February 17th, 2009

Starbucks Xmas Cup 1

A small pimpage

schmiss gave me permission to pimp this.

The other day I was making icons for a few icontests I'm in and it dawned on me that almost everything on the planet has a icontest. Seriously. Everything....but politics. And I know there are people that like to make icons of politicians and pundits and whathaveyou.

So, I created.....politics_stills. It will be a weekly icontest of politicians and pundits.


Bristol Palin: Teen Abstinence 'Not Realistic at All'

Hoping to set an example for others with her own experience, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin, would now like to become an advocate for preventing teen pregnancy.

"Everyone should wait 10 years," the younger Palin told Greta Van Susteren on a FOX News segment that aired Monday night. "I hope people learn from my story … It's so much easier if you're married, have a house and career. It's not a situation you want to strive for."

Palin, 18, also said in the interview – her first since the teen made headlines last summer during Sarah Palin's GOP vice-presidential campaign – that her mother's view of abstinence, especially in regard to teenagers, is "not realistic at all."

Bristol further stated that although her mother is an outspoken Right to Life advocate, "It was my choice to have the baby. It doesn't matter what my mom's views are on it. It was my decision."

Recounting how she first informed her parents, Todd and Sarah Palin, of her condition, Bristol said she gathered her boyfriend, Levi Johnston, and her best friend, but that getting the words out of her mouth was "harder than labor."

The friend broke the news to the parents, said Bristol, who also described Johnston as a "hands-on dad." She added, "Eventually we'd like to get married.

As for her new situation, "I like being a mom," said Bristol. "I love it, just seeing him smile and stuff. It's awesome."

Appearing late in the interview, carrying her grandson Tripp Johnston, Gov. Palin said, "Hey, life happens." Of her unwed, teenage daughter's pregnancy, she said, "Not the most ideal situation, certainly you make the most of it."


music | sleigh anne.

(no subject)

The last surviving member of the group who helped hide the Jewish girl Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis in Amsterdam has turned 100 years old.

Miep Gies was planning a quiet celebration of her birthday with friends and relatives.

She said she was not deserving of the attention, and others had done far more to protect Jews in the Netherlands.

She paid tribute to "unnamed heroes", picking out her husband Jan for his courageous defiance of the Nazis.

"He was a resistance man who said nothing but did a lot. During the war he refused to say anything about his work, only that he might not come back one night. People like him existed in thousands but were never heard," Miep Gies said in an email to the Associated Press this week.

Mrs Gies was an employee of Anne Frank's father, Otto, who kept them and six others supplied during their two years in hiding in an attic in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944.

But the family were found by the authorities, and deported.

Anne Frank died of typhus in the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen later.

It was Mrs Gies who collected up Anne Frank's papers, and locked them away, hoping that one day she would be able to give them back to the girl.

In the event, she returned them to Otto Frank, and helped him compile them into a diary that was published in 1947.

It went on to sell tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages.

She became a kind of ambassador for the diary, travelling to talk about Anne Frank and her experiences, campaigning against Holocaust denial and refuting allegations that the diary was a forgery.

For her efforts to protect the Franks and to preserve their memory, Mrs Gies won many accolades.

"This is very unfair," she told the Associated Press.

"So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work."

Drink up baby doll

Stop religious persecution in Iran

Why is Rainn Wilson, "Dwight" on "The Office," writing a news commentary for CNN? Good question.

It's a bit strange for me, to say the least; a comic character actor best known for playing weirdos with bad haircuts getting all serious to talk about the persecution of the fellow members of his religious faith.

Dear readers of CNN, I assure you that what I'm writing about is no joking matter or some hoax perpetrated by a paper-sellin', bear-fearin', Battlestar-Galactica obsessed beet farmer.

Collapse )

RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Obama to be in Canada this Thursday

NOTE: I forgot about this. For some reason I didn't think he was going abroad until April.

Obama goes to Canada for maiden trip abroad

OTTAWA (AFP) — US President Barack Obama will visit Canada Thursday, on his first trip overseas since being inaugurated last month, with economic concerns expected to top his agenda.

The visit is scheduled to last only about six hours, just enough time for meetings, a working lunch and a press conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Obama will also meet with Michael Ignatieff, the new head of Canada's main political opposition group, the Liberal Party.

Staunch allies, the two countries are the world's biggest trade partners, with bilateral trade estimated at over 500 billion dollars (404 billion US) in 2007, according to the US embassy in Ottawa.

Harper, who secured a second term at the head of his minority Conservative government in October, is closer ideologically to former US president George W. Bush than to Obama, a Democrat.

Collapse )

Don't presidents usually address the Canadian parliament and weren't there some MPs who were kinda miffed because Obama won't actually be speaking to the parliament? My mind's a bit hazy about the details.


The Most Anti-Obama County In The U.S.

Lawd help us.

Ultimately God is in control, so he must have a plan for Obama to be in there.

Can anyone explain this? Obama won because of a mathematical equation. He received a certain number of votes from a certain number of states allotted a certain number of electoral votes. Humans have free will, thus the explanation for why God lets bad things happen, so how exactly would God have anything to do with Obama being elected? God sprinkled some fairy dust and changed the ballots?
Bridal Illusions

Controversy at L.A. City College over religious student's anti-gay in-class presentation

A classroom dispute at Los Angeles City College in the emotional aftermath of Proposition 8 has given rise to a lawsuit testing the balance between 1st Amendment rights and school codes on offensive speech.

Student Jonathan Lopez says his professor called him a "fascist bastard" and refused to let him finish his speech against same-sex marriage during a public speaking class last November, weeks after California voters approved the ban on such unions.

When Lopez tried to find out his mark for the speech, the professor, John Matteson, allegedly told him to "ask God what your grade is," the suit says.

Lopez also said the teacher threatened to have him expelled when he complained to higher-ups.

In addition to financial damages, the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks to strike down a sexual harassment code barring students from uttering "offensive" statements.

Jean-Paul Jassy, a 1st Amendment lawyer in Los Angeles, said a number of cases have explored the tension between offensive speech and the expression of religious views. Often, he said, the decision depends on the specifics of the situation.

"Free speech really thrives when people are going back and forth, disagreeing sometimes and sometimes finding things each other says offensive, but there are limits, particularly in a school setting," Jassy said after reviewing the lawsuit.

Lopez, a Los Angeles resident working toward an associate of arts degree, is described in the suit as a Christian who considers it a religious duty to share his beliefs, particularly with other students. He declined to comment. Matteson could not be reached.

Lopez is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and co-founded by evangelical leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family. The group also advised proponents of Proposition 8 and sued, unsuccessfully, to stop the release of the names and addresses of donors, who said they had been harassed during the weeks of demonstrations that followed the measure's passage.

Alliance staff counsel David J. Hacker said Lopez was a victim of religious discrimination.

"He was expressing his faith during an open-ended assignment, but when the professor disagreed with some minor things he mentioned, the professor shut him down," Hacker said. "Basically, colleges and universities should give Christian students the same rights to free expression as other students."

Hacker said Alliance filed a similar suit in 2006 against Missouri State University over the school's attempt to discipline a Christian social-work student who refused to support adoptions by same-sex couples. The college settled the suit by, among other things, ordering an external review of the social-work program, Hacker said.

The Los Angeles Community College District's offices were closed Friday for the Presidents Day holiday, and the general counsel, Camille A. Goulet, could not be reached. But in a letter to Alliance, the district said it deemed Lopez's complaint "extremely serious in nature" and had launched a private disciplinary process.

In the letter, Dean Allison Jones also said that two students had been "deeply offended" by Lopez's address, one of whom stated that "this student should have to pay some price for preaching hate in the classroom."

Hacker said the district's response was inadequate.

"What they didn't do was ensure this wouldn't happen to other students," he said. "The dean accused Jonathan of offending other students."

The suit names the Los Angeles Community College District, which operates nine campuses including L.A. City College; its board of trustees; Matteson; and various administrators. Lopez is asking for a jury trial.

Source likes to use class time for preaching

Personally, I think this kid is nuts if he thought he could hijack a captive audience of his fellow classmates and proselytize to them and get no negative feedback from that at all. Fair enough if you're at a private religious school or in a comparative religion class, but in this situation? STFD, Baby Dobson.

ETA: I think we're going in circles on the comments, here, so I'm going to stop spamming for now. If folks want to continue to discuss the legal aspects with me, y'all are welcome to do so here. Thankee!
panda bear

(no subject)

US Muslim TV boss beheaded wife

The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has confessed to beheading his wife, authorities said.

Muzzammil Hassan was charged with second-degree murder after police found the decapitated body of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, at the Bridges TV station in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, said Andrew Benz, Orchard Park's police chief.

Hassan was arrested Thursday.

His wife filed for divorce January 6, and police had responded to several domestic violence calls at the couple's home, Benz said.

Hassan went directly to the police station after his wife's death and confessed to killing her, Benz told CNN. Benz declined to give further details.

Attempts to reach an attorney for Hassan were unsuccessful, and his family didn't return calls from CNN.

He had two children, 4 and 6, with his wife. He had two other children, 17 and 18, from his previous marriage.

He launched Bridges TV, billed as the first English-language cable channel targeting Muslims inside the United States, in 2004. At the time, Hassan said he hoped the network would balance negative portrayals of Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The station's staff is "deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of Aasiya Hassan and the subsequent arrest of Muzzammil Hassan," a statement from Bridges TV said.

"Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the families of the victim," the statement said.

# what is that?
  • schmiss

Sweet Jesus I hate Fred Hiatt

Hiatt, Will, On Global Warming Misinformation: Talk To The Hand

Mum's the word for George Will and the Washington Post when it comes to explaining how misinformation on global warming got into Will's most recent column.

Yesterday morning we called Will to ask him about the misrepresentations in his Sunday column. We also called Fred Hiatt, the editor of the paper's editorial page, to ask about the editing process that the Post's editorial page employs. Neither chose to answer our questions.

As we reported yesterday, Will twice misrepresented the facts in his Sunday column, to make it appear that there's no expert consensus that warming is happening.

In one case, Will wrote that the respected Arctic Climate Research Center had found that global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979. But within hours, the ACRC had put up a statement saying those levels have in fact significantly decreased, and adding: "We do not know where George Will is getting his information."

In the second, Will, apparently seizing on a year-old (and since corrected) BBC story, wrote: "[A]ccording to the World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade." That's technically true, since 1998 was a particularly hot year. But the implication was that the organization doesn't believe warming is occurring. Will didn't tell readers that the WMO had followed up by confirming its uncontroversial view that global warming is continuing, and making clear that gauging climate change by looking only at one year is all but useless.

Collapse )
  • cindel

The 700 Club to Limbaugh: You need Jesus!

Pat Robertson Denounces Rush Limbaugh For Hoping Obama Fails

Interviewing Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson recently for a forthcoming piece on the possibility of a Fairness Doctrine revival, I threw in a couple questions about President Obama. In a CNN appearance just before Christmas, Robertson surprised a lot of folks when said he was "remarkably pleased" with Obama and that he "has the makings of a great president."

Robertson has changed his tune on Obama, but he's still rooting for him. Here's my exchange with him about the president:

You surprised people last year when you said you were impressed with Obama so far. How do you feel about him now, after several weeks in the White House?

He hasn't been as skillful in a number of areas. I think he's showing partisanship. What I said on CNN is that if he's not partisan and doesn't swing out at the left, he has the potential to be a great president. But look at his cabinet appointments. And the stimulus package is a disaster. He let [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi write the bill. He should have exerted more leadership about what went into the stimulus package. It's not over, but I still want to give him the benefit of every doubt, and I definitely hope he succeeds. It wouldn't be good for Americans for him not to. We don't want a president who fails at domestic and foreign policy.

So you don't subscribe to Rush Limbaugh's "I hope he fails" school of thought?

That was a terrible thing to say. I mean, he's the president of all the country. If he succeeds, the country succeeds. And if he doesn't, it hurts us all. Anybody who would pull against our president is not exactly thinking rationally.

  • cindel


Recovery.Gov: White House Website To Track Stimulus Goes Live

The Obama White House has officially launched its stimulus-tracking website, recovery.gov, giving the public a new-media portal through which to follow the progress of the legislation and, more broadly, the economy.

"Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going," reads the site. "There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going -- to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors. As soon as we are able to, we'll display that information visually in maps, charts, and graphics."

So far, the webpage includes a breakdown of exactly what was in the stimulus package such as $288 billion in tax relief, $144 billion for state and local fiscal relief, etc. ... They also have a U.S. map that tracks, state-by-state, where jobs have been created and/or saved -- a reminder to lawmakers who voted against the plan that they might face political ramifications for their opposition. The actual data points on which projects are receiving what kinds of funds won't be live, it seems, until the money is actually spent.

"Once the money starts to go out to build new roads, modernize schools, and create new jobs, we'll be able to give you the details on spending," the site reads. "Right here on Recovery.gov, you'll be able to see how, when, and where your taxpayer dollars are going."

One other interesting feature: the White House is encouraging readers to "share your recovery story." It's the type of interactive addition that can prove a win-win for the president's staff. They don't have to search for success stories, and the public feels like it is working in tandem with the administration on this huge political project.


In the comments: "On top of that, the package has an amendment that ask governors to either accept the money or refuse it." Is that true?
• prime
  • schmiss

2010: there will be drama.

Curse Of Caroline Leaves Paterson Trailing Cuomo 2-1, Gillibrand Behind McCarthy

The Caroline Kennedy caper continues to bedevil New York Gov. David Paterson as he trails Attorney General Andrew Cuomo 55 - 23 in an early look at a 2010 Democratic primary for Governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

In a general election matchup, Gov. Paterson ties former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a possible Republican challenger, 43 - 43 percent, with 10 percent undecided, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Paterson leads 70 - 18 percent among Democrats, while Giuliani leads 80 - 9 percent among Republicans and 47 - 38 percent among independent voters. New York City voters go with Paterson 52 - 35 percent, while Giuliani leads 48 - 36 percent among suburban voters and 47 - 38 percent upstate.

Attorney General Cuomo leads Giuliani 51 - 37 percent in the Governor's race, ahead 81 - 11 percent among Democrats and 45 - 40 percent among independent voters. Giuliani leads 76 - 11 percent among Republicans. Cuomo is up 61 - 30 percent in New York City and 48 - 41 percent in the suburbs and gets 44 percent of upstate voters to Giuliani's 42 percent.

New York State voters approve 45 - 41 percent of the job Paterson is doing, his lowest approval rating in 11 months as Governor and down from 50 - 30 percent January 26.

Voters disapprove 52 - 35 percent of the way Paterson handled the appointment of a U.S. Senator to fill Hillary Clinton's seat. Disapproval is similar across the political spectrum.

Collapse )

You know who should run for one of those seats? Norm Coleman. He can return to his home state and start all over.
  • bispo

Barnes: Bush ‘More Like’ America’s ‘Greatest President,’ Abraham Lincoln

Last weekend on Fox News’s “Beltway Boys” program, co-hosts Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes brought up the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, on February 12. “I’m glad you pointed this out,” Kondracke said to Barnes. “Well I’m a great Lincoln fan,” Barnes added.

Barnes, of course, is also a great George W. Bush fan and thus seized the opportunity to boast about how much Bush is just like Lincoln:

BARNES: Not only was he America’s greatest president, I think he was America’s greatest political leader. He was so incredibly shrewd. Well, Obama has made — he was from Illinois and Lincoln was from Illinois and that’s fine. But in some ways, you know what was more like Lincoln in his presidency? George W. Bush.

Watch it:

But Barnes may be disappointed by a recent analysis from a group of — what some might probably argue — more objective observers. On Sunday, C-SPAN released a survey in which 65 presidential historians ranked the former presidents “on ten attributes of leadership.” While they ranked Lincoln first, Bush came in at number 36.

Moreover, many historians “are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.” Indeed, according to an informal poll of historians last year, 98 percent rated Bush’s presidency a failure while 60 percent said Bush is the worst of all U.S. presidents.

Nevertheless, the loyal Bushies like Barnes (and Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Newt Gingrich, John Gibson, David Brooks, Glenn Beck, Rudy Giuliani and even Bush himself) will continue to fog the mirrors trying to make you believe Bush is one of the best presidents ever — just like Lincoln. But as legal scholar Garrett Epps once noted, “George W. Bush is Lincoln the way Dan Quayle is Jack Kennedy.”

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Analysis of what's happening in Saudi Arabia now


What could be bigger than the appointment of the first female minister in Saudi Arabia?

Possibly the appointment of a new minister of justice who may actually help her get equal rights with her male counterpart.

Right now, Norah al-Faiz, the new deputy minister for women's education, is bound by the same laws as every other woman in the land. She can do only what her closest male relative permits. For many women of her status and education, that law is interpreted liberally, but for the vast majority, it is not.

Over the weekend, at a single stroke, King Abdullah set Saudi Arabia on what appears to be an irreversible new course, one of modernization.

He replaced the conservative ministers of justice and the head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice with people closer to his way of thinking. The king also appointed a new head of the central bank, SAMA -- widely seen by financial experts as a wise move -- and brought in young blood and fresh ideas to the Majlis al Shura, the closest thing the country has to a parliament.

Collapse )


Yay, progress! It really does seem like King Abdullah wants to make actual change, even if he has to go about it slowly. I thought it was a good point about how people in Sauda Arabia were outraged about the 8 year old married off to the geezer--it shows that the people themselves are starting to change their thinking, and that's where real change happens.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Shoichi 'I'm not drunk occifer' Nakagawa resigns!

Japanese finance minister to resign

Japan's Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa will step down, he announced Tuesday. He had come under fire after appearing intoxicated at a weekend news conference at the G-7 meeting in Rome.

Nakagawa's decision followed an announcement by Japan's main opposition party that it would introduce a motion to censure him. It was unclear whether the party would go ahead with its plans. He said he will step down once a budget bill clears the lower house of parliament.

Nakagawa apologized for his behavior during a legislative committee meeting, but denied that it was the result of "heavy drinking," the agency said.

Nakagawa said he had drinks on his flight to Rome and during the G-7 luncheon, but that the real culprit was too much medicine taken because he wasn't feeling well, Kyodo reported. The Group of Seven meeting brought together finance ministers from the world's leading industrialized nations.

Collapse )


In case any of y'all missed the drunken G7 meeting, it's this post.
  • bispo

Juan Williams finally drops his NPR identification when appearing on O’Reilly.

Juan Williams’s often incendiary rhetoric when appearing on The O’Reilly Factor as a Fox News analyst finally caught up with him after he compared Michelle Obama to “Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress.” Fox News has regularly identified Williams as a “senior correspondent of National Public Radio” or an NPR “political analyst.” However, last night — at the request of NPR — he was stripped of this designation:


On Feb. 11, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard noted that “NPR’s Vice President of News, Ellen Weiss, has asked Williams to ask that Fox remove his NPR identification whenever he is on O’Reilly.” Yesterday was Williams’s first O’Reilly appearance since that request was made. Since Shepard’s post, Williams has also appeared on Fox News Sunday (Feb. 15), Special Report (Feb. 13 and 16), and Hannity (Feb. 11), during which he was still identified as being affiliated with NPR.

K-Box cartoon

So, this is what white racism looks like on Bizarro-World. ;)

Nation's Blacks Creeped Out By All The People Smiling At Them

Black citizens have reported a disturbing 350 percent increase in interracial high-fiving since January 20.

WASHINGTON—A majority of African-Americans surveyed in a nationwide poll this week reported feeling "deeply disturbed" and "more than a little weirded out" by all the white people now smiling at them.

First witnessed shortly after President Obama's historic victory, the open and cheerful smiling has only continued in recent months, leaving members of the black community completely unnerved.

"On behalf of black people across this nation, I would like to say to our white brethren, 'Please stop looking at us like that,'" said Brown University psychology professor Dr. Stanley Carsons. "We're excited Barack is president, too, and we're glad you're happy for us. But giving us the thumbs up for no reason, or saying hello whenever we walk by, is really starting to freak us out."

Added Carsons, "We just want to be able to stand in line at Home Depot without getting patted on the back."

Collapse )
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Democratic Source on Burris: 'He's In Deep Sh*t'

The Senate Ethics Committee has opened an inquiry into seemingly conflicting statements made by Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., who was appointed by disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President Barack Obama's Illinois Senate seat.

A Senate source compares the preliminary inquiry to a Grand Jury investigation.

The source tells me the Senate Ethics Committee generally opens investigations because "it has reason to believe a violation within the jurisdiction of Committee has occurred."

Even more problematic for Burris, the Republican state attorney in Springfield, Ill., is going to review the case for possible perjury charges.

Back in January, Burris gave a sworn affidavit saying he had no contact with Gov. Blagojevich's staff about this Senate seat. He's now revised that story at least three times.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune Monday, Burris acknowledged for the first time that he sought to raise campaign funds for Blagojevich at the request of the governor’s brother at the same time he was making a pitch to be appointed to Obama's Senate.

Today, Burris said he welcomes the Senate investigation and denied any wrongdoing despite acknowledging that he agreed to raise campaign funds for Blagojevich.

"I have nothing to hide ... I welcome the opportunity to go before any and all investigative bodies to answer any questions they have," he said.

"There were never any inappropriate (contacts) between me and anyone else ... and I will answer any and all questions to get that point across to keep my faith with the citizens of Illinois. "
In theory, U.S. Senators in Washington could move to censure Burris or move to expel him.

But that's very unlikely. They'll probably wait to see if any charges are filed against him in Illinois.

However, the real problem now for Burris is political. He is now guaranteed to have a serious primary rival when he runs for the Senate seat in 2010.

He may even face so much pressure that he won't be able to build enough support to run.

One Democratic source put it this way: "He's in deep sh*t."

Awww. Why is everybody always picking on me?

Aerosmith to House GOP: Don't Use Our Song

By Elana Schor - February 17, 2009, 5:48PM

Poor House Republicans. They were pretty psyched yesterday about that new troops-rallying video from Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) that used Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle" to declare that "The House GOP is back" thanks to the party's unanimous opposition to the stimulus.

But unfortunately, Aerosmith wasn't feeling the love. Cantor's clip has been pulled from YouTube after a copyright infringement claim made by Stage Three Music, which owns the rights to "Back in the Saddle."

The GOP's use of the tune "was something we, as the publishers, didn't approve and would not have approved without going to the writers," Connie Ashton, director of copyright and licensing at Stage Three, told me. "Aerosmith did not approve of its use and also wanted to have it taken down," she added.

Ashton added that House Republicans never contacted Stage Three to put in a request for use of "Back in the Saddle." Maybe they assumed it was okay because Joe Perry endorsed McCain last year.


States look to booze for shots to economy

Utah is the only state that requires people to fill out an application and pay a fee before entering a bar.

But the shelf life of this law - enacted 40 years ago in a state where nearly two out of three residents are members of a religion that shuns drinking - appears to be dwindling.

In Utah, and across the country, governors and lawmakers faced with budget deficits are advocating loosening laws that restrict alcohol consumption in the hopes of boosting tax revenues.

In Georgia, Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, Alabama and Minnesota, lawmakers are considering legislation this year that would end the ban on Sunday liquor sales. All but 15 states sell booze on Sundays.

In Nebraska, a state lawmaker has proposed allowing beer to be consumed in state parks as a way to boost tourism.

Other states, including Utah, are considering allowing the sale of liquor on Election Day.
Collapse )


I just wrote to my state senator and representative about supporting the bills here to get wine sales in grocery stores :D
Prepare to die

There is no such thing as "Copyright Law" on the internet

The main issue in the legal battle between the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey, the artist who made the iconic poster of Barack Obama which “quoted from” a photograph the Associated Press says it owns, is whether there really is a Web-given right to remix copyrighted images to create new works of art.

Anyone who wants to get involved directly in the debate can now turn to the Web site Obamicon.me, which greets users with an invitation to “make your own ‘Obamicon’ — your image in a style inspired by Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster.” The site makes it easy to upload an image, click a button and produce an auto-generated mash-up in the style of Mr. Fairey’s iconic Obama poster. Then you can order posters, T-shirts, stamps or a range of other products featuring the new image you’ve created.

Since the software allows users to upload not just snapshots of themselves, their children and their pets, but any image, screen-grab or photograph that can be pulled onto a desktop, the hundreds of thousands of Obamicons already created and archived on the site include a large number that obviously quote from copyrighted images, of everyone from Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and Stephen Colbert to Sarah Palin and Yoda.

Browsing through the gallery of Obamicons, it is clear that the vast majority are made from snapshots people have taken themselves. But the most inspired work so far has been done with images that might be off-limits if the A.P.’s lawyers somehow manage to defeat Mr. Fairey’s fair-use argument, and force him to pay for the use of the photograph.

In reality, though, what the Obamicons quote from is not any one photograph, copyrighted or not, but rather the way that Mr. Fairey reworks the images he finds. So if anyone would have a case for shutting the site down, it might be Mr. Fairey — who is obviously unlikely to make that argument.

  • bispo

John Likeys Obama Foreign Policy


Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made the following statement regarding increasing U.S. Forces in Afghanistan:

“I welcome the President's decision to deploy additional troops to Afghanistan,” said Senator John McCain. “The situation there has deteriorated for several years, particularly in the south, and it is now dire. It is clear that success in Afghanistan will require additional troops and resources, including from the United States. In light of conditions on the ground, the additional force levels announced today can make a significant difference. “More troops alone, however, will not lead to success there,” Senator McCain continued. “I believe the President must spell out for the American people what he believes victory in Afghanistan will look like and articulate a coherent strategy for achieving it. Today, notwithstanding the administration's ongoing policy reviews, there still exists no integrated civil-military plan for this war – more than seven years after we began military operations. Such a strategy should spell out the way forward, including the additional resource requirements for its execution. “So while I welcome today's announcement, I hope it is just the first step in a new comprehensive approach to Afghanistan. A major change in course is long overdue.”
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Tracy Flicks: Defending the new generation of driven, sharp-elbowed female politicians.

New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a very ambitious politician. Just months after deposing a four-term GOP incumbent in 2006, she raised nearly $700,000--more than any other freshman legislator. As a sophomore in the House, she attempted to bypass more senior members for a seat on the coveted Ways and Means Committee. And she lobbied intently for the Senate appointment. "[H]er eye has been on that prize for a long, long time," Jonathan Schiller, a founding partner of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where Gillibrand worked as a partner, told the New York Observer. "She is no hayseed, she is no newcomer, she's no shy, reclusive country girl." Indeed, her sharp elbows earned her the moniker "Tracy Flick" from some of her New York House colleagues.

The reference to the striving character in Election is not, of course, meant to be flattering. But Gillibrand's political trajectory highlights a positive shift in how politics has opened up for women. It wasn't so long ago that the vast majority of female politicians entered public service either through a familial connection or community involvement. As Patty Murray's website bio proclaims, the 58-year-old senior senator from Washington "never planned to enter politics"--rather, her stint working on behalf of education programs eventually pulled her into the public sphere. Gillibrand and many of her political female contemporaries, in contrast, consciously laid the groundwork for their own bids. In other words, their paths are finally starting to look like those of their male counterparts--and will hopefully help women match men's level of representation in politics as well.

Many of the first women to serve in Congress established a toehold in public life because of their husbands or fathers. Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas and Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, for example, entered the U.S. Senate by serving out the terms of their deceased husbands before winning reelection in their own right. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine commenced her political career at the age of 26 when she won the House seat formerly occupied by her husband, who had died in a car accident.

Men, of course, have profited from familial connections as well: Witness the 2000 presidential showdown, where the scion of a former president squared off against the son of a long-serving senator. Or consider the Senate, where Evan Bayh and Christopher Dodd both hold seats once occupied by their fathers. Nonetheless, the group of male pols who first made inroads because Daddy greased the way is minimal compared to those who independently decided to enter the political arena; the opposite is true for the first generation of female politicians.
Collapse )

Alexandra Starr has written about politics and immigration for The New York Times Magazine and Slate.
' jules
  • schmiss

As if we hadn't heard enough heartbreaking housing stories already!

Ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney selling 2 homes

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is selling two of his homes.

A spokesman for the former Massachusetts governor says Romney and his wife, Ann, have put their 9,500-square-foot Deer Valley, Utah ski lodge on the market for $5.25 million, and are also selling the suburban Boston home where they raised their five sons. The 6,400-square-foot Colonial on 2.5 acres in Belmont is expected to fetch about $3 million.

Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom says the Romneys are "downsizing and simplifying."

The Romneys still own a $10 million home on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. and a $12 million beachfront compound in La Jolla, Calif.

Fehrnstrom says the couple intends to buy a condominium in the Boston area.

louisiana for obama!

gtfo, bobby jindal.

Jindal Signals Louisiana May Not Take Stimulus Money

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, has suggested his state may not be interested in all of the roughly $4 billion allotted to it in the economic stimulus package to be signed by President Obama today.

"We'll have to review each program, each new dollar to make sure that we understand what are the conditions, what are the strings and see whether it's beneficial for Louisiana to use those dollars," Jindal said, according to CBS affiliate WWLTV.

Jindal is scheduled to give the response to the president’s not-exactly-a-state-of-the-union address next Tuesday.

Louisiana reportedly faces a possible $2 billion budget shortfall next year. It has been allocated $538,575,876 for infrastructure spending in the stimulus package, and the White House predicts the bill will create 50,000 jobs in the state.

As WWLTV notes, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has said he’ll take any money that Louisiana turns down.

The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, isn’t letting up in its criticism of Democrats over the stimulus package. Following the White House’s releases trumpeting the bill, the RNC sent an email to reporters offering research on “Democrats’ broken pledges on transparency, bipartisanship, pork, and job creation.”

The email quotes news stories on order to criticize Democrats for breaking a promise to post the bill online 48 hours in advance of a vote, for not working in a bipartisan manner, for putting out a package “loaded with wasteful earmarks,” and for overestimating the bill’s job creation potential.

House Republican Leader John Boehner also put out a statemnet hammering the deal.

“The flawed bill the President will sign today is a missed opportunity, one for which our children and grandchildren will pay a hefty price," he said. "It’s a raw deal for American families, providing just $1.10 per day in relief for workers while saddling every family with $9,400 in added debt to pay for special-interest programs and pork-barrel projects. It will do little to create jobs, and will do more harm than good to middle-class families and our economy."


<lj user= "eva_1102">

Marysville's Last Moments Before Disaster Hit

Patrick Carlyon

February 14, 2009 12:00am

THE Marysville Bowls Club hums with chatter. It's open, finally, for the first time in 12 months. About 15 bowlers roll on the new drought-resistant grass.

Colin Paul, 83, a crack rifleman who served in World War II, watches. He is armed with walking sticks. A recent fall has slowed him down.

Paul is the oldest bowls club member. Like the youngest member, who is a year 9 student, he has less than eight hours to live.

The bowlers play a couple of games. It's 11am on Saturday. The sun is heating up.

John Cartwright, 78, goes home and gazes at the photo of his wife, Jean, on the lounge room wall. This is his daily ritual. She died a decade ago from cancer.

Jean is 19 in the shot, taken when they first met. Cartwright has never really recovered from her loss.

They were married in the 1950s, two locals in the "honeymoon town" to which Melburnians would bus for a weekend of tea and scones at English-style guesthouses.

The relics of the era endure. As does the mood.

Marysville, according to the official guff, is a "place to relax and unwind".

Collapse )


Volunteer-run bushfire survivor list -"Reduces stress on the Red Cross missing persons line, and the stress of trying to get through."

Alan Greenspan sez: Okay, maybe it is time for nationalization (!!)

Alan Greenspan, the Ayn Rand acolyte and Objectivist/free marketeer who TIME blames as one of the 25 most culpable for the current US economic calamity, says maybe NATIONALIZATION is the answer. What would his mentor Ayn Rand say?

Financial Times - February 18, 2009

Greenspan backs bank nationalisation
By Krishna Guha and Edward Luce in Washington

The US government may have to nationalise some banks on a temporary basis to fix the financial system and restore the flow of credit, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman has told the Financial Times.

In an interview with the FT Mr Greenspan, who for decades was regarded as the high priest of laisser-faire capitalism, said nationalisation could be the least bad option left for policymakers.

”It may be necessary to temporarily nationalise some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring,” he said. “I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do.”

Collapse )

From: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e310cbf6-fd4e-11dd-a103-000077b07658.html
  • bispo

Japanese Blackface Obama: Yes We Can Be Incredibly Inappropriate

Gabe over at Videogum found this amazing video of a Japanese blackface version of Obama. The video, posted on inauguration day, shows "Barack" and "Michelle" making a grand entrance and then performing a magic show. (Perhaps this is a racial metaphor for the magic of America electing a black president?) "Barack Obama" uses all of his familiar catch-phrases, but this time it's "yes we can pull an orange out of an empty bag." Japanese TV is weird.
misc - microphone

Domestic Partnerships in WI

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, is including limited domestic partnership benefits and protections for same-sex couples in his biennial budget proposal. The full article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is under the cut, but here's what I'm excited about:

Partner benefits. The governor called for a domestic partner classification and offering limited legal protections for same-sex couples, such as allowing domestic partners to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions and add health care coverage.

Domestic partners would register with counties and they would be treated like other vital records.

Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2006 that banned same-sex marriage and a legal status identical or substantially similar to marriage, such as a civil union. But a 2006 legal opinion from then-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said the amendment didn't prevent public and private employers from providing benefits.

"This isn't an issue of being gay or straight - we are not judging people's lives here," Doyle said. "But I don't want the state to stand in the way of someone being able to care for their long-term partner."

Two years ago, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated the cost of providing domestic partner benefits to state employees would be $7.6 million to $15.2 million a year.

Collapse )


Also: Fair Wisconsin applauds Gov. Doyle for protecting committed couples

Largest Banks That Received Aid Cut Lending

Largest Banks That Received Aid Cut Lending

The 20 largest banks that received government rescue funds slightly reduced their lending to consumers and businesses in the last three months of 2008, the government said Tuesday.

The Treasury Department said the banks reduced their mortgage and business loans by a median of 1 percent each, while credit card lending rose by a median of 2 percent. The median is the point halfway between the banks that lent the most and those that lent the least.

The department's report is the latest sign that the bailout has done little to increase bank lending. A quarterly survey by the Federal Reserve earlier this month found that nearly 60 percent of banks said they had tightened lending standards on credit card and other consumer loans in the previous three months.
Collapse )

(no subject)

Gay Rights Battles Heat Up in Utah as Group Buys Extremist Ad


Over the weekend, blog Drinking Liberally posted photos of a full-page ad taken out in the Salt Lake Tribune by a group called America Forever..

The ad is replete with hateful rhetoric and fear tactics. In fact it's so extreme that even those who agree with the message behind it think the group, which "does not have a current Utah business license as a nonprofit nor is it registered as a political-issues or political-action committee" according to the Salt Lake Tribune, has crossed the line with the ad, which "compares being gay to being 'druggies and hookers,' labels homosexuality as 'anti-species behavior' and concludes that 'gays should be forced not to display' their sexual orientation."

HuntsmanThe ad also criticizes Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's recent show of support for the Common Ground initative and civil unions.

Says Gay-rights opponent Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman: "Everything they're doing crosses the line. There's no need to have hateful discourse. Quite frankly, they make those of us who are on the side of traditional marriage -- they make a lot of us -- look bad."

The Tribune adds: "America Forever did not respond Monday to requests for comment left via voice mail and e-mail. Mike Thompson, executive director of Equality Utah -- the advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Utahns that is pushing the Common Ground Initiative -- called the ad 'inflammatory' and 'divisive.' ...'It demonstrates what we are up against in having a rational debate...There's no reason to respond directly to the content of the ad because it's just ridiculous. The conversation should be focused on the Common Ground Initiative and the bills that are part of that.' MediaOne, which handles advertising, production and circulation for both The Tribune and Deseret News, said four subscribers canceled subscriptions to The Tribune on Monday in response to the ad."

Columnist Rebecca Walsh hopes the group continues buying the ads. She says they're likely to backfire and will infuse the Tribune with much-needed ad spending: "Despite their reputations, most Utahns are moderates. They are uncomfortable with America Forever's over-the-top homophobia."



 God damn it, I just wanna..


GOP’s mice not scary

GOP’s mice not scary
By Markos Moulitsas

Given the amount of polling data available these days, it’s hard to believe how totally disconnected Capitol Hill Republicans and their Beltway media pals are from the rest of the country.

Last week, President Obama won a stunning victory with the passage of a stimulus package even larger than he initially proposed. The bill will pump hundreds of billions of needed dollars into the economy and give Americans the largest tax cut in history ($282 billion over two years, bigger than the tax cuts of either Bush or Reagan).

But instead of joining the president and Democrats in solving the crisis, Republicans chose to focus their Senate debate time on … San Francisco marsh mice.
Collapse )