April 20th, 2009

Campaigner Seeks Answers From Police Chief

Civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti has told Sky News that she will meet senior police chiefs in the next few days after she became embroiled in the Damian Green leaks inquiry.

Mr Green, who was arrested and had his office searched by police last year, revealed Ms Chakrabarti's name had been used as a keyword by Scotland Yard officers going through his emails and computer files. He was held for nine hours on suspicion of "conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, and aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office".

The case against him has now been dismissed.

Ms Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, revealed to Sky News' Sunday Live that she had been called by John Yates, the Metropolitan Police's new head of anti-terrorism. She said: "He has invited me into the Yard next week to have a conversation about my concerns, which he says he shares.

"He can understand the concerns. He's read the papers too."

When asked what she wanted from the meeting, Ms Chakrabarti said: "I'd like to get some sense of why it is that somebody like me was relevant for investigation. "If the police had any questions for me they could have just picked up the phone and asked."

Ms Chakrabarti has been a trenchant critic of the Government over issues like the detention of terror suspects and identity cards. There is no suggestion she was in any way involved in the leaks.



relevant to your interests!

Internet providers try to charge more as costs fall

Internet service providers want to end the all-you-can-eat plans and get their customers paying à la carte.

But they are having a hard time closing the buffet line.

Faced with rising consumer protest and calls from members of Congress for new regulations, Time Warner Cable backed down last week from a plan to impose new fees on heavy users of its Road Runner Internet service.

The debate over the price of Internet use is far from over. Critics say cable and phone companies are already charging far more than Internet providers in other countries. Some also wonder whether the new price plans are meant to prevent online video sites from cutting into the lucrative revenue from cable TV service.

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I'm so glad we have Obama in office, because he's a firm believer in making broadband internet access better and available to everyone. We need to be vigilant with ISPs so they don't try to gouge customers.

Also, do they have no memory? When AOL switched from charging by the hour to unlimited access, their business exploded.

Also as a Comcast customer it makes me a bit angry to read the quotes from the Comcast dude about how it doesn't really cost much more to support heavy users, considering Comcast recently imposed a monthly bandwidth cap.

Your request is being processed... Jane Harman Recorded On Wiretap Promising to Intervene for AIPAC

CQ Politics

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would "waddle into" the AIPAC case "if you think it'll make a difference," according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

Read the whole story: CQ Politics

Sarah Palin: Pro-choice, but only when it comes to her, I guess

Sarah Palin Chose Not to Have An Abortion

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (April 16) -- In her first out-of-state political appearance since last fall's presidential election, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin confided to 3,000 at a right-to-life event here that she had "just for a fleeting moment" contemplated seeking an abortion after learning she was pregnant with her son Trig, who will turn 1 on Saturday.
Back in Alaska, the governor's decision to travel here, in the final days of a heated legislative session, was criticized even by some fellow Republicans as an inappropriate attempt to position herself for a 2012 presidential run at a time when she was badly needed at home.

Hypocritical source!


ETA: Somehow I don't think it was "just for a fleeting moment" because her waffling on whether or not to have the kid would explain why she was so ultra-secretive about the pregnancy for months.
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    Les Miz London Cast - Javert's Suicide

A Tea Party Who's Who Guide/Bestiary, by Clinton Sec'y of Labor Robert Reich

A Short Citizen's Guide to Kooks, Demagogues, and Right-Wingers On Tax Day
by Robert Reich

No one likes to pay taxes, so tax day typically attracts a range of right-wing Republicans, kooks, and demagogues, all of whom tell us how awful we have it.

Herewith a short citizen's guide (that is, a citizen's guide that's short rather than a guide for short citizens) responding to the predictable charges:

1. "Americans pay too much in taxes."

Wrong: The United States has the lowest taxes of all developed nations.

2. "The rich pay too much! The top ten percent of income earners pay over 72 percent of all income taxes!"

Misleading: The main reason the rich pay such a large percent is they've become so much richer than the bottom 90 percent in recent years. If you look at what they pay as individuals -- the percent of their incomes over and above the highest rate below them -- you'll see a steady decline over the years. When Republican Dwight Eisenhower was president, the marginal rate on the highest earners was 91 percent (after deductions and tax credits, closer to 50 percent); by 1980 it was still up there, at 70 percent (an effective rate of closer to 45 percent); under Bill Clinton, it was 38 percent (an effective rate closer to 28 percent).

Look at the after-tax earnings of families and you'll see what's really going on. Between 1980 and 2000, the after-tax earnings of famlies at the top rose more than 150 percent, while the after-tax earnings of families in the middle rose about 10 percent. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 raised the after-tax incomes of most Americans by a bit over 1 percent -- but raised the after-tax incomes of millionaires by 4.4 percent.

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Robert Reich was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor and is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book is Supercapitalism.

Department of Justice.......Putting the "J" back in DOJ.

Dan Bogden, one the nine U.S. attorneys infamously axed by the Bush Administration, may never get to the bottom of his mysterious firing. But he just might soon have his old job back.

by Murray Waas

A U.S. Attorney's Story

Dan Bogden, who served as the United States attorney from Nevada until he was abruptly dismissed from his job during the infamous wave of firings of U.S. attorneys in late 2006, hoped to someday learn why he was let go. By most accounts, Bogden had served his community and the Department of Justice with distinction: former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, who had once directly supervised Comey, would later testify before Congress that Bogden was one of his best prosecutors, and that he could not understand why anyone would want to fire him.

But more than two years later, Bogden still has no official explanation as to why he was fired, or even who made the decision.

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If it isn't yet, this totally should be a "Scrub. Rinse. Repeat" segment on Rachel Maddow.

Bush's DOJ: "Better" Torture Through the Creative Use of Footnotes

Sleep Expert "Surprised And Saddened" To Find Research Twisted In Torture Memo

By Zachary Roth - April 17, 2009, 2:03PM

A British professor whose research on sleep was cited in one of the just-released Bush administration torture memos has expressed outrage that his work was used to justify extreme sleep deprivation, including keeping subjects awake for up to 11 days.

In an interview with TPMmuckraker, James Horne, a leading authority in the field of sleep research, said he was "surprised and saddened" to see Bush officials "misrepresent" his research to argue that such sleep deprivation does not cause serious harm to its subjects.

In one of the Office of Legal Counsel memos released yesterday, authored in May 2005, DOJ official Steven Bradbury wrote:

We understand from OMS, and from our review of the literature on the physiology of sleep, that even very extended sleep deprivation does not cause physical pain, let alone severe physical pain. "The longest studies of sleep deprivation in humans ... involved volunteers [who] were deprived of sleep for 8-11 days ... Surprisingly little seemed to go wrong with the subjects physically. The main effects lay with sleepiness and impaired brain functioning, but even these were no great cause for concern." James Horne, Why We Sleep: The Functions Of Sleep in Humans and Other Mammals 23-24 (1988).

Bradbury continues, quoting Horne again:

We note that there are important differences between sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique used by the CIA and the controlled experiments documented in the literature. The subjects of the experiments were free to move about and engage in normal activities and often led a "tranquil existence" with "plenty of time for relaxation" ... whereas a detainee in CIA custody would be shackled and prevented from moving freely. Moreover, the subjects in the experiments often increased their food consumption during periods of extended sleep loss ... whereas the detainee undergoing interrogation may be placed on a reduced-calorie diet, as discussed above. Nevertheless, we understand that experts who have studied sleep deprivation have concluded that "the most plausible reason for the uneventful physical findings with these human beings is that ... sleep loss is not particularly harmful."

Informed by TPMmuckraker that his work had been put to this use, Horne -- who heads the Sleep Research Centre, at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, U.K. -- was indignant. He explained the crucial difference between his controlled experiments, in which subjects were under no additional stress, and the CIA's use of sleep deprivation on interrogation subjects.

"As soon as you add in any other stress, any other psychological stress, then the sleep deprivation feeds on that, and the two compound each other to make things far worse. I made that very, very clear," he said. "And there's been a lot of research by others since then to show that this is the case."

As for whether such stress could be considered "harmful," Horne was unequivocal. "I thought it was totally inappropriate to cite my book as being evidence that you can do this and there's not much harm. With additional stress, these people are suffering. It's obviously traumatic," he said. "I just find it absurd."

Further, Horne continued, sleep-deprived subjects become so confused that they're highly unlikely to offer useful intelligence. "I don't understand what you're going to get out of it," he said. "You can no longer think rationally, you just become more of an automaton ... These people will just be spewing nonsense anyway. It's pointless!"

In sum, said Horne, he feels "saddened" that the memo's author "didn't fully interpret what I actually wrote." The memo "distorts what I really meant, and I never meant for it to be, in any way, indicative that you could start torturing people in this way. That was not the intention at all."

Bradbury did not respond to an email from TPMmuckraker requesting comment.


Yet another lovely example of Bush's minions manipulating and twisting facts to suit their own requirements.  Is anyone really surprised at all?
Redheads do it best.

Bo Beanie Baby Released

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

After pulling “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha” Beanie Baby dolls inspired by President Barack Obama’s daughters due to a complaint from First Lady Michelle Obama, toymaker Ty is selling a new plush toy inspired by the nation’s First Puppy — Bo.

Ty said its $4.99 Bo toy debuted on April 16 and sold out within hours of hitting store shelves. A portion of the sale proceeds will go to support animal shelters, the company said.

Bo toys already are on auction on eBay, where one seller is seeking $2,050 for a set of “authenticated” Sasha and Malia Beanie Baby dolls. You can find other Beanie Baby retailers here.

The Obama’s search for a puppy entranced the nation and was one of Washington, D.C.’s most closely guarded secrets.

Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese Water Dog, became an instant, international celebrity when the family introduced him to the world this week.


Rich people are angry!

The Wail of the 1%

“No offense to Middle America, but if someone went to Columbia or Wharton, [even if] their company is a fumbling, mismanaged bank, why should they all of a sudden be paid the same as the guy down the block who delivers restaurant supplies for Sysco out of a huge, shiny truck?” e-mails an irate Citigroup executive to a colleague.


During the campaign, Obama was never shy about his promise to undo the Bush tax policies. But it was easy to ignore his occasional lapses into populist rhetoric and focus on his intense intelligence and Ivy League education. Now, in the wake of the crisis, Wall Street’s politics are shifting rightward.

“All the rich people I know took George Bush for granted,” says an analyst at a midtown hedge fund. “I’m a Democrat, but I agree with Rush Limbaugh on a lot of this stuff,” rails the wife of a former AIG executive.

SOURCE: http://nymag.com/news/businessfinance/56151/index1.html

Hillsborough disaster files may be released early

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Helen Carter
The Guardian, Monday 20 April 2009

The families of 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough expressed relief yesterday that hundreds of police documents could finally be made public after a 20-year campaign for justice.

The Home Office said the documents could be released 10 years earlier than would normally be permitted after a request by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith. It is understood that Smith has spoken to Meredydd Hughes, the chief constable of South Yorkshire, to discuss waiving the 30-year rule.

Smith said: "The government is committed to helping those who lost loved ones in the Hillsborough tragedy. That is why I will be working with the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the attorney general's office to put out any information that exists that could shed light on the disaster ... as soon as possible."
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Bellen! - Minimalism

Walkout at Iran leader's speech

Diplomats have walked out of a speech by the Iranian president at a UN anti-racism conference after he described Israel as a "racist government".

Two protesters, wearing coloured wigs, disrupted the beginning of the speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - followed by the Western walkout.

Others enthusiastically clapped as Mr Ahmadinejad continued his address.

France said it was a "hate speech". A number of other Western countries have boycotted the conference altogether.

The walkout is a public relations disaster for the United Nations, which had hoped the conference would be a shining example of what the UN is supposed to do best - uniting to combat injustice in the world, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.

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You can see a video of part of Ahmadinejad's speech + the walkout at the source.
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Palin v. Sebelius? "Team Sarah" Organizes Against Obama Pick

An online community of female supporters of Gov. Sarah Palin is launching a last minute campaign to derail the candidacy of Kathleen Sebelius for the secretary post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Team Sarah, which was founded to support and mobilize for the McCain-Palin ticket and claims tens-of-thousands of members, blasted out a petition on Monday morning urging members to "flood the phone lines" in opposition to Sebelius' candidacy.

Hi Team!

Today's the day! Our Not on Our Watch! Phone Bank Blast is set for TODAY from 2pm - 4pm ET. Write a note & stick it on your forehead, set your cell phone alarm - do what you have to do to remember to make your calls TODAY!

Our goal is to flood the phone lines of the Senate Finance Committee and make our message heard loud and clear - NO SEBELIUS! Not on Our Watch!

For the complete project information, including the phone numbers of the members of the Senate Finance Committee, visit: http://www.teamsarah.org/profiles/blogs/team-sarah-announces-the-not or "gather around the Water Cooler.

Also, if you haven't sent out your postcards or letters yet, it's not too late! Send them out as soon as you can so that they reach the Senate Finance Committee this week.

Sebelius's nomination is set to come to a vote before the Senate Finance Committee this Tuesday, April 21. The nomination is expected to pass through the committee and ultimately the Senate, though on Friday the terrain got a bit rougher, when ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized the Kansas Governor for understating the amount of money she raised from doctor who performs abortions -- likely the same revelation offending the Team Sarah members.

Progressive groups have been pushing for an expeditious confirmation of Sebelius for weeks, arguing that the administration is being disadvantaged by lacking a cabinet figure to tackle a subject of such key political and economy importance (health care).

Here, for instance, is the SEIU's petition:

Earlier this month, a Republican Senator put a mysterious hold on the confirmation of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary. It's hard to believe that while the clock ticks on fixing health care, the top leadership position in the government's health agency is left vacant. This is simply unacceptable.

Ugh, I seriously hate these people.

If anyone else wants to call and tell the Senate Finance Committee to vote to confirm Sebelius call (202) 224-4515

Dems: Big Business is bigger threat; GOP: Big Government is biggest threat

New Gallup Poll says GOP, Dems split over whether Big Govt. or Big Business Greater Threat

Now, 80% of Republicans view big government as the biggest threat to the country, up from 68% in December 2006.

At the same time, Democrats' perceptions of the greater threat are completely reversed. In December 2006, 55% of Democrats said big government posed the greater threat, while 32% said big business did.

In the latest poll, a majority of Democrats now view big business as the greater threat (52%) while only about one in three think big government is.

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* metamorphosis


The Axelrod Inner Circle

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and perhaps the political person closest to the former Illinois Senator, makes a somewhat unlikely presence in the White House.

Axelrod spent much of the past several decades as a campaign consultant -- one of a small band of nomadic advisers who go from race to race and measure their lives in the space of two year election cycles. (The Fix knows that pace well; it's the metronome of our life as well.)

But, according to many of those who know him best, Axelrod has always had a special relationship with Obama -- he began working with him in early 2003 -- and once the Illinois Senator was elected president it was expected that Axelrod would pick up his life in Chicago and move to join the administration.

As Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times first reported, Axelrod hasn't left his political life entirely behind -- convening a biweekly meeting at his apartment in Washington to hear from a core group of former campaign consultants and aides to ensure the Administration is striking the right political tone.

The membership of that Axelrod inner circle has largely been kept quiet -- until now.

Below you'll find the regular attendees of the Wednesday evening gatherings -- with the caveat that the membership is somewhat fluid and at any given time can shrink or grow depending on schedules.

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people who were left off the list but are still totally in the club anyway:
- Bill Ayers
- Scarlett Johansson
- Hugo Chavez
- Jay-Z
- Benjamin Linus
- ??????

Right-Wing Israeli Lawmaker Sends Letter To Rahmbo To 'Remind Him He's Jewish'.

NU's Katz reminds Emanuel he's Jewish

National Union chairman Ya'acov "Ketzele" Katz sent a letter to White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel last week admonishing him not to forget his Jewish and Israeli origins.

Katz's missive came in response to a reported verbal exchange between Emanuel and an unidentified American Jewish leader.

Katz claims that in a private meeting with the unnamed leader, Emanuel said, "In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister."

In the letter, a Hebrew version of which was provided to The Jerusalem Post by Katz's parliamentary aide, Katz wrote: "For many Israelis, this report is a cause for worry because it reveals a condescending attitude toward our prime minister and Israeli public opinion. This is an attitude that Israel does not expect from a real friend such as the US, and all the more so from an Israeli Jew who has succeeded in being appointed White House chief-of-staff."

Katz went on to compare Emanuel to the biblical Esther, who ended up at using her influence with Persian King Ahashverosh to intervene on behalf of the Jews of the Persian Empire.

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Katz wrote, quoting from the Book of Esther (4:14).

Katz was hinting that Emanuel should use his influence to protect Israeli interests, which, he believes, are best served by preventing the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
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Lets see... Rahm serves to the pleasure of the President... not to the interests of Israel... plus he can eviscerate you...

9 People Show Up To Protest Maine Gay Marriage Bill

Out-of-staters protest Maine gay marriage bill


BANGOR, Maine (AP) Nine men who said they were with a Pennsylvania-based group were in Bangor over the weekend protesting a gay marriage bill that has been proposed in the Maine Legislature.

The men stood at a busy intersection near the Bangor Mall on Saturday carrying signs and chanting slogans in support of traditional family values. The men told the Bangor Daily news they were members of the group American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.

The group travels to states where same-sex marriage legislation is being considered, and made stops in Maine in Portland, Augusta and Bangor. During its two hours at its Bangor location, the group got both honks from supporters and hoots from opponents.

A daylong public hearing on Maine's bill is scheduled for Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center.




Qaeda Deputy: Please, Please Don't Cozy up to Iran

Qaeda Deputy: Please, Please Don't Cozy up to Iran

Al Qaeda really, really, really doesn't want the U.S. and Iran to get friendly. In a video posted today on militant websites, the terror group's deputy dog, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had a new message for the Obama administration: "The more you cooperate with Iran, the more hatred you will generate from Muslims."

U.S.-Iranian relations are at a delicate new stage. Tehran just sentenced American journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison on charges for spying for America. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is pressing the judiciary to reconsider the case. This comes as the rhetorical war between Tehran and Washington has cooled, a bit. President Obama -- and his top military commanders -- have suggested that the United States and Iran can find common ground, particularly on Afghanistan.

Zawahiri, you'll recall, has already warned that al Qaeda would open a new front against Iran if it bested the United States in a contest for influence in the region; in this latest tape, he also blasted the U.S. plan for a surge of forces to Afghanistan -- as well as the drone war in Pakistan. CBS News quotes him as saying: "What Obama is seeking to do by increasing the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and continuing to bomb Pakistan will only add more fuel to the fire and expose your soldiers to more killings and injuries."

Taiwan Nuclear Waste Stored By Poor Village For Government Money

Taiwan Nuclear Waste Stored By Poor Village For Government Money

They tried sending it to North Korea. They tried sending it to China.

Now, they're trying to send it to this remote seaside village in southeast Taiwan.

Like nuclear energy-using countries worldwide, Taiwan is struggling to find a final resting place for its radioactive nuclear waste.

Strange to say, many villagers here are willing to accept the toxic duty. The reasons, according to village chief Chang Chih-hsin, and other residents: Money and development.

"Some people nearby are protesting, but here in the village, most people support it," said Chang, in an interview at the village office.
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(no subject)

Miss CA: My Answer Cost Me My Crown


Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA, says that her answer to Perez Hilton's question about marriage equality cost her the crown in last night's Miss USA pageant.
“It did cost me my crown. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I said what I feel. I stated an opinion that was true to myself and that’s all I can do. It is a very touchy subject and he [Hilton] is a homosexual and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would’ve wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything.”
Prejean points out that her straight sister is a gay rights activist who supports same-sex marriage.


So....your sister believes in gay rights, yet your excuse is that's how you were "raised"?  Were you raised in separate households?  One of you just went through life with your hands over your ears screaming "la la la la I can't hear you"?

' jules

Did someone say "frivolous lawsuits"?

Clown Attack!

Just when you think the ginned-up outrage over the DHS report on right wing extremism can’t possibly get any sillier, Michael Savage joins with the Thomas More Law Center to file what might be the silliest lawsuit in US history: Ann Arbor-based law center sues Homeland Security over ‘right-wing extremism’ issue.

The Thomas More Law Center is notorious for their (epic fail) defense of the creationists in the Dover, Pennsylvania “intelligent design” trial. If you feel the need for a good laugh, here’s their complaint (PDF). This ridiculous publicity stunt will be tossed out with the first motion to dismiss.


The real beauty of this post is where it came from. Yes, the sites that were once synonymous with "right wing crazy" are now the moderates of their side.

Mickey Rourke, Kris Kristofferson in pro-autoworker video

Okay, riddle me this:

Why is this John Rich pro-autoworker song & video, which seems to argue that Detroit should be bailed out - and which features a post-The Wrestler Mickey Rourke - brought to us "by FOXnation.com," as in the same FOX network that led the charge against auto workers' supposedly exorbitantly large salaries and cushy union benefits?

FOX News is also one of the big cheerleaders for not bailing out automakers.

Make up your mind, Fox!

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Argh, I just found out Glenn Beck considers this singer, John Rich, a 'friend.' Does. Not. COMPUTE!!
music | sleigh anne.

Revealed: the inbreeding that ruined the Hapsburgs

Revealed: the inbreeding that ruined the Habsburgs
Dynasty that dominated Europe for more than 500 years was undone by incest, study finds

The Habsburg dynasty was one of the most important and influential royal families in Europe dating back more than 500 years and producing rulers in Austria, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands and the German empire. Then, in 1700, it suffered a sudden demise of its Spanish branch. Now scientists believe they have come up with a definitive explanation.

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Latin American History smackdown on Hardball

Over the Obama/Chavez handshake.
If the embed doesn't work, here's the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#30314187
The title of the video is "Shaking Hands with Chavez"

Pat Buchanan vs. Lawrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell wins. Definitely.

Matthews: Whose fault was it that Cuba became America's whorehouse? OHHH SNAP!

Edit: his name's O'Donnell. I fail. Sry gaise.

Edit numero dos: Youtube Vid via schmiss 


It's official. The Hill Times' 17th Annual Best-Dressed, Politically Savvy, Sexy Survey has been released. Who is your sexiest (male) Member of Parliament, Canada? Is it this beautiful human being's son?

title or description

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The Hill Times website is a failure and I had to type this, but Source. Plus my friend with a bike who rode this paper to my workplace. I'll put some of the better quotes in the comments but I'm tired of typing WOOOO!