April 9th, 2009

British Columbia solves homeless problem by pretending they don't exist

Province's New Counting Makes Homeless Disappear, Say Critics
March 30, 2009

The ministry responsible for helping the homeless in B.C. has quietly introduced new rules for deciding whether a welfare recipient is homeless. The new method will almost certainly reduce the number of people classified as homeless, and some critics predict the drop will be dramatic.

The new criteria, introduced in February by the Ministry of Housing and Social Programs, use a different definition of homelessness than does the Metro Vancouver/GVRD "Still on Our Streets" report, most recently conducted last spring.

The Tyee confirmed with a ministry representative that the new policy is in effect. A document available on the ministry's website is designed to help front line staff use the new criteria to classify aid applicants.

The Homeless Indicator document says the new criteria are designed to "better identify and track homeless clients." It goes on to direct front line workers to classify aid applicants as homeless only when they have been living in public spaces -- on the streets, for example, or in abandoned buildings or in tent cities -- for more than 30 days or if they were brought into the system by a B.C. Housing outreach worker.

As a result, people who have lost housing two or three weeks ago and are sleeping in a downtown doorway are technically still housed, as far as the ministry is concerned.

Collapse )


Unbelievable, leaving people without help so you can save political face.

westboro baptist church will picket funeral of murdered cops

Last night, I took my class a few blocks over to the county building where the bodies of three murdered Pittsburgh police officers--shot to death last Saturday morning by a neo-Nazi/white supremacist--are lying in state for public viewing. Back in the classroom, we talked about hate groups, and I mentioned Fred Phelps' Westboro (God Hates Fags) Baptist Church and their practice of picketing funerals of hate crime victims, and of soldiers killed in Iraq. A few minutes ago I looked at the picketing schedule for that group and found the following:

04/08/2009 10:45 AM - 11:30 AM Pittsburgh, PA Immaculate Conception, St. Joe's - A/K/A, Baby Rapers! 4712 Liberty Ave God Sent the Shooter, people. And WBC will be there to help you sin-enabling, baby-rape-payed-for, filthy perverts CONNECT THESE DOTS: Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. You told the cop to ignore his oath, just like the "priests" ignored their fiduciary duties. As a result you have priests raping babies and crooked cops. Now this cop died for all your sins. Wake up, you big dummies. The words of God will not cease in this land until our witness is completed. This is very serious business - this business of crooked cops, who take oaths, mistreating and REFUSING TO HELP God's servants in this earth! Isaiah 63:1 ¶ Collapse )

Palin Legal Defense Fund Launched, Supporters Drawn To Her Maternal Instinct

Palin Legal Defense Fund Launched, Supporters Drawn To Her Maternal Instinct

Defenders of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have created a defense fund to help pay for her legal fees, including those stemming from the now-famous Troopergate probe.

Clayton Paslay, director of the group FreeAmericanCitizens.org, launched "Sarah Palin's Defense Fund" on Tuesday. Prompted, he said, by a segment on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program detailing the governor's half-million dollar legal fees, Paslay set up a processor on his website to help solicit and steer donations Palin's way.
Collapse )

"I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD"

"I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD"
A secret recording reveals the Army may be pushing its medical staff not to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Army and Senate have ignored the implications.

"Sgt. X" is built like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he rode in while in Iraq. He's as bulky, brawny and seemingly impervious as a tank.

In an interview in the high-rise offices of his Denver attorneys, however, symptoms of the damaged brain inside that tough exterior begin to appear. Sgt. X's eyes go suddenly blank, shifting to refocus oddly on a wall. He pauses mid-sentence, struggling for simple words. His hands occasionally tremble and spasm.

For more than a year he's been seeking treatment at Fort Carson for a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, the signature injuries of the Iraq war. Sgt. X is also suffering through the Army's confusing disability payment system, handled by something called a medical evaluation board. The process of negotiating the system has been made harder by his war-damaged memory. Sgt. X's wife has to go with him to doctor's appointments so he'll remember what the doctor tells him.

But what Sgt. X wants to tell a reporter about is one doctor's appointment at Fort Carson that his wife did not witness. When she couldn't accompany him to an appointment with psychologist Douglas McNinch last June, Sgt. X tucked a recording device into his pocket and set it on voice-activation so it would capture what the doctor said. Sgt. X had no idea that the little machine in his pocket was about to capture recorded evidence of something wounded soldiers and their advocates have long suspected -- that the military does not want Iraq veterans to be diagnosed with PTSD, a condition that obligates the military to provide expensive, intensive long-term care, including the possibility of lifetime disability payments. And, as Salon will explore in a second article Thursday, after the Army became aware of the tape, the Senate Armed Services Committee declined to investigate its implications, despite prodding from a senator who is not on the committee. The Army then conducted its own internal investigation -- and cleared itself of any wrongdoing.

When Sgt. X went to see McNinch with a tape recorder, he was concerned that something was amiss with his diagnosis. He wanted to find out why the psychologist had told the medical evaluation board that handles disability payments that Sgt. X did not, in fact, have PTSD, but instead an "anxiety disorder," which could substantially lower the amount of benefits he would receive if the Army discharged him for a disability. The recorder in Sgt. X's pocket captured McNinch in a moment of candor.

"OK," McNinch told Sgt. X. "I will tell you something confidentially that I would have to deny if it were ever public. Not only myself, but all the clinicians up here are being pressured to not diagnose PTSD and diagnose anxiety disorder NOS [instead]." McNinch told him that Army medical boards were "kick[ing] back" his diagnoses of PTSD, saying soldiers had not seen enough trauma to have "serious PTSD issues."
Collapse )
K-Box cartoon

Good news for pro-choice Catholics!

Panicked, Sweat-Covered Pope Reverses Longstanding Ban On Abortion

VATICAN CITY—Overturning 2,000 years of religious doctrine, an out-of-breath and visibly flustered Pope Benedict XVI announced Sunday that the termination of unwanted pregnancies was now "completely and perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God."

The divine proclamation, which contradicts prior teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, was reportedly made by Pope Benedict after a late night phone call to his Vatican residence. According to witnesses, His Holiness was seen pacing back and forth, nervously wringing his hands, and cursing at himself in a hallway mirror before coming to the sudden decision.

Collapse )
fleur de lis

Why Did Turkish Anchor Address Obama in Black Face?

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post.
UYGUR: "There's a Turkish saying that 'One who asks for a favor has a dark face, but the one who does not grant him that favor is actually a black guy,'* which is a disastrously racist saying. It can be said one of two ways. There's either a black guy or an arab. So I'm not sure which one makes that better or worse. I think they're about the same in how unacceptable they are. But he says, 'I don't mean it necessarily that way, and when they translate it to you, they might write that I said 'has the face of a negro or a blackie.' And I'm like, 'please, dude, stop talking and get that stuff off your face.' He says, 'I mean it that if you do not grant us these favors, that your face will be even blacker.' I'm like, 'That's still not helping at all. It's just going to hurt the situation a little bit more.'"

"And this dude went and painted his face before he gave this little spiel. But that's the thing about foreigners. It's understandable. They don't understand our culture because they didn't grow up in our culture. So the Spanish team during the olympics does the thing with their eyes. They think that somehow that's going to be cool to the Chinese. 'Oh look, they're doing the slant eyes. Oh that's awesome.' And they don't get it."

*Uygur left Turkey when he was eight (thirty years ago), so his interpretation isn't necessarily the most accurate in the world. Someone in the comments explains what the anchor says like this: You Americans are always asking the Turkish people for favors and we Turks always give you whatever you ask of us. But when we Turks ask for your help, we're made to feel like beggars. And if we Turks are made to feel ashamed as beggars are made to feel ashamed for asking for money, then you should feel doubly-ashamed for not giving (i.e. if you cast aspersion on a beggar, saying his face is dark on one side, you, who cast the aspersion, are far worse: your face is dark all over). This interpretation explains the anchor's sentiment a little more clearly but does nothing to steer the sentiment clear of the obvious racial/racist implication of associating dark faces with negativity. So basically, it's racist; just not specifically in the way you might've thought.

Why We're Totally Intolerant of Maggie Gallagher

There are bigots and then there's Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group that serves as a front for anti-gay discrimination which put out an ad this week that's riddled with fear and manipulation– as well as some entertaining storm footage. Gallagher has become the last-best hope for the anti-gay rights movement, which in itself is pretty laughable.

As the arguments against gay marriage fall apart, Gallagher, in her own mental storm, has cobbled together a potpourri of false maternal concern, the argument that gay marriage will somehow destroy heterosexuals lives and the ludicrous argument that the real reason we want to get married and have equal rights is to destroy the American family and the church.

But just who is Maggie Gallagher– and why are people listening to her?


Collapse )

(no subject)

Young, Gay and Devoted to the Cause

April 09, 2009

Jonathan Gilad
Photo by Penny Jeannechild
Gail Shister
Jewish Exponent Feature

Jonathan Gilad, 24, works on Capitol Hill, studied at yeshiva in Israel, attends Orthodox services at least twice a week and has never tasted a cheeseburger.

Cornell freshman Annie Bass, 18, prays throughout the day -- including before and after meals -- and is known around campus as "the girl in the kippot."

Matt Feczko, 21, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, spent a year in Israel, debated the Talmud through high school and doesn't like to date gentiles.

So what do these young Jewish adults have in common?

They are as passionate about their Judaism as they are about their homosexuality.

They, along with 75 others, gathered over the weekend at Penn Hillel for the 13th annual conference of the National Union of Jewish, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex Students, known as NUJLS.

The group's leviathan name is a mouthful of marbles, acknowledges Vanessa "Vinny" Prell, executive director since 2007. "People often ask me if I was hired because I can say it in one breath." Pause. Giggle.

Equally breathtaking is this statistic: At least 15 percent of NUJLS' 200 informal members are Orthodox, according to Prell. For many mainstream Jews, "gay" and "Orthodox" in the same sentence is a novel, if not oxymoronic, experience.

For others, however, there is no contradiction between the two.


Collapse )

(no subject)

Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to Suicide of Massachusetts Student


Last Friday I mentioned Eric Mohat, the late Ohio high school student whose parents are suing the school for its complicity in bullying they say led to the suicide of their son.

Now comes news of another similar, horrifying suicide also brought on by anti-gay bullying:

"Two days after the worst day of her life, when she found her 11-year-old son had committed suicide by hanging himself, Sirdeaner L. Walker said on Wednesday she wants the bullying to stop. She found Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (above) hanging by an extension cord on the second floor of their 124 Northampton Ave. home Monday night after he had endured another day of taunting at New Leadership Charter School, where he was a sixth-grader, she said...She phoned the school repeatedly since Carl began attending in September but the bullying continued, she said. Other students made him a target, daily calling him gay, making fun of how he dressed and threatening him, she said"


Where's automat  and veidt ? :/

Shirley Animated

Backing the Pope? Dude, We Noticed

In a move to show their commitment to valuing overprivileged weeniehood above talent, the New York Times has hired Atlantic writer and blogger Ross Douthat as their new conservative editorial writer. He begins in mid-April, and Douthat watchers wait with bated breath to see if the new job will incline him to back away from some of his more colorfully false beliefs about the world of people who aren't filled with fear and loathing when we contemplate sex. Luckily for us, his blogging at the Atlantic shows that he's not about to back down from entertaining wildly amusing beliefs about the scary outside world of people who aren't disturbed by human sexuality.

A recent piece about the AIDS crisis in Africa is instructive. Douthat plays a "will he/won't he?" game about supporting the Pope's insistence that condoms make the spread of HIV worse, but in order to deflect attention from his own weird opinions, he, well, basically insinuates that the health community is somewhat overenthusiastic about our supposed mission to turn the world into an unwashed, hedonistic cesspool of doing it.

Collapse )

domokun | rawr

Texas lawmaker suggests Asians adopt "easier" names

Lawmaker defends comment on Asians

Call for voters to simplify their names not racially motivated, Terrell Republican says

AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

The comments caused the Texas Democratic Party on Wednesday to demand an apology from state Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell. But a spokesman for Brown said her comments were only an attempt to overcome problems with identifying Asian names for voting purposes.

The exchange occurred late Tuesday as the House Elections Committee heard testimony from Ramey Ko, a representative of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Ko told the committee that people of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descent often have problems voting and other forms of identification because they may have a legal transliterated name and then a common English name that is used on their driver’s license on school registrations.

Collapse )

sleep no more

O'Reily objects to Eminem's new video

Largely, his issue is with Sarah Palin (not anyone else who is lampooned in the video, which includes Jessica Simpson, John Mayer, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Bret Michaels, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Sarah Palin, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Blake Fielder-Civil, Tony Romo, Star Trek, the Rock Band games.

He interviews a feminist ("that's why you're wearing that jacket") Tammy Bruce on the subject.

Munch away.
Shirley Animated

Canadian teens lose faith in droves

Every day, Mohamed Hadi wakes up before sunrise for morning prayer. The 19-year-old then boards a bus for the 90-minute ride from his home in Richmond, B.C., to the campus of Simon Fraser University, where he’s studying to become a physiotherapist. He’s involved in the Muslim Students’ Association, and with Rich in Faith, a Muslim youth group he founded that offers tutoring and mentoring services. Hadi’s a busy guy, yet he always finds time for his religion, including prayer five times a day. “It helps me stay composed,” he says, “and to maintain balance in my life.”

Such devotion is rare among teens these days—or at least, among those from Protestant and Catholic households. Just as the younger generation is abandoning the Christian faith, though, non-Western religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, are growing in Canada at a surprising speed. According to new data from Project Teen Canada, more teens now identify as Muslim than Anglican, United Church of Canada and Baptist combined. As a group, the percentage who adhere to so-called “other faiths”—including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism—has grown fivefold since Project Teen began its surveys in 1984, while the percentage of teens who identify as Roman Catholic has declined by one third, and the percentage who identify as Protestant is down by almost two-thirds.

A side effect of this trend is a hollowing-out of the religious middle ground in Canada. Reginald Bibby, the University of Lethbridge sociologist who heads up Project Teen, says the grey zone of those who believe in God, but don’t regularly practise an established religion, is rapidly emptying out, leaving behind two distinct camps: teens who are very religious and actively practise their religion, and those who don’t believe in God at all. “For years I have been saying that, for all the problems of organized religion in Canada, God has continued to do well in the polls,” Bibby writes in The Emerging Millennials, a new book based on Project Teen’s latest findings. “That’s no longer the case.”

Collapse )


Um, there are plenty of moral alternatives to religion. You don't need religion to be a good, moral person. It's kinda worrisome that the only reason those 95% think you should be good is that God expects you to.

Also, anyone else grow up religious and didn't "learn" religion? I definitely didn't "learn" my worldview from my parents.

New Rasmussen poll says only 53% of Americans like capitalism better than socialism


Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism
Thursday, April 09, 2009

Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20%
disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are
not sure which is better.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism,
33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.

Collapse )
' jules

I'm not gonna make a Britney reference up here, how about that?

Sole Minnesota Senator Has Problems Built for Two

As the fight over a United States Senate seat from Minnesota seems certain to drag into a sixth month, forgotten in all the fussing is the senator left behind.

Amy Klobuchar, the “other” senator from Minnesota, the one whose election was not contested, recounted or re-recounted, now finds herself the only senator from Minnesota — a peculiar circumstance in a system that provides two senators per state, and certainly a situation rarely experienced for quite so long.

“I keep hoping that it will end,” Ms. Klobuchar, a Democrat elected in 2006 to her first term, said this week, adding that her biggest concern is a doubling of requests from ordinary constituents in need of help — with a missing Social Security check, say, a stalled adoption in Guatemala, or a tangled problem with veterans’ benefits.

“The system,” she said, “was set up for two senators for a reason.”

Collapse )

Exiles Want to Expand U.S.-Cuba Relations

MIAMI — The leading organization for Cuban exiles here is calling on the White House to expand relations with Cuba’s government, and funnel much more public and private American money to the Cuban people.

A 14-page proposal from the group, the Cuban American National Foundation, lays out what the document calls “a break from the past” that would “chart a new direction for U.S.-Cuba policy.”

It is the basis of an ongoing discussion with the Obama administration, White House and foundation officials said, and it amounts to the group’s most significant rejection of a national approach to Cuba that it helped shape and that has been defined by hostility and limited contact with the island.

Collapse )

LJ ate my last post for some reason...I hope this gets through D:

I bolded a bunch for tl;dr people. I'm glad the CANF is finally coming around...this is very good news. And fun trivia about the Diaz-Balarts: Fidel Castro was technically their uncle by marriage (their aunt used to be married to him)...lulz.


Chicago Tea Party Rejects Michael Steele

Chicago Tea Party Rejects Michael Steele

National Republican figures have been trying to attach themselves to the growing anti-tax "Tea Party" movement -- with limited success. Requests from politicians to speak at tea party events around the country have been rebuffed. "We're not a function of the Republican party," one Washington, D.C. tea partier told the Huffington Post. He didn't name names, But the Chicago Tea Party organizers have not only rejected a GOP party leader, but made the snub public.

When Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele asked to speak at the event, and organizer Eric Odom posted his response online. In it, he thanked Steele for "finally" reaching out to the grassroots. "Unfortunately, it appears that he has only just decided to reach out after realizing how big the movement has gotten and how much media is now involved," Odom continued. He invited Steele to attend and listen, but not to speak.
Collapse )

Dingbat Jesus Freak Blames American Murder-Suicide Spree On …. Gay Marriage

Connecting the Dots: The Link Between Gay Marriage and Mass Murders

On April 4 the NY Times ran adjacent front-page articles on the Iowa Supreme Court decision legalizing 'gay marriage' and the gunman who murdered 13 people in New York. That day the Times also ran an op ed article by Charles M. Blow who expressed concern about the negative impact that conservative media's "talk of revolution" could have on "weak minds."

Commenting on this is Morality in Media President Bob Peters:
Collapse )

Tea Party Protests: Organizers Threatened By Fringe Elements, Politicians

Tea Party Protests: Organizers Threatened By Fringe Elements, Politicians

Back in March, NewsBusters complained that the New York Times gave favorable coverage to an activist bus tour of AIG executives' swank Connecticut estates but ignored the populist groundswell that is the anti-tax, anti-spending tea party movement. Apparently, the Times heard the complaint, and on April 6 covered a 300-person tea party protest in New York. Covered it in ridicule, that is.

The Times op-ed got to the root of the matter: "[T]he green lawn was rumbling with grass-roots anger. Actually, its grass-rootiness was highly debatable. What were the citizens angry about? The stimulus? Not really, said one organizer. He had problems with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Laws impeding capital formation. 'Indict Charlie Rangel,' said a sign. 'Lowlife Obama!' roared a man in the crowd, causing giggles."
Collapse )

Associated Press DOES NOT Know They Have A YouTube Channel. LMFAO.

Here is another great moment in A.P. history. In its quest to become the RIAA of the newspaper industry, the A.P.’s executives and lawyers are beginning to match their counterparts in the music industry for cluelessness. A country radio station in Tennessee, WTNQ-FM, received a cease-and-desist letter warning from an A.P. vice president of affiliate relations for posting videos from the A.P.’s official Youtube channel on its Website. See update below.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Collapse )
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Caller to C-SPAN: ‘Why do you keep bringing these neocons on?’

This morning, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal hosted the National Review’s Rich Lowry, a conservative media figure who openly supported and advocated the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent “surge.” During the segment, a woman from Tampa called in to criticize the host and C-SPAN for continuing to host neoconservatives despite the fact that their ideas have “failed.” She likened Lowry to an inadequate car mechanic a customer keeps returning to:

CALLER: I would like to know why, if you had a car, ma’am, and it broke down and you took it to your dealer and it kept breaking down, and breaking down. Wouldn’t you change dealers? Why do you keep bringing these neocons on? […] This failed! …And you keep on bringing on failed policy. […] I would like you to tell me why we are still using this car dealer who has failed America.

While the host did not answer to the caller’s question, moments later, Lowry offered his support for giving an “or else” ultimatum to the Iranians on talks regarding its nuclear program. Watch it:

The caller’s criticism has a ring of truth. A 2007 Center for Economic and Policy Research study found that C-SPAN “overwhelmingly favor[ed] conservative think tanks in its coverage by a three-to-one margin over all left-of-center think tanks.” Indeed, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently asked of the neocons, “Why is it that people who are catastrophically wrong about big important things like foreign policy and war never, like, flunk out of that as a subject?”

biggie aretha
  • bispo

Spontaneous Uprising? Lobbyists Helping To Orchestrate Radical Anti-Obama Tea Party Protests

Yesterday, Think Progress reported on Republican lawmakers planning to speak at anti-Obama “tea party” protests taking place nationwide on April 15. Last night, Eric Odom of the DontGo website — one of the organizers of the protests — wrote a blog post stressing that these protests are displays of “regular American[s] in protest of government spending and extreme taxation,” rather than something affiliated with a political party or special interest agenda.

Today on Fox News — which has actively been promoting the protests — Glenn Beck pushed the tea party talking points, similarly claiming that the protests aren’t “coordinated” and are fully organized by “regular” people. Watch it:

Despite these attempts to make the “movement” appear organic, the principle organizers of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. The two groups are heavily staffed and well funded, and providing all the logistical and public relations work necessary for planning coast-to-coast protests:

Freedom Works staffers coordinate conference calls among protesters, contacting conservative activists to give them “sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country.”

Freedom Works staffers apparently moved to “take over” the planning of local events in Florida.

Freedom Works provides how-to guides for delivering a “clear message” to the public and media.

Freedom Works has several domain addresses — some of them made to look like they were set up by amateurs — to promote the protests.

Americans for Prosperity is writing press releases and planning the events in New Jersey, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, and several other states.

This type of corporate ‘astroturfing‘ is nothing new to either organization. While working to promote Social Security privatization, Freedom Works was caught planting one of its operatives as a “single mom” to ask questions to President Bush in a town hall on the subject. Last year, the Wall Street Journal exposed Freedom Works for similarly building “amateur-looking” websites to promote the lobbying interests of Dick Armey, the former Republican Majority Leader who now leads Freedom Works and is a lobbyist for the firm DLA Piper.

Americans for Prosperity is run by Tim Phillips, who was Ralph Reed’s former partner in the lobbying firm Century Strategies. The group is funded by Koch family foundations — a family whose wealth is derived from the oil industry. Indeed Americans for Prosperity has coordinated pro-drilling ‘grassroots‘ events around the country.

(no subject)

Jon Stewart on Vermont and "Chubby Hubbies"

Last night The Daily Show weighed in on the Iowa and Vermont same-sex marriage decisions with their usual aplomb, and host Jon Stewart made the requisite Ben & Jerry and corncob jokes.

But shame on Jon for taking the low road and mercilessly mocking a man's last name, even if that man's last name is ... Laycock. Oh, and I think I'm officially changing my name to Sodomy J. Balltickle.

You can see the video above, and I'm hoping Jon & Company will take on that hilariously creepy Gathering Storm anti-gay commercial next. The jokes write themselves.


ASU Stiffs Obama, Claims Too Inexperienced For Honorary Degree

ASU Stiffs Obama, Claims Too Inexperienced For Honorary Degree

Universities typically confer an honorary degree on commencement speakers, particularly those who have reached the pinnacle of their career or achieved the top of their field. Arizona State University (ASU), though, says it will not confer an honorary degree on this year's commencement speaker, President Barack Obama, because "his body of work is yet to come."

ASU Media Relations Director Sharon Keeler says, unlike other universities, the processes for selecting commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients are independent. She says that honorary degrees are given "for an achievement of eminence" and that Obama was not considered for an honorary degree because his body of achievements, at this time, does not fit within that criteria.
Collapse )
Iowa represent!

seriously, there's a lot better ways to spend legislative time, people...

Crowd at Capitol pushes for amendment barring gay marriage

Visit DesMoinesRegister.com throughout the day for coverage of today's rallies at the Capitol.

Democratic leaders squashed an attempt this morning to move forward this year on a proposal to amend the state Constitution and prohibit same-sex marriage.

But Republicans hinted that they will make another run at the issue later today.

Collapse )

I'll admit, I'm also posting this to show you guys these wicked awesome shirts from Smash, a downtown Des Moines store:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Totally thinking of buying the second shirt, for sure.
Iowa--Blue Myself

the Iowa politician everyone loves to hate!

UPDATE: King responds to being called a chicken by Gronstal

DES MOINES – A top legislative Democrat said Thursday western Iowa conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King doesn’t have the courage to run for governor in 2010 because he knows he would lose to Democratic Gov. Chet Culver.

“Steve King is too chicken to run for governor because he knows he would get his butt beat,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, told reporters during an impromptu news conference in the hallway outside his third-floor Capitol office.

King, who was traveling in Iowa, fired back.

“Sen. Gronstal is afraid to allow a vote on marriage,” King said, referring to the ongoing drama in the Legislature Thursday over bipartisan attempts to put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in front of voters. Gronstal has vowed to bar any attempt to put the issue on the ballot.

King, who served in the Iowa Senate with Gronstal before being elected to Congress, said recently the Iowa Supreme Court decision effectively making same-sex marriages legal in Iowa may prompt him to run for governor next year. The decision, he said, makes it more likely he will run for governor.

If he enters the race, he won’t be alone. Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats is making his third attempt to win the GOP nomination. (Poster note: HAHAHAHA, oh Bob. You are so full of fail.) Rep. Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, former speaker of the Iowa House, also has indicated an interest. Like King, Rants said the court’s decision makes it more likely he will challenge Culver.

In criticizing the Supreme Court decision, King, a Kiron Republican, said Iowa lawmakers should adopt a residency requirement for marriage licenses so same-sex couples from other state don’t come to Iowa to get married.

“Maybe we ought to have a residency requirement for congressmen, because he’s gone a lot,” Gronstal said.


oh snap!

The Thick of It; Malcolm Tucker

Newswipe (sort-of repost): Now viewable wherever you are in the world

Here we go again. This time it's on youtube so there's no regional fuckery.

Charlie Brooker weighs in on Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, Tim Key reads a poem about Obama’s magic powers, and Adam Curtis covers the rise of “Oh Dear-ism."

(At least watch the end of this for a wonderful BillO pisstake. Trust me.)

Redheads do it best.

How have we not discussed pirates yet? C'mon, dudes, PIRATES.

U.S. Negotiators Try to Persuade Pirates to Free Captain

(For those of you not up-to-date on the ongoning Somali pirate story, a recap can be found here.)

Negotiators aboard a U.S. Navy warship are trying to secure the release of an American freighter captain who is being held by pirates on a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia, according to Maersk Line Ltd. Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama is being held by pirates on a lifeboat off Somalia.

The crew aboard the USS Bainbridge could see the lifeboat where pirates have been holding Capt. Richard Phillips since Wednesday, the company said in a written statement issued at 5 p.m. ET.

Phillips has not been hurt, the statement said.

Phillips, who has received provisions and batteries for his radio, has been in touch with the crews of the Alabama and the Bainbridge, the statement said.

The pirates are the same four men who hijacked Phillips' vessel, the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama, early Wednesday hundreds of miles off the Horn of Africa.

The Alabama's 20-person crew later regained control of the ship, which is owned and operated by the Norfolk-based Maersk Line Ltd.

The U.S. Navy, which is in charge of the situation, requested the help of the FBI. FBI negotiators in the United States are in touch with the crew of the Bainbridge, which arrived on the scene earlier Thursday to assist, a senior U.S. defense official said.

According to to Maersk's last communication with the Navy, the 28-foot lifeboat was disabled and "dead in the water," the shipping company's spokesman, Kevin Speers, said Thursday morning.

"We are encouraged that most of the crew is safe. They have been resilient and courageous throughout this crisis," Speers said. "But we will remain on watch, staffing our situation room and our family hot line until this situation is resolved and the captain is safely returned."

On Thursday, the Maersk Alabama resumed its journey to Mombasa, Kenya, with an 18-person armed security detail on board, according to Capt. Joseph Murphy, the father of the ship's first officer. Maersk and U.S. military officials confirmed the cargo ship had left the area on Thursday, but would not say where it was heading, citing security concerns.

President Barack Obama had been staying apprised of the situation, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"Obviously, his main concern is for the safety of the captain and the rest of the crew on the ship, and he will continue to receive those updates," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said an international coalition of countries is working to address the piracy threat, but the area in question is immense.

"I think the ocean area we're referring to is three times the size of Texas," she told reporters.

Referring to continuing problems with piracy in those waters, she said instability in Somalia has contributed to the flourishing of "an old scourge."

The Alabama was loaded with food aid when the pirates hijacked it Wednesday, 350 miles off Somalia's coast -- a distance that used to be considered safe from pirate attacks.

It was the first time in recent history that pirates targeted an American ship. Video Watch how pirates work off Somalia »

The pirates were armed with AK-47 assault rifles while the ship's crew carried no weapons, acccording to Ken Quinn, the second officer of the ship.

Crew members managed to take one of the four pirates hostage, Quinn said. The crew -- apparently minus the captain -- locked themselves in the compartment that contains the ship's steering gear, where they remained for about 12 hours with their captive, whom Quinn said they had tied up. Video Watch Quinn describe the hijacking to CNN »

The pirates reneged on their agreement to exchange Phillips for one pirate whom the crew had captured. The pirate was released unharmed, according to Quinn, who spoke to CNN on Wednesday via a satellite call.

The pirates had scuttled the small boat they used to reach the ship, Quinn said, so Phillips offered them the Alabama's 28-foot lifeboat and some money.

"We returned him, but they didn't return the captain," Quinn said.

The U.S. Navy issued a warning several days ago to ships in the area that pirates were operating farther offshore.

There are emergency rations to last 10 days on the lifeboat, but the conditions are most likely "uncomfortable," according to Murphy.

"There's no toilet facilities or anything like that," he said. "The captain has a VHF radio, and I'm sure that he's in voice communication with the ship itself. The problem is, of course, that ... the [radio's] battery is going to die, and I'm not really sure how they're going to continue communication after that."

It is common for crews of merchant vessels to travel through the area unarmed despite the risk of pirate attacks, experts said. An armed crew could provoke a firefight that would endanger the crew's lives or its cargo, which often contains flammable or explosive material.

John Reinhart, chief executive and president of Maersk Line Ltd., said the crew can try to outrun the pirate boats or turn fire hoses on anyone trying to board the ship, "but we do not carry arms." Video Watch company spokesman say how captain is held »

The vessel was carrying relief supplies for USAID, the U.N. World Food Program and the Christian charities WorldVision and Catholic Relief Services. The U.N. agency said its portion of the cargo included nearly 4,100 metric tons of corn-soya blend bound for Somalia and Uganda, and another 990 metric tons of vegetable oil for refugees in Kenya.

(Okay, I agree this is a totally crappy thing to happen, but it's also kind of awesome. I mean if he survives, he can tell people he was CAPTURED BY PIRATES. And even if he doesn't - which seems unlikely, as far as I'm concerned - can you think of a cooler way to die? Obviously, given one's druthers, they'd rather die of old age, but if I had to choose a way to die besides that? Pirates. Or maybe a ninja assassin.)

Roger Cohen: Israel Cries Wolf

Published: April 8, 2009
Read All Comments (190) »

ISTANBUL — “Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is in my view more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option.”

Benjamin Netanyahu 2009? Try again. These words were in fact uttered by another Israeli prime minister (and now Israeli president), Shimon Peres, in 1996. Four years earlier, in 1992, he’d predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999.

You can’t accuse the Israelis of not crying wolf. Ehud Barak, now defense minister, said in 1996 that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004.

Now here comes Netanyahu, in an interview with his faithful stenographer Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, spinning the latest iteration of Israel’s attempt to frame Iran as some Nazi-like incarnation of evil:

“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.”

I must say when I read those words about “the wide-eyed believer” my mind wandered to a recently departed “decider.” But I’m not going there.
The issue today is Iran and, more precisely, what President Barack Obama will make of Netanyahu’s prescription that, the economy aside, Obama’s great mission is “preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons” — an eventuality newly inscribed on Israeli calendars as “months” away.

I’ll return to the ever shifting nuclear doomsday in a moment, but first that Netanyahu interview.

This “messianic apocalyptic cult” in Tehran is, of course, the very same one with which Israel did business during the 1980’s, when its interest was in weakening Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. That business — including sales of weapons and technology — was an extension of Israeli policy toward Iran under the shah.
Collapse )

Source: NYT

Meghan McCain Lands 6 Figure Book Deal

John McCain's 24-year-old daughter Meghan has a book deal! Sources say Hyperion has prevailed over at least three other publishers in an auction that began earlier this week, following a round of meetings during which the in-your-face young conservative and the literary agent she shares with her father, Sterling Lord Literistic president Flip Brophy, discussed a number of possible approaches to the book with editors around town.

Several sources said the advance Ms. McCain will receive from Hyperion, which is owned by the Disney Company, is in the high six figures.

While we haven’t quite nailed down what Ms. McCain’s book will be about—no one at Hyperion nor Ms. Brophy returned calls this afternoon—if her recent columns for Tina Brown and Barry Diller's Web site The Daily Beast are any indication, it will probably have something to do with the future of the Republican party, and how it must change to attract the votes of modern young people.

I knew it. Maybe now she will stop being everywhere.


Latest 411 on sex education

Bristol Palin's baby-daddy Levi Johnston has been stirring up a media storm by breaking his silence and sharing intimate details about his relationship with Sarah Palin's daughter. This underaged-baby-mama-drama is definitely heating up the sex education debate in the United States. With the right and the left arguing over the effectiveness of abstinence only programs in public schools, it's interesting to see what the outcome of this pointless disagreement will be. The argument is unnecessary because the proof is in the pudding:

Read the rest here:
italian playing cards

Another take on the theme of Berlusconi's wtf-ery

Do we want more funny stories about Berlusconi's crazy gaffes?


After negotiations on agricultural policy in 2005, he remarked that he had used all of his "arts as a playboy" in wringing concessions for Italy from the female prime minister of Finland, a woman not known for her physical beauty. When Berlusconi was acting as the president of the European Union two years earlier, he shocked a gathering of heads of state by suggesting that they lighten up the mood by talking about "soccer and women." He then intimated to Gerhard Schroder, the oft-married former German chancellor, that he might want to tell them about women.

a bit more at the sauce

Collapse )