March 31st, 2009

Strong majority of Americans do not blame Obama for economy

80% say Obama not to blame for economy. That means at least 80% of Americans are smart on at least ONE issue. He inherited the damn thing; it's a big reason why he was voted in to begin with!

U.S. voters don't blame Obama for economy
Tue Mar 31, 1:45 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama benefits from a broadly held perception that others bear the bulk of responsibility for state of the U.S. economy, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published on Tuesday.

Asked who was responsible for the economic meltdown, 80 percent in the poll blamed banks, financial institutions and corporations. Some 70 percent also blamed consumers for taking on too much debt and the former Bush administration for lax regulation. Only 26 percent said the Obama administration was not doing enough to turn the situation around.

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Wasting Away In Hooverville

Wasting Away in Hooverville


A generation ago, the total dismissal of the New Deal remained a marginal sentiment in American politics. Ronald Reagan boasted of having voted for Franklin Roosevelt. Neoconservatives long maintained that American liberalism had gone wrong only in the 1960s. Now, decades after Democrats grew tired of accusing Republicans of emulating Herbert Hoover, Republicans have begun sounding ... well, exactly like Herbert Hoover. When President Obama recently met with House Republicans, the eighty-two-year-old Roscoe G. Bartlett told him that "I was there" during the New Deal, and, according to one account, "assert[ed] that government intervention did not work then, either." George F. Will, speaking on the Sunday talk show "This Week," declared not long ago, "Before we go into a new New Deal, can we just acknowledge that the first New Deal didn't work?"

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Karzai Accused Of Bid To 'Legalise Rape'

Karzai Accused Of Bid To 'Legalise Rape'

Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalises" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.

In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.

"It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century," fumed Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation. "It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable."
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Barak welcomes IDF decision to end Gaza misconduct probe

Barak welcomes IDF decision to end Gaza misconduct probe

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday welcomed the military advocate general's decision to discontinue the inquiry into soldiers' accounts of alleged misconduct and serious violations of the army's rules of engagement during Operation Cast Lead.

"I was very happy to learn about the military advocate general's report, in which he addresses the extensive rumors that have considerably damaged the IDF's image both at home and abroad," Barak said during a tour of the Northern Command.
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Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett
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Silverback gorillas get drunk on bamboo sap

Bamboozled! Amazing pictures of a 30 stone Silverback gorilla who has one too many - and ends up with a sore head
By Bill Mouland

When wildlife photographer Andy Rouse was told he would find a family of endangered gorillas high on the mountain, he did not expect to find them this high.

Sitting back in the foliage as if it was a cocktail bar, the mountain gorillas had been gorging on alcoholic sap from fresh bamboo shoots and were looking distinctly the worse for wear.

Some were propping up the bar with a bleary air, while others staggered to their feet obviously hoping the mountain police would not ask them to walk in a straight line.

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Update: I've fixed the HTML, so the page isn't messed up anymore. Sorry about that. :o
movies | Impish Fräulein2

"Fox News’s Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful Rising Star".

By BRIAN STELTER and BILL CARTER | Published: March 29, 2009

“You are not alone,” Glenn Beck likes to say. For the disaffected and aggrieved Americans of the Obama era, he could not have picked a better rallying cry.

Mr. Beck, an early-evening host on the Fox News Channel, is suddenly one of the most powerful media voices for the nation’s conservative populist anger. Barely two months into his job at Fox, his program is a phenomenon: it typically draws about 2.3 million viewers, more than any other cable news host except Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, despite being on at 5 p.m., a slow shift for cable news.

With a mix of moral lessons, outrage and an apocalyptic view of the future, Mr. Beck, a longtime radio host who jumped to Fox from CNN’s Headline News channel this year, is capturing the feelings of an alienated class of Americans.

In an interview, Mr. Beck, who recently rewatched the 1976 film “Network,” said he identified with the character of Howard Beale, the unhinged TV news anchorman who declares on the air that he is “mad as hell.”

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What I've learned about Mr. Beck: he's a fairly transparent, self-aware businessman. Not some Collapse )
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Feith Still the Dumbest Mutha Fucker on the Planet

Last week, a Spanish court said it would consider opening a criminal case against six Bush administration officials “over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo.” Yesterday, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, one of the officials implicated in the complaint, went on Fox News to defend himself in front of torture advocate Bill O’Reilly.

Feith argued that the charges that he helped approve torture are completely bogus. “I’m being criticized for a position that I never advocated. And so the facts are just wrong,” he said. Feith said he was simply giving “advice” to President Bush and had no role in “directing” torture policy:

FEITH But there’s also a broader point of principle here, which is what the Spanish authorities are considering doing is indicting people, former U.S. government officials for giving advice to the president. And the idea that a foreign official can disagree with advice given to the president, they’re not talking about action. And they’re not even talking about directing people to take action. They’re talking about people who were advising the president on policy and legal questions.

“This is an effort to intimidate U.S. government officials,” Feith alleged. Watch it:

But last year, Feith himself bragged in an interview with British law professor Phillippe Sands that he played a pivotal role in ensuring that Geneva protections against “outrages upon personal dignity” did not apply to detainees:

I asked Feith, just to be clear: Didn’t the administration’s approach mean that Geneva’s constraints on interrogation couldn’t be invoked by anyone at Guantánamo? “Oh yes, sure,” he shot back. Was that the intended result?, I asked. “Absolutely,” he replied. I asked again: Under the Geneva Conventions, no one at Guantánamo was entitled to any protection? “That’s the point,” Feith reiterated. … “This year I was really a player,” Feith said, thinking back on 2002 and relishing the memory.

Indeed, Feith’s arguments became official U.S. policy with the signing of a presidential memorandum on February 7, 2002.

Feith’s knee-jerk denial that he pushed for torture is nothing new. “We took an extremely strongly pro-Geneva Convention position in the Pentagon,” he said last April. Speaking with O’Reilly, Feith also made sure to go after Sands. “What’s going on in Spain is implementing, essentially, an, idea that a British lawyer has been proposing, a guy named Phillippe Sands, who wrote an extremely dishonest book on the subject,” he said.


Auto Industry Seeks Buyers for HUMMER Brand... Before It Faces Extinction

GM to decide Hummer's fate

"GM has told dealers it will make an announcement about the brand’s future today but until then the company will say only that it’s still negotiating with some interested parties.

The motor group also told the federal government it would make a decision on the oversized sports utility vehicle by the end of the first quarter.

Hummers lost their appeal for many when oil prices hit a record $147 a barrel last year and the recession started to deepen. Sales dived[sic] 51pc last year.

The NYT said Ed Williamson, owner of Williamson Cadillac Hummer in Miami, had been told by GM that an announcement is coming on Tuesday.

He is optimistic someone will buy the brand, perhaps to use the dealer network to distribute other models not currently sold in the United States.

Chinese carmakers have been seen as possible buyers for the brand, which traces its roots to rugged vehicles used for transporting soldiers. "

aaaaaaand source

The Good News: Hummer could be dead, except for...
The Bad News: Which is that suddenly rich douchebags with tiny wangs don't just exist in America, but in Russia, China, and the Middle East as well.

TODAY is the day when they decide if the brand will be sold to the highest bidder or if there is a fire sufficiently large enough for them to die in.
  • bispo

(no subject)


Today, the UK Independent reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has signed the new Shia Family Law, which women’s groups believe will essentially legalize rape. Specifically, the measure “negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home.” Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation, called it “one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century.” More details:

The most controversial parts of the law deal explicitly with sexual relations. Article 132 requires women to obey their husband’s sexual demands and stipulates that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least “once every four nights” when travelling, unless they are ill. The law also gives men preferential inheritance rights, easier access to divorce, and priority in court.

A report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Unifem, warned: “Article 132 legalises the rape of a wife by her husband”.

Critics are charging that Karzai rushed the bill through parliament “in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.” (HT: AMERICAblog)

Update: Jezebel has more, writing, "I guess somebody in the embassy forgot to read Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing testimony in which she promised to elevate the status of women's rights in foriegn policy."
SW - Raining Troops

Wars of reinvasion: now with 100% less invasion!

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea’s government vowed to wage war against Japan if Japanese defense forces try to shoot down a missile that the communist nation says will carry a communications satellite.

“Should Japan dare recklessly to intercept the DPRK’s satellite, its army will consider this as the start of Japan’s war of reinvasion more than six decades after the Second World War,” the official Korean Central News Agency said today in an e-mailed statement. North Korea is also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Teriyaki sauce.

idk, Korea. I hear they have giant robots.
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Filibusters skyrocket under Republican minority in 110th Congress.

Yesterday, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) slammed the idea of passing health care reform and other Obama priorities through a simple majority of the Senate, a process called reconciliation. “Now, if they do that, that, in effect is the nuclear war,” Kyl said. The Republicans have become experts at using Senate filibusters — or often just the threat of filibusters — to block the Democratic agenda while in the minority. As this chart from Norm Ornstein shows, the use of filibusters have skyrocketed under Republicans:


Ezra Klein writes, “If you want to understand why the earth is likely to heat and why comprehensive health reform is unlikely to pass and why the government is increasingly letting the Federal Reserve govern its response to the financial crisis, that graph basically tells the story.”


Bombing Iran is Good for the Iranian Soul. Apparently.

Elliot Abrams(above left), veteran warmonger and neoconservative, reminds us that while there are always those who find themselves fighting the last war there are also those who forget that the last war even happened. Concerned about bombing Iran? You shouldn't be. Why? Well, the Iranians will, probably, like it. Or, as he puts it:

We are not talking about the Americans killing civilians, bombing cities, destroying mosques, hospitals, schools. No, no, no – weʹre talking about nuclear facilities which most Iranians know very little about, have not seen, will not see, some quite well hidden.

So they wake up in the morning and find out that the United States if attacking those facilities and, presumably with some good messaging about why weʹre doing it and why we are not against the people of Iran.

Itʹs not clear to me that the reaction [would be] letʹs go to war with the Americans, but rather, perhaps, how did we get into this mess? Why did those guys, the very unpopular ayatollahs in a country 70 percent of whose population is under the age of 30, why did those old guys get us into this mess.

Alas, as Matt Yglesias says, pretty much the entire history of air power contradicts this so-called analysis (since one presumes neither America nor Israel is actually going to lob a first strike nuke onto Tehran). The problem with Abrams and co is not simply that they treat every problem as though it were the same, but that they seem to have no imagination. That is, Abrams clearly cannot imagine how an Iranian might be both opposed to the regime and proud that Iran had a nuclear capability. Yet it is not difficult to imagine how such feelings might exist. Equally, Abrams' lack of empathy makes it impossible for him to imagine how an Iranian might hear the "good messaging" about "why we ae not against the people of Iran" and see these messengers dropping bombs on Iranian territory and conclude that perhaps the Americans do indeed have something against the Iranian people. This is elementary.

But no, let's attack anyway. And, of course, if the attack is unsuccessful then we'll have to bomb again. And again. Pretty soon you'll have a nice little war there and what could possibly go wrong with that?


(no subject)

In GMA Test Many Black Girls Still Say White Dolls Are Prettier

Today Good Morning America recreated the 1940s experiment in which 63% of African-American children given identical white and black dolls said they'd rather play with the white doll and 44% identified more with the white doll.


GMA interviewed 19 black boys and girls who ranged in age from 5 to 9. This time 42% wanted to play with the black doll, 32% with the white doll, and the rest said they didn't want to play with either doll. 88% said they looked more like the dark-skinned doll. When asked which doll was prettiest, all the boys said both dolls were equally pretty, but 47% of the girls said the white doll was prettiest. "Black boys are more confident," explains Harvard Sociologist William Julius Wilson, "Black girls don't feel that they enjoy the respect and admiration that black boys do." Clip at left. [ABC News]

Note: This experiment was also done in a 2006 short film, A Girl Like Me, by Kiri Davis, which we encourage you to watch.

A Girl Like Me [Google Video]


(no subject)

CT School Teacher Holds Job After Death Threats to Gay Lawmakers


The NYT looks at the recent threats in Connecticut to openly gay lawmakers Michael Lawlor and Andrew McDonald over their support of a bill that would have altered the legal, financial, and administrative structure of local parishes, giving local parishioners more control. The bill enraged Connecticut's Catholic community, some of whom (using the bill as a convenient excuse to also demonize the lawmakers for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state) sent Lawlor and McDonald death threats, and led to the arrest of 26-year-old Timothy Kane.

Lawlor_mcdonald Kane's email read: "You better hope myself and other Catholics don't find out where you live, cause there's hell to pay for your attack on the church. Fuck off. God hates gay sex."

The NYT reports: "During an interview in his office, Mr. Lawlor seemed stunned at how he had fallen into a fight with the Catholic Conference, which has supported other elements of the progressive agenda, including health care reform and the abolition of the death penalty. 'This is a fight I don’t need to have,' Mr. Lawlor said. 'Only bad things happen when politicians wade into religious doctrine.' In Mr. McDonald’s view, one of those bad things includes Bishop Lori accusing him and Mr. Lawlor, who are both openly gay, of using the bill to intimidate the bishops over their opposition to gay marriage. 'It’s inaccurate,' Mr. McDonald said. 'It is unfair. And it was dangerous, because it engendered deep feelings of hostility and stirred homophobic responses from many people that resulted in very serious threats.' ... In an interview, Bishop Lori said he stood by his accusation. He also bristled at Mr. Lawlor’s suggestion that the bishops 'hit the panic button' by quickly mobilizing thousands of Catholics to rally in Hartford."

Kane_timothy  Meanwhile, Kane still holds a job in the New Britain school system, and some are wondering why:

"I can tell you one thing, after reading his e-mail today in a Hartford Courtroom, I wouldn’t want Kane teaching my child...A judge ordered the 26 year old teacher to undergo a mental evaluation and anger management training.  I’d say!  His attorney says Kane regrets what he did and is hoping to put this matter behind him and move on with his life.  He says Kane will formally apologize to the lawmakers if that’s what the Court wants."

The New Britain school system hasn't offered an answer.


Barack the Barbarian? Devil's Due Announces 2 Obama Comics

By Matt Brady | posted: 31 March 2009 06:52 am ETBuzz up!

If you thought that the comic book industry’s fascination with President Barack Obama was ending anytime soon, you’d be very, very wrong.

To date, the President has guest-starred with the Savage Dragon, Spider-Man, and the Youngblood team. He’s also been the subject of a biographical comic by IDW which will continue later this year.

And now, Chicago-based Devil’s Due has announced two more Obama-based comic projects shipping this June, Drafted 100 Days, Barack, The Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli. The first folds Obama into Devil’s Due’s alternate reality world where the earth has united to fight off an alien invasion, while the latter is an ongoing satire series, written by Larry Hama.

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osaka is getting a bit too excited


Miss Universe Visits Guantánamo Bay
By Robert Mackey
Updated | March 31

Don’t ask us how or why we came across this — and the British home secretary’s husband did not bring it to our attention — but the latest entry on the blog of the reigning Miss Universe, Dayana Mendoza, has a sort of eye-catching dateline: “March 27, 2009, Guantánamo Bay.”

According to the Web site of the U.S.O., which arranged the visit, the Miss Universe Organization made the decision to “deploy Crystle Stewart, Miss U.S.A. 2008, and Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to visit troops as part of a U.S.O./Armed Forces Entertainment tour.”

Ms. Mendoza, who competed as Miss Venezuela, has a blog on the pageant’s Web site, and here’s what she wrote last Friday, after her deployment:

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' raw like sushi

You are going to hear about this bill FOREVER, or at least until it passes, the end.

Jim Webb's courage v. the "pragmatism" excuse for politicians


There are few things rarer than a major politician doing something that is genuinely courageous and principled, but Jim Webb's impassioned commitment to fundamental prison reform is exactly that. Webb's interest in the issue was prompted by his work as a journalist in 1984, when he wrote about an American citizen who was locked away in a Japanese prison for two years under extremely harsh conditions for nothing more than marijuana possession. After decades of mindless "tough-on-crime" hysteria, an increasingly irrational "drug war," and a sprawling, privatized prison state as brutal as it is counter-productive, America has easily surpassed Japan -- and virtually every other country in the world -- to become what Brown University Professor Glenn Loury recently described as a "a nation of jailers" whose "prison system has grown into a leviathan unmatched in human history."

What's most notable about Webb's decision to champion this cause is how honest his advocacy is. He isn't just attempting to chip away at the safe edges of America's oppressive prison state. His critique of what we're doing is fundamental, not incremental. And, most important of all, Webb is addressing head-on one of the principal causes of our insane imprisonment fixation: our aberrational insistence on criminalizing and imprisoning non-violent drug offenders (when we're not doing worse to them). That is an issue most politicians are petrified to get anywhere near, as evidenced just this week by Barack Obama's adolescent, condescending snickering when asked about marijuana legalization, in response to which Obama gave a dismissive answer that Andrew Sullivan accurately deemed "pathetic." Here are just a few excerpts from Webb's Senate floor speech this week (.pdf) on his new bill to create a Commission to study all aspects of prison reform:

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Webb added that "America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace" and "we are locking up too many people who do not belong in jail."

It's hard to overstate how politically thankless, and risky, is Webb's pursuit of this issue -- both in general and particularly for Webb. Though there has been some evolution of public opinion on some drug policy issues, there is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform. To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being "soft on crime" has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a politician can suffer (ask Michael Dukakis). Moreover, the privatized Prison State is a booming and highly profitable industry, with an army of lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates who threaten its interests.

Most notably, Webb is in the Senate not as an invulnerable, multi-term political institution from a safely blue state (he's not Ted Kennedy), but is the opposite: he's a first-term Senator from Virginia, one of the "toughest" "anti-crime" states in the country (it abolished parole in 1995 and is second only to Texas in the number of prisoners it executes), and Webb won election to the Senate by the narrowest of margins, thanks largely to George Allen's macaca-driven implosion. As Ezra Klein wrote, with understatement: "Lots of politicians make their name being anti-crime, which has come to mean pro-punishment. Few make their name being pro-prison reform."

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I was gonna include this article as well but it seemed a little long.

Anyway, even if you for some reason don't care about criminal justice reform, this article is a very keen explanation of WHY our Democratic political leaders are often such timid little milquetoasts.

Meghan McCain has picked the new face of the GOP.

The GOP's House Hottie
by Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain sizes up the youngest congressman, Aaron Schock, and his appeal to minorities, wise use of paparazzi, and what the best abs in D.C. can do for the future of the Republican Party.

The first time I ever heard of Congressman Aaron Schock, I was hanging out with some friends during a girls' night in, and one of my friends yelled to me from the other room: “Meghan, there’s a congressman on TMZ.” To which I answered: “Twenty bucks he’s a Democrat.” Well, I was wrong. Schock is not only a Republican, but currently fills the congressional district in Illinois that Abraham Lincoln once held. (This winter, Huffington Post readers elected  him “Hottest Freshman,” garnering him an appearance on the Today show. A couple of weeks later, TMZ started stalking Schock.) In the era of President Obama pop-culture mania, how is one conservative young congressman becoming the Republican Party’s very own pop-culture politician—and someone even my most liberal friends in West Hollywood are asking me about?

At the end of the day, Congressman Schock is only three years older than me. Which means he can relay a message in ways my father never could.

It’s no coincidence the congressman-turned-TMZ hottie is the first congressman born in the 1980s; he’s a member of my own Generation Y. Schock is 27 years old and has been in politics since he was elected to the Peoria school board at age 19—making him the youngest person to ever serve on a school board in Illinois. “Ultimately, [running for school board] led me into the public service, feeling like I could make a difference and help improve my community,” Schock told me by phone last week. Four years later, he was elected to the state house; four years after that, he was elected to Congress.

Schock’s rapid rise to the national level is, if nothing else, interesting, especially given the serious soul-searching the Republican Party is experiencing. My father, had he won, would have been the oldest president in history elected to a first term. He was often criticized because of the generational gap between him and young voters. Schock should play his youth to his advantage, and so should the GOP. In a party stereotyped as one for old, white men, Schock has made a marked impression on my generation’s zeitgeist—even if it was unintentional.

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What do you think ONTD_P?  Is he a hottie or a nottie?  And does he seem like a rising star?

(no subject)

A Rookie President

Thomas SowellSomeone once said that, for every rookie you have on your starting team in the National Football League, you will lose a game. Somewhere, at some time during the season, a rookie will make a mistake that will cost you a game.
We now have a rookie President of the United States and, in the dangerous world we live in, with terrorist nations going nuclear, just one rookie mistake can bring disaster down on this generation and generations yet to come.
Barack Obama is a rookie in a sense that few other presidents in American history have ever been. It is not just that he has never been president before. He has never had any position of major executive responsibility in any kind of organization where he was personally responsible for the outcome.



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Holbrooke had brief and cordial exchange with Iranian deputy foreign minister, Clinton says

U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke held a "brief and cordial exchange" with the head of the Iranian delegation attending an international conference here at the Hague, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a press conference.
Clinton said that she did not have any direct contact with the Iranian delegation herself. But she said that at her request, a letter was passed to the Iranian government here today asking for assistance finding or gaining the release of three Americans held or believed missing in Iran, including former FBI officer Robert Levinson and US journalist Roxana Saberi.

"During the course of the conference, Rep. Holbrooke held a brief and cordial exchange with the head of the Iranian delegation, not substantive," Clinton said in answer to a queston following her prepared statement after the Hague Afghanistan conference.
At her request, "A letter was delivered to Iran," Clinton added, saying it was one of two exchanges between the U.S. and Iran that had occurred here today. "In the letter, we asked Iran to use all its faciilties to ensure the safe and quick return of Robert Levinson, and the release and free travel of Roxana Saberi and" another Iranian American being held in Iran.
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panda bear

(no subject)

Netanyahu To Obama: Stop Iran, Or I Will

In an exclusive interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg Tuesday, just before he was sworn in as Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu issued a bold statement: if Obama does not stop Iran's nuclear program, Israel most certainly will. The assertion seems to confirm Netanyahu's own hawkishness, as well as the fears of US Middle East policymakers who support a more delicate approach to the region. From the interview account:

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons--and quickly--or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran's nuclear facilities itself.

"The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons," Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a "hinge of history" and added that "Western civilization" will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

In unusually blunt language, Netanyahu said of the Iranian leadership, "You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran."

However, further in Goldberg's account of the interview comes more promising signs that Netanyahu, despite blunt statements, still reserves room for non-military, diplomatic measures to stymie Iranian nuclear development:

Netanyahu said he would support President Obama's decision to engage Iran, so long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran's nuclear ambitions. "How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it," he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama's appeals. In an hour-long conversation, held in the Knesset, Netanyahu tempered his aggressive rhetoric with an acknowledgement that nonmilitary pressure could yet work. "I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means." When I suggested that this statement contradicted his assertion that Iran, by its fanatic nature, is immune to pressure, Netanyahu smiled thinly and said, "Iran is a composite leadership, but in that composite leadership there are elements of wide-eyed fanaticism that do not exist right now in any other would-be nuclear power in the world. That's what makes them so dangerous."

Sorting out Netanyahu's rhetoric from his true intentions will be yet another task for the Obama administration, which just today made modest but notable headway with Iran at the Hague Afghanistan summit.

Read the full account of Goldberg's interview.

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Rahm Emanuel vs. Josh Lyman

Who do you think is the better chief of staff: Rahm Emanuel or Josh Lyman?

The fictional Bartlet administration was on the Hill today with “The West Wing” stars Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff promoting the Employee Free Choice Act.

For those more in tune with their TV names, that would be President Bartlet, Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler.

All three stars jokingly drew on their fictional administration roles during the event to unveil a new ad and grass-roots campaign for the “card check” bill.

“On behalf of the acting president of the United States, thank you all for being here,” Whitford said to laughter. “By the way, I’m his, his Rahm.”

“If you want to talk to him (Sheen), you talk to me first. But I was on a network White House, so I can’t swear,” Whitford quipped about the real chief of staff’s well-known use of profanity.

Granted, Josh Lyman was actually Bartlet’s DEPUTY chief of staff, so a better comparison would be to say, Jim Messina, but now that wouldn’t be as funny, would it?

Schiff also took his turn making cracks.

“Thank you, Rahm,” he said to Whitford, who introduced him.

After Whitford and Schiff’s strong push for the bill, real politicians Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., arrived to defend the legislation before Sheen could speak.

The fictional president waited his turn until Whitford announced “the awkward segway back to fake politician.”

We shall see if the Bartlet administration’s support for the controversial union-backed legislation makes a difference.
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Sanford Still a Prick After All These Years

As Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) continues to wage an ideological war against $700 million of sorely-needed stimulus funds for his state, he has become more and more desperate to stave off his critics. Tonight on Glenn Beck’s Fox show, Sanford claimed that accepting the funds — 80 percent of which would fund education in his state — would be akin to “fiscal child abuse”:

BECK: But your point, if I’m not mistaken is, no, no, no, you’re taking care of the children in South Carolina by not taking it. Can you explain that? […]

SANFORD: Since we don’t have any of this money that’s now being dispensed from Washington, DC; since we’re going out and printing money and we’re issuing debt to solve a problem that was created by too much debt; since that’s taking place, and since those costs will be borne by the next generation, in fact it is sort of fiscal child abuse to do what we’re doing.

BECK: Yes.

Watch it:

It’s unclear whether South Carolina student Ty’Sheoma Bethea will agree that denying her crumbling school the stimulus cash it needs to rebuild — or that firing 4,000 state teachers — is protecting her from child abuse.

voldemort aretha

Sebelius tax issues...this makes 6

Sebelius corrects tax returns for 3 years

HHS nominee tells senators she's corrected tax returns for 3 years

Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius has corrected three years worth of tax returns after finding "unintentional errors."

Sebelius alerted senators to the changes in a letter dated Tuesday that was obtained by The Associated Press. She says the changes involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home and business expenses.

She and her husband paid a total of $7,040 in back taxes and $878 in interest from 2005-2007.

It's the latest tax issue to hit an Obama administration nominee. His first HHS nominee withdrew because of major tax problems.

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To Salute the Badonkadonk or not?

New York
magazine's Daily Intel blog published and subsequently deleted a blog post focused on the First Lady's booty Tuesday afternoon.
The post by Dan Amira, headlined, "Now That's Something To Salute," featured a photo of President Obama saluting the marine standing guard outside Marine One as Michelle Obama walked up the helicopter's stairs. It read:
This morning President Obama departed for the G20 summit in London and a week of other meetings around Europe, his first visit since last summer's epic charm offensive. As he boarded Marine One, Obama returned the salute of the marine standing guard ... we think. It also looks like Obama might just be blocking the sun's glare as he checks out Michelle's booty.
Soon after it was published, the link directed to an error page.
New York's Director of Public Relations, Lauren Starke, responded to an inquiry about the post with the following comment:
As you know, bloggers work in a hurry, and occasionally items go up that are not in the best taste. In this instance we decided the best solution was to take the post down.
So, what do you think? Should they have taken it down?
' jules


Coleman all but concedes, but will appeal court ruling

In a potentially decisive ruling, a panel of three judges today ordered up to 400 new absentee ballots opened and counted, far fewer than Republican Norm Coleman had sought in his effort to overcome a lead held by DFLer Al Franken.

The ballots appear to include some that Franken had identified as wrongly rejected as well as ballots that Coleman wanted opened in his quest to overcome a 225-vote lead that Franken gained after a recount.

About half come from Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis counties, places Franken won by significant margins, though many of those are from suburban precincts that the Republican carried in November.

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On the other hand, I has a sad, because SoS Mark Ritchie (the dude running this recount and making sure it doesn't become any more of a clusterfuck than it has to be) says he doesn't plan on running for governor, even though he is awesome and has a much higher job approval rating than Timmeh :(

Once again, French workers show how it's done

[What is even more amazing is that in France the cops are generally on workers' side in instances like this, and do not intervene in these matters. !!!! At big protests it is another matter, but in these "boss-nappng" incidents, police have not intervened. SEE THIS LINK.]

French workers hold bosses at Caterpillar plant

By THIERRY BOINET, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 31, 3:47 pm ET

GRENOBLE, France – Angry French workers facing layoffs at a Caterpillar factory held four of their bosses Tuesday at the U.S. manufacturer's plant in the Alps to protest job cuts, a regional official and police said.

It is the third time in the past few weeks that French workers have seized their bosses to protest job losses stemming from the global economic crisis.

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Start your rage engines... now.

Women's Right to Vote, the Beginning of the End for America?

by OneVike

From the day the founding Fathers risked their liberty and life by signing the Declaration of Independence, there has been those who have wanted to sink this great ship called the United States of America. Well 143 years later the good ship America took a torpedo hit that at the time seemed like just another glancing blow. What many still consider the greatest step forward in equality for the sexes, was more then just a glancing blow however. It was in fact a deadly strike that entered the very heart of the ship and has been smoldering since. The damage caused by the 19th amendment was slow in its destruction, but after almost 100 years we can now see how complete the destruction really was.

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I really can't stand Rush.......but I really like this article

Rusty and me

I love my cousin Rush Limbaugh, even though I don't agree with him. Now please stop judging me by my last name.

By Julie Limbaugh

I find myself in Rush Limbaugh's library standing next to a leather couch upon which Ann Coulter is perched. The room is festive -- crowded with relatives, wineglasses, cigar smoke and loud conversation. I am glaring silently at my mom from across the room with my arms crossed in the "unapproachable way" I know she hates. Mom says I have to introduce myself to Ann because everyone else in the family has met her, Thanksgiving vacation is almost over, she is Rush's guest, and I am being childish and rude. I have never spoken with Ann or read any of her books, but based on her public persona, I have decided that she is someone I hate. I feel fine about this -- happy about this -- why would I want to talk to her?

And suddenly I realize that I have become the person I can't stand.

You see, I'm judging her based on her public persona before ever meeting her. And if we talk, and I actually like her, which I might -- that will mean she's become one more person I have to admit I like even though I'm not supposed to.

From third grade on, I have been asked, "Are you related to Rush Limbaugh?" My teachers' whispered questions about the man on the radio made me feel important, even though my 8-year-old comrades had no idea who he was, since he didn't appear on the Disney Channel or in ABC's Friday-night sitcom lineup. During those years, I didn't know who he was either. I knew Cousin Rusty kicked a football pretty well and always brought Cuban cigars to family gatherings. Sometimes he would get Aunt Patty to smoke one and my cousins and I would laugh at her coughing as we watched from the neighbor's trampoline. I was proud of him like I was proud of my brother, who's older than your brother and can beat your brother up.

It was pretty hit-and-miss but clear-cut all the same. People either didn't know who he was or didn't care or loved him or hated him. There was no like in the equation. If they had an opinion about him, once they learned of our connection, they offered that opinion.

"Really?! Well, this is what I think of him …"

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World Net Daily, PISSED AGAIN!

WND Exclusive
'Family Guy' mocks being born again
American Family Association launches campaign to contact advertisers


Editor's Note: The following contains descriptions of a graphic television program some readers will find offensive:

Screen shot from "Family Guy" video online

The "Family Guy" cartoon program on the Fox television network, targeted earlier by a campaign to notify the Federal Communications Commission of its sexually suggestive content, now is in the crosshairs of another campaign urging people to contact its advertisers.

WND reported last week when the American Family Association set up a campaign for viewers to contact the FCC in protest of the program's sexually explicit theme. Tens of thousands of complaints were submitted in just the first day over the March 8 episode, which was rated by the network as appropriate for 14-year-olds, included multiple references to homosexual sex and featured discussion of an "11-way gay orgy."

Now the Florida Family Association has set up a link for consumers to contact the program's advertisers directly with their concerns over the nature of the cartoon.

It cited the March 8 program content but also noted the cartoon's attack on Christianity in the March 29 episode.

(Story continues below)


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OMG ONOZ by mcity_icons
  • lidane

Republicans Disinvite Palin From Major Fundraiser, Trash Her In Private

And the GOP circular firing squad keeps on trucking:

Caribou Barbie

WASHINGTON — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is out, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in as keynote speaker at a Republican dinner this spring.

Palin, the party's 2008 nominee for vice president, had been slated to address the annual Senate-House Dinner in Washington on June 8. The dinner, sponsored by the House and Senate Republican campaign committees, is one of the GOP's biggest fundraisers.

Palin will be replaced by Gingrich. Both are popular figures with the party's base.

A spokesman for the Senate GOP committee, Brian Walsh, said Palin's team informed the campaign committees that her responsibilities in Alaska prevented her from committing to the speech until the end of the legislative session.

"We completely understand and respect Governor Palin's focus on her official state business; however, there is obviously an enormous amount of planning that goes into this annual event. For that reason, we invited and are honored to have former Speaker Newt Gingrich join us as our speaker," Walsh said in an e-mail.

A spokeswoman for Palin denied that she had ever confirmed her role as a speaker, even though the NRSC and the NRCC issued a joint press release two weeks ago trumpeting her appearance.

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