April 23rd, 2009

Here comes the Bride

Michelle Malkin : Civility and Tolerance in the Age of Obama

They told us if Barack Obama were elected, the nation would come together. Souls would be fixed. Spirits would be healed. Public discourse would be elevated. Welcome to civility and tolerance in the Age of Obama:

Celebrity leech/trash blogger Perez Hilton took to the Internet and TV airwaves to humiliate a beauty pageant contestant who gave what he considered an "offensive" answer about gay marriage. Hilton, inexplicably serving as a judge for the Miss USA contest, asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, whether she supported the legalization of gay marriage. Prejean respectfully answered: "I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised." President Obama, by the way, defines marriage the same way Prejean does.

No matter. Hilton immediately lambasted Prejean as a "dumb b*tch" in a viral YouTube video he taped after the pageant Sunday night. He apologized the next morning for the attack, then retracted his apology, then escalated his divisive rhetoric. On Tuesday afternoon, Hilton told an MSNBC female anchor that he was thinking of an even more vulgar epithet -- the "c-word" -- as he listened to Prejean's answer. The female anchor said nothing. Basking in his new role as thought and speech enforcer, Hilton told CNN's Larry King that beauty pageant contestants must bow to the tolerance mob: "Yes. I do expect Miss USA to be politically correct."

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vix3n_wiccan: ani difranco

Go go, Connecticut!

Conn. Lawmakers Make Gay Marriage Official
State Legislature Votes Overwhelmingly To Bring Law In Line With Court Ruling Allowing Same Sex Nuptials

(AP) A decade-long battle for marriage equality in Connecticut ended late Wednesday when the General Assembly voted to update the state's marriage laws to conform with a landmark court ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot.

"It feels so good. It really does feel like the book is closing," said Anne Stanback, president of Love Makes a Family, a gay-rights group that has led the fight for same-sex marriage in the state.

A spokesman for Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she will sign the bill, which passed 28-7 in the Senate and 100-44 in the House of Representatives, into law. While Rell, a Republican, signed the state's 2005 civil unions law, she has said she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The bill comes six months after the State Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that same-sex couples have the right to wed in Connecticut, rather than accept the civil union law designed to give them the same rights as married couples.

It redefines marriage in Connecticut as the legal union of two people. State law previously defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

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Equal sauce under the law!


Also, I'm glad I pulled an all-nighter to finish the last pointless assignment of this year. Knowing about this feels awesome. I'm going to have a good heavily caffeinated day today!

Alan Cumming: Rudy Giuliani Is An Asshole

Count gay activist Alan Cumming on Team Paterson: The actor believes that now is the right time for the governor's controversial gay-marriage bill. "I don't think Paterson's rushing it at all," he told us at last night's Life Ball Preview Party. "He's been trying to get this through for many, many years. It's horrifying that we're in the midst of a civil-rights struggle," Cumming explained.

"It's 2009! But things are definitely changing, and that's why I think this is the time to pass the bill. The fact that New York is following Iowa seems kind of crazy." Of course, if the bill fails, Cumming admits, "it would be a real blight on New York." But the performer, who is attending the Empire State Pride Agenda's "Equality and Justice Day" in Albany next week, isn't suspicious of Paterson's motives: "He's not doing it for political reasons. Like, when did gay marriage become something that could make you popular, for fuck's sake? That's just, like, being a little nippy, people being bitches."

The perennial pixie showed considerably less support for another politician; when we mentioned that Giuliani has been threatening to use his opposition to same-sex marriage as a political tool, Cumming said: "Because his political career is going so well? I'm sure he's on the money with that one. I think he's an asshole. Please quote me on that."


spike gone

Shep Smith Drops F-Bomb on Fox News. Is classy while doing so.


A tortuous rant by Shepard Smith

By Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel
Apr. 23, 2009 6:54 a.m.

Shepard Smith of Fox News got a little out of hand when he was talking with guests about torture in the Bush administration.

F-Bomb vid was previously posted so please go comment there. I am fail for not going back a couple pages before I posted it.

And with all of the debate over torture, did it keep the country safe?

On the lighter side, we have a TREND ALERT. The New York Times reports that teenagers are watching their spending at the malls, and are not as label-conscious as before.

At least teens know where their clothes are. Brandi Chastain, the U.S. soccer player who once excitedly brandished her black bra, no longer has possession of the famous undergarment. The article of clothing is now in bankruptcy. Along with Richard Petty's sunglasses and Tony Hawk's skateboard. No, really.

Apple isn't in bankruptcy court, but it is in trouble. Somebody had the bright idea to offer a Baby Shaker iPhone application. Developed by a company called Sikalosoft, the application puts a crying baby on your iPhone screen. You quiet it by giving the phone a violent shake.

Nice. Apple has pulled the app from its list after plenty of people complained about it.

I loved the "Ooops" and the furtive glance around as soon as he realized what he said.
  • bispo

Pelosi hits back at Jon Stewart: You’re wrong, I’m no hypocrite

Republicans in Congress are petrified of offending conservative talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn’t scared of taking on left-leaning Jon Stewart. The Comedy Central “Daily Show” host recently called Pelosi out for being hypocritical on budget reconciliation rules (which must be the only time in history that budget reconciliation and comedy have been intertwined).

The reconciliation rules would allow Democrats to pass healthcare reform with only 51 Senate votes, stripping the GOP of its filibuster rights.

Stewart aired video clips ostensibly showing Pelosi embracing the partisan budget maneuver this year but condemning it when Democrats were in the minority.

A smirking Stewart noted the irony of Pelosi’s contrasting statements.

Asked for comment this week, Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami fired back.

“She was not talking about reconciliation in that clip — it was about judicial nominations and the nuclear option. This has nothing to do with reconciliation ... Jon Stewart had it wrong (shocking, I know),” Elshami wrote.

As Stewart would say — Oh, snap!

We don’t want to get in the way of a good fight, but a review of newspaper articles and transcripts shows that Pelosi is dead on and Stewart is dead wrong.

Will Stewart apologize? ITK contacted Stewart’s flack, but Stewart is apparently in bunker mentality, declining to respond to what surely will become known as DailyShowgate.

Pelosi appeared on Stewart’s show a week after he had mocked her. The reconciliation topic didn’t come up (but the tension was palpable).

The Purity Myth

Yet another article stolen from ONTD proper because it's relevant to our interests:


In “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women,” author Jessica Valenti — founder and executive editor of Feministing.com — argues that our culture is too harsh on women who embrace sexuality. Her book looks at the fallacies of virginity, chastity and purity through the lens of our sexually charged media culture.

There is a moral panic in America over young women’s sexuality — and it’s entirely misplaced. Girls “going wild” aren’t damaging a generation of women, the myth of sexual purity is. The lie of virginity — the idea that such a thing even exists — is ensuring that young women’s perception of themselves is inextricable from their bodies, and that their ability to be moral actors is absolutely dependent on their sexuality. It’s time to teach our daughters that their ability to be good people depends on their being good people, not on whether or not they’re sexually active.

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I definitely do not agree with the author. What do you think?

' jules


Harman-AIPAC: The Latest Developments

Some recent developments in the fast-moving Harman-AIPAC story to update you on...

- Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was briefed "a few years ago" by the NSA that they had wiretapped Harman, but wasn't told what was found, and never alerted Harman.

- CQ's Jeff Stein, who broke the original story Monday, now reports that the NSA wiretapped what appears to be a separate, later conversation between Harman and the "suspected Israeli agent." In this second conversation, Harman's interlocutor informed Harman that "Pelosi went ballistic" when a major Democratic fundraiser told Pelosi that unless she made Harman the chair of the Intelligence committee, Pelosi would "get no more contributions from me." (The fundraiser has since been identified as the California businessman Haim Saban.) The conversation was picked up as part of an investigation into the suspected agent.

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Report: Angry Intel Officers Tipped Pelosi To Harman Wiretap

Another day, another advance by CQ's Jeff Stein on his Harman-AIPAC story...

Late last night, Stein reported that, after Alberto Gonzales quashed the FBI probe into Rep. Harman for political reasons, intelligence officials, angry about Gonzo's move, told Nancy Pelosi about the wiretap that had picked up Harman talking to a suspected Israeli agent -- defying the AG's order that Pelosi not be informed.

That was how Pelosi learned about the wiretap -- not through an official briefing, as she implied yesterday in comments to reporters.

"She knew. We made sure she knew," one of the former intel officials told Stein, chuckling.

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O'Reilly Revises History, Says Nixon Never Met With Mao Zedong. History has liberal bias

O'Reilly Revises History, Says Nixon Never Met With Mao Zedong (VIDEO)

Sometimes, if you linger too long over certain qualities of Bill O'Reilly, you miss the full picture. For example, if you're always paying attention to O'Reilly's pointless demagoguery, rampant paranoia, blustery cowardice, and overall sex freakery, you might miss the fact that deep down, the man is also unrelentingly stupid. But on last night's edition of the Factor, viewers got a reminder of the Miseducation of Bill O'Reilly.

Discussing the recent Summit of the Americas, O'Reilly and Alan Colmes were locked in a discussion over whether Obama's handshake with Hugo Chavez meant that Obama would catch a scorching case of Chavez Cooties, and suddenly become a Latin American autocrat! Colmes made the sensible point that politesse and tact should compel a certain degree of civility.
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Ron Suskind: Torture Employed To Alleviate White House 'Frustration' In Run Up To War

Ron Suskind: Torture Employed To Alleviate White House 'Frustration' In Run Up To War

Via Media Monitor Brian C. comes this segment from last night's Rachel Maddow Show, which began with the host stressing the need to "disambiguate" the various streams of new information coming to light about torture and policy in the Bush administration. But as it went on, the segment did more than elucidate connections. As far as torture goes, a recent report from the Senate Armed Services committee shows that similar interrogation instructions were getting passed to both the military and the Central Intelligence Agency along the same critical time frame. But, more importantly, with the recent news that detainees were being frenziedly pressed to offer up some connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, a unified field theorem of foreign policymaking becomes stunningly clear.
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Hitler's Mein Kampf Seen As Self-Help Guide For India's Business Students

Hitler's Mein Kampf Seen As Self-Help Guide For India's Business Students

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf has become a popular book among students in India looking for tips on management tactics, reports the Daily Telegraph. Students striving to become successful businessmen and women are using the Nazi leader's infamous autobiography as a self-help book.

Sales of the book over the last six months topped 10,000 in New Delhi alone, according to leading stores, who said it appeared to be becoming more popular with every year.
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Lawmakers: Congress Will Investigate Torture, Bipartisan Support In Place

Lawmakers: Congress Will Investigate Torture, Bipartisan Support In Place

The central debate dominating discussions of a possible investigation into torture by the Bush administration seems to have shifted sharply in the past few days: from whether such an investigation should take place, to now what form it will have when it comes.

If investigations actually do go forward, there seem to be three clear options: creating an independent commission, launching a congressional probe, or having the Department of Justice tackle the topic, likely by appointing a special prosecutor.

Each form has its champions, its benefits and shortcomings. Of the three, the Obama White House -- which still prefers no investigation at all -- is the least enthusiastic about Congress handling the matter. The president has said that if an investigation were to happen, he wanted it done in an independent and non-partisan matter by people above reproach -- qualities sometimes tough to come by in Congress.

That said, on Thursday morning, Sen. Claire McCaskill told MSNBC that she was "sure there will be some form of investigation in Congress." She said she could not make the same value judgments about the other two forms of investigation.
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Harman had close ties to Bush White House

From the Ryan Dawson's anti-Neocons site, this is said to be a photo from 2006 of Congresswoman Jane Harman and Bush Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff, a former prosecutor, out for a jog.


Anees of Jerusalem writes:
What's interesting about the Harman case to me is the mechanical difference in the pro-Israel roles of the two female players. Nancy Pelosi has always been vocal about her Israel love. Yet Harman's was a distinct loyalty role simply because she had influence over at the Republican White House. In the end they are both being played by the same lobby.
From a 2003 Salon piece, on how Pelosi chastised Howard Dean for simply calling for an "even-handed" approach to I/P:

[Howard] Dean's Israel troubles began at a Sept. 3 campaign event in Santa Fe, N.M. When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said that day, "It's not our place to take sides." Then, on Sept. 9, he told the Washington Post that America should be "evenhanded" in its approach to the region. The media and the Democratic establishment reacted as if Dean had called Yasser Arafat a man of peace. On Sept. 10, 34 Democratic members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, wrote Dean an open letter. "American foreign policy has been -- and must continue to be -- based on unequivocal support for Israel's right to exist and to be free from terror ..." they wrote. "It is unacceptable for the U.S. to be 'evenhanded' on these fundamental issues ... This is not a time to be sending mixed messages; on the contrary, in these difficult times we must reaffirm our unyielding commitment to Israel's survival and raise our voices against all forms of terrorism and incitement."

Body language

McCain: Torture Probe Will Be A "Witch Hunt"

Sen. John McCain warned that a pursuit for charges against Bush administration officials who helped design harsh interrogation tactics used on terrorist suspects would turn into a "witch hunt."

Speaking on CBS' The Early Show, the former Vietnam POW and Republican opponent of President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, said there is no evidence that he knows of that shows the officials who approved the tactics weren't giving plausible legal advice.

This will have a "chilling effect on legal counsel," McCain said.

McCain, who was himself tortured as a U.S. soldier by his North Vietnamese captors, was a vocal critic of the Bush administration's treatment of terrorism suspects.

"To go back on a witch hunt that could last for a year or so is bad for the country," he said.

On Wednesday, McCain and Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sent President Obama a letter expressing strong concern over his decision to leave the door open to the possible prosecution of officials who crafted controversial Bush administration policy on detainee interrogations.

"Pursuing such prosecutions would, we believe, have serious negative effects on the candor with which officials in any administration provide their best advice, and would take our country in a backward-looking direction at a time when our detainee-related challenges demand that we look forward," the letter said.

Jake G -  Moving beauty

GOP Stymies Vote on Sebelius

President Obama will have to wait a bit longer to round out his Cabinet. Senate Republicans refused today to allow a confirmation vote on his health secretary nominee Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.). She is the last Cabinet member awaiting Senate approval.

At the start of the session today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed taking a vote after five hours of debate. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected, arguing that lawmakers needed more time to consider her "fairly contentious" selection.

A handful of Republicans have complained about Sebelius' support for abortion rights and her failure to report the full extent of campaign contributions she received from a physician who performs abortions.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) opposes Sebelius because of the Obama administration's support for research on the comparative effectiveness of disease treatments. He said he fears the evidence-based approach, coupled with information on price, could lead to rationing of care.

In the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, eight of 10 GOP members opposed her nomination. Two Republicans, Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Olympia Snowe of Maine, voted to confirm her.

During her long stint in Kansas politics, Sebelius has been known as a moderate with strong relations across the aisle. She chose a running mate two years ago who had been a Republican Party leader.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said today that, if necessary, the Democratic leader intends to pursue the procedural maneuvers needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. That would likely push a confirmation vote into next week.

"We're confident there will be the 60 votes needed to confirm her," Manley said.



This just in American schoolchildren left behind and the Pope is indeed Catholic.

Swimming Without a Suit

Published: April 21, 2009

Speaking of financial crises and how they can expose weak companies and weak countries, Warren Buffett once famously quipped that “only when the tide goes out do you find out who is not wearing a bathing suit.” So true. But what’s really unnerving is that America appears to be one of those countries that has been swimming buck naked — in more ways than one.

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U.S. Soldier Killed Herself -- After Refusing to Take Part in Torture


With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo (and who, knows, probably elsewhere), I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.

Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the U.S. Senate committee probe and various new press reports, that the "Gitmo-izing" of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.

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Economist: America Is Just Like An Emerging Market, Wall Street Oligarchs And All

Economist: America Is Just Like An Emerging Market, Wall Street Oligarchs And All

America may be more like an emerging market than we realize.

That is the analysis by an increasingly vocal and influential professor at MIT, Simon Johnson. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, just like the emerging markets he has spent his life studying, the U.S. has created a system whereby Wall Street "oligarchs" have monopolized and cannibalized the economy. At the same time, Washington regulators have been rendered ineffective, seduced by their aura of wealth and power.

Johnson's solution is, in part, to use anti-trust laws to break up these too-big-to-fail institutions, and for regulators to intensify their oversight of the smaller banks that result.

"In the last decade, the attitude took hold in the U.S. that what was good for Big Finance on Wall Street was good for the United States," Johnson testified before the Joint Economic Committee earlier this week. According to this "belief system," Wall Street "benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were critical to America's position in the world."
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we are all innocent

Oklahoma redeems itself...sort of

A sort of follow-up to these posts about the fuckery going down in the Oklahoma legislature.

Oklahoma Senate sustains Gov. Brad Henry's stem cell bill veto

By Michael McNutt - Capitol Bureau
Published: April 23, 2009

Gov. Brad Henry today applauded state senators for sustaining his veto of a bill that would have made it a crime for a scientist to perform any form of embryonic stem cell research. Senators voted 26-19 this morning to override his veto. Senators needed 32 votes to override it.

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Okay, so...+1 for ultimately vetoing the bill...-10 for all the ignorance.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

Lots of unpatriotic Texans want out of the union

With numbers like these, it's obvious why Texas Gov. Rick Perry is talking secession in the runup to what will be a tough primary battle against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 4/20-22. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America?

US: 61
Independent nation: 35

Democrats: US 82, Ind 15
Republicans: US 48, Ind 48
Independents: US 55, Ind 40

Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Rick Perry's suggestion that Texas may need to leave the United States?

Approve: 37
Disapprove: 58

Democrats: Approve 16, Disapprove 80
Republicans: Approve 51, Disapprove 44
Independents: Approve 43, Disapprove 50



Wow. Poor Austin, stuck in the middle of so much crazy. This is legitimately scary stuff -- so-called "patriotic" Republicans are split in half over secession, while supposedly "unpatriotic" Democrats love America so much that they want to remain part of the United States. And as Perry gears up for that tough primary, he's got to like that 51 percent of like Republican voters approve of his traitorous talk.

Well, there's 51 percent of Republicans who better not be flying an American flag. They are spitting on Old Glory. What next, burn her at the 4th of July Tea Parties?

Ironically, the United States would be (politically) better off without Texas, making it near-impossible for Republicans to control much of anything in the 49-state union:


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I know this will NEVER happen, but it sure is funny to think about!

"Oh, principles! Thank God! We've got some principles."

Flashback: Bush’s FBI Director Said Torture Didn’t Foil Any Terror Plots

Now that Bush administration officials have launched a major campaign to persuade us that torture “worked,” perhaps it’s worth recalling that George W. Bush’s own FBI director said in an interview last year that he wasn’t aware of a single planned terror attack on America that had been foiled by information obtained through torture.

Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Bush in 2001 and remains FBI director under Obama, delivered that assessment at the end of this December 2008 article in Vanity Fair on torture:
I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?
“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”
That stands in direct contrast to Dick Cheney’s recent claim that torture has been “enormously valuable” in terms of “preventing another mass-casualty attack against the United States.”

You’d think that this sort of thing would throw a bit of a wrench into the Bushies’ campaign. But as Charles Kaiser notes, these types of statements haven’t really broken through the media din.

On that score, it’s worth asking why the White House and its allies aren’t pushing back a bit harder on the Bushies’ claims. Yes, this is a debate that the White House would like to avoid. But Cheney and other Bush administration officials have launched a major campaign here that shows no signs whatsoever of abating.

Whatever downsides Cheney’s constant public appearances hold for the GOP, the Bushies seem to be having some success shifting the debate onto the narrow question of whether torture “worked.” Shouldn’t we be seeing more push-back from the White House or its outside allies?


The point is, it really doesn't matter whether it worked or not.  We shouldn't be torturing or using these "enhanced" interrogation techniques on anyone, nor ordering our troops to carry them out!  

Don't make me go all Shep Smith on yo' ass!

What is this post-racial cociety people speak of?

Raising Katie

What adopting a white girl taught a black family about race in the Obama era.

Tony Dokoupil
Newsweek Web Exclusive

Several pairs of eyes follow the girl as she pedals around the playground in an affluent suburb of Baltimore. But it isn't the redheaded fourth grader who seems to have moms and dads of the jungle gym nervous on this recent Saturday morning. It's the African-American man—six feet tall, bearded and wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt—watching the girl's every move. Approaching from behind, he grabs the back of her bicycle seat as she wobbles to a stop. "Nice riding," he says, as the fair-skinned girl turns to him, beaming. "Thanks, Daddy," she replies. The onlookers are clearly flummoxed.

As a black father and adopted white daughter, Mark Riding and Katie O'Dea-Smith are a sight at best surprising, and at worst so perplexing that people feel compelled to respond. Like the time at a Pocono Mountains flea market when Riding scolded Katie, attracting so many sharp glares that he and his wife, Terri, 37, and also African-American, thought "we might be lynched." And the time when well-intentioned shoppers followed Mark and Katie out of the mall to make sure she wasn't being kidnapped. Or when would-be heroes come up to Katie in the cereal aisle and ask, "Are you OK?"—even though Terri is standing right there.

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Source: www.newsweek.com/id/194886

I've seen this happen so many times that it almost seems like one of the unwritten laws of adoption. White people can adopt any race they want to, but when a black family adopts outside of their race, it's a big stink.

Star Trek--Spock eyeroll

oh, FFS...

Iowa judge to stop performing marriages

By JASON CLAYWORTH • jclayworth@dmreg.com • April 23, 2009

At least one Iowa magistrate has decided that he will no longer perform marriages, a response due in part to the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry.

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Dude, get over it, or get a new job. You are a JUDGE, supposed to uphold the LAW. You can't cherry pick.

BONUS EDIT! Here's a gem from two time loser Bob VanderPlaats...

Vander Plaats: AG can't force recorders to obey gay-marriage ruling

THOMAS BEAUMONT • tbeaumont@dmreg.com • April 23, 2009

Republican gubernatorial prospect Bob Vander Plaats today said Attorney General Tom Miller lacked the authority to compel county recorders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Hey dude, why don't you take a law class before you go spouting off your mouth...or trying to run for governor.

US 'torture memos' could not be kept secret: Gates

US 'torture memos' could not be kept secret: Gates

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday it would have been "unrealistic" to keep secret sensitive memos on harsh interrogations as their eventual disclosure was

In his first public comments on the controversy, Gates indicated he supported the release of the Bush-era memos, despite concerns about protecting CIA officers from prosecution and a possible backlash against US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates said a combination of congressional investigations and pending lawsuits meant it would be virtually impossible to keep the information in the memos secret.

"I think pretending that we could hold all of this, and keep it all a secret, even if we wanted to, I think was pretty unrealistic. So we'll just have to deal with it," he told reporters.

"There is a certain inevitability I believe that much of this will eventually come out and much has already come out," he said during a visit to the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina.

The Pentagon chief and former CIA director described the release of the documents as a difficult decision.

"All of us wrestled with it for quite some time," he said.
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Shark dumped on Australian newspaper's doorstep

Shark dumped on Australian newspaper's doorstep

Journalists have a lot to be nervous about lately: layoffs, furloughs, newspaper closures. But reporters at an Australian paper may have received the scariest threat of the day when a live shark was left on their doorstep. Police said the two-foot creature was spotted early Wednesday by a man who was leaving a McDonald's restaurant next door to the offices of The Standard in the small Victoria state town of Warrnambool.
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Maybe the Australian mafia went too far... I would have used a fish head...

Employers Watching Workers Online Spurs Privacy Debate


By now, many employees are uncomfortably aware that their every keystroke at work, from email on office computers to text messages on company phones, can be monitored legally by their employers.

What employees typically don't expect is for the company to spy on them while on password-protected sites using nonwork computers. But even that privacy could be in jeopardy.

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Sauce: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124045009224646091.html

Woman who pleaded to Obama is still struggling


The homeless Florida woman who made a tearful plea for help from President Obama earlier this year is still jobless and struggling financially.

Henrietta Hughes caught the nation's attention in February when she cried for help during one of Obama's town hall meetings.

After her plea, Hughes was given a free home to live in temporarily, but she is still struggling to find a job and might soon lose that home, CNN affiliate WINK reported Thursday.

Hughes, who is in her 60s, faithfully goes to an employment center in Fort Myers in hopes of finding a job.

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Dear Cheney & Rove: DIAF

April 23, 2009 

Op-Ed Contributor

My Tortured Decision


FOR seven years I have remained silent about the false claims magnifying the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding. I have spoken only in closed government hearings, as these matters were classified. But the release last week of four Justice Department memos on interrogations allows me to shed light on the story, and on some of the lessons to be learned.

One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.
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So, we've got interrogators coming out of the woodwork left and right.....all saying that they didn't agree that using these "enhanced" interrogation techniques would work.  Saying now, that they didn't do anything productive that they couldn't have gotten using regular (read: LEGAL) techniques.  And yet, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Bill OReilly, Glenn Beck (NONE OF WHOM ARE TRAINED INTERROGATORS, NOR DID THEY EVER SERVE IN THE MILITARY) feel qualified to opine and bloviate about how effective these techniques were......when those who are the most expert in the field SAYS THEY AREN'T.

Does anyone else see the utter hypocrisy there?

by <lj_user="yellowbang">

Why women are leaving men for other women

Why women are leaving men for other women

Lately, a new kind of sisterly love seems to be in the air. In the past few years, Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon left a boyfriend after a decade and a half and started dating a woman (and talked openly about it).

Actress Lindsay Lohan and DJ Samantha Ronson flaunted their relationship from New York to Dubai. Katy Perry's song "I Kissed a Girl" topped the charts. "The L Word," "Work Out," and "Top Chef" are featuring gay women on TV, and there's even talk of a lesbian reality show in the works.

Certainly nothing is new about women having sex with women, but we've arrived at a moment in the popular culture when it all suddenly seems almost fashionable -- or at least, acceptable.

Statistics on how many women have traded boyfriends and husbands for girlfriends are hard to come by. Although the U.S. Census Bureau keeps track of married, divorced, single, and even same-sex partners living together, it doesn't look for the stories behind those numbers.

But experts like Binnie Klein, a Connecticut-based psychotherapist and lecturer in Yale's department of psychiatry, agree that alternative relationships are on the rise.

"It's clear that a change in sexual orientation is imaginable to more people than ever before, and there's more opportunity -- and acceptance -- to cross over the line," says Klein, noting that a half-dozen of her married female patients in the past few years have fallen in love with women. "Most are afraid that if they don't go for it, they'll end up with regrets."

Feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, Ph.D, a professor of English and gender and women's studies at the University of Kentucky and author of "Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body," also agrees that in the current environment, more women may be stepping out of the conventional gender box.



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12 Year Old "Ex-Gay" Christian YouTuber Cries out for Help. Receives.

When we first told you about "Christianu2uber" — the 12-year-old self-identified "ex-gay" YouTube user who often talked about religion — plenty of you demanded Queerty take down the video. The boy, whose name we learn is Scott, at times said in his videos he was gay, then not gay; he talked about why gays shouldn't get married; and when other YouTube users began leaving hateful comments and remixing his videos into tormenting clips, he uploaded a "stop calling me a homo" response. We weren't in on some joke, posting his videos for laughs. Quite the opposite: We spotted a little boy crying for help on the Internet — a replica of too many gay and gay-questioning boys and girls harassed in school and at home — and yearned for his rescue. It worked.

Though the Christianu2uber account is now closed (this spoof account is not the same one), Scott is not gone. In fact, police are now involved after a dozen-plus YouTube videos (viewed over one million times) and Facebook posts caused web users to rally officials to identify the boy and intervene.

There are reports that Scott, in addition to being harassed himself, began making violent threats against others online, which may be the real reason police got involved.

Either way, the intervention was necessary. Thanks to various online efforts, including a blogger who contacted the FBI about the boy, Scott's parents and loved ones will know the boy is not well mentally. That he's questioning his sexuality, and how it butts up against his religious beliefs. That when he shuts the door and turns on the computer, he's subjecting himself the very hatred and bullying that, we've seen, can lead to horror stories.

It's hard to put this one in the "win" column, but the very technology that was opening this boy up to harm may have saved his life.


Roland Martin and Michelangelo Signorile Duke It Out Over Miss California on CNN

More on Miss CA:

Another judge in the Miss USA pageant, former Miss USA Alicia Jacobs, has blogged her reaction to the debacle. And ooh, she throws some shade.
The beginning of Prejean's answer was ok...but, she made the mistake of not knowing when to shut her mouth. As she continued to speak, I saw the crown move further & further away from her. When she finished, she looked strangely proud for a moment. Personally, I was STUNNED on several levels. First, how could this young woman NOT know her audience and judges? Let's not forget that the person asking the question is an openly gay man, at least 2 people on the judges panel are openly gay. Another judge has a sister in a gay marriage. Her very own state pageant director, KEITH LEWIS is an openly gay man who has been a very generous benefactor of hers...in many ways. Did I mention I was STUNNED?

I was also personally insulted & hurt. Prejean's words hit very close to home for me. Some of the most important people in my life, happen to be gay. A few months ago, on November 1, 2008, I was maid of honor at the wedding of my very dear friends, Robert Aganza & Jorge' Rodriguez. I flashed back to that beautiful wedding ceremony, where everyone in the room was crying tears of joy & love. How can she be saying this, is all I could think in that moment. Remembering that we were on live television, I actually recall having to close my wide-opened mouth, I then looked over to Perez, who was seated right next to me, he was just shaking his head, he actually seemed a bit hurt? Then came the very loud booing in the theatre, followed by "a word from our sponsors."

Jacobs has apparently thought better of the line I bolded above. Here's how it initially appeared as reported in the Los Angeles Times: "KEITH LEWIS is an openly gay man who has been a very generous benefactor of hers...in many ways. (2 ways in particular....if you get my drift??)"

Other Contestants Disagree With Miss CA


Miss USA contestants from states where same-sex marriage is legal are speaking out.

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music | sleigh anne.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Water covers more than 70 percent of the planet's surface, making our rivers, lakes and oceans the lifeblood of our planet. Many of these bodies of water may be out of sight and out of mind, but our health may depend on their protection.

Currently, scientists believe the world's largest garbage dump isn't on land…it's in the Pacific Ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches from the coast of California to Japan, and it's estimated to be twice the size of Texas. "This is the most shocking thing I have seen," Oprah says.

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Oprah featured this on her show yesterday. I had never heard of this until the teacher I worked as an assistant for told me about this today.


Bullied To Death

Bullied to death

April 22, 2009

RELENTLESS BULLYING, including anti-gay slurs, by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield pushed sixth-grader Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover to take his own life, according to his mother. The quality of interventions by school officials is unclear. But an act so desperate by one so young is a clear reminder of how schools can become torture chambers for students perceived as different.

Massachusetts led the nation in 1993 by crafting an anti-discrimination law for gay and lesbian students. But the law is only as effective as the educators who implement it. And the stakes can be higher in poor, urban districts like Springfield, where nonconformity too often draws aggressive attention. Teachers or administrators who ignore even a single degrading comment in that environment can open the door to a world of pain.

Any sentient school official knows that gay students, or those perceived to be gay, are teased and bullied disproportionately. One remedy is the use of student handbooks that outline the specific consequences of discriminating against gay students. At New Leadership, students in the middle and high school grades sign a Golden Rule contract pledging not to "laugh, tease or poke fun at others." But there is no specific mention in the student handbook of discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. The school's written anti-harassment policies need to reflect the reality that students who are different actually face.

Peter Daboul, chairman of the school's trustees, says being or appearing gay "is not a stigma at the school." And students in both the sixth and seventh grades, he says, were studying the effects of bullying this year as part of their class projects. A school task force, he says, will examine all incident reports involving Walker-Hoover. And an investigation by the state Department of Education is likely to follow.

There may be a role for independent investigators, as well. New Leadership, which operates in modular units, may be too large to ensure student safety. Enrollment at the decade-old charter school was originally capped at 375. But it was serving almost 500 students by last year, when it sought to renew its charter. Despite reservations about the school's fiscal and academic standing, the state overlooked the violation and approved raising the enrollment cap to 500.

A case such as this requires education officials to consider what policies and practices may have been overlooked. Focusing solely on bullies and victims is rarely enough. How can schools build a critical mass of students who are willing to come to the aid of a targeted student and stand against their peers? The family of a dead 11-year-old boy deserves to know.


Napolitano Facing Republican Calls for Her Ouster

Napolitano Facing Republican Calls for Her Ouster

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is facing calls for her ouster from a handful of House Republicans in the wake of a department memo that warned of right-wing political extremism in the United States.

"To me, it looks like the extremists are those running the DHS," said Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn.
"An official document of the DHS lists right-wing extremists as 'groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,' and includes those 'rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.' So, apparently, according to Homeland Security Department, the American ideal of federalism is a threat to American ideals."

Bachmann and Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., joined Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, the No. 6 Republican in the House leadership, on the House floor Wednesday evening to demand that Napolitano either resign or be fired by President Obama.

House Republican leadership aides expect Napolitano to survive calls for her ouster. But at the same time, they are happy to see criticism of Napolitano continue as Obama approaches the 100-day mark of his presidency.
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IF you thought it was bad before... Obama administration to release Bush-era detainee photos

Obama administration to release Bush-era detainee photos

Reporting from Washington -- The Obama administration agreed late Thursday to release dozens of photographs depicting alleged abuse by U.S. personnel during the Bush administration of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least 44 pictures will be released by May 28 -- making public for the first time images of what the military investigated as abuse that took place at facilities other than the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Defense officials would not say exactly what is contained in the photos, but said they are concerned that the release could incite a backlash in the Middle East.
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I am concerned this could become a distraction and his ambitious agenda on healthcare, taxes, education, etc. could get damaged or forgotten... on the other hand cant wait to see these f#kers get roasted...

Olbermann Calls Hannity's Bluff: $1000 For Every Second Of Waterboarding

Olbermann Calls Hannity's Bluff: $1000 For Every Second Of Waterboarding (VIDEO)

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann announced on Thursday that he is willing to pay $1,000 to charity for every second that Fox News anchor Sean Hannity undergoes waterboarding torture.

As HuffPost noted yesterday, Hannity was prodded by actor Charles Grodin into agreeing to subject himself to waterboarding to benefit a charity for the families of U.S. soldiers.

On MSNBC tonight, Olbermann called on Hannity to stay true to his word, and argued the benefit of having the arch-conservative pundit tortured would be that he might finally recognize the "deadly seriousness" of the debate over detainee treatment.

"What a breakthrough it would be if, by having reality literally forced upon him, a buffoon like Hannity were to realize the deadly seriousness of this," Olbermann said. "The searing truth: that the moment of torture automatically makes the presumed bad guy recipient the victim, and makes the torturer into the evildoer."

From there, Olbermann laid out his offer: "For every second you last, a thousand dollars -- live or on tape, provided other networks' cameras are there. A thousand dollars a second, Sean, because this is no game. This is serious stuff. Put your money where your mouth is, and your nose. Oh, and I'll double it when you admit you feared for your life, when you admit the horrible truth -- waterboarding, the symbol of the last administration, is torture."
Murasaki Shikibu

Donors pledge over $250 million for Somalia

Donors pledge over $250 million for Somalia

BRUSSELS – International donors pledged more than $250 million Thursday to help Somalia strengthen its security forces and try to stop the rampant pirate attacks that have plagued one of the world's most important waterways.

The hefty sum included funding for equipment and material that significantly exceeded the request made by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said.

The U.N.-sponsored international donors' conference originally aimed to raise at least euro128 million ($166 million) to finance African Union peacekeepers already in the Horn of Africa nation as well as Somalia's fledgling police and security forces.

Stabilizing Somalia was the focus of Thursday's meeting — but squashing the persistent piracy jeopardizing international shipping also topped the agenda.

"Piracy is a symptom of anarchy and insecurity on the ground," Ban told the delegates. "More security on the ground will make less piracy on the seas."

"The situation continues to be very difficult, but with this financial help ... I sincerely hope we will be able to control the situation there," Ban said at a joint news conference with Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union's executive body.

The pledges were a recognition of the need to end two decades of anarchy in Somalia and of the threat that further lawlessness posed to the world, not just one nation.

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I'm glad that the UN is recognizing something has to be done to stabilize Somalia if they really want to stop the pirates in the long run.