March 18th, 2009

stalin animated 2

Europe and NZ poles apart on sex trade

For the past six years, New Zealand has treated prostitution as a normal business. Brothels operate legally, and sex workers are subject to ordinary employment and health and safety rules. Some European governments, by contrast, have chosen to restrict the trade. Sex workers are calling for New Zealand-style liberalisation, but as Henri Astier reports in the second of two articles, they stand little chance of being heard.

When Norway criminalised the purchase of sex services in January, it took its cue from next-door Sweden, which pioneered the policy in 1999, rather than far-off New Zealand.

Wholesale decriminalisation may work in a South Pacific island nation, but the suggestion that it could work on a continent where ruthless gangs move all too freely strikes many as fanciful.

Collapse )

Bush says Obama 'deserves my silence'

He says he won't criticize new president and he plans to write a book

CALGARY, Alberta - Former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that he won't criticize Barack Obama because the new U.S. president "deserves my silence," and said he plans to write a book about the 12 toughest decisions he made in office.

Bush declined to critique the Obama administration in his first speech since leaving office in January. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Obama's decisions threatened America's safety.

"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena," Bush said. "He deserves my silence."

Bush said he wants Obama to succeed and said it's important that he has that support. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has said he hoped Obama would fail.

"I love my country a lot more than I love politics," Bush said. "I think it is essential that he be helped in office."


Collapse )




Hate speech = Speech I hate

Anti-Palestinian fliers hung near U. Maryland solidarity event

University of Maryland Palestinian students and supporters were confronted with malevolent opposition Tuesday in the form of posters bearing vivid anti-Palestine propaganda that students said made them feel threatened, though it did not stop Palestinian Solidarity Week from continuing Wednesday night.

University officials and University Police are conducting ongoing investigations into the incident, though they do not know who is responsible for making the posters. The event prompted a campuswide e-mail from university President Dan Mote yesterday in which he encouraged an "open dialogue" that promotes tolerance.
One such flier depicted a woman, wearing a traditional Muslim burqa and holding an AK-47 in one hand and a bomb-toting baby in the other. "What did she teach her child today?" was written above the picture.

This poster and others like it were found after Tuesday's "What would MLK Say About Gaza?" event, which was hosted by several student organizations.

"We were expecting some disagreement, but we never expected Islamophobic messages," said senior government and politics and Spanish major Sana Javed, who is also a member of the Muslim Students' Association. "We don't know where it's coming from, so we can't really point any fingers. It could get worse. I'm really appalled."

Senior dietetics major Gisica Abdallah was at Tuesday's event - which was held in Jimenez Hall - when her friends brought the posters to her attention. She initially dismissed them as a one-time thing, but when she got to McKeldin Library, she noticed signs covering the outside and lobby of the building.

"They were everywhere," Abdallah said. "The hatred that was portrayed, that was the most hurtful thing."

Abdallah then began tearing down as many signs as she could before running to the Stamp Student Union, where she brought the fliers to Vice President for Student Affairs Linda Clement.

"[The posters] made a number of our students feel very uncomfortable," Clement said. "We have been doing things all day to investigate the incident. ... We have people examining surveillance tapes in the union and will be working with University Police to try and figure out who did this."

Collapse )

Sauce here

"Hurtful", "uncomfortable", "hateful"... these kids sure have internalized the usual process of arguing that speech that they disagree with shouldn't be protected. I'm guessing that calling Americans "fearful and ignorant" doesn't count as those things for some reason.

(no subject)

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Anti-Gay Christian Student Group 

The Alliance Defense Fund, the losing-est Christianist outfit ever, has lost again.
UC Hastings College of the Law can deny recognition and funding to a Christian student group because it excludes gays, lesbians and non-Christians, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The San Francisco law school is entitled to require official student organizations to "accept all comers as members, even if those individuals disagree with the mission of the group," the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled. It said the school's policy is "viewpoint-neutral" and does not violate the rights of the Christian Legal Society.

The brief ruling cited the court's decision last year allowing a Washington state high school to deny recognition to a student Bible club that required members to endorse its religious creed. Last week, the club asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review that case. Both rulings allow public schools to "require religious organizations to include people in their groups who disagree with what the religious groups believe," said attorney Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal organization that is involved in both cases on behalf of the student groups. "That's a violation of the First Amendment, free speech and freedom of religion."
The Christian Legal Society has chapters at 165 law schools and in 2004 added a rule that barred membership to anyone engaging in "unrepentant homosexual conduct." Last month a federal judge ruled that California's public universities could deny funding and recognition to any group that practices discrimination.


Gay marriage will end the world. Literally. O___O

Faith leaders: Ban gay marriage in Minnesota or the world could end

The Minnesota Family Council says it will introduce an amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in Minnesota in the next few days. The group announced the new amendment push at a press conference with fundamentalist religious leaders on Tuesday.

Those leaders put forward a multifaith diatribe against gay and lesbian relationships stating that should gays get the right to marry, the world would end.


Collapse )



Jon Stewart will run the world if we're not careful. (Let's let him.)

How John Stewart became an Insufferable Prig:

There is a virtual ban on criticism of him in the press. Uncritical praise corrupts absolutely.



Stewart summed up the significance of what Cramer had said on the tape: “You can draw a straight line from those shenanigans to the stuff that was being pulled at Bear and at AIG, and all this derivative-market stuff,” he said sternly.

Except that you can’t draw any such line. In the video, Cramer hadn’t mentioned derivates or securitized loans or credit-default swaps, or any of the other exotic financial instruments that caused the fall of AIG and the current recession. There’s no evidence that Jim Cramer had anything to do with any of that, and Stewart didn’t offer any.

Before Cramer could defend himself, Stewart moved on to a new charge: Cramer and his colleagues at CNBC had known that the financial sector was in imminent danger of collapse, but had pretended otherwise—a ruse that Stewart described as “disingenuous at best and criminal at worst.”


Collapse )Source.

</b>There should be therapy sessions. Jim Cramer, Tucker Carlson, George Bush, Sarah Palin...all invited for pyschological damage repair.

Bitches like pink.

Hello, girls

Mar 12th 2009
From The Economist print edition
Recession-hit companies target female customers
Collapse )

Oh, Christ, they are just gonna make the packaging pink, put an ad in Marie Claire, and call it marketing to women. The comments at the source are pretty annoying.

New site: | US Govt issues new "climate science" brochures

New government brochure explains climate science
2 hrs 46 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Day after day reports of the dangers of climate change circulate in the news, often filled with confusing data and debate.

In an effort to improve understanding of climate science, a group of government agencies has combined efforts to produce "Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science."

Collapse )

community organizers ftw, his font got serifs goddam


YouTube 'spammed by US Congressmen'
YouTube, the internet hosting site, is being flooded with cringe worthy video messages from US politicians, it has been claimed.

Two months ago, the website added an official Congress channel, inviting Democrats and Republicans to share quirky political messages with voters.

But analysts say the move has been hampered by politicians’ inability to adapt to an online audience.

Andrew Rasiej, founder of the political technology site Personal Democracy Forum, said too many messages consist of warbling monologues that miss the point.

Other postings, including one by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, were said to be too eccentric or random to resonate.

In a minute-long video, Mrs Pelosi showed footage of her life behind the scenes in the Capitol Building through the eyes of two pet cats.

Making matters more bizarre, the minute-long film was captured to the strains of Rick Astley’s disco hit, Never Going To Give You Up.

Mr Rasiej said: “The problem for Nancy Pelosi, or anyone who tries to do this, is that you can’t fake authenticity.

“The more you try to make the video authentic, the more inauthentic it becomes. And Nancy Pelosi’s cat video is the perfect example of overdoing it, and watching one’s head disappear in a pool of quicksand.”

In another video, Democrat Tim Ryan promoted the virtues of driving an environmental car by referring to the vehicle as a “chick magnet”.

There has been some positive feedback, with many videos praised for their creativity and willingness to take a gamble.

But Mr Rasiej warned politicians against trying too hard to fit in with web culture.

He told Politico: “It is important that [politicians] understand it’s different culturally. They all need to relax. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”


  • Current Mood
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Press Corps Defends Dick Cheney From Robert Gibbs

Aren't the silly games of media politesse a wonder to behold? Dick Cheney was on CNN this weekend, fearmongering his behind off, as if he wasn't going to be able to enjoy his golden years unless he inspired fear in somebody, and no one really even bats a lash. I mean, the man is doing everything short of leaping out at people at public bus stops and screeching, "OBAMA GONNA GET YOU KEEEEELED! MWAHAHAHA!" Maybe there are people out there who think this is okay, but surely...SURELY! wouldn't begrudge the White House the opportunity to defend itself from the accusation that they are going to get people killed, with their policies, especially coming from a guy WHO DID get lots of people killed, with his policies.

And so, yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did just that, with tone and rhetoric that perfectly fit the nonsensical debate Cheney had set up. That should have been the end of it. But, no! Your press corps decided at that moment to straight up GET THE VAPORS, as if their delicate sensitivities had been offended. HOW DARE anyone question the statements of our widely unpopular former vice-president!

Chip Reid, we could expect this from, since he thinks Democrats all have ugly heads except his paramour Kent Conrad. But Chuck Todd? Really, Chuck? You're gonna play it like this?

Is Robert Gibbs' open disdain for Cheney acceptable to a president who promised to move beyond petty political squabbling? And does the president agree with Gibbs' description of the loyal opposition as "the Republican cabal"?

Honestly? There is a wide gap between participating in "petty political squabbling" and responding to a former Vice President who's loudly suggesting that Americans were going to die as a result of your boss. And as Greg Sargent notes:

Ask those questions if you want, but if they are going to be asked, simple fairness dictates that the following questions should also be asked:

Did Cheney's claim to CNN that Obama has raised the risk of another attack constitute "open disdain," and is it "acceptable" to both the White House press corps and the current GOP leadership? Does the current GOP leadership -- which has called for Obama and Dems to be "bipartisan" -- agree with Cheney's assertions? Why is Cheney's attack getting a free pass from the press, and why shouldn't Gibbs aggressively defend his boss against Cheney's broadside?


Sargent also points out: "There's no sign that First Read had any problem with Cheney's assault." Hell, FIRST READ is promoting Cheney's assault, including a video of it, right on their page!

NOTE TO THE MEDIA: You guys obviously haven't figured this out yet, but it's no longer necessary to worry about "having access" to Dick Cheney, so you can ease up on all the ass-kissing. Just thought you should know!


Stay classy Press Corps

(no subject)

"Manly" Women Considered Menace To Society

Officials in the UAE have launched a campaign designed to protect their country from "manly women," or what they describe as the "fourth gender" (read: lesbians).

The initiative will include educational campaigns and workshops that aim to re-feminize the women of Dubai. Naji Hay, an official at the ministry of social affairs, said: "The phenomenon of manly women has become apparent in society.... These women are against the normal nature of females. Their deviant behavior threatens other normal girls. This is why we had to launch this initiative to protect society from this menace."

[LA Times via Global Voices Online + Jezebel]

(no subject)

The Double-Standard: Is Women Hitting Men Ever Okay?

An indignant reader tipped us off to a a Chicago Sun-Times article that defends a woman who struck her husband after finding him with hookers. I wish I could say I'd never do that.

The truth is, I've hit boyfriends in anger. I'm not proud of it, and I debated not writing about it at all, but it's not something I've seen talked about much. I'm not talking beating, but when confronted with infidelity, I've slapped a boyfriend across the face, hard, and more than once, and shoved and struck too. Now, you might say these were extraordinary circumstances, or that because I'm a fairly small woman striking a much larger man it's not so bad, but the fact remains that if the tables were turned, such behavior would be considered appalling.


Collapse )

Hardly a scientific study, but the clip above from ABC's "What Would You Do" shows how many people in a public park reacted to man on woman vs. woman on man violence.  I thought it was interesting how the only person that actually intervened when the man was being attacked, made it seem as if they both were to blame.

Majority of Americans support Employee Free Choice Act

[Bosses are saying the EFCA would eliminate secret ballot elections for union recognition. Not so. Employers have never had to call for secret ballot election to recognize a union; it is just one option they can exercise -- and often do, because it gives them more time to fire pro-union people and draw out the process of union certification. The EFCA would say that if both the union and the boss want a secret ballot, a secret ballot election could still be held; it just wouldn't be the sole prerogative of the employer.]

March 17, 2009

Majority Receptive to Law Making Union Organizing Easier

But most Americans not closely following news about union bill in Congress

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll finds just over half of Americans, 53%, favoring a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers; 39% oppose it. This is a key issue at stake with the Employee Free Choice Act now being considered in Congress.

Collapse )
&#39; jules


Dems Fuming Over White House Plan To Make Vets Pay For Service Injuries

Democrats in Congress are organizing to squash a White House proposal that would require veterans to use private insurance to pay for treatment of their combat and service-related injuries.

In a letter being sent to the White House, a group of House Democrats, led by Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA), warned that such a proposal "could harm our veterans and their families in unintended, yet very serious ways, jeopardizing their families' health care and even negatively affecting veterans' employment opportunities."

"While we strongly support your plans to increase funding for the VA by $25 billion over the next five years," the letter reads, "it is with equal conviction that we oppose the proposal to bill veterans' private health insurance plans for care and treatment of service-connected injuries or disabilities."

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) is leading a similar effort in coordination with Nye. Her letter is even more forcefully worded, calling the White House proposal "deeply troubling" and charging that it "ignores the mission of the VA."

"We cannot compromise on the promise we have made to those who serve our Nation," Kirkpatrick states.

Additionally, in a statement to the Huffington Post, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, one of the foremost champions of veterans' concerns in the Senate, called the issue of outsourcing health coverage from the VA a non-starter.

"Treatment for service-connected injuries is clearly within the responsibility of the U.S. government through the Department of Veterans Affairs -- period," Webb said.

The Obama administration has insisted that they are non-committal when it comes to a final decision on the actual policy, and White House officials will meet for the second time with veterans groups on Wednesday.

Collapse )

this idea needs to be killed with extreme prejudice. It's the kind of bullshit I expected from McCain/Palin and veterans' rights is one of the big reasons I couldn't stand those flaming hypocrites.
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Dem 'Centrists' Plot To Hamstring Obama Agenda

Roll Call reports (subscription required) that a group of centrist Senate Democrats are working to block parts of President Obama's agenda. As Obama and Democratic leaders consider using a budget rule to bypass Republican filibusters, some in the party are not going along.

A bloc of Senate Democratic moderates is quietly maneuvering to keep open the option of vetoing two of President Barack Obama's most ambitious agenda items this year -- climate change and health care reform.

Eight Democrats who want to water down new climate change legislation have already joined with Republicans and signed a letter opposing any attempt to use fast-track budget rules to prevent filibusters. Many of the same Democrats also oppose using those budget rules to prevent filibusters of health care legislation.


Democrats aim to use a budget reconciliation rule to make some key proposals easier to pass. Under reconciliation, only 51 votes are needed to end debate and force a final vote, instead of 60.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) are among the eight Democrats who signed the letter opposing reconciliation. Republicans are on their side, claiming the move would break Obama's bipartisan pledge.

"That's absolutely a concern of a lot of people," Lincoln said. "We need everyone in the room. It needs to be done in a bipartisan way."

Meanwhile, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced the formation of a 15-person working group of moderate Senate Democrats on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday. He says they will focus on fiscal responsibility.


Reese Witherspoon

A.I.G. Chief Asks Bonus Recipients To Give Back Half

Edward M. Liddy, the embattled chief of A.I.G., was sworn in on Wednesday to testify before a House subcommittee.

WASHINGTON — As the lucrative bonuses paid to employees of the American International Group fueled fresh outrage at the White House and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the embattled chief executive of A.I.G. said that he had asked some recipients to give at least half the money back.

The chief executive, Edward M. Liddy, made the announcement during his testimony on Wednesday afternoon before a Congressional committee investigating the problems at the insurance giant.

“I have asked the employees of AIG Financial Products to step up and do the right thing,” Mr. Liddy told lawmakers. “Specifically, I have asked those who received retention payments of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments.”

The A.I.G. chief said that some recipients had already offered to give up all of their bonuses.

Collapse )

Big ol' SOURCE

Australian Government adds Wikileaks to banned website list

The Australian communications regulator has issued a stark warning that websites who link out to 'banned' hyperlinks are liable to fine of up to Aus $11,000 a day.

The news comes after web forum Whirlpool was threatened with the fine for posting a hyperlink to a blacklisted anti-abortion website.

Wikileaks blacklisted

One of the newest additions to Australia's 'blacklisted hyperlinks' list is Wikileaks; the website that publishes anonymous submissions of sensitive info on everything from corporations, religion and governments.

The blacklisting of certain pages of the site has come about after Wikileaks posted a list of websites at the tail end of 2008 that comprised the 'secret internet censorship' list for Denmark. On this list were over 3,500 sites that were censored or banned in the country.

Disturbing picture

While Australia's list of blacklisted sites currently stands at 1,370, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that that list could increase to around 10,000 sites – most of which are of illegal pornographic content, but could also includes sites that house incendiary political discussions.

"The Government is embarking on a deeply unpopular and troubling experiment to fine-tune its ability to censor the internet," said communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam of Australian opposition party Greens.

"If you consider this kind of net censorship in the context of Australia's anti-terror laws, it paints a disturbing picture indeed."

On its website, Wikileaks, which leaked the news that the government had banned it for leaking information, simply said: "The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship."

Currently, it is not illegal for internet users in Australia to click on the sites found on the web blacklist. The people targeted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are webmasters linking out to the sites that the government have flagged up as inappropriate.

This could all change, however, if a mandatory internet filtering censorship scheme is implemented – something that is being debated at the moment.

Via Sydney Morning Herald

By Marc Chacksfield


This is getting insane, I hope someone stands up and fights this shit.
  • Current Mood

Alaska to Kill Over 75% of Wolf Population in New Aerial Hunt

Alaska abruptly resumed shooting wolves from helicopters this weekend in hopes that shooting the wolves will increase the population of caribou for hunters to kill. The state plans to kill up to 328 wolves, sparing under 100 in the Yukon area.

Collapse )



Edit to clarify: This is the Upper Yukon population, not all of Alaska. It's still pretty disgusting. Here is more sauce that makes it clear.
  • bispo

Who Are The Anonymous ‘Three Or Four’ Senators In Bayh’s Blue Dog-Style Coalition?


This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) discussed the creation of a new group of “moderate” Democratic senators whose goal is to “restrain the influence of party liberals.” MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explained the implications of Bayh’s new group, saying “this is the group that will control the outcome politically on what can pass on the Senate floor.”

Bayh explained that his office would be issuing a press release detailing the group and its 15 inaugural members. This press release is now available and explains that the group is “will meet every other Tuesday before the Democratic Caucus lunch to discuss legislative strategies and ideas”:

[T]he Moderate Dems are joined by a shared commitment to pursue pragmatic, fiscally sustainable policies across a range of issues, such as deficit containment, health care reform, the housing crisis, educational reform, energy policy and climate change.

In addition to Bayh, Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) will lead the group. Other members include: Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

But Bayh also told MSNBC this morning that there are “three or four” members in what he called the “Witness Protection Program.” These members, Bayh explained, are currently attending the group’s meetings but do not wish to be “publicly identified.” Based on press reports, however, ThinkProgress has compiled a list of who might be the three anonymous “moderates.” The following members have been reported as attending Bayh’s meetings in recent weeks, but are not named in today’s press release:

Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)

Additionally, Bayh told MSNBC this morning that yesterday’s meeting featured a presentation by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) on the upcoming budget debate.

Steve Benen observes, “The president — you know, the one who just easily won a national election and enjoys strong approval ratings — will face governing challenges in a Senate in which his own party has 58 (eventually, 59) members. Part of the problem is Republican obstructionism, and part of it is Bayh and the Blue Dogs who feel more comfortable driving with their foot on the brake.”


(no subject)

Are prominent conservative pundits really in a catfight over body fat?

At first, it just made you go hmmm: Here was Meghan McCain, 24-year-old daughter of the former Republican presidential contender, blitzing the airwaves with her thoughts on what ails the GOP and using her column in Tina Brown's the Daily Beast to pick fights with Ann Coulter. In a deliberately controversial column that decried Coulter's tendency to deliberately court controversy, McCain wrote: "I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time." That earned her a week (now spilling into two) of prime time television spots including The Rachel Maddow Show and The Early Show.

But the blonde-on-blonde catfight spiraled into a third dimension of lowlights when conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham—perhaps feeling left out—mocked McCain on her show last Thursday (listen at link) for being, among other things, cute, liberal, and, er, "plus-sized." Meghan, forced now to defend her weight as well as her politics, posted what she termed a "thoughtful" response at the Daily Beast, criticizing Ingraham for making her size an issue, then took the fight to The View yesterday morning, winningly telling Ingraham—while, of course, channeling Tyra Banks—to "like, kiss my fat ass."

In case you're still scoring all this in the margins of your seventh-grade Brenda Walsh yearbooks, Ingraham then took yet another swipe at McCain on her blog, calling her a "useful idiot" and "flavor of the month."

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. This is the female version of the Rush Limbaugh-Michael Steele-David Frum smackdown for the soul of the GOP?

Collapse )

U.K. to monitor, store all social-network traffic?

Gov't may track all UK Facebook traffic

The UK government is considering the mass surveillance and retention of all user communications on social-networking sites including Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo.

Home Office security minister Vernon Coaker said on Monday that the EU Data Retention Directive, under which ISPs must store communications data for 12 months, does not go far enough. Communications such as those on social networking sites and instant messaging could also be monitored, he said.

"Social-networking sites, such as MySpace or Bebo, are not covered by the directive," said Coaker, speaking at a meeting of the House of Commons Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee.
"That is one reason why the government are looking at what we should do about the Intercept Modernisation Programme, because there are certain aspects of communications which are not covered by the directive."
Collapse )
barack eye

Moar AIG bullshit!

Dodd: Administration pushed for language protecting bonuses

(CNN) -- Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he added language to the federal stimulus bill to make sure contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money stayed in place.

Sen. Chris Dodd said Tuesday he had no idea how an exemption clause got inserted into the stimulus bill.

Sen. Chris Dodd said Tuesday he had no idea how an exemption clause got inserted into the stimulus bill.

CNN) -- Senate Banking committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, appears on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Wednesday.

Dodd acknowledged his role in the change after a Treasury Department official told CNN the administration pushed for the language.

Both Dodd and the official, who asked not to be named, said it was because administration officials were afraid the government would face numerous lawsuits without the new language.

Dodd, a Democrat, told CNN's Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer that Obama administration officials pushed for the language to an amendment designed to limit bonuses and "golden parachutes" at those companies.

"The administration had expressed reservations," Dodd said. "They asked for modifications. The alternative was losing the amendment entirely."

Rest at the source.

For some reason, I can't get the coding to work and the cut's not doing anything. O_o


  • Current Mood
anime, technology

'Battlestar Galactica' Takes Over United Nations

NEW YORK — A critically-hailed show such as "Battlestar Galactica" can deftly blur the line between fiction and reality. That was on full display last night at the United Nations, where "Battlestar" producers and cast joined UN officials for a somewhat surreal discussion on real-world issues such as human rights and questions of justice.

"Battlestar" representatives included executive producers Ron Moore and David Eick, as well as actors Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell. They sat at the head of a chamber for the UN Economic and Social Council, which some savvy UN political officers had transformed into the real-life equivalent of the Quorum in "Battlestar." Attendees filled representative seats labeled by placards with the names of the 12 Colonies on the show, such as "Caprica," "Canceron" and "Aerilon."

The event, titled "Battlestar Galactica: A Retrospective," seemed well-timed with Battlestar's two-hour finale airing this Friday. But most of the evening focused on questions about the show's past episodes involving real-life intersections, rather than potential spoilers about the final fates of humans and Cylons.

Whoopi Goldberg acted as moderator, with her self-professed love for "Battlestar" perhaps holding more weight for the audience than her roles as UN ambassador, Oscar-winning actress and co-host of "The View." She kept the session moving along as video clips from the show introduced themes that included "human rights," "children and armed conflict," "terrorism" and "reconciliation and dialogue among civilizations and faiths."

Four UN officials discussed the international organization's work relating to the themes after each video presentation.

"Water boarding and torture! Madam President, shame on you," said Craig Mokhiber, deputy director for New York's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as he joked around with McDonnell, who plays President Laura Roslin on the show.

Some of the thematic parallels seemed a bit forced, but the show's scenes about human rights and terrorism fit particularly well. UN officials continually mentioned eerie echoes of the real world in "Battlestar."

"I've heard these words from people before, and they weren't actors," said Robert Orr, a UN assistant secretary-general for policy planning. He singled out the "Battlestar" story arc on New Caprica that deals with issues of insurgency and terrorism, and thanked Moore and Eick for creating a show which gave people cause to think about such issues.

Moore said that he continually tried to use "Battlestar" to flip familiar situations and put the audience in uncomfortable spots — such as creating situations where humans resorted to suicide bombings and torture against the Cylons, the supposed "villains" at the start of the show who gradually become more sympathetic.

"We challenge the audience in a lot of ways," Moore said, adding that the show has had viewers "question heroes" and "root for the villains."

"Even if you end up believing at the end the exact same thing you thought at the beginning, at least you thought about it," Moore added.

McDonnell fielded a question from a high school student about her character's penchant for executing people by throwing them out the airlock. She noted that it was a "haunting experience" to stay committed to the character of President Roslin at those times, but added that Roslin and other characters often acted out of sense of fear.

"People who are taking these actions that we find unacceptable are sometimes in the positions where they don't see the solution," McDonnell said.

Perhaps the evening's highlight came when Olmos went on a partial tangent about the use of the word "race," and forcefully argued that the only race which counted was the "human race." He drew increasingly louder clapping and cheers as he proceeded to channel the charismatic leadership of his Battlestar character, Admiral William Adama.

"And then I end up well prepared as the admiral of Battlestar Galactica to say to all of you, there but one race, and that is it! So say we all!" Olmos said, invoking a common "Battlestar" chant used on the show.

"So say we all!" the crowd roared back, responding twice more as Adama's voice rose to a shout. Wild applause filled the chamber, and for a moment it wasn't hard to imagine being on the hangar deck of Galactica.

"I love that you did that here at the UN," Goldberg said after everyone had calmed down.


I've seen it all, I think.

  • Current Mood
fleur de lis

NBC CEO Jeff Zucker Slams Jon Stewart

By Paul Thomasch
Wed Mar 18, 9:14 AM PDT

NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker fired back at comedian Jon Stewart on Wednesday, saying it was "unfair" and "absurd" for the funnyman to criticize CNBC and question its coverage of financial news. "Everybody wants to find a scapegoat. That's human nature," Zucker said during a keynote address at a media industry conference. "But to suggest that the business media or CNBC was responsible for what is going on now is absurd. [...] Just because someone who mocks authority says something doesn't make it so," Zucker said, describing the comedian's comments as "completely out of line."

Zucker's comments are the latest salvo in a war of words with Stewart, who hosts the mock news program "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on the Comedy Central cable television network owned by Viacom Inc. Stewart has blasted CNBC's reporting of the financial market meltdown, saying the channel was too cozy with corporate chiefs and key government officials.

Zucker, speaking at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York on Wednesday, said that CNBC's reporters and commentators had done a "terrific" job and the network remained a "go-to" place for financial news. "It's unfair to CNBC and to the business media in general," Zucker said. "I don't think you can blame what happened here on the business media."

Source: Reuters
kurt blaine intimacy

Police Brutality...Again

I wonder, if shit like this will finally clue white people (outside of ontd_p) in on how dangerous the police are. (Blacks and hispanics have known for a long time.) You can be face down, on the ground, in handcuffs and these mufukkas will still shoot you in the back and accuse you of "resisting arrest." Even if only 10% of police are brutalizers, they other 90% enable them. And since 9/11 no one really wants to criticize our "heroic" men and women, especialy the people in power who could demand some kind of incresed oversight or tighter regulations on police behavior.
  • bispo

Bust of MLK Joins President Obama in Oval Office

Well, here's another way President Obama has put his historic stamp on the presidency. With no fanfare or media attention, President Obama last month added a new decoration to the Oval Office: a 12 5/8" bronze bust of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

The work, titled "Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)," is by celebrated African-American sculptor Charles Alston -- the first African-American instructor at the Art Students League -- who died in 1977.

Ht_mlk_bust_090318_blogCreated in 1970, it was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in 1974.

When the Smithsonian lent the bust to the President Bill Clinton's White House in 2000 to be displayed in the White House Library, that marked, believe it or not, the very first time that the image of an African-American was displayed in a public space in the White House.

Pretty astounding, when you think about it, given the bust's current place of honor.

The King bust sits near the fireplace and adjacent a bust of President Abraham Lincoln, with the two legendary Americans facing President Obama when he sits at the HMS Resolute Desk. The Lincoln bust sits where a bust of Sir Winston Churchill -- on loan from the British Embassy after the 9/11 attacks, and returned before Mr. Obama's inauguration -- once sat.

Futurama--Angry Dome

Girl's kin try in vain to restrict released sex abuser

State officials, lawmakers and law enforcement are telling the family of a 9-year-old girl there is nothing more they can do to protect her from the teenager who assaulted her and has said he would do it again.

Kathy Caviness of Knoxville, the girl's grandmother, says she has been trying in vain to get Iowa legislators and other state officials to do something to restrict the convicted sex offender, who is now 18 years old.

Dustin Richards of Ames was released from treatment when he became an adult and "aged out" of Iowa's juvenile justice system.

"He's going to offend again," Caviness predicted. "It's just a matter of how and who."

Collapse )

Sick. Just sick. Ugh, I'm ashamed to be an Iowan reading shit like this. *angry face*
  • Current Mood
  • bispo

Cherry-Picker in Chief

FiveThirtyEight Exclusive: Obama NCAA Bracket Suggests Bias Toward Schools from Swing States

Is President Obama playing favorites with his NCAA bracket? Neither Columbia University nor the University of Chicago have an entry in the Big Dance (the Maroons, alas, aren't even in D-1). Nor does the University of Hawaii or Oregon State University, where Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, is the coach. The University of Illinois did make the bracket as a #5 seed; Obama has them winning their first round game against Western Kentucky, but then succumbing to the #4-seeded Gonzaga.

There is more than one way, however, for the President to play favorites. Was Obama more inclined to select teams from swing states that were closer in last November's election? A bit of reverse engineering of his bracket suggests that the answer is a qualified yes.

There are 63 games in the men's tournament. In one case, two teams from the same state (Louisville and Morehead State, both from Kentucky) are set to square off. In the other 62 games, Obama has the team from the state which was closer in the November election advancing 35 times (56% of the total).

This in and of itself is not that definitive. Such an outcome could easily have emerged through chance alone. Nor have we accounted for the respective seeds of the teams (the President was highly disinclined to pick underdogs). So a somewhat more rigorous analysis is required.

To do so, I set up a simple logistic regression model containing two independent and one dependent variable. The dependent variable is an indication of whether Obama picked the favorite or the underdog; the variable took on the value of 1 if Obama selected the favorite (that is, the team with the lower seed) and 0 if he took the underdog (the team with the higher seed). In cases where both teams had the same seed (this only occurs once the teams reach the Final 4), the favorite is designated as the team with the higher Associated Press ranking.

The first dependent variable, seeddiff, is the seeding difference between the two clubs. For example, in a game featuring a 7-seed and a 10-seed, seeddiff is 3.

Collapse )