February 2nd, 2009

Police Charged With False Arrests of Gay Men At Adult Video Stores

Anger is building against the police department in the wake of an increase in arrests of gay men for prostitution at Manhattan adult video stores. Last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined in the outcry. She said she is working with the mayor's office and commanders of the police department to set up a meeting that will include gay community groups "to get to the bottom of this."

The arrests have been documented by Duncan Osborne of the Gay City News over the last several months. Police are allegedly using handsome young undercover cops to cruise middle-aged gay men, offering to go home with them for consensual sex. As they leave the store together, the cop offers to pay the man for the sex, confusing the victims who can't imagine why the younger man would make such a proposal. Then, as they walk out of the store, the victim, despite never having agreed to any exchange of money, is surrounded by undercover cops, handcuffed and charged with prostitution.

Gay activists and civil libertarians see the arrests as part of a continuing effort to shut down porn operations in the city and a tendency by the police department to criminalize gay sexual behavior.

We need to see [the arrest policy] stopped and to figure out how it started," Quinn told Gotham Gazette, calling the arrests of gay men "the most egregious I have heard of" going back to her days as executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, which is part of a coalition to stop these arrests. "It's not even entrapment," she said. "These are false arrests."


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[sarcasm]Homophobia? In utopian New York City? *gasp*[/sarcasm]

1 in 5 Gay People Attempt Suicide

ALMOST 20 per cent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have attempted suicide and almost all saw this as related to their sexual identity and the experiences of being abused and feeling isolated, a report to be published today has found.

The study, Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People, also found almost one-third of respondents had self-harmed at least once.

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Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

The GOP once again shows they don't play well with others.

GOP leaders doubt stimulus bill will pass Senate

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday the massive stimulus bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could go down to defeat if it's not stripped of unnecessary spending and focused more on housing issues and tax cuts.

The Senate version of the bill, which topped out at nearly $900 billion, is headed to the floor for debate. The House bill totaled about $819 billion and earned no Republican votes, even though it easily passed the Democratic-controlled House. At some point lawmakers will need to compromise on the competing versions.

McConnell and other Republicans suggested that the bill needed an overhaul because it doesn't pump enough into the private sector through tax cuts and allows Democrats to go on a spending spree unlikely to jolt the economy. The Republican leader also complained that Democrats had not been as bipartisan in writing the bill as Obama had said he wanted.

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NYT publishes Bidenriffic(!) article

With Disputes Brewing, Biden Turns to Senate

The first thing you notice is how happy he is. Walking into a suite that until recently was Dick Cheney’s turf, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is smiling — big time.

“All the years you covered me, I never, quite frankly, thought about the vice presidency,” Mr. Biden, a former Delaware senator, said in an interview last week in what was once the secretary of war’s office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. “And when President Obama asked me to join him, I wasn’t at all sure whether there was a right place for me,” he said, adding, “But it’s working out.”

For a loquacious 66-year-old whose career has seen family tragedy, a health crisis and two failed presidential runs, that is a rare understatement. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said, “It’s an adjustment for Joe — every day is like Christmas.”

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is anyone else really happy they're not terrified by their vice president anymore? this article reminded me of
this, when my friend sent me the photo and said, "there's another reason I'm excited for inauguration day...the scary one gets replaced by the nice looking one!"

EDIT: Was in a hurry on uncooperative computer, fixed the f-ed up cut and the text size. hope it works this time.

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Hi, I'm Jill. Jill Biden. But please, call me Dr. Biden

The vice president's wife holds a doctorate in English -- but she likes to use the prefix that most people reserve for medical doctors.

by Robin Abcarian | February 2, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden often joked on the campaign trail about his wife's lofty educational achievements. She had two master's degrees and had already worked for nearly a quarter-century as a college community instructor. But he had a better idea.

"Why don't you go out and get a doctorate and make us some real money?" he said he told her. (That was always good for a laugh, especially in university towns.)

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I personally hate the anal notion that the title "Dr." is to be exclusively used by medical physicians because: (1) it generally conveys inflated mystification/importance given to physicians over other professions that, you know, make differences in people's lives; and (2) the title "Dr.", linguistically speaking, is a homonym/homophone".

You stay ferocious, Dr. Biden. Teachers and professors represent. ♥

Sen. Judd Gregg reassures GOP on possible Commerce post

Sen. Judd Gregg reassures GOP on possible Commerce post
He says a Republican will replace him if he joins the Obama administration. A Senate panel prepares to question Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle about his taxes.

Reporting from Washington -- Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who has emerged as the front-runner for Commerce secretary, assured fellow Republicans that he would not take the job unless he was certain his replacement would line up with the GOP caucus, the Senate's Republican leader said Sunday.

President Obama is expected to announce Gregg's nomination as early as today.
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Barack Obama correctly picks Steelers' narrow win


NBC had some technical issues during the pregame, none more embarrassing than losing audio during Matt Lauer's chat with noted sports prognosticator Barack Obama of Washington, D.C.Mr. Obama picked the Steelers to win, but hinted that he liked Arizona and the points. (No word on his thoughts regarding the over/under.)
NBC sent Obama's quotes on various topics. Click below for that.
Photo: AP

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(no subject)

How Government Prolonged the Depression
Policies that decreased competition in product and labor markets were especially destructive.


The New Deal is widely perceived to have ended the Great Depression, and this has led many to support a "new" New Deal to address the current crisis. But the facts do not support the perception that FDR's policies shortened the Depression, or that similar policies will pull our nation out of its current economic downturn.

The goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn't restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32.

Even comparing hours worked at the end of 1930s to those at the beginning of FDR's presidency doesn't paint a picture of recovery. Total hours worked per adult in 1939 remained about 21% below their 1929 level, compared to a decline of 27% in 1933. And it wasn't just work that remained scarce during the New Deal. Per capita consumption did not recover at all, remaining 25% below its trend level throughout the New Deal, and per-capita nonresidential investment averaged about 60% below trend. The Great Depression clearly continued long after FDR took office.

Why wasn't the Depression followed by a vigorous recovery, like every other cycle? It should have been. The economic fundamentals that drive all expansions were very favorable during the New Deal. Productivity grew very rapidly after 1933, the price level was stable, real interest rates were low, and liquidity was plentiful. We have calculated on the basis of just productivity growth that employment and investment should have been back to normal levels by 1936. Similarly, Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas and Leonard Rapping calculated on the basis of just expansionary Federal Reserve policy that the economy should have been back to normal by 1935.

So what stopped a blockbuster recovery from ever starting? The New Deal. Some New Deal policies certainly benefited the economy by establishing a basic social safety net through Social Security and unemployment benefits, and by stabilizing the financial system through deposit insurance and the Securities Exchange Commission. But others violated the most basic economic principles by suppressing competition, and setting prices and wages in many sectors well above their normal levels. All told, these antimarket policies choked off powerful recovery forces that would have plausibly returned the economy back to trend by the mid-1930s.

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Full source here

More people who just need to take a history course, obviously!

Dialing for Derivatives


THANK you for calling BadBank, otherwise known as “Slumdog Billionaire.”

This call will not be monitored for quality control.

One of our customer service representatives will be with you as soon as he is paroled.

If you are calling for a loan, a bonus, a bailout or season tickets to all home games at BadField, please stay on the line.


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Mormons admit Larger role in California's Prop. 8 campaign

The Mormon church has revealed in a campaign filing that the church spent nearly $190,000 to help pass Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California.

The disclosure comes amid an investigation by the state's campaign watchdog agency into whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints violated state laws by not fully disclosing its involvement during the campaign.

While many church members had donated directly to the Yes on 8 campaign – some estimates of Mormon giving range as high as $20 million – the church itself had previously reported little direct campaign activity.
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Top Republican: Scrap 'buy American' stimulus clause

Top Republican: Scrap 'buy American' stimulus clause

The US Senate should strip a "Buy American" clause from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, the chamber's top Republican said Monday amid anger at the restriction from US allies.

"I don't think we ought to use a measure that is supposed to be timely, temporary, and targeted to set off trade wars when the entire world is experiencing a downturn in the economy," said Senator Mitch McConnell.
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  • cindel

Bailed-Out Bankers To Be Hauled Before Congress

Rep. Barney Frank plans to call the heads of major bailed-out banks to testify before his committee next week, two aides to the House Financial Services Committee chairman said.

Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, has been a vocal proponent of using federal dollars to stabilize the financial system, but has also been a harsh critic of bankers who have refused to provide Congress with information as to how the bailout funds are being used. He has also been sharply critical of the Bush administration's use of the first half of the bailout funds, charging that it failed to oversee the program properly and didn't use the funds to address the foreclosure crisis as Congress had intended.

A committee aide said that the hearing, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 12, is still being planned and that a full witness list has yet to be compiled. Frank has long promised to bring bank heads before his committee to call on them to explain how the funds have been used.

For Frank and other backers of the bailout, known as TARP, or the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the problem is that its purpose is to prevent a total collapse of the global financial system. Because of the way politics works, it's difficult to get credit for preventing harm rather than doing good.

"It's like wearing dark pants and pissing down your leg," Frank said before the bailout vote in October. "It gives you a warm feeling, but no one knows you did it."

Lawmakers' hope had been that the rescue package would save the financial system from collapse and also return some liquidity to the credit market. While it has (so far) prevented collapse, lending remains at low levels.

Congress recently approved dispersal of the second half of the $350 billion in TARP funds. President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to tell Congress how he intends to spend that half once the stimulus bill has passed. Obama officials have indicated that more funds may well be needed beyond the original $700 billion.

Tell 'em why you mad son!
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Jet Li + Desmond Tutu = AWESOME

The archbishop and the action hero

He begins the meeting as he always does -- with a prayer: "Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth."

The man uttering those ancient words is one of the world's most familiar churchmen: Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, veteran of the struggle against apartheid and formerly Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

But just opposite him is a man from a different generation, a different culture and a different hemisphere: one of China's best-known celebrities, the martial arts star and screen actor, Jet Li.

Sitting between the two -- and responsible for bringing these two extraordinary people together for the first time -- is the Global CEO of the consulting firm Deloitte, James Quigley.

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Hypocrisy Watch

In a combative telephone interview with USA Today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that all Republicans should oppose Tom Daschle’s nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services:

Michael Steele said in a telephone interview that Republicans should oppose former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle’s nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle is the second Cabinet nominee to acknowledge he didn’t pay thousands of dollars in taxes.

“We’ve already let one cat out of the bag with (Treasury Secretary Timothy) Geithner,” Steele said. “So what’s the standard down to, to be a Cabinet secretary? You don’t have to pay your taxes? Come on.”

While Daschle’s failure to pay the appropriate amount of taxes is a serious issue, perhaps Steele is not the best messenger on the issue of personal financial responsibility. In 2002, the Washington Post reported “two banks have filed foreclosure proceedings in the past year against Steele and his wife, Andrea, after they failed to make payments on their mortgage and a home equity loan last year. The loans, totaling about $ 96,000, listed the Steeles’ townhouse in Largo as collateral, a property that is valued for tax purposes at $ 115,110, according to court and tax records.”

' jules
  • schmiss

(no subject)

Pajamas Media, Rightblogger Meal Ticket, Pulls the Plug

Pajamas Media, a consortium of mostly rightbloggers, was founded in 2005. Its "eventual goal," reported National Review at the time, was "to replace the established media sources with a network of what [co-founders Charles Johnson and Roger L. Simon] call 'citizen-journalists.'" They felt good about their chances; after all, said Simon, referring to Johnson, "You're sitting four feet away from the guy who ended Dan Rather's career." (If you don't remember who Dan Rather is, you can read the Wikipedia entry.)

Pajamas Media has retained a hard-on for the "MSM," its fans' preferred acronym for professional media outlets. In November Pajamas correspondent Kenneth Anderson told readers what was wrong with the online operations of the hated MSM flagship, the New York Times. Anderson said the Times facilitated "online cocooning of its smugly elite audience by 'journalists' whose task is not to spend time digging out new, expensive, and quite possibly important facts, but instead to create, care, stroke, tend, and feed little online forums where they interact with readers and create little communities of the like-minded."

Anderson did not seem to realize that his description far more accurately applies to Pajamas Media. While the Times continues to share actual news with its online readers, Pajamas mostly eschews this -- except for adventures like the fanciful "reporting" of Joe the Plumber in Israel -- in favor of citizen opinion journalism via a number of affiliated blogs, who were cut in for a piece of the revenues via the Pajamas network.

Maybe "revenues" isn't the right word, as rumor had it that most of the money was still coming from investors. Nonetheless Pajamas personnel continued to portray themselves as the future, and MSM journalism as a fading relic. One correspondent traced the MSM's decline to Monica Lewinsky, leaving America "convinced they sold their soul to a devil with a blue dress on." Others gallantly offered to replace the MSM in foreign reporting: "PJM reaches millions of people and they sent a video camera to me in Afghanistan."

But as with all things, eventually money talked and bullshit walked. Last week Simon told Pajamas affiliates that "we have decided to wind down the Pajamas Media Blogger and advertising network effective March 31, 2009," and thereafter they would be free to hustle up ads as best they could.

The responses have been instructive and hilarious.

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This wingnut implosion makes the Harry Potter and Twilight crazies look like amateurs. Fandom ain't got nothing on this wank.
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Jossip: "The 6 Conservatives We're Starting to Feel For".

Obama's been president for a whole week now, and things still suck! We're not hoping for miracles (except we sort of were) but little by little, we feel ourselves slowly backsliding into the snarky disdain we've had for all authority since Mrs. Scheibel grounded us in homeroom. Unfortunately, questioning anything about our new administration immediately aligns us with conservatives and their anti-everything rhetoric, which is even more unappealing than sipping the Obama Kool-Aid. Still, we can't help but feel a little bit…empathic, maybe, towards those Republican blowhards we spent the last eight years railing against. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Source: David Hauslaib's Jossip

Gay families inappropriate to air during Superbowl

Remember the ad from GetToKnowUsFirst.org which Los Angeles affiliate KABC refused to air during the inauguration but then promised to air during a "high profile" position at a later date?

GettoknowNow it's been revealed that Los Angeles affiliate KNBC refused to air the same ad during the Super Bowl, claiming, like KABC did, that the NFL doesn't air "advocacy" ads. However, it appears they lied:

GLAAD reports: "Despite this policy, other advocacy ads aired multiple times throughout the day's NFL-controlled programming. Among the advocacy ads which did air were PSAs for TobaccoFreeCA.org and DontBeAnAsterisk.org, an anti-steroids advocacy campaign."

Said John Ireland, of GetToKnowUsFirst.org: "We bought ads before, during and after the Super Bowl in ten markets across California. We planned this buy weeks in advance and heard late Friday that the NFL rejected our ads because they violate the NFL's 'no advocacy' policy. I was truly stunned while watching the programming, to see that they had selectively blocked our ads, while allowing other advocacy ads to air."


Violence and Controversy Mar Groundhog Day

Violence and Controversy Mar Groundhog Day

Violence and controversy reared their ugly heads at the annual Groundhog Day ceremonies Monday.

In a classic case of biting the hand that feeds him, Staten Island Groundhog Charles G. "Chuck" Hogg was coaxed out of his house, did not see his shadow and attacked Mayor Mike Bloomberg during the morning ceremony at the Staten Island Zoo in West Brighton. The cranky groundhog apparently bit the mayor on his gloved left hand and even drew some royal blood.
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How's this for a warning? Groundhog Staten Island Chuck bites Mayor Bloomberg on big day

There was a nip in the air - and in the mayor.

Staten Island's grumpy groundhod, Charles G. Hogg, predicted an early spring this morning, but not before taking a bite out of Mayor Bloomberg for forcing him into weather prognostication.

Making his 28th Groundhog Day appearance, Staten Island Chuck wasn't thrilled about the whole business of being pulled out of his warm wooden home and lifted in the air by the mayor to the cheers of a crowd.

Bloomberg tried to lure him with a corn cob.

The 10-pound critter just snatched the cob and retreated into his home.

There then followed an undignified tussle over the corn cob between mayor and groundhog.
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fleur de lis

What'd we do before when the economy tanked?

Click to Listen to Three Economists Explain The Past Seven Recessions.

(The large rectangles indicate recession periods; the dark blue indicates negative GDP growth.)

"You can never plan the future by the past."
~ Edmund Burke

"Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future?

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To Summarize: Government has two kinds of tools: fiscal and monetary. In 1960, Kennedy attempted fiscal stimulus but the recession ended before the Kennedy tax cut took effect. In 1969, the Fed under Nixon attempted monetary policy in the form of lowering interest rates and were successful till after the '72 election, when continued high military spending led to high inflation. High inflation, high oil prices, and raised interest rates led to the '73-'75 recession. The Fed, then, lowered interest rates (monetary), got credit flowing, and the recession was (temporarily) resolved again. By '79, inflation was escalating at same rate as the '73-'75 recession. So the Fed (Paul Volcker) under Carter and then Reagan used monetary policy this time in the form of raising interest rates so high in '81 that the high interest rates caused the worst economic slump (in '81 -'82) since the Great Depression. Then, Reagan's fiscal stimulus [tax cuts and increased government spending (effectively Keynesian economics)] stimulated the demand that brought us out of recession. In 1990, it was a similar story, a raise in interest rates and high energy prices led to recession and once more we turned to monetary policy: by lowering interest rates, the recession ended. In 2001, the tech-bubble burst and 9/11 led to recession, a combo of fiscal (tax cuts) and monetary (interest rate cuts) policy brought us out. But the Fed failed to raise interest rates once we recovered from recession. Keeping those interest rates low from 2001 to 2006 led to the housing and Wall St. bubbles that burst in 2007 and 2008, which in combination with inflation and high energy prices brought on the recession we're facing now.

If you're keeping track:
Year : Strategy : Outcome
'60 : fiscal (tax cuts) : N/A (recession resolved on its own)
'69 : monetary (interests cuts) : temporary WIN
'73-'75 : monetary (interest cuts) : temporary WIN
'81-'82 : monetary (interest hike) : FAIL*
'81-'82 : fiscal (tax cuts & spending) : WIN
'90 : monetary (interest cuts): WIN
'01 : monetary & fiscal (interest cuts & tax cuts): temporary WIN?**
'07-'09 : With interest rates as low as they can go [monetary (interest cuts) : FAILING], our only option left is fiscal.
And with the Bush tax cuts in place [fiscal (tax cuts) : FAILING], the only tool we haven't tried is an increase in spending.

*Paul Volcker's "slamming on the brake" (raising interest rates) caused the '81-'82 recession, but it ended the "stagflation" that became increasingly problematic throughout the '70s.

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"[Juan Williams] Criticized for Attacking Michelle Obama".

By Alan King | AFRO Staff Writer | February 1, 2009

After verbally attacking First Lady Michelle Obama and comparing her to a controversial Black Power activist from the ‘60s era, National Public Radio news analyst Juan Williams is coming under intense criticism for remarks that were recently made by him on Fox television’s “The O'Reilly Factor.”

During the Jan. 26 edition of the talk show, Williams, a Fox News political contributor, claimed that the first lady’s “instinct is to start with this 'blame America' ... stuff." Williams asserted that "[i]f you think about liabilities for President [Barack] Obama that are close to him -- [Vice President] Joe Biden's up there -- but Michelle Obama's right there."

Williams continued: "[S]he's got this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going. If she starts talking, [her] instinct is to start with this 'blame America,' you know, 'I'm the victim.' If that stuff starts to come out, people will go bananas, and she'll go from being the new Jackie O to being something of an albatross."

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Can you image the amount of willpower it must take O'Reilly and Co not to jizz in their pants each time FoxNews invites [Insert Token Minority Corespondent of Your Choice] on air to verbalize blatantly bigoted rhetoric on their/the network's behalf?
¤ darren aronofsky don't give a fuck
  • schmiss

He's got this thing, and it's fucking golden, and he can always use it to parachute himself there.

FL-Sen: Martinez May Bail Early, Crist Mulling a Run

Let's hope this doesn't happen:
In what could be a Sunshine State one-two punch, multiple Republican sources are confirming that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is giving serious consideration to running for Senate - and that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) is contemplating resigning from his seat before his term is up next year. Martinez has already announced he will not run for re-election when his first term expires in 2010. Crist, according to sources, has had multiple serious conversations about running for Senate with both Martinez and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas). [...]

Sources say most Republicans are waiting on the sidelines because they want to see what Crist does before jumping into the Senate race, and explain further that Sink could be eyeing an open gubernatorial seat in 2010, when Crist's first term is up.
Wow, okay. So are we to believe that Martinez will bail early and that Crist would appoint himself to the Senate? Martinez's people are staying mum for now, only saying that the Senator "looks forward to serving out the rest of his term" (hardly a lock-solid promise to stay), and then we have this from Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer:

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Being from Wendell Anderson's state, I have to warn you Crist, these things never turn out well.
K-Box cartoon


You may have noticed me posting a YouTube video of this guy earlier. Even if you didn't notice, though, it would seem as though he sure as hell did ...

The Secret Order of Abstinence Clowns

Three weeks ago, we first introduced you to Derek Dye the Abstinence Clown. Dye goes to middle schools in Ohio and juggles in between telling kids that any type of pre-marital sex will destroy your life’s dreams and is just like juggling machetes. And the best part? He is just one beneficiary of the $1.5 billion in federal funding that has gone towards the failure that is abstinence-only until marriage sex education.

Within a week, Derek Dye was a blogosphere and YouTube star, getting linked at tons of blogs and getting almost 20,000 views on YouTube. But what happened next takes the cake…

One would think that having such invaluable free advertising would please Mr. Dye (viewing this unedited promo video on YouTube), but it appears that his act was for “friendly eyes” only. Derek petitioned YouTube to take down the video, citing “copyright violations”. Apparently, Derek was spooked that the American public was actually seeing, first hand, the fraud that our tax dollars are going to.

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UPDATE: At noon today, Derek Dye removed the video FROM HIS OWN SITE. Wow. But fortunately, it appears that another site got a hold of the video and is hosting it, so.... enjoy!

Well, if nothing else, those Cosby sweaters of his have certainly killed MY sex drive.

Of course, that only means that it has become morally imperative for SOMEONE out there to do Rule 34 of Derek the Abstinence Clown ...

Life on the Hill: Frank’s new aide settles into job

By Lisa Neff

Diego Miguel Sanchez is no stranger to Capitol Hill.

He’s lobbied.

He’s testified.

And now he’s working on the Hill, a new member of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank’s team in The Rayburn House Office Building. His title, which Sanchez believes will fit on a business card, is “legislative assistant for LGBT, healthcare, labor, veterans, census and Social Security issues.

“It’s really exciting to be able to do during the day the work that I did as a volunteer, and it is an honor to serve Congressman Frank,” said Sanchez, who holds the distinction of being the first openly transgender congressional aide.

Sanchez said his appointment gives him hope for equal employment opportunities for all.

“To me it seems like a window is cracked open and there is some air coming through,” Sanchez said.


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soap&skin 2012
  • automat

Population: The elephant in the room

Uncontrolled population growth threatens to undermine efforts to save the planet, warns John Feeney. In this week's Green Room, he calls on the environmental movement to stop running scared of this controversial topic.

It's the great taboo of environmentalism: the size and growth of the human population.

It has a profound impact on all life on Earth, yet for decades it has been conspicuously absent from public debate.

Most natural scientists agree our growing numbers and our unchecked impact on the natural environment move us inexorably toward global calamities of unthinkable severity.

They agree the need to address population has become desperate.

Yet many environmentalists avoid the subject, a few objecting strongly to any focus on our numbers.

Some activists insist acting to influence population growth infringes on human rights; they maintain that it is best to leave the problem alone.

Let's dispense with this confused notion right now.

Yes, there have been past abuses in the name of "population control".

There have been abuses of health care and education too, but the idea of reacting by abandoning any of these causes is absurd.

We can learn from past abuses, reducing the likelihood of fresh problems arising in the future.

In fact, those working on population issues have done so. Today, they recognise that the methods with the best track records of reducing population growth are, by their nature, respectful and promoting of human rights.

They include educating girls and women in developing countries to help empower them.

This is achieved by providing more options, using media strategies to make them aware of alternatives regarding family sizes and family planning.

Those who oppose talking about the world's population are obstructing the further provision of such services and resources.

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more comments can be read at the source.
' jules
  • schmiss

Douche & Douchier

Spare the Rod
In defense of Blagojevich (kind of).

I fully realize that few complaints are more tiresome than "your party's scandal is worse than my party's scandal." But indulge me for a moment. I can't think of a good reason why Rod Blagojevich has become the most hated man in America while Norm Coleman still walks the streets with his head held high.

What, you say--Norm Coleman? Yes, Norm Coleman! Let me explain. The soon-to-be-former senator's scandal is pretty simple. Nasser Kazeminy, a wealthy businessman and close Coleman friend, allegedly paid him $75,000 under the table.

And by "allegedly," I mean "almost certainly."
Here's how the almost certainly true alleged scheme worked. The payments to Coleman came in the form of what Tony Soprano would call a "no-show job." One of Kazeminy's companies is called Deep Marine Technology. Kazeminy allegedly ordered Deep Marine's CEO, Paul McKim, to make a series of $25,000 payments that would go to Coleman's wife. According to McKim, Kazeminy was utterly blatant. He said the reason for the payments was that Coleman needed the money and McKim should disguise them as a legitimate business transaction.

The intermediary they picked was an insurance company owned by Jim Hays, a major Coleman donor who had given contracting work to Coleman's wife, Laurie. Hays admits getting the $75,000, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, but says he "provide[d] insurance advice" to Deep Marine and denies the money went to Laurie Coleman.

This is very hard to believe. Deep Marine was already paying $1 million per year for insurance from a London company that specializes in underwater offshore lines, which is Deep Marine's business. And Laurie Coleman, who had only recently become a licensed insurance rep after a career as a model and actress, "can't legally write insurance policies because she has no association or 'appointment' with an insurer," the paper reported. It's possible Laurie Coleman never got the money from Hays, or got it but never informed her husband. But keep in mind that Kazeminy is, by Coleman's own account, a longtime, "very dear" friend. It's hard to imagine him working with Laurie behind Norm's back, or not confirming that his gift was received by its intended recipient.

McKim (a Republican) grudgingly agreed to the first three payments but quit rather than make the fourth, and he is now suing Kazeminy, as is a group of Deep Marine shareholders. The FBI is reportedly investigating as well.

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As much as I love to make fun of Blago (lol that boxing picture) this article is 10000% right. Coleman is just as much of a crook if not more and he is getting away scot free because Republicans will cover up for their own no matter what. But overall, it's the lack of press coverage that galls me, in the national media AND here in Minnesota where the Strib has been burying these scandals and churning out Coleman-favoring puff pieces all year. RAAAAAGE.

Barney Frank is almost incomprehensible

Corey Johnson of Towleroad interviews raspy old Barney Frank. Corey also sounds kind of raspy!

Anyway, they are talking about the economy. Frank calls for stronger controls on bailout money while expressing support for the bailout in principal. He points out:

"We are now in a position where we are providing direct help to a handful of powerful financial institutions and denying similar help to Americans who are the victims of those institutions' decisions. One of two things is going to happen. Either we're going to stop being able to intervene with the financial institutions (which I think would be a mistake, cause if we do that right it's important for the economy) or we're going to have to start extending help to the average citizen."

So, basically, Barney Frank is a big gay communist!

Source: Towleroad

There are two additional videos at the source, in which Frank talks about LGBT issues and something else, I haven't watched the last one yet.

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Public Support for Economic Recovery Plan Slips to 42%

Public support for the economic recovery plan crafted by President Obamaand congressional Democrats has slipped a bit over the past week. At the same time, expectations that the plan will quickly become law have increased.

Forty-two percent (42%) of the nation’s likely voters now support the president’s plan, roughly one-third of which is tax cuts with the rest new government spending. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 39% are opposed to it and 19% are undecided. Liberal voters overwhelmingly support the plan while conservatives are strongly opposed.

Last week, support for the President’s plan was at 45% and opposition at 34%.

As they consider the size and scope of the $800-billion-plus economic recovery plan, 46% are worried that the government will end up doing too much while 42% worry that it will do too little.

A plurality of women now support the recovery plan, but a plurality of men take the opposite view. Those who earn less than $40,000 a year are more likely to support the plan than those with higher incomes.

Over the course of the past week, there has been little change in the views of either Republicans or Democrats towards the legislation. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Democrats support the plan along with just 18% of Republicans. Both those figures are up just a single point from the previous poll.

However, support among unaffiliated voters has fallen. A week ago, unaffiliateds were evenly divided on the plan, with 37% in favor and 36% opposed. Now, 50% of unaffiliated voters oppose the plan while only 27% favor it.

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Full report here

Why do Americans love recessions so much? Maybe we should mandate history classes as a stimulus measure!

Peter Hitchens Bringing The Monday Night lulz

"We cringe to the new Thought Police, like the subjects of some insane, sex-obsessed Stalinist state, compelled to wave our little rainbow flags as the 'Gay Pride' parade passes by. And that's another thing. We can't even call homosexuals 'homosexuals' any more. This neutral word is not considered enthusiastic enough. We have to say 'gay'. Which is exactly why I don't, apart from in inverted commas.

"You think I exaggerate the power and fury of these forces? The totalitarian rage on this subject is quite astonishing. I have had several brushes with it, and been called rude names by its militants. Well, I can live with that. It's my job. But what about a powerless pair of grandparents in Edinburgh, their grandchildren's lives shipwrecked by the multiple horrors of our 'liberated' society?

"First, their daughter ends up as a drug abuser, like so many others in a country which permits the endless promotion of drug use by rock stars and refuses to punish the possession of narcotics, the only measure that would work. Then, when they seek to look after her children, they are first insultingly informed that they are too old, and that their minor illnesses disqualify them from the task. Heaven help any employer who dared 'discriminate' in this fashion. But the new Thought Police are oddly exempt from their own rules.

"Next, the grandparents are informed that the children are to be put into the care of a homosexual couple. And - this is the crucial moment - they are warned in the most terrifying terms that if they object to this arrangement they will never see their grandchildren again. Leave aside the rest of it. It is this demand, that they mouth approval of the new regime like the defendants at some show trial, which is the bit that ought to make your flesh creep.

"This is the action of a tyranny in operation, especially the use of children to blackmail their parents and grandparents. People who can do this can do anything. Isn't it amazing to reflect that this campaign began in the name of tolerance?"

- British right wing opinionista
Peter Hitchens, writing in the Daily Mail about a controversial gay adoption case in Scotland. Hitchens is the younger brother of noted atheist and author Christopher Hitchens.



Long Island Gay Youth Center Vandalized


Yesterday the already struggling gay youth center in Long Island suffered thousands of dollars in vandalism damage .Via Newsday:
Vandalism at a center that serves gay and lesbian youths in Bay Shore is being investigated as a hate crime, Suffolk police said Monday. Police were called Monday morning to the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Center, at 34 Park Ave., after the front door of the center was damaged and the center's 2003 Ford van was vandalized -- its tires slashed and windows broken. Further details were not immediately available. "This type of attack against the gay community will not be tolerated in Suffolk County," said County Executive Steve Levy. "Our police department will seek to apprehend any wrongdoer and help ensure that there is swift justice to deter any such activity in the future."
From the Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth Center:
This morning, LIGALY, Center and SAGE-LI staff members arrived at work and were forced to face the terrible realities of homophobia and transphobia right here on Long Island. At some point between late Saturday and early Monday, The Center’s front door was smashed to pieces and our van’s windows were broken, mirrors mangled and all the tires were slashed. As soon as we encountered the damage, it was reported it to the Suffolk County Police Department and to the Suffolk County Bias Crimes Unit. We believe this was an act of bias and hope that The Police Department continues its investigation looking at this as a hate crime. This was not a simple case of vandalism, but an attack on our entire community. We are thankful that this act happened while The Center was closed and therefore no one was physically injured, but this was a clear attempt to instill fear in GLBT people throughout Long Island. I want all Long Islanders to know that we will not stand by and allow anyone to terrorize our community. We will use this heinous act to raise awareness of the discrimination and hatred that GLBT people are all to often a target of. The glass will be cleaned and the van will be back on the road soon, but ultimately it is my hope that we can make this a turning point for GLBT people.
You can make a donation to the Center here.

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Sorry about the previous attempt, new at this HTML stuff.

A New New Deal under Obama?
John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney
With U.S. capitalism mired in an economic crisis of a severity that increasingly brings to mind the Great Depression of the 1930s, it should come as no surprise that there are widespread calls for “a new New Deal.”1 Already the new Obama administration has been pointing to a vast economic stimulus program of up to $850 billion over two years aimed at lifting the nation out of the deep economic slump.2

The possibility of a new New Deal is to be welcomed by all of those on the left, as promising some relief to a hard-pressed working population. Nevertheless, it raises important questions. What are the real prospects for a new New Deal in the United States today? Is this the answer to the current economic crisis? What should be the stance of the left? A full analysis of all the issues would require a large volume. We shall confine ourselves here to a few points that will help to illuminate the challenges ahead.

The New Deal was not initially an attempt to stimulate the economy and generate recovery through government spending, an idea that was scarcely present in the early 1930s. Rather it consisted of ad hoc salvage or bailout measures, principally aimed at helping business, coupled with work relief programs. The lion’s share of New Deal expenditures at the outset were devoted to salvage operations. As Harvard economist Alvin Hansen, Keynes’s leading early follower in the United States, explained in 1941 in his Fiscal Policy and Business Cycles,


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Nurse Suspended For Offering Prayer

A Christian nurse from Weston-super-Mare has been suspended for offering to pray for a patient's recovery.

Community nurse Caroline Petrie, 45, says she asked an elderly woman patient during a home visit if she wanted her to say a prayer for her.

The patient complained to the health trust about Mrs Petrie who follows the Baptist faith.

She was suspended, without pay, on 17 December and will find out the outcome of her disciplinary meeting next week.

Power of prayer

Mrs Petrie, who carries out home visits in North Somerset, said she had asked the patient if she would like a prayer said for her after she had put dressings on the woman's legs.

The patient, believed to be in her 70s, refused and Mrs Petrie insists that she left the matter alone.

The sick woman contacted the trust about the incident and Mrs Petrie was challenged by her superiors.

We are always keen to be respectful of our patients' views and sensitivity as well as those of our staff
North Somerset Primary Care Trust

Mrs Petrie said: "The woman mentioned it to the sister who did her dressing the following day. She said that she wasn't offended but was concerned that someone else might be.

"I was spoken to by my manager. She said 'I've got a letter in one hand and an incident form in the other. You won't be able to work until we've investigated this incident'."

Mrs Petrie, who qualified as a nurse in 1985, said she became a Christian following the death of her mother.

"My faith got stronger and I realised God was doing amazing things in my life.

"I saw my patients suffering and as I believe in the power of prayer, I began asking them if they wanted me to pray for them. They are absolutely delighted."

A spokesman for North Somerset Primary Care Trust said: "Caroline Petrie has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.

"She is a bank nurse and has been told we will not be using her in this capacity until the outcome of our investigation is known.

"We always take any concerns raised by our patients most seriously and conscientiously investigate any matter of this nature brought to our attention.

"We are always keen to be respectful of our patients' views and sensitivity as well as those of our staff."

Mrs Petrie says that she has taken advice from the Christian Legal Centre, which aims to protect the religious freedom of people who follow the Christian faith.


Caroline Petrie defends her actions