January 15th, 2009

Murasaki Shikibu
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Go, Al!

Al Sharpton Denounces Anti-Gay Black Mega-Church Pastors

When Rev. Al Sharpton is right the truth cuts like a knife. The reverend once again slams black mega-churches and major denominations for ignoring poverty and justice to focus on gays and marriage.

Sharpton delivered the keynote at the Human Rights Ecumenical Service at Atlanta's Tabernacle Baptist Church, probably the city's largest gay-friendly and inclusive black church. The good reverend used the opportunity to question the role of the Mormon Church—which heavily bankrolled the Yes on 8 campaign—and the black mega-church pastors who mobilized congregations against gay marriage.

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Rick Warren Reaches Out to Gene Robinson

The Rev. Rick Warren, the conservative evangelical minister who will deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration, has extended an olive branch to Bishop V. Gene Robinson.

Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop, had reacted angrily to the selection of Warren, who opposes gay marriage, calling it a "slap in the face." But then Robinson was selected this week to give the invocation at the inaugural opening ceremony at the Sunday afternoon concert on the Mall.

Today, Warren issued a statement praising Obama for selecting Robinson, saying the president-elect "has again demonstrated his genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in search of common ground. I applaud his desire to be the president of every citizen."
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Barack Obama 2.0

Barack Obama from DC Examiner
Reporting from Washington -- As Barack Obama builds his administration and prepares to take office next week, his political team is quietly planning for a nationwide hiring binge that would marshal an army of full-time organizers to press the new president's agenda and lay the foundation for his reelection.

The organization, known internally as "Barack Obama 2.0," is being designed to sustain a grass-roots network of millions that was mobilized last year to elect Obama and now is widely considered the country's most potent political machine.

Organizers and even Republicans say the scope of this permanent campaign structure is unprecedented for a president. People familiar with the plan say Obama's team would use the network in part to pressure lawmakers -- particularly wavering Democrats -- to help him pass complex legislation on the economy, healthcare and energy.

The plan could prompt tensions with members of Congress, who are unlikely to welcome the idea of Obama's political network targeting them from within their own districts. Already, Democratic Party officials on the state level worry that it could become a competing political force that revolves around the president's ambitions while diminishing the needs of down-ballot Democrats.

Though the plan still is emerging, one source with knowledge of the internal discussion said the organization could have an annual budget of $75 million in privately raised funds. Another said it would deploy hundreds of paid staff members -- possibly one for every congressional district in certain politically important states and even more in larger battlegrounds such as Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina.

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Vogue Feature Story: Life of the Party

Barack Obama's new social secretary, Desirée Rogers, keeps an eye on tradition as she welcomes the next generation to the White House. William Norwich reports.

Photographed by Jonathan Becker.

In Chicago on a Saturday before the Inauguration, Barack Obama taped a Meet the Press interview in which he described his vision for social life in the White House during his presidency, likening the place John Adams built to a "bully pulpit" he will use to inspire Americans, especially young Americans, with a renaissance of culture, poetry readings, concerts, and science lectures. "Our art, our culture, our science," Obama said, are "the essence of what makes America special, and we want to project that as much as possible in the White House."

In Washington that same Saturday, Desirée Rogers, the woman who will be responsible for every social event and ceremony—from a tea for two to a peace-treaty signing for thousands—in the Obama White House, was visiting Letitia Baldrige prior to officially stepping into her new job as special assistant to the president and White House social secretary, a position Baldrige held during the Kennedy administration.

Baldrige, now in the midst of writing her memoirs, When the World Loves You Back, kindly offered Rogers some helpful tips, like always having a backup plan if the First Lady is unable to attend a function or, for state dinners, checking whether any of the guests have children and, if they do, arranging for a signed gift from the First Family to mark the occasion—something special, like a book, that they will remember for a lifetime.

"Desirée is so poised and so charming, so substantial and capable, but nonetheless I told her how important it is to always stand up to the West Wing," Baldrige recounted later. "The West Wing is the men's side, and they will want to push you to put all those politicians on the dinner lists, and you've got to be strong and say no. Always represent what the First Lady and the president want. In the case of the Obamas, it's an exciting mix of people—not paybacks."
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Because The White House Needs To Be FIERCE.

Michael Smith has been named the new interior decorator of the White House.
"I would love to redecorate the White House—I am sick of the paint color!" Michael Smith told domino magazine in the April 2008 issue, foreshadowing today's news. A spokesperson from President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has revealed to domino magazine's editor in chief Deborah Needleman that Smith's dream was about to come true. The Los Angeles-based decorator, whose clients include Steven Spielberg and Rupert Murdoch, has been selected to design the White House interiors for the Obama family.
Huffington Post has some examples of Smith's work.


Thursday Morning lulz.



“It’s a shame that President-elect Obama apparently has so little regard for his Christian constituents that he would give such a high place of honor to a self-styled man of God whose only claim to fame is that he abandoned his wife and children to enter, ‘loudly and proudly,’ a sexually deviant lifestyle expressly condemned by the very Bible he’s ironically called ‘holy and sacred.’

“None of us are without sin; and certainly none are less valuable in God’s eyes than any other. But Christ did command us to repent of our sins and to ‘go and sin no more.’ Not only has Robinson refused to repent of his homosexual behavior, which is unequivocally condemned throughout both the Old and New Testaments as sexual sin, he has further rebelled against God by leading astray countless of his flock who suffer from similar temptation.

“A fancy white robe and tall priestly hat does not a man of God make. Robinson may or may not be a believer as he claims; only he and God know that for sure. But what we do know is this: based upon his frequent association with homosexual anti-Christian hate groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and in light of his ongoing counter-Christian sexual crusade, Gene Robinson is little more than a radical homosexual activist in a clergyman’s clothing. In fact, his heretical rebellion against God’s express natural order, coupled with his selfish refusal to surrender his pulpit, has almost single-handedly devastated the U.S. Episcopal Church." - Failed boxer and successful douchebag Matt "BamBam" Barber, board member of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.


spike gone

Gay America Prepares To Party at Obama Inauguration

Gay America Prepares To Party at Obama Inauguration

Unprecedented inaugural celebrations for President-elect Barack Obama by gay activist groups, social organizations and ordinary citizens suggests many view his election as a signal of a forthcoming sea change for the gay rights movement in America.

By S.E. Cupp
FOXNews.com I KNOW! This is what makes the article so funny!

Unprecedented inaugural celebrations for President-elect Barack Obama by gay activist groups, social organizations and ordinary citizens suggests many view Obama's election as a signal of a forthcoming sea change for the gay rights movement in America.

The Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay Episcopal bishop, will say a prayer at an inaugural event at the Lincoln Monument on Sunday; a gay and lesbian marching band will take its place in the official presidential parade; and a slew of gay parties and inaugural balls will be held in the nation's capital before and after Obama takes the oath of office.

But the gay-themed events have some conservative critics expressing concerns that while the celebration may be gay-friendly, it won't be family-friendly. Teh Geyz! Tehy will corrupt my kidz and make them Teh Gey!!!!

Jennifer Giroux a woman who has watched Pleasantville one too many times, founder and president of Women Influencing the Nation, a group that focuses on restoring traditional family values, said, “I think (the) inauguration should be kept away from that. Christians may love the individual, but they are bigots offended by the gay lifestyle. It’s unhealthy — spiritually, emotionally and physically.

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"Let America see liberalism in all of its self-absorbed lunacy. Then maybe America will only have to tolerate four years of the madness.” Yes. Because gay pride parades are much much worse than what Bush has done in the past 4 years! Torture and illegal wire taps have nothing on a dude in a chorus girl outfit

All the (First) Ladies in the (White) House Say 'Gay'

Soon-to-be First Lady Michelle Obama turns 45 this weekend, and you have to say her husband's given her a hell of a birthday present. Michelle's no-nonsense style, grace, commitment to being a mother and fist-bumping skills have already put her in the running for the title of coolest First Lady since Jackie-O. And the gays? We love her.

First Ladies have always had a special relationship with the gay & lesbian community, and it's more than just a love of pill box hats and pearls that connect them to us; many have spoken out or reflected on our issues, even while their husband's sit silently by.

As Michelle prepares to take on the conflicting roles of a non-political figure of state, advocate for do-good causes and mother, she's probably looking back at previous women who've held the position and trying to figure out just what sort of First Lady she'd like to be. We have a hunch that Mrs. O will reshape the office as much as her husband is likely to remake his, but if she's going to have any chance of becoming a popular drag queen role, she's going to have to make her mark. Let's take a look at the nice old white biddies who have come before her and see how they did it.


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Israel under fire as UN General Assembly meets on Gaza

Israel under fire as UN General Assembly meets on Gaza

The General Assembly on Thursday kicked off an emergency session with its president accusing Israel of violating international law by pressing on with its deadly military assault on the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli delegate sought to block the session on procedural grounds by arguing that under the UN Charter, the 192-member assembly cannot inject itself on a matter already being tackled by the powerful Security Council.

But the Israeli complaint was dismissed and the assembly president, Nicaragua's Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, opened the session which was requested by the 118-member UN member states which make up the non-aligned movement.
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Oh Politico, Don't Tease Me...

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is reconsidering a plan to resign from the Senate this year, a huge relief to Republicans who fear that a special election — even in deeply red Texas — could give Democrats a 60-seat, filibuster-resistant majority in the Senate.

</strong>Hutchison, who plans to run for governor in 2010, has been under pressure from Republican colleagues to stay in her Senate seat as long as she can.

“She’s a great lady, and I don’t blame her if she wants to run for governor, but the fact is we’d like her not to,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). “We’d like her to stay right here.”

Added a senior GOP aide: “I cannot imagine that … Sen. Hutchison would abandon her seat to pursue her own ambitions and even risk giving Democrats a supermajority in the Senate.”

At the Capitol on Wednesday, Hutchison told Politico that she’s going to “stay here this year regardless.” She subsequently equivocated a bit, saying she still could resign very late this year — or “stay for two years.”

But even waiting until late this year could be a big help to the GOP. Under Texas law, Gov. Rick Perry — a Republican — would appoint a short-term replacement for Hutchison. A special election would likely be held in November 2009 if Hutchison resigns before Sept. 28. If she resigns later in the year, the special election wouldn’t be held until May 2010.

Democrats currently hold 57 seats in the Senate. Once Roland Burris takes his seat Thursday — and assuming Al Franken is seated from Minnesota — they’ll be at 59, just one seat shy of the 60 they need to overcome a GOP filibuster.

“The timing will be important … for making sure we do everything we can to protect that seat,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate GOP leadership.

Hutchison, a former member of the leadership and one of the most prominent Republican female politicians in the country, signaled that she has no desire to be the one who lets the Democrats clear that hurdle.

“Really, I’m not going to have the impact [of giving Democrats 60 seats],” Hutchison said, moments after she held a long talk on the Senate floor with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “The impact is going to be the 2010 elections.”

National Republicans and Texas politicians from both parties are watching her every move.

If Hutchison gives up her seat, national Republicans would likely move quickly to recruit their candidate and help raise money to ensure the seat stays in the party’s hands. But doing that would divert precious resources that would otherwise be used to help the party recover from two disastrous elections and defend four open seats in 2010.</p>

“It’s more than a casual interest that we at least maintain 41 senators,” said Texas’ junior senator, John Cornyn, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He told reporters Wednesday that Hutchison might not resign if she pursues her governor’s bid.

Hutchison’s resignation likely would set off a primary battle between state and congressional lawmakers and state officials, according to local political operatives. A couple of prominent GOP names have also recently bubbled up as potential Hutchison successors, including state Attorney General Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

And even though Democrats would have a tough climb to win the Senate seat, some already have their eyes on it, including Houston Mayor Bill White. The national party would undoubtedly put a huge amount of resources into the race if winning it would get Senate Democrats to the magic number of 60.

People close to Hutchison said she was thinking seriously about giving up her Senate seat early this year. She was growing tired of life in Washington, they said, and she was eager to be free of the political pressures of the Senate. Last fall, Hutchison moved her two young children from the Washington suburbs and enrolled them in school in Dallas. And she gave up her leadership position as chairwoman of the Senate GOP Policy Committee because she feared it would conflict with her ambitions back home.

Last month, Hutchison formed an exploratory committee for a governor’s run, setting up a clash in the GOP primary against Perry, the governor, who plans to run for a fourth term in 2010. While some suspect that she’s just testing the waters — and that she’ll ultimately decide to stay put in the Senate — Hutchison says it’s not so.

“I have made the decision; I’m now in the stage of planning,” she said of the governor’s race.

Hutchison soon plans to send a big signal that she’s serious about being in Austin in 2010: She’s planning to transfer her entire Senate campaign war chest — some $8.6 million through September — into her state campaign committee, according to the associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Last month, she transferred $1 million into her state coffers.


Getting rid of Rick 'Governor Good Hair' Perry and sending a Democrat to the Senate? My dreams, they would be coming true! I know that the magic sixty number isn't really as big of a deal as the chattering class would claim, but the symolism of it being Texas that puts the D's over the edge would be too delicious. And if it were Bill White, it'd just be the cherry on top. Besides being the incredibly rare bird--a Houston mayor who isn't corrupt, incompetent, or both, he's the most awesomely nerdy policy wonk and when he gets grooving on talking about energy, I totally want to kiss him on his  bald head.


Report: NKorea's Kim taps 3rd son as successor

Report: NKorea's Kim taps 3rd son as successor

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has named his youngest son to succeed him as head of the Stalinist nation, a South Korean news agency report said Thursday.

But another report said his eldest son was poised to step in as a figurehead, reflecting uncertainty over who will succeed Kim, who turns 67 next month.

Rumors have swirled for years that Kim would nominate one of his three sons as a successor, following the tradition begun when he inherited the leadership from his father, North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung.

Reports that Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke in mid-August heightened speculation about a successor.
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barack eye

I've taken you for granted, bb. ;___;

Vice President-Elect Biden leaves U.S. Senate

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden, who has represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 35 years, said goodbye to his colleagues today before his inauguration as the nation’s 47th vice president next week.

“The United States Senate has been my life,” Biden, 66, said in his farewell speech. “I may be resigning from the Senate today, but I will always be a Senate man.”

Hillary Clinton and Ken Salazar also are resigning to serve in the administration of Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, himself a former senator from Illinois.

Biden, who ran unsuccessfully for president last year, was first elected to the Senate in 1972 when he was 29 years old. He was able to take his seat the following year because he turned the constitutionally required 30 after the election.

“He was barely old enough to vote when he got here,” Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said before Biden’s speech.


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* metamorphosis
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Kristol Boasts: Liberals Got ‘Some Coffee In Styrofoam Cups, We Had A Pleasant Dinner At George’s House’

This morning on Fox and Friends, right-wing New York Times columnist Bill Kristol discussed his recent dinner with Barack Obama at George Will’s house. Kristol, who said he enjoyed lamb chops at the dinner, said the meeting “really is supposed to be off-the-record — I really don’t like the fact that people are talking about it.” Nevertheless, he proceeded.

Kristol claimed that Obama did not persuade him or any of the others at the dinner:
I don’t think anyone changed anyone’s mind. Everyone’s a grown up and has developed the views they’ve developed over a lot of years. It was a pleasant discussion, but I think people are putting a little too much emphasis on it and giving it a little bit too much publicity.

But Kristol then pledged that he’ll “end up supporting [Obama] on some things.” He added, “Conservatives are not monolithic. … I do think people actually are going to split up in some interesting and new ways.”

Kristol concluded the interview by taking a sarcastic, subtle dig at liberal pundits who had a one-hour morning meeting with Obama the next day (the Obama dinner with conservatives went for 3 hours):
Yesterday, he met with the liberal columnists. And they had a pleasant hour in the conference room in his office. They got some coffee in some styrofoam cups. We had a pleasant dinner at George’s house, and they had some coffee from the machine in the office. But I wouldn’t read too much into that.


I wish I was on hand to serve him dessert
LOLitics | Fierce Poncho

"Clinton Nomination Passes Committee".

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for Hillary Rodham Clinton to become the next secretary of state, with lawmakers saying they were hopeful her leadership would mark a turn from warfare toward diplomacy.

The 16-1 approval by the committee paves the way for a full Senate vote after President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20. Clinton is not expected to hit any major roadblocks, with Republicans and Democrats alike praising her acumen on the issues.

But concerns about her husband's charitable fundraising overseas remain. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who was among several Republicans who raised the issue at her confirmation hearing earlier this week, cast the lone opposing vote.

In a statement, Vitter called former President Bill Clinton's foundation a "multimillion dollar minefield of conflicts of interest."

"This could produce explosions at any minute, particularly concerning the Middle East where we least need them," Vitter said. Collapse )

(no subject)

Where Sweatshops Are a Dream

Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children.

“I’d love to get a job in a factory,” said Pim Srey Rath, a 19-year-old woman scavenging for plastic. “At least that work is in the shade. Here is where it’s hot.”

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-- Source

Prince Harry has homophobia licked

Prince Harry has homophobia licked
January 15, 2009 - 5:54AM

Britain's Prince Harry, under fire over alleged racism, received rare praise from a leading gay rights campaigner on Wednesday who said he was "liberated and enlightened" for kissing and licking a male friend.

Harry, a serving British army officer, was widely criticised earlier this week after footage emerged of him describing a colleague as a "Paki" in 2006.

The video, obtained by the News of the World tabloid, also includes images of Harry on a night out with friends in which he mouths to one soldier: "I love you" before kissing him on the cheek and licking his face.

Another extract shows Harry asking a colleague how he felt after an army exercise, adding: "Gay, queer on the side?"

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blog about this

(no subject)

Senate moves toward vote on pay equity bill

Legislation makes it easier to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace

WASHINGTON - A top item on the Democratic agenda, legislation making it easier to challenge pay discrimination in the workplace, progressed in the Senate Thursday.

But with Republicans demanding changes, it is unlikely to be ready for new President Barack Obama's signature when he takes office next week.

The Senate voted 72-23 to proceed to the so-called Lilly Ledbetter bill that would reverse a Supreme Court ruling that put time limits on when a person can seek redress for wage discrimination. The bill, which faced a veto threat from President George W. Bush, has the strong backing of Obama, and is likely to be the groundbreaking pro-worker rights act of his young administration.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chief sponsor in the Senate, still held out hope in a speech Wednesday that the bill could be the first that Obama signs into law after he takes office.

But Senate Republicans, while stressing they were not filibustering the legislation, were intent on getting more time to deliberate on the bill they said would lead to more lawsuits and be a windfall for trial lawyers.

Prospects now are for a final vote in about a week, and any changes would require further negotiations with the House, which approved the measure last week on a 247-171 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expressed frustration over GOP tactics of erecting parliamentary roadblocks and delaying final votes. "It's a waste of time, our country's time," he said in urging Republicans to reduce their use of filibusters.

Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. factory in Alabama who sued the company over discrimination when she learned — shortly before retiring after a 19-year career — that she earned less than her male peers. A jury ruled in her favor, but the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote in May, 2007, threw out her complaint, saying she had failed to sue within the 180-day deadline after a discriminatory pay decision was made.

The legislation would define the statute of limitations as 180 days after issuance of the last discriminatory paycheck, in effect extending the deadline every time a person is paid.

The court decision, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., "set us back 40 years in the fight for equal opportunity in the workplace."

"This decision does not reflect the reality of the workplace," Mikulski said. "You can talk about anything in the workplace. Often, politics are discussed in the lunchroom; religion is talked about at the computer; sex is often discussed at the water cooler; but salary is never discussed."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted his party was not filibustering but did want time to change a bill most Republicans say goes too far in weakening the statute of limitations.

"Its primary beneficiaries are lawyers who want to squeeze a major settlement out of every company that fears the expense or the publicity of going to court," he said.

One amendment expected to be offered by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and others would start the 180-day statute of limitations clock when a person learns of, or should have known of, the act of discrimination.

Hutchison said businesses are concerned about "the catastrophic increase in legal costs resulting from an undisciplined system that allows liability to continue indefinitely."

The House last week also passed a companion pay equity bill that puts gender-based discrimination on an equal footing with other forms of discrimination in seeking damages, and it puts the burden on employers to prove that wage disparities are job-related and not sex-based. The Senate has yet to take up that bill.


Here's an idea: Have a set salary for a certain job, and pay everyone with that job that salary. I don't understand why the pay gap still exists. Also, wtf at the Republicans choosing less lawsuits over equal rights?

movies | Impish Fräulein2

"Ms. Magazine Posits Obama as Super-Feminist".

David Knowles | Jan 12th 2009 9:28AM

Ms. Magazine, the publication founded by Gloria Steinem, is releasing a special inaugural issue with somewhat provocative cover. Its photo-shopped image portrays Barack Obama in an iconic Superman pose: heeding a distress call and pulling open his starched white shirt to reveal a secret identity. In this version of the comic-book send-up, the somewhat misleading layer of business attire conceals not a blue and red leotard, but a black t-shirt that reads, "This is what Feminism looks like".

In its letter from the editor, Ms. explains its thinking behind the cover that has already rankled many disgruntled Pumas:

When the chair of the Feminist board, Peg Yorkin, and I met with Barack Obama, he immediately offered, "I am a feminist." And better yet, he ran on the strongest platform for women's rights of any major party in American history.

Still, the image of Obama as Feminism's standard bearer has not sat well with some, like the Tennessee Guerilla Women, who, on their blog, write:

This is what a feminist looks like? File this under: Does Feminism Even Need Woman?

That last point seems to overstate the case Ms. is making. If Obama turns out to be more of a feminist that previous commanders-in-chief, then that's good news for women in general. The magazine is not suggesting that women need no longer apply to fight for their own cause. Rather, it is simply looking at a pragmatic approach for furthering women's rights, and, in Obama it sees an ally, whether or not he defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

But what's your take on the cover?

Source: Political Machine | AOL News
{1D} - zayn; DAT SMILE

Hope and Change: Move to repeal presidential term limits started

Posted at 5:00 pm on January 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe I’m just being too cynical, but somehow I doubt that Rep. José Serrano introduced HJ Res 5 in order to allow George W. Bush to run for a third term in office. One week ago, the New York Democrat introduced a measure to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which provides the only term limit on federal office — the Presidency. The amendment, added in 1951, restricts anyone from seeking a third term in office, and Serrano wants that repealed.

Why now? Apparently, the notion of Hope and Change has overwhelmed Serrano to the point that he just can’t stand to see Barack Obama limited to two terms in office. Never mind the fact that Obama has yet to start his first term, and no one knows yet whether he’d get re-elected in 2012. Maybe it’s that New Deal vibe; Serrano may want to prepare the way for a more tangible comparison between Obama and FDR in 2016 and 2020.

Of course, a repeal wouldn’t just apply to Obama. What other former President might decide he wants to return to the White House? Someone who couldn’t quite close the deal by having his wife run for the office?

Normally, I don’t like term limits, but the office of the presidency has enough power to make the 22nd Amendment a reasonable limitation on it. So far, no one has added themselves as a cosponsor to Serrano’s bill, but if any do, perhaps Democrats might want to explain why they suddenly have a yen for Hugo Chavez-style executives after screeching hysterically about Bush’s ideas of the “unitary executive,” which they completely misunderstood anyway.

Update: Via Amerpundit in the comments, I see that this is an ongoing effort by Serrano. He introduced the same bill in 2003, when Bill Clinton would have been the obvious beneficiary. Steve Benen wrote an interesting history of it at the time.

&#39; jules
  • schmiss

Another member of the McCain/Lieberman/Graham Senate entourage: imminent????

Crist To Run For Florida Senate Seat?

This winter season we have been repeatedly disappointed by an assortment of famous people’s refusal to run for higher office: Chris Matthews, after flirting outrageously with running for a Pennsylvania Senate seat, seems not to be interested, and ditto former Florida governor Jeb Bush who said he was more interested in “spending time with his family” (Q: gay sex furry pedophile meth-monster scandal brewing?). So which brave soul will step into the fray in 2010 and fill the massive shoes left by outgoing Florida Senator Mel Martinez, who was apparently the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development once? Charlie Crist, that’s who! Maybe!

Poor Charlie Crist is constantly being told that he has to run for this office or that office when he seems perfectly content just to be a governor. The latest jerk to lecture him is “Big John” Cornyn, who said that:
efforts are ongoing to persuade Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to run for his state’s open Senate seat.

“We’re going to continue to visit. It’s very early in the game, but recruitment is important and the ability to be competitive on the financial front is very important too. We’re working on both of those fronts,” Cornyn told The Hill.

Don’t let Big John just ram this thing through, Charlie! Don’t let him cram this down your throat! Sure, the field is wide open and eager for a strong entrant — but it doesn’t have to be you.

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US Airways jet crashes in Hudson River

Source: MSNBC

NEW YORK - A US Airways passenger jet taking off from La Guardia airport in New York en route to Charlotte, N.C., crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday.

WNBC's Tim Minton quoted a governmnet source as saying that the pilot may have hit a flock of geese.

The plane is an Airbus A320. NBC News identified it as Flight 1549, which departed at 3:20 p.m. ET with about 145 passengers and five crew members aboard. It was a scheduled flight to the Charlotte-Douglas, N.C., airport.

This is an ongoing story - turn on your tv!

ETA - More coverage:


UN General Assembly Condemns Israel At Emergency Mtg On Gaza

UN General Assembly Condemns Israel At Emergency Mtg On Gaza

Israel was roundly condemned and accused of flouting international law Thursday at a U.N. General Assembly session for its deadly military assault on the Gaza Strip, including strikes on hospitals, media and U.N. buildings.

The emergency meeting, requested by the 118 U.N. member states making up the nonaligned movement, got under way after an Israeli bid to block it on procedural grounds was dismissed.

"Gaza is ablaze. It has been turned into a burning hell," said the assembly president, Nicaragua's Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann. "The violations of international law inherent in the Gaza assault have been well documented: collective punishment; disproportionate military force; attacks on civilian targets, including homes, mosques, universities, schools."
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Israel media on defensive over Gaza war coverage

Israel media on defensive over Gaza war coverage

Israel's usually unforgiving media has had to fend off accusations that it has practised self-censorship and muzzled dissent with its overtly patriotic coverage of the army's offensive in Gaza.

As the first jets began pounding the Hamas-ruled enclave on December 27 and rockets slammed into southern Israel, radio and television channels launched round-the-clock coverage of the fighting with a distinctly patriotic tinge.

While international networks tagged the conflict "War in Gaza" and led with images of Palestinian casualties, Israeli channels called it "War in the South" and despatched their anchors to towns which have been hit by Hamas rockets.

The following day, Israel's major newspapers hailed the surprise air strikes with front-page headlines such as "Better Late Than Never" in the largest circulation Yediot Aharonot and "Fighting Back" in the rival Maariv.
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The Obamamobile is on the Internet auction block.

It will cost the winning bidder more than $100,000 to own the car once used by the next Driver-in-Chief.

The steel-blue 2005 Chrysler 300C - a speedy luxury sports sedan with a sticker price of $35,000 that President-elect Barack Obama leased for three years - is being sold by its current owner on eBay.

Illinois restaurateur Tim O'Boyle has received 20 bids for the set of wheels. The top bid so far is $115,000, with five days to go.
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  • bispo

I wish I was taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her

Eric Holder gets asked the tough questions about his role in the administration’s basketball squad:
Note that Herb Kohl isn’t just a Senator, he’s the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Not totally sure Holder or Pat Leahy quite got that. Transcript below the fold:

KOHL: One last question, and this relates to your ability to exercise your responsibilities independently of what the president may or may not like. He has reported, as you know, to have considerable skills as a basketball player, and you have indicated to me when we met in my office that you also are a person of considerable skill. In the event, Mr. Holder that he invites you to the gym for a little one-on-one, will you promise us and the american people that you will do everything in your power to defeat him as badly as you can?
LEAHY: My vote depends on your answer!
HOLDER: Senator Kohl, he’s ten years younger than me. He plays a lot more frequently than I do. Having said that, I got a New York City game. I come from the city that produced Condy Hawkins (?), Kareem Abdul Jabar, Nate “Tiny” Archibald. I learned how to play ball in PS 127 in Queens. if you give me a little time and a little space to get back in shape, I think I could hang with him. I don’t think I’m ever going to be in a position to beat him, nor do I think that would be a wise thing to do.
KOHL: Well said, sir.

LEAHY: I want you to know, Mr. Holder, I’ve been here 34 years in these hearings. That is the first time that’s question’s ever been asked.

Queen Francoise

Beau Biden back from Iraq, will make inauguration even sexier

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President-elect Joe Biden's son is back from Iraq temporarily and will witness his father's swearing-in.

Lt. Col. Len Gratteri, a Delaware Army National Guard spokesman, says Capt. Beau Biden began a temporary assignment at the Pentagon Thursday. Details about the assignment or how long it will last weren't immediately available.

The assignment will allow Beau Biden to use personal leave time so the former attorney general of Delaware can see the inauguration of his father and President-elect Barack Obama.

After the inauguration, he is scheduled to return to Iraq where his unit, the Delaware National Guard 261st Signal Brigade is stationed.


UN chief leads protests after Israeli air strikes

UN chief leads protests after Israeli air strikes

UN chief Ban Ki-moon led international protests Thursday describing the Palestinian death toll as "unbearable" as Israeli air strikes hit a hospital, media building and UN compound.

"I have conveyed my strong protest and outrage and demanded a full explanation from the defence minister and foreign minister," Ban told reporters in Tel Aviv after the strike on a UN compound in Gaza.

The UN suspended its operations in Gaza after Israeli shells smashed into the compound, setting fire to warehouses holding badly-needed aid.

Other strikes set a hospital on fire and wounded two cameramen in a building housing international and Arab media outlets.

"The number of casualties has reached an unbearable point," said Ban.
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Israel controls access, message in Gaza assault

Israel controls access, message in Gaza assault

The Israeli military took about a dozen foreign reporters on a rare foray into the Gaza Strip Thursday, a day when a bombardment killed the Hamas security chief and an Israel shell landed on the United Nations headquarters there.

But the journalists saw none of the action. Their 30-minute drive from an army base near the border took them to an unpopulated area where a commander arrived in a tank, gave a statement and answered a few questions. They saw no troops, no combat.

If Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon was a media free-for-all, its offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza has been a model of media control.
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Mexico Media on High Alert After Drug-Gang Attack on Televisa

Mexico Media on High Alert After Drug-Gang Attack on Televisa

Editors at Televisa, the world's most popular Spanish-language network, were having a lively news meeting in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey when they heard a series of pops followed by a thunderous explosion. Running outside, the editors realized the top breaking news item had come straight to them. The pops were bullets sprayed from Kalashnikov automatic rifles directly into the faÇade of their offices. The blast was from a fragmentation grenade. Next to the debris was a message scrawled on cardboard: "Stop just broadcasting us. Also broadcast the narco politicians," it said.
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  • bispo

Cornyn’s Absurd Hypothetical For Holder: What If Waterboarding Were Your Only Interrogation Option?

During his confirmation hearing today, Attorey General nominee Eric Holder unequivocally rejected torture. “No one is above the law,” Holder said repeatedly during the hearing.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) could not fathom that an Attorney General would reject a practice that both is unlawful and endangers Americans. He tried to get Holder to back off his anti-torture stance by presenting an absurd “ticking time bomb” hypothetical in which thousands of American lives are at stake. “You would still refuse to condone aggressive interrogation techniques?” Cornyn asked. When Holder replied that waterboarding is not the only interrogation method, Cornyn insisted, “Assume that it was”:

HOLDER: I think your hypothetical assumes a premise that I’m not willing to concede.

CORNYN: I know you don’t like my hypothetical.

HOLDER: No, the hypothetical’s fine; the premise that underlies it I’m not willing to accept, and that is that waterboarding is the only way that I could get that information from those people.

CORNYN: Assume that it was.

HOLDER: [Laughs] Given the knowledge that I have about other techniques and what I’ve heard from retired admirals and generals and FBI agents, there are other ways in a timely fashion that you can get information out of people that is accurate and will produce useable intelligence. And so it’s hard for me to accept or to answer your hypothetical without accepting your premise. And in fact, I don’t think I can do that.

Watch it:

A few minutes later, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) identified where Cornyn most likely thought up his torture-is-the-only-option scenario: “I understand Senator Cornyn’s questions. They are questions that anyone who watches Jack Bauer on ‘24′ would ask.”

Intelligence officials have repeatedly rejected the idea of a ticking time bomb scenario. Jack Cloonan, who spent 25 years as an FBI special agent and interrogated members of al Qaeda, said that he has “been hard pressed to find a situation where anybody” can say “that they’ve ever encountered the ticking bomb scenario” when interrogating terrorists. He said it is a “red herring” and “[i]n the real world it doesn’t happen.”

One law professor, who has extensively researched interrogation, said she had heard of only one ticking time bomb scenario. “It’s on the show ‘24.’ And that’s the only one I know of.”


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&#39; jules
  • schmiss

Oooooh gurl :(

Republican Leader Boehner On Stimulus: "Oh. My. God."

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio had a three-word - and three sentence - response after seeing the Democratic proposal for the stimulus package that was circulating Thursday: "Oh. My. God."

Recovering, he added, "I don't even - my notes here say that I'm disappointed. I just can't tell you how shocked I am at what we're seeing."


LOL, drama queen

In new tactic, L.A. goes after gangs' money

In new tactic, L.A. goes after gangs' money

The gang capital of the world is taking a new tack against them: cash damages.

The city of Los Angeles, plagued by 23,000 violent gang crimes since 2004, including 784 murders and 12,000 felony assaults, announced Tuesday that it had won its first civil judgment, for $5 million, against a criminal gang that had dominated the heroin trade downtown for decades.

The verdict could bode well for another first-of-its-kind lawsuit the city filed last month that goes after all assets of gang leaders, not just those associated with their criminal activity. Both suits seek to plow the money back into improving the neighborhoods affected by the gangs through a fund.

"By giving prosecutors more tools to fight gang activity at the local level, we are protecting our communities at the same time [that] we're able to strengthen our statewide anti-gang efforts," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a statement released with the announcement of the $5 million verdict against the 5th and Hill gang in L.A.
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Civilians sheltered at Gaza hospital before 'horror' attack

Civilians sheltered at Gaza hospital before 'horror' attack

GRIPPING their wailing children, terrified Gaza civilians scuttled for any shelter they could find as Israeli tanks barrelled into the heart of a residential neighbourhood in Gaza City.

Loaded down with babies, toddlers and children, dozens of families arrived at the doors of the Al-Quds hospital shortly after dawn as dozens of tanks roared into the area, sparking furious battles with Palestinian fighters.

Inside the facility, the residents found space where they could. Mothers tried to console their crying children and to make them laugh.
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They kept this one quiet

From The Guardian. The UK Government have kept this one quiet, sneaking it in under cover of the news about the third runway and new terminal at Heathrow. I'm pretty angry about it right now.

Government exempts MPs' expenses from freedom of information
All past requests by journalists and campaigners to publish them will be nullified

The government is to exempt details of all MPs' and peers' expenses from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, and nullify all past requests by journalists and campaigners to get them published.

The decision was announced in a parliamentary order today published at the same time as the government announced controversial decisions on the third runway at Heathrow and compensation for millions of Equitable Life policyholders.

Harriet Harman, the leader of the house, is to use a special parliamentary order that can become law within 24 hours after being debated by MPs and peers next week.

It comes just as MPs were about to be forced, following a victory by campaigners at an information tribunal, to publish 1.2m expenses receipts, covering the period between 2005 and 2008.

In return the government is to increase the number of published categories, such as travel and accomodation, which detail where MPs used their expenses.


Additional sources: Guardian blogs, Boing Boing.
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(no subject)

The Israeli government's media strategy barring reporters from Gaza is working, but the rest of its strategy is not.

by Newsweek's Christopher Dickey

Perhaps you are thinking you have seen a lot of horrible images coming out of the Gaza hellhole; very likely more than you want to see. Among the 1.5 million Palestinians under bombardment in an area 7.5 miles wide and 25 miles long, many somehow manage to get online and get their stories onto the World Wide Web.

The satellite news network Al Jazeera has staff based in Gaza who feed their control room in Qatar a constant stream of dispatches. At least one European photographer, my Belgian friend Bruno Stevens, has managed to slip in. And the pictures we're seeing are as shocking as they are predictable: a blitz from the air that has run out of primary targets but just keeps hitting and hitting; a slow-moving Israeli advance on the ground against zealous Hamas fighters; and day after day, a slaughter of innocents.

A steady stream of video showing screaming, bloodied children and tiny corpses has fueled outrage against Israel not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but in Europe, where anti-Semites have seized on this fresh pretext for their vandalism and arson against Jewish targets.

Among a lot of my war-correspondent colleagues, it's become a truism that the Israeli government's refusal to let foreign reporters into Gaza is counterproductive for the Israelis themselves, as if once Western correspondents got in, their reports might actually counteract the flow of gruesome images that keep coming out. But I am not so sure.

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Thais 'leave boat people to die'

Thai soldiers are detaining illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Burma and forcing them back out to sea in boats without engines, survivors say.

Survivors say their hands were tied and they were towed out to sea with little or no food or water.
About 500 migrants are now recovering from acute dehydration in India's Andaman islands and the Indonesian province of Aceh.
Thai officials were not immediately available for comment.
But sources in the police and army confirmed to the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok that asylum seekers are being pushed out to sea. They did not provide further details about the practice.
Thousands of poor Burmese and Bangladeshis try to reach south-east Asian nations in search of work.
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Key Hamas leader killed in Gaza

One of the top Hamas leaders in Gaza has been killed in an air strike, Hamas and Israeli officials have said.

Said Siyam, the Hamas interior minister, was killed in an air raid on his brother's home near Gaza City.
Earlier, Israeli troops and tanks moved closer into the heart of Gaza City, engaging in fierce gun battles with fighters from Hamas.
The UN's relief agency, Unrwa, said part of its HQ in Gaza caught fire after being hit by Israeli shells.

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# what is that?
  • schmiss

Welcome to the cool kids' club! (disclaimer: may not actually be cool)

Burris is sworn in as Illinois senator

Marking the end of a bizarre political odyssey, Roland Burris was sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois on Thursday, taking his place among a body that not long ago vowed to bar him from its ranks.

Burris took the oath of office in the Senate chamber, a little more than week after Democrats rejected him because he was appointed by embattled Democratic Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

In sharp contrast to the scene last week, when a disappointed and defiant Burris held a lonely news conference in the rain outside the Capitol, on Thursday he was surrounded by fellow Democratic senators who shook his hand and congratulated him.

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Blago would have loved to attended the ceremony but he had a fucking valuable thing to attend to:

(via Valleywag)

more about the UN HQ bombings: "Because Hamas was there"...

UN building in Gaza is hit by strike from Israel

Israel stepped up its 20-day-old offensive against the Islamic group Hamas on Thursday, shelling the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other buildings in central Gaza. The strikes intensified condemnation of Israel, already heated because of the number of civilian deaths, and further strained fraught relations with the agency that aids Palestinian refugees.

The strike, which Israel said was in response to enemy fire, came even as Israeli officials indicated some progress in the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks. The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, left for the United States late on Thursday, seeking an internationally guaranteed mechanism to stop arms smuggling into Gaza through Egypt.

But Israel tightened the military pressure on Hamas on Thursday, perhaps to push it closer to a cease-fire that would meet the Israeli aim of stopping Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

A senior Hamas leader, Said Siam, was killed along with his brother and his son when Israel bombed the house that they were in. Siam was the powerful interior minister of the Hamas-run government in Gaza and the overall chief of its security forces, a significant blow for Hamas days after Israel indicated that its military structure remained largely intact. Hamas, meanwhile, fired off about 25 mortar shells and rockets, seriously wounding a 7-year-old Israeli boy in the city of Beersheba.

The strike against the United Nations headquarters wounded three people, destroying with three shells a warehouse full of hundreds of tons of food and medicine, said John Ging, director of United Nations operations in the area.

The incident, a week after some 40 people were reported killed when an Israeli mortar shell struck near a United Nations school, underscored the difficult relations between Israel and the United Nations that stretch back to Israel's founding.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, in Jerusalem to discuss possible cease-fire terms, expressed "strong protest and outrage" and demanded an investigation.

But Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on Thursday justified the attack on the refugee agency headquarters, saying that Hamas militants had fired at Israeli forces from within the compound.

"Surely," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Olmert, the refugee agency "understands that Israel cannot give immunity to terrorists because they are working from within, or adjacent to, a United Nations compound."
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Inquiries show Olmert version of UN Gaza vote spat closer to truth than Rice's

Inquiries show Olmert version of UN Gaza vote spat closer to truth than Rice's

Inquiries with people uninvolved in the spat between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reveal that his version of the lead-up to America's vote on last week's Security Council resolution is closer to the truth than hers.
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