January 16th, 2009


Texas Senator John Cornyn sees hope for a GOP comeback in the Senate

Texas Senator John Cornyn sees hope for a GOP comeback in the Senate

Even with Republicans reeling in the Senate, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said Wednesday he sees hope for a rebound — thanks to the scandal-tainted Illinois appointment and Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks.

Besides, Cornyn said, “I think there’s a natural aversion of the American people to putting all their eggs in one political basket.”
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Sometimes I wonder if there is something in the water that makes them like this...

(no subject)

Embassy inauguration party to serve made-in-Canada treat — ObamaTails

OTTAWA — If you can't make U.S. president-elect's Barack Obama's inauguration next week, you can get a taste of it Tuesday on the Rideau Canal.

BeaverTails will be serving its iconic skating snack free to 1,000 inauguration revellers at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. on Jan. 20. But the company is going to test-run its new ObamaTail at its Fifth Avenue location Tuesday on the canal, between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Servers will be perfecting the ObamaTail — a sugar-cinnamon pastry decorated with a maple-and-chocolate swirled "O."

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editorial » ana mish
  • layali

Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'

The Guardian - EXCLUSIVE - Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'

The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's ­doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist organisation, sources close to the transition team say.

Richard Haass, a diplomat under both Bush presidents who was named by a number of news organisations this week as Obama's choice for Middle East envoy, supports low-level contacts with Hamas provided there is a ceasefire in place and a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation emerges.

Another potential contender for a ­foreign policy role in the Obama administration suggested that the president-elect would not be bound by the Bush doctrine of isolating Hamas.

"This is going to be an administration that is committed to negotiating with ­critical parties on critical issues," the source said.

There are a number of options that would avoid a politically toxic scenario for Obama of seeming to give legitimacy to Hamas.

"Secret envoys, multilateral six-party talk-like approaches. The total isolation of Hamas that we promulgated under Bush is going to end," said Steve Clemons, the director of the American Strategy ­Programme at the New America ­Foundation. "You could do something through the Europeans. You could invent a structure that is multilateral. It is going to be hard for the neocons to swallow," he said. "I think it is going to happen."

I'm not too impressed with the possibility that Richard Haass might be joining the team. Nevertheless, Obama's new found "in the middle" (compared to his campaigning days) stance is better than the Bush administration's.

Tom Hanks Calls Prop 8 Supporters Un-American


At Wednesday night's premiere of HBO's Big Love, which as you may know centers around a fundamentalist Mormon family that practices polygamy, Executive Producer Tom Hanks decried Mormon support for Proposition 8, calling it "un-American," saying he hoped more light would be shed on the church's activities:

"The truth is this (show) takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen. There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American and I am one of them. I do not like to see any discrimination codified on any piece of paper, any of the 50 states in America, but here's what happens now. A little bit of light can be shed and people can see who's responsible and that can motivate the next go around of our self correcting constitution and hopefully we can move forward instead of backwards. So lets have faith in not only the American, but Californian constitutional process."

And, if you missed it, more light was shed on it yesterday.


And since I don't want to be the only one crying this morning...

Anne Hathaway: I Want To Babysit The Obama Girls

President-elect Barack Obama has already filled his cabinet with Washington veterans like Hillary Clinton – but could there be room for Hollywood in his administration?

Anne Hathaway is just one star who would love a job in the Obama White House.

"I would want to be head babysitter," the Bride Wars star tells PEOPLE. "I'd love to be First Babysitter, absolutely."

Hathaway, 26, is not the only celebrity who would jump at the chance to spend time with Obama's daughters, Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10. High School Musical star Corbin Bleu says he would happily perform for the first daughters.

"I'll just go up and do performances for his kids all day and just keep them entertained," he tells PEOPLE. "They seem like really sweet girls. They seem very well mannered. So I would be First Entertainer."

American Idol runner-up David Archuleta echoed that sentiment. "I would give the girls music lessons," he tells PEOPLE. "Probably not piano lessons, because I'm far from the greatest pianist, but voice lessons."

Stars in Washington

PEOPLE also spoke to other stars who'd happily work for Obama. Here are some of their job pitches:

• "If I'm the Secretary of State, does that mean I get to wear a secretary outfit?," Katy Perry says. "[I'd] probably [want] that position just for the fashion!"

• "[I'd be] hip-hop ambassador," says rapper Common. "I could deal with social issues like not having parents. I'd work with that and pay attention specifically to the children."

• "Head of the environmental department, the EPA," Chris Noth tells us of his job pick. "It's the most crucial. There's far more qualified people doing it, thank God! That position covers the economy, the survival of our planet."

• "I would like to be the official barista making Barack Obama chai mocha lattes," the Office's Kate Flannery tells us. "I love that he drinks that."

• "I would want to be there when he writes his speeches," Desperate Housewives actress Andrea Bowen tells PEOPLE. "I would be want to be a proofreader, because I think his speeches are so amazing, they feel so off-the-cuff."



Beyonce To Sing Obamas' Inaugural First Dance

WASHINGTON — Beyonce will sing for Barack and Michelle Obama's first dance on inauguration night.

And the song? "Crazy in Love?" Her version of Etta James' "At Last?"

The Presidential Inaugural Committee isn't saying. "It is our hope that we can keep the song secret until the moment," said spokeswoman Linda Douglass.

Beyonce is part of the star-studded lineup at the official Neighborhood Ball that will be televised on ABC, along with her husband Jay-Z, will.i.am, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Sting, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder and Maroon 5.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said Thursday that presenters at the ball will include Denzel Washington, Jessica Alba, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Romano, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Kate Walsh.

The Neighborhood Ball is for Washington, D.C. residents, and will be broadcast live and streamed online with an interactive component on the Internet. The inaugural Web site allows people to host or find viewing parties around the country.

"We are encouraging people all around the country to have their own inaugural ball," Douglass said. "All Americans are invited to take a moment and have a little party, and they'll be connected to the folks in Washington and the Neighborhood Ball through both broadcast and on the Internet."

Beyonce has been eager to participate in the inauguration, telling a reporter the day after the election: "Whatever they want _ if they need me to volunteer, they need me to sing, I'm there, and I'm ready."


Goodbye Circuit City


Circuit City to shut down

Court filing shows bankrupt electronics retailer seeks approval to sell merchandise in its remaining 567 stores.

By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer
Last Updated: January 16, 2009: 12:26 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Bankrupt electronics retailer Circuit City Inc. said Friday it has asked for court approval to close its remaining 567 U.S. stores and sell all its merchandise.

The company said it has 34,000 employees.

"We are extremely disappointed by this outcome," James Marcum, acting CEO for Circuit City, said in a statement. "We were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going-concern transaction in the limited timeframe available, and so this is the only possible path for our company."

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Circuit City - the No. 2 electronics retailer after Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500) - said it had reached an agreement with four companies to start the liquidation process.

The company said the sale would begin Saturday and run until March 31, pending court approval.

Circuit City said employees will receive 60 days notice of the termination. Those who remain with the company to assist with the liquidation, will receive pay and benefits.


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' jules
  • schmiss

LOL @ Page Six

Cindy McCain "Dancing With The Stars" Appearance Nixed By John

Page Six reports that Cindy McCain nearly became a contestant on "Dancing With The Stars" -- but the idea was nixed by John McCain, which they describe as "an even worse decision" than choosing Sarah Palin for his running mate.

"Our impeccably placed source says, 'Just before Thanksgiving, Cindy McCain started talks with producers to appear as a dancer on the show. She wanted to do it very badly,'" the paper reports. "'But this week, Sen. McCain 'put the kibosh on it.'"

Hillary Clinton was invited to join the "Dancing With The Stars" tour in early 2008. Dan Quayle declined to participate in the show later that year.


lol wut

SCOTUS to hear case of teen student strip-searched for ibuprofen

Court to hear case of teen strip-searched for ibuprofen

By Bill Mears
Supreme Court Producer (I LOL'd at "Supreme Court producer," I don't even know why)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A 13-year-old Arizona girl who was strip-searched by school officials looking for ibuprofen pain reliever will have her case heard at the Supreme Court.

The justices accepted the case Friday for review. They will decide whether a campus setting gives school administrators greater discretion to control students suspected of illegal activity than police are allowed in cases involving adults in public spaces.

Arguments are expected to be heard in April.

At issue is whether school administrators are constitutionally barred from conducting searches of students investigated for possessing or dealing drugs that are banned on campus.

A federal appeals court found the search "traumatizing" and illegal.

Some parents say older children deserve the same constitutional rights as adults, but educators counter that a school setting always has been treated differently by the courts. They say a ruling against them could jeopardize campus safety.

The case involves Savana Redding, who in 2003 was an eighth-grade honor student at Safford Middle School, about 127 miles from Tucson, Arizona. Earlier that day the vice principal had discovered prescription-strength ibuprofen pills in the possession of one of Redding's classmates. That student, facing punishment, accused Redding of providing her with the 400-milligram pills.

The school has a zero-tolerance policy for all prescription and over-the-counter medication, including the ibuprofen, without prior written permission.

Redding was pulled from class by a male vice principal, Kerry Wilson, escorted to an office and confronted with the evidence. She denied the accusations.

A search of Redding's backpack found nothing. Then, although she had never had prior disciplinary problems, a strip-search was conducted with the help of a school nurse and Wilson's assistant, both females. According to court records, she was ordered to strip to her underwear and her bra was pulled out. Again, no drugs were found.

In an affidavit, Redding said, "The strip-search was the most humiliating experience I have ever had. I held my head down so that they could not see that I was about to cry."

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Redding and her family sued, and a federal appeals court in San Francisco, California, ruled against the school.

The court wrote: "Common sense informs us that directing a 13-year-old girl to remove her clothes, partially revealing her breasts and pelvic area, for allegedly possessing ibuprofen ... was excessively intrusive."

The court said the school went too far in its effort to create a drug- and crime-free classroom. "The overzealousness of school administrators in efforts to protect students has the tragic impact of traumatizing those they claim to serve. And all this to find prescription-strength ibuprofen."

In its appeal to the high court, the school district said requiring a legal standard of "probable cause" to conduct student searches would cast a "roadblock to the kind of swift and effective response that is too often needed to protect the very safety of students, particularly from the threats posed by drugs and weapons."

The high court has had a mixed record over the years on students' rights. The court could now be asked to clarify the extent of student rights involving searches, and the discretion of officials over those for whom they have responsibility.


Look, I understand wanting to keep schools safe from drugs and crime, but come on!  Possession of ibuprofen is NOT breaking the law; in this case it was breaking school rules.  The kid at the most should have gotten detention, and that's it.  In trying to protect the other children in the school they grossly violated the rights of a
nother.  What is wrong with these people.  URGH.


Obama's Inauguration In LEGO Form

LEGOLAND California has a new scene on display from now until Memorial Day -- the 56th Presidential Inauguration featuring Barack Obama and a thousand other plastic figurines that only slightly resemble who they're supposed to!
More than one-thousand mini-figures have been created out of thousands of LEGO bricks to be a part of the festivities. Mini-figures include President-elect Obama and his family, Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and Jill Biden, President George Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynn Cheney along with former President George Bush Sr. and Barbara Bush. Other mini-figures depicting ceremony participants include: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Dr. Rick Warren, Aretha Franklin, John Williams and performers Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo-Ma, Gabriela Montero, Anthony McGill, the Unites States Marine Band, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Park guests can also find Oprah Winfrey in the crowd witnessing this momentous event...

The inauguration scene will be placed on the steps of the Miniland U.S. Capitol and will include Obama and his family, Joe Biden, Bush, Cheney and other participants, including Rick Warren, Itzhak Perlman and the U.S. Marine Corps Band, according to a Legoland press release.

Source 1 & 2

LOLitics | We Can Haz

Shenanigans Friday: January 16, 2009.

"LOLitics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." --LOLnald Reagan

Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
  • macro blanks: browse by TAGS
  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)
MOAR Picture Sources:

  • bispo

Did Cheney nod off during Bush’s farewell address?»

Last night during PBS’s coverage of President Bush’s farewell address to the nation, for a brief moment, the camera panned to Vice President Cheney, who appeared to momentarily doze off. But it seems that he quickly caught himself and then sat upright in his chair. Watch it:

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time Cheney’s boredom got the best of him.

  • bispo

WTF Else R We Gna Do?

Earlier this week, David Frum and his wife, Danielle Crittenden, invited some of their (conservative) friends to fete the inauguration of a man they didn’t vote for. “We’re going to watch and have a few drinks--well, maybe more than a few--and discuss how we’re going to deal with this,” Frum, a fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, told me. He sounded chipper, almost wondrous at how the conservatives had gotten to this point. At the bottom of the invitation, he and Danielle wrote “celebrate/commiserate cuz wtf else r we gna do?” “That’s short for ‘What else are you going to do?’” says Frum, laughing.

“Seriously, though,” he continues, “never, ever, ever go to an inaugural ball. They’re terrible. First you get in a taxi and instantly hit terrible traffic. Then the taxi drops you off at some cavernous space, like the Air and Space Museum. Then you get in a long line to drop off your coat. Then, once you’ve dropped off your coat, you get into another long line to get a drink and the whole time you’re surrounded by people you don’t know, and people who don’t know each other.”

Frum’s event was supposed to be an antidote to such anonymous elbow-rubbing, a low-key gathering at his Glover Park home--but it seemed to tap into a hidden demand and was soon overrun. “We just hung out the shingle a couple days ago and over 100 people responded,” he said. “Most conservatives live in Virginia and feel cut off by the bridge closings.” Though Frum is keeping the guest list close to his chest, the party, co-sponsored by Laura Ingraham and Marty and Byron York, will be attended by Frum’s AEI colleagues, Giuliani campaign veterans, mysterious-sounding Canadian and Norwegian parliamentarians, as well as many other alienated DC right-wingers looking for a stiff drink before heading out into the Democratic blizzard.

Incidentally, the event is doing double duty as a launch party for NewMajority.com, which will go live at 12:01am on Inauguration Day. The site, Frum says, will serve as a platform for reform and renewal of the GOP and will feature what he called “a cross-section of conservatives.”

An axis of opposition, perhaps?

“No,” Frum says, souring. “That gag has had its run. This is just a group that’s not so hopeful about the change.”

--Julia Ioffe
  • bispo

"Spirit Day" Rankles A Conservative

Historian/Reagan aide Craig Shirley e-mails:

Students at Washington Mill Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia received this flyer yesterday and were "encouraged" to wear red ribbons today to support Obama which were distributed at the school.

Needless to say, the school did nothing like this four or eight years ago.

My research assistant, Borko Komnenovic who grew up under communism in Yugoslavia, said this indoctrination was identical to the communist system there, only they had to wear red scarves to show their love for Marshal Tito. If they did not wear the scarf, their parents might get a call from the police.

Suffice to say, my son Mitchell---with his refined sense of freedom and privacy---told the school they had to "respect" his "diversity" in refusing to wear the ribbon.

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Shirley's e-mail points to an event that's probably common in public schools next week; as a rock-ribbed Republican conservative, he doesn't want children to be forced to support Barack Obama as a liberal and a Democrat.  (Of course, would he have the same problem with students celebrating his beloved Ronald Reagan?)

This smacks of introduction to Good ol' Borko.  Aside from the turn of phrase -- schools school -- it is a bit of indoctrination but in a light and forgivable sense.

Martin Luther King Jr.,has been historicized as a trans-partisan figure in our civil rights narrative; the bloodless transition from president to president is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. Linking the two men in history isn't a stretch, even without the racial angle. 

But ok, let's talk about race:  for public schools with a large number of black students, celebrating the ascension of the first president with black skin is easily justifiable for reasons of progress and of pride and confidence, and as illiberal, in the sense that Obama's election is said to have ushered in an era when we hope students pay less attention to racial difference. Can public schools  properly celebrate this momentous occasion without sanctioning the Democratic Party and Obama's policies?  Yes.  The gray areas are unavoidable. 

If you're uncomfortable wearing a ribbon to honor Barack Obama, for whatever reason, then don't wear the ribbon. 

What Obama Must Do

What Obama Must Do
A Letter to the New President

By Paul Krugman


Dear Mr. President:

Like FDR three-quarters of a century ago, you're taking charge at a moment when all the old certainties have vanished, all the conventional wisdom been proved wrong. We're not living in a world you or anyone else expected to see. Many presidents have to deal with crises, but very few have been forced to deal from Day One with a crisis on the scale America now faces.

So, what should you do?

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I thought Krugman made a lot of sense (though I am a big fan of his, so I'm probably biased). Why can't this guy run the Fed? :(

UN says Gaza hospitals in crisis

UN says Gaza hospitals in crisis

The medical system in Gaza is close to being overwhelmed and the Palestinian enclave faces a humanitarian catastrophe unless a cease-fire is reached soon, a senior U.N. health official said Friday.

Sixteen health facilities, including hospitals and clinics, have been damaged by shelling and fighting during the 3-week-old Israeli offensive, said Tony Laurance, head of the World Health Organization office in Gaza.

The attacks are a "grave violation of international humanitarian law,"
Laurance said by telephone. "If this continues it will be a humanitarian catastrophe, especially for the health care system."

On Friday, health workers went through the smoldering wreckage of the five-story Al Quds hospital run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which was hit by three Israeli shells the day before.

There was nothing left to salvage inside the blackened hulk.
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Obama Under Pressure Not to Change Afghan Strategy

Resistance to U.S. Plan for Afghanistan
Troop Boost Complicated by Growing Taliban Influence, Anger Over Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths

The planned U.S. military and counterinsurgency drive in Afghanistan is meeting public and official resistance that could delay and possibly undermine a costly, belated effort that American officials here acknowledge has a limited window of time to succeed.

The officials say they are optimistic that the planned addition of up to 30,000 troops, combined with a new strategy to support local governance and development aimed at weaning villagers away from Taliban influence, will show significant results within the year. They say improved cooperation from the army in neighboring Pakistan and better performance by the Afghan national army are bolstering this optimism.

Yet they also acknowledge that they face an array of obstacles, including: widespread public hostility to international forces over bombing raids and civilian abuses; the growing influence of Taliban insurgents in areas where central authority and services are scarce; and controversy over plans to establish village defense groups.

Officials are also worried about other issues: the upcoming Afghan presidential election and the revived hostility between Pakistan and India caused by a deadly terrorist rampage in Mumbai in November, could inject unpredictable tensions and competing priorities into the region just as a new administration in Washington tries to focus afresh on the anti-terrorist struggle here.
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It makes me wonder what has Bush being doing to secure Afghanistan in the past seven years, then I remember he is Bush...
' jules
  • schmiss

There can only be one HBIC

Barney’s Great Adventure
The most outspoken man in the House gets some real power.

Of the four hundred and thirty-five members of the House of Representatives, Barney Frank is the only one whose public remarks have been collected in a book of quotations (“Frank Talk: The Wit and Wisdom of Barney Frank,” published in 2006). He is also the only congressman whose fight against the impeachment of President Bill Clinton has been the subject of a documentary, which was shown to acclaim at film festivals around the country (“Let’s Get Frank,” directed by Bart Everly). Frank is not the only member of Congress to have been the subject of a full-scale biography, but the account of his life, written by a former aide named Stuart E. Weisberg, to be published by the University of Massachusetts Press later this year, will likely rank among the more exhaustive and admiring books ever printed about a sitting member of the House, who is described as “arguably the most unique and fascinating, certainly the most entertaining political figure in Washington.”

The title of the book suggests the basis for the widespread interest: “Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman.” Now sixty-eight years old, Frank has represented Massachusetts’s Fourth Congressional District since 1981, and he remains best known for his decision, in 1987, to reveal that he is gay, becoming the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily. At the time, the disclosure provoked more curiosity than controversy, but, two years later, Stephen Gobie, a prostitute whom Frank had patronized and then befriended, made a series of lurid allegations about him—claiming that they had had sex in the House gym and that Frank had permitted Gobie to run a prostitution ring out of his home. An investigation by the House Ethics Committee failed to substantiate those charges, though it determined that Frank had written a misleading letter of recommendation for Gobie and had Gobie’s parking tickets waived. Nevertheless, Frank was reëlected with ease, and he became a pointed critic of the Republicans who took control of the House in 1994 and a passionate opponent of Clinton’s impeachment, in 1998. A witty and effective presence on the House floor and in committee rooms, Frank in recent years has settled into the roles of wise guy and wise man of the Democratic Party. (Conservatives “believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth,” he once remarked. More recently, he noted that Barack Obama’s continued insistence that we have one President at a time “overstates the number of Presidents we have.”) In a 2006 poll of Capitol Hill staffers by Washingtonian, published shortly before the elections that gave Democrats control of the House for the first time in twelve years, Frank was voted the brainiest, funniest, and most eloquent congressman—a notable achievement, since he often speaks in a barely comprehensible mumble.

During the financial crisis this fall, Frank’s status as a gay trailblazer suddenly seemed remote and irrelevant. After the Democrats’ victory, he became chairman of the Committee on Financial Services, and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, designated him the Democrats’ chief negotiator with the Bush Administration on legislation to address the crises in the banking and auto industries. “Through this all, the quarterback for us is Barney,” Pelosi told me. “He’s solution-oriented, respectful of different perspectives, and brilliant. And it’s brilliance that saves time, because he simplifies the complex for us. He is an enormously valuable intellectual resource for the Congress.”

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Gaza violence chills promise of U.S. Muslim-Jewish dialogue

Gaza violence chills promise of U.S. Muslim-Jewish dialogue

The Gaza Strip violence has chilled a promising interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims in the United States, activists said on Wednesday.

But Israel's 20-day-old offensive against Hamas that has taken more than the lives of more than 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis has not triggered attacks on synagogues or other Jewish institutions in the United States at the level seen in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

While Jews and Muslims make up a sliver of the U.S. population, efforts at dialogue based on common themes in the two ancient religions had been on the rise in recent years in the United States, an effort billed as perhaps a world model.

Matthew Weiner, director of programs for the Interfaith Center of New York, which has tried to foster such interreligious dialogue, said the damage from Gaza means "less talking and less trust. There will continue to be less."

"There is a sense within the Muslim community that they cannot 'defend their side' without being accused of being terrorists," he added.
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  • bispo

Tiger to speak at Lincoln Memorial

Tiger Woods, who has tried to stay out of politics during his ascent to become one of the world's most famous athletes, has accepted an invitation to speak at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday as part of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration festivities.
Woods posted a short statement on his Web site to say he would speak at "We Are One," a concert and celebration that will be broadcast live on HBO and feature entertainers such as Beyonce, U2, Stevie Wonder and Garth Brooks, along with appearances by Denzel Washington and Martin Luther King III.

"I am honored that I was invited to this historic event and look forward to participating in Sunday's festivities," Woods said.

Organizers of "We Are One" did not say what Woods would do at the Lincoln Memorial celebration.

Woods rarely gets involved in political discussions and festivities. He was criticized in 1997 after his watershed victory at The Masters, when he turned down an invitation from former President Bill Clinton to travel to Shea Stadium in New York to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.
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misc obama fistbump of awesome

Obama Opens The White House to the Public

I'm posting from my phone, so I can't post the link:

On Wednesday, January 20th President Obama will be opening The White House to the public on a first come, first served basis. You can sign up to be selected at www.washingtonpost.com. If you look on the main page under the Inauguration section, you'll see the sign up link.

I think this(the sign-up) is only open to locals, but I'm not entirely sure. Never hurts to try!

Iran executes two men by stoning

Two men convicted of adultery have been stoned to death in Iran, a rare punishment that the Iranian judiciary says it is trying to have scrapped.

The stoning took place in Mashhad in December, said judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi confirming press reports.

In stonings, men are buried to the waist and stones are hurled until they die. Women are buried to the shoulders.

A third man, an Afghan national, managed to dig himself out of the hole, and therefore escaped execution.

In 2002, Iran's judiciary chief issued a directive imposing a moratorium on execution by stoning and it has been scrapped in the new draft penal code which has yet to be passed into law.

Several stoning sentences are said to have been suspended or commuted, and the last reported execution by stoning was in July 2007.

International and local human rights groups have long campaigned for a ban on stoning in Iran as a "grotesque" punishment which is designed increase the suffering of the condemned.


  • jmclive

Canada enters Race to the Dog House

not the actual puppy... I just thought this post needed even more cute

WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Humane Society has come up with a way for incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to satisfy his daughters' wish for a hypoallergenic dog and those who want him to adopt from an animal shelter.

Bill McDonald, the executive director of the Winnipeg shelter, says he's written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to offer a Labradoodle puppy to the U.S. president-elect.

Eleven of the dogs were seized from a puppy mill in Manitoba in December and they'll be ready for adoption next month.

McDonald says he wrote in his letter that Harper could present the dog to Obama as a gift from the people of Canada.

He says the society would be willing to bring a puppy to Ottawa so Harper could present it to Obama when he makes his first official visit to Canada.

The U.S. president-elect has indicated his daughters have narrowed their choice down to two breeds - a Labradoodle and a Portugese water dog.


you're welcome, America
dance through life by nutmeg610
  • lidane

The Economist unloads on Bush's presidency

This is very long, but it's a great read, IMO:

The frat boy ships out
Jan 15th 2009
From The Economist print edition
Few people will mourn the departure of the 43rd president

HE LEAVES the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America’s reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs.

America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George’s younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as “funeral wakes”.

Few people would have predicted this litany of disasters when Mr Bush ran for the presidency in 2000. True, the 2000 election was likely to be divisive because of the peculiar arithmetic of the outcome (Mr Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore by 500,000 votes, then won a disputed recount in Florida by a few hundred). But for most people Mr Bush was a pretty acceptable choice, and certainly not a crusader-in-waiting.

He came across as an affable chap, particularly when compared with his uptight rival. Frank Bruni, who covered his election campaign for the New York Times, wrote in 2002 that “the Bush I knew was part scamp and part bumbler, a timeless fraternity boy and heedless cutup, a weekday gym rat and weekend napster.” And the then governor of Texas presented himself as a centrist—a new kind of “compassionate conservative”, a “uniter rather than a divider”, an advocate of a “humble” and restrained foreign policy. The Economist liked this mixture enough to endorse him in 2000.

How did all this change? How did the uniter become a divider? How did Mr Bush’s governing style shape American politics over the next eight years? And what legacy has the 43rd president left for the 44th?

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Gaza war doctor grieves 3 daughters

Gaza war doctor grieves 3 daughters

The Palestinian doctor has been providing Israeli TV viewers with updates on the medical crisis unfolding in Gaza. But Friday's report was different — with sobs he told how three daughters and a niece were killed by an Israeli shell.

"I want to know why my daughters were harmed," Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish said on Channel 10. "This should haunt (Israeli Ehud Prime Minister) Olmert his entire life."
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Obama's half brother performs in China

Obama's half brother performs in China

The news release didn't say who Mark Ndesandjo was. Nor did the posters and e-mails promoting the concert Friday in this southern Chinese boomtown where he played piano to raise money for orphans.

But the 200 or so people who showed up for the fundraiser at a posh hotel resort knew the man in a Chinese-style brown silk shirt was the half brother of President-elect Barack Obama. They had a rare encounter with Ndesandjo, who has been dodging the media since his family ties were made public last summer.
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Get Your Own Official Presidential Pardon From GWB

Have you fucked up in some way these past eight years? Looking for a way to get off scott-free while an ethically-impaired Decider is still sitting in the Oval Office?

Well, lemme tell ya, you're not alone.

In fact, you're so not alone that the White House had to create an automated online pardoning app to handle the overwhelming demand for "Get Out of Jail Free" cards.

Just enter all the pertinent info in the form below and then print out your own pardon from President Bush...

Fill out the form here!

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♪ uraqt
  • schmiss

Who's afraid of the DNC?

Kaine pick sends ripples across RNC

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s appointment last week as chairman of the Democratic National Committee has reminded Republicans of an essential quality their next leader must have: an ability to take the fight directly to the leader of the opposing party.

Since Kaine will be a constant and close adversary, a sparring partner on the Sunday political talk shows and a competitor for the attention of the public and the press, the notion that the next RNC chair must be an effective communicator is gaining traction among some party members.

Given Kaine’s profile as a sitting governor and a one-time contender for the vice presidency, Republicans say their new chairman will have to show some serious presence on the air – fast.

“I think it’s important to have someone who can represent us well in that situation,” said Mississippi Republican Party Chair Brad White, who endorsed South Carolina GOP chair Katon Dawson Friday. “Someone who can express themselves so that the American people can know what the hell they’re talking about.”

Few of the candidates for chair are known as great communicators, and none of them can match Kaine’s standing as a sitting state executive.

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Semi-related but not worthy of its own post I guess - Kaine answers questions submitted through the internet - includes information on the future of the fifty state strategy (skip about 10 minutes in).

GOP-ers may block Solis confirmation

Senate Republicans, frustrated over the answers they say they're not getting from Rep. Hilda L. Solis, may try to block her confirmation as Barack Obama's secretary of labor.

"She answered no questions," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "If she won't answer the questions, how can you support the nomination?"
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Report: Over 8 in 10 corporations have tax havens

Report: Over 8 in 10 corporations have tax havens

Eighty-three of the nation's 100 largest corporations, including Citigroup, Bank of America and News Corp., had subsidiaries in offshore tax havens in 2007, and some of the companies received federal bailout funding, a government watchdog said Friday.

The Government Accountability Office released a report that said Bank of America Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley all had more than 100 units in countries that maintain low or no taxes. The three financial institutions were included in the $700 billion financial bailout approved by Congress.
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the new flesh
  • war4l

Evidence of White Phosphorus use in Gaza

Video showing injuries consistent with the use of white phosphorus shells has been filmed inside hospitals treating Palestinian wounded in Gaza City.

Contact with the shell remnants causes severe burns, sometimes burning the skin to the bone, consistent with descriptions by Ahmed Almi, an Egyptian doctor at the al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

Almi said the entire body of one victim was burned within an hour. It was the first time he had seen the effects of what he called a "chemical weapon".
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Mulan ;; Courage

Obamas finally move into Blair House

Barack Obama moved his family into their temporary home, the historic Blair House, as President George W Bush was starting his farewell address to the nation.

The Obamas will be staying at the government's official guest residence until they move across Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House next week.

Obama's motorcade left his downtown transition office and passed rows of bleachers set up for next week's inauguration as he arrived at Blair House. His black SUV pulled up on a pedestrian street on the north side of the White House that is normally closed to traffic.

Obama had asked to move into the guest house at the beginning of the month when his two daughters were starting at their new school, but the Bush administration said the house was unavailable until Thursday.

Aides said the entire family has moved to Blair House, which sits across the street from the White House.


Mulan ;; Courage

Zimbabwe releases 100 trillion note

Zimbabwe will introduce a 100 trillion dollar note, in its latest attempt to keep pace with hyperinflation that has left the once-vibrant economy in tatters, state media says.

The new bill would have been worth about $US300 ($A450) at Thursday's exchange rate on the informal market, where most currency trading now takes place, but the value of the local currency erodes dramatically every day.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is introducing three other notes in trillion-dollar denominations of 10, 20 and 50, the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper said.