April 4th, 2009

  • bispo

Brooklyn Restaurant’s Name Hits a Sour Note

more on sometimesdee's posts here and here
To the list of lofty names that glamorize the city’s fried chicken stands, like Crown, Royal and Kennedy, one Brooklyn restaurant owner decided to add another: Obama.

From the restaurant’s perspective, the name change grew out of pride in the new president and a keen sense of commerce. From other perspectives, it was tone-deaf at best, and racist at worst. When the restaurant, Royal Fried Chicken on Rutland Road in Brownsville, changed its name last week to Obama Fried Chicken, the reaction was swift.

“Community leaders came. They told us we have to change the name,” said Mohammad Jabbar, 33, the manager. “They said if you don’t change it they will take action.”

It was the latest outbreak of commercial enthusiasm for President Obama and his family. An Illinois company tried to sell dolls that looked like the president’s daughters, and a Brooklyn brewery, Sixpoint Craft Ales, named a beer Hop Obama in honor of the community organizer in chief.

A few minutes’ drive from Obama Fried Chicken, Obama Beauty Supply, opened its doors several months ago. Its owner, Mohammed Seraji, said he was inspired by his children’s enthusiasm for the president, along with Mr. Obama’s popularity in the neighborhood. A Michelle Obama wig he sells, for $49.99, is emerging as a popular item.

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  • bispo

Obama Responds To Afghan Law That Legalizes Rape: ‘I Think This Law Is Abhorrent’

At a news conference in Strasbourg, France, this morning, President Obama discussed NATO efforts in Afghanistan and secured the commitment of NATO allies to send 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Fox News’ Major Garrett asked Obama what he thinks of a new Afghanistan law that legalizes rape. The legislation, which applies to the country’s Shia population, contains this provision:

“As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”

In a written statement, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), said the law “legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband. … The law violates women’s rights and human rights in numerous ways.”

This morning, Obama said, “I think this law is abhorrent” and that his administration’s views are being communicated to the Karzai government. “We have stated very clearly that we object to this law.” But Obama added, the priority for the U.S. right now is al Qaeda. “But I want everybody to understand that our focus is to defeat al Qaeda and ensure that they do not have safe havens from which they can launch attacks against the Alliance.” Watch it:

The Afghanistan law poses a difficult diplomatic challenge for Obama and for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said recently, “Women’s rights are a central part of American foreign policy in the Obama Administration; they are not marginal; they are not an add-on or an afterthought.”

President Karzai said he ordered his Justice Ministry to review the law, and if anything in it contravenes the country’s constitution or Shariah law, “measures will be taken.” But he added that he had studied the law earlier in the day and, “I don’t see any problems with it.”

Shirley Animated

Preventive Reproductive Health Care Pays Off

This year is the 55th birthday of the birth control pill. It is also 44 years since the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalized birth control in Griswold v. Connecticut. Yet, debates over family planning and contraception are alive and widespread. Coloradans witnessed this first hand last fall when the "personhood" amendment that could have re-criminalized birth control in the state was defeated. Similar measures have already been introduced in seven other states so far this year.

However, current health policy discussions about the role of publicly funded preventive reproductive health care services demonstrate a great step forward in accepting that health care includes family planning. In fact, debates over the availability of affordable birth control, sex education and the financial wherewithal to acquire said resources, are moot without considering the critical role government can play to empower individuals to make responsible reproductive health decisions. This includes the support of publicly funded family planning programs like Title X and the Medicaid family planning waiver.

According to a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, 2 million unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions nationwide are prevented annually by publicly funded family planning services. In Colorado, publicly funded family planning centers are estimated to have saved more than $69 million in 2004 alone and, in 2006, prevented 28,500 unintended pregnancies and 11,900 abortions. These numbers demonstrate the value of publicly funded, equitable resources that enable families of all socio-economic backgrounds to acquire the means for a secure livelihood.

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actor // bale // fuckity fucking fuck

Obama and NATO pressure Karzai over law on women

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama piled pressure on Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on Saturday to scrap an "abhorrent" law which critics say would legalise marital rape.

Other leaders meeting at a NATO summit joined in the chorus of disapproval, warning that support for the military alliance's Afghan mission would suffer if the Shi'ite Personal Status Law was not dropped.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally phoned Karzai to complain and Western officials said the Afghan leader had ordered a review of the draft law, which would apply to the country's Shi'ite minority.

"I think this rule is abhorrent ... We have stated very clearly that we object to this law," Obama told a news conference after a NATO summit.

"It is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture but we also think there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold ... (including) respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity."

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ILU Obama. ♥

ETA: I submitted this before the other post a few entries down was approved, so I didn't mean to post a similar story.
Shirley Animated

Undercover at an evangelical university

In this exclusive excerpt from The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University, learn the shocking secrets of the Christian Right when it comes to love and marriage

I thought we'd try something new before class today," says Nathan, the Evangelism 101 teaching assistant. "A little cheer."

My roommate Eric turns to me. "God is good. Bet you ten bucks."

Before I can ask what he means, Nathan sets down his microphone and shouts through cupped hands, "God is good!"

"All the time!" responds the class in unison. Eric pumps his fist.

"Awesome!" says Nathan. "You guys must remember this from your youth groups. Now, let's see if you remember the second part: and all the time..."

The class shouts back: "God is good!"

Nathan waves his arms with brio, conducting the class like John Philip Sousa leading a parade march.

"God is good..."

"All the time!"

"And all the time..."

"God is good!"

I've been back from spring break for two days now, and I'm starting to settle back into my classes. As you might guess from a lecture that begins with a cheer, Evangelism 101 is somewhat of a gut. Our professor, Pastor Andy Hillman, conducts the class like a large, for-credit session of Sunday school, with test questions like:

God wants to be your ____.
a) Slave
b) Best friend*
c) Priest

The ultimate goal of the universe is to show ____.
a) the love of God
b) the glory of God
c) the power of God
d) all of the above*

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Kevin Roose is a senior at Brown University, where he studies English literature and writes regular columns for the Brown Daily Herald. His work has been featured in Esquire, SPIN, mental_floss, and other publications.


lol WUT
film // fight club // bruises from fight

Gunman Kills 3 Police Officers in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh police say a man wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call, killing three of them.

Police chief Nate Harper says the motive for Saturday's shooting isn't clear. Friends say the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and that he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

The three dead officers are Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III. Kelly had been on the force for 14 years and the other two only two years each. Another officer was shot in the hand and a fifth broke his leg on a fence.

The gunman, 23-year-old Richard Poplawski, was arrested after a four-hour standoff.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

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This is so heartbreaking... and so soon after the cops killed in Oakland.

Damn, gerl.

Sarah Palin's Sister-in-Law Arrested for Burglary

Originally posted Saturday April 04, 2009 10:45 AM EDT

Sarah Palin's Sister-in-Law Arrested for Burglary
The Alaska wildlife tales just keep coming!

Smoke has yet to settle from the feud between Levi Johnston – the former fiancé of Bristol Palin, who will appear on The Tyra Banks Show April 6 to discuss his sex life with the Alaska governor's 18-year-old daughter – and Sarah Palin, who issued a blistering statement condemning Johnston's decision to talk dirty on TV. (Johnston, 18, and Bristol Palin welcomed son Tripp last December and split earlier this year.)

And now comes a new source of embarrassment for the former GOP vice-presidential contender: police in Sarah Palin's hometown of Wasilla have arrested the half-sister of her husband, Todd, for allegedly breaking into a house in a robbery attempt.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, police say Diana Palin, 35, entered the home Thursday morning and made straight for a bedroom cabinet where cash was stowed. The house had already been burgled twice in recent weeks. This time the owner, carrying a gun, was waiting in a bathroom after seeing an unfamiliar car pull up outside.

The owner, Theodore Turcott, reportedly confronted the intruder and detained her until police arrived.

In a further twist in the case, Diana Palin's 4-year-old daughter was apparently waiting in the car outside, but entered the house before police arrived, a prosecutor said during a Palmer District Court hearing Friday. The little girl reportedly told police she had been in the house before.

Diana Palin was taken into custody on felony burglary charges relating to two break-ins at the Turcott house. A spokeswoman for Gov. Palin declined the newspaper's request for comment.


Wingnuts Get The Bad News

-"This is scary. Unlike Massachusetts, Iowa is an agricultural breadbasket. Watch crop yields plumett now. God takes His revenge in many ways. Just ask those people burned out of their homes (or had their crops dry up from drought) in California. Russia’s crop yields plummeted too, once she became an atheistic nation in 1922."
-"More judges added to the ‘people to horsewhip’ list."
-"This is for all of those that said the Family Protection Act was not necessary. How's it feel to have three judges spit in the eyes of the overwhelming majority."
-"We live in a Judicial Tyranny."
-"We are fools if we think that God’s judgment will not come to this land. Fools."
"IOW marrigage based on popping an orgasm rather than benefit to society."
-"I am beginning to believe that there is no silent majority. The queers and the unemployed are running the country. I am a slave, 2/3rds of my taxes go into the pocket of someone else."
-"There is no justice in the land."
-"The USA is much more the fascist dictatorship than the kind of govt of the people it was founded to be."
-"I have no problems with gays getting married. They just have to marry someone of the opposite sex, just like normal people. No special privileges for them!"
-"True. They can even have a 100% gay marriage...a queer can marry a carpet muncher!"


(no subject)

Keith Olbermann at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in NYC

Watch Keith Olbermann accept the award for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. The clip starts with Jane Velez-Mitchell and Hannah Storm introducing all the nominated clips and then announcing Keith Olbermann as the winner.

You can watch Suze, Tyra, Clay and T.R. Knight’s speeches here.


film // fight club // bruises from fight

An Antarctic ice shelf has disappeared: scientists

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday.

They said the Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 3,200 square miles (8,300 square km) have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.

Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available at pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2600/B.

"The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing -- more rapidly than previously known -- as a consequence of climate change," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.

"This continued and often significant glacier retreat is a wakeup call that change is happening ... and we need to be prepared," USGS glaciologist Jane Ferrigno, who led the Antarctica study, said in a statement.

"Antarctica is of special interest because it holds an estimated 91 percent of the Earth's glacier volume, and change anywhere in the ice sheet poses significant hazards to society," she said.

In another report published in the journal Geophysical Letters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that ice is melting much more rapidly than expected in the Arctic as well, based on new computer analyses and recent ice measurements.

The U.N. Climate Panel projects that world atmospheric temperature will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius because of emissions of greenhouse gases that could bring floods, droughts, heat waves and more powerful storms.

As glaciers and ice sheets melt, they can raise overall ocean levels and swamp low-lying areas.

Sylar and Mr. Linderman.
  • doop

Even After Exile, Palestinian Musician Vows to Play On

Wafa Younis, head of the "Strings of Freedom" orchestra based in Jenin refugee camp, takes part in a performance for an audience, including about 10 women who survived the Holocaust, in the Israeli city of Holon near Tel Aviv March 25, 2009.

Last week's story of a troupe of young Palestinian musicians from Jenin serenading a group of elderly Jewish Holocaust survivors near Tel Aviv seemed like an improbable ray of hope on a darkening political landscape. Instead, the music has died in Jenin, and the episode has turned into another of those daily tragedies that demonstrate the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians.

On March 25, Wafa Younis, 51, a vivacious Israeli-Arab conductor, led her students from the Jenin refugee camp — long a cauldron of resistance against the Israelis — through a medley of Arabic and classical tunes, while the Holocaust survivors clapped along to the violins and the oriental drumming. For the young musicians, raised behind the Israeli security barrier surrounding much of the West Bank, there was an added bonus to the trip: it was the first time many of the kids had seen the Mediterranean sea, which shimmered in the Spring sunshine. The kids even coaxed the event's benefactor, Sheri Arison, a philanthropist and probably Israel's wealthiest woman, onto the dance floor.

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RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

::will wait and see if this will actually come into fruition ...::

Obama to call for nuclear-free world

By Caren Bohan and Jan Lopatka Caren Bohan And Jan Lopatka – 2 hrs 32 mins ago

PRAGUE (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will call for the elimination of all nuclear weapons across the globe, in remarks on Sunday he hopes will lend credibility to his message in atomic disputes with Iran and North Korea.

Visiting Prague during an eight-day visit to Europe, Obama plans to deliver what his aides have billed as a major speech on weapons proliferation.

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Why American workers put up with more than European workers


April 5, 2009
The New York Times

In America, Labor Has an Unusually Long Fuse

The workers and other protesters who gathered en masse at the Group of 20 summit meeting last week in London were continuing a time-honored European tradition of taking their grievances into the streets.

Two weeks earlier, more than a million workers in France demonstrated against layoffs and the government’s handling of the economic crisis, and in the last month alone, French workers took their bosses hostage four times in various labor disputes. When General Motors recently announced huge job cuts worldwide, 15,000 workers demonstrated at the company’s German headquarters.

But in the United States, where G.M. plans its biggest layoffs, union members have seemed passive in comparison. They may yell at the television news, but that’s about all. Unlike their European counterparts, American workers have largely stayed off the streets, even as unemployment soars and companies cut wages and benefits.

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film // milk // here to recruit you

A Push Is On for Same-Sex Marriage Rights Across New England

BOSTON — The Iowa Supreme Court’s approval of same-sex marriage on Friday gave advocates an important first victory in the nation’s heartland, thwarting the notion that only the Northeast will accept it.

But for now, New England remains the nucleus of the same-sex marriage movement, with a campaign under way to extend marriage rights to gay men and lesbians in all six of the region’s states by 2012.

Massachusetts has allowed same-sex marriage since 2004, and Connecticut began allowing it last fall. The Vermont Legislature just voted to let same-sex couples marry, and supporters hope to gather enough votes to override a veto promised by Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican.

New Hampshire is not far behind; its House of Representatives approved a same-sex marriage bill last month. The legislatures in Maine and Rhode Island are considering their own versions, though they are not as far along in the process.

Across New England, advocacy groups have been raising money, training volunteers and lobbying voters and lawmakers as part of a campaign they call “Six by Twelve,” led by the legal advocacy group that persuaded the Supreme Courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut to allow same-sex marriage in 2003 and 2008.

Equal rights advocates said Friday that while the Midwest in general was culturally and politically different from the Northeast, Iowa shared New England’s independent streak and so was a logical place to file another court challenge.

“We picked Iowa because many of us who don’t live in the Midwest might think of it as being a conservative monolith,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, which argued the Iowa case. “But people who know Iowa have been saying for some time that it is different from its neighbors. There’s a tradition of independence and willingness to stand up on issues of fairness.”

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This article gives me hope. I'm still crossing my fingers for the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8.
  • bispo

More Proof Bobby Jindal is a Dick

NEW ORLEANS — Years before Washington spent $787 billion on a national stimulus bill, it staged an unintended trial run in Louisiana, a huge injection of some $51 billion for which historians find few, if any, precedents in a single state.

The experiment is still playing out, but some indicators suggest that what occurred in Louisiana — dumping a large amount of reconstruction money into a confined space in the three and a half years since Hurricane Katrina — has had a positive outcome. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in February was considerably below the national average of 8.1 percent, and it was the only state to see a drop in unemployment from December to January. It was also the only state with an increase in non-farm employment in February.

State economists specifically mention what one called “the ongoing building boom” from federal dollars as a main reason for the numbers. Largely a result of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, construction projects have not dried up as they have elsewhere, and a few can even be seen in downtown New Orleans.

Construction has “really hung in there and done very well,” said Loren Scott, an emeritus professor of economics at Louisiana State University. “In most states construction is way down, but in ours it has been up.” The relatively low unemployment rate in Louisiana “tells you that the stimulus can have an effect,” Mr. Scott said.

However, the state’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, has positioned himself as a leading voice against the new stimulus bill, objecting to federal intervention in a state’s economy. He has threatened to reject $98 million in stimulus money intended to help Louisiana’s unemployed, echoing other Southern and Western governors who have turned such rejections into a conservative rallying cry.

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  • bispo

Policy Agenda Poses Test for Rusty Legislative Machinery

WASHINGTON — The ambitious policy agenda encapsulated in the advancing federal budget will test whether Congress can shake the rust from its legislative machinery and overcome the powerful inertia that has gripped it in recent years.

Lawmakers, senior staff members and other experts agree that a combination of divided government, thin majorities, the running battle for Congressional control and an emphasis on national security caused a decline in the old-school legislative give-and-take that will be required to deliver major health, energy and education measures to President Obama.

“We have been miniaturized,” said Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a moderate Republican from Maine and a veteran of health care negotiations. “You have three talking points on a card. We are going to have to be taught and relearn the process, crack the notebooks.”

Congress has not even managed to produce its basic spending bills on time in recent years and has exhausted considerable energy dealing with recurring tax and Medicare snags. Big bills have been few and far between — the 2003 Medicare drug plan and a 2007 energy law are examples — as lawmakers nibbled around the edges of problems.

One of the most serious efforts by lawmakers to hash out a comprehensive response to a vexing national crisis collapsed in 2007 when an immigration proposal drafted during weeks of talks among some of the most polished and experienced legislators in the Senate died on the Senate floor.

As members of Congress and analysts look at the daunting demands for legislation emanating from the White House, some wonder if Congress is up to the task.

“Do we have a Lyndon Johnson in the Senate at the moment, someone who can push through legislation?” asked Stanley E. Collender, a former top aide on Capitol Hill and a longtime observer of Congressional budget fights. “We haven’t seen it in a while.”
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Yuuko - The Witch of Dimensions

Women 'Photoshopped' out of Israeli newspapers

JERUSALEM - Two women serve in Israel's new Cabinet, but some Israelis would rather not see them.

Newspapers aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jewish readers tampered with the inaugural photograph of the Cabinet, erasing ministers Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver. Ultra-Orthodox newspapers consider it immodest to print images of women.

The daily Yated Neeman digitally changed the photo, moving two male ministers into the places formerly occupied by the women.

...article link with pictures

Oh my goodness this is sad

Italian police have found more than 100 immigrants, including 24 Afghan children, living in the sewer system beneath railway stations in Rome. The children range in age from 10 to 15 years and are now being looked after by the city's social services. They were found when the railway police followed up reports of children living near the city's stations. The police say they do not speak Italian and broke into the sewers by removing manhole covers. The charity Save the Children Italy says that more than 1,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Rome last year from various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Railway police had been following up reports that groups of homeless immigrants were living in unhygienic conditions in and around Rome's three main railway stations. Police said the Afghan children appeared to have arrived in the Italian capital as stowaways on board trailer trucks arriving from Turkey and Greece. Some children were sleeping at night in sewers under the railway station to shelter from the cold, police said. The number of foreign minors arriving in Italy has risen substantially over the past five years, according to children's charities. Roman police also recently discovered groups of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and China living crammed 20 or more to a room.

As fast as the authorities find them proper accommodation, their places are taken by new arrivals.




N. Korea launches rocket

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN)
-- North Korea has launched a long-range rocket, a South Korean official confirmed to CNN on Sunday.

The payload of the rocket remains unclear. North Korea has said the rocket was to carry a satellite into space, but the United States, South Korea and other nations fear it could be a missile with a warhead attached.


Earlier Sunday, before the launch, South Korea's national security council called an emergency meeting amid concerns that a North Korean rocket launch was imminent, a presidential spokesperson told CNN Sunday.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated that the United States strongly opposes any such launch.

UPDATE:  More Info provided by therisingmoon here



Senate Republicans back Coleman all the way

Senate Republicans back Coleman all the way

Senate Republicans are backing their beleaguered colleague in Minnesota, saying former Sen. Norm Coleman should push his election case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Coleman has been battling Democrat Al Franken since November for the seat that used to be his, but recent court decisions have moved against him in the legal battle over the recount. Franken technically has a 225-vote lead, and last week a decision gave him a stronger chance of clinging to it.
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Video Showing Beating Of Girl Shakes Pakistan Peace Accord

Video Showing Beating Of Girl Shakes Pakistan Peace Accord (follow link for VIDEO)

Pakistani authorities ordered inquiries Friday into a video showing the public flogging of a screaming woman in a northwestern valley where officials have yielded to Taliban demands for Islamic law.

A militant spokesman defended the punishment, fueling a furor that cast more doubt on a creaking peace deal in the Swat valley that U.S. officials fear has created another haven for allies of al-Qaida.

Officials vowed to impose Islamic law, or Shariah, in Swat in February to halt 18 months of terror and bloody fighting between militants and security forces that killed hundreds of people.
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Chavez says he wants to 'reset' relations with US

Chavez says he wants to 'reset' relations with US

President Hugo Chavez said Saturday he hopes to "reset" relations with the United States at an upcoming summit.

Despite recent criticism of President Barack Obama, Chavez said he wants to bring relations between the two governments back to a "rational level."

"I'll be willing to press the reset button," he said in a telephone call to Venezuelan state television from Iran. "I hope that will be the policy of President Obama."
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