April 22nd, 2009


Fla. county declares emergency over economy

Fla. county declares emergency over economy

A South Florida county that rode high through the housing boom earlier this decade, then crashed hard when the foreclosure crisis struck, declared a state of economic emergency on Tuesday.

St. Lucie County's action authorizes $25 million to $30 million for a slate of new construction projects — with the condition they use largely local labor and supplies — in hopes of jump-starting a sorely distressed local economy.

However, the county commission toed a careful line, insisting the government itself was financially healthy while expressing dire need.
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Alaska school punishes students for taunting moose

Alaska school punishes students for taunting moose

PALMER, Alaska – Eighth-graders at an Alaska school have been disciplined for taunting and frightening a moose so severely it suffered a fatal injury.

School district spokeswoman Catherine Esary says the physical education class at Colony Middle School in Palmer was let outside Monday before teachers realized a moose was on the grounds.

A teacher witnessed the taunts. Esary wouldn't say what the students did.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says the moose's panic prompted the animal to throw itself into a wall repeatedly, which caused its death.

Esary cited privacy concerns in not saying how many students were involved or how they were punished.

Capitol religious marker backed

With few objections, the Senate gives a nod to the 10 Commandments.

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Published: 4/21/2009 2:22 AM
Last Modified: 4/21/2009 3:17 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate passed a measure Monday that would allow for construction of a 10 Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.

House Bill 1330 passed by a vote of 37-9. The measure heads to a conference committee.

Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, is the Senate author. Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, is the House author.

Private funds would be used to construct the monument.

However, the Attorney General's Office, which receives state funding, would be required to defend the measure if there is a legal challenge.

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GOP Reform
Deregulate the schools

By World's Editorial Writers
Published: 4/21/2009 2:20 AM
Last Modified: 4/21/2009 3:35 AM

The state House has approved Senate Bill 834, the public school deregulation measure that has been the subject of a great deal of anxiety and misinformation.

The bill would gradually release every school district in the state from many of the laws, regulations and administrative rules imposed by the state. Tulsa's school district would be one of the first to be freed from the regulations.

Certain mandates would remain — including federal regulations, civil rights protections, minimum teacher salaries and insurance and retirement plans for school employees.

The big losers in the change would be teachers unions. Mandatory collective bargaining protections and laws that make it expensive and time-consuming to get rid of unproductive teachers would be eliminated.

The big winner would be school boards, which would have new authority to shape curriculum and policy locally.

The measure is the first attempt at major education reform since Republicans took control of the Oklahoma Legislature, and it represents a new direction for schools.

The Senate, which has already approved an earlier version of the bill, will likely take it up soon. We hope the Senate accepts House changes to the proposal and sends it on to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.


Goodell says Vick must show (arbitrary) ‘genuine remorse’ to return to NFL

ETA: Goodey
ell apparently wants MV to 'drop to his knee' in front of his vanilla Plantation Master. I absolutely detest Roger Goodell and his moralistic diatribes, preaching intolerance and strict adherence to some vague 'moral code' he made up.

Oh and in b4 The politics of dogs. Sheesh.

Goodell says Vick must show ‘genuine remorse’ to return to NFL

The Associated Press

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lexington, Va. — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says Michael Vick has paid a significant price for doing an “egregious thing” and will have to show genuine remorse and that the experience has changed him in order to get a chance at resuming his career in the league. Collapse )

Rachel Maddow Ratings Decline: March Lowest Month

04/22/09 10:41 AM
When MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" debuted during the historic campaign of Barack Obama, the program's ratings soared and made its host a breakout star on cable.

But as the president's administration nears its 100-day milestone, Maddow's show -- like most cable programs that traffic in political talk and chatter -- has seen its numbers cool. March was the lowest-rated month so far for Maddow with her numbers falling from an average high of 1.9 million viewers to just slightly over 1.1 million.

In the last few weeks, I've found that I have become really frustrated with how juvenile her show has become. This is a somewhat bizarre and hypocritical criticism on my part, considering how much of a big kid I am, myself (i.e., watching 80s cartoons, anime, video games, etc.). Why, just this morning, I fired up Etrian Odyssey II so that I can level one of my fledgling farming characters (a Hexer) a bit. I stick around in hopes of seeing interviews like her one on one with Colin Powell, Zbigniew Brzezinski, or last night when she spoke with Philip Zelikow, legal counselor to Condoleezza Rice.

source and whole story
  • bispo

‘Perplexed’ By Science: Joe Barton Wonders the Origins of Oil in Alaska

In an Earth Day hearing, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was forced to explain to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) how oil is found in the Arctic. Chu and other administration officials are testifying today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Barton, the top Republican on the committee and a recipient of $1,330,160 in oil money, was flabbergasted by the concept of continental drift. Barton questioned Chu whether oil didn’t actually reach Alaska through a secret Texas pipeline:

Isn’t it obvious that at one time it was a lot warmer in Alaska and on the North Pole? It wasn’t a big pipeline that we’ve created from Texas and shipped it up there and put it under ground so we can now pump it up?

Watch it:

“No,” Secretary Chu explained, “there are continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages.” The “driving force” for Alaska’s oil formation during the Triassic era 200 million years ago, according to University of Alaska geologist Mark Rivera, “is plate tectonics, which is the unifying theory of geology.”

Ironically for someone who has called climate science “absolute nonsense,” Barton was actually onto something. During the Triassic, the entire planet was indeed a hothouse and entirely deglaciated. The carbon dioxide (CO2) content in the atmosphere was at its highest ever levels, spiking from 1000 parts per million to 3000 ppm. The end of the Triassic period was marked by one of the largest mass-extinction events in Earth’s history.

Habitable conditions for humanity, hundreds of millions of years later, are very different. Carbon dioxide levels, which had been below 300 ppm for the last 650,000 years and was stable at 280 ppm during the rise of human civilization, have skyrocketed since 1800 because of our burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to 388 ppm, a nearly 40 percent rise.


BARTON: Dr. Chu, I don’t want to leave you out. You’re our scientist. I have one simple question for you in the last six seconds. How did all the oil and gas get to Alaska and into the Arctic Ocean?

CHU: (Laughs.) This is a complicated story but oil and gas is the result of hundreds of millions of years of geology and in that time also the plates have moved around. And so, it’s a combination of where the sources of the oil and gas …

BARTON: Isn’t it obvious that at one time it was a lot warmer in Alaska and on the North Pole? It wasn’t a big pipeline that we’ve created from Texas and shipped it up there and put it under ground so we can now pump it up?

CHU: No, there are continental plates that have been drifting around throughout the geological ages.

BARTON: So it just drifted up there.

CHU: Uh…. That’s certainly what happened. It’s a result of things like that.

WAXMAN: The gentleman’s time has expired.

Update: Rep. Barton responds to Secretary Chu on Twitter:
Participating n climate change hearing. I asked energy secretary where oil in alaska came from. answer puzzles-from continental plate shift
we are all innocent

Pirate Suspect Charged as Adult in New York

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Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali of uncertain age, in federal custody Monday in New York. He was charged Tuesday with piracy and related counts after an attack on an American ship.

Published: April 21, 2009

The federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan is a towering presence, more than big enough to have handled such history-in-the-making cases involving a Gotti, a Madoff, and several men who have pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

But now there is the singular case of Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali who speaks no English, is of uncertain age, and is being prosecuted under a federal law that has not been used in many decades and carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown

Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown

Last week, we pointed out that one of the newly released Bush-era memos inadvertently confirmed that the CIA held an al-Qaeda suspect named Hassan Ghul in a secret prison and subjected him to what Bush administration lawyers called "enhanced interrogation techniques." The CIA has never acknowledged holding Ghul, and his whereabouts today are secret.

But Ghul is not the only such prisoner who remains missing. At least three dozen others who were held in the CIA's secret prisons overseas appear to be missing as well. Efforts by human rights organizations to track their whereabouts have been unsuccessful, and no foreign governments have acknowledged holding them. (See the full list.)
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"Well, we're OUTTA cake!" "So my choice is 'or death'??"

New Report:  Bush Officials Tried to Shift Blame for Detainee Abuse to Low-Ranking Soldiers:

by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)

Today we're releasing the declassified report of the Senate Armed Services Committee's investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The report was approved by the Armed Services Committee on November 20, 2008 and has, in the intervening period, been under review at the Department of Defense for declassification.

In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse - such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan - to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a "few bad apples," were simply false.

The truth is that, early on, it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone. On September 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that the United States turn to the "dark side" in our response to 9/11. Not long after that, after White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales called parts of the Geneva Conventions "quaint," President Bush determined that provisions of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain detainees. Other senior officials followed the President and Vice President's lead, authorizing policies that included harsh and abusive interrogation techniques.


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Let me 'splain....no there is too much, let me sum up.

The logic the Bush administration was following, twisted and dumb as it was, is becoming a bit clearer to me:

1. In countries where they do practice torture , they use those techniques to get prisoners to confess to fabricated "crimes" so they could use those confessions for propaganda purposes (i.e., they were never intended to get legitimate information)

2. We train our soldiers about how to resist torture techniques in case they are captured using this SERE program.  This training program was specifically designed to help them RESIST TORTURE by having these measures applied.

3. As part of the SERE program, they also teach operatives how to employ these techniques.

4. Because they were having problems "getting anywhere" at GTMO, they decided to start using the techniques from this training program (You know, the ones that were never designed to get actual accurate data, but to compel FALSE CONFESSIONS.  The training program that used these techniques to make the subjects BETTER ABLE TO RESIST those efforts?  Are you sticking with me here?)  at GTMO against detainees being held there.

5. Then, because they had been approved for GTMO, they figured it would be perfectly fine to use them over in Afghanistan.

6. Then, because they had been approved for Afghanistan, someone took that same policy and started using it in Iraq. 

Conclusion:  Techniques that were meant to induce false confessions, were adopted to help our own soldiers beat those techniques, and then adopted to be used on detainees to perform a task that would never be successful using these techniques.....and then they took that absurd policy and spread it across multiple countries.  They then rationalized the hell out of it using completely inapplicable reasoning and scientific study references.....just in case someone tried to call them out on their bullshit.

I'm not sure it's possible to measure the VAST amounts of stupidity that went into creating this whole fiasco.  And yet here we all are.

ETA:  The report the Senator mentioned above is 263 pages long.....but a good summary of the stupidity can be found in the Executive Summary section at the beginning.

movies | Impish Fräulein2

"Obama skates while Right fumes".

By: Jonathan Martin
April 22, 2009 04:23 AM EST

A Democratic president thrills a French audience by telling it that America has been “arrogant.” He brushes aside 50 years of anti-communist orthodoxy by relaxing restrictions against Fidel Castro’s Cuba. He directs his attorney general to ease a crackdown on medical marijuana and even plays host to the Grateful Dead in the Oval Office.

Several times a month in his young presidency, Barack Obama has done things that cause conservatives to bray, using the phrase once invoked by Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage?!”

The outrage is definitely there, in certain precincts of Republican politics. What’s notable, however, is that it mostly has stayed there — with little or no effect on Obama. Collapse )

Clinton, Bush booked for joint Toronto appearance

Event next month billed as a 'conversation' between the two most recent U.S. presidents

Former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will appear together in Toronto next month on a public stage for the first time since Mr. Bush ended his presidency, in a remarkable twist on the cultural cold war that Barack Obama and others are trying to lay to rest.

The two will be appearing at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on May 29 for a moderated "conversation" that is expected to last about two hours.
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Didn't see this posted.Iit isn't being advertised, just this Globe and Mail article that was picked up by some outlets. I just got my ticket, there were "Emerald" seats for $2500 that included a picture with the Presidents that are sold out. Then VIP seating at $495, then GA for $195. VIP are almost sold out and there are about 3,500 GA seats in total.

Source: Globe and Mail

jesus finger

Speaking of backwater JawJa

Pro-pot group put on probation at UGA

Atlanta Journal Constitution

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Athens — A University of Georgia committee has put a student group that pushes for the legalization of marijuana on two years’ probation for using copyrighted images.

Members of the UGA chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws sold T-shirts with a picture of a bulldog — the university’s mascot — sitting underneath the UGA Arch, which is a protected image. The dog was smoking marijuana and reading a book on human rights.

The image was also posted on the group’s Web site. UGA officials say the students didn’t respond quickly enough when the university ordered them to stop using the image.

NORML plans to appeal the decision.

The offending image:

more here
  • Current Mood

Conservative Movement Throws Full Weight Against Sebelius

Conservative Movement Throws Full Weight Against Sebelius

Several key conservative movement leaders, in an attempt to jack up pressure against Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday, sent a memo to the Senate urging members of both parties to oppose her Health and Human Services Secretary nomination. Sebelius cleared a key Senate committee yesterday by a comfortable 15-8 margin and her nomination is expected to come up for a vote shortly.

Calling themselves "leaders of a citizen based conservative movement," the letter-writers followed up on an eleventh-hour effort by a group of Sarah Palin supporters to derail Sebelius' nomination. The push against Sebelius is unusual for how long it took to gather steam after her nomination was announced in late February, nearly two months ago.

The letter is signed by Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Grover Norquist and other leaders of the conservative movement. The opposition flags Sebelius for tax problems, but their major concern with the Kansas governor is her pro-choice stance on abortion.
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Palin's Dirty Dozen -- New Ethics Complaint Filed

Palin's Dirty Dozen -- New Ethics Complaint Filed

Spring is springing here on the Last Frontier, and with it pops up a brand new ethics complaint against the governor. For those of you keeping score at home, that makes twelve ethics complaints in all. That number, of course, includes the one Palin filed against herself last fall so the Troopergate investigation could be overseen by the governor-appointed personnel board, instead of leaving it solely to those rogue, mavericky legislators in Juneau.

The complaint will be filed this afternoon asserting that Palin's involvement with SarahPAC constitutes "outside employment" and "misuse of official position."

Anchorage resident Sondra Tompkins, child disability advocate and mother of a special needs child, is filing the complaint after observing Governor Palin repeatedly display "a pattern of unethical behavior." Sondra believes that the tipping point for her was Sarah Palin's most recent abdication of her role as Governor and apparent conflict-of-interest when she spoke at two outside events in Indiana rather than work with the Alaska Legislature during the most critical time, the end of the session.

The complaint alleges:

a) Governor Palin has entered into a contract outside of her official duties with the donors, employees, partners and any or all other participants involved in SarahPAC.

b) The recent partisan trip to Indiana by the Governor was purely to benefit personal interests, had no benefit for the State of Alaska and was in direct conflict with her official duties.

c) The Governor left the State to participate in these events during the most critical end-of-session Legislative activities, at a time where the legislators themselves are not permitted to leave

Tompkins is also one of the growing number of disgrunteld Republican voters who find themselves disillusioned with the current administration.

Republican Strategist Says He Could Tell Gitmo Detainees Were Guilty From Looking At Them

Republican Strategist Says He Could Tell Gitmo Detainees Were Guilty From Looking At Them (VIDEO)

Via Media Monitor LaRay B., comes video of a segment between Phil Musser and Lawrence O'Donnell, hosted by Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC. The discussion centered on the torture memos, with Lawrence O'Donnell explaining how the pursuit of al Qaeda-Iraq links is a classic example of the sorts of fallacies that underpin the logic of those who think torture is effective. Musser, for his part, defended the leadership and judgment of Dick Cheney. And then, Musser's line of thought veered very sharply into the scarily phrenological.
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When it rains, it pours......

Bush Administration Ignored Military's Strong Opposition To Torture Program

On Tuesday, President Obama reassured CIA agents that if they interrogated prisoners within the "four corners" of the legal authority given by the Bush administration then they needn't fear prosecution.

But a Senate report released on Tuesday night shows that those four corners were constructed after the torture program had begun and were set so that they would encompass the program, rather than the program being built within pre-established legal guidelines. Memos previously released by the Obama administration confirm that the legal analysis was built around the practice and that for a time the torture took place without those "four corners" in place.

The report shows that there was strong opposition to those four corners -- which were established by Bush administration and justice department lawyers -- from the military, which argued that the behavior it purported to justify was illegal. The administration squashed that debate and eventually spread the illegal interrogation tactics from Guantanamo to Afghanistan, Iraq and secret prisons scattered around the globe.

The idea that torture is illegal, unethical and ineffective is well established in military circles. When elements of the military saw the interrogation plan being crafted by the White House, serious objections were raised. Those objections will be key to any prosecutions because they demonstrate that the White House should have been aware that what they were proposing was against the law.

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O_o   You know, I find it ironic that the Bush administration, one that supposedly held our armed forces in such high regard, not only disregarded every single piece of advice he didn't like from them, but also put our troops into a position where they would be ordered to do something illegally.   Stay classy, Bush.
Eden - Akira - Vaguely phallic

Japan's mafia yakuza bite the recession bullet

They made their money with sex, drugs and gambling but then invested much of it in high finance. Now Japan's yakuza have their back to the wall as the economic crisis takes aim.

Just like the legitimate businesses they have muscled into, Japan's mafia are being squeezed by the steepest economic downturn in decades, and as profits have plunged, management has been thinning out the ranks.

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' jules

Let's Go 2010!

Stopping Dem 60 ‘real hard,’ Cornyn fears

The man in charge of electing more Republicans to the Senate said it will be difficult to stop the Democrats from winning a 60-seat majority in 2010.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the new head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), knows he has a difficult road ahead of him.

“That’s going to be real hard, to be honest with you,” Cornyn said of keeping Democrats from reaching 60 seats, adding:

Everybody who runs could be the potential tipping point to get Democrats to 60. [poster's note: so he admits the Dems are at 59? meaning he admits Franken won? ROFL] We’ve not only got to play defense; we’ve got to claw our way back in 2010. It’ll be a huge challenge.”

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Pa. Club for Growth founder calls on Toomey to abandon Senate run

The founder of the Club for Growth's Pennsylvania chapter on Tuesday called for Pat Toomey, the national group's former president, to withdrawal from the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary because Toomey cannot win a general election against a Democrat.

Toomey is challenging Sen. Arlen Specter (R) for the second time in 2010.

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California: Ex-Talk-Show Host Eyes Boxer Challenge

Former radio talk-show host Larry Elder (R) is considering running for Senate in 2010 against Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) but is holding his fire while top GOP officials wait for favored candidate Carly Fiorina (R) to make a final decision on whether she’ll run, Republican sources confirmed Monday.

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and unrelated to Republicans eating their own (mmm tastes like failure):

Newsom Officially Enters California Governor's Race

San Francisco's Democratic Mayor, Gavin Newsom, on Tuesday officially announced his intention to run for governor of California in 2010.

Newsom, who had been operating an exploratory campaign for the open seat race, used multiple communication formats to declare his intention to run.

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Links all taken from the invaluable Swing State Project

The first article is a good one because it makes a point about the importance of recruiting in the 2010 race. A good candidate can absolutely make a race, such as Mark Warner giving up his presidential ambitions to run for Senate in VA and winning in a landslide, or probably what would have happened if Sebelius had run in KS. But unless like, Bobby Jindal decides to run in LA, who do the Republicans have? ┐('~`;)┌

Israel backs down over White Phosphorus

Israeli troops stopped using white phosphorus shells in Gaza this year after The Times published evidence that they were injuring civilians.

In its first explicit admission, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that “media buzz” had forced the army to withdraw the shells from its arsenal on January 7 - the day that The Times obtained photographs of stockpiles and two days after the newspaper had exposed the effect of white phosphorus on the population of Gaza.

Phosphorus bombs may be used to create smokescreens but their use as weapons of war in civilian areas is banned by the Geneva Conventions. They cause severe burns that can penetrate to the bone.

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Art to transform Belfast 'scar'

Work to transform a peace wall that divides west Belfast is to be unveiled later on Wednesday.


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Its sad that despite the calm over the past 10 years these 'peace' walls are actually continuing to grow in size and number, and continue to divide the city. And no amount of shiny murals can make up for that.

Lech Kaczyński faces tought times ahead in Polish elections

Presidential race likely to be between Kaczyński and Tusk
14th April 2009

Donald Tusk would receive 26% support, while Lech Kaczyński 16%, says poll

According to experts, the public are going to face a choice in a fight between Donald Tusk and Lech Kaczyński in the next Presidential election, as other potential candidates are far behind.

The PM has not officially declared whether he would run in the 2010 election, while recently even President Kaczyński did not confirm whether he would stand for re-election. According to a Rzeczpospolita poll, Donald Tusk would receive 26% support, while Lech Kaczyński has 16%.

"Taking into account the popularity of both politicians, one would expect that Donald Tusk would knock out Lech Kaczyński," said Jacek Kloczkowski from the Political Sciences Center (OSP). Other suggested candidates are Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (11%), Tomasz Lis (9%), Radosław Sikorski (8%), Rafał Dutkiewicz (6%) and Bronisław Komorowski (6%). According to experts a black horse of the presidential race could possibly be Wrocław Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz or former PM Jerzy Buzek.

Kinda oldish source but most of the polls I've seen don't paint a good picture for Kaczyński or his party. A March poll showed Tusk's party, The Civic Platform (PO), had 56% support while Kaczyński's Law and Justice (PIS) only had 25%.

Of course one can only wonder how Radio Maryja is going to spin this.

Muslim woman's appointment as Obama advisor draws cautious optimism

By Noha El-Hennawy
April 22, 2009
Reporting from Cairo -- Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as an advisor to President Obama.

Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed this month to Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Arabs are closely watching for signs that the new leadership in Washington is making efforts to improve relations with Islam, which many Muslims believe were severely damaged during the eight years of the Bush administration. The selection of Mogahed is viewed by many in the Middle East as a step by Obama to move beyond the stereotypes and prejudices that Muslims believe they have encountered since the attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

source/full article
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Smiles for Smirks - Sean Penn on Obama and Hugo Chavez meeting

Once again the simple-minded media and its pundits are confused about the nature of Americanism and language. When President Obama today inferred consideration of holding former administration officials accountable to law, he was immediately accused of violating his belief that we should "look forward." Had President Ford "looked forward" in his decision as to whether or not to hold Nixon accountable, he perhaps would have seen the Bush administration abuse of power coming and chosen to be genuinely tough on crime -- you know, "tough on crime" -- sending Nixon to jail and deterring this recent avalanche of abuse.

Further, the criticisms of President Obama's warm greeting toward President Chavez of Venezuela have been the posturing of our nation's most bitter and humanly impotent voices. Why is anyone listening to former Vice President Cheney? He's the one person alive proven wrong on virtually every topic. Then there's Newt Gingrich, who commented on the Chavez greeting as being approached wrong. He suggested that the meeting itself may not be improper, but that it should have been handled with a cold demeanor. This is a pattern of bad acting advice from bad actors. (All wimps think playing a tough guy is done in one-note coldness.) With a friend, or an enemy, our president will gain greater strategic position with a smile.

I know President Chavez well. Whether or not one agrees with all his policies, what is certainly true of Chavez is that he is a warm and friendly man with a robust sense of humor (who daily risks his own life for his country in ways Dick Cheney could never imagine). To treat such a man coldly is akin to spitting on him. As a country we've done enough of that. Say what you will, but it has only resulted in the self-celebration of our smirking spitters, while costing us international respect, American lives, and left wounds in the hands of our children's future. The Cheneys, down to the O'Reillys and Hannitys and Limbaughs, effectively hate the principles upon which we were founded. They are among the greatest cowards in all of American history. I applaud an American President who's tough enough...to smile.



Taliban extend hold, advance near Pakistan capital

Taliban extend hold, advance near Pakistan capital

Taliban militants have extended their grip in northwestern Pakistan
, pushing out from a valley where the government has agreed to impose Islamic law and patrolling villages as close as 60 miles from the capital. Police and officials appear to have fled as armed militants also broadcast radio sermons and spread fear in Buner district, just 60 miles from Islamabad, officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

Pakistan's president signed off on the peace pact last week in hopes of calming Swat, where some two years of clashes between the Taliban and security forces have killed hundreds and displaced up to a third of the one-time tourist haven's 1.5 million residents.

Critics, including in Washington, have warned that the valley could become an officially sanctioned base for allies of al-Qaida — and that it may be just the first domino in nuclear-armed Pakistan to fall to the Taliban.
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(no subject)

Mother fined for gay son taunts

A mother in Aberdeen who shouted homophobic abuse at her estranged teenage son has been fined.

Celia Duncan, 42, abused 16-year-old Stuart O'Neill when she spotted him holding hands with his boyfriend.

Duncan, who admitted breach of the peace, swore at the pair and called them "poofs", Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard. She was fined £250.

Her son said: "I feel really betrayed by my mum. What she said to me was vile and hurtful."

Duncan also admitted sending threatening phone messages.

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*sigh* Reminds me of this...but not really.




Norm finally hauls out "The Dog Ate My Appeal" excuse.....remains whiny and idiotic while doing so.

Coleman asks more time for appeal

Time needed to develop appeal issues, his lawyers say.


Last update: April 22, 2009 - 2:46 PM

Norm Coleman today proposed a slower schedule for his election appeal than Al Franken wants, asking that oral arguments in the case be held no sooner than mid-May.

In a document filed this morning with the state Supreme Court, Coleman's lawyers asked to have until April 30 to file their opening brief. They would give Franken's lawyers about 10 days to submit their brief, and then would plan to file their reply by May 15.

At that point, Coleman's lawyers suggest, the court could schedule the oral arguments "at a time convenient to it."

"Appellants agree this is a time-sensitive case that should be resolved as expeditiously as possible. Appellants respectfully submit, however, that the parties, and the Court, must be given enough time to fully develop and consider the issues on appeal," Coleman attorney James Langdon wrote.

On Tuesday, Franken's lawyers proposed a speedier schedule: Coleman's opening brief by Monday, the Franken brief by May 2 and the Coleman reply by May 4, followed shortly by the oral arguments.

The final decision on scheduling is expected by the high court this week. State law requires that it address election appeals as quickly as possible.


Btw, for entertainment If you read some of the comments underneath the article, there's a whole heck of a lot of pissed off Minnesotans.  You betcha.


Kevin Roose Infiltrates Liberty University To Write Book

Kevin Roose Infiltrates Liberty University To Write Book

Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.

Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

Each conversation about salvation or hand-wringing debate about premarital sex was unwitting fodder for Roose's recently published book: "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University."

"As a responsible American citizen, I couldn't just ignore the fact that there are a lot of Christian college students out there," said Roose, 21, now a Brown senior. "If I wanted my education to be well-rounded, I had to branch out and include these people that I just really had no exposure to."
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Clean Energy A++

NEWTON, Iowa (CNN) -- President Obama marked Earth Day Wednesday by announcing a new initiative to lease federal waters for the purpose of generating electricity from wind and ocean currents.

The president announced the initiative, to be administered by the Interior Department, while reiterating his pledge to push for a comprehensive energy plan that encourages the development of alternative fuel sources, cuts dependence on foreign oil, addresses climate change, and creates new jobs.

Wind power can generate 20 percent of the country's electricity by 2030 and support 250,000 jobs, Obama said during a visit to a wind turbine tower manufacturing plant.

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Yay! V. excited they are pushing the clean energy technology like they said they would. I actually just saw a special on Discovery or History Channel about how they use the receding of the tides to generate energy. Fascinating stuff guys. Happy Earth Day!

First Criminal Charges In Bank Bailout

First Criminal Charges In Bank Bailout

A former financial adviser in Tennessee will plead guilty to criminal charges in the first fraud case related to the federal bank bailout program, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors charged Gordon B. Grigg with four counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud on Wednesday, accusing him of using the government's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program as a front to lure investments.

Grigg's lawyer Mark Pickrell said his client will plead guilty to all eight charges under a plea agreement that should net him no more than eight years in prison. Otherwise, he could have faced as many as 20 years on each count if convicted. No date has been set for the plea to be entered.
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Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding

Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding

Then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice verbally OK'd the CIA's request to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002, a decision memorialized a few days later in a secret memo that the Obama administration declassified last week.

Rice's role was detailed in a narrative released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It provides the most detailed timeline yet for how the CIA's harsh interrogation program was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.

The new timeline shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The narrative also shows that dissenting legal views about the severe interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly.

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Transgender murder ruled a hate crime

Transgender murder, hate crime conviction a first

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- A Colorado man was convicted of first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime and sentenced to life in prison for killing a transgender teen he met on an online social networking site.

It was the first time in the nation that a state hate crime statute resulted in a conviction in a transgender person's murder, the advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said.

Seated in the front row of the courtroom, the family of Justin "Angie" Zapata broke out in tears as the verdicts against Allen Andrade were read.

The jury deliberated for just under two hours before returning the verdict shortly after 3 p.m.

"I lost somebody so precious," said Maria Zapata, the victim's mother. She glanced at Andrade and continued: "The only thing he can't take away is the love and the memories that I have of my baby. My beautiful, beautiful baby."

Andrade spoke just one word. "No," he said when asked if he wished to address the court.

Judge Marcelo Kopcow then imposed the mandatory sentence for the first-degree murder conviction -- life in prison without parole.
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I'm so glad that this article doesn't have a comment section. I can't deal with anymore aggressive pronoun use.

Fox News Files Freedom Of Information Request With Department Of Homeland Security

Fox News Files Freedom Of Information Request With Department Of Homeland Security Over Right Wing Extremist Threat

The Huffington Post has obtained a letter from Fox News to the Department of Homeland Security requesting they release the entire report on the right-wing extremists identified as a national security threat.

The letter, sent Wednesday from Senior Vice President of Legal & Business Affairs Dianne Brandi, was sent pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report saying that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit new members to their cause.

In the letter, Fox News requests "any and all documents that contain factual material or compiled factual material that the [Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis] relied upon" to make the conclusion that right-wing extremists pose a national security threat.

"Given the vast amount of discussion and concern for domestic terrorism and the equal quantity of discourse over the possible compromise of America's constitutional rights, Fox News has a particular urgency to inform the public about the facts behind this much-discussed Assessment."
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D.C. fish gender mystery

No Conclusion on What's Altering Fish

More than 80 percent of the male smallmouth bass in the Potomac River are growing eggs, but after six years of searching, scientists still have not pinned down the pollutants that are causing the abnormality, according to research unveiled yesterday.

Federal officials released the results of the largest-ever investigation into "intersex" fish in the Potomac watershed. The bass, first identified in a West Virginia tributary in 2003, have made the Potomac a focus of research into "endocrine disruptors," pollutants that interfere with an animal's natural chemical signals.

The study found a substantial proportion of abnormal fish.
In some places, between 82 percent and 100 percent of the male fish had some female characteristics.

But it did not produce the smoking gun that scientists were looking for.
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K-Box cartoon


Center For American Progress: We Have Become our Enemies

By Ken Gude (April 22, 2009)

The more we learn about the Bush administration’s torture regime, the worse it gets. We now know that senior administration officials developed plans for torture long before lawyers in the Justice Department had given the program its legal imprimatur. The layers of incompetence among Bush officials is staggering, but poor staff work and ignorance cannot sufficiently explain how the United States became a torturing nation. Rather, it was Bush officials’ enthusiasm for brutality that led us to become our enemies.

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The Guardian: Cheney and the apologists of torture distrust democracy

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Daily Kos TV: Special Forces officer schools O’Reilly on torture

By Jed Lewison (April 22, 2009)

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Ed Anger Schultz of MSNBC? Your thoughts?

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Well said, Ed. Thank you.
Vitas: Eyebrow Groovy



Shepherd Smith (a last minute replacement guest for Glenn Beck) provided some passion while discussing torture, including the use of an expletive to hammer his point home. Ron Paul and The Judge were able to dig a deeper into some of the topics provided by the viewers. Another great show.


I love him idc. FIERCE.