May 8th, 2009

Oprah's continual support of anti-vaccine advocate

Why is Oprah Winfrey promoting vaccine skeptic Jenny McCarthy?

Chastising a celebrity is an exercise in futility. You feel like a kitten being held by the scruff of its neck, scrabbling wildly in the air without drawing blood. Pointless as this may be, though, I will try to talk some sense into Oprah Winfrey, who has decided to go into business with vaccine skeptic Jenny McCarthy.

There is abundant evidence that vaccines don't cause autism. More than a dozen studies, as well as trend data from California and other states, show that neither the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal nor the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism. In March, a federal court dismissed both of these theories in a most definitive way after hearing weeks of testimony and gathering thousands of pages of evidence.

Jenny McCarthy begs to differ
. McCarthy dropped out of nursing school in 1993 to become a Playboy bunny and later starred in an MTV show that focused on her bodily functions. She believes that vaccines made her 7-year-old son autistic—and that she "recovered" him with alternative therapies, as she details in her parenting books. McCarthy has appeared regularly on Larry King Live and Oprah to blast the medical establishment, and last year she led a march on Washington to demand that children get fewer vaccines.

On Wednesday it was announced that Oprah signed McCarthy to a deal, starting with a blog on the Oprah Web site. Though neither woman's people will confirm details of the deal, it will presumably lead to a talk show, as it did for Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil, two other Oprah protégés. Perhaps not every episode of a McCarthy show will address vaccines and autism, but some surely will.

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BOOOOOO! I'd rather have the Rodney McKay Science Hour.

Drew Peterson arrested in 3rd wife’s death

Indictment alleges ex-police officer caused spouse 'to inhale fluid' in 2004

updated 1 hour, 8 minutes ago

LOCKPORT, Ill. - Drew Peterson, the former police sergeant who went on a high-profile media blitz after his fourth wife's disappearance, is due to make his first court appearance Friday in the drowning death of an ex-wife found dead in an empty bathtub in 2004.

Peterson, 55, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of first-degree murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

He was arrested during an evening traffic stop Thursday near his Bolingbrook home and was held on $20 million bond, Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said.

"We are very confident in our case," Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said.

Savio's body was found in a dry bathtub, hair soaked in blood from a head wound, just before the couple's divorce settlement was finalized. Her death originally was ruled an accidental drowning but authorities later said it was a homicide staged to look like an accident.

The indictment alleges that "Peterson on or about Feb. 29, 2004 ... caused Kathleen Savio to inhale fluid," causing her death.

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It's about damn time!  Finally this smarmy bastard is where he's needed to be for months.  In JAIL.  I'll be curious to see what finally gave them the green light to arrest him.....I'm assuming it's forensic evidence results of some kind.

Howard Stern: Zionist douchebag

This is taken from ohnotheydidnt

omg omg omg omg omg

Ok so earlier this week, Sasha Grey (everyone's favorite existentialist porn star/lead in Soderbergh's upcoming film The Girlfriend Experience) accused Howard Stern of being a closet racist in an interview with Rolling Stone.

And that's when Howard Stern really loses his cool!!!

From the video:
"You know it's a funny thing you bring that story up, I should mention this, we have a meeting every Tuesday where we discuss what we're going to be doing for the next couple of weeks and. . . Gary brought up this name Sasha Grey. . . I kind of don't know anything about her and I don't care and I'm going to respectfully pass unless you know something about Sasha Grey that's interesting.

It was just a coincidence -- I was reading Rolling Stone that week. I opened it up after we had this discussion and it said, 'Sasha wants to appear on [Howard Stern's] program with a Palestinian flag wrapped around her breasts to confront the man she believes is a closet racist.'

I said, "Thank god I didn't get started with her." That's just what I would need. Her walking in here, you know like, like, like you know what? I'm here to do a radio show, entertain people, make them laugh; this broad has got some sort of agenda.

She's a fucking porn star. She sucks c*** for a living, and she's going to sit there and lecture me on why I'm a racist. I mean, what does being wrapped in the Palestinian flag got to do with anything?

"I started to read the article. . . I swear, I couldn't get through it, all I did was scan it -- I saw my name, and I go, oh! Howard Stern. What does she have to say. Thank god I Didn't have her in. I mean quite frankly, porn stars do great on Howard TV and all, but some of them are just so vapid. Some of them have something to say. For the most part I really don't' want to hear a porn star try to prove how intelligent and her porn is a political statement. I mean that just sounds absurd to me. I'm not going to get started with that. I mean, how absurd. And being wrapped in the Palestinian flag -- you're right. You know what? I don't give a fuck. Wrap yourself -- wrap the flag over your head and suffocate yourself. Move to Palestine. Go live there. Get married, have some kids, and raise them to blow themselves up in Israel. What do you think of that. Go ahead.

See how the Palestinians treat porn stars. Tell me what it's like to be buried in sand while they throw stones at your head. She's worried about Palestinians; let's see what they do with porno stars over in Palestine.

What a genius. I'm going to sit there and listen to this. Please. Just tell me how much cock you can suck and how far you can swallow a hot dog. That's' what I want to know. I mean really. How dare you. HOW DARE YOU? Now I'm mad.

Obama is Spock: It's quite logical

Our president bears a striking resemblance to the rational "Star Trek" Vulcan whose mixed race made him cultural translator to the universe.

By Jeff Greenwald

May. 07, 2009 |

"Star Trek" is a cultural comet. From its tiny, ancient core -- a mere 79 episodes, airing before we set foot on the moon -- a seemingly infinite tail has grown, its glow still bright after 43 years. The original series (featuring James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. "Bones" McCoy) ran for just three seasons, from 1966 to 1968. All of the techno-bling we associate with the show -- communicators, transporters, warp drive, phasers and Tribbles -- was introduced during that first run. It’s staggering to reflect that the premier episode aired during NASA’s two-man Gemini program -- five years before the first pocket calculator.



On Friday, May 8, the newest offering in the "Star Trek" canon will open in theaters around the world. The film will give us the back story of the original series, and show how its three principles got themselves onto what might be (along with Noah’s Ark and the Titanic) the most famous vehicle in history: the starship Enterprise. Only one of the three main actors of that era will appear in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." It won’t be William Shatner (Kirk), or DeForest Kelley (McCoy), who died in 1999. Though Mr. Spock’s role as a half-human, half-Vulcan Starfleet cadet is played by Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy makes a cameo appearance as the future Spock, coming to advise his younger avatar.



Spock has been on many minds lately, and not entirely because of the new film. Big thinkers in both print media and the blogosphere -- from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd  to MIT media moguls -- have referenced the Enterprise's science officer in recent months, drawing parallels between the dependably logical half-Vulcan and another mixed-race icon: Barack Obama.




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You know, I actually remember hearing that particular episode on NPR.  I was all *SQUEEEEE*!!  Obama's a trekkie!  :D
Batman chainsaw
  • doop

Europeans Limit Seal Imports, as Canadian Officials Protest

A seal hunter dragged a harp seal carcass on an ice pan off the coast of Cape Breton island, Nova Scotia, last year.

In a blunt challenge to Canada and thousands of Canadian seal hunters, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ban the importing or sale of furs and other products from commercially harvested seals.

The ban would mainly affect Canada, where the government has allowed several hundred thousand young harp seals to be killed each year by commercial and traditional hunters on sea ice cloaking eastern and Arctic waters.

Canadian officials immediately criticized the ban, which could take effect within several weeks, for not exempting countries like Canada that have guidelines requiring humane, sustainable hunts.

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Equal protection does not work that way.

Protect religious dissent to same-sex unions

First published in print: Friday, May 8, 2009

As a growing number of states stand poised to pass same-sex marriage laws, they should consider this: It's possible to legalize gay marriage without infringing on religious liberty. But it takes careful crafting of robust religious protections. And no state has gotten that right yet.

The country is deeply divided on same-sex marriage. But once it is recognized legally, all kinds of people — clerks in the local registrar's office, photographers, owners of reception halls, florists — might not have the legal right to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings, even if doing so would violate deeply held beliefs. Religious organizations could be affected, too. For example, a Catholic university that offers married-student housing might have to rent to married same-sex couples or risk violating state law.

Flash points over same-sex unions are already occurring. The Iowa state attorney general told county recorders that they must issue licenses to same-sex couples or face criminal misdemeanor charges and even dismissal. New Mexico's Human Rights Commission fined a husband-wife photography team more than $6,000 because they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. In New Jersey, authorities yanked the property-tax exemption of a church group that denied requests by two lesbian couples to use the group's boardwalk pavilion for their commitment ceremonies.

Last month, Connecticut and Vermont became the first states to pass conscience protection for religious dissenters in their same-sex marriage laws. Both states provide that religious groups "shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if the request ... is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage." Both also bar civil lawsuits by people denied such wedding-related services.

Connecticut went even further. In that state, a "religious organization" providing adoption services may continue to place children only with heterosexual married couples as long as it gets no government money.

As important as these exemptions are, states still weighing same-sex marriage should do better. Wedding advisers, photographers, bakers, caterers and other service providers who prefer to step aside from same-sex ceremonies for religious reasons also need explicit protection.

Some have argued that gay-marriage laws do not need such guarantees because they don't require religious objectors to do any particular thing. But new laws are interpreted in light of existing statutes, and Vermont and Connecticut — as well as all the other states still considering same-sex marriage — have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Conscience protections are a thoroughly American idea. Since Colonial times, legislatures have exempted religious minorities from laws inconsistent with their faith. Such exemptions allow Americans with radically different views on moral questions to live in peace and equality.

Connecticut and Vermont have gone part of the way toward recognizing that the rights of same-sex couples should not come at the expense of the religious people who believe that marriage means a husband and a wife.

Now, New York, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia should take the time to get same-sex marriage right.

Robin Wilson, professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, wrote this article for The Washington Post.


Sorry buddy, new york already bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. So yeah, if you operate a public business, you can't say "I'm not doing X because you're gay and I don't like it." And that catholic university can do whatever it wants as long as it doesn't accept state aid. Wedding service providers can simply say "no thanks, I'm booked." They can deny services for a host of reasons, but no, not because you're gay. Haven't we been through this with race and sex discrimination, folks?
nobody / travis

Nets take a stand against primetime pre-emptions

By and large, they personally forked out for his campaign, they voted for him, and they know he is capable of boosting TV ratings just by making an appearance.

But executives at the Big Four broadcast networks are seething behind the scenes that President Obama has cost them about $30 million in cumulative ad revenue this year with his three primetime news conference pre-emptions.

Now top network execs quietly are hoping that Fox's well-publicized rejection of the president's April 29 presser will serve as precedent for denying future White House requests for prime airtime.


Like many businesses, broadcasters are having to cut costs and lay off staffers. Said another broadcast exec, "The millions of ad dollars the president is costing us could help us keep some of those people working."


Although network execs applaud the president's zeal for keeping the people informed, they also feel that there are other ways he can deliver his messages, particularly if they don't involve a national crisis.

"This is not like 1965, when there were only three broadcast networks," one exec said. "There are countless ways to reach viewers today -- on several hundred cable networks and online with sites like You Tube and the White House's own Web site."

Much more at source

DC Anchor to outing blogger: I would like to 'give you a punch across the face.'

Activist and blogger Michael Rogers is calling on a television show talk host to apologize on air for threatening to "punch" him because he disagreed with Rogers' take on the issue of outing, as well as a written apology.

"I've been in some pretty lively debates, including ones with Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly," Rogers said. "I've never been treated like this on air by anyone."

Rogers continued, "I am demanding that Mr. Mckelway issue an on air and written apology for his treatment of me."

Rogers was a guest on the D.C. show Let's Talk Live on Wednesday discussing the film Outrage-- in which he appears. The film, directed by Kirby Dick, explores the controversial idea of outing-- or disclosing the sexual orientation of persons who work against the LBGT community, while actively seeking same-sex sexual activity. Rogers says it is an issue of hypocrisy; Mckelway says it's an issue of privacy.

During the debate, Rogers accused Mckelway of believing that being gay was something bad.

Mckelway demanded Rogers retract his statement, then pointed his finger at Rogers. A transcript of the exchange follows:

Mckelway: I'm about ready to do a lot more than point my finger at you

Rogers: what would that be?

Mckelway: I, er, I will take you outside and give you a punch across the face because that is not what I said and that is not what I mean.

Calls to News Channel 8 and the Let's Talk Live! segment producer seeking comment were not returned.

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The anchor threatens to punch him about 2:40 minutes into the video.

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Republicans Warn Holder: Investigate Torture And We'll Investigate You

Republicans Warn Holder: Investigate Torture And We'll Investigate You (VIDEO)

Republican senators used a hearing Thursday with Attorney General Eric Holder to discourage an investigation into torture under the Bush administration. Both Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Richard Shelby of Alabama suggested that they would push hard to expand any probe of the CIA's "rendition" program and other legally and morally questionable tactics to include the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress who were briefed on interrogation methods.

Keith Olbermann had Brandon Friedman from on Thursday night to discuss how people in the military felt about Republicans' crusade against torture probes.

Josephine Baker (feathers)

China Reports Student Toll for Quake

Remember this? And they are still covering up. Hardly shocking, but still pretty awful.

China Reports Student Toll for Quake

BEIJING — After a year of obfuscation, the authorities on Thursday released the first official tally of student deaths from the earthquake last May, saying that 5,335 children either were dead or remained missing. An additional 546 were left disabled, they said.

Previous estimates placed the number of students who died in the collapse of school buildings during the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province as high as 10,000.

During a news conference in Chengdu, Tu Wentao, head of the Sichuan provincial education department, said that the student death figures were accurate.

“These numbers were reached through legal methods,” he said. “We have wide agreement on these numbers.” Collapse )

Richard Clarke Responds to GOP Guantanamo Attacks; GOP is Al Qaeda!

Richard Clarke Responds to GOP Guantanamo Attacks

Today, Richard Clarke, former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, reacted to recent Republican attacks on President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo as well as the release of a GOP video which uses graphic imagery from September 11:

"This video and the recent Republican attacks on Guantanamo are more desperate attempts from a demoralized party to politicize national security and the safety of the American people. But what is more disturbing is their brazen use of imagery and the memory of 9/11 to score political points. Thousands of Americans tragically died that day, and for the GOP to think it can win elections by denigrating their memory is disgraceful.

"The difference between these Republican videos and the very terrorist propaganda that seeks to damage our society is negligible. Each attempt to stoke the embers of fear in order to disrupt American life. Just as al Qaeda videos should be viewed as misguided rants from a small group of marginalized radicals, so too should these Republican videos be equally dismissed. As opposed to what the GOP thinks, the American people are not that naïve."

Wait, no, hold on guyz. I need ur money!!!

FLIP-FLOP: Prop 8 Donating Hotelier Wants Gay Customers Back. Will It Work?


When Marjorie Chrisoffersen, the manager of Los Angeles restaurant El Coyote, was identified for donating $100 to the Yes On 8 campaign, all hell broke loose. An impromptu press conference to resolve the matter between management and its large gay customer base led to tears and fighting. So what lessons can another Prop 8 supporting business owner learn?

Doug Manchester, a hotel owner in San Diego who goes by "Papa Doug," donated a fat $125,000 to support Prop 8 (no, those aren't erroneous zeroes), even though he maintained he wasn't anti-gay. (That's a logic argument that always ends in FAIL.)


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LOLitics | Fuck My Life

Shenanigans Friday: May 8, 2009.

"Never believe anything in LOLitics until it has been officially denied." --Otto Von Bismark
Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
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  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)
MOAR Picture Sources:


Are pregnant women a liability in the workplace?


Today Good Morning America ran a clip from John Stossel's 20/20 special "You Can't Even Talk About It" in which he claims pregnant women shouldn't be protected by the law. Chris Cuomo wasn't having it.

For the special, which airs tonight at 10pm on ABC, Stossel talked to Carrie Lukas, who sometimes appears as a talking head on Fox News, and is pregnant with her third child. She said her pregnancy is costing her company money and, "If my employer decides they no longer want me as an employee then it should be their right to fire me." Stossel says anti-discrimination laws may actually lead to employers being hesitant to hire people in those protected groups. Anchor Chris Cuomo, who is also a lawyer, points out that his logic is absurd, and soon after Stossel starts explaining that all of our laws are created to help lawyers make money, Cuomo cuts him off for a commercial.


Arianna Discusses The Future Of Journalism With Peggy Noonan And The Morning Joe Crew

Arianna appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday morning to discuss her testimony before the Senate Commerce Communications subcommittee earlier in the week. The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan joined the discussion about the future of journalism and the challenges new media faces.

Arianna Discusses The Future Of Journalism With Peggy Noonan And The Morning Joe Crew (follow link for VIDEO)

Minnesota Republicans: Pawlenty Will Help Coleman

Minnesota Republicans: Pawlenty Will Help Coleman

Republican activists remain confident that Minnesota’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty will help Norm Coleman continue his fight to be declared the winner of the state’s deadlocked 2008 Senate race.

Pawlenty “will fight like hell” to delay certifying Democrat Al Franken the winner of the race, should Coleman, a Republican, lose his appeal pending before the state Supreme Court and move to take his case to the federal courts, said Sarah Janecek, a Republican commentator and publisher of the newsletter “Politics in Minnesota.”

So far, Pawlenty, whose signature is required to certify a state election, has evaded questions about whether or not he plans to certify a winner of the pivotal race if Coleman’s challenge is unsuccessful and he decides to fight on.

Despite increased pressure from Democrats that the race be called in Franken’s favor, the Republican activists contend Pawlenty is prepared to allow the legal process to play out even if an appeal delays a resolution of the race.

“My sense is the governor is not going to issue a certificate of election until all reasonable opportunities for an appeal have been exhausted or Norm Coleman has not decided to pursue a further appeal,” agreed Chris Georgacas, a former Minnesota Republican Party chairman.

Republicans in the state acknowledged, however, that Pawlenty’s hands are likely to be tied by the state Supreme Court, which could require the governor to sign the certificate. Last month, a state trial court declared Franken the winner of the race by 312 votes.

Pawlenty may, however, face unhappiness from the state’s independents and Democrats if he plays a role in delaying certification.
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Source: Only 'Pro-Life' White House Officials Invited to Prayer Day Event

Source: Only 'Pro-Life' White House Officials Invited to Prayer Day Event

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson scolded the White House for neglecting to send a representative to yesterday's National Day of Prayer event at the Capitol, but a source familiar with the situation said the Obama team didn't have much of a chance. That's because the event organizers stipulated that the White House representative had to be opposed to abortion rights, according to this source.

"The administration's representative had to be pro-life," says the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Nobody else was allowed to go."

National Day of Prayer Task Force Marketing and Media Manager Becky Armstrong declined to comment on the report. An E-mail message sent yesterday to Focus on the Family's vice president for media relations, Gary Schneeberger, went unreturned. The prayer day task force operates out of Focus's Colorado Springs headquarters and is chaired by Shirley Dobson, the wife of the Focus founder.

"There are tens of millions of people praying across this country—40,000 prayer events taking place today," James Dobson told reporters yesterday on Capitol Hill. "And yet for the first time since 1993, the White House did not even send a representative of the Cabinet to the National Day of Prayer."

According to a statement released last week by the prayer day task force, it specifically asked the administration to send a representative to the Capitol event.

But the well-placed source said the only Obama cabinet secretary to receive an invite to yesterday's event was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an anti-abortion rights Republican. LaHood did not attend the event.
Posh Zoom

(no subject)

Study: Most Liberal States Are Least Free

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 1:03 PM

By: Dave Eberhart Article

According to a new study released by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, some of the most liberal U.S. states rank lowest when it comes to personal freedom.
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“The problem is that the cultural values of liberal governments seem on balance to require more regulation of individual behavior than do the cultural values of conservative governments,” say the study’s authors. “While liberal states are freer than conservative states on marijuana and same-sex partnership policies, when it comes to gun owners, home schoolers, motorists, or smokers, liberal states are nanny states, while conservative states are more tolerant.”


Senate-Passed Bill Would Bring Sunlight To Fed


A last-minute amendment to the bankruptcy reform bill passed in the Senate Wednesday opens the Federal Reserve to congressional scrutiny.

The amendment was pushed by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the highest ranking Republican on the finance committee, and quietly breezed through 95 to 1. Grassley said that his measure wasn't aimed at limiting the Fed's independence, but that Congress just wanted to know a little bit about what it's doing. [UPDATE: In response to the justifiably, curious, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was the lone no vote.]

The proposal is, said Grassley, "an important reform for holding the entities involved in the massive taxpayer-funded economic bailout accountable to the public."

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*betty draper reading

Meghan McCain on the GOP's unhealthy attitude about sex

The GOP Doesn't Understand Sex

by Meghan McCain

Bristol Palin's new abstinence campaign shines a light on the Republican Party's unhealthy attitude about sex and desire.

The first time I ever heard about oral sex was during the Lewinsky scandal. Mostly, I remember being confused by President Clinton’s response—“It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” When it comes to sex, politicians face all sorts of double standards: who is allowed to have sex with whom, what constitutes sex, and whether it’s appropriate, to name a few. Candie’s Foundation’s announcement that they were partnering with Bristol Palin to promote an abstinence-only campaign has caused me to reflect on my own experiences as a political daughter, and the role sex plays in defining the Republican Party.

Let me get something straight: Bristol Palin, as an 18-year-old adult, is free to make her own choices and decide how she wants her life to unfold. But for whatever reasons, the American public and media remain overly engrossed in our politicians’ sex lives and, as in this case, those of their families. There’s an especially unhealthy attitude among conservatives. Daughters of Republican politicians aren’t expected to have sex, let alone enjoy it—as if there were some strange chastity belt automatically attached to us female offspring. God forbid anyone talk realistically about life experiences and natural, sexual instincts. Nope, the answer is always abstinence.

This is something I know about firsthand. During my father’s 2000 presidential campaign, a reporter asked how he would feel if I became pregnant and wanted an abortion. He answered that it would be my choice, sending shockwaves throughout the party (because for the GOP there is only one answer, and obviously Senator McCain’s daughter shouldn’t be engaging in sex ever). I’d like to thank that reporter for single-handedly putting me through years of trying to reconcile the fact that when it comes to politics, no matter what you do or who you are, everything is fair game.

But seriously, here was a father, delicately navigating a question about his teenage daughter and being true to the kind of father he had always been, and the Republican Party was outraged. It didn’t matter that my parents raised me to know that, regardless of the mistakes I might make, they would allow me the dignity and courage to make my own choices. That’s the kind of trust my parents have always placed in their children—yet the GOP still needed to get involved and have a say in what I did with my body.

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Meghan McCain seems to get it, at least when it comes to birth control and sex ed. Now when will the rest of the GOP get it and join us in the 21st century?

Short Sales: Banks Blocking Way Out Of Foreclosure Crisis

Short Sales: Banks Blocking Way Out Of Foreclosure Crisis

Brett Ellis, a real estate agent in Fort Myers, Fla., was thrilled when he got an offer for a property in Bell Tower Park in May 2008.

"It was a gorgeous property on the corner lot," Ellis told the Huffington Post. The owner, who had lost his job, wanted to sell the apartment for a loss rather than go into foreclosure, a strategy known as a short sale.

The offer was for $350,000, and Ellis, who is a certified distressed property expert trained in executing such sales, knew it was as good an offer as he was going to get in this market. He immediately sent the paperwork into the bank.

He waited for four months. The bank finally told him it wouldn't take anything less than $400,000 -- a price Ellis was sure he could never get. In September, the buyer's agent called to say, "You know what, we gotta move on, we gotta buy something else."

Now the property is sitting vacant as it slides into foreclosure. Its former owner's credit is destroyed, and the house is losing value every day. "God knows what the condition is today," Ellis said, adding he'd be surprised if the property is worth more than $290,000 when it resurfaces on the market. Add in the legal expenses involved in a foreclosure, and the bank cost itself a hundred thousand dollars more that it otherwise would have.

It's a scenario that plays out constantly, everywhere in the United States. In a time of collapsing real estate values, where one in five homes are now under water, a short sale is increasingly the only option before foreclosure. It is less damaging to credit scores and spares the homeowner the shame of foreclosure.

It is also a better option for banks: According to one analysis, short sales resulted in loan losses of only 19 percent, compared with an average loss of 40 percent on homes sold after foreclosure.

So why aren't these sales more widely used?

The broad answer is that the American financial system simply can't handle a collapse of this magnitude. The fates of the banking and real estate industries are intertwined. But they don't work together -- and the result is that they end up working against each other.

The more precise answer is related to securitization, the method by which banks bundle together different mortgages and slice them up and sell the pieces to various investors. Securitization makes negotiating a real estate sale that results in a loss nearly impossible.
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White House Lays Groundwork For Management Changes At Struggling Banks

White House Lays Groundwork For Management Changes At Struggling Banks

In addition to unveiling the results of the stress tests on Thursday, the Federal Reserve made public the outlines and regulations for those banks that would need additional capital in order to remain solvent.

The tone was generally tough. But what stood out most was that the memo laid the groundwork for possible management changes at those institutions that still needed "to augment [their] capital buffer."

Tucked into a Joint Statement by the Treasury, Fed and FDIC is the declaration that "as part of the 30-day planning process, firms will need to review their existing management and Board in order to assure that the leadership of the firm has sufficient expertise and ability to manage the risks presented by the current economic environment and maintain balance sheet capacity sufficient to continue prudent lending to meet the credit needs of the economy."

As David Zaring over at the Conglomerate Blog notes, the language, "clears the way to get rid of beleaguered CEOs Ken Lewis and Vikram Pandit, though I still think the government might think that it owes Lewis for buying Merrill for top dollar."
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"The incidents depicted in the video tapes were not part of a pattern of behavior"

Torture-tape Gulf prince accused of 25 other attacks

US lawyers claim they have videos implicating Abu Dhabi royal in more cases of torture, a week after outcry over his assaults on Afghan businessman.

The wealthy Gulf prince at the centre of a "torture tape" scandal has been accused of attacking at least 25 other people in incidents that have also been caught on film, it has been claimed.

Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan is now under investigation in the United Arab Emirates after the shocking tape showed him beating a man with a nailed plank, setting him on fire, attacking him with a cattle prod and running him over.

But now lawyers for American businessman Bassam Nabulsi, who smuggled the tape out of the UAE, have written to the justice minister of Abu Dhabi - the most powerful of the emirates that make up the UAE - claiming to have considerably more evidence against Issa.

"I have more than two hours of video footage showing Sheikh Issa's involvement in the torture of more than 25 people," wrote Texas-based lawyer Anthony Buzbee in a letter obtained by the Observer.

The news of more torture videos involving Issa is another huge blow to the international image of the UAE. The oil-rich state has been keen to develop relations with wealthy western politicians, universities and corporations and to promote an aura of moderation and tolerance. But the shocking video of Issa torturing Afghan grain merchant Mohammed Shah Poor, whom Issa said had cheated him in a business deal, has heavily dented the UAE's reputation. Particularly damaging was the apparent involvement of a policeman in the torture and the impunity with which Sheikh Issa could act, even after the tape emerged. He is a senior prince related to powerful members of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi.

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From The Guardian

So my favorite parts of this story:
"Buzbee welcomed the developments, but expressed scepticism that the investigation was genuinely motivated, because the authorities had known about the tapes for several years"
"The fresh revelations about Issa's actions will add further doubt to a pending nuclear energy deal between the UAE and the US"

YAY! Let's reward these assholes.
garf tired

(no subject)


Americans, please wash hands before criticizing Obama

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Now that we've answered his call to wash our hands, President Obama must continue to tell us how to live. Last week, when America was faced with the pan-global swine flu omega death plague, the President went on TV and told people to wash their hands, and experts tell us this made a big difference, which augurs well for next month's "National Wipe Your Butt Day." Next week, in a fireside chat, he'll tell us not to put a fork in the toaster. It's sad that the leader of the free world had to call a live press conference to tell his nation of clueless nitwits that employees must wash hands before returning to work. If that's not the "Forrest Gump-ification" of America, I don't know what is. Feeling wet, America? Why not try new, "Coming in from the Rain"?

You may think I'm blowing this out of proportion, but this plea from Obama - you know, the "Audacity of Soap" - was the first specific thing a President has asked the American people to actually do in decades. Unless you count "go shopping." Hopefully it will open the door to other, slightly weightier suggestions from the President.

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Miss Botswana Channels Carrie Prejean


A Miss Botswana contestant got the same question as Carrie Prejean and took her answer one step further, winning her the crown.
In a scenario that mirrors the recent controversy at the Miss USA competition, Sumaiyah Marope was asked by judge DJ Fresh if she would advocate gay marriage. “It is unnatural act,” Marope proclaimed. “God made us men and women [... ] It is only proper for men to have relationships with women as God created us.” The crowd erupted in a loud roar of approval of her comments. Unlike Miss California, Marope went on to win the competition, and was awarded a US $700 bracelet from rapper Russell Simmons, a brand new Mercedes Benz, and an academic scholarship. Miss Botswana’s comments come at an unusual time in Botswana, as several gay rights groups are pushing for the removal of legislation that does not recognize same-sex relationships.
Andy Towle notes that Russell Simmons may regret donating a prize to the pageant as he recently wrote a Huffington Post column in support of marriage equality.


garf tired

Mustard Gate: The Insanity lives on

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Obama Mustard Attack Becomes Full-Blown Right-Wing Talking Point

Jason Linkins

Egads. This whole Dijon mustard thing is turning into a far bigger and more ridiculous thing than I suspected when I warned yesterday that it might become a big and ridiculous thing. Take a look at this dweeb's website! This guy really does believe he's working the Pentagon Papers story, or something! And this is a Cornell law professor. Yeesh. Not since the Battle of Ypres have so many people choked on so much mustard gas!
Here's some more talking heads being mustard-ed:

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SPN - Chuck what

Mother fined for losing unborn baby in Dubai crash

A mother who lost her unborn baby in a Dubai road crash has been convicted of manslaughter and ordered to pay blood money, in the first such ruling in the UAE, local newspapers reported on Monday.

The court found the 27-year-old Lebanese woman had failed to exercise due diligence when driving and caused her car to collide with another vehicle in October when she was nine months pregnant, the Arabic-language Al-Emarat Al-Youm said.

The English-language daily The National reported that the woman's car was struck from behind after she braked on a highway in Dubai, which like the rest of the UAE is notorious for fatal road accidents.

The Dubai Traffic Court ordered the mother to pay 20,000 dirhams (5,450 dollars) in diyyah or blood money to the unborn baby's next of kin and fined her another 540 dollars for "unintentional homicide," Al-Emarat Al-Youm said.

The judge based the verdict on Islamic or sharia law, it added.

"This may be the first case of its kind and may appear unusual to some, but the case highlights the fact that an unborn foetus also has rights as any human being," chief traffic prosecutor SalaH Bu Farousha was quoted as saying in The National.

Highways in the United Arab Emirates have a top speed limit of 120 kilometres (75 miles) an hour but motorists often drive much faster.

soap&amp;skin 2012

The Statue of Liberty’s Crown Will Reopen July 4

The Statue of Liberty’s crown, which was closed after the 9/11 attacks, will reopen to the public on July 4, the White House announced on Friday morning. The decision, by the Obama administration, is a reversal of a Bush-era policy.

The Statue of Liberty’s crown, which was closed after the 9/11 attacks, will reopen to the public on July 4, the White House announced on Friday morning. The decision reversed the policy of the Bush administration.
Under President George W. Bush, the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service, had insisted that visitors could not be permitted because the crown — reachable only by a very narrow, 12-story spiral staircase with a low guardrail — did not meet modern fire, building and safety codes.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar formally announced the decision at a news conference at 9 a.m. on Ellis Island. “On July 4, we are giving America a special gift,” Mr. Salazar said.

No more than 10 people will be allowed in the crown at a time, he said, and officials anticipate that will allow for 30 visitors an hour. He estimated that 50,000 people would be able to visit the crown in the first year and that the number would be increased later to 100,000 a year. A spokeswoman for Mr. Salazar said that the method for distributing tickets had yet to be determined but that the secretary was committed to making sure the process was fair and equitable. Early reports that a lottery system would be used were incorrect, she said.

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Glenn Beck writes hot incest erotica to show that being gay is bad

From Beck's book The Real America: Messages from the Heart and Heartland:

“I thought that one day, I would just wake up and realize it was just a stupid fling . . just innocent experimentation... I thought that if I admitted the love I had been hiding, society would reject me . . . .

It all started one day when I was twelve . . . That's when I found my true love . . . I had looked this person's way a few times and got that nervous feeling in my stomach – but I had been taught that this love was forbidden.

Then came the fair . . . my hand brushed this person's . . . my palms began to sweat . . . my hands began to shake . . . the Ferris wheel came to a complete stop.

I looked deeply into this person's eyes, and reached out to softly touch this person's face. I leaned in and I kissed this person.”

I kissed my sister. First our lips met, seconds later our tongues. I ran my fingers through her silky hair and felt her soft skin. It was the height of passion and the moment I knew who my true love was . . . We knew we had done something so wrong, but at the same time, something so very right.


Beck wrote this to show how even if you feel something deep down, like, uhm, being gay (?) - it doesn't mean it is right to act on it. Or something like that. Glenn Beck also likes Ayn Rand.

Blackwater Baghdad operations end

The American security firm Blackwater has ended its operations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

However the company will continue work in other parts of Iraq until September.

The Iraqi government banned Blackwater, now renamed, after its security guards killed up to 17 civilians in Nisoor Square, Baghdad, in 2007.

In January, the US government said it would not renew the company's task orders. Another US firm, Triple Canopy, takes over the contracts.


The Blackwater company began its work protecting US government personnel in Iraq following the invasion in 2003.

The shootings in Nisoor Square, in September 2007, led to a debate about the role the private security companies operating in Iraq.

An Iraqi investigation found that 17 civilians died, and were 20 wounded, when Blackwater guards opened fire while escorting an American diplomatic convoy. The company said its employees had come under attack by insurgents.

US prosecutors say 14 civilians were killed. Five former Blackwater guards pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges in a US court in January.

Xe has defended its work in Iraq. The company's spokeswoman, Anne Tyrrell, said: "When the US government initially asked for our help to assist with an immediate need to protect Americans in Iraq, we answered the call and performed well.

"We are proud of our success - no-one under our protection has been killed or even seriously injured."

Guards from the Xe company will remain in Iraq until August protecting American diplomats in three cities south of Baghdad. And it will continue to provide helicopter escorts throughout Iraq until September.

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Obama to deliver speech to Muslim world in June

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has pledged to rebuild U.S. relations with the Muslim world, will give a key speech on the issue in Egypt on June 4, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday.

Obama reached out to Arabs and Muslims in a speech in the Turkish capital Ankara in April, his first visit as president to a predominantly Islamic nation.

In that speech, he said the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam, and also spoke of the Arab-Israeli peace process, saying he will actively pursue the goal of creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Asked why Egypt was chosen for the June 4 speech, Gibbs said: 'It is a country that in may ways represents the heart of the Arab world."

Obama will make the speech a day before visiting the German city of Dresden and the Buchenwald concentration camp, Gibbs said.



Interesting. Is he trying to tilt both lebanon (june 7th) and iranian (june 12th) elections in our favour? sneaky obama! 

team science

(no subject)

Obama sends handwritten letter to gay soldier ousted from the military promising to repeal DADT.

In January, Sandy Tsao, an army officer based out of St. Louis, MO, told her superiors that she is gay — a violation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. Tsao then wrote to President Obama, urging him to change the DADT policy: “I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice.” On May 5, Tsao received a handwritten letter from Obama with a pledge to repeal DADT at some point:

In the letter, Obama wrote that he is “committed to changing our current policy” but that “it will take some time to complete (partly because it needs Congressional action).” Yesterday, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who has sponsored legislation repealing DADT, discussed the issue with Rachel Maddow, saying, “I’d like to see us move it by this summer, and I think we can.”


Dear Mr. President, here's my request: 

Show, don't tell.

by &lt;lj_user=&quot;yellowbang&quot;&gt;

School: Don't go to prom

Ohio Christian school tells student to skip prom

FINDLAY, Ohio – A student at a fundamentalist Baptist school that forbids dancing, rock music, hand-holding and kissing will be suspended if he takes his girlfriend to her public high school prom, his principal said.

Despite the warning, 17-year-old Tyler Frost, who has never been to a dance before, said he plans to attend Findlay High School's prom Saturday.

Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in northwest Ohio, agreed to the school's rules when he signed a statement of cooperation at the beginning of the year, principal Tim England said.

The teen, who is scheduled to receive his diploma May 24, would be suspended from classes and receive an "incomplete" on remaining assignments, England said. Frost also would not be permitted to attend graduation but would get a diploma once he completes final exams. If Frost is involved with alcohol or sex at the prom, he will be expelled, England said.

Frost's stepfather Stephan Johnson said the school's rules should not apply outside the classroom.

"He deserves to wear that cap and gown," Johnson said.

Frost said he thought he had handled the situation properly. Findlay requires students from other schools attending the prom to get a signature from their principal, which Frost did.

"I expected a short lecture about making the right decisions and not doing something stupid," Frost said. "I thought I would get his signature and that would be the end."

England acknowledged signing the form but warned Frost there would be consequences if he attended the dance. England then took the issue to a school committee made up of church members, who decided to threaten Frost with suspension.

"In life, we constantly make decisions whether we are going to please self or please God. (Frost) chose one path, and the school committee chose the other," England said.

The handbook for the 84-student Christian school says rock music "is part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people's hearts and minds."

England said Frost's family should not be surprised by the school's position.

"For the parents to claim any injustice regarding this issue is at best forgetful and at worst disingenuous," he said. "It is our hope that the student and his parents will abide by the policies they have already agreed to."

The principal at Findlay High School, whose graduates include Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, said he respects, but does not agree with, Heritage Christian School's view of prom.

"I don't see (dancing and rock music) as immoral acts," Craig Kupferberg said.