A construction crew renovating a cellar near the Auschwitz site discovered the bottle hidden in a concrete wall, officials said Monday.
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April 26, 2009
The New York Times
At the Polls, Icelanders Punish Conservatives
By JOHN F. BURNS
REYKJAVIK, Iceland — It is a tale of light and dark — of a small but rugged country far from anywhere that has suffered as severely as any in the developed world at the hands of buccaneering free-marketeers, but which is now slowly digging itself out from the financial wreckage.
An important milestone was reached on Saturday, when the country’s voters went to the polls to elect a new government, three months after riotous street protests over the country’s banking collapse forced the country’s conservative-led administration from office.
With about a third of the final vote counted late Saturday, it seemed that the country’s leftist caretaking government would be formally voted into power, with the Social Democrats projected to gain 22 seats and their partners, the Left-Greens, appearing to gain 13 seats in the 63-seat Parliament.
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His funeral galvanized a national outpouring of mourning, and his death, and the cause, were reported around the world. In part due to the publicity, the Russians and British pressured the Shah to lift the siege. And while the spark of constitutionalism was nearly smothered during the past century, the flame remains lit, and constitutional democracy remains deeply ingrained as a core legitimate norm within Iran's political culture.
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“I don’t care what the politicians think,” Mr. Flake, a former Democratic congressman and one of the city’s most influential religious leaders, thundered last week during a Sunday service at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Queens. “Ain’t nothing perfect about laying down and signing a license with somebody who got the same body parts you got.”
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In response to Sen. Arlen Specter's switch out of the Republican party, RNC chairman Michael Steele put out a statement saying that the senator "left to further his personal political interests." Later in the day, however, Steele went on CNN and unleashed his grievances against Specter, who never alerted him to his decision. Angry at being left out of the loop and relegated to irrelevance, Steele invoked all sorts of schoolyard insults:
STEELE: Look, you can tweak my nose and you can step on my toes and you can pull my hair. At some point enough is going to be enough. ... Sen. Cornyn went out on the line for this man. For the senator to effectively flip the bird back to Sen. Cornyn and the Republican Senate leadership -- a team that has stood by him, who went to the bat for him in 2004 -- to save his hide, to me is not only disrespectful, but it's just downright rude. I'm sure his mama didn't raise him this way, and it's a shame that he's behaving this way today.
BORDER: Did he give you a heads up on this?
STEELE: No, not at all, which is another form of disrespect that I don't count. At least give me a call or give the party leadership a call and let us know this is what I'm thinking, this is where I'm going, so it can be repaired. I'm not one to be caught flat-footed about these things. You get on your toes and you respond as quickly as can you.
Steele may still be nursing outstanding hurt feelings against Specter. Last month, the Pennsylvania senator said, "And National Chairman Steele, well he's said so many contradictory things I wouldn't pay a whole lot of attention to him."
Artist cancels showing of unconventional Obama portrait
6:45 AM, April 28, 2009
A New York artist has canceled the public showing of his portrait of President Obama after receiving a barrage of angry e-mails condemning the religious nature of the work.
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(updated below - interview with lead counsel Ben Wizner of the ACLU)
The first sign that the Obama DOJ would replicate many of the worst and most radical arguments of the Bush DOJ was in the Jeppesen case, a lawsuit brought by five victims of the CIA's rendition and torture program (including Binyam Mohamed). The Bush administration had argued that the entire "subject matter" raised by the lawsuit (the rendition program) was such a gravely important "state secret" that the court could not consider any lawsuit relating to that issue. That argument was a by-product of one of the Bush DOJ's most controversial actions: its radical expansion of the "state secrets" doctrine. Whereas that privilege was once an evidentiary privilege enabling the Government to declare specific documents too secret to use in litigation, the Bush DOJ converted it into an all-purpose shield allowing them to have entire lawsuits dismissed even wherethe lawsuit alleged that the President's conduct was illegal.( Collapse )
Okay, I may be completely wrong (though I hope I'm not), but I still think this whole thing about Obama's administration somehow looking like they agree with Bush's on this issue is just a put-up job. I'm pretty certain that, much like the idea of prosecutions re: torture, it's Obama's administration taking it on the chin until they can do what they wanted to in the first place, which is to be as transparent as possible. Once it gets to this point, where the court is issuing rulings, their hands are tied, and the GOP can't bitch about it.
Yes, I know it is possibly wishful thinking......but whenever I see something that sets off my "wrongness" radar, I have to wonder what's going on behind the scenes. I've seen WAY too many episodes of The West Wing. ;p
"The Democrats welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter into our party today," the message read. "This one's a game-changer. Specter's move immediately improves the prospects of President Obama's bold change agenda."
Family claims Chicago police officer beat autistic teenager
Cops decline to discuss incident which they say is under investigation
By Angela Rozas | Tribune reporter
April 25, 2009
Days after Chicago police promoted their expanded training for dealing with people with autism, a teen with the disorder was allegedly struck by an officer who ignored the family's pleas that he was a "special boy."
I just contributed my thoughts on Arlen Specter's party switch to the New York Times' "Room for Debate" segment, so I'll post the link to that once that is available (see Update II), but for the moment -- and since this, presumably, is what many people want to discuss -- I'll note a few brief points:
(1) The idea that Specter is a "liberal" Republican or even a "moderate" reflects how far to the Right both the GOP and our overall political spectrum has shifted.
Consider Specter’s most significant votes over the last eight years, ones cast in favor of such definitive right-wing measures as: the war on Iraq, the Military Commissions Act, Patriot Act renewal, confirmation of virtually every controversial Bush appointee, retroactive telecom immunity, warrantless eavesdropping expansions, and Bush tax cuts (several times). Time and again during the Bush era, Specter stood with Republicans on the most controversial and consequential issues.
(2) Democrats will understandably celebrate today’s announcement, but beyond the questions of raw political power, it is mystifying why they would want to build their majority by embracing politicians who reject most of their ostensible views.
Reports today suggest that Democratic officials promised Specter that the party establishment would support him, rather than a real Democrat, in a primary. If true, few events more vividly illustrate the complete lack of core beliefs of Democratic leaders, as well as the rapidly diminishing differences between the parties. Why would Democrats want a full-blooded Republican representing them in the blue state of Pennsylvania? Specter is highly likely to reprise the Joe Lieberman role for Democrats: a “Democrat” who leads the way in criticizing and blocking Democratic initiatives, forcing the party still further towards Republican policies.
(3) Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics. The moment most vividly illustrating what Specter is: prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he went to the floor of the Senate and said what the bill "seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years" and is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He then proceeded to vote YES on the bill's passage.
(4) Today is the best day to watch Fox News since the election -- mass grieving flavored by impotent bitterness.
UPDATE: In his Press Conference, Specter just reiterated that he opposes the nomination of one of Obama's few truly excellent nominees: Dawn Johnsen as OLC Chief. What a great Democrat Specter will be. Specter also just detailed how key Democratic officials promised to support him and raise money for him in the 2010 election if he switched, so now Democrats -- Harry Reid and the rest -- are committed to keeping him in power for another 8 years, committed to keeping the Pennsylvania Senate seat in the hands of Arlen Specter.
Specter is also complaining incessently about the fact that Lieberman lost his primary and Specter only won his 2004 primary by 1%. This apparently demonstrates all sorts of bad things about our political process. They really do believe that they are divinely entitled to keep their seats forever, and anything which threatens that is intrinsically illegitimate and wrong.
UPDATE II: The New York Times discussion on Specter to which I contributed is now available here.
"It's friendly. It doesn't tear down the beliefs of the church at all. Underneath, it makes people realize, 'Oh, they're sexy Mormons. They're real." That's the position Chad Hardy takes when it comes to defending his prize creation: the "Men On A Mission" calendar of hot Mormon guys. As you might expect, this annual glorification of ripped bodies doesn't sit well with huge swath of the Mormon community. Depicting Mormons as sex objects? OMG NO!%@#%$! (As you also might expect, the calendar sits perfectly well with gay men, even if the guys featured HATE THEIR SOULS.)