March 19th, 2009


Obama Would Crush Sarah Palin In 2012: Poll

Obama Would Crush Sarah Palin In 2012: Poll

A poll released by Public Policy Polling found that President Obama would crush Sarah Palin in a hypothetical, head-to-head presidential election for 2012.

Polling suggests that such a contest would result in the largest popular vote blowout since George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in 1972.

Obama leads Palin 55-35 in the hypothetical contest. He has an 89-7 advantage among Democrats. Among Republican he trails 66-17. Last year exit polls showed Obama
winning only 9% of the Republican vote, so it appears Palin would lose a lot more voters
within her party than McCain did.

The poll showed Obama to have a 55 percent approval rating among voters, while Palin had only 39 percent favorability.

New Mexico Bans Death Penalty

New Mexico Bans Death Penalty

Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation Wednesday repealing New Mexico's death penalty, making it the second state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Richardson, a Democrat who formerly supported capital punishment, said signing the bill was the "most difficult decision" of his political life but that "the potential for ... execution of an innocent person stands as anathema to our very sensibilities as human beings."

Richardson said he made the decision after going to the state penitentiary, where he saw the death chamber and visited the maximum security unit where those sentenced to life without parole could be housed.

"My conclusion was those cells are something that may be worse than death," he said. "I believe this is a just punishment."
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bristol; hrmph.


Four Fannie Mae Execs to Get Big Bonuses

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae planned to pay four top executives retention bonuses ranging from $470,000 to $611,000, according to a February SEC filing.

Executive vice presidents Kenneth Bacon, David Hisey, Michael Williams and Thomas Lund will be receiving bonuses of close to half a million dollars each. Bacon supervises community development for the company, Hisey is its deputy chief financial officer, Williams is its COO and Lund oversees the single-family mortgage business.

By contrast, Fannie Mae CFO David Johnson received no bonus on top of his salary of $625,000, while CEO Herb Allison received no compensation or bonuses in 2008 or 2009.

A spokesman for Fannie Mae deferred comment on the bonuses to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The bonuses were necessary to keep Fannie's most experienced executives working to reverse the effects of the mortgage crisis, FHFA Director James B. Lockhart told CNN.

"As the previous senior management teams left, it would have been catastrophic to lose the next layers down and other highly experienced employees," Lockhart said in a statement.

"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased 73 percent of all mortgages originated last year and are the key players in the Making Home Affordable plan designed to help millions of homeowners. Many employees have received significant pay reductions, with no bonuses for 2008 performance and all past stock grants are virtually worthless. This retention program is pay for specific efforts underway now to meet national goals," he said.

On Tuesday, two key senators announced a plan to impose a hefty tax on retention bonuses paid to executives of companies that received federal bailout money or in which the United States has at least a 50 percent equity interest -- including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG.

"Millions of Americans are losing their jobs. Millions. And to some degree they're losing their jobs because of actions taken by some of these firms," said Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and Senate Finance Committee chairman.

"At the same time, they're giving themselves bonuses. I mean, give me a break. What are these people thinking? That's part of the problem. They're not thinking."

Fannie and Freddie serve a crucial role in keeping the housing market liquid, giving banks and lenders the ability to sell the loans they make in order to have the funds to make additional loans to consumers.

But the companies, trying to meet the competing interests of the greater market and their shareholders, began to buy up risky subprime loans, which were generally made without income verification.

When the housing bubble burst last year, the firms began rapidly losing money and eventually became unsustainable without government intervention.

fleur de lis

Obama at a Turning Point with Wall Street Bailouts

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"Going forward, in the next days, weeks, months ahead, will Geithner and Summers actually change? Will they continue to protect the banks and the bankers and not the American taxpayer or the economy overall? If they don't shift on those goals and priorities, as President Obama has indicated here, they have to go; they have to be fired. We're going to judge them based on their actions, and not just their words."

II. From Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times, "The Potentially Larger AIG Problem":
The political hue and cry over the millions in bonuses for AIG execs has hit fever pitch but there are major questions about what AIG has done with far larger portions of the federal bailout money it's received over the past year than the $165 million in bonuses given to derivatives traders. AIG disclosed on Sunday night that it has given over $100 billion—more than half of the $173 billion in federal dollars—to other financial institutions and state municipalities.
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"AIG was not much more that a conduit for government money which really went to the counterparties. So, in effect, the U.S. was not just bailing out AIG, it was bailing out the counterparties. Many were foreign banks which is part of the outrage," he said. You can see the whole list of companies that have taken AIG money, and how much, by clicking here. And there are questions about why Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that has employed past Treasury Secretaries such as Henry Paulson (Bush) and Robert Rubin (Clinton), has received about $13 billion after saying last fall that it didn't need any help.
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Source: The Washington Times

III. From Eliot Spitzer's "The Real AIG Scandal": Collapse )

Cramer, Stewart Feud Continues: Cramer Calls It "Naive And Misleading...To Attack The Media"

This morning, CNBC's Jim Cramer made his first appearance on the Today show since his face-off with Jon Stewart last week. But Cramer ran into some more tough questioning from host Meredith Vieira.

"You had a rough week," she told Cramer. "[Stewart] was very tough on you, tough on CNBC, basically said you had been cheerleaders for the financial bubble and you also allowed CEOs to come on the shows and essentially lie to the American public without really challenging them. I don't want to rehash the whole thing, but didn't he have a point?"

Cramer said no and called it "a naive and misleading thing to attack the media."

"We weren't behind this. CNBC, in particular, has been out front on this," he argued. "I think there are people who bear so much more responsibility [than the media] that it's just wrong-headed -- the politicians, the regulators, the SEC, the lenders, the investment banks. ... It's just a naive focus, it really is Meredith."

Cramer, Stewart Feud Continues: Cramer Calls It "Naive And Misleading...To Attack The Media" (follow link to watch video)
  • bispo

'Undercover Putin In KGB Reagan Ruse'

Vladimir Putin as a tourist

Does this picture show Putin pretending to be a tourist? (pic: Pete Souza)


The 20-year old photo depicts two world leaders - US President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - in Moscow.

But, according to the man who took the photo, it also captures Mr Putin disguised as a tourist.

Pete Souza, now President Obama's official photographer, captured the moment when he worked for President Reagan during the political thaw that soon ended the Cold War.

Mr Reagan took a stroll around Red Square accompanied by the Russian leader, who then introduced him to a group of tourists.

In an interview, Mr Souza recounted being surprised at the "pointed" questions these supposed tourists asked the US leader.

They included searching enquiries on the state of human rights in the US.

The identity of the man on the left of the photo - complete with camera round his neck - was later revealed and "verified" to Mr Souza as none other than Mr Putin.

The planting of KGB officers as bystanders was a common practice in Soviet times.

During the tense stand-off of the Cold War, they would be used to challenge foreign leaders during visits to Russia.

But, while acknowledging this practice, a Russian political analyst and author of books on Vladimir Putin dismissed Mr Souza's claims as "nonsense".

"Vladimir Putin was a major serving in Dresden and he wasn't important enough at that time to be brought to Moscow", said Andrey Piontkovsky.

Mr Putin served as a KGB officer in the East German city of Dresden.

He was stationed there from 1985 until the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was later called back to Russia.

Not a huge amount is known about his work there, but it is widely believed he was a middle-ranking agent on his first and only foreign posting.

  • bispo

Rice: ‘No One Was Arguing That Saddam Hussein Somehow Had Something To Do With 9/11′

On PBS’s Charlie Rose yesterday — six years after the eve of the Iraq invasion — former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice discussed the decision to invade Iraq. Rice said she has had no “second thoughts” about striking the country, and when pressed by Rose on whether Saddam Hussein had connections to 9/11, Rice blankly said that “no one” believed in such a link:

ROSE: But you didn’t believe it had anything to do with 9/11.

RICE: No. No one was arguing that Saddam Hussein somehow had something to do with 9/11.

ROSE: No one.

RICE: I was certainly not. The President was certainly not. … That’s right. We were not arguing that.

Rose also tried to press Rice on whether Cheney pushed the link, but she didn’t answer. Watch it:

Of course, there was no link between Saddam and 9/11. But these supposed ties formed the basis of the administration’s causus belli. A letter from the White House to the House Speaker on March 18, 2003, read:

“(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”

In his book, Bush At War, Bob Woodward noted that Bush said after 9/11, “I believe Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now.” Rice was no exception either. On Sept. 15, 2002, she said that Saddam had “links to terrorism [that] would include al-Qaeda.” As late as September 2006, she remarked, “there were ties going on between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back for a decade.” Cheney still believes there was a link between Iraq and al Qaeda.

In recent weeks, former Bush administration officials have continued to push the link. Bush maintains that he was right to make a false link between Iraq and 9/11. Former press secretary Ari Fleischer said last week, “But after September 11th, having been being hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?”


Inmate Who Ate His Own Eye, Ruled Sane By Texas Judge

HOUSTON — A condemned Texas inmate who removed his only eye and ate it in a bizarre outburst several months ago on death row is "crazy," yet sane under state law, a judge wrote in an appellate court ruling Wednesday that rejected his appeals.

Andre Thomas raised 44 claims in his petition to the state's highest criminal court, challenging his conviction and death sentence for the murder of his estranged wife's 13-month-old daughter five years ago in Grayson County in North Texas.

His wife and their 4-year-old son were killed in the same attack. The victims were stabbed and their hearts were ripped out. Thomas, 26, of Texoma, walked into the Sherman Police Department, admitted to the killings and said God told him to commit them.

The nine-member Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously upheld Thomas' conviction and punishment.


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Reasonable people might differ on his sanity? THE GUY YANKED OUT HIS EYEBALL AND ATE   IT!!!!!!!!!!!


And the judge, prosecutor, and jury thought it could be because he had a drug problem? And not because he's oh, I don't know FUCKING CUCKOO FOR COCOA PUFFS???

Christ on a crutch. Sometimes I think I'd save waaaaaay more time if I just made a list of the things that aren't totally wrong with my state.
' jules

(no subject)

‘Stop-Loss’ Will All but End by 2011, Gates Says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that, over two years, he would all but eliminate an unpopular practice that has prevented tens of thousands of active-duty soldiers and reservists from leaving military service on time if they were scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

More than 13,000 soldiers remain unable to exit the military under the policy, known as stop-loss, which was put in effect after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and then expanded in 2004 as the Army struggled to sustain two large war efforts.

The policy has been intensely unpopular with troops and their families, some of whom have denounced it as a back-door draft. Some 120,000 soldiers have been affected by stop-loss in its various forms since 2001, Army officials said Wednesday, a practice that Mr. Gates said had amounted to “breaking faith” with those in uniform.

With the strain on the Army projected to ease in the years ahead, Mr. Gates announced a timetable that would cut in half by June 2010 the number of troops affected by stop-loss, with the practice all but eliminated by March 2011.

He said he was able to take the step now because of plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq more quickly than they are increased in Afghanistan and because of an enlargement that has increased the size of the active-duty Army to more than 547,000 troops, a level it had not been projected to reach until 2012.

The number of troops affected by stop-loss increased sharply under the troop increase for Iraq that President George W. Bush ordered in early 2007. Mr. Gates cautioned that “scores,” but not thousands, of soldiers might continue to be affected by the policy after March 2011 if they had skills that were particularly important to the war effort.

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  • Current Music
    Philip Glass - Metamorphosis One
  • Tags

Wife divorcing ex-CEO: $43 million not enough

The tall one.

HARTFORD, Conn. - A 36-year-old Swedish countess divorcing a former CEO says she cannot live on $43 million.

Marie Douglas-David, a former investment banker, says she has no income and needs her 67-year-old husband, George David, to pay her more than $53,000 a week — more than most U.S. households make in a year — to cover her expenses.

David stepped down last year as chief executive at Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. but is still chairman of the board and has an estimated net worth of $329 million. He and his wife accuse each other of extramarital affairs. Their divorce trial started Wednesday.

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the whole of time and space


The Daily Me
Nicholas D. Kristof

Some of the obituaries these days aren’t in the newspapers but are for the newspapers. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is the latest to pass away, save for a remnant that will exist only in cyberspace, and the public is increasingly seeking its news not from mainstream television networks or ink-on-dead-trees but from grazing online.

When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper. We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about.

Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that’s the trend, God save us from ourselves.

That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.

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Me-Flavored Sauce
Stock ⇒ Heart
  • rose

Creationism a kind of paganism claims Vatican astronomer.

BELIEVING that God created the universe in six days is a form of superstitious paganism, the Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno claimed yesterday.
Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a "destructive myth" had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies.

He desc

ribed creationism, whose supporters want it taught in schools alongside evolution, as a "kind of paganism" because it harked back to the days of "nature gods" who were responsible for natural events.

Brother Consolmagno argued that the Christian God was a supernatural one, a belief that had led the clergy in the past to become involved in science to seek natural reasons for phenomena such as thunder and lightning, which had been previously attributed to vengeful gods. "Knowledge is dangerous, but so is ignorance. That's why science and religion need to talk to each other," he said.

"Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism - it's turning God into a nature god. And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not be a good thing to do."

Brother Consolmagno, who was due to give a speech at the Glasgow Science Centre last night, entitled "Why the Pope has an Astronomer", said the idea of papal infallibility had been a "PR disaster". What it actually meant was that, on matters of faith, followers should accept "somebody has got to be the boss, the final authority".

"It's not like he has a magic power, that God whispers the truth in his ear," he said.

  • Current Mood

Schwarzenegger to help Obama answer GOP critics


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- President Barack Obama is playing a bit of divide and conquer this week, pitting his Republican critics in Washington against GOP governors and mayors eager for the federal money that his hard-fought stimulus plan will bring. Next on the list of Republican notables to embrace the president is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is to join Obama at a town hall meeting Thursday in Los Angeles.

Congress recently enacted Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill without a single House Republican's vote, and with only three GOP senators' votes.

Republican governors have had mixed reactions to the massive measure. Some hardline conservatives, such as Mark Sanford of South Carolina, have rejected portions of the economic bounty.

Other GOP governors, including Charlie Crist of Florida, have welcomed Obama and the stimulus money. Schwarzenegger is casting his lot with that group.

As Obama began his two-day Southern California visit Wednesday in Costa Mesa, the White House released a list of projects to be funded with stimulus money. They include adding an eastbound lane to the Riverside Freeway/SR91 in Orange County. Obama's mention of the project drew cheers from a crowd of 1,300 that greeted him in Costa Mesa.

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Ray Milland

Laura Ingraham

From Crooks and Liars:

Laura Ingraham filled in for Bill O'Reilly last night, and demonstrated that she might actually have some of O'Reilly's chops. For instance, just like O'Reilly, she was able to look in the camera and flat-out lie with a straight face. That's quite a gift.

Indeed, she delivered her a defense of her recent unkind remarks about Meghan McCain with a certain frozen-mask bravado -- by nakedly claiming she didn't actually say what everyone can hear her saying:

Ingraham: Let the record show: I never called Meghan McCain fat! She isn't! And as I have repeatedly said on my radio show and on Fox, she is an attractive young woman. If that throwaway comic line highlighted anything, it was Hollywood's obsession with stick-figure women!

Hmmm. Well, here's the transcript from her radio show:

MCCAIN (on MSNBC): And I think there's an extreme on both parties and I hate extreme. I don't understand. I have friends that are the most radically conservative and radically liberal people possibly ever and we all get along. We can find a middle ground.

INGRAHAM (mocking): OK, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don't like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way. And on this 50th anniversary of Barbie, I really have something to say.

It's all part of a left-wing conspiracy to silence Ingraham, you see. That's what it's about:

Ingraham: The Obama attack dogs can twist my words, engage in emotional exploitation, and distort my intentions. But they will never, ever, silence me.

I just posted this to marvel at the persecution complex of right wingers. Their victim complex is unique in the annals of psychology. Everything that is even remotely critical of them is an attack by those evil liberals on their freedom of speech and an attempt to silence and censor them. They just love to play the victim and whine about how they're a persecuted minority. It's one of the central strategies in gaining power. 


Stephen Colbert freaks out Today hostess: "I have twatted," live, on-air

I saw this when it happened live. Pretty funny. Today show hostess Meredith Viera has a mini-heart attack. "Oh, my God."

Video not embeddable (that I can tell. Link below goes to TMZ site's video.

MEREDITH VIERA: "Do you Twitter? Do you tweet?"

STEPHEN COLBERT: "I have twatted."

MEREDITH VIERA: "Oh my gosh .... Ummmm....."

STEPHEN COLBERT: *blink* *blink*

Then, inexplicably, Viera responds, "So have I!"

Oh, reaaallllyy?? 0_0
nanami miracles
  • i_m_pk

Obama tells North Carolina not to "embarrass him"

Presidential pick 'em at the White House takes an exclusive look at President Obama's bracket

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama has studied Lincoln and FDR to help guide him through the early stages of his presidency.

But he is very much a modern man, never too far from keeping up with the latest college basketball injury updates, the depth issues of Oklahoma, the strong finish by Florida State and the late entry into the NCAA tournament by Arizona.
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TLDR: Obama picks UNC for #1. As much as I love my Jayhawks, I don't think they'll get past Mich. State either.

(My HTML fail is showing) Source:
  • turi

Ted Haggard And Wife To Appear On Divorce Court To Talk About How They Aren't Divorcing

Ted Haggard And Wife To Appear On Divorce Court To Talk About How They Aren't Divorcing

The Ted Haggard Shameless Publicity Tour rolls on.
Former evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and his wife are planning another TV appearance, this time to talk about their marriage. The two are in Los Angeles taping an appearance on the Universal Fox show "Divorce Court," to be broadcast nationally April 1. The show's presiding judge, Lynn Toler, is interviewing the couple about how their marriage survived after a male prostitute from Denver alleged a cash-for-sex relationship with Ted Haggard in November 2006, executive producer Mark Koberg said. The scandal prompted Haggard to resign as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The Haggards say their marriage and Christian faith are stronger than ever, and they want people to know that divorce is not the answer. "This is part of Ted's journey," Gayle Haggard said. "It's made him a better man. I see what has happened as a divine rescue." She said she was helped through her darkest hours by the biblical principles of forgiveness, compassion and steadfastness, along with her husband's genuine repentance. The couple will be paid an undisclosed amount for the interview.

The Teen Rape Double Standard

The Teen Rape Double Standard
by Constantino Diaz-Duran
March 19, 2009 | 6:46am

BS Top - Diaz Duran Youth Sex

When a 17-year-old boy had sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend he was charged with a felony for statutory rape. When a 17-year-old girl in the same town commited the same crime, she was charged with far less. Was the boy the victim of gender bias?

Alan Jepsen was playing video games at his home in Sheboygan, Wis., when the cops came knocking on his door. He was handcuffed in front of his sister and thrown in jail. In the words of his attorney, Jeffrey Purnell, “This child, this 17-year-old high school kid, had to spend a week in jail—they locked him up and they put him in jail with grown-ups.”
His crime: Having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend. And, perphaps, being a boy.

“These are kids,” said Purnell. “It’s ridiculous. Lawmakers criminalize common behavior among children, and it’s frustrating, really.”

The day after Alan's arrest, Sheboygan authorities arrested Norma Guthrie, also 17, for having sex with her 14-year-old boyfriend. Norma, however, did not have to spend a single day in jail. She was released immediately, on signature bond, while Alan was held on a $1,000 cash bond, which his family could not afford. Sheboygan County Assistant District Attorney Jim Haasch is handling both cases.

The disparity in the punishment of these 17-year-olds, both accused of having sex with the 14-year-olds they were dating, goes much deeper. Haasch charged Alan with a Class C felony, which, according to court records obtained by The Daily Beast, carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years. Norma, on the other hand, was charged only with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of nine months in jail.

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' jules

A few days old but I forgot to post it earlier

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) Talks To Rachel Maddow

Hagel To GOP: If You Don't Govern Seriously, You Become Irrelevant

Former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel is now vocally blasting his party -- or more specifically, the state of the party as it stands now under the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele.

Hagel spoke to David Corn yesterday, describing Rush Limbaugh as "the center of gravity" for the current GOP. "We need a new center of gravity," Hagel made clear.

Hagel was also sharply critical of Michael Steele's public discussion about potential primary challenges to Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for backing the stimulus bill. "People expect serious people to deal with serious issues and to govern seriously," said Hagel. "And when you don't do that, you become irrelevant."


Six Year Old Marriage Definition SHOCKS YouTube User

THIS JUST IN! Merriam-Webster added a secondary meaning for "marriage" to include the same-sex version, defining it as "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage." The change, actually, isn't news; M-W updated the term in 2003, before any state permitted same-sex marriage. Except guess who just found out about the radical liberal Massachusetts dictionary company? World Net Crazy!

Bill Introduced to End Mandatory Minimums in All Drug Cases

Posted on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 05:16:57 PM EST
By Jeralyn
Via FAMM, Rep. Maxine Waters has introduced a bill to end mandatory minimum sentencing in all drug cases. The bill has 15 co-sponsors.

H.R. 1466, the Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 2009, seeks to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and to give courts the ability to determine sentences based on all the facts, not just drug weight. It would also refocus federal resources on major drug traffickers instead of low-level offenders. There is currently no companion bill in the Senate.

The full text of the bill is here.

Putin blink

Obama to hang...from Christmas trees!

Ha Russia Today your joke would not work in America...


Obama to hang... from Christmas trees!

18 March, 2009, 22:43

A small factory in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod province has beaten thousand of others from all over the globe to make a special Christmas decoration featuring America’s top dog, for VIP clients only.

Blowing manufactory in Central Russia enters world’s market.
It’s producing Christmas tree decorations adorned with the beaming face of President Obama.

"We’ve received this order from a souvenir company from Washington", says the factory’s deputy head Elena Tersinskikh, "they have chosen us because all our decoration is hand-made".

The Russian company beat over 900 producers from 40 countries whose products were all on show at the International Exhibition of Christmas Decorations in Frankfurt this January.

No “Made in China” President

The background of the glass bauble will be sky blue. Artists will use special brushes and glass colours to paint against this background a snapshot of Obama's Inauguration – the American Congress building, flags, people and the President himself. On the reverse side of the bauble they will write "America's 44th president".

Elena Tersinskikh says her clients had first appraoched Chinese craftsmen, but changed their minds as they feared it would be of a lower quality.

Happy Obama

Artist Nina Babanina says it is the most important assignment of her life.
She looked through hundreds of Obama’s pictures. “Our clients wanted Obama to look happy! The essential part was to reproduce his optimism and the positive energy he radiates”, she said.

The first 100 pieces are ready: it took 4 months to make them.
Customers say they want to offer the New Year gift to America’s top officials, including the man whose very face smiles out from them.

Maria Finoshina, RT

  • bispo

Palin rejects nearly half of state’s stimulus funds meant for education, health care, and labor.



Following the lead of the other 2012 GOP presidential contenders, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) announced today that she would reject nearly half the $930 million Alaska was set to receive from the economic stimulus package. Like Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), Palin is set to further cripple the state’s education system:

The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety.

During the press conference announcing her decision, Palin asked, “Will we chart our own course, or will Washington (D.C.) engineer it for us?” She also quoted Thomas Jefferson and complained about “the strings attached” to the stimulus funds. “What we think we need is kind of a time-out, where we back up, we pause, and we really think about what we’re doing here,” Palin said.


Tent cities spring up across America.

A couple weeks ago a reader shared word with the Huffington Post of a tent city in Virginia, about an hour outside of D.C., where tons of middle class people had put up stakes after getting ousted from their homes.

The tip was reporter's gold and seemed entirely plausible. Foreclosures are surging, and those people have to live somewhere. But calls to five Virginia counties turned up nothing; the original tipster conceded it might just be a rumor.

The five county sheriffs all told the Huffington Post, though, that they'd heard of a tent city in Sacramento, California.   NBC Nightly News followed up with a "sign of the times" piece on the Sacramento shantytown. Apparently recently-employed people were shown cooking soup in coffee cans and living out of tents along the American River. The report said tent cities were also popping up in Seattle, Reno, and Nashville:

What those reports didn't say is that Sacramento's tent city has been a part of the landscape for years -- at least five, according to a spokesman with the Sacramento mayor's office. Those people weren't all washed onto the banks of the American by a recent wave of foreclosures.

On Friday, the Huffington Post asked readers to let us know if there were tent cities in their own areas. Readers responded with tips on over a dozen improvised communities across the country, from Olympia, Washington, to Camden, New Jersey. Our follow-up reporting showed, however, that the camps tend to predate the current foreclosure crisis.

There's nothing new about tent cities in the United States. There's nothing new about poverty in America. Some folks will be living in improvised shelters in public space whether we're in a recession or not. And with food stamps, unemployment benefits, and pension funds -- things unavailable at the onset of the Great Depression -- there's a safety net that can catch the unemployed and foreclosed, giving them time to get back on their feet before they're living under the stars. Moreover, a widespread consumer item that wasn't available to our great-grandparents' generation -- the RV -- assures that we'll see waves of people living out of their massive vehicles before communities of middle-class families start sleeping in Wal-Mart tents.

"It's a little early for us to get victims of the economy," says Dick Lawrence, pastor of the St. Vincent de Paul church in Baltimore. For now, "people double up, take each other in."

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movies | Impish Fräulein2

"House Passes Bill Taxing AIG Bonuses, Republicans Switch Votes In Droves".

Pelosi: "We Want Our Money Back Now For The Taxpayers[.]"

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation on Thursday to tax bonuses paid out by AIG and other bailed-out firms at a rate of 90 percent. "We want our money back and we want our money back now for the taxpayers," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

But the measure passed, 328-93, only after a hectic scene in which dozens of Republicans switched their votes from no to yes.

The bill required a two-thirds majority because Democrats brought it up under a suspension of regular rules. As the vote unfolded, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) told the Huffington Post that he had voted no.

He then paused and added: "So far."

Worried about that vote?

"I might be," he said. "The politics is to vote yes. The policy is to vote no...Everybody's pissed off about those bonuses. So am I. I don't know that you violate the Constitution in order to get them back, which I think this does. We'll see."

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ETA: List of names in the final vote roll call: CLICK TO READ IT.

Hat tip: schonste
  • bispo

Bernard Goldberg: Dictionaries Have A 'Liberal' Bias

On the March 17th edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and author Bernard Goldberg ventured a discussion of whether or not the Yiddish word "schvartzer," which comedian Jackie Mason used to describe President Barack Obama, was a derogatory term or not. It was, in Goldberg's opinion "absolutely not a bad word."

Cursory research indicates that the issue isn't clear cut. Alan Colmes, for example, recently opined, "It was never my understanding that it is appropriate to use the word 'schwartza' any more than it is proper to use the 'n' word. There are those, however, who believe that 'schwartza' is just Yiddish for the word 'black' and its use is part of the Jewish culture." The Online Etymology Dictionary says the term is "somewhat derogatory." One letter writer to the New York Times has suggested that "It is no more pejorative than the Yiddish word 'goy' is for a non-Jew. Unquestionably, both words can be used derisively, depending on context and tone of voice; but to describe 'schvartzer' as a racist and hateful word is an insult to every Yiddish speaker."

So, look, my advice to you, for the time being, is don't use the farkakte word, okay? But this, via News Hounds, is the funny part:

O'Reilly, playing the voice of balance, pointed out that his dictionary referred to it as, "often disparaging and offensive."

Goldberg's answer? "Forgive my arrogance. The dictionary is written by some liberal person."

But then O'Reilly said, "We're living in a society where anything is uttered about any minority group, Media Matters or somebody else will say you're a racist. That's what they do."

"Exactly," Goldberg agreed. "That's an important point."

So there you have it! The definitions of the words commonly used in the English language have a known liberal bias. Which explains why most of Goldberg's books seem like they're written in Esperanto.

Increasing hate crimes against homosexuals in CA schools

Serious consequences came along with the passage of proposition 8, which amended the California state constitution to ban gay marriage. Not only is the new law a devastating blow to the civil liberties of homosexuals, but it has also served as a license of hate and animosity toward those who are openly gay. It is especially evident in high schools throughout the state.

The American Civil Liberties Union is in the process of suing Corona Del Mar High School for hate crimes against a lesbian student. Although three football players have threated to rape and kill the young woman in a video, school administrators have failed to take any action to protect the girl, or punish those who threatened her. Earlier this year, the high school banned the play "Rent" because of its homosexual content and characters. The high school later rescheduled production after facing criticism for the play's cancellation.

Read the rest here:
blue, the national

Geithner says he should have known about bonus problems sooner

(CNN) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday that he takes responsibility for knowing the stimulus legislation had a loophole that would allow bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he was worried about legal challenges to limiting contractual bonuses.
In an interview with CNN's Ali Velshi, Geithner said the Treasury Department did talk to Sen. Chris Dodd about a clause he put forth that would have strictly limited executive bonuses.

The Treasury Department was concerned that legislation that would restrict contractual bonuses would not hold up to legal challenges, Geithner said.
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nobody / travis

A boy called War turns 6

BAGHDAD | Iman Kadhim felt the contractions at 2 a.m. on March 20, 2003. The streets of Baghdad were deserted. People cowered in their homes awaiting the threatened U.S. invasion. But the baby wasn’t going to wait.

A neighbor with a car gave Iman and her husband a ride to the hospital from their southern Baghdad neighborhood.

Nothing was easy that night. Kadhim heard the baby’s first cry before dawn and held him in her arms. Then she heard the first explosions that heralded the arrival of the U.S. military.

She named him Harb, Arabic for war. His full name, Harb Zaid, translates as Zaid’s War.

Neighbors joked that the child named War would only bring damar, or destruction. She worried about him, the boy with a difficult name and an uncertain future.
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movies | Impish Fräulein2

Newsweek brings Teh Lulz w/ political spoof of "The City".

What if President Obama was the star of his own reality show like MTV's "The City?" Watch NEWSWEEK's original series to find out.

Episode 2 | Barack's Friends Let Him Down
Episode 3 |
They're Just Not That Into Me...
Episode 4 |
Team Barack World Tour
Episode 5 |
The After Show
Episode 6 |
When Enemies Attack...
Episode 7 |
Making Compromises...

SOURCE: Newsweek and YouTube

I know that Newsweek has put out an 'episode' every week for the last month, but I'm surprised no one posted these on ontd_political. In any case, these are BRILLIANT. Watch them.

Fair warning, though -- with the exception of the intro, episode 5 sucks. Its literally a self-parody of the real "After Show" program on MTV, using the real hosts. Not really a cleverly-executed concept, for whatever reason.
Drink up baby doll

Megan McCain Knocks Obama For Going On Leno

The McCain family remains a tough one for the president to win over.

Half an hour or so before Barack Obama's interview on the Tonight Show was set to air on the East Coast, he was already getting criticism from Meghan McCain, daughter of John.

"Hmmm," McCain tweeted, "maybe the president shouldn't go on Leno and talk about basketball and instead explain to me how those morons at AIG got bonuses..."

Perhaps Meghan shouldn't have been so impatient with her critiques. Obama's appearance on the show was remarkably wonky for the forum. Indeed, the main topic of discussion was the very issue -- AIG -- that Meghan McCain was knocking Obama for avoiding.

As the New York Time's write-up noted: "most of the discussion was devoted -- perhaps for the first time in the show's history -- to in-depth discussions of tax policy, as well as macroeconomics and finance. And there was a reassurance from the president that the American people 'should have complete confidence in the banks,' and should not be putting their money 'in their mattresses.'"

The Tonight Show transcript finds Obama referencing AIG no less than 7 times.


  • bispo

Direct Diplomacy With Iran...

President Obama released a special video message for all those celebrating Nowruz. Translated "New Day," Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the New Year for millions in Iran and other communities around the world. This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. "But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together," he says.

After committing his administration to a future of honest and respectful diplomacy, he continues on to address Iran's leaders directly: "You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."
source: White House Blog