May 7th, 2009


(no subject)

HARLINGEN, Texas – This week should have been a joyous time for Judy Trunnell, a 33-year-old schoolteacher who had just given birth to a healthy baby girl.

But the friends and relatives whose cars lined the quiet street in front of her home in a quiet subdivision Tuesday instead were mourning her, the first American with swine flu to die.


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Glenn Beck: I believe in individual rights, unlike Obama and liberals

May 5th, 2009 1:03 PM Eastern

It’s Time to Stand Up for INDIVIDUAL Rights!
by Glenn Beck


I like to consider myself a rugged individualist. OK, maybe not the “rugged” part, but definitely an individual. I am unique, with a personal point of view like nobody else. I like to wear suits with sneakers, and I listen to a lot of Michael Buble. That’s just how I roll. And if I want my slice of pizza with pepperoni or sausage or baked ziti on top, I can have it. (I don’t know if they give out a Nobel Prize for “Snacks,” but I think someone should take a look at the guy who thought of putting baked ziti on pizza and reward him accordingly). And even if you disagree…if you think that baked ziti on pizza would be terrible and the only way to eat it is with pineapple (which should be a criminal offense), it doesn’t matter. My pizza rights are individual, and so are yours: A baked ziti slice for me, and a pineapple one for you. Everyone is a winner.

These days there’s too much talk about “the collective,” as though the rights that the Founding Fathers guaranteed us were done so to Americans as a group. That wasn’t the case then, and it sure as heck ain’t the case now (no matter how flowery a speech President Obama makes to get you to think differently).

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Beck says he is an Ayn Rand fan. Does he know Ayn Rand hated Christianity? Oh well. All conservatives love Ayn Rand lately.

9/11-style commission to probe banks, causes of economic crisis

US commission to probe financial crisis
by Jitendra Joshi
Wed May 6, 10:09 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US lawmakers voted to create a 9/11-style commission of experts to probe the causes of last year's devastating financial meltdown and to draw lessons to prevent its recurrence.

The vote in the House of Representatives coincided with a new study that accused US and foreign banks of deliberate culpability in the collapse that engulfed the US and world economy.

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Source: AFP wire report here.

(no subject)

SHOCK: Knights Out's Dan Choi Kicked Out of National Guard

When National Guard First Lieutenant Dan Choi uttered the phrase "I am gay" on Rachel Maddow's show in March, he had to expect this day might come: He's been kicked out of the National Guard. A member of Knights Out — a group of West Point grads who came out publicly to protest Don't Ask Don't Tell — he received a letter informing him of his dismissal, which read in part: "You admittedly publicly that you are a homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct … Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard."

He'll be on Maddow's show again tonight.

Of course, Choi isn't the first, nor the last, to lose his military job over DADT. But I guess we can wait till President Obama finds a "sensible" way to change — err, sorry, to "repeal" the policy.


If Gays Get Married, Straight Black Men Will Run From Their Families!


Haven't heard enough reasons why legalizing same-sex marriage will ruin society? Well, here's a new argumentagainst repealing it: It would hurt the black family unit!

"One overpowering cause of black social failure is the breakdown of marriage in the black community. Nationally, the black illegitimacy rate is 71%; in some inner city areas, it is closer to 90%," writes Heather Mac Donald, a former lawyer and Manhattan Institute fellow who says she believes gay marriage is inevitable. "When boys grow up without any expectation that they will have to marry the mother of their children, they fail to learn the most basic lesson of personal responsibility. A community without the marriage norm is teetering on the edge of civilizational collapse, if it has not already fallen into the abyss. Fatherless black boys, who themselves experience no pressure to become marriageable mates as they grow up, end up joining gangs, dropping out of school, and embracing a “street” lifestyle in the absence of any male authority in the home."

Right, okay, but what does that have to do with gays getting married? (Emphasis ours):

If the black illegitimacy rate were not nearly three times the rate of whites’, I would have few qualms about gay marriage. Or if someone can guarantee that widespread gay marriage would not further erode the expectation among blacks that marriage is the proper context for raising children, I would also not worry. But no one can make that guarantee.

Why might it further depress the black marriage rate? There is a logical reason and a visceral reason. First, it sends the signal that marriage is simply about numbers: it is an institution that binds two (for the moment) people who are in love. It erases completely the significance that marriage is THE context in which the children of biological parents should be raised. And there are undoubtedly many other subtle meanings and effects of gay marriage that we cannot even imagine at the moment—which institutional shift is something that conservatives should be most attuned to.

As for the visceral reason: It is no secret that resistance to homosexuality is highest among the black population (though probably other ethnic minorities are close contenders). I fear that it will be harder than usual to persuade black men of the obligation to marry the mother of their children if the inevitable media saturation coverage associates marriage with homosexuals. Is the availability of homosexual marriage a valid reason to shun the institution? No, but that doesn’t make the reaction any less likely.

What are the chances that gay marriage would further doom marriage among blacks? I don’t know. Again, if someone can persuade me that the chances are zero, then I would be much more sanguine. But anything more than zero, I am reluctant to risk.

Is it fair to those gays who want to marry that their desires should be thwarted for the sake of black boys?Maybe not. And as has been pointed out many times before, it is exclusively heterosexuals who have eroded the institution of marriage through easy divorce, increasing rates of single-parenting, “blended” families, and co-habitation. But just because marriage is already in bad shape, for reasons wholly unrelated to gay marriage, doesn’t mean that gay marriage won’t weaken it further.

If only Ms. Mac Donald could remember a time when whites thought allowing interracial marriage would somehow destroy their unions — and not only how the moral logic didn't hold up, but neither did the theory.



Sessions Called Incendiary On Immigration, Linked To White Nationalist: Report

Sessions Called Incendiary On Immigration, Linked To White Nationalist: Report

Since becoming the top ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions' record has been almost solely analyzed for tealeaves on how he will approach Barack Obama's forthcoming Supreme Court nomination.

The Judiciary Committee, however, has a far broader purview than simply the consideration of judiciary picks, all of which Sessions will hold heavy influence over. On Thursday, the Alabama Republican's resume in regards to one of those other fields -- immigration reform -- was placed under the microscope by the immigration reform group America's Voice.

In a document provided to the Huffington Post, America's Voice doesn't hold back its punches, calling Sessions "one of the leading (and loudest) voices against comprehensive immigration reform in the United States Senate." They also tie the Senator to John Tanton, an anti-immigration activist described as a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
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Stupid little mermaid!

RNC Chair Michael Steele Blasts Maine Marriage Equality Decision

Writes Steele in a statement:

Steele "Our party platform articulates our opposition to gay marriage and civil unions, positions shared by many Americans. I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman and strongly disagree with Maine’s decision to legalize gay marriage."

The Plum Line notes that Steele's statement "puts him at odds with Maine’s moderate Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both said today the decision should be left to the states."

Strange, in GQ in March, Steele said the issue should be left to the states. He must have received an abusive phone call from Rush Limbaugh.



Joe The Plumber Quitting The GOP: Time Magazine

Joe The Plumber Quitting The GOP: Time Magazine

Stop the presses... (even though we haven't received the press release yet). Time Magazine is reporting - burying rather - the news that Joe the Plumber, also known as Samuel Wurzelbacher, is quitting the GOP. That's big news considering Joe became the new GOP mascot during the McCain campaign and has since advised the party during conferences and in Capitol Hill briefings.
Below is the excerpt from the Time article.
Well, more elections. Big Government is never popular in theory, but the disaster aid, school lunches and prescription drugs that make up Big Government have become wildly popular in practice, especially now that so many people are hurting. Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, tells TIME he's so outraged by GOP overspending, he's quitting the party -- and he's the bull's-eye of its target audience. But he also said he wouldn't support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid -- which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits. It's no coincidence that many Republicans who voted against the stimulus have claimed credit for stimulus projects in their district -- or that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stopped ridiculing volcano-monitoring programs after a volcano erupted in Alaska. "We can't be the antigovernment party," Snowe says. "That's not what people want."


"Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act" Announced By GOP

"Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act" Announced By GOP

The GOP clearly sees a chink in the Obama armor when it comes to the closure of Guantanamo Bay. A jarring new advertisement on the subject released by Senate Republicans, followed by a floor speech whacking the president from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, led, on Thursday, to its inevitable conclusion.

The office of House Minority Leader John Boehner sends over word that the Ohio Republican and GOP ranking members are "introducing a big GTMO bill today designed to stop the transfer or release of these detainees into the U.S."

Titled the "Keep Terrorists Out of America Act," the legislation would give members of Congress "an opportunity to stand with the American people by affirming their opposition to releasing the terrorists at Guantanamo prison or bringing them into the United States."

"It also makes clear that governors and state legislatures must pre-approve the transfer or release of any terrorist detainee into their respective states. And lastly it requires the President to meet strict criteria and certification standards before terrorists housed at the Guantanamo prison could be brought to the United States."

In short: Obama would be prohibited from transferring detainees to a state without that state's approval (via the governor or legislature). Congress would also have to be notified of the transfer and given assurances that it wouldn't negatively impact the state's population. Democrats in Congress haven't exactly been eager to push back on the Republican line when it comes to closing GITMO, with Majority Leader Harry Reid saying he wants to wait for a commission report on the matter before deciding the best course of policy action. But it remains something of a peculiarity as to why these elected officials are so concerned about having a detainee transferred to the military prisons in their states. These facilities, after all, already house some of the country's most dangerous criminals.

Clearly, the GOP thinks it has an opening here and, in all likelihood, there is polling data to buttress their belief (though one GOP pollster has said it is a losing issue). If anyone has recent polling numbers on the closure of GITMO and, more specifically, the sending of those detainees to U.S. facilities, pass them along.

' jules


Fifty-four percent

YOU are seeing that number in two polls today. The first is from Alaska, where Sarah Palin was once known as "America's most popular governor", with an approval rating that peaked in the Hays Research Poll at 86%. Today her approval rating has fallen to 54%, with 42% of Alaskans saying they disapprove.

The other poll is a new SurveyUsa study of Georgia that gauges Barack Obama's popularity in the state, which was carried by John McCain in November. Mr Obama comes in with an approval rating of 54%, with only 40% disapproving. Among whites, who gave the president only 23% of their votes, his approval rating is at 35%.

Numbers like these really put the GOP's quest to reinvent itself into perspective, especially as long as Mrs Palin is considered a 2012 frontrunner.

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Miss California's Parents Are Gay

So how does a beauty queen turn into the poster child against gay marriage? In the case of Miss California Carrie Prejean, the answer may lie in an ugly divorce that may have cemented her views on gay relationships.

Carrie's parents filed for divorce in 1988 and the divorce and custody fights went on for more than a decade -- it was a divorce filled with homosexual allegations hurled by both sides.

In one of the docs, Carrie's dad describes a confrontation he had with her mom in 1996, in which he recounts an argument in a restaurant parking lot, where "Ms. Prejean accused me, in front of our daughter, of homosexuality."

The papers also quote a court-appointed doctor who said "The mother questioned [within hearing of the girls] whether [her father] was a homosexual or had a homosexual roommate."

Carrie's mom says the "gay" allegations went both ways. In court papers dated May 16, 2000, a report from the court-appointed counselor says "The mother also alleges the father told the girls their stepfather was gay, that all men with mustaches are gay." The father's response: "The father acknowledges talking with the girls about the stepfather's brother being gay, not the stepfather."

Also in the docs -- a handwritten letter from Carrie's older sister, in which she recounts a weekend stay with her dad: "One time my sister & I went in the hallway of my dad's apartment, & his roommate's door was open all the way & we saw [the roommate] in bed with another man. I don't think it's right for my sister & I to have to live that way."

So does Carrie believe gays broke up her parents' marriage? We called her rep ... no comment so far. We could not reach Carrie's dad for comment.

For the record, there are other allegations -- absolutely hideous -- in the divorce and custody papers -- which we have elected not to publish.


... Damage control? Are we supposed to feel pity now?

WAT. Hannity has officially cracked up......too bad no one can tell the difference.

Hannity Attacks Obama For Putting Mustard On His Burger

Oh hi, everyone! Are we still doing that election year thing, where if a politician consumes anything other than box wine, Busch, and self-killed moose meat, it means they are elitist? Apparently, this is the case, and so, the national nightmare for arugula -- which would probably be better off if it were referred to as "rocket" like the Brits do -- continues.

As you know, President Obama and Vice President Biden made a historic trip to an Arlington, VA hamburger joint, to celebrate the "stress tests" or something, bringing the entire press corps in tow. Well, it took all of Sean Hannity's brain power to come up with a joke about it, but he finally decided to make fun of the fact that Obama wanted a "spicy" or "Dijon" mustard on his cheeseburger, just like the undead Nikita Khruschev prefers.

Of course, I could harp on the fact that Grey Poupon is actually a pretty inexpensive condiment, a bottle of which I have right now in my palatial 800-square-foot apartment manor, but that's really beside the point. If you really want to dig down into the elitism of the outing, consider this - as Washingtonian points out, at Ray's Hell Burgers, "You can order the patties simply grilled, with a chipotle-spiked 'diablo' marinade, blackened Cajun-style, or au poivre with a black-peppercorn crust." Fancy! And if Obama had really wanted to strut his elite tastes, he could have opted to add any number of artisanal cheeses, like Dutch mustard seed Gouda, Queen Anne Stilton, or a cave-aged Amish cheddar. See! If Hannity had done some research, he could have really unleashed an epic, idiot barrage over fancy foodstuffs.

Of course, the burgers start at $7, because restauranteur Michael Landrum seems to think that quality food should be made affordable. Enjoying the burgers are well within reach of multimillionaire infotainer toffs like Sean Hannity. Anyway, Dijon mustard: normal people eat it, you can get it at fracking Au Bon Pain, for Pete's sake, so, enough. Okay? Enough. And thus endeth Eat The Press' brief foray into Zagats' territory.


Okay, you have GOT to be fucking kidding me with this.  It's a spicy mustard FFS, not golden plating for crying out loud!  Hannity has obviously run out of anything REMOTELY resembling news (which must now be apparent even to his own fans, I imagine) and is building partisan hackery mountains out of non-existent molehills. 

It also bears mentioning, I think, that the company who makes Grey Poupon is KraftFoods.  The same company responsible for the vast majority of the foods we all buy in this country (and around the world, for that matter) and also makes such elitist snacks as A1 Steak sauce, Velveeta cheese, Oscar Mayer, Ritz crackers and Oreo cookies.  OMG FASCIST/SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST OREOS!!!!

DNA Records Of Thousands Of Innocent Brits To Be Kept

DNA Records Of Thousands Of Innocent Brits To Be Kept

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is accused today of undermining the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" by insisting on keeping DNA records of people cleared of crime.

Plans for a modified national database outlined by the Government today would allow the police to retain records of thousands of innocent people for up to six years. In cases of serious violent or sexual crime, the time limit would be extended to 12 years.

Civil liberties campaigners say they will fight the Government in court over the plans. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "This well-spun proposal proves that the Home Secretary has yet to learn about the presumption of innocence and value of personal privacy in Britain. Wholly innocent people, including children, will have their most intimate details stockpiled for years on a database that will remain massively out of step with the rest of the world. With regret we shall be forced to see her in court once more."
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Cuban American travel to Cuba on the rise

Cuban American travel to Cuba on the rise

The number of Cuban Americans visiting Cuba is up 20 percent so far this year and will likely keep rising as Washington eases travel restrictions, the Cuban tour operator for U.S. traffic said on Wednesday.

Antonio Diaz Medina, vice president of Havanatur, said arrivals picked up after the U.S. Congress in March eased a Bush administration measure that restricted Cuban American visits to once every three years.

"The flights from the United States carried about 85,000 last year and so far this year arrivals have been about 40,000," Diaz said in an interview.

Diaz said an additional increase in visitors was expected during the summer after President Barack Obama signed an executive order last month lifting all restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting relatives.

Diaz spoke as Cuba's annual tourism convention unfolded at the colonial-era Morro Cabanas fortress overlooking Havana Bay, where talk among officials and tour operators centered on whether the gathering would be the last without a large American presence.

Legislation lifting all travel restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba was introduced in Congress just over a month ago, and with a slight thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations under way, is given a good chance of passing.

Cuba has been mostly off-limits to Americans since the U.S. imposed a trade embargo against the communist-led island three years after Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution.

Tour operators from more than 50 countries at the convention dubbed the prospect of open travel from the United States "the American Tsunami" and said it was just a matter of time.

"You know what, I love Americans. Go Obama. Cuba will still be Cuba, the same place with a few Americans added. It's just like adding another spice to the stew," said Richard, a Canadian tour operator who did not want to give his full name.

Cuban officials appeared relaxed about the prospect of the Americans arriving, with one saying "there is no reason to make it a big deal now. They could come in three months or three years."

"I do not expect any tsunami. What's certain is that there will be a convention in 2010, with or without the Americans," Diaz said.

"If they come, too, that's fine. It will simply mean we are going back to normal where all markets are open," he said, adding inquiries from U.S. tour operators had increased significantly.

The Obama administration denied licenses to U.S. tour operators seeking to attend this year's convention, according to John McAuliff of the New York-based Fund for Reconciliation and Development.

"We could have brought 100 operators here," he said. "Next year we will, and if all restrictions are lifted there will be hundreds, maybe even a special event."
[the colbert report] :D
  • imti

Bullied teen returns to class after school's reversal

A follow-up from this post.

May 5, 2009

A 15-year-old black belt who was suspended for breaking the nose of a classmate who racially abused him will return to school today after a sudden change of heart at the York Region board.

The reversal represents a dramatic victory for the Asian student, who was suspended a maximum 20 days last week. He had received a letter from the school board - later retracted - that said his principal recommended he be expelled from all schools in the region.

The 15-year-old will return to Keswick High School this morning with the suspension removed from his academic record and his upcoming expulsion hearing cancelled, the boy's father said yesterday.

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Band of centrists forming for Senate GOP in 2010

Band of centrists forming for Senate GOP in 2010

For those writing Republican centrism’s obituary after Arlen Specter’s party switch, holster your quills.

In fact, if the next few weeks go well for the GOP, it might pave the way for a whole new chapter in the left flank of the right-leaning party.

The month of May will be huge, recruiting-wise, for Senate Republicans, with decisions expected from several big-name candidates, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and possibly Rep. Mike Castle (Del.).

All would instantly be formidable — with Crist and Castle favored at the outset — and all are noted centrists. They would not only give Republicans a chance to win again, but give Republican centrists a chance to be a force again.

Kirk and Castle routinely rank among the top handful of GOP centrists in the House, and Crist and Ridge are already drawing heat from some conservatives for their decidedly middle-of-the-road records as governors.

But those aren’t the only potential GOP candidates with centrist credentials. Two possibilities in New York — former Gov. George Pataki and Rep. Pete King — are also strong examples, as would be former Sen. John Sununu in New Hampshire if he runs. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is strongly indicating that she’ll run in California, and Rep. Jim Gerlach is considering running in Pennsylvania.

Indeed, it seems almost every Republican recruit who will have any chance of winning this cycle will be a centrist.
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Facebook turns a blind eye to racist rants

Facebook has again come under fire for ignoring racism on the site after it refused to ban controversial groups that deny the Holocaust.

It will instead attempt to block the groups from being viewed by users in countries where Holocaust denial is illegal.

That is no consolation for Sydneysider Alex Gollan, who started the Facebook group Australians Against Racism & Discrimination and has since been inundated with abuse and even death threats. He says there is a hotbed of racism on Facebook and the company has virtually refused to do anything about it.

Gollan, 25, recently filed a complaint with police against two Facebook users who allegedly threatened his girlfriend, contacted his friends and family and spread his personal details around the internet.

The social networking site says it will remove groups that are sponsored by recognised terrorist organisations or that "express hatred towards individuals", but it will not take down groups that "speak out against countries, political entities or ideas".

However, months after Facebook said it would remove groups with racist content - including "F--- Islam", "I Hate Israel", "You're in Australia ... SPEAK ENGLISH!!!", "Aussie Pride!!! Love it or GET THE FUCK OUT" and "I cannot tolerate SOUTH AFRICAN ACCENT" - all of those groups, and many more, are still open and continue to spread their message.

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creepy but cute

Homeless man saves drowning teen

Farron Hall doesn't want to be called a hero but he was treated like one on Wednesday.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz presented the Mayor's Medal of Valour to Hall at noon while Eric Robinson, the province's acting aboriginal affairs minister, was also set to honour Hall at the Manitoba legislature.

The homeless man dove into an icy river on Sunday and saved the life of a teenager who had fallen off a bridge.

While he shrugs off the hero label, Hall, 44, is hoping the attention he is receiving will help change the public perception of homeless people. He wants people to see the homeless the way they are seeing him now.

"All us homeless people, we're not all stupid idiots. We're not all bums who dress dirty," he said. "Don't judge the way we dress; judge right here, in the mind and in the heart."

Hall, who has been homeless for years, lives on the banks of the Red River. That's where he was Sunday afternoon when he saw a teenage boy fall from the Provencher Bridge in the St. Boniface neighbourhood.
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-Source 1

Edit-- Should add this: Hall was not always down on his luck. He was once a teacher's aide, but family tragedies, including the killings of his mother and sister in separate incidents, drove him to life on the streets. He lost contact with his children - a situation he hopes to reverse.

While Hall is anxious to get away from the spotlight, he hopes his story will persuade people to see homeless people in a new light.

"Just respect (them), 'cause they're people too. Show compassion. Not pity, 'cause I believe none of them want pity.

"I just treat people the way I want to be treated, which is with respect and understanding."

-Source 2 (Short version)
panda bear

(no subject)

Iran hangs nine convicts in jail

Iran has executed nine people by hanging for various offences, including four convicted murders and five drug traffickers, state media has reported.

The convicted murderers included Zeynab Nazarzadeh, 30, found guilty of killing her husband with a hammer.

They were executed in Tehran's Evin prison on Wednesday, while the drugs traffickers were sent to the gallows in the southern city of Kerman.

At least 94 people have been executed in Iran in 2009, media reports say.

Rights groups say in past years Iran has applied the death penalty more than any other country apart from China.

Vatan Emrooz newspaper identified the men hanged in Evin as Hamid Mohammadi, Safarali Nassiri and Hosseinali Robatseyli.

Details such as the names and the dates of the executions in Kerman were not published in the official media.

State-run Iranian radio quoted the Justice Department as saying the smugglers all had previous criminal records and were convicted of being in possession of 8kg of heroin and being accomplice to the purchase and delivery of more than 6kg of heroin.

Last Friday, Iran provoked international criticism for executing a young woman, Delara Darabi, who was convicted for a murder committed when she was 17. Rights groups said she had not been given a fair trial.


(no subject)

UCI finds racial bias in Internet dating

White men are more willing than white women to date outside of their race, and both genders have distinctly different racial preferences, says a new UC Irvine study that examined the claims of thousands of people who used the popular Yahoo Personals online dating service.

“Among daters with stated racial preferences, white men are more likely to exclude blacks as possible dates, while white women are more likely to exclude Asians,” says the study by UCI sociologists Cynthia Feliciano and Belinda Robnett.

“We argue that exclusion related to racialized images of masculinity and femininity, and shapes dating and marriage outcomes, and thus minority groups’ possibilities for full social incorporation.”

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creepy but cute

Sri Lanka : A Paradise turned into Kingdom of Vultures!

Land that was known for beautiful beaches and waterfalls has now been turned into a Kingdom of Vultures.

Dead bodies of of the innocent Tamils are dragged away by stray dogs and wild beasts while the survivors hide inside the bunkers.

Let the dead bury the dead as the living will be dead if they try to bury the dead. Screams of the innocents can't be heard to the far away lands because the rulers of Sri Lanka are not even allowing the birds in the sky to carry the messages to the lands of the living.

*Picture From Boston Globe (there is more)
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They have forced people into starvation and made them to live in tents and bunkers for months. All this is according to them for just to catch or kill few hundreds LTTE fighters that were living among more than three hundred thousands of innocent Tamil civilians.

Brilliant exposé-- Read the rest at:

In actual news:

"Artillery shells hit a makeshift hospital in Sri Lanka's northern war zone yesterday, killing at least 64 civilians, according to a government doctor and a website linked to the Tamil Tiger separatists, amid growing international pressure to safeguard thousands of civilians trapped in the area."

Read more: here

"COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka on Sunday severely criticised Western nations for calling for a ceasefire that would end its military offensive against the Tamil Tiger rebels before a complete victory has been secured. The rebels asked Britain and France to broker a truce, but the government has vowed to fight on until the guerrillas, who have been campaigning for an independent Tamil homeland for 37 years, have been crushed.

International concern has focused on the fate of 50,000 civilians thought to be trapped inside the last patch of territory held by the Tigers, and 100,000 people held in government camps after fleeing the fighting."

Read more: here

Other perspectives:
- Another
- Another

FYI. There are tons of protests going on right now, if you can look up on facebook and go to one near you, a little more pressure might break the camel's back.
Update: From mzflux You can also donate to MSF/Doctors without Borders who are working with Sri Lankan internal refugees right now .

Patrick McHenry: "All We Can Talk About Is Tax Cuts"

Patrick McHenry: "All We Can Talk About Is Tax Cuts"

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, a GOP deputy whip who keeps a bust of Ronald Reagan on his desk, has declared that the era of Reagan economics is over.

In an interview with Time, McHenry said that Republicans are too focused on tax cuts, despite rates being at a generational low. "Marginal tax rates are the lowest they've been in generations, and all we can talk about is tax cuts," he said. "The people's desires have changed, but we're still stuck in our old issue set."

McHenry isn't the first Republican to suggest it's time to leave the 1980's behind. A Wall Street Journaleditorial Thursday asked whether it was time for the party to forget about Reagan. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said as much last weekend.

In the article, Republican Olympia Snowe also complained about the Republicans' focus on tax cuts, without regard for the plight of the average American.

"I don't know when willy-nilly tax cuts became the essence of who we are," she says. "To the average American who's struggling, we're in some other stratosphere. We're the party of Big Business and Big Oil and the rich."

In the same article, Republican mascot Joe the Plumber announced that he is quitting the party.

Update: Grover Norquist has called Rep. McHenry "foolish" for wanting to move off tax cuts.

"Every once in a while," said Norquist, "there's some silly Republican or clever Democrat who says that people aren't concerned with high taxes anymore. Well, we just had 600,000 people in the streets protesting big government, inflation, and the promise of higher taxes. You could not get 600,000 people to do that after four months of Jimmy Carter. You could not get them to do that after four months of Bill Clinton."


Clinton Pollster: Cheney Shows GOP Won't Have Repeat Of '94 Revolution

Clinton Pollster: Cheney Shows GOP Won't Have Repeat Of '94 Revolution

Midterm elections are notoriously tricky business for the political parties of the sitting president. The drubbings experienced by Democrats in 1994 and Republicans in 2006 serve as the two most obvious recent examples.

But while history has a funny way of repeating itself, one of the key players in the off-year upending of Bill Clinton's first term said on Wednesday that he saw absolutely no evidence of anything close to a repeat performance in 2010. His two main reasons: party unity behind the president and Dick Cheney.
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SPN - Chuck what

Afghanistan's only pig quarantined in flu fear

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu.

The pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, and has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm it could spread the new flu strain.

"For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza," Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. "We've done this because people are worried about getting the flu."

Worldwide, more than 1,000 people have been infected with the virus, according to the World Health Organization, which also says 26 people have so far died from the strain. All but one of the deaths were in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak.

There are no pig farms in Afghanistan and no direct civilian flights between Kabul and Mexico.

"We understand that, but most people don't have enough knowledge. When they see the pig in the cage they get worried and think that they could get ill," Saqib said.

The pig was a gift to the zoo from China, which itself quarantined some 70 Mexicans, 26 Canadians and four Americans in the past week, but later released them.

Some visitors were not concerned about the fate of the pig and said locking it away was probably for the best.

"Influenza is quite contagious and if it passes between people and animals then there's no need for the pig to be here," zoo visitor Farzana said.

Shabby and rundown, Kabul Zoo is a far cry from zoos in the developed world, but has nevertheless come a long way since it suffered on the front line of Afghanistan's 1992-4 civil war.

Mujahideen fighters then ate the deer and rabbits and shot dead the zoo's sole elephant. Shells shattered the aquarium.

One fighter climbed into the lion enclosure but was immediately killed by Marjan, the zoo's most famous inhabitant. The man's brother returned the next day and lobbed a hand grenade at the lion leaving him toothless and blind.

The zoo now holds two lions who replaced Marjan who died of old age in 2002 as well as endangered local leopards. In all, it houses 42 species of birds and mammals and 36 types of fish and attracts up to 10,000 visitors on weekends.

Bellen! - Minimalism

Girls on our streets

Jasmine Caldwell was 14 and selling sex on the streets when an opportunity arose to escape her pimp: an undercover policeman picked her up.

The cop could have rescued her from the pimp, who ran a string of 13 girls and took every cent they earned. If the cop had taken Jasmine to a shelter, she could have resumed her education and tried to put her life back in order.

Instead, the policeman showed her his handcuffs and threatened to send her to prison. Terrified, she cried and pleaded not to be jailed. Then, she said, he offered to release her in exchange for sex.

Afterward, the policeman returned her to the street. Then her pimp beat her up for failing to collect any money.

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Nicholas Kristof = my new boyfriend? A lot of what he says isn't exactly surprising, but I think it's good that at least this issue seems to be getting more attention now.

Poll: European Muslims more patriotic than average populace


A Gallup poll examining Muslim integration in major European countries has shown that Muslims identify more strongly with the countries they live in than the average in the population.

The global study of interfaith relations showed that more than two-thirds of Muslims living in Britain, Germany and France state they are loyal to the countries they live in, even though they identify equally strongly with their religion.

However, in what the report described as a "gulf of misunderstanding", only about between 30 per cent of the total population in the three countries believed that Muslims were loyal to the state.

More communication between both sides was needed to cultivate a better understanding of how Muslims in Europe tended to reconcile their typically high degree of religiosity with their largely secular environments, said the study.

Gallup said the data indicated that there was enough common ground and willingness on both sides to improve the dialogue.

"Muslims are very likely - often more likely than the general public - to express confidence in democratic institutions and a desire to live in neighborhoods with mixed ethnic and religious backgrounds," it said.

The report's authors said the study showed that religion and national identity were complementary rather than competing.

"This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark," said the study.

In Germany, which has a strong Turkish population, the trust placed by Muslims in the state's institutions "proves that strong religious beliefs don't translate into a lack of loyalty."




Elisabeth Hasselbeck Disowns Joe The Plumber!

For those of you who can't watch, here's a summary courtesy of HuffPo:

Hasselbeck, who campaigned on the trail with Sarah Palin in October, took Joe the Plumber to task for his recent comments that "queers" aren't welcome around his children.

"I think this is an ignoramus statement," Hasselbeck said. "In that specified corner to which he had a life during this election, I was even a person who thought, you know what, power to Joe the Plumber at that point. Well, Joe the Plumber is not invited anywhere around me. "

Joy Behar promptly screamed, "Turning! Turning! Turning!" implying that Hasselbeck, a stalwart Republican, was turning into a Democrat.

ETA: I think this is a step in the right direction for Hasselbeck. Maybe she can become a bit more rational in her thinking.
' jules

Now that's a vote of confidence

Ridge Won't Say Toomey Can Win -- Or If He'll Vote For Him

Tom Ridge appeared on Hardball to discuss why he chose not to run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently held by party-switcher Arlen Specter, and at the end of the conversation there was a very strange exchange: Ridge, a former Republican governor and Bush cabinet member, not only wouldn't say that conservative former Rep. Pat Toomey can win -- but he wouldn't say he'd vote for him.

When Chris Matthews asked whether Toomey can win, Ridge paused and eventually had to say he didn't know. When asked who he would vote for, between Toomey the Republican or Specter the ex-Republican, Ridge replied: "Well, it's a wonderful country, this America -- it's called secret ballot."

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I'm kind of astounded that Ridge won't run for Senate, as I'm sure the PA GOP promised him the moon. They must be sweating bullets right now. I can't say I'm not enjoying it.

Tina Fey and her hidden conservative agenda?

I Want To GOP to There
30 Rock's weird conservative streak.
By Jonah Weiner
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

30 Rock will have its Season 3 finale next week, and, barring an unforeseen plummet in viewership, the curtains will close on some good news. The first and second seasons averaged 5.8 million and 6.4 million viewers a show, while the typical Season 3 episode has brought in more than 7 million. That's a small but happy triumph for a series that's flirted with oblivion since its start—even if it's a triumph many onlookers saw coming. This season premiered just a month after Tina Fey crafted her devastatingly ditzy Sarah Palin impression on SNL and became, for a spell, the fourth-most-famous woman in American politics. It was all but guaranteed that Fey's newfound celebrity would give her baby a boost.

It's surprising, though, what a small role party politics has played on 30 Rock this season. There were no Palin riffs. Despite Bobby Jindal's widely mocked resemblance to Kenneth the page, there was no send-up of the Louisiana governor. Even nods to Barack Obama's win have been scarce: a glancing reference to Michelle Obama's "smug smile" here (courtesy of the show's resident Republican, Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy), a short, strange "Flavor Obama" bit there. This is surprising not just because of Fey's election-season success but because politics figured so heavily in the show's first two seasons. Jack dated Condoleezza Rice and went to work for George Bush; scripts were regularly packed with enough Dennis Kucinich, Mitt Romney, and universal health care punch lines to rival a Colbert Report monologue. But politics is still very much part of 30 Rock's DNA. The show's central tension remains the tug of war between Fey's Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy. Their head butting doubles as an argument about the viability of liberal ideals and the allure of a pragmatic, colder-eyed conservatism—and it's remarkable how often the show sides with the latter.
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(no subject)

Christian College Kicks Out Gay Porn Star Student


Fans of 22-year-old John Gechter know him as "Vincent DeSalvo." What type of fans? Porn consuming fans, that's who. Gechter stars under that name for adult sites like Only problem? The administration as the Christian university Grove City College found out about it — and suspended him.

Gechter, who says he used the porn income to pay tuition, is appealing the suspension and weighing legal action.

In the videos, Gechter can be seen masturbating and, uh, pleasuring his rectum; there don't appear to be shots of him engaging with anyone else (we were so wrong on this; our porn watching is evidently not that robust). None of which we have to link to, because we're sure you know how to use The Google.

All of which begs the question: If Gechter had appeared on a straight-oriented site, would Grove City still have had a problem?


This at least makes some sort of sense to me.  I still can't believe that one guy got fired from SUBWAY.  You do porn and you can't even work in fast food? Fuck his life. 

Well done, Onion. Well done.

For some reason my favorite line is: "For the first time in my life I know who the secretary of the treasury is," Harrington continued. "And I don't like it."

Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again

May 4, 2009 | Issue 45•19

WASHINGTON—After nearly four months of frank, honest, and open dialogue about the failing economy, a weary U.S. populace announced this week that it is once again ready to be lied to about the current state of the financial system.

Tired of hearing the grim truth about their economic future, Americans demanded that the bald-faced lies resume immediately, particularly whenever politicians feel the need to divulge another terrifying problem with Wall Street, the housing market, or any one of a hundred other ticking time bombs everyone was better off not knowing about.

In addition, citizens are requesting that the phrase, "It will only get worse before it gets better," be permanently replaced with, "Things are going great. Enjoy yourselves."

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Remember the Employee Free Choice Act? Wuttup wit dat?

My $.02: Obama could be out front, urging public and congressional support for this bill, which would make it easier for workers to form unions and thus get paid more, have better health benefits, etc. But Obama has disappointed. Folks wanted him to be the 21st century FDR, who inaugurated a sea change in US policymaking. Instead he is acting more like Clinton part 2. Better than McCain? Yes. But not groundbreakingly so. So far. :(

From the Wall St. Journal:

Provision to Ease Unionization Likely to Drop Out of Bill

Senators are working on a compromise version of a labor-organizing bill that will likely drop a contentious card-signing provision in favor of a speedier union election process, according to people familiar with the talks.

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FYI: The vid above has info on how to start a union, as well as how the EFCA bill would affect this.