May 13th, 2009


White House Begins Effort to Bridge the Divide on Abortion

White House Begins Effort to Bridge the Divide on Abortion
MAY 7, 2009

WASHINGTON -- The White House has begun bringing together a diverse group of abortion-rights supporters and opponents to help craft policies both sides can embrace: preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing demand for abortion.

President Barack Obama appears to be trying to make good on his pledge to defuse tensions around polarizing issues.

The effort could also be in his political interests. While he may not win over abortion opponents on the issue, if he is seen as having a genuine interest in finding common ground, that could persuade some to judge him on other policies where they may agree with him, such as economics.

Interviews with several participants suggest there is some common ground, but plenty of disagreements remain. It will be challenging for the White House to settle on policies that reach across the spectrum.

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Stop the presses

I love this! I get so much flak from my pro-life and pro-choice friends for my position -- I would love there to be no abortions because I view fetuses as another living and developing people, but it really is a woman's choice to determine what to do with her body, other people simply do not see life as I do, and sometimes abortion really is the only option. The idea of trying to decrease abortions and increase education without castigating either position is great and I really hope that the various groups can stop screaming at each other long enough to realize that neither really wants a world littered with desperate mothers, unwanted kids, or dead fetuses. Hopefully I've explained my position well enough in this short space and I welcome some debate -- keep it civil! :)

Jon Stewart On Political Satire In A Free And Democratic Society

Unfortunately, there are more than a few countries in the world where making a pointed political joke can lead to less-than-funny consequences. In light of that, we thought it would be interesting to talk to one of the United States' preeminent humorists about the role of political satire in a free society. Jon Stewart entertains millions of viewers of "The Daily Show" by poking fun at the high and mighty. Stewart downplays the program's social impact, but a study last year by the Pew Research Center listed the comedian as the fourth most-trusted American journalist. A while back, Stewart sat down with RFE/RL's Bruce Jacobs and talked about his craft.

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Rest of the article + an audio clip of Jon talking about goulash at the source.

ETA: The original interview is from April 2006. Oops.

Come to find out...she was a spy.... (at the very least doing spy type things)

US journalist in Iran had secret report on Iraq war

A lawyer for US-born reporter Roxana Saberi, freed this week from a Tehran jail, said on Wednesday the spy charges she had faced arose after she obtained a classified report on the US war on Iraq.

"She had a report about the US attack on Iraq prepared by the strategic research centre at the (Iranian) presidency," Saleh Nikbakht told AFP.

"The research centre deemed the report as classified. But she had not used it at all." Nikbakht did not say how Saberi had managed to gain access to the confidential report.

(read the rest here)



eeeeee, this should be good!!

David Axelrod to guest on Chicago Public Radio/NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me"
By Lynn Sweet
on May 13, 2009 10:55 AM

below, release......




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Oh, this is gonna be GOOD. From Peter Sagal's Twitter at @petersagal

Here's Obama's Wait Wait appearance:

And not to rub it in, but I get paid to sit and listen to this, ha ha!
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Is Republican Party united behind Charlie Crist?

The Republican primary battle between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio reflects the party's broader struggle between its moderate and conservative wings.

Fourteen minutes after Gov. Charlie Crist announced his U.S. Senate bid, the national Republican party endorsed him over former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.

The rare and speedy intervention Tuesday by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a contested primary signaled the party's confidence that Crist will keep the seat in GOP hands. With Democrats poised to clinch a filibuster-proof majority, the Republican political establishment was looking for a name-brand candidate and proven fundraiser.

''While I believe Marco Rubio has a very bright future within the Republican Party, Charlie Crist is the best candidate in 2010 to ensure that we maintain the checks and balances that Floridians deserve in the United States Senate,'' Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the NRSC, said in a written statement.

But nationwide, there are scattered signs that the GOP is not completely united behind Crist, who campaigned alongside President Barack Obama in Fort Myers for the Democrat's spending plan earlier this year.

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"I'm a uniter, not a divider"

Pope visit unites Israel gays, far-right

May 11, 2009

Gays, Holocaust survivors and the far-right have all found an unlikely common cause in their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's landmark visit to Israel.

The Dorot Hemeshech association of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust have called on drivers to blow their horn during the 81-year-old pope's speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum on Monday.

"Israelis will express this way their disapproval of the pope who encourages Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism," the association said.

The German-born pontiff has raised the ire of Holocaust survivors over his membership, albeit forced, in the Hitler youth and his move to beatify pope Pius XII who has been accused of not speaking out against the Holocaust.

A group of far-right activists has also said they planned to press criminal charges against the pope over Vatican treasures they claim were plundered from Jewish people over the centuries.

US-born Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir have named Benedict as a leading defendant in a criminal complaint they plan to file before a Jerusalem court on Monday.

The two accuse the pontiff and other top Roman Catholic officials of receiving and possessing stolen goods.

The complaint lists treasure allegedly plundered from the Jewish people and held in the Vatican, including a golden Menorah looted from the Jerusalem Temple by Roman troops under general Titus, who played a major role in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

And gay rights activist Nitzan Horowitz, a left-wing MP, said on Sunday he will boycott all official ceremonies held for the pope.

"Pope Benedict XVI is responsible for the suffering of thousands of people in the world... He conveys a message of extremism and insensitivity," Horowitz said, also referring to a papal warning that condom use could be aggravating the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Following a visit to Jordan, the pope is on Monday to begin a five-day pilgrimage to Israel and the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.


Japan's Communist Party grows as economy tanks

A link to info about the Karl Marx manga is HERE.

Communist party gains as Japan economy sinks
4 hours ago

TOKYO (AFP) — Once banned and long seen as a fringe group, Japan's Communist Party has enjoyed a surge in membership during the country's economic meltdown.

In the country at large, Karl Marx's "Das Kapital" has become a manga comic best-seller and an inter-war tale of worker exploitation has found a new readership as a graphic novel.


Today it has only 16 of 722 seats in parliament, making it the fourth- biggest party, but membership is growing while mainstream parties are losing support. [..] Its membership [is growing] by 1,000 people a month, while its Red Flag daily newspaper now has a readership of over 1.6 million, the party says.


A manga version of "Das Kapital" has become a best-seller, as has a graphic novel of the 1929 classic "Kanikosen" or The Crab-Canning Ship, by communist author Takiji Kobayashi, which describes grim worker exploitation. The movie version opens this summer, starring up-and-coming actor Ryuhei Matsuda.

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No black-and-white in gay rights: The west should not lecture the rest of the world on gay rights

"In Iran there are no homosexuals like in America," the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared during a visit to the US, sparking a media frenzy. Some questioned the translation and Ahmadinejad later clarified his words, interpreting "like" as "not in the same way as". Whatever his intention, it is clear to whoever explores the colourful realms of sexual "dissent" across the world, that notions of homosexuality vary – and particularly in the Middle East.

Nadi, an androgynous-looking Lebanese friend, was walking in a German underground station when he crossed the path of a Middle Eastern man and his German girlfriend. As the man winked to Nadi and blew him a kiss, the woman stuttered in shock: "But ... but it's a man!" For most people in wealthy, industrialised and over-rationalised societies, "gay" and "straight" are two separate worlds. A person can be either one or the other, or else they would have to fit the "bisexual" category. Bisexuality is often misunderstood by both gay and straight people and discussions abound about "real" and "fake" bisexuals.

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' jules

Back Seat

Rogue Diva of Doom

When Bush 41 was ramping up to the Gulf War, assembling a coalition to fight Saddam, Jimmy Carter sent a letter to members of the U.N. Security Council urging them not to rush into conflict without further exploring a negotiated solution.

The first President Bush and other Republicans in Washington considered this treasonous, a former president trying to thwart a sitting one, lobbying foreign diplomats to oppose his own country on a war resolution.

In 2002, when Bush Junior was ramping up to his war against Saddam, Al Gore made a speech trying to slow down that war resolution, pointing out that pivoting from Osama to Saddam for no reason, initiating “pre-emptive” war, and blowing off our allies would undermine the war on terror.

Charles Krauthammer called Gore’s speech “a disgrace.” Michael Kelly, his fellow Washington Post columnist, called it “vile” and “contemptible.” Newt Gingrich said that the former vice president asserting that W. was making America less safe was “well outside the mark of an appropriate debate.”

“I think the president should be doing what he thinks is best as commander in chief,” Gingrich said flatly. Now, however, Gingrich backs Dick Cheney when he asserts that President Obama has made America less safe.

Asked by Bob Schieffer on Sunday how America could torture when it made a mockery of our ideals, Cheney blithely gave an answer that surely would have been labeled treasonous by Rush Limbaugh, if a Democratic ex-vice president had said it about a Republican president.

“Well, then you’d have to say that, in effect, we’re prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America,” Doomsday Dick said.

Cheney has replaced Sarah Palin as Rogue Diva. Just as Jeb Bush and other Republicans are trying to get kinder and gentler, Cheney has popped out of his dungeon, scary organ music blaring, to carry on his nasty campaign of fear and loathing.

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GOP to rebrand Dems as 'socialists'

By: Roger Simon
May 13, 2009 04:32 AM EST

A member of the Republican National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”

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Intern Sets Up Offshore Tax Haven In Panama (VIDEO). Its so easy, even a Republican can do it!!

Intern Sets Up Offshore Tax Haven In Panama (VIDEO)

It's so easy for U.S. corporations to set up an offshore tax haven in Panama, an intern could do it.
Really! To make this point, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division had one of its interns call up some Panamanian law firms for advice on starting up a shell company.

"Panamanian corporations basically pay no taxes on foreign-derived income," one man explained to the intern, Jessica. Another said: "You're protected by the strictest banking secrecy laws in the world," thereby "totally removing you from the legal trail."

In a video on Public Citizen's website, Jessica is told that all she needs to do is provide a passport photocopy, a bank reference letter, some info on her professional activities, and her plans for the company -- all of which could be sent by email.


Public Citizen produced the video as a serious debate over the pending Panama free trade agreement begins to heat up in Congress. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is leading a coalition of House Democrats in an effort to slow the Obama administration in case it plans to move forward on the agreement.

"We have an expectation that trade agreements are going to have basic standards to protect labor rights, environmental standards, food safety regulations, financial regulations and taxation transparency," Braley told the National Journal's Peter Cohn on Wednesday. "And that's why this particular trade agreement creates such concern, is because of Panama's tax haven status."

The Senate Finance Committee is set to hold a hearing on May 21.

Public Citizen opposes the agreement, calling it "the wrong handout for the wrong interests."

Hiring, Training of Pilots Under Fire in Crash Probe of Doomed Buffalo Jet

Hiring, Training of Pilots Under Fire in Crash Probe of Doomed Buffalo Jet

The lack of experience, fatigue and low pay of the Buffalo-bound prop jet pilots involved in the worst U.S. plane crash in seven years created a "recipe for an accident," the government said Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board grilled airline officials in all-day testimony about whether Pilot Marvin Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw should have been in the cockpit of Continental Connection Flight 3407 at all.

The NTSB hearings into what caused the plane to dive into a house on an icy February night moments before landing will wrap up Thursday.

All 49 on board were killed in the fiery crash, along with a man inside the home.

Day two of the NTSB's three-day public probe into the accident focused primarily on the hiring and employment practices for pilots by Colgan Air, which was operating the doomed flight.

Renslow and Shaw made several fundamental mistakes on their approach into Buffalo that appear to have contributed to the crash, testimony shows.

NTSB member Kitty Higgins said during testimony that the pilots' long commutes, meager pay and fatigue created "a recipe for an accident."
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hp; bb harry; quidditch

'Gay' gene claim suddenly vanishes

A publication from the American Psychological Association includes an admission that there is no "gay" gene, according to a doctor who has written about the issue on the website of National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality.

A. Dean Byrd, the past president of NARTH, confirmed that the statement from the American Psychological Association came in a brochure that updates what the APA has advocated for years.

Specifically, in a brochure that first came out about 1998, the APA stated: "There is considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person's sexuality."

However, in the update: a brochure now called, "Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality," the APA's position changed.

The new statement says:

"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles. ..."
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Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
  • doop

Feline Town update

Remember this guy?

This is from his latest livejournal...

I offer the people a nice service. I want to keep it that way. But sometimes you need to step back a bit before moving forward. In January, it began to look like the ranch couldn’t make it past April. The cats and I didn’t want to be seen standing by those signs that said “Will Work For Food”. Recent press did generate donations but I need to watch the budget a little closer so that I can continue to care for the cats that are already here and cover the expenses of the ranch (land mortgage, electric).


Effective IMMEDIATELY, I will not be accepting cats until further notice. I regret having to make this decision. I will also start rapidly reducing the number of cats here through adoption, which will be very painful to see my friends leave. This is not what I wanted. I also may sell off one of my 5 acre parcels, up the back of the ranch. That property isn’t needed at this point. And I’m considering selling my PT Cruiser, which was to become the Cat Taxi; hopefully I can get what I bought it for. The land line to the office will be turned off to save money as well. You can call my cell phone (which will be working again this weekend!), just be persistent-you will reach me.


Some of these decisions were based on this past winters vet bills which exceeded 2000 per month. Food cost is a fixed expense at 800 per week, and cannot be reduced, as it is with the utility bills and mortgage. These changes will ensure that we do continue on and maybe when the economy bounces back a bit we will be able to move forward again.

You can donate here.
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On holding Obama to account, from the left

Great episode of Charlie Rose Monday night on the direction of the economy, and how Obama is measuring up - or failing to measure up - so far. Features Naomi Klein and William Grieder.

Looks like Klein even gave a shout out to ontd_political:
NAOMI KLEIN: The love of Obama is so over the top. And this thing that happens to us, particularly in times of crisis, where we become – we almost regress, and we wanna believe our leaders will take care of us. I think that’s unhealthy.

It is time to put away the tee shirts and all the memorabilia. He is the president of the most powerful nation on Earth. The super-fan culture of the campaign has to be replaced with an engaged citizen culture that puts respectful pressure from below.

good news everyone!
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New female judge transforms Islamic court

Khouloud el-Faqeeh has shattered the glass ceiling of Islamic jurisprudence.

After years of pushing to break into the all-male ranks of sharia judges in the Palestinian territories, she finally secured a post after scoring among the best – along with another woman – in a recent test for new jurists. They are widely considered to be the first female sharia judges in the Middle East.

Now, Ms. Faqeeh is setting a new tone in her Ramallah courtroom, where defendants are often shocked to see a woman on the bench. With a style that's part Judge Judy, part Sunday School teacher, she's on a mission to change her society, case by case. But sometimes, even the most progressive intentions won't overcome powerful social forces, such as those driving Miryam Abed-Nabi, a newlywed who came to court recently to finalize a divorce. Her husband – Fahmi Awadullah, a man twice her age – took her as a second wife just a few months ago. But the marriage infuriated his adult sons, who worried about their portion of his inheritance.

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Poets, actors, musicians, and even Michael Chabon jam at the White House

With White House Poetry Jam, a New Era Is Spoken For

By DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Perhaps for the first time ever, the White House jammed and slammed last night.

Poets and playwrights, actors and musicians packed the ornate East Room, delivering cool jazz and glorious spoken-word poetry, sprinkling a bit of hip-hop and a bit of the heroic couplet. And through it all, the president and the first lady watched -- and applauded.

"We're here to celebrate the power of words," President Obama said. Words "help us appreciate beauty and also understand pain. They inspire us to action." He introduced the first lady as his poet.

Michelle Obama told the gathering that the event was a way to open up the White House and invite in diverse voices. Collapse )

Go to TPM for pictures of the event, including Michelle's outfit

or ope the sacred source, with the inevitable comments from those who feel that "Poetry's unnat'ral," or at least too elitist for the White House.

Providence Mayor Wants To Tax College Students

Providence Mayor Wants To Tax College Students

The mayor of Providence wants to slap a $150-per-semester tax on the 25,000 full-time students at Brown University and three other private colleges in the city, saying they use resources and should help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers.

Mayor David Cicilline (sis-ah-LEEN-ee) said the fee would raise between $6 million and $8 million a year for the city, which is facing a $17 million deficit.

If enacted, it would apparently be the first time a U.S. city has directly taxed students just for being enrolled.

The proposal is still in its early stages. But it has riled some students, who say it would unfairly saddle them with the city's financial woes and overlook their volunteer work and other contributions, including money spent in restaurants, bars and stores.
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