May 5th, 2009

film // fight club // bruises from fight

Gunmen in Turkey Kill 44 at Wedding

ISTANBUL, Turkey — In a gruesome massacre, more than 40 people, including many women and children, were killed late Monday when masked assailants attacked a wedding party in southeastern Turkey, the semi-official Anatolian News Agency reported.

The Interior Ministry said police captured eight gunmen along with their weapons after an intense security operation in the region near the city of Mardin. The dead included six children, 16 women and 22 men.

Observing Muslim practice, many of the men had gathered for evening prayers when the attackers opened fire in the village of Bilge, 15 miles from Mardin, a witness told the private NTV television network.

A report from the Haberturk news agency quoted witnesses as saying the attackers herded party-goers into one room and opened fire.

Preliminary investigations pointed to a possible feud between two families in the village, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said before heading for Mardin with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.

But Mr. Atalay declined to call the attack a blood feud — a phenomenon in Turkey’s southeast region which usually involves exacting vengeance for the murder of a relative by the tit-for-tat killing of a male member of the murderer’s family. Such feuds have cost many lives in the past.

Over the years, successive Turkish governments have taken legal measures, including stiffer prison terms, for such crimes. The authorities have also sent officials to mediate conflicts in efforts to curb the practice.

The dead included Sevgi Celebi, the bride-to-be, and Habib Ari, her fiancé, along with Mr. Ari’s four-year-old sister, Ruken.

Sadik Akbulut, the teacher at the village school, and his wife Bedia Akbulut survived the attack after Mr. Akbulut overslept and missed the party.

“When we heard gunshots,” Mrs. Akbulut told the Anatolian Agency, “my husband immediately switched off the lights.” .

“People at the village are in deep fear, we cannot believe what we’ve been through,” She said.

Television pictures showed four construction machines digging graves in an open area to prepare for the funerals.


I can't think of a better Celebrity Death Match than Plouffe against Rove......

Rove, Plouffe Do Battle Over Obama, Their Own Books, And More

The two most successful modern presidential campaign gurus sparred on Monday night on topics ranging from the quality of each other's books to the size of their bosses' respective tax cuts.

David Plouffe, who ran Barack Obama's campaign and Karl Rove, who was chief adviser to former President Bush's two winning efforts, sat down at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, California for a conversation on bipartisanship. They did not exactly lead by example.

At one point, as Rove kept badgering Obama for perpetuating (in his words) "this myth" of a president "who is committed to bipartisanship and post partisanship," Plouffe acidly replied: "This is like getting interview lessons from Sarah Palin -- a lecture on bipartisanship [from Rove]."

Later in the session, moderated by CNN's Frank Sesno, the two strategic minds playfully squabbled about their respective forthcoming books. Rove started the banter innocently enough by reminding the audience, for the second time, that his book was available for "$29.95 on," before noting that Plouffe's book would be released earlier (November) and for less ($24.95).

"But mine will be in the non-fiction section," Plouffe interjected. To which Rove, who feigned being stabbed in the heart and unable to help himself, replied: "His will be the one with lots of pictures in it. And it comes with a little box of crayons so you can do it yourself."

Even when policy was broached during the nearly hour-and-a-half-long event, it was from the vantage point of diametrically-opposed political figures, with Rove usually playing the role of antagonist.

For example, in defense of the Obama administration's efforts at bipartisanship on the stimulus package, Plouffe noted that the bill provided "the biggest middle class tax cut in American history."

"Go back and look at the 2001 tax cuts," countered Rove. "[We] cut the lower brackets by 50 percent for the lowest and a third for the second lowest. It dwarfs [Obama's] tax cuts."

Addressing the birth of the "permanent presidential campaign," Plouffe insisted that Obama was not crafting policy with an eye towards reelection. "Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "Having run his campaign, I can assure that what is happening right now is not a campaign mindset."

To which Rove insisted that Obama was much more politically motivated that his former boss, a response which prompted snickers and then laughter from the audience,

"Every White House remains in a campaign mode," he said. "Sure, absolutely, [we were too]. But not to this degree. I mean, these guys run so many polls that they have a Wednesday night meeting to review each week's polls and focus groups... We met every couple of months to review polls."

Later, Rove described the Obama policy on restricting the access and influence of lobbyists as "window dressing" -- a noble intention that would have little practical impact. "Mark my words," he said. "I appreciate what President Obama is attempting to do by limiting lobbyists. But there will be more lobbyists registered in Washington the day he leaves than the day he got into office."

Plouffe was left to reply that he did not "think this is window dressing" at all. "I mean lobbying is a profession that may be one of the few sectors that is growing in Washington. But [there is] a big change," he added. "[The] revolving door has been shut, and it is going to be much harder for the next president, whoever they are or whatever party they are from, to rescind that."

The areas of friction did not end there. On topics ranging from the controversial advertisements Republicans ran against former Sen. Max Cleland in 2002 and the actual number of people identifying themselves as Republicans, to the current president's take on bipartisanship ("Frankly," declared Rove, "I'm troubled by the attitude of the administration in reaching out to Republicans"), the two butted heads.

In fact, the one and perhaps only area of agreement came when Rove and Plouffe talked about their mutual disdain for the news media. A less-than-substantive conversation turned into a denunciation of the press for failing to focus on substance.

"The media really is focused on process more than it is substance," declared Rove. "And it is focused more on controversy than it is substance. And it is focused more on the side conflicts than the central drama."

Added Plouffe: "A lot of the coverage emanating out of Washington... is centered around conflict and kind of who scored today and who didn't. And I think the substance sometimes suffers in that."


I LOL'd big time at some of these.  Ahhh, to have been there to see it in person......well, anyway the Institute's website indicates the video on this is "coming soon".  I can't wait!

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Revealed: the face of the first European


The face of the first anatomically-modern human to live in Europe has been revealed. It belonged to a man – or woman – who inhabited the ancient forests of the Carpathian Mountains in what is now Romania about 35,000 years ago.

The artist's reconstruction – a face that could be male or female – is based on the partial skull and jawbone found in a cave where bears were known to hibernate. The facial features indicate the close affinity of these early Europeans to their immediate African ancestors, although it was still not possible to determine the person's sex.

Richard Neave, the forensic artist who reconstructed the facial features in this clay model, based his assessment on a careful measurement of the bone fragments and his long experience of how the soft tissues of the face are built around the bones of the skull.

The reconstruction was made for the forthcoming BBC 2 series The Incredible Human Journey which documents human origins and evolution, from our birthplace in Africa to the long migratory routes that led us to populate the most distant parts of the globe. It is impossible from the bones to determine the skin colour of the individual, although scientists speculate it was probably darker than modern-day Europeans, reflecting a more recent African origin.

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Do not read the comments at the source. You've been warned.

Tea Party Organizer: Effort "In A Very Disconcerting Position At The Moment"

Tea Party Organizer: Effort "In A Very Disconcerting Position At The Moment"

One of the leading coordinators of the tea parties that happened across the country on tax day, April 15, has penned a soul-searching letter to supporters saying the tea party effort is "in a very disconcerting position at the moment."

Eric Odom, administrator of (the online hub of the tea party phenomenon), wrote on Monday that he is troubled that the parties have come to be seen, from both within and without, as a unified "movement" with central leaders trampling the prerogatives of the grassroots.

Odom writes that at the federal policy level, tea partiers should be focused on three things: opposing "Socialized Healthcare," "Internet Taxation," and "Union Card Check."

At the local level, those sympathetic to the tea party events should look to strengthening processes for ballot initiatives and referendums, term limits, and supporting tea-minded candidates for local offices.

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Avigdor Lieberman Threatens Action Against Iran If No Progress In 3 months

Avigdor Lieberman Threatens Action Against Iran If No Progress In 3 months

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that the West should give Iran three months to respond to diplomatic overtures regarding its contentious nuclear program.

If within three months Iran has still not responded, Lieberman said, "action must be taken."

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Did the Mormons baptize Obama's mother, after her death, without his knowledge or consent?

Did the Mormons baptize Obama's mother, after her death, without his knowledge or consent?

A reader sent me a tip about this last week. But it's a sensitive topic, sure to cause the President some anguish, so I waited until I could find more information. I now have more information. And what I have is troubling.

A reader contacted me last week, saying that last year, in the heat of the presidential campaign, the Mormons had posthumously baptized Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. Baptizing the dead of other faith's, secretly and without the consent of their families, is a common Mormon practice. For the past fifteen years the Mormons have caused quite a stir by forcibly baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims - in other words, converting them to Mormonism - despite strong objections from the Jewish community.

Thus, it's hardly a stretch to imagine the Mormons' doing this to Obama's mother. Still, I had no proof. Then yesterday, I received a document. It's allegedly a screen capture of the registration-only section of the Mormon-run Web site, In that screen capture, excerpted above, is clearly the name and correct date of birth and death of Barack Obama's mother (Stanley Ann Dunham, born 29 Nov 1942 in Kansas, died 07 Nov 1995) and the date of her alleged post-death baptism by the Mormons.
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Condi Rice's Tortured Macaca Moment

Condi Rice's Tortured Macaca Moment

Political blog readers know that Condi Rice recently lost it.

Asked about her role advancing torture during the Bush administration in a meeting with college students, Rice claimed that no torture occurred in Guantanamo (false); Al Qaeda poses a greater threat than the axis in World War II (dubious); and -- this was big -- the President can make an act legal by authorizing it (official Frost/Nixon alert). Along the way, Rice also berated one college student, chiding him to "do your homework first" and read a report supporting her views -- an exchange that was unbecoming and uncomfortable to watch.

Harpers' Scott Horton already demolished Rice's arguments, so I won't repeat his points here. But this incident also shows the prospects for what we might call a substantive Macaca Moment - using YouTube and citizen media to scrutinize our leaders on the issues, not gaffes.
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tv | Some girls | Rocky

Britain's least wanted list.

Sixteen people banned from entering the UK have been named by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to make public the names so others could better understand what sort of behaviour Britain was not prepared to tolerate.

The list includes hate preachers, anti-gay protesters and a far-right US talk show host.

"I think it's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country," said Ms Smith.

"Coming to this country is a privilege. If you can't live by the rules that we live by, the standards and the values that we live by, we should exclude you from this country and, what's more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded.

"We are publishing the names of 16 of those that we have excluded since October. We are telling people who they are and why it is we don't want them in this country."

The list of the 16 "least wanted" includes radio talk show host Michael Savage, real name Michael Weiner.

"This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country," said Ms Smith.

Also named are American Baptist pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Snr and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper, who have picketed the funerals of Aids victims and claimed the deaths of US soldiers are a punishment for US tolerance of homosexuality.

Hamas MP Yunis al-Astal, Jewish extremist Mike Guzovsky, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen Donald Black and neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe are also on the list released.

Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, the former leaders of a violent Russian skinhead gang which committed 20 racially motivated murders, are also banned from coming to Britain. Both are currently in prison.

Making up the rest of the 16 are preachers Wadgy Abd el-Hamied Mohamed Ghoneim, Abdullah Qadri al-Ahdal, Safwat Hijazi and Amir Siddique, Muslim activist Abdul Ali Musa (previously Clarence Reams), murderer and Hezbollah terrorist Samir al-Quntar and Kashmiri terror group leader Nasr Javed.

President Can Has Cheezburger

ARLINGTON, Va. - It's like this: When you want a burger, you have to have a burger.

In this state of mind, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took a short — but wholly noticeable — motorcade ride from the White House to Virginia and pulled into a small, independent burger joint called Ray's Hell Burger.

The two leaders went right up to the counter where the meat was being grilled and ordered.

Each fetched cash from his pocket and paid, and then the pair stood like the rest and waited for their number to be called before going to a table.

The restaurant, which prides itself on premium aged 10-ounce burgers, sits in a small strip plaza. The burgers sell for $6.95.


In letters from jail, Saddam Hussein alleged torture, complained of sleepless nights

In letters from jail, Saddam Hussein alleged torture, complained of sleepless nights

Immediately after U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq's brutal ex-dictator turned into a crybaby over "beatings" by a "detention gang" and sleepless nights amid screams of torture victims.

Saddam poured out his complaints "to whom it may concern" in two Christmas 2003 letters, handwritten in Arabic, which he gave to his U.S. military jailers, the Daily News has learned.

In one letter, he alleged "beatings that I have received following my capture," in which "not a single part of my body was spared of the severe harm that was inflicted by the detention gang," adding, "some of the traces are still visible on my body."
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More Republican on Republican Violence!!!

When you heard the news about Mitt Romney being terribly disrespectful to Sarah Palin by suggesting she’s only important because she’s purty, you probably wondered what this Alaskan “mama bear” would do about it.

Naturally, she will hunt Romney down while he goes on one of his elite Northeastern pansy “fitness runs” through the woods, and she will eat him, or maybe shoot him, for sport.

Monday Open Thread: There’s a Bore in the Woods [Conservatives4Palin]

(no subject)

 Christian Teacher Ousted After Complaining About Gay Tolerance Training

"A teacher at a Tottenham secondary school [outside of London] has been suspended for allegedly harassing and intimidating his colleagues over a row about gay rights. History teacher and practising Christian Kwabena Peat, 54, wrote letters to three members of staff at Park View Academy, in Langham Road, following the training session. Invited speaker Sue Sanders had ruffled feathers when she asked the audience why it was believed that heterosexuality was natural and that those who did not accept being gay was normal had to "sort out their prejudices". Mr Peat condemned the comments made by the gay rights campaigner and co-founder of Schools Out, which conflicted with his religious views. The letter also contained citations from the Bible warning that practising homosexuals risked "God’s wrath." A complaint was made to the school’s headteacher claiming they felt "harassed and intimidated" by Mr Peat’s letter. He was suspended on full pay from his £50,000-a-year post in January while an investigation, which ends next month, was carried out." [Independent]


Bill O'Reilly says Jack Bauer reminds him of, sure thing, Bill'O

So, apparently last night on the O'Reilly Factor, Bill'O decided to rip on Jeanine Garafalo, and ended up making himself look a little ridiculous.  I know, I know....what else is new?

Okay, first thing is, the part where he mentions she called the Tea Party people "racists", she didn't appear on NBC News, she appeared on MSNBC News (with Keith Olbermann on Countdown, but there was no way he was going to mention You-Know-Who.)  The fact that Bill'O can't get the network reference right seems to be a continuing trend with him.

Second thing is, if you've actually been following the show, you would realize very quickly that the reason Jack Bauer went off on Garafalo's character Janice was because the character has been infected by a biotoxin, and is basically going off the deep end.  The reason you know he's not entirely coherent is that he's ranting about President David Palmer......someone who is no longer the President within the storyline, and hasn't been for a couple of Presidents now.

Third thing is, O'Reilly finishes the clip by saying, "Bauer reminds me of me."  Really Bill?  You're the victim of a bio-toxin who can't remember the name of the current President??  Wow.....that explains a lot.  No, really.

Lastly, Bill'O goes on to say about how 24's ratings would go through the roof if they waterboarded Garafalo.  Stay classy, Bill'O.

Clip is courtesy of Media Matters


Fox News makes shit other news, water continues to be wet

REPORT: Time and again, Fox News doctors video to smear progressives

4 hours and 9 minutes ago

SUMMARY: Media Matters has documented numerous examples of Fox News hosts and correspondents cropping comments by progressives and Democratic political figures in a manner that misrepresents them.

On three occasions from April 24 to May 1, Media Matters for America documented Fox News figures airing clips of progressives that were cropped in a way that misrepresented their statements. For example, White House correspondent Wendell Goler cropped a comment by President Obama and took it out of context to falsely suggest that he supports creating a health-care system "like the European countries." In fact, Obama was paraphrasing the town hall question he had been asked before explaining why he opposed such a system.

These examples are not anomalous for Fox News -- while it purports to be "fair and balanced" and claims, "We report, you decide," Media Matters has documented dozens of similar examples over the years. Fox News has misleadingly cropped the comments of progressives such as Obama, former Vice President Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), and former President Bill Clinton. Those comments dealt with a wide range of topics, including health care, earmarks, the financial crisis, the 2008 presidential campaign, and global warming.

In 2006, Media Matters noted a pattern in which correspondents on Fox News' Special Report aired cropped clips of Democratic senators commenting on President Bush's warrantless wiretapping that did not include those senators' objections to the program's legality.

Below, Media Matters presents a non-comprehensive list of the most misleading instances in which Fox News figures aired cropped clips of progressives that were taken out of context.


ETA: Here's a tasty and related video nugget of an interview that Keith Olbermann did of Eric Burns, who is the President of Media Matters just a few weeks ago:

emily 2

Specter: Norm Coleman Should Be Seated

Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter has been showing his independence consistently since switching to the Democratic side of the aisle. But his latest display of unorthodox thinking is particularly eye-opening.

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, the newly minted Democrat said he thinks Republican Norm Coleman should win his Senate recount court battle against Al Franken in Minnesota.

"There's still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner," Specter said, when asked how he felt about the lack of Jewish Republicans in the Senate.

Q: With your departure from the Republican Party, there are no more Jewish Republicans in the Senate. Do you care about that?

A: I sure do. There's still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.

Specter's defection was particularly impactful because, assuming Al Franken is eventually seated, the move gives Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Now the senator seems to be saying he does not want that to happen -- unless he was being sarcastic.

Even Republicans have admitted that they expect Franken to prevail.

The full interview will be published this weekend.


I don't know what to say except that the Republicans can have him back.

Mommy loves you.

SHOCK: Rep. Sherly Briggs Has Gay Daughter, WILL NOT Vote For Gay Marriage


 Rep. Sheryl Briggs testifying on the Maine House floor (rush transcript): "I have been struggling with this bill for months knowing it is going to come forward … that I'm going to have to choose … I'm so sorry I'm going to hurt my family, friends, citizens of the state of Maine. See, my daughter is gay. I have known this for about 15 years. Throughout all this time, I have kept my personal feelings on this matter separate … She has never ever heard me express my opposition to this in her life … I would never hurt her. I would got to end of the earth for her. But because I feel so strongly about opposed to this bill, blame it on my upbringing or the good book. … I can't change how I feel … But because of who I am and where I am and as a member of this legislative body, ethically it is my duty and responsibility to publicly say to my daughter that I do not support [gay marriage]. I just had to finally confess to her exactly how If eel and now i have no choice. I have to hit that button. Although I could say that the majority of my constituents are in opposition to this bill, to which they are, and to use that as my excuse to my decision making process, but that would not be fair to me, my daughter, or my constituents. I am sorry that there is no other way we could compromise to make things better for everyone, because that's what we do as legislators. We are here to fix things. To make things better for everybody. I feel like I need to let everyone citizen know that the decision we make here today is not an easy one. … I ask each citizen in the state of Maine on both sides of the aisle to please respect our individual decisions."



just approved

' jules

Today's installment of Republican-On-Republican-Violence comes from... Kentucky! Come on down...

Bunning blames McConnell for GOP losses

Sen. Jim Bunning today renewed his attacks on his fellow Kentucky Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of selfishness and being responsible for lost GOP seats in the Senate.

“Good God, he wants to run everybody,” Bunning said of McConnell during a conference call with reporters.

Bunning contrasted his 2010 re-election bid with that of Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who last week bolted the Republican Party and joined the Democrats.

“It is the fact that Arlen Specter is probably as selfish as our leader is in trying to survive, that’s the only way he thought he would survive in the U.S. Senate,” Bunning said.

“Do you know Arlen Specter will be 80, has had four bouts with cancer and he still wants to run for the U.S. Senate?” Bunning continued. “And I’m being criticized at 77 and healthy for wanting to run for the U.S. Senate by certain leadership people in my party. Give me a break.”

Asked if the leadership he was referring to was McConnell, Bunning answered: “Obviously. Do you want me to spell it out for you?”

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I'm gonna be sooo disappointed if Bunning backs out of the race.
panda bear

(no subject)

After decades, Ted Kennedy may see results of his work on health care reform

Exactly 40 years ago, Sen. Ted Kennedy popularized the idea of universal health care, saying the country needed a program “capable of bringing the same amount and high quality of health care to every man, woman and child in the United States.”

Seven presidents and millions of uninsured Americans later, the Massachusetts Democrat is still chasing that elusive goal.

Despite a legislative portfolio bulging with accomplishments that position him as the father of the modern health care safety net, the one that matters most to Kennedy — guaranteed health coverage for every American — has remained stubbornly out of reach.

He fell short with Richard Nixon, clashed with Jimmy Carter and lost the health care reform battle with Bill Clinton.

Now, his own yearlong battle with brain cancer is lending a dose of urgency to finally finish what he started decades ago, when personal and family health crises compelled him to embrace the cause.

“He will move to get the best bill possible,” said Robert Blendon, a health care policy expert and pollster at Harvard University. “He is so concerned about the end of his career that he will not stand there and say you can’t take two-thirds of the loaf because the whole loaf would be better. He will be the great pragmatist looking for a compromise.”

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panda bear

(no subject)

US: Israel must back two-state deal

Joe Biden, the US vice-president, has said that Israel should back a two-state peace agreement and stop constructing new Israeli settlements on occupied land.

In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the pro-Israeli lobby group, Biden also called on the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to ease restrictions on Palestinians.

Biden told Aipac delegates in Washington on Tuesday: "Israel has to work for a two state-solution.

"You're not going to like my saying this - but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement... and access to economic opportunity."

Netanyahu has so far shied away from publicly supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an omission that has dismayed many US, Arab and European officials.

The US vice-president also said the US would never abandon its commitment to Israel's security, calling it "non-negotiable".

And he said the Palestinian Authority "must combat terror and incitement against Israel".

Biden's remarks went further than those made by Obama in a White House meeting last month with Jordan's King Abdullah, in which he repeated his support for a two-state solution.

His comments also came hours ahead of a meeting between Barack Obama, the US president, and Shimon Peres, Obama's counterpart.

In a speech by video-link to Aipac on Monday, Netanyahu said he was ready to begin Israeli-Palestinian peace talks immediately, but made no reference to a Palestinian state.


WaPo: Former Bush Officials Work to Soften Ethics Report on Interrogations

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 5, 2009; 3:06 PM


Former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.


In recent days, attorneys for the subjects of the ethics probe have encouraged senior Bush administration appointees to write and phone Justice Department officials, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

A draft report of more than 200 pages, prepared in January before Bush's departure, recommends disciplinary action by state bar associations against two former department attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel who might have committed misconduct in preparing and signing the so-called torture memos. State bar associations have the power to suspend a lawyer's license to practice or impose other penalties.


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panda bear

(no subject)

Obama seeks global health boost

US President Obama's administration has announced a $63bn health plan to fight Aids and other illnesses overseas.

If approved by Congress the plan would be an "extraordinary step to save the lives of men, women and children," said Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew.

The six year initiative would continue the work overseen by President Bush to combat HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in the developing world.

It would also fund pre- and post-natal care and child health initiatives.

The "challenge is to take the things we've learned... and build on it", Mr Lew added.

"We cannot simply confront individual preventable illnesses in isolation. The world is interconnected, and that demands an integrated approach to global health," President Obama said in a statement.

"We have a responsibility to protect the health of our people, while saving lives, reducing suffering, and supporting the health and dignity of people everywhere," the statement continued.

"America can make a significant difference in meeting these challenges and that is why my administration is committed to act."

' jules

Ridge vs Toomey vs Specter vs Sestak. All we need's Santorum to jump in and we got YAHTZEE

Poll: Ridge Leads Toomey In 2010 Pennsylvania Senate Primary -- By A Landslide

A new poll of Pennsylvania from Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies shows that former Gov. Tom Ridge (R-PA), who is reportedly considering a bid for the Senate seat now held by Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, would currently lead conservative candidate Pat Toomey in a 60%-23% landslide for the Republican primary.

Toomey's big lead over Specter in the primary polls spurred the incumbent to switch parties, which in turn created the question of whether the Republicans were guaranteed Toomey as the nominee, or whether another Republican could take him. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who is also vice chair of the NRSC, has openly said Toomey cannot win, so the establishment could understandably be eager for someone else. And if Ridge gets in, they just might have it.

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Sestak: We Don't Need The GOP's Benedict Arnolds

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) hasn't been shy about criticizing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) for switching parties last week, but his harshest words came last night in an interview with TPMDC: "He left the fight," said the former admiral and highest ranking military man ever to serve in Congress. "In the military, we just don't leave fights."

Sestak's shot at Specter comes amid grassroots grumbling that the deal Democratic leaders struck to get Specter to defect from the GOP cost the party a shot at putting a real liberal in the seat in 2010.

"I can't figure out...why the deal was done," Sestak told me, saying he's concerned that the party was so quick to embrace Specter for reasons of "expediency," and without regard to the needs of Pennsylvania voters. "It isn't Washington's prerogative to tell us what to do," Sestak insisted.

I asked him whether he'd been on the receiving end of establishment pressure -- from people like Vice President Joe Biden and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell -- to stay out of the race, and he insisted, "I haven't heard from anyone."

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in all seriousness I think he makes a good candidate because despite the Bush connection governors seem to do really well as Senators. It could flip turn the Pennsylvania senate race upside down

Creditors May Have Pushed For Chrysler Bankruptcy To Rake In Bailout Cash

Creditors May Have Pushed For Chrysler Bankruptcy To Rake In Bailout Cash

The White House, auto executives and union representatives were all able to come to an agreement last week to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy. But the car company's creditors -- Wall Street banks and hedge funds -- refused repeated compromises and drove the company under.

The refusal doomed a major American auto company to bankruptcy, but it may have been a smart business move for the lenders.

Many of the Wall Street firms holding Chrysler bonds may also own credit default swaps that they bought to hedge their bets. These swaps, which are essentially like an insurance policy on the bonds should Chrysler default, were likely mostly issued by AIG.

AIG, thanks to the government bailout, has paid off swaps in the past at 100 cents on the dollar. Under the deal they would have had to accept with Chrysler, the bondholders would have received as little as 30 cents on the dollar, for example.

Why take 30 or 35 cents on the dollar from Chrysler when you can get the whole buck from the American taxpayer?

"The basic story is very simple," says economist Dean Baker of the liberal-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research. "If they hold credit default swaps on the bonds, they're totally happy with them defaulting."

In what would rank as one of the great scams of this financial crisis, government bailouts may be colliding. Wall Street may be raking in taxpayer dollars through AIG and returning the favor by driving the auto industry into bankruptcy.

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Obama Administration Takes Stronger Line With Israel

Obama Administration Takes Stronger Line With Israel

The rhetorical exhortations this week from the Obama administration and the Netanyahu administration in Israel have been notably unaligned, fulfilling fears that the new, right-leaning Israeli government may present additional difficulties for US foreign policy interests in the region. The dissonance between the two administrations' goals for Israeli-Palestinian peace is centered around both the concept of a two-state solution, as well as Israel's alleged disinclination to cease or reverse the "settlements" into areas designated for Palestinians.
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equality, Animal Farm, George Orwell

Schwarzenegger welcomes debate over legalizing pot

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday he welcomes a public debate on proposals to legalize and tax marijuana, which some suggest could provide a lucrative new revenue source for the cash-strapped state.
The Republican governor, whose term in office expires at the end of next year, was asked about the idea of treating pot like alcohol at an appearance in northern California to promote wildfire preparedness.

"No, I don't think it's time for that, but I think it's time for a debate," he said. "And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision."

The former Hollywood actor, who has admitted smoking marijuana in the past, cited his native Austria as a country where "they want to roll back some of the decisions that were made in European countries."
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Source / Reuters

I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. If he's open to debate, hopefully the overwhelming amount of evidence for such a bill, as well as public support, will change his previously held ideas about marijuana legalization.
Jake G -  Moving beauty

Krugman Won't Comment On Off-The-Record Dinner With Obama

Nobel-Prize-winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz have been persistent critics of the bailout, serving as thorns in the side of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Obama, who has been criticized for stacking his economic team with proteges of Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury Secretary and former Citigroup chairman considered by many to be partially responsible for fueling Wall Street's obsession with risky investments, even joked about it during a recent New York Times magazine interview.

When columnist David Leonhardt noted that Obama has a "spectrum of Democrats" within his economic policy team, Obama laughed:

"But I don't have Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz."

Later, the president expressed his "enormous respect" for Stiglitz, adding that "I actually am looking forward to having these folks in for ongoing discussion."

On April 27, Obama invited Krugman and Stiglitz to the White House for a roast-beef dinner and to get their input on the financial crisis, reports Newsweek:

Mindful of his predecessor, Barack Obama seems to be trying harder to make sure he hears all sides. On the night of April 27, for instance, the president invited to the White House some of his administration's sharpest critics on the economy, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz. Over a roast-beef dinner, Obama listened and questioned while Krugman and Stiglitz, both Nobel Prize winners, pushed for more aggressive government intervention in the banking system."

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that dinner! Ever since, some economic bloggers have been wondering what was actually discussed that night.

Salon's Andrew Leonard wrote:

Not even a whisper of this momentous news made it into Paul Krugman's blog, which seems to me to represent a misuse of the medium. I'm sure the conversation was designated off-the-record, which makes it understandable why we have no blow-by-blow from Krugman, but still: I promise all HTWW readers that if I ever have dinner with the president, I will at least mention it in this blog. What else are blogs for if not to tell people about your cool dinner dates?

Today, Krugman replied with a simple response: None of your business.

Andrew Leonard and Calculated Risk want to know why I didn't blog about dinner at the White House. Um, because the conversation was off the record. [emphasis added]


I am so very glad Obama and Krugman talked.  That being said, come on Paul...DISH, bb..DISH!
' glee!

So what am I so afraid of?

Obama's campaign manager fears Jon Huntsman the most in 2012

There is one republican presidential candidate that President Barack Obama's campaign manager fears the most in 2012...and his name is Jon Huntsman Jr.

This week for Governor Huntsman, good things are coming in threes.

Not just the fear from the Obama campaign, but also an important phone call and a weekend spent testing the waters in a key primary state.

While no republican presidential candidate yet makes Obama's team "shake in {their} shoes...," President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, now says Governor Jon Huntsman makes him, a "wee bit queasy... I think he's really out there speaking a lot of truth about the direction of the party."

To which Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics says, "Huntsman has positioned himself in a great place right now because he is the only presidential candidate really running in the middle right now."

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Huntsman Rising, Weaver Advising

Less than 24 hours after Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's national profile received a nice -- and unexpected -- boost from the man who managed President Obama's 2008 campaign, comes words that John Weaver is providing strategic guidance to the governor.

Weaver, who refused to comment when reached by the Fix, was long known as the political consigliere to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), riding herd over McCain's first presidential bid in 2000 and then laying the groundwork for a second bid in 2008 only to part ways with the Senator before the campaign ever really got underway. Huntsman was a prominent supporter of McCain even as his father, a billionaire businessman, threw his support behind former Gov. Mitt Romney. (Romney as well as both Huntsmans are Mormons.)

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I know that the idea of Huntsman hiring an old McCain buddy probably makes people want to barf, BUT Weaver was McCain's super BFF (like, his Rove or Axelrod) when they ran against Bush, and they had a big falling out in 2008 when it was clear McCain had abandoned his ~maverickiness~. He went on record saying that Rove was a smear artist who approved the "illegitimate child11" attacks back in 2000 and called McCain's celebrity tactic against Obama "childish" and hypocritical since McCain himself had taken advantage of his own post-Vietnam celebrity for his entire career.

So basically, he's Republican who actually has standards! Just like the governor! LET THE LOVE CONTINUE UNABATED.
{Music} T&S gray background

And in other news, Wal-Mart continues to suck

Wal-Mart CEO Backed Gay Adoption Ban

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The new CEO of Wal-Mart was among those who signed a petition to place an initiative on the Arkansas ballot last November to ban adoption and foster parenting by gay couples, reports the group

A signature from Mike Duke, with an address that matches the known residence and birth date of the Wal-Mart head, was verified by the state and counted to place Act 1 on the ballot. The initiative, which passed with 57% approval among voters, makes it illegal for unmarried cohabitating couples -- gay or straight -- to adopt or foster children.

Opponents of Act 1 charged that the true intent behind the measure was to limit the family rights of same-sex couples. The proposal included straight couples to ensure its constitutional viability, given that a previous ban targeting only same-sex couples had been struck down.

Last week, posted online the names of more than 83,000 Arkansas residents who signed the petition to place Act 1 on the ballot. The public data, which was provided by the Arkansas secretary of state, can be found here.

Duke, 59, became the fourth CEO of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, in February. He has worked for the company since 1995, most recently being in charge of international operations. In January, Newsweek magazine ranked him number 26 on its list of the world’s 50 global elite.



Berlusconi demands wife apology

Silvio Berlusconi has demanded an apology from his wife after she accused him of "consorting with minors" and said she wanted a divorce.

The Italian prime minister, 72, told the Corriere della Sera that he did not think their marriage could survive.
Veronica Lario spoke out after her husband attended the 18th birthday party of a friend's daughter.
She has also clashed with her husband over his choice of inexperienced but attractive female election candidates.
"Veronica must apologise publicly - and I don't know if that will be enough," Mr Berlusconi said in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper.
"It is the third time she has done this to me in the middle of an election campaign. It's too much," the billionaire prime minister said.

Asked whether his 19-year marriage to Ms Lario could survive, he added: "I don't think so. I don't know if I want it to this time."

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Marion Barry: There's A Civil War Brewing, Blacks Will Not Stand for Gay Marriage!!!!1

Refusing to leave well enough alone, crazypants former D.C. mayor and current City Council member Marion Barry declares just because the D.C. Council approved the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, the fight isn't over: "All hell is going to break lose. We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this. … What you've got to understand is 98 percent of my constituents are black and we don't have but a handful of openly gay residents. Secondly, at least 70 percent of those who express themselves to me about this are opposed to anything dealing with this issue. The ministers think it is a sin, and I have to be sensitive to that."

His comments came after a group of anti-gay ministers stormed the council building and "caused such a ruckus that security guards and police had to clear the hallway. The protesters shouted that council members who voted for the bill will face retribution at the polls."


Mike Pence Descends Into Gibberish After Evolution Questions From Chris Matthews (VIDEO)

Mike Pence Descends Into Gibberish After Evolution Questions From Chris Matthews (VIDEO)

The conversation started off with a rather simple question. "Do you believe in evolution, sir?" Chris Matthews asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a leading House conservative.

"Um... I, do I believe in evolution? Ah, I, I, ah... I embrace the, uh -- the, uh -- the view, ah, that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that's in them..."

Matthews interrupted. "Right, but do you believe in evolution as a means to get there?"
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Coward... I believe in God but also believe in Evolution and Science...
Posh Zoom

Specter loses seniority on five committees

Sen. Arlen Specter lost big under a resolution approved by the Senate Tuesday night: He won't be able to retain his seniority on five committees this Congress.

In announcing his switch to the Democratic Party last week, Specter said that Democratic leaders assured him that he would be treated as if he were elected as a Democrat 29 years ago — essentially allowing him to leapfrog most Democrats and put himself in line to become a committee chairman if he wins reelection in 2010. Several Democrats have taken exception to the notion that Specter would be taking possession of their prized real estate.

By voice vote on Tuesday night, the Senate sided with that sentiment in approving a resolution that adds Specter to the Democratic side on Judiciary, Appropriations, Veterans Affairs, Aging and Environment and Public Works — expanding Democrats' majority on those panels.

Specter will be treated as the most junior member of those panels — putting him last in line in speaking time during committee hearings and limiting his influence on those panels. When the Judiciary Committee considers Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Specter will be the last Democrat to speak, and he's last in line to chair the committee if the current chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), steps down.

The move may have come as shock to Specter.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, he said that it's an "entitlement" for him to retain his seniority on those committees.

"I was elected in 1980. I think that's not a bribe or a give for something extraordinary," he said. "I'll be treated as a Democrat as if I was elected as a Democrat."

A Democratic aide said Tuesday night that Specter's fate was sealed by comments he made suggesting that he wanted Norm Coleman to win the disputed Minnesota Senate race and by senior Democrats who were angry at the prospect of losing seniority to Specter.



Pedophilia, is not for Catholic priests anymore...

Orthodox Jewish Community Struggles With Abuse Allegations

When Joel Engelman was 8 years old, he says, he was called from his Hebrew class to the principal's office at his Brooklyn yeshiva, a Jewish religious school. His parents had recently told Rabbi Avrohom Reichman that their son had been abused by an older boy at the school, he says.

But he says the rabbi was not offering to help that day.

When Engelman arrived at the principal's office, he says, Reichman told him to close the door. He told the boy to sit on his lap and began swiveling his chair back and forth, Engelman says. Reichman then touched him, moving from his shoulders down, Engelman claims.

The same kind of abuse went on twice a week for several months before he left the school, Engelman claims in a civil lawsuit filed against the yeshiva, the United Talmudical Academy.

For more than 10 years, Engelman, now 23, kept what he says happened to himself.
He left the orthodox community and found new friends. It wasn't until about two years ago, when he says he heard that other boys allegedly had been abused by Reichman, that he tried to do something about it.

But Engelman says the response from religious leaders has been just as disturbing as the alleged abuse. He claims the school's religious leaders told him not to go to the police, and promised to remove Reichman from the school, which they did for a few months.

"They kept telling me, 'Don't go to the police, don't do anything. We've dealt with this before,'" with other teachers, he said. "It really shocked me."

A few days after the statute of limitations for Engelman to file a civil or criminal case against Reichman for abuse passed, the school reinstated the rabbi, the lawsuit claims.
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