February 14th, 2009


Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear

Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear

Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo's first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement — the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business.

Neely has now come forward in this final year of the detention center's existence, saying he wants to publicly air his feelings of guilt and shame about how some soldiers behaved as the military scrambled to handle the first alleged al-Qaida and Taliban members arriving at the isolated U.S. Navy base.
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Wingnut Pens Obama-Era Equivalent To ‘Civil Disobedience’

Wingnut Pens Obama-Era Equivalent To ‘Civil Disobedience’

You know what’s a good way to be an asshole? Here’s a good way to be an asshole: “Today at tennis, after I made a hard point, my partner offered the Obama fist bump. ‘I don’t do that,’ I said, and I gave her a stern look.” How else does this rebel from the popular conservative American Thinker website suggest we be assholes to each other because of Obama?

The site’s Joyce Capron details the small ways in which she resists Barack Obama in a remarkable Civics column today. At no point in this column does she come off as self-satisfied, because that would be petty, and that would only distract.
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* metamorphosis
  • schmiss

Today, Sherrod Brown is every Democrat's Valentine. Even the dudes. ♥

Moment Turned on a Memory

It was a marathon day in Congress, marked by historic action and political theatrics.

The House Republican leader dropped a printout of the 1,100-page stimulus bill on the House floor, claiming it was overweight with spending. The Democratic House speaker likened the bill's passage to Abraham Lincoln's preservation of the union. By dusk, after the $787 billion economic recovery package had sailed through the House and 59 senators had voted in favor, the nearly empty Senate chamber fell silent. The proceedings remained open for five painstaking hours as Senate leaders awaited the climactic return of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who flew in from Ohio and cast the decisive 60th aye vote.

Brown strode into the chamber at 10:45 p.m., wearing a dark suit and no smile. He placed his arm around Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), shook the hand of Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and then gave the clerk a thumbs up, ending what had been one of the longest votes in Senate history. Brown's was the critical vote Senate Democrats needed to ensure that the signature legislation of President Obama's young administration passed without a GOP filibuster. Three Republicans broke ranks to support it.

Brown, whose 88-year-old mother died of leukemia last week, had dashed from her memorial viewing in Ohio last night and boarded a government aircraft provided by the White House that landed at Andrews Air Force Base. The journey illustrated the extraordinary steps Democrats took to guarantee a major victory.

For Brown, the moment turned on the memory of his mother, who was raised in a small Georgia town during the Great Depression. A champion of social and racial justice, Emily Campbell Brown read and reread Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and insisted that her boys address African American adults not by their first names but with "Mr." or "Mrs."

She cast her first vote in 1944 for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and even as she lay dying she wanted to live long enough to see Barack Obama in the White House. And so it was a poignant moment last night for the son who knew that his vote would make a difference.

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Brown is a really great Senator and Ohioans should be really proud of him. But I'm also kind of disappointed, because if the Senate really is a family like Casey says, you would think at least one Republican senator would be willing to say "hey dude it's ok, I'll switch my vote so you don't have to come back". :/

German Court Convicts Afghan Man for Stabbing Sister

Ahmad Obeidi, 24,  on Friday was found guilty of murdering his teenage sister in Hamburg by stabbing her 23 times. Dramatic scenes followed news of his life sentence: He raged at the judge and security guards led his angry family out of courtroom.

A German court on Friday ruled that Ahmad Obeidi was guilty of killing his 16-year-old sister Morsal, ending a case that shocked Germany. The court heard how the Afghan immigrant had repeatedly stabbed his younger sibling last May, infuriated by her lifestyle and her increasing independence from their family.

Following the ruling Ahmad Obedi swore at the judge (I heard he swore at the attorney. Either way he yelled:"Son of a bitch. I am going to fuck your mother.") and hurled a folder towards him. Shouting relatives pummeled the security glass wall around Obedi with their fists. German television reports said emergency services had been called after his upset mother threatened to jump out of a window of the courthouse.

The case has been closely followed in Germany and the stabbing was swiftly pidgeon-holed by the media as an "honor killing". Experts close to the trial have said the violence stemmed from extreme sibling rivalry.

Speaking during the trial, Obedi said he was "sorry from the bottom of his heart" for his actions. "That was my sister and I loved her," he said, breaking down in tears.

His defense, which had argued for a manslaughter charge, said they would challenge the ruling.

Ahmad Obedi admitted his guilt when he was detained by police, a day after his sister had been found in a parking lot in Hamburg. She died on the way to the hospital.

movies | Impish Fräulein2

Shenanigans Saturday: VALENTINE'S DAY EDITION!

Biden walked up and opened the back door of the blue Pullman on the end of the [Obama whistle-stop] train. He closed it quickly and flashed a grin. "They're not ready yet," he said of the Obamas. --Vice President LOLseph Biden

Please exploit these resources:
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  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)
MOAR Picture Sources:


biggie aretha
  • bispo

Say It Ain't So, Joe!

Katrina Vietnamese
Earlier this week, New Orleans’ freshman congressman Joseph Cao (R) stated that he would vote for the economic recovery package. “I believe that more likely than not, I will vote for it because the 2nd Congressional District needs a stimulus package,” he said. Even on the day of the vote, Cao was telling reporters that he was “leaning yes.” When the vote occurred yesterday, Cao voted no, succumbing to the GOP’s pressure tactics. Politico reports:
Beforehand, Cao acknowledged that Republican leaders had put “pressure” on him to oppose the package, and the party’s chief deputy whip, California Rep. Kevin O. McCarthy, stood near Cao during the entire vote.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the Republican whip, “said he had talked to Cao regularly, including the last 24 hours.” Cao emphasized that the leadership did not apply “extreme pressure,” however.
After flip-flopping, Cao couldn’t get his story straight. He claimed, “Personally I was always against the bill.” He also told the Times-Picayune that the Obama administration made little effort to court his vote, but he told The Hill, “There was a White House representative who came over to my office [on Thursday], specifically assigned to me.”

Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said Cao’s hopes for winning a second term depended on “people in the district identifying him as a thoroughly independent person who is not in the thrall of the Republican leadership. Now anyone running against him can say, ‘He’s a Republican mouthpiece.’”

LOLitics | Must...not...LOL

"Repeating Bush's mistakes: President Barack Obama bangs head on Marine One door".

By David Saltonstall | senior correspondent

Monday, February 9th 2009, 5:54 PM

President Obama hit the road Monday, but not before he hit his head - a rare moment of clutziness from the normally Joe Cool chief executive.

Obama knocked his noggin as he turned to wave from the door of the presidential Marine One helicopter - an iconic presidential pose that was mostly just ouch-inducing yesterday as Obama lifted off toward Indiana.

Maybe the White House just needs a bigger helicopter: President George W. Bush also whacked his head on Marine One's hatch in the early weeks of his presidency.

In both cases, cameras dutifully record the presidential pratfall. And in both cases, there were no injuries, other than to pride.

Source: NY Daily Post

Poor guy! NGL though, I totally LOL'd.

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hilarious lost

Tiny Tim Sings Off-Key

By William Greider


February 11, 2009

The look and tone of the Treasury Secretary reminds me of the third grade. The smartest kid in the class, the one teachers loved, was the boy who always raised his hand and waved it impatiently while some other student fumbled for an answer. If the teacher stepped out of the room for a moment, bedlam usually followed and this kid would try to restore order. "Be quiet or I will tell." Kids threw things and tormented him until the teacher returned.

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  • bispo

Our Model Marriage: The Obamas have the kind of relationship millennials aspire to.

Kanye West is a tough act to follow—unless you are a middle-aged couple slow dancing to tuba music. It's unlikely that anyone watching last month's Youth Inaugural Ball on TV noticed much difference between how the crowd of millennials welcomed the Louis Vuitton don and how they reacted, a few minutes later, when Barack and Michelle Obama took the stage. But if you were actually in the audience—like me, and my eardrums—the change was impossible to ignore. The young people screamed. The young people sighed. Several young people even began to weep. "I hope my husband looks at me like that someday," said one girl. When the song stopped, Obama leaned into the mike. "That's what's called 'old school'," he cracked. The new-school crowd responded like a bunch of banshees.

At the time, I attributed the scene to inauguration-induced hysteria. But since Jan. 20, a dozen peers have confirmed that what I witnessed in Washington wasn't a fluke. "Yeah," a friend admitted. "I'm totally obsessed with the two of them together." Which got me thinking: have the president and his wife become for 20-somethings what the stars of "Twilight" are for tweens—the swooniest couple around? And if so, what does that say about us?

My hunch is that millennials are going gaga over Barack and Michelle because they want to be Barack and Michelle. It's not that other generations can't admire the Obamas' bond; their marriage—a union of self-sufficient equals—embodies the post-'60s ideal. But unlike their elders, most millennials have yet to experience marriage firsthand, and what they've experienced by proxy hasn't been particularly encouraging: a 50 percent divorce rate, a steep rise in single parenthood, a culture captivated by cheap celebrity hookups. Even America's most visible household hasn't offered much hope, veering from '50s-era subservience (the Reagans) to boomer dysfunction (the Clintons). But now the Obamas—two independent individuals who also appear to be (surprise!) in love—have filled the void. For young people who have rejected the tired "wife in the kitchen" template but resolved not to follow their parents to divorce court, it's a relief to see that the sort of marriage they hope to have—equal and devoted—can actually exist.

Recent studies show that millennials are approaching the altar more cautiously than their forebears. Thirty years ago, the average American woman wed at 20 and gave birth by 22. Now the median age for both is 25. Why the shift? Sociologists say that an increased desire to establish a personal and professional identity before settling down—especially among women—has prolonged the period between college and adulthood. The result is that millennials as a whole are more likely than their predecessors to be self-reliant individuals when they finally do wed—and less willing to marry for reasons (such as financial stability or social pressure) other than love.

The first couple reflects this new reality. After college both Michelle and Barack spent years focusing on personal and professional advancement, waiting until they were 28 and 31, respectively, to tie the knot—a reassuring model for millennials who worry that "putting themselves first" could mean they'll end up alone. But more important is the egalitarian relationship the Obamas have maintained since marrying. When the two met in 1991 at a Chicago law firm, Barack was a summer associate; Michelle was his mentor. Until recently her résumé (mayoral assistant, nonprofit exec, hospital veep) was more impressive than his, as was her six-figure salary. And while Michelle sacrificed for Barack's bid, she did so only after establishing an identity outside of the relationship—and authority within it. In Illinois, Barack told friends he "would never [cheat]. Michelle would kick my butt." Afraid of emulating his absentee father, he'd often nix meetings because he was unwilling to "miss … bedtime for this." At home, Obama has practiced the same consensus-driven process he preaches on the stump—a process that resonates with pragmatic millennials. His marriage is as "post-boomer" as his management style.

But ultimately I think it's the Obamas' willingness to act in public much how they act in private—open, informal, flirtatious—that has incited most of the swooning. At the Youth Ball, I noticed the president do something that's impossible to imagine any of his predecessors doing: resting his head, eyes closed, on Michelle's shoulder. It reminded me of other times Obama has let himself seem vulnerable, even submissive. When his wife told fans that he wakes up "snorey and stinky." When, in "The Audacity of Hope," he described Michelle ordering him to run errands after he'd called to crow about a Senate victory: "I … wonder[ed] if Ted Kennedy or John McCain bought ant traps on the way home." And when, in a newly published 1996 interview, he explained that "it's [the] tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of … mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person." These unguarded moments once led Slate's Melinda Henneberger to ask "whether a husband who not only bows to his wife but admits it conforms to our notion of … strength." For millennials inspired by the first couple's modern marriage—a group that sees greater strength in celebrating domestic equality than concealing it—the answer is apparently yes. After all, anything less would be, like, totally old school.
source: Newsweek
  • blergg

'Worst economic collapse ever'

In 2009 were going to see the worst economic collapse ever, the Greatest Depression, says Gerald Celente, U.S. trend forecaster. He believes its going to be very violent in the U.S., including there being a tax revolt.


A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I found it interesting.

Burris confirms request for Blagojevich donation

Burris confirms request for Blagojevich donation

Sen. Roland Burris admitted in a document released Saturday that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother asked him for campaign fundraising help before the governor appointed Burris to the Senate.

The disclosure is at odds with Burris' testimony in January when an Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked if he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or other aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

State Rep. Jim Durkin, the impeachment committee's ranking Republican, told The Associated Press that he and House Republican Leader Tom Cross will ask Sunday for an outside investigation into whether Burris perjured himself.
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A Torture Report Could Spell Big Trouble For Bush Lawyers

A Torture Report Could Spell Big Trouble For Bush Lawyers

An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. H. Marshall Jarrett, chief of the department's ethics watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), confirmed last year he was investigating whether the legal advice in crucial interrogation memos "was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys." According to two knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters, a draft of the report was submitted in the final weeks of the Bush administration. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
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GM wants more $$$.

GM considering Chapter 11 filing, new company: report

Icon thank you: shuraiya 

Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:03pm EST

CHICAGO (Reuters) - General Motors Corp, nearing a Tuesday deadline to present a viability plan to the U.S. government, is considering as one option a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that would create a new company, the Wall Street Journal said in its Saturday edition.

"One plan includes a Chapter 11 filing that would assemble all of GM's viable assets, including some U.S. brands and international operations, into a new company," the newspaper said. "The undesirable assets would be liquidated or sold under protection of a bankruptcy court. Contracts with bondholders, unions, dealers and suppliers would also be reworked."

Citing "people familiar with the matter," the story said that GM could also ask for additional government funds to stave off a bankruptcy filing.

GM declined to comment, the story said.

General Motors and Chrysler LLC face a Tuesday deadline to file restructuring plans to the government in exchange for receiving $17.4 billion in federal loans.

Automakers have struggled as U.S. auto sales have tumbled amid a recessionary economy. U.S. auto sales in January tumbled to a 27-year low.

GM has been in talks with bondholders and the United Auto Workers union to get an agreement on a restructuring that would wipe out about $28 billion in debt for the auto maker, sources have told Reuters. However, it appears unlikely a deal could be reached by the Tuesday deadline, they said.

GM has already announced plans to cut 10,000 salaried workers worldwide, or 14 percent of its staff, impose pay cuts for most remaining white-collar U.S. workers and has offered buyouts to its 62,000 U.S. workers represented by the UAW.

In addition, it is trying to sell its Hummer SUV and Swedish Saab brands and is reviewing the status of its Saturn brand.



(no subject)

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MP 'saddened' by father aged 13 urges better sex education

An MP said yesterday that a 13-year-old in his constituency who fathered a child to a teenage mother raised questions about the need for better sex education in schools.

Nigel Waterson, Conservative MP for Eastbourne, said the case of Alfie Patten, who was 12 at the time of his baby's conception, was "a very sad story which will have a huge impact on both the parents and the child. I'm very pleased that the families are being supportive, but this of course raises huge questions about sex education rather than relationship education in schools and also about the sexualisation of our society."

Despite the government's long-term teenage pregnancy strategy, which aims to halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010, the UK has the second highest rate in the developed world with 40.4 conceptions per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17.

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source , source
by <lj_user="yellowbang">

Saudi King appoints first woman to council

(CNN) -- Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, networks including Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday.
 Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to his council of ministers for the first time.

King Abdullah announced a new supreme court chief, minister of health, justice minister and information minister as part of the reshuffling, according to Channel One.

King Abdullah appointed Noor Al-Fayez to the Saudi Council of Ministers. She will serve in a new position as deputy minister for women's education.

"I'm very proud to be nominated and selected for such a prestigious position," Al-Faiz told CNN on Saturday. "I hope that other ladies, females, will follow in the future."

"People are very excited about this," said Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. "This sends a clear signal that the King means business. Instead of appointing some bureaucrat, he appointed a woman."

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of the Al-Watan Daily newspaper, told CNN the reshuffle signals a major change in his country.

"This is a huge step forward, in education, women's place in society," said Khashoggi.

Al-Faiz said she's confident she won't just be a token member of the council.

"I think by being the second person after the minister, I think I have enough power to work in the improvement of girls' education," she said.

The new appointments are the largest council shakeup since King Abdullah took power in 2005.

Maeena also said the other new appointments by King Abdullah were very "progressive" moves.

Some other new appointments were:


  • Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, new minister of education



  • Faisal Al-Moammar, new deputy minister of education



  • Sheikh Mohammed Al-Isa, new minister of justice



  • Abdulaziz Al-Khowja, new minster of culture and information



  • Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, new minister of health



  • Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Humain, new head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.


On Dresden Anniversary, Massive Protest Against Neo-Nazi March

(As a follow up to this post earlier today.)

On Dresden Anniversary, Massive Protest Against Neo-Nazi March

Thousands turned out in central Dresden to protest a march by far-right supporters on the 64th anniversary of the Allied firebombing of the city. Police clashed with left-wing protestors, who threw stones and bottles.

Organizers of the alliance that formed as a counterweight to the neo-Nazi march through the eastern German city said around 11,000 people participated at several demonstrations. Police put that number at just under 10,000.

They were protesting a "mourning march" held by members of the extreme-right in the capital of the state of Saxony. For a decade, anti-immigrant and skinhead groups have marked the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by Allied air raids, which took place Feb. 13-15, 1945, at the end of World War Two.

Many of the groups marching were affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NPD), a far-right political party which entered the Saxony state assembly in 2004.

This year’s event was organized by a group known as the Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland, supported by the NPD. The far-right marchers totaled around 6,000, according to police, about a thousand more than gathered in 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the bombing.

Many in the far-right scene call the widespread destruction in Dresden a "Holocaust," and attempt to paint Germany as a victim of the war. The firebombing killed an estimated 25,000 people, mostly civilians, and wiped out the city center.

Eyewitnesses on Saturday said several hundred leftists who objected to the far-right procession tried to attack neo-Nazi participants, hurling bottles at the police cordon and damaging parked cars. Witnesses said several people were injured, although police have not confirmed this.

Clashes between left-wing and far-right groups are common on the anniversary. This year, police forces numbered around 4,000, some brought in from neighboring states.


Separately, thousands of pacifists took part in processions to both denounce the neo-Nazi threat and remember the city's dead.

On Saturday morning, peace services were held in churches and a synagogue. Afterwards, thousands of Dresden residents went to a central square, the site where numerous victims of the bombing were burned to death.

Also participating in the commemorations were politicians from Dresden and Saxony as well as representatives from the United States and Great Britain.

Many mainstream Germans say that the huge loss of life must be remembered as a warning against war.

On Friday, the bell of the Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, rang out in their memory. The church, one of the symbols of Dresden, collapsed two days after the raids. It remained a pile of rubble for decades until US and British donors helped pay to rebuild it in a gesture of reconciliation. It reopened in 2006.

(Just one comment on the rebuilding of the Frauenkirche. The article makes it sound as if US and GB donors had paid for the reconstruction alone. Of course, most of the money was donated by German citizens, companies and organizations.)