March 4th, 2009

' jules

But will he be as hilarious as Blago or Rahm, that is the question.

Quigley wins 5th District race

The clear winner in Tuesday’s special primary, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley is now poised to win the congressional seat Rahm Emanuel left to become President Obama’s chief of staff.

Quigley must still survive a special general election in April, but in the Democratic primary for this traditionally Democratic seat on Chicago’s North Side and suburbs, Quigley won with 22 percent of the vote, with 92 percent of the precincts tallied.

The Associated Press called the race in the 5th Congressional District at 9:19 p.m.

His closest rivals were state Rep. John Fritchey with 18 percent, and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, with 17 percent.

Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th) was in fourth with 12 percent, just ahead of Polish-born physician Victor Forys who had 11 percent.

“I’m in shock,” Quigley said. Poking fun at his reputation for wearing a scowl, Quigley added, “With the results so far, for a guy that doesn’t smile much, I’m smiling now.”

Quigley becomes the unlikely outsider elected to a seat previously held by consummate insiders such as Emanuel, Dan Rostenkowski and Rod Blagojevich.

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He wasn't my fave for the seat but he still seems like an OK guy. I'm glad it wasn't Wheelan, I know we all love the Dark Knight ad but he's just too conservative.
soap&skin 2012

Georgia 'Octomom bill' would limit embryo implants

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)
-- The tabloid-friendly tale of the so-called California "Octomom" continues to stir debate -- this time 2,000 miles away in the Georgia state capitol, where lawmakers say they're trying to prevent a repeat.

A Georgia state senator introduced legislation to limit the number of embryos that can be implanted in a woman's uterus during in-vitro fertilization procedures.
Sen. Ralph Hudgens, a Republican from near Athens, Georgia, said his legislation was inspired by Nadya Suleman, the woman who said she gave birth to octuplets after being fertilized with six embryos -- an unusually high number.
"She is not married," said Hudgens. "She is unemployed, she is on government assistance and now she is going to put those 14 children on the back of the taxpayers in the state of California."
Suleman, 33, had six children before the procedure.
Hudgens' plan, which was co-sponsored by several other senators, would limit the number of embryos a doctor could implant to two for women under 40 years old and three for women 40 or older.

Those numbers are slightly less than what's considered the norm in medical circles.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends no more than two embryos for women under 35 years old and no more than five for women over 40. The reason for allowing more embryo's in women over 40 is that it is more difficult for them to get pregnant.
State lawmakers in Missouri are considering a similar bill. And England and Italy have had similar limits on the books for years.

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soap&skin 2012

Obama overturns Bush endangered species rule

-- President Obama on Tuesday overturned a last-minute Bush administration regulation that many environmentalists claim weakened the Endangered Species Act.

The regulation, issued a few weeks before George W. Bush left office, made it easier for federal agencies to skip consultations with government scientists before launching projects that could affect endangered wildlife.

By overturning the regulation, Obama said during an enthusiastic reception at the Interior Department, he had restored "the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, a process undermined by past administrations."

Under the Bush administration rule, there was no need for a federal agency to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Services if that agency determined that no harm would come to an endangered species as a result of its project.

But the determination of what "no harm" meant rested with agency bureaucrats instead of scientists.

Obama issued a memorandum that effectively suspends the regulation while ordering a review to determine whether it promotes "the purposes of the [Endangered Species Act]."

"The work of scientists and experts in my administration, including right here in the Interior Department, will be respected," Obama said. "For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation's most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it, not weaken it."

Environmental groups were quick to praise Obama's action.

"President Obama's announcement will allow [the Endangered Species Act] to do what it was intended: protect our nation's endangered plants and animals," said Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Endangered Species Program.

"Reversing the Bush administration's midnight action will restore protections for our last wild places and species."

Obama also helped celebrate the 160th anniversary of the Interior Department on Tuesday.

"Throughout our history, there's been a tension between those who've sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations and those who have sought to profit from these resources," he told department employees.

"But I'm here to tell you this is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and preserve the environment for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren."


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Politico: Inside the Dems' anti-Rush plan

Top Democrats believe they have struck political gold by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party, a full-scale effort first hatched by some of the most familiar names in politics and now being guided in part from inside the White House.

The strategy took shape after Democrats included Limbaugh’s name in an October poll and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans. Then the conservative talk-radio host emerged as an unapologetic critic of Barack Obama shortly before his inauguration, when even many Republicans were showering him with praise.

Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.

"The Administration is enabling me,” he wrote in an email to POLITICO. “They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a ‘story’ I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.”

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source: Politico
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My unemployed self could have told them this...

Job Forecast for College Seniors: Grimmer Than Ever

Smith College's career office sent its jittery job-hunting seniors a letter last month with a reassuring message: "there ARE jobs, and you can find employment." Unfortunately, there are far fewer jobs than anticipated, according to a report out today from the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE). The companies surveyed in the group's spring update are planning to hire 22% fewer grads from the Class of 2009 than they hired from the Class of 2008, a big letdown from the group's projections in October that hiring would hold steady. Some 44% of companies in the survey conducted last month said they plan to hire fewer new grads, and another 22% said they do not plan to hire at all this spring, more than double last year's figure. "If you were a student and were out there [interviewing] in the fall, you probably had a decent chance of getting a job," says Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at NACE. "But frankly, the spring does not look good."

Job prospects for college grads, which had been on the rise since 2004, dropped in virtually every sector this year. The most dramatic decline was, not surprisingly, in finance, which hemorrhaged 71% of expected job openings. Less expected but equally troubling is the 37% decline in hiring for professional services, which include accounting and engineering. "Poor hiring estimates from this area speak to the depth of the recession in the college labor market for the Class of 2009," the report says. (See TIME's special report on paying for colleges.)


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This article really sums up where I sit at the moment. I graduated this past fall, but haven't really been able to find a job. I'm even considering going back to minimum wage jobs, which KILLS me inside because that was kind of the whole point of getting a degree in the first place, and I know people who've had to do it and they are miserable, but what choice do you have? Continued education isn't a picnic either because like the author said, who needs more debt? Especially when you consider that in this economy with things not getting better any soon, it could very well be for naught? -_-

Murasaki Shikibu

Making the sweet nectar that is the tears of GOP impotent rage sweeter.

Poll: Obama's rating at all-time high
NBC/WSJ poll shows gap between popularity of president and his policies

By Mark Murray
Deputy political director
NBC News
updated 6:31 p.m. ET March 3, 2009

Mark Murray
Deputy political director
WASHINGTON - After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.

Despite the country's struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House.

"What is amazing here is how much political capital Obama has spent in the first six weeks," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "And against that, he stands at the end of this six weeks with as much or more capital in the bank."

By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama's recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession.

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AHAHAHAHAHA, suck on that, GOP. And I need to get that "tears of impotent rage" macro....

And GIF OF AWESOME by cookie_nut.
Murasaki Shikibu

DOMA was a mistake from the get go anyway.

U.S. sued for benefits for same-sex marriages

(CNN) -- A legal advocacy group sued the federal government Tuesday, seeking benefits for 15 gay and lesbian Massachusetts residents who wed after the state legalized same-sex marriage.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders -- the same Boston-based group that successfully argued in 2003 for same-sex marriage rights in Massachusetts -- filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of six couples and three men whose husbands have died.

The suit contends the federal Defense of Marriage Act denies them protections and benefits that heterosexual couples receive, including health insurance for federal employees, the ability to file as "married filing jointly" on federal income taxes and Social Security spousal protections.

Two other couples plan to file suit after they receive an anticipated rejection of their amended tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, GLAD said.

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I never liked DOMA and thought it was a bad idea from the first time I heard about it, so GOOD.

Stimulus Dollars In Motion: Maryland Orders 100 Hybrid Buses

Xcelsior Hybrid Bus. Image credit: New American Flyer, Inc.

by John Laumer, Philadelphia on 03.04.09
Taking advantage of the Federal stimulus package, Maryland's Governor O'Malley announced the State's intention to purchase hybrid 100 hybrid diesel/electric buses for $62 million. Quadruple-good news: air conditioning won't always have to be on in summer with open-in windows; diesel emissions will be reduced; the electric motors will reduce street noise; and, the supplier is New Flyer of America Inc, a Canadian company with manufacturing facilities in Winnipeg, Manitoba, St. Cloud, Minnesota, & Crookston, Minnesota. (Assuming Maryland's purchase supports the Minnesota work force, directly and indirectly.)

panda bear

(no subject)

Ted Kennedy 'deeply grateful' for honorary knighthood

Sen. Edward Kennedy is "deeply grateful" that he will receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, he said Wednesday.

The long-serving Massachusetts Democrat and head of one of the most important families in American politics is being honored partly for his work on
the Northern Ireland peace process.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown will announce the knighthood in a joint address to both houses of Congress Wednesday, media reports say. Brown is on the second day of a trip to the United States.

"This honor is moving and personal," Kennedy said in a statement, "A reflection not only of my public life, but of things that profoundly matter to me as an individual. I accept this honor in the spirit in which it is given, with a continuing commitment to be a voice for the voiceless and for the shared ideals of freedom and fairness which are so fundamental to the character of our two countries."

As an American, Kennedy cannot receive an official knighthood, and cannot use the title "Sir Edward."

panda bear

(no subject)

Clinton: Mideast peace talks await new Israeli government

The United States will wait until a new Israeli government is in place before it addresses key issues that have stalled the peace process with the Palestinians, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

But Clinton also vowed that President Obama will not be slow to make the issue a top priority.

"We cannot afford more delays or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made in the past," Clinton said at a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The Obama administration will be vigorously engaged in efforts to forge a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians and all of the Arab neighbors."

She spoke after talks with Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah. A day earlier, she met with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, including Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu is trying to form a unity government after close parliamentary elections last month. The Likud Party leader does not support a two-state solution, the bedrock of U.S. policy.

Clinton said she would wait until Netanyahu has formed a government before addressing the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which she called "unhelpful and not in keeping with [international] obligations."

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panda bear

(no subject)

Clinton Says She Pressed for Gaza Border Opening

A day after announcing a new diplomatic initiative in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled here Wednesday to show support for the Palestinian Authority, saying she had pressed the Israeli government to open border crossings to war-torn Gaza.

“We have obviously expressed concern about the border crossing,” Mrs. Clinton said after a meeting with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. “We want humanitarian aid to get into Gaza in sufficient amounts to help alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza.”

Mrs. Clinton also spoke out against Israeli plans to demolish houses belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. She said the orders, issued by the municipal authorities, were “unhelpful” to the peace process.

Israelis claim the houses were built illegally, while the Palestinian owners said they were unable to obtain building permits. Israel ordered the demolition of 88 homes last week, and another 55 this week. The dispute has become a microcosm of the larger battle over Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians.

“It is clearly a matter of deep concern to those who are directly affected,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Mrs. Clinton has used her brief, opening foray into Middle East diplomacy to signal a new direction, saying Tuesday that the Obama administration will send two senior officials to Syria this weekend to begin discussions with the government.

The overture suggests how the Obama administration intends to tackle three interlocking challenges in the Middle East: the nuclear threat posed by Iran; long-simmering tensions between Israel and Syria; and the grinding conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Syria, regional experts say, could be the key to alleviating all three.

Visiting Ramallah after talks with Israeli officials in Jerusalem, Mrs. Clinton met the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and President Abbas before her scheduled departure from the region. Her remarks underscored the Obama administration’s continued rejection of Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and which many Western governments regard as a terrorist organization.

By seeking an understanding with Syria, which has cultivated close ties to Iran, the United States could increase the pressure on Iran to respond to its offer of direct talks. Such an understanding would also give Arab states and moderate Palestinians the political cover to negotiate with Israel. That, in turn, could increase the burden on Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, to relax its hostile stance toward Israel.

But in a region where even small steps take years to negotiate, officials sought to tamp down expectations of rapid progress. “It is a worthwhile effort to go and begin preliminary conversations,” Mrs. Clinton said, noting Syria’s wide influence in the region, as well as its troubled history with the United States. Yet, she cautioned, “we have no way to predict what the future of our relations with Syria might be.”

The State Department declined to elaborate on the issues the emissaries would broach in Syria or why negotiators were going now.

The two emissaries are Daniel B. Shapiro, a senior director at the National Security Council, and Jeffrey D. Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Mr. Feltman, a former ambassador to Lebanon, has extensive experience with Syria; Mr. Shapiro advised the Obama campaign on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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misc - microphone

Focusing on important issues: UR DOIN IT WRONG

Ditch the doll? Lawmaker out to outlaw Barbie
West Virginia state delegate says iconic toy overemphasizes beauty to girls

Barbie could get an unwelcome present for her 50th birthday: outlawed in West Virginia.

A state lawmaker proposed a bill Tuesday to ban sales of the iconic Mattel doll and others like her.

The Barbie Ban Bill, proposed by Democratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge (D) Lincoln County, says such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development.

"I just hate the image that we give to our kids that if you're beautiful, you're beautiful and you don't have to be smart," Eldridge told West Virginia news station WOWK.

The delegate concedes that the chances of getting the bill passed are slim, but adds that he stands behind it.

"I knew a lot of people were going to joke about it and poke fun at me," Eldridge said. "I couldn't get anybody to sign on the bill with me but I said I'm still going to introduce it."

A Mattel spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Barbie doll officially turns 50 on March 9, and the toy maker has made big plans this year to mark the anniversary.

Barbie has had her foes over that half-century. Critics say the doll promotes materialism and an unnatural body image.

The bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee.
Really? Really? Come on now! Honestly, I was surprised it was a man who introduced this. But still - this is what you're focusing on? *sigh*


Carla Bruni Wants A Baby

If Carla Bruni has her way, she'll be adding to France's First Family.

"I would very much like to have a second child, but don't know if my age will permit me," Bruni, 41, tells the newspaper Le Figaro. The former model, who married French President Nicolas Sarkozy in February 2008, already has an 8-year-old son from a previous relationship.

"If it isn't biologically possible, then I'd adopt one," she says. "I'm not someone who's obsessed by bloodline. I think you can forge a strong bond without that."

Her maternal instinct is so strong, says Bruni, "If someone deposited my son Aurelian in a basket before my door like in fairytales, I'd have loved him just the same.

"To be someone's mother is everyday, not just the first nine months, and it has to last an entire life. In that way, maybe adoption is the purest form of motherhood."

Bruni admits she's aware of the public's keen interest in the Bruni-Sarkozy brood. Collectively they already have a large family that also includes her husband's three children from his two previous marriages.

"I would love to have a child [biologically]," says Bruni, "but I'm not going to fight against nature. I already have one and my husband has three, so you couldn't say we're in desperate need of children.",,20262922,00.html

(no subject)

Spain: Gay Panic Defense Wins Acquittal In Horrific Double Murder


Andres Duques is reporting a gruesome story out of Spain where a man was just acquitted of his confessed murder of two gay men because of his claim of "homosexual panic."
27 year old Isaac Ali Dani Peréz Triviño was born in Spain. 32 year old Julio Anderson Luciano was born in Brazil. They lived together in the Spanish province of Vigo and were planning to get married. Both were stabbed to death by Jacobo Piñeiro Rial in their apartment in the early morning of January 13th, 2006. The bodies showed a total of 57 stab wounds, according to forensics. After killing them, Piñeiro took a shower and cleaned himself up. He filled a suitcase with some of their belongings to make it look like a robbery and then spilled clothing all over the place. He poured alcohol over everything, including his victims' bodies, turned on the gas spigot on the stove, and set everything on fire. The local fire department said that little evidence would have survived if it wasn't for their prompt response to the 5-alarm fire.
The details of the case are horrific, if familiar. The murderer was picked up by one of the two men at the bar where he worked and came home for a meal with the couple. When sex appeared to be in the picture, he stabbed the two to death. John Aravois at AmericaBlog comments:
Spain has legalized gay marriage. So you'd think "we've won!" We haven't. Even after you win your rights - long after - you're still not equal, you're still not free. Slavery was abolished after the civil war. The Civil Rights Act didn't happen until 100 years later. And now, 50 years hence, African-Americans still face prejudice and discrimination, even having elected a black president. It takes a long time to purge bigotry. I'm asking folks to do what they can to help publicize this case, and show support. There's a Facebook group I'd urge everyone to join. There are also protests this Saturday in Madrid, Barcelona, and around Spain. It's Spain's "twinkie defense." It's Spain's Matthew Shepard. It's Spain's shame.
Visit Andres Duques' Blabbeando for follow-ups to this story and for more LGBT news from the Spanish-speaking world.


(no subject)

Paper: Supreme Court May Reveal Prop 8 Decision Tomorrow

The California Supreme Court may reveal its decision on Proposition 8 as early as tomorrow, the L.A. Times reports:

Minter_starr "By now, the court already has drafted a decision on the case, with an author and at least three other justices willing to sign it. Oral arguments sometimes result in changes to the draft, but rarely do they change the majority position. The ruling is due in 90 days. Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who wrote the historic May 15, 2008, decision that gave same-sex couples the right to marry, will be the one to watch during the hearing because he is often in the majority and usually writes the rulings in the most controversial cases."

Attorneys Shannon Minter, who argued the successful case for same-sex marriage last year, and former Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr will present arguments for and against Prop 8.

The paper also claims, "Most legal analysts expect that the court will garner enough votes to uphold existing marriages but not enough to overturn Proposition 8. The dissenters in May's 4-3 marriage ruling said the decision should be left to the voters."

Rex Wockner informs us that the hearings will be streamed live online at CalChannel. California viewers can find a TV cable channel in their area as well.

Brown California Attorney General Jerry Brown published a piece in the Huffington Post yesterday reiterating his position that Proposition 8 be overturned.

Said Brown: "The case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have? The state faced a dilemma like this before. In 1964, 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14, which would have legalized racial discrimination in the selling or renting of housing. Both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts struck down this proposition, concluding that it amounted to an unconstitutional denial of rights. As California's Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons -- because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry."

Crowds are expected to descend on the state capitol tomorrow for what is likely the state's most-watched case in history. As I noted earlier this week, vigils are to be held this evening across California.

Vigil information here.

You may have missed...
Arguments Challenging Proposition 8 to Be Heard Thursday [tr]


(no subject)

Recession Casualty: Female Solidarity?

By Sadie, 1:00 PM on Wed Mar 4 2009, 2,775 views

A piece in Salon suggests that in a recession, we find sexist stereotypes comforting. To that we'd maybe add: girl-on-girl crime?

Rebecca Traister's "So you still want to date a banker?" asks: why is the media so desperate to trumpet the anachronistic archetype of sugar-daddy and golddigger? In the past few weeks we've been hit over the head with the hoax group Dating A Banker Anonymous (which, as Traister points out, the Times lapped up eagerly in the unpleasant "It's the Economy, Girlfriend!") and the all-too-real douchebaggery of the Washington Post's "Market for Romance Goes From Bullish to Sheepish: Are Guys With Less to Spend Less of a Catch?" in which youngsters complain about how their reduced portfolios have put a crimp in their social lives.


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Homeowners stand to gain from energy-efficiency stimulus funds

Published: Sunday, Mar. 1, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1D
By Jim Downing

In Santos Espinosa's small beige house near Arden Fair mall last week, a crew installed fluorescent lightbulbs, swapped out an old water heater and filled drafty gaps beneath doors.

For thousands of Sacramento-area households, this sort of work stands to be the biggest direct benefit of the federal economic stimulus package. The bill pumps at least $20 billion into energy efficiency, by far the largest such investment in U.S. history.

Many details of how the stimulus funds will be spent have yet to be finalized, but the bill outlines a bonanza for homes, businesses and the public sector.

Grants targeting low-income households like Espinosa's will jump at least fivefold. All homeowners will get a tax credit (up to $1,500) that's worth up to 30 percent of a project's cost – three times as much as is currently offered. Cities and counties will get millions to cut waste in their buildings and fund efficiency initiatives. Sacramento-area universities are hoping for grants to expand efficiency research. Local venture capitalists say the funding should help new green-tech companies get off the ground.

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(no subject)

Gay Man Stabbed to Death on London Doorstep

A man and his partner were attacked in the Bromley area of southeast London last night. One of the men died of stab wounds on his doorstep. His partner managed to "stagger" to a neighbor's house to call for assistance. He is in critical condition.

Bromley Police do not yet have a motive.

Said Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons: "We are keeping an open mind regarding a motive for the attack. We have found no evidence of a break in and we are not ruling out that it may have been a homophobic attack. The location of the murder is near a busy road in the borough of Bromley. It is largely residential and I would have expected there would still be traffic either going past or from residents arriving home.We want to trace a white man, possibly in his 40s, who may have been in the area at the time. At this stage I do not know if he is a witness or a suspect. I want to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time, who may have seen or heard anything suspicious. Did you see a man running away or a car leaving the scene which may have drawn your attention?"

The victims of the attack have yet to be named. They were in their 50's and had reportedly lived at the address for years.


California Lawmaker Wants Online Map Images Blurred

March 3, 2009, 3:50 pm
By Miguel Helft

A lawmaker in California wants to force Google Earth and similar services to blur images of so-called “soft targets” like schools, hospitals, churches and government buildings to protect them from terrorists. Assemblyman Joel Anderson, a San Diego Republican, said he decided to introduce his bill after reading reports suggesting that terrorists used online map imagery to plan attacks in Mumbai and elsewhere.

The ban, if enacted, could face legal challenges, as the right to publish images taken in public places has generally been protected by American courts. And of course, as an Associated Press article points out, images of many of the places Mr. Anderson is seeking to protect are easily available elsewhere.

That said, Google and Microsoft, and in some cases third-party imagery providers used by these companies, have voluntarily agreed to blur images of certain locations, ranging from the White House to shelters for victims of domestic violence.

(source) full article in link
  • bispo

First picture of Obama and his British stepmother inside the White House

These are the first pictures of Barack Obama inside the White House with his British stepmother.

Taken the day he was sworn in as President, they show him giving Kezia Obama and the rest of his extended family a tour of his new home.

Embraced by Mrs Obama, who travelled to Washington DC from her council house in Bracknell, the President proudly posed in an official reception for the family.

He is also surrounded by his half-brother Abongo, his sister-in-law, niece, nephew and other relatives, who all travelled from Kenya and were in the VIP enclosure for his inauguration in January.

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Kidnapping, Murder, and Drugs in Popular Mexican Destinations

By Ana Kasparian

In September of 2007 I traveled to a small town in Mexico that I completely fell in love with. Puerto Nuevo was beautiful, tranquil, and had the best lobster I've ever eaten. The seafood paradise is only a few miles south from Rosarito, which was the prime party spot for spring breakers and young travelers. In essence, Puerto Nuevo was heavenly for people like me.

But on February 20th, the U.S State Department issued an official statement discouraging American tourists from traveling south of the border because the drug war has gotten so bad that the Mexican military has stepped in to help prevent murders and kidnappings carried out by violent drug cartels. However, the military's interference seems to have motivated the two competing cartels to call a truce and merge into one.

There are reports that two of Mexico's deadliest drug cartels, the Sinaloa and Los Zetas, have reached a combined total of 100,000 foot soldiers. Just to put things in perspective, Mexico has an army of 130,000 people. Just last year alone, 7,000 Mexican civilians and American tourists died due to the drug war.

Drug cartel stories coming out of Mexico are beyond chilling. A friend's coworker was kidnapped from Rosarito last year during a spring break vacation. A few weeks after the girl's disappearance it turned out that members of one cartel killed her, stuffed her body with drugs, and tried to pass her through the border as a deceased American body. The cartels are finding horrendous ways to smuggle drugs into the U.S, and not many are optimistic that this problem will be resolved anytime soon. When it comes to U.S National Security concerns, Mexico is now behind Pakistan and Iran.

But experts argue that the Mexican war won't spill over into border towns in the U.S. Marco Papic, who is an analyst on international issues argues that it would not be in the drug traffickers' interest to cause a U.S. crack down on the border. He continues to say:

"Drug cartels need commercial traffic to continue. Any sort of disruption of commercial traffic across the border, any sort of large scale stoppage of the flow of goods and people would actually make it a lot more difficult for the Mexican cartels to ship drugs."

Papic's statement is ridiculous. Illegal drugs are being smuggled into the U.S. Isn't that bad enough? And American tourists have died because of the drug war. I think it's safe to say that the violence has already spilled over to America. Maybe cartels aren't killing Americans on U.S soil, but the mere fact that the drugs are being sent over to the U.S (because there is a market here for it) is bad enough, and the U.S should crack down on it.

It seems like a losing battle in Mexico. The cartels seem more powerful and influential than the actual Mexican government or the military, and I don't see how any country could halt such a powerful criminal force. I keep hearing stories about boys as young as 11 who are given guns to help reinforce the drug cartels' mission. With the war going on in the Middle East, and the economy in a mess, it's hard to say that the Obama Administration will really step in and help Mexico solve this problem.

That's a scary thought.
  • bispo

Playground One: Obama daughters get new swing set

Obama Swing Set
WASHINGTON (AFP) — President Barack Obama's young daughters Malia and Sasha got a huge surprise when they got home from school on Wednesday -- a brand new swing set, climbing frame and slide outside the Oval Office.

The new wooden playground, clearly visible on the grounds of the presidential mansion, includes a tire for swinging on, a steering wheel and a green roof.

The presidential daughters, who are still waiting to get the dog their dad promised them as a condition for him running for the White House, can now play away to their hearts' content in the gilded cage of the presidential mansion.

The Obama family has taken careful precautions to guard the privacy of Malia, 10, Sasha 7, as they grow up in the public eye.

News photographers were taken to see the new First Playground in an official unveiling, but the first daughters were nowhere to be seen, though staff said they earlier greeted the gift with squeals of delight when they first saw it.

The swing set, made from American Redwood and Cedar lumber was manufactured by a South Dakota firm, which true to Obama's drive to promote green energies and technologies, bills itself as an "environmentally responsible choice."

There was no immediate indication of how much the swing set cost.

(no subject)

RuPaul Vs. Elisabeth Hasselbeck On "Strong" Women

By Dodai, 3:30 PM on Wed Mar 4 2009, 4,577 views

An out-of-drag RuPaul was on The View this morning and, while opining that the era of the bimbo is over, he managed to offend the delicate sensibilities of Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The good news?

The audience sided with Ru. He posited that with Michelle Obama in the spotlight, there's no room in this country for peroxide blonde airheads. "It's okay for a woman to be smart again," he said. "We have a strong, incredible woman in the White House." Naturally, Hasselbeck had to quibble and nitpick and say that Laura Bush is strong, too… But when RuPaul asserted that history will prove that Michelle Obama is the strongest we've ever had, applause erupted. Clip above; fantasy in which a flawlessly madeup bewigged, high-heeled RuPaul kicks Hasselbeck's ass? Only in my head.



  • preeho

O Hai, Rush... Thx for all the help

How We All Helped Rush Limbaugh Buy His Tacky House

What is the best proof yet that Rush Limbaugh is the true voice of the modern, hilariously out-of-touch conservative movement? His tacky $44 million Palm Beach compound!

Limbaugh bought the big mansion there on in 1998 for a paltry $3.98 million, and picked up all the rest of those buildings bit by bit by the end of the decade. (All this before Rush's eight-year, $31 million contract in 2001 and eight year, $400+ million extension in 2008!) His neighbors have never really cared for him, because they're snooty elitists who look down on things like prescription drug abuse (at least, public prescription drug abuse).


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Kinda wish I'd known that he lived in PBC when I did ... so I could have thought about doing mean things to his ugly house. Gotta say, I did enjoy the parallel between Rush and Jane Fonda lol

P.S. any typos are totes from the sizzource. gotta love Gawker. XD

Unhealthily Large Sauce

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' jules


House Judiciary Committee secures Rove, Miers testimony on U.S. Attorney scandal.

After months of ignoring congressional subpoenas to testify, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have apparently agreed to discuss the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys with the House Judiciary Committee, the Committee announced this evening. Rove and Miers will submit transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury, and the Committee has reserved the right to have public testimony from the two former Bush aides. The agreement also states that invocations of official privileges must be significantly limited. Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) made the following statement:
I have long said that I would see this matter through to the end and am encouraged that we have finally broken through the Bush Administration’s claims of absolute immunity. This is a victory for the separation of powers and congressional oversight. It is also a vindication of the search for truth. I am determined to have it known whether U.S. Attorneys in the Department of Justice were fired for political reasons, and if so, by whom.
In January, Rove told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he had no intention of appearing before Congress for his February subpoena date. “Now Mr. Rove, if you need a place to hide out, we have it here at ‘The Factor,’” O’Reilly offered. “We have all kinds of tunnels and places we can put you.”


Pretty sure this is from the time that I tweeted him @KarlRove and reminded him that he was still subpoena'd. He probably forgot up until then.

University of Portland changes rape reporting policy

University of Portland changes rape reporting policy

Last year we reported how a University of Portland student, after reporting being raped, was threatened by the school with charges of underage drinking.

In making the university's decision, UP judicial coordinator Natalie Shank suggested to Kerns that she could have been charged with violating university policies herself.

"Based upon my findings in my investigation, I am unable to determine if a sexual assault occurred," Shank wrote May 3, 2007. "I have reason to believe that intercourse occurred, but both parties admit to drinking and therefore, consent--or lack of consent--is difficult to determine. Given these facts, there are possible violations for which you could be charged."

Well, we have some good news. According to, the school's sexual assault reporting policies have been revised.

The school handbook now reads:

"To foster the safety and security of the entire community, the University of Portland encourages reporting of all instances of sexual assault. However, no disciplinary action will be taken without the consent of the survivor. To remove barriers to reporting, the University will not pursue potential policy violations of the survivor which occurred in the context of the sexual assault. Likewise, the University will not pursue potential policy violations of a person who comes forward to report sexual assault."

I love good news.


Russia Today Interview w/Gloria Steinem.

Q: You know I thought about gender equality issues long before I came to the interview and can women really do everything that man can do and then I started asking myself: can I be a construction worker? No, I probably wouldn’t go through lunch break. Can I be a miner? No, I’d suffocate in three days. Can I be a really good director? You know what – probably not, cause I’m too sentimental. So there are really things that women in my view can’t do that man do, then how fair is it to ask men to be equal? Maybe the equality is not really the right term, maybe it’s really accepting each other’s differences versus the equality of genders, maybe it’s terminology…

A: Well, equality does not mean the same…

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Aaaand, I'm seething.

Murasaki Shikibu

And the stimulus is starting to be felt

'Shovels hit the ground' on stimulus project, Obama says

(CNN) -- President Obama said Tuesday that the country already is "seeing shovels hit the ground" on the first infrastructure repair project funded through the Transportation Department's share of the $787 billion stimulus bill.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "The work begins today in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a work crew is starting on a project to resurface Maryland State Highway 650 -- a very busy road that has not been fully repaired in 17 years."

The resurfacing contract is going to a Pennsylvania-based family-owned company, America Infrastructure, LaHood said.

He said the project will support 60 jobs. "And that's how we're going to get the country back on its feet," LaHood added.

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Shit's gettin' done goddam.
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' jules

Democrats can be hypocrites too. Plus: Bayh quotes Republican talking points, makes McConnell happy.

Evan Bayh and the Backbencher's Revolt

I kind of understand what Evan Bayh is trying to do. Despite being in the Senate for a full ten years, and in spite of serving on six full committees, he ranks no higher than fourth on any of them. He does hold two significant gavels: as chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support and the Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment. But, the bottom line is that Bayh is stuck as a relative bankbencher in the Senate with far below the level of institutional clout he should have acquired by now. He's up for reelection in two years and he wants to show that he's a player that is doing something for his home state. I don't begrudge him that.

But Bayh did two things today that annoy me. First, he put together a meeting of Democratic 'moderates' that are concerned about all the spending going on in Washington.
A group of 14 Senate Democrats and one independent huddled behind closed doors on Tuesday, discussing how centrists in that chamber can assert more leverage on the major policy debates that will dominate this Congress.Afterward, some in attendance made plain that they are getting jitters over the cost and expansive reach of Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal.
Then Bayh cast a vote in favor of John McCain's amendment to the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act.
The Senate just defeated an amendment, 63 to 32, by Senator John McCain that would have maintained federal agency spending at last year’s levels and deprived lawmakers of nearly 9,000 in earmarks.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is a member of Bayh's Gang of 15, also voted for McCain's amendment, but at least she is consistent: she is one of only five senators to request no earmarks in the Appropriations Omnibus bill. That's not something Bayh can claim.

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Centrist Dems Start Rebelling on Obama's Spending Plans

The first Democrat to signal his opposition to the Obama administration's $410 billion 2009 spending bill was Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ), who suggested that his vote might be in jeopardy if provisions loosening the Cuban trade embargo were kept in the measure.

But Menendez's complaints look like a drop in the bucket compared with the brewing rebellion among centrist Democrats who aren't sure they can support Obama's push to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans. Politico reports that 14 Dem senators (and Joe Lieberman, naturally) are meeting behind closed doors to discuss their discomfort with Obama's $3.55 trillion 2010 budget.

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uno, I expect no better of Bayh and Lieberman, and I can see how this appeals to McCaskill and Warner, but I expect better of Klobuchar. Either way, this seems like a very silly coalition, since many of its members (McCaskill, Casey) are Obama's closest Senate allies. They won't get in the way of his budget.

For more on the hypocrisy:
Oink, Oink! “Moderate” Budget Hypocrites Sure Love Their Pork
bu hui tong ma

Ahh, your friendly, neighborhood police

Two Officers Accused of Raping an Intoxicated Woman They Escorted Home

Published: March 1, 2009

Two police officers have been assigned to desk duty while prosecutors and the police investigate a complaint that at least one of them raped an intoxicated woman after they escorted her into her apartment in the East Village three months ago, the police said on Sunday.

Footage from a nearby bar’s video surveillance camera shows the two officers helping the woman into her building on Dec. 7 and returning twice during the next two hours, according to the bar owner, who provided the video to investigators.

The officers have been placed on modified duty and have had to turn in their guns and badges while investigators from the Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office look into the accusations of rape and another accusation of drug possession, the police said. No arrests have been made, the police said.

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EDIT: from mylaptopisevil: Partner Turns On Accused 'Rape' Cop

Another questionable discovery during the investigation was heroin found in Moreno's locker. Moreno reportedly claimed he forgot to report it, but apparently "the dope was found tightly wrapped in a package hidden in a cigarette box." A list of women's names and addresses were also found; the Daily News reported, "Investigators want to know if any of them were ever attacked."

The UK:
Officer 'raped woman at station'

A former police officer has gone on trial accused of raping two women, including one while he was on duty at a police station.

Trainee detective Timothy Jones allegedly attacked the woman after she was called to the station to discuss her complaint about a separate rape.

He also allegedly raped another woman at her home in 2007.

Mr Jones, from Rhyl, Denbighshire, denies three counts of rape and the trial continues at Mold Crown Court.

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What the sparkly blue fuck.
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Surging Towards Disaster in the "Afpak Theatre"

Disaster in the "Afpak Theatre"
Written by Tom Burghardt

by Tom Burghardt
On February 18, President Barack Obama ordered 17,000 additional U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan. Obama's announcement will result in a major escalation of America's bloody occupation of that war-ravaged country.

Currently, some 36,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, including some 6,000 sent in early January under orders by the outgoing Bush regime. In addition to U.S. forces, 32,000 troops from other NATO countries and a mix of "private military contractors" (armed mercenaries) occupy the Central Asian nation.

When coupled with increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the Pentagon and military strikes inside Pakistan, the prospects for regional war--with incalculable risks for the people of Central- and South Asia--have put paid Obama's electoral hyperbole that his would be a "change" administration.

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The city without a memory...

Treasures lost under collapsed Cologne archives

Roger Boyes in Berlin

The German city of Cologne woke up today without a memory.

As police used tracker dogs to try to unearth suvivors beneath the collapsed archives building, engineers were trying to work out how the 1971 institution – once regarded as a state-of-the-art documentation centre, copied across the world – could have simply collapsed, as if hit by a missile.

Some of Germany's most valuable documentary treasures may have been destroyed, wiped out in the three minutes it took for a six-storey building to become a pile of smouldering brickwork yesterday afternoon.

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A building right next to the archive with its shocked inhabitant, not long after the incident.



I know it sounds heartless to describe all this and - as something like an afterthought - add that there might be three people dead somewhere under all the rubble. Then again, they're not even sure about the latter.

And freaking hell, some of these documents have survived not just WWII, but also WWI - until now!
Prepare to die

And when the Lord doth created slash, he said unto himself "Lo! For that is hot."

Turns out PAD wasn't the one who ended scans_daily</lj>. It was the Hand of the Lord Almighty himself!

Today millions of sinful comic book fans worldwide are confused and in mourning, as the mighty hands of the most high smote their sinful kingdom named Scans Daily.

As you know, comic books have been used by the atheists and liberals alike to spread propaganda for the homogay agenda, Soviet communism, evolution and even NAZIsm.

Our research shows that kids who are allowed to read comics are 13% more likely to get infected with gay inducing spirits and have a STD by the time they reach college. Staggeringly, this percentage jumps up to a frightening 34% when teens are allowed to read bits and pieces of comics online. Uh... is it wrong that my first thought was "since when do comic nerds get laid?"

And that’s where Scans Daily came into play.

Our sources tell us that the bigoted tagline on the now defunct LiveJournal Scans Daily community read ‘If you don’t like homoerotic gay agenda, leave right now”, which showed no respect for those who like normal relationships and also tempted even more people to be defiant and see what sort of carnal comics Scans Daily had ‘under the cut’.

With Scans Daily now suspended by the standard mysterious ways of divinity, you can rest assured that teens will stop converting to atheism and partaking in things like drugs, premarital relations and fantasy violence.

So now parents and spouses worldwide can rest easy at night, knowing that information, news and ‘appreciation’ toward new comic releases will reach less people than ever before. Glory!


So, given how much homoerotic fun is had with politicians around these parts, how long do you think we have until the Lord smites
ontd_political</lj>with his wrath?

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