April 5th, 2009


Sanford gives in on stimulus, will seek funds for S.C.

Sanford gives in on stimulus, will seek funds for S.C.

Gov. Mark Sanford will comply with a midnight Friday stimulus deadline and become the last governor in the nation to seek millions of dollars in federal economic-recovery funds for his state, aides said late Thursday.

Sanford will continue contesting $700 million in education and law enforcement money for South Carolina, but his 11th-hour move to meet the deadline buys time for schools fearing mass teacher layoffs and draconian cuts.

Sanford's month-long fight over stimulus money placed South Carolina in the national spotlight and put him at loggerheads with President Barack Obama.

"Tomorrow the governor is going to send the (Section) 1607 certification for everything except the stabilization funds," Sanford's spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said Thursday evening. "The governor will apply for that (additional) money if the General Assembly is willing to compromise and pay down some debt with it."
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  • bispo

Chavez says he wants to 'reset' relations with US

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — 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."

Venezuela's relations with Washington grew increasingly strained under former President George W. Bush — reaching a low point in September, when Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador and withdrew Venezuela's envoy to Washington. His visit to Iran is part of an effort to build ties with other countries at odds with the U.S.

The socialist leader last month called Obama "ignorant" after the U.S. president accused Chavez of "exporting terrorism" and being an obstacle to progress in Latin America.

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Six gay men shot to death in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Six gay men were shot dead by members of their tribe in two separate incidents in the past 10 days, an official with Iraq's Interior ministry said.

In the most recent attack, two men were killed Thursday in Sadr City area of Baghdad after they were disowned by relatives, the official said.

The shootings came after a tribal meeting was held and the members decided to go after the victims.

On March 26, four additional men were fatally shot in the same city, the official said, adding that the victims had also been disowned by their relatives.

The official declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.


Saudis Report Plot To Assassinate Obama

April 6, 2009 11:02 AM
Khaled Wassef
The Saudi Arabian newspaper al-Watan reported today that Turkish security services have arrested a man of Syrian origins Friday in connection with a plot to assassinate President Barack Obama during his current visit to Turkey.

The man, who was carrying an Al-Jazeera TV ID card in the name of M.G., confessed after his arrest that he was planning on stabbing the U.S. president with a knife during the Alliance of Civilizations summit held in Istanbul, adding that he had three other accomplices to help him execute his plan.
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film // fight club // bruises from fight

New G.M. Chief Doesn’t Rule Out Bankruptcy

A week into his new job as chief executive of General Motors, Fritz Henderson said on Sunday he was confident in the future of the company but a structured bankruptcy remains a possibility.

Mr. Henderson has just 55 days remaining to meet President Obama’s timetable to come up with a new plan to save the struggling car giant. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said that the company was working to avoid bankruptcy, but that if it failed to meet its goals for cutting costs and shrinking the company, it “may very well be the best alternative.”

“If it can’t be done outside of a bankruptcy process, it will be done within it,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner stressed Sunday that G.M. “is going to be a part of this country’s future,” but said that a managed bankruptcy was among the options for the company.

“These guys have made some progress in putting together a restructuring plan, but they’re not there yet,” Mr. Geithner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We wanted to give them the time to try to get it right. But, again, our objective is to allow — is to help these companies emerge stronger in the future so they can survive without government assistance.”

Mr. Henderson, who also appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” steered away from specifics during his two stops on the Sunday talk-show circuit. He said that he and the G.M. board are running the company, not the Obama administration, even though he conceded that he has “several masters.”

“I think the administration and the task force has been very clear, they don’t wish to run General Motors. They expect us to get our job done,” Mr. Henderson said. “But the day we took money from the taxpayer was one of the, one of the most difficult days of certainly my career and of the history of General Motors. ... And one of the, one of the happiest days of my future career is going to be the day we pay the loans back.”

A Detroit-born son of a car salesman who has spent more than 20 years with G.M., Mr. Henderson was given the reins to the company late last month just minutes before a final review of the company’s restructuring plan by President Obama’s auto task force. At the start of that meeting his boss, Rick Wagoner, was told to resign by the White House.

Mr. Henderson, who said his salary is $1.3 million after a 30 percent pay cut, must make a number of sweeping changes, including obtaining huge financial concessions from the bondholders and workers, if the company is to receive the additional federal aid it has requested. The company has received $13.4 billion from the government and requested up to $16.6 billion more.


Anyone else want to choke a bitch with me?

TIME: It's High Time

Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense
By Joe Klein


For the past several years, I've been harboring a fantasy, a last political crusade for the baby-boom generation. We, who started on the path of righteousness, marching for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam, need to find an appropriately high-minded approach to life's exit ramp. In this case, I mean the high-minded part literally. And so, a deal: give us drugs, after a certain age — say, 80 — all drugs, any drugs we want. In return, we will give you our driver's licenses. (I mean, can you imagine how terrifying a nation of decrepit, solipsistic 90-year-old boomers behind the wheel would be?) We'll let you proceed with your lives — much of which will be spent paying for our retirement, in any case — without having to hear us complain about our every ache and reflux. We'll be too busy exploring altered states of consciousness. I even have a slogan for the campaign: "Tune in, turn on, drop dead."

A fantasy, I suppose. But, beneath the furious roil of the economic crisis, a national conversation has quietly begun about the irrationality of our drug laws. It is going on in state legislatures, like New York's, where the draconian Rockefeller drug laws are up for review; in other states, from California to Massachusetts, various forms of marijuana decriminalization are being enacted. And it has reached the floor of Congress, where Senators Jim Webb and Arlen Specter have proposed a major prison-reform package, which would directly address drug-sentencing policy. (See pictures of stoner cinema.)

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Cannabis sauce

So, ontd_p: What are your thoughts on the legalization or even just the decriminalization of marijuana? I'm for it and I've never even smoked pot, so it's not because I'm a stoner. I think the legalization of pot would not only help out the economy, but it would also maybe decrease drug dealing related crime. I think legalizing it would be more complicated than simply just decriminalizing it, which should be done especially for those jailed for simple possession.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Pot/Stoner macros and gifs are encouraged.
film // fight club // bruises from fight

Pakistan suicide bomber kills 22 outside mosque

Reporting from Istanbul, Turkey, and Islamabad, Pakistan -- A suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim mosque outside the Pakistani capital today, killing 22 people, the latest sign of rising sectarian violence and the growing reach of the Islamic insurgency.

The attack took place in the city of Chakwal, about 60 miles south of Islamabad. It came less than 24 hours after at least eight paramilitary troops were killed in a bombing in the capital and six days after militants stormed a police training center in the eastern city of Lahore.

The spiraling violence in Pakistan has long since spilled out of the tribal areas along the Afghan border, where Taliban and Al Qaeda militants find a haven, and into Pakistan's heartland. The bombing marked the third major attack in six weeks in Punjab, the country's most populous and affluent province.

A Taliban-linked group claimed responsibility for today's bombing, which occurred at the entrance to a Shiite mosque that was packed with worshipers. Insurgents in Pakistan have stepped up efforts to sow chaos by fomenting violence between Sunni Muslims and the country's Shiite minority.

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This weekend has been very depressing.

Catholic Archbishop outraged Obama to be honored at Notre Dame University

Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran of Oklahoma City has sent a letter to University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins in which he says that “Notre Dame University has certainly turned against the Catholic Church,” and that he is “appalled, disappointed, and scandalized” by the school's honoring of President Obama. Beltran’s letter joins a chorus of people expressing their disagreement with the invitation and honoring of a president at odds with the Catholic Church's teachings. The letter also states

“President Obama has publicly and ruthlessly affronted the Catholic Church of America during the short time of his presidency. His single-handed actions have totally reversed decades of successes of the Church in the prolife cause. Needless to say, he deserves no honor or recognition from Notre Dame or any other Catholic institution.”

North Korea rocket fizzles, Obama urges action

NKorea rocket fizzles, US says; Obama urges action

By JOHN HEILPRIN and PAUL ALEXANDER, Associated Press Writer

34 mins ago

UNITED NATIONS – The U.S. and its allies sought punishment Sunday for North Korea's defiant launch of a rocket that apparently fizzled into the Pacific, holding an emergency U.N. meeting in response to the "provoctive act" that some believe was a long-range missile test.

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sauce being Yahoo.com, I jumped when I saw this on Yahoo, haha.

My theory? North Korea knew the rocket was a piece of crap, and was hoping Japan would shoot it down before that fact came to light. Stupid Kim Jong-Il, who do you think you are? /b/ or something?

'Dear Politics: We are done with you professionally.' - GOP Christians

Political Pullback for the Christian Right?

By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, April 5, 2009


Is the Christian right finished as a political entity? Or, more to the point, are principled Christians finished with politics?

These questions have been getting fresh air lately as frustrated conservative Christians question the pragmatism -- defined as the compromising of principles -- of the old guard. One might gently call the current debate a generational rift.

The older generation, represented by such icons as James Dobson, who recently retired as head of Focus on the Family, has compromised too much, according to a growing phalanx of disillusioned Christians. Pragmatically speaking, the Christian coalition of cultural crusaders didn't work.

For proof, one need look no further than Dobson himself, who was captured on tape recently saying that the big cultural battles have all been lost.

Shortly thereafter, in late March, Christian radio host Steve Deace of WHO Radio in Iowa aggressively interviewed Tom Minnery, head of the political arm of Focus on the Family. Minnery, whom Deace described as "the Karl Rove of the religious right," accused Deace during the interview of ambushing him when he had expected a chat about Dobson's legacy.

Indeed, Deace was loaded for bear -- or Pontius Pilate. It wasn't exactly a Limbaugh-Obama matchup, but it was confrontational, and corners of America's heartland and Bible Belt have been buzzing ever since.

Deace's radio show may be beneath the radar of most Americans and even most Christians, but he is not alone in his thinking. I was alerted to the Deace-Minnery interview by E. Ray Moore -- founder of the South Carolina-based Exodus Mandate, an initiative to encourage Christian education and home schooling. Moore, who considers himself a member of the Christian right, thinks the movement is imploding.

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film // fight club // bruises from fight

Another endangered condor found shot

Wildlife biologists say a second California condor has been found with pellets embedded in its body, the second bird in a month found shot.

Ventana Wildlife Society Director Kelly Sorenson says the endangered condor was trapped on March 26 in Big Sur and is suffering from lead poisoning, likely from eating carrion that had also been shot.

When biologists were treating the juvenile female, they found three lead shotgun pellets in its body. The condor was sent to the Los Angeles Zoo for treatment.

About three weeks ago lead pellets were discovered in another bird being tested for lead poisoning. That adult male condor is being kept alive with a feeding tube.

Sorenson says it is unclear whether either bird will ever be healthy enough to be returned to the wild.


This breaks my heart. What don't people understand about ENDANGERED SPECIES?!
Iowa represent!

I've been meaning to post this for a few days now.

Hansen: Judge Hanson gets birthday present

by MARC HANSEN • April 3, 2009

It was about 8:40 Friday morning when a cheer went up on the fourth floor of the Polk County Courthouse. A group of law clerks had just heard the report on the radio.

The Iowa Supreme Court had upheld Judge Robert Hanson’s decision on same-sex marriage. The law clerks rushed into Hanson’s office to give him the news.

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Also, there was a request for me to post this on Friday, and I just haven't had a chance until now since I went to a concert last night. (I ♥ Fair To Midland.)

  • Current Mood
  • Tags
≈ soft as snow (but warm inside)

TROUBLE IN PARADISE??!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!

GOP May Be Stuck on Cohesion

On the House floor Thursday, Republicans registered their unanimous opposition to President Obama's budget proposal. Led by Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), the GOP adopted a simple and oft-repeated mantra: The Democrats' fiscal blueprint "spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much."

For House Republicans, relegated to the minority 27 months ago, unity will be key, but Boehner and Cantor have not always spoken with one voice. The questions the GOP confronts as it awaits the heart of Obama's agenda -- on health care, climate change, financial regulatory reform and other big-ticket items -- are whether it can offer a cohesive alternative to a popular president, and whether two leaders with very different styles and ambitions can work together to shepherd the party back to power.

During the budget debate, which ended in a near-party-line vote, Cantor and Boehner were in agreement on the strategy -- both endorsed the idea that the House GOP had to produce an alternative budget -- but differed on tactics. Recently, both men stood with their fellow leaders at a news conference to unveil a budget "blueprint," which was widely panned in the media for its lack of details and specific numbers.

Privately, Cantor and the lawmaker tasked with writing the GOP budget, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), had urged the party to hold off going public until it could produce a finished product. Both men wanted a more detailed proposal with dollar figures that would make it a more defensible document. Boehner and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) disagreed, hoping to counter as quickly as possible Democrats' charge that Republicans are "the Party of No." The result was a botched rollout and bad press.

The men also split on the proposal last month to tax the bonuses of American International Group employees, with Cantor voting for the bill and Boehner voting no. That measure divided House Republicans as well, as did the financial bailout votes last fall.

Boehner, 59, has been in Congress nearly two decades and is known for blunt talk, backslapping and reliance on private conversations and personal relationships to get his way. Cantor, 45, has been in the House eight years and is both more polished and more cautious than Boehner; a near-constant presence on cable news shows; and frequently described as destined for bigger things.

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I know it's preliminary, but I'm gonna say it now: these two best kiss and make up instead of going to war, because I do NOT want to have to pick a side here. I seriously spent like ten minutes trying to decide which one I hated less and I can't do it. I just can't. It's like picking between two children that I loathe and want to destroy. Now I know how Rush Limbaugh felt during the primaries, it is like torture when your two most love-to-hated people can't get along. :/

Iowa Gay Marriage Ruling Good For Business. Republicans can't argue with money!

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 5 (UPI) -- A university study predicts the Iowa Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage will result in a financial windfall for The Hawkeye State.

The court's unanimous ruling Friday overturned a decade-old ban on same-sex marriage, making Iowa the third state where gay marriage is legal.

Unlike Connecticut and Massachusetts, which also permit gay marriage, Iowa has no nearby competitors -- meaning businesses could see $160 million in new spending during the next three years, a University of California at Los Angeles study concluded.

Being in the middle of states that have many same-sex couples means Iowa could draw an estimated 55,000 out-of-state couples who spend money on weddings and tourism-related activities, the study said.

Advocates for same-sex marriage celebrated the ruling as a breakthrough for civil rights, while conservative critics called the ruling an attack on traditional marriage and said the court overstepped its authority, The Des Moines (Iowa) Register reported Sunday.


2008 // coolest couple EVAR

Media covers U.S. war dead's return after 18-year ban

DOVER, Delaware (Reuters) - The media was permitted on Sunday to cover the arrival of a U.S. soldier's coffin at the Pentagon's main mortuary in Delaware late for the first time in 18 years.

A flag-draped coffin bearing the remains of Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers arrived at Dover Air Force Base. Myers, 30, of Hopewell, Virginia, was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday by an improvised explosive device, the Pentagon said.

The administration of President Barack Obama relaxed a Pentagon ban on media coverage of returning U.S. war dead in February, giving grieving families the choice of whether to allow cameras at the solemn arrival ceremony.

The ban was imposed in 1991 during the first Gulf War with some exceptions, including the return of Navy seamen killed during the attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000 that killed 17.

Former President George W. Bush imposed a stricter ban during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, sparking criticism that the federal government was hiding the human cost of its military operations.

The Pentagon says that at least 4,262 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, while another 673 have been killed in Afghanistan since U.S. forces went there to oust the Taliban in late 2001 following the September 11 attacks.

n o p e

Larger Than Life in London


IT’S invariably the little things, the unconsidered, off the cuff, in passing, unrehearsed things that snag our attention, and seem to be telling of the bigger things. In the case of Barack Obama’s first visit to London and the Group of 20 conference to save the endangered habitat of bankers and real estate salesmen, it was the handshake with the bobby that seemed to be emblematic. In a forest of waving palms, this handshake meant more.

As the president stepped up to 10 Downing Street, he leant over, made eye contact, said something courteous, and shook the hand of the police officer standing guard. There’s always a police officer there; he is a tourist logo in his ridiculous helmet. He tells you that this is London, and the late 19th century. No one has ever shaken the hand of the policeman before, and like everyone else who has his palm touched by Barack Obama, he was visibly transported and briefly forgot himself. He offered the hand to Gordon Brown, the prime minister, who was scuttling behind.

It was ignored. He was left empty-handed.
It isn’t that Mr. Brown snubbed the police officer; he just didn’t see him. To a British politician, a police officer is as invisible as the railings.

But the rest of us noticed. Because in this country that still feels the class system like a phantom limb, being overtly kind to servants is the very height of manners, the mark of true nobility. Being nice to the staff is second only to being nice to dogs as a pinnacle of civilization. Remember: a butler’s not just for Christmas. Apparently, the Obamas searched every cupboard and closet in Downing Street to personally thank all the servants for looking after them. That’s classlessly classy.
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video of handshake

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/opinion/05gill.html

Porn to be shown on college campus, incites controversy.

Porn Flick Screening at University of Maryland Still On, as Is Funding Threat

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 5, 2009; C01


Neither side is prepared to lay down its sword.

University of Maryland students -- protesting what they see as an intrusion by Big Brother -- are planning to defy authority and screen a hard-core porn movie in the name of free speech and academic freedom.

"What we're upset about is somebody is trying to control what goes on on campus. This is symbolic," said Liz Ciavolino, a sophomore who is active in the group Feminism Without Borders.

In response, one conservative state legislator revived his threat: If the porn flick is shown on campus, the university might just kiss some state dollars goodbye.

A university spokesman declined to comment last night.

The tale of the scheduled screening of "Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge" has roiled the university's flagship campus and hit newspapers as far away as Australia.

The movie was initially to be shown in the student union last night. But university officials canceled it after Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) introduced a bill to withhold state funding from any public university that allowed the screening of a triple-X film.

The fight might have ended there.  But some students, adamant that state lawmakers were practicing censorship, have launched plans to show the 2 1/2 -hour movie on campus tomorrow night, the Baltimore Sun first reported. The Student Power Party, a slate of campus leaders, has reserved a lecture room.

A discussion about free speech will precede the movie.

"It's not about porn at all," said Kenton Stalder, a junior helping to arrange the screening. "The content doesn't matter. It's the precedent of a legislator pulling funding for an entire university based on an issue of morality."

Harris, who says that X-rated belly dancers and pirates have no place in a public university, is not backing down, either. He withdrew his initial amendment to withhold funds from the operating budget but said he would consider renewing his protest as lawmakers take up the capital budget in coming weeks.

University officials "should stop any showing of it right now until a clear policy is developed by the university regarding the conditions under which a triple-X-rated, hard-core pornography movie will be shown on campus," Harris said. He said that policy should consider "the dangers of pornography, the detrimental effect on women and families, and the addictive nature of pornography."

The movie, produced by Digital Playground, has been marketed to colleges and has been shown at several across the country without major controversy. The Fresno Bee reported that an overflow crowd was turned away for lack of space during a recent screening at the University of California Davis.

Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), a professor of constitutional law at American University, said he has never watched a porn film. But he said state lawmakers have no place dictating which movies are shown on campus.

"Pornographers and censors thrive on one another," Raskin said. "I would hope that Sen. Harris would be content with having gotten the pornographers hundreds of thousands of dollars in free publicity for the movie and would leave well enough alone. They could not have paid for the publicity they got on TV and in newspapers."

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/04/AR2009040402590_pf.html

This was the lead story on the news here.  And I'm confessing complete confusion on this one.  Why would a hard-core porn flick (Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge) even be considered to be shown on a college campus?  Another article says that at least five other universities, including Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon and the University of California, Los Angeles, have screened the film and none had canceled before.   But why is this specific porn being shown on campuses?  Do you all think this is a free speech issue?

Here's another article with more backstory on the situation: www.baltimoresun.com/news/education/college/bal-movie0402,0,3273550.story

UPDATE + Backstory from static_ninja  a UM student: 'It's being shown at our student-run movie theater. They've been having trouble pulling in money (everyone downloads movies or gets them from Netflix now) so they're trying this to drum up interest. AFAIK, it's working--a LOT of people were planning to go (myself included, now that it's back on). Apparently this was also being used as a way to discuss free speech. Flimsy excuse, but hey--at least they were trying.'

MORE DETAILS (thanks cindel  )
1. This is potentially being played up to promote the Student Government elections which begin Tues.:
- 'With assistance from professors who have not yet gone public with their support, organizers have booked an undisclosed room and plan to show the film at 7 p.m. The Student Power Party is the de facto sponsor, since most of the students involved are either on the ticket or actively supporting it, but they say it's not part of their campaign in the Student Government Association elections that begin Tuesday.

"This is a much bigger issue than that," said SGA presidential candidate Malcolm Harris, a sophomore English and government and politics major and former opinion columnist for The Diamondback. "Students were ignored, and nobody stood up for us."

2. The University does oppose the screening:
- 'With the exception of Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) and a few supporters who argued the state was treading on First Amendment rights, most legislators, as well as the university administration, don't think the General Assembly overstepped their bounds. And in an interview Friday, before students announced the protest screening, university President Dan Mote said the legislature is free to make decisions about how the university uses state money.

Mote didn't intend to cancel the film before the General Assembly threatened funds, although he acknowledged there was an issue in many people's minds about whether the university should promote pornography as entertainment.

"In the end, we were faced with the choice of forfeiting $45 million or showing a porn film," he said. "Whatever decision we made, the reaction would have been highly negative. In the words of an old country western, 'You've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.'"

"It's not a First Amendment issue - no one ever said they couldn't watch porn," he said. "The people who planned this work for the university, and they're not free to do what the university doesn't want them to do on the job."