 Palestinian children killed in Gaza

UN: 257 Palestinian children killed in Gaza

Tiny bodies lying side by side wrapped in white burial shrouds. The cherubic face of a dead preschooler sticking up from the rubble of her home. A man cradling a wounded boy in a chaotic emergency room after Israel shelled a U.N. school.

Children, who make up more than half of crowded Gaza's 1.4 million people, are the most defenseless victims of the war between Israel and Hamas. The Israeli army has unleashed unprecedented force in its campaign against Hamas militants, who have been taking cover among civilians.

A photo of 4-year-old Kaukab Al Dayah, just her bloodied head sticking out from the rubble of her home, covered many front pages in the Arab world Wednesday. "This is Israel," read the headline in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. The preschooler was killed early Tuesday when an F-16 attacked her family's four-story home in Gaza City. Four adults also died.

As many as 257 children have been killed and 1,080 wounded — about a third of the total casualties since Dec. 27, according to U.N. figures released Thursday.
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¤ DID YOU EVER
  • schmiss

*falls to knees screaming* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Illinois House Committee Approves Blago Impeachment Report



The special Illinois House impeachment committee has just voted unanimously to send their full report to the chamber as a whole, clearing the way for Rod Blagojevich to be impeached as early as tomorrow.

Assuming that House vote occurs tomorrow and is successful -- a safe bet, to say the least -- the next step will be for the state Senate to hold a full trial, which could take a few weeks. Blagojevich will probably be out of office as soon as early February, if not sooner.

Each individual member, before voting, made a short speech explaining how seriously they took the job of throwing out a legitimate, democratically-elected official -- but also how it has become necessary at this point.

The sentiment was perhaps best expressed by state Rep. Mary Flowers (D): "I would have appreciated if the governor could have just merely stepped aside, so we would not have been made the laughingstock of the country."


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R. Kelly's lawyer has failed us as a nation.
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Prosecutors: Madoff hoarded $300M

Prosecutors: Madoff hoarded $300M

Prosecutors have accused financier Bernard Madoff - the alleged mastermind of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme - of intending to transfer up to $300 million worth of assets to protect them from seizure, and they want him locked up immediately.

In a court filing Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department accused Madoff of having signed about 100 checks - worth a total of $173 million - "ready to be sent out" prior to his arrest by the FBI on Dec. 11 on a charge of securities fraud.

Prosecutors said the checks violate his $10 million bail agreement and was an attempt to prevent his alleged victims from recovering their losses.
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Protest turns to near-riot as hundreds gather in Oakland to decry BART shooting

Protest turns to near-riot as hundreds gather in Oakland to decry BART shooting

As the dramatic story of a BART officer fatally shooting a young man turned violent with protests that turned into near-riots Wednesday night, said Thursday that Oakland police will launch their own investigation into the shooting.

Oakland police's role will to be to aid the Alameda County District Attorney's office, which had previously been working exclusively with BART police, to determine whether criminal charges against the officer who pulled the trigger.
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BART shooting victim's family pleads for calm

The family of BART police shooting victim Oscar Grant pleaded today for calm to return to the streets of Oakland in the wake of a violent protest in which at least 300 downtown businesses were damaged, numerous cars were trashed and 105 people were arrested.

Their calls came as Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff promised a decision within as little as two weeks on whether prosecutors will file criminal charges against former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who shot the unarmed Grant to death at Fruitvale Station in Oakland early New Year's Day.

"I am begging the citizens not to use violent tactics," said Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, during a press conference at the Oakland office of the family's attorney, John Burris. "I know it's a frustrating time, but Oscar would not want to see all the violence."
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cookie monster
  • capthek

Great review of a recent Karl Rove article...


I don't have a photo of Rove, so here ya go...

Karl Rove’s Factually Challenged Housing Revisionism
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By Barry Ritholtz - January 8th, 2009, 7:13AM
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/01/karl-roves-revisionism/
As the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. The instant historical revisionism by Karl Rove in today’s WSJ — mythmaking writ large — contains an egregious combination of false statements, crucial omissions and misleading assertions.

A few thoughts are required to correct Rove’s attempt to create a false and deceptive narrative. Consider these few corrections:

1. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the principal culprits of the housing crisis” Wrong. Fannie and Freddie were cogs in the giant mortgage machine, but they had nothing to do with the abdication of lending standards from 2002-07. That was a function of the Lend-to-Securitize business model of the sub-prime mortgage originators. THAT was the primary cause of the housing boom and bust, along with Ultra-low rates and a lack of Fed regulation of these sub-prime lenders.

2. “Fannie and Freddie were too large and overleveraged” True. This had been pointed out by many people, before Bush and afterwards, that Fannie was a problem. Chief amongst the Fannie critics was Fed Governor William Poole. He deserves credit for his many early warnings about Fannie Mae and the GSEs. He was ignored by Alan Greenspan. Also ignored was Fed Governor Edward Gramlich, whose early warnings about subprime and predatory lending and were both timely and prescient.

3. Democrats controlled the Congressional Debate on GSEs: Rove somehow fails to note the GOP controlled Congress from 1994-2006, including the first 6 years of the Bush Presidency. If the President wanted to rein in the GSEs, he needed only make it a major priority, and not a footnote in the 2001 budget.
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