March 30th, 2009

  • bispo

Politico Profiles Austan Goolsbee: Master of the One-Liner

As the Obama administration struggled to conjure up outrage at corporate America this month, it was a senior economic aide, Austan Goolsbee, who was first to channel the populist tone.

“I don’t see why these guys can order dinner in a restaurant,” Goolsbee ranted on “Hardball,” “much less be getting these bonuses!”

Later, on CNN, he suggested AIG executives be awarded a “Nobel Prize — for evil.”

Goolsbee, an economic adviser since Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, has emerged as a ubiquitous spokesman for the president’s economic policy. In an administration that brags about ignoring “cable chatter,” he’s a world-class jaw-boner, named National Extemporaneous Speaking Champion (yes, there is such a thing) in high school and college, before going on to a chair at the University of Chicago.

Goolsbee, 39, was confirmed this month to Obama’s three-person Council of Economic Advisers — and graduated to front man in selling his recovery plan.

“I like defending the president’s policies — he’s on the right track, and there’s a certain level of combativeness from an old debate guy, especially on cable, where they’re into that,” Goolsbee said in an interview in his bare office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Reminded of Obama’s dismissals of the cable news cycle, he shrugged.

“He’s a bigger man than I am,” he said of the president.
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barack eye

Obama pays for White House Renovations Out Of Pocket...

Home Decorating With the Obamas

At a time when people are having trouble holding on to their houses, Barack and Michelle Obama have sensibly decided not to use taxpayers’ money to renovate theirs. New presidents are allotted $100,000 to overhaul the White House residence and the Oval Office, and the Obamas hired Hollywood decorator Michael S. Smith (known, per his site, for mixing “Old World classicism with very contemporary settings”). But the First Couple isn’t spending that money. They “are not using public funds or accepting donations of goods for redecorating their private quarters,” says Camille Johnston, director of communications for the First Lady. Nor is the couple, who reported $4.2 million in household income in 2007 tax returns, using money from the White House Historical Association, a privately funded foundation that paid for a $74,000 set of china shortly before Laura Bush left town.

But does this mean they’re going to spend more than $100,000 or less? Though Michelle Obama has talked up Pottery Barn, Smith’s client list includes cost-is-no-object types like Rupert Murdoch, Steven Spielberg, and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain—for whom he procured that $87,783 rug. “There’s no question that he’ll get it done in the way that it’s supposed to be done,” says Smith client and Democratic donor Katherine Chez. “But how, I don’t know.” The White House declined to disclose the budget, saying that all expenses would remain private as a result of the Obamas’ decision to absorb the cost.


I can't WAIT for the bitching to start about "tax payer money not being good enough for them". -_- But I think this is a cool gesture. :)



No citations for giving the finger to police, judge says
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
By Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Memo to cops everywhere: You can't cite someone for giving you the finger.

That's essentially what a federal judge ruled yesterday when he said a city police sergeant was wrong to cite a Regent Square man for flipping him off in traffic three years ago. Collapse )
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Texas Sen. John Cornyn is threatening “World War III” if Democrats try to seat Al Franken

In Minnesota, it's still November

Texas Sen. John Cornyn is threatening “World War III” if Democrats try to seat Al Franken in the Senate before Norm Coleman can pursue his case through the federal courts.

Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledges that a federal challenge to November’s elections could take “years” to resolve. But he’s adamant that Coleman deserves that chance — even if it means Minnesota is short a senator for the duration.

A three-judge panel is expected to rule any day now on legal challenges to the November election.

Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg has predicted that Franken will be on top after the court rules, arguing that an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court could swing the election back in Coleman’s favor.

But what if that doesn’t happen?

Nobody really knows.

As Roland Burris will recall, you can’t take a seat in the Senate without an election certificate from your state. And it’s not clear whether the candidate who’s ahead after the Minnesota Supreme Court rules could get an election certificate from Minnesota if his opponent is seeking review from the United States Supreme Court or challenging the results in a new lawsuit in federal court.

Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat in charge of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, says that Minnesota gets its second senator as soon as the state case ends.

“Whatever the state Supreme Court decides, as I understand it, the law requires it to be certified,” Schumer says.

But Cornyn believes that Minnesota can’t certify Franken the winner if Coleman seeks review from the U.S. Supreme Court or files a new federal case. And Ben Ginsberg, a Coleman attorney and a central player on the Republican side in the 2000 Florida recount, says it’s “an open question” whether a federal court challenge puts a pause on the certification process.

Minnesota has been down a senator since the beginning of the year, and Democrats — who expect Franken to prevail eventually — view themselves as down a vote they’re entitled to have. Without Franken in the Senate, the Democrats hold a 58-41 vote advantage over the GOP; getting to 59-41 sooner rather than later would make it easier to move President Barack Obama’s agenda through Congress.

Franken currently leads in the counting by 225 votes. In a radio interview this month, Friedberg — asked if he was “confident” that Coleman would lose before the three-judge panel — said: “I think that’s probably correct that Franken will still be ahead and probably by a little bit more. But our whole argument was a constitutional argument, and it’s an argument suitable for the Minnesota Supreme Court, not for the trial court. So we’ll see whether we were right or not.”

The Coleman campaign subsequently released a statement saying it was “confident” that Coleman would win before the three-judge panel.

It could takes months — or longer — to resolve a petition for review from the U.S. Supreme Court and even longer if the loser before the Minnesota Supreme Court files a new case in a U.S. District Court.

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Murasaki Shikibu

We want to create jobs, just not in the US. Stimulus money, plz?

IBM draws criticism for job cuts, outsourcing

(CNN) -- IBM's reported plans to lay off thousands of U.S. workers and outsource many of those jobs to India, even as the company angles for billions in stimulus money, doesn't sit well with employee rights advocates.

IBM employees are being dealt a double blow, said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM, a pro-union group that has been fighting IBM's outsourcing for years.

"We're outraged that jobs cuts are happening in the U.S. and the work is being shifted offshore," Conrad said. "This comes at the same time IBM has its hand out for stimulus money. This to us is totally unacceptable."

IBM wants a share of the money in President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for projects updating power grids, creating electronic health care records and furthering the use of broadband.

"In the research we've done working with the transition team, we know that $30 billion could create 1 million jobs in the next 12 months," IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said in January.

The problem is where those jobs would be, said Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Oh, come on. If you want stimulus money, those jobs better be staying in the US. Yeah, I know, global economy and all, that, but FFS.
Jake G -  Moving beauty

SLDN Responds to Sec. Gates comments on Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Fox News Sunday

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Responds to Sec. Gates comments on Don't Ask, Don't Tell on Fox News Sunday

WASHINGTON, DC -- When asked about a timetable on revisiting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" this morning on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that he and the president have "a lot on our plates right now. Let's push that one down the road a little bit."

"Sec. Gates hardly gave a sound reason for kicking 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' down the road -- or essentially back tracking on a campaign promise made by his Commander in Chief," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "I trust the secretary was not speaking for President Obama, who, hopefully, will issue the call for repeal when he sends his Defense Department budget to Congress in a few weeks. This is about timely leadership."

Sarvis continued. "It's also called multitasking. Right now is the time -- while we're engaged in two wars -- we need the most qualified men and women serving. This is not the time to keep firing linguists and intelligence analysts because of their sexual orientation. The longer the president and Pentagon delay the issue, the fewer linguists and intelligence analysts the Pentagon will have to call on to fight terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

More than 800 hundred mission-critical service members (linguists, intelligence analysts) have been fired under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. Almost 13,000 total service members have been discharged since 1994.

"It's not easy or cheap to replace mission critical personnel," said Sarvis. "And the serious felons we're now recruiting probably don't have a command of Arabic or Farsi, or know how to analyze intelligence."

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( is a national, non-profit legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A journalists' guide is available here.

bureaucracy by kes

Bush couldn't destroy Social Secuirty, but someone got to the Federal Pensions Insurance fund

Genius! Federal Pension Guarantor Switched from Bonds To Risky Stocks Last Year

By Zachary Roth - March 30, 2009, 11:27AM

In the highly competitive race for the title of "Stupidest Recent Financial Decision Made By A Government Official", this one's got to be a strong contender....

The Boston Globe reports:

Just months before the start of last year's stock market collapse, the federal agency that insures the retirement funds of 44 million Americans departed from its conservative investment strategy and decided to put much of its $64 billion insurance fund into stocks.

Switching from a heavy reliance on bonds, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation decided to pour billions of dollars into speculative investments such as stocks in emerging foreign markets, real estate, and private equity funds.

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The Globe Article

More thoughts from TPM

There is no way this wasn't criminal. At best, this was about shoring up the stock market, not protecting people's retirement, which was their fiduciary and moral responsibility.

(no subject)

Michelangelo Signorile Debates FL GOP Chair About RNC Head Michael Steele

On Saturday, Sirius XM host Michelangelo Signorile debated FL GOP head Jim Greer about the role of minorities in the Republican party and the leadership of RNC chair Michael Steele. Fascinating stuff.

Magneto and Doom.
  • doop

Dogs (not chimps) most like humans

Chimpanzees share many of our genes, but dogs have lived with us for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior, according to a new paper.

Cooperation, attachment to people, understanding human verbal and non-verbal communications, and the ability to imitate are just a handful of the social behaviors we share with dogs. They might even think like us at times too, according to the paper, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Advances in the Study of Behavior.

While there is no evidence to support that dogs and humans co-evolved their laundry list of shared behaviors over the past 10,000 to 20,000 years, the researchers believe adapting to the same living conditions during this period may have resulted in the similarities.

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(no subject)

Palin Picks Homophobe for Attorney General

Gov. Sarah Palin named Anchorage lawyer Wayne Anthony Ross as her new attorney general on Thursday. We did not expect her to pick a gay-friendly AG, however his blatant prejudice expressed in a public letter to the state Bar shows that he is a poor choice for our top attorney:
"During a fight several years ago over gay rights, [Allison] Mendel helped organize Anchorage lawyers in support of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Ross wrote a nasty letter to the Bar Association newsletter, using words like "immoral", "perversion" and "degenerates." The language went way beyond reasonable disagreement, Mendel and others said."
-- from Wayne Anthony Ross never a quiet force, Anchorage Daily News

The state House and Senate will hold separate confirmation hearings on his appointment.


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(no subject)

Chicago School CEO Huberman: Being Gay Offers Helpful Perspective


Friday night's Chicago Tonight with John Callaway on public television station WTTW featured a long interview with new Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman, who was appointed after Obama appointed former chief Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education.

You may remember that Huberman came out publicly in February in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. Callaway asked Huberman why he decided to do so.

Replied Huberman: "Because she asked."

Callaway then asked Huberman whether he thought his sexuality gave him a special perspective in terms of his work: "I absolutely believe that [being gay] makes me more sensitive to the human condition, because it's something that, as you grow up, you identify yourself as somehow being different, as somehow belonging to a group that's not the norm. And so as I think of many of our kids, and certainly the lens by which they view the world, they also see themselves differently. And sometimes it has advantages, and sometimes it has disadvantages. But I believe being sensitive to it and thinking about it is very, very important as to how we structure programs and has to how we educate kids."



Damn, he is fooooiiiiine.
panda bear

(no subject)

How I Was Beat Up By Fascist Bullies In Lebanon
by Christopher Hitchens

As Arab thoroughfares go, Hamra Street in the center of Beirut is probably the most chic of them all. International in flavor, cosmopolitan in character, it boasts the sort of smart little café where a Lebanese sophisticate can pause between water-skiing in the Mediterranean in the morning and snow-skiing in the mountains just above the city in the afternoon. “The Paris of the Middle East” used to be the cliché about Beirut: by that exacting standard, I suppose, Hamra Street would be the Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Not at all the sort of place you would expect to find a spinning red swastika on prominent display. Yet, as I strolled in company along Hamra on a sunny Valentine’s Day last February, in search of a trinket for the beloved and perhaps some stout shoes for myself, a swastika was just what I ran into. I recognized it as the logo of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a Fascist organization (it would be more honest if it called itself “National Socialist”) that yells for a “Greater Syria” comprising all of Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, and swaths of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt. It’s one of the suicide-bomber front organizations—the other one being Hezbollah, or “the party of god”—through which Syria’s Ba’thist dictatorship exerts overt and covert influence on Lebanese affairs.

Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced. Telling my two companions to hold on for a second, I flourish my trusty felt-tip and begin to write some offensive words on the offending poster. I say “begin” because I have barely gotten to the letter k in a well-known transitive verb when I am grabbed by my shirt collar by a venomous little thug, his face glittering with hysterical malice. With his other hand, he is speed-dialing for backup on his cell phone. As always with episodes of violence, things seem to slow down and quicken up at the same time: the eruption of mayhem in broad daylight happening with the speed of lightning yet somehow held in freeze-frame. It becomes evident, as the backup arrives, that this gang wants to take me away.

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Mission Accomplished!

Iraq To Begin Executing Gays


The UK-based exile group Iraq-LGBT claims that the U.S.-installed government in Iraq is about to commence executing gay people for their sexuality.
More than 100 prisoners in Iraq are facing execution – and many of them are believed to have been convicted of the ‘crime’ of being gay, the UK-based Iraqi-LGBT group revealed this afternoon. According to Ali Hili of Iraqi-LGBT, the Iraqi authorities plan to start executing them in batches of 20 from this week. There is, said Mr. Hili, at least one member of Iraqi-LGBT who are among those to be put to death. And the London-based group, which believes that a total of 128 executions are imminent, is calling on the UK Government, international human rights groups and the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene “with due speed” to prevent “this tragic miscarriage of justice” from going ahead. “We have information and reports on members of our community whom been arrested and waiting for execution for the crimes of homosexuality,” Mr Hili told UK Gay News. “Iraqi-LGBT has been a banned from running activities on Iraqi soil,” he revealed.
Amnesty International is calling on the Iraqi government to reveal the names and charges against the condemned. Since the U.S. invasion, Iraq has routinely flouted international standards regarding fair trials. You can donate to Iraq-LGBT here.

Our national LGBT rights organizations need to get this situation in front of President Obama immediately. I get dozens of press releases from these groups every day; so far I've noticed nothing from them about the plight of condemned homosexuals in Iraq.

  • bispo

Critics claim John Murtha is capitalizing on a corrupt system, but he's not apologizing

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- This city once had a steel-based economy and critics now say it has a John Murtha-based economy but, in what used to be the 11-inch rolling mill of Bethlehem Steel, nobody's apologizing.

"You ask where the earmarks go?" said Bill Polacek.

He motioned to the floor of JWF Industries where his crews assemble armor plating for military vehicles in an abandoned steel plant. He recited the statistics: 500 employees at JWF, each of which means jobs for four people down the line.

"When you ask about the congressman and his earmarks, tell that to the 2,000 families in this valley that are being supported largely by the defense business that would have gone somewhere, but came here," he said.

On the side of the plant, a two-story banner, still there from last year's election, broadcasts defiance to an outside world convinced the 18-term Democrat is up to no good:

"We Support John Murtha. He Delivers for Us."

Deliver he has.

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Jake G -  Moving beauty

Obama's Climate Change Applauded At UN Talks

Obama's Climate Change Team Debuts At UN Talks

BONN, Germany — Once booed at international climate talks, the United States won sustained applause Sunday when President Barack Obama's envoy pledged to "make up for lost time" in reaching a global agreement on climate change.

Todd Stern also praised efforts by countries like China to reign in their carbon emissions, but said global warming "requires a global response" and that rapidly developing economies like China "must join together" with the industrial world to solve the problem.

The debut of Obama's climate change team was widely anticipated after eight years of obdurate participation in U.N. climate talks by the previous Bush administration.

"We are very glad to be back. We want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us," Stern said to loud applause from the 2,600 delegates to the U.N. negotiations.

They clapped again when Stern said the U.S. recognized "our unique responsibility ... as the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases," which has created a problem threatening the entire world.

The two-week meeting by 175 countries that began Sunday was the latest stage of talks aimed at forging a climate change agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on emissions targets for rich countries, which expires in 2012.

The United States was instrumental in negotiating Kyoto, but failed to win support at home. When George W. Bush took office, he renounced it, calling Kyoto a flawed agreement that would harm the U.S. economy and unfair because it demanded nothing from countries like China or India.

Stern said his team did not want a repeat of the Kyoto debacle. The latest agreement is due to be finalized in December in Copenhagen, Denmark.


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(no subject)

Jon Stewart makes hay of marriage debate

Daily Show' host preaches to the choir in UVM performance

Jon Stewart, the iconic media critic and political satirist from television’s “The Daily Show,” had a sold-out crowd howling Saturday night at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium — and mined Vermont’s marriage-rights debate for material.

True to form, he waded into an emotionally charged issue (and one sharply debated in the Legislature) with healthy doses of absurdist logic.

“I can understand being against gay marriage — if they decided to make it mandatory,” he said. “This isn’t a cultural divide: They’re wrong.”

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(no subject)

Gay adoption raises an issue still unmined

recent conversation with a friend went something like this:

''Homosexuality isn't normal,'' he said. ``It goes against nature.''

''How do you figure?'' I asked. ``As far as we know, homosexuality always has existed. Wouldn't that indicate that it's perfectly natural?''

''No, it's not,'' he replied. ``Imagine if we were all homosexuals. Then what would happen to the human race?''


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Jake G -  Moving beauty

Obama Signs Wilderness Bill

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed legislation Monday setting aside more than 2 million acres as protected wilderness.

Obama called the new law among the most important in decades "to protect, preserve and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations."

Also included in the legislation signed by Obama is a provision named for "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve that provides for paralysis research and care for persons with disabilities.

At a White House ceremony, Obama said the law guarantees that Americans "will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parts, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted, but rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share. That's something all Americans can support."

The law _ a collection of nearly 170 separate measures _ represents one of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in a quarter-century. It confers the government's highest level of protection on land in nine states.

Land protected under the 1,200-page law ranges from California's Sierra Nevada and Oregon's Mount Hood to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and parts of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.

Land in Idaho's Owyhee canyons, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and Zion National Park in Utah also won wilderness protection, and more than 1,000 miles of rivers in nearly a dozen states were designated as wild and scenic. The law expands wilderness designation _ which blocks nearly all development _ into areas that previously were not protected.

The law also protects land in Alaska under a contentious land swap that allows the state to go forward with a planned airport access road in a remote wildlife refuge near the Bering Sea. Critics call the project a "road to nowhere."

Environmental groups and lawmakers in both parties said the law will strengthen the national park system, restore national forests, preserve wild and scenic rivers, protect battlefields and restore balance to the management of public lands.

Opponents, mostly Republicans, had called the legislation a "land grab" that would block energy development on vast swaths of federal land.


Redheads do it best.

The Pope Was Right

Condoms, HIV-AIDS, and Africa
By Edward C. Green

When Pope Benedict XVI commented this month that condom distribution isn't helping, and may be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, he set off a firestorm of protest. Most non-Catholic commentary has been highly critical of the pope. A cartoon in the Philadelphia Inquirer, reprinted in The Post, showed the pope somewhat ghoulishly praising a throng of sick and dying Africans: "Blessed are the sick, for they have not used condoms."

Yet, in truth, current empirical evidence supports him.

We liberals who work in the fields of global HIV/AIDS and family planning take terrible professional risks if we side with the pope on a divisive topic such as this. The condom has become a symbol of freedom and -- along with contraception -- female emancipation, so those who question condom orthodoxy are accused of being against these causes. My comments are only about the question of condoms working to stem the spread of AIDS in Africa's generalized epidemics -- nowhere else.

In 2003, Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen of the University of California conducted a condom effectiveness study for the United Nations' AIDS program and found no evidence of condoms working as a primary HIV-prevention measure in Africa. UNAIDS quietly disowned the study. (The authors eventually managed to publish their findings in the quarterly Studies in Family Planning.) Since then, major articles in other peer-reviewed journals such as the Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that condoms have not worked as a primary intervention in the population-wide epidemics of Africa. In a 2008 article in Science called "Reassessing HIV Prevention" 10 AIDS experts concluded that "consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level, even after many years of widespread and often aggressive promotion, to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of Sub-Saharan Africa."

Let me quickly add that condom promotion has worked in countries such as Thailand and Cambodia, where most HIV is transmitted through commercial sex and where it has been possible to enforce a 100 percent condom use policy in brothels (but not outside of them). In theory, condom promotions ought to work everywhere. And intuitively, some condom use ought to be better than no use. But that's not what the research in Africa shows.

Why not?

One reason is "risk compensation." That is, when people think they're made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex.

Another factor is that people seldom use condoms in steady relationships because doing so would imply a lack of trust. (And if condom use rates go up, it's possible we are seeing an increase of casual or commercial sex.) However, it's those ongoing relationships that drive Africa's worst epidemics. In these, most HIV infections are found in general populations, not in high-risk groups such as sex workers, gay men or persons who inject drugs. And in significant proportions of African populations, people have two or more regular sex partners who overlap in time. In Botswana, which has one of the world's highest HIV rates, 43 percent of men and 17 percent of women surveyed had two or more regular sex partners in the previous year.

These ongoing multiple concurrent sex partnerships resemble a giant, invisible web of relationships through which HIV/AIDS spreads. A study in Malawi showed that even though the average number of sexual partners was only slightly over two, fully two-thirds of this population was interconnected through such networks of overlapping, ongoing relationships.

So what has worked in Africa? Strategies that break up these multiple and concurrent sexual networks -- or, in plain language, faithful mutual monogamy or at least reduction in numbers of partners, especially concurrent ones. "Closed" or faithful polygamy can work as well.

In Uganda's early, largely home-grown AIDS program, which began in 1986, the focus was on "Sticking to One Partner" or "Zero Grazing" (which meant remaining faithful within a polygamous marriage) and "Loving Faithfully." These simple messages worked. More recently, the two countries with the highest HIV infection rates, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns that discourage people from having multiple and concurrent sexual partners.

Don't misunderstand me; I am not anti-condom. All people should have full access to condoms, and condoms should always be a backup strategy for those who will not or cannot remain in a mutually faithful relationship. This was a key point in a 2004 "consensus statement" published and endorsed by some 150 global AIDS experts, including representatives the United Nations, World Health Organization and World Bank. These experts also affirmed that for sexually active adults, the first priority should be to promote mutual fidelity. Moreover, liberals and conservatives agree that condoms cannot address challenges that remain critical in Africa such as cross-generational sex, gender inequality and an end to domestic violence, rape and sexual coercion.

Surely it's time to start providing more evidence-based AIDS prevention in Africa.

' jules

Life on the outside ain't what it used to be, the world's gone crazy and it ain't safe on the street

Clock Ticking in Blago Case

Federal prosecutors have only a week left to indict former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

When authorities arrested Blagojevich back in December, it was based on a criminal complaint. Prosecutors didn't have the case all tied up in a bow, but U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald rushed to bring charges because he said Blagojevich was in the middle of a crime spree.

FITZGERALD: Sometimes when there's ongoing criminal conduct, and this is a very different case than what we often see, we will expose the criminal conduct and bring charges to let people know we're on to it, and to hopefully, to put a stop to it.

Now, to move forward with case against Blagojevich, federal law requires prosecutors to indict him, to convince a grand jury that they've got enough evidence to pursue the case. The deadline for indicting the former governor is April 7, next Tuesday.

Prosecutors could ask a federal judge for an extension of that deadline but they've already done that once, buying them the April 7 date. While they have until then, an indictment could be returned earlier, perhaps sometime this week.


Godspeed, PFitz!

(no subject)

Rape Is Always Bad, Even When It Happens To "Bad" People

NPR's Tell Me More brought together a survivor, a judge and an anti-rape activist to discuss why it's not funny for prison rape victims to be the, um, recipient of society's jokes.

Judge Reggie B. Walton says it best:

I don't sentence people to rape.

The fact that prison rape has become an accepted part of prison culture and, in fact, viewed by some people in some cases as an acceptable retributory action isn't acceptable. Incarceration is meant to be its own punishment, and so long as our society eschews the eye-for-an-eye system of punishment in cases of theft and other assaults — and, in some places, in cases of murder — then rapists (let alone anyone else) shouldn't face sexual assaults as a form of social retributions for their crimes, let alone accept or venerate the rapists committing them.

Furthermore, if a man rapes a sex worker, or a woman in a short skirt, or a drunk woman — despite Bill O'Reilly's feelings on the subject — most right-minded people would agree that the rapist shouldn't get a pass because the woman wasn't keeping with certain social standards (i.e., because some people would consider her "bad"). So then why is it any more socially acceptable for people to wish rape — or at least to not harshly condemn it — on prison inmates because they've done something illegal? Activist Lovisa Stannow with Just Detention International says that it's due to a level of social discomfort among people and with discussing sex and rape, so we revert to cheap (and ugly) jokes and old school concepts of retribution.


Angie Harmon: Disagreeing With Obama Doesn't Make Me Racist

Yet another story swiped from ONTD:


Angie Harmon is not afraid to come out and say she doesn’t like how President Obama is handling the job — but she’s sick of having to defend herself from being deemed a racist.

"Here's my problem with this, I'm just going to come out and say it. If I have anything to say against Obama it's not because I'm a racist, it's because I don't like what he's doing as President and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you're called a racist," Harmon told Tarts at Thursday’s Los Angeles launch of the new eyelash-growing formula, Latisse. "But it has nothing to do with it, I don’t care what color he is. I’m just not crazy about what he's doing and I heard all about this, and he’s gonna do that and change and change, so okay … I'm still dressing for a recession over here buddy and we've got unemployment at an all-time high and that was his number one thing and that's the thing I really don't appreciate. If I'm going to disagree with my President, that doesn't make me a racist. If I was to disagree with W, that doesn't make me racist. It has nothing to do with it, it is ridiculous."

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During a few IRL arguments, people have told me that I hate black people because I despise Obama. Of course, this is absolute bullshit, but it just proves Harmon's point. Obama critics will get shot down by any means the PC Police have.

(no subject)

Oprah Asks FLDS Members If They're Taught Racism; They Lie To Her Face


On today's episode, Oprah personally visited the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado, TX. When asked, Willie Jessop denied that church members are taught that nonwhite people are evil. We have proof to the contrary.



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Sorry for stealing "fierce"!

Tyra Banks Receives GLAAD 'Excellence in Media' Award


Clay Aiken presented Tyra Banks with GLAAD's Excellence in Media award at New York's GLAAD Media Awards over the weekend. In accepting the award, Tyra talked about how she began to realize how the discrimination she faced as a Black model was the same faced by the LGBT people who surrounded her in the fashion industry.

Said Tyra: "I didn't understand why they empathized with me so much...As I got older I understood that hate and discrimination and inequality was the same. And that the issues that I was going through as a Black woman were some of the issues that they had gone through as gays and lesbians and transgenders and bisexuals. And I want to thank all of those people whose shoulders I cried on, all of the people who embraced me....I have had a lot of success as a model, but I know I would not have had that success were it not for the gay community."
She also discussed her outrage at parents who reject their LGBT children, and said their bigotry is what inspires her to continue using her show as a platform against it.

And she also apologized for stealing the word "fierce."