May 14th, 2009

Aladdin owns you

Wife-Slapping is NOT okay

I was playing around on and came across this interesting article. It's a fresh perspective of women and some of the domestic violence reforms happening in Saudi Arabia.

Qanta Ahmed is the author of "In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom." An M.D., she is an attending physician based in the Division of Pulmonary, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York, and a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Qanta Ahmed, wearing an abbaya, says the Saudi kingdom is rejecting the subjugation of women.


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Utah AG Mistakenly Announces Senate Bid, On Twitter. GOP and tech dont mix...

This is a link to an example website

Mark Shurtleff is the Attorney General of Utah. He will challenge Sen. Bob Bennett in the 2010 Republican primary. He Twittered this news last night, mistakenly, and now he looks foolish. “Time to rock and roll!” You just can’t vote for anyone who writes that. “poos showed tim losing.” OMG Twitter. Jesus. [The Hill via Gawker]

Moonie Times Considers Wire Photo ‘Relevant Enough’ For Story

Moonie Times Considers Wire Photo ‘Relevant Enough’ For Story

Ha ha ha, everyone gets a good laugh when newspaper design people make weird placement choices. Look at the Washington Times here: its website shows a photo of the Obama kids — probably the click-thru is a story about how cute they are! — right above a different article about Chicago children being murdered all the time. WACKY! It looks like the girls’ photo goes with the death story! Good thing that’s not the case at all!

or those of you with poor vision: “ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS The Obama daughters (above) - Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10 - attended the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. This school year 36 of the city’s school children have been killed.”

Why is Liz Glover doing these terrible things?

The Obama daughters [Washington Times]


White House Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'

White House Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'
Kerlikowske Says Analogy Is Counterproductive; Shift Aligns With Administration Preference for Treatment Over Incarceration

The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.

In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.

"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."

Mr. Kerlikowske's comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate -- and likely more controversial -- stance on the nation's drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.

The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
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Obama Warns Netanyahu: Don't Surprise Me With Iran Strike

Obama Warns Netanyahu: Don't Surprise Me With Iran Strike

U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Israel not surprise the U.S. with an Israeli military operation against Iran. The message was conveyed by a senior American official who met in Israel with Netanyahu, ministers and other senior officials. Earlier, Netanyahu's envoy visited Washington and met with National Security Adviser James Jones and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and discussed the dialogue Obama has initiated with Tehran.

The message from the American envoy to the prime minister reveals U.S. concern that Israel could lose patience and act against Iran. It is important to the Americans that they not be caught off guard and find themselves facing facts on the ground at the last minute.

Obama did not wait for his White House meeting with Netanyahu, scheduled for next Monday, to deliver his message, but rather sent it ahead of time with his envoy.
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GOP governors to hold conference call open to public :)

Thursday night, May 14, 2009, that is.

Hoping that will not stage a site raid (or phreaking raid? what?), GOP Governors Rick Perry (Texas) and Mark Sanford (South Carolina) announced a nationwide, free conference call to anyone interested. They are calling it Tea Party 2.0 (even though it's all over the phone).

Register HERE. The GOP governors' association will apparently call you. They say there will be a Q&A session for members of the public to speak their mind.

cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?


Attention Job Seekers: Glenn Beck Is Hiring!

If you want to weather the recession in style, there’s no better bet than serving our nation’s ever-diminishing population of wingnuts. As more Americans climb aboard B-Rock NObama’s Socialism ‘n’ Poetry Jams Express, frustrated conservatives have flocked to a few of the nation’s last reputable wingnut media outlets for soothing words about how right they still are about everything even if “the news” says they’re wrong.

This is why Fox News still has awesome ratings, and Newsmax is doing just great, and Glenn Beck, that weeping dough-headed whore, still has a job.

And now you can have a job, too, if you apply! Looky, it’s a listing from the popular sexual deviant hookup site “Craigslist”:

Full-Time Staff Writer (Midtown)
Reply to:
Date: 2009-05-13, 9:01PM EDT

Mercury Radio Arts is the New York based production company owned by Radio and TV host Glenn Beck.

Mercury seeks a writer for contributions to Glenn’s radio program, magazine, and web site. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in news, current events, and politics.

Key responsibilities will include contributing original content to and to Glenn’s radio program and magazine. Writing will include a mix of short pieces and long articles, fact-based commentary on the news of the day, etc.


• Strong written and verbal communication skills
• Research skills
• At least 2 years of journalism experience

Too bad Obama already outlawed all the conservative publications and think-tanks where a popular commentator might otherwise go looking for support staff, instead of trolling on a common Web site. Is this listing on, too?

Craigslist Ad

No seriously, I think bluetooth16 should totally try for it. I'm not sure if she's got two years of experience yet, but she's said before that she's a journalism major who lives in New York and that she wants to work for Fox News and associates someday. This could be her chance. Plus she can totally find out for us if Glenn Beck is as much a crybaby as he seems on the television machine.
  • Current Mood

When No One Wants to Look Like a Banker


SINCE last September — you know, when bleakonomics ousted chiconomics — most of us have put ourselves and our Visa bills through a painstaking, pain-making review. From flashy extravagances like Range Rovers and diamonds to low-profile upgrades like business-class air travel and Starbucks coffee confections, every line item on the modern luxury list has come up for withering review.

So you would assume that the relentlessly tweaked wardrobe of the modern urban man would be high on the watch list. The fedoras, the vests, the striped shirts, the ankle-baring suits, the premium jeans — doesn’t it all seem a little ... prelapsarian?

Well, no. It seems they are cushioning the fall.

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source w/ slide show

Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More

Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More

Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.

The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.

“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.

It is all quite a step up from the square knot.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out “active shooters,” like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.
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Roberta McCain: Limbaugh "Does Not Represent The Republican Party That I Belong To"

Roberta McCain: Limbaugh "Does Not Represent The Republican Party That I Belong To" (VIDEO)

John McCain's mother, Roberta McCain, lashed out at Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday night on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. The outspoken 97-year-old said Limbaugh has "nothing to do" with the Republican party.

Mrs. McCain was a regular presence on her son's presidential campaign. During that time, Limbaugh and Senator McCain clashed more than once, with Limbaugh often attacking the Arizona senator on his radio show, branding him a "liberal" and urging his listeners to vote against him.

More recently, Limbaugh said McCain and his daughter, Meghan -- who's become something of a Republican pundit lately -- should take Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter's lead and leave the GOP.

The elder Mrs. McCain told Leno she "belongs to the Republican party," but thinks Limbaugh "has nothing to do" with it:

"I belong to the Republican Party. What [Limbaugh] represents of the Republican Party has nothing to do with my side of it. I don't know what the man means, I don't know what he's talking about."

During the brief late night interview, McCain also said she agrees with RNC Chairman Michael Steele's characterization of Limbaugh as an "entertainer."

"I think [Steele] was exactly right when he defined this man as an entertainer. To my horror, the Republican Party made him back up on it."

coming soon, Limbaugh will go against old lady because he is a heartless bastard...

Wingnut Senate Candidate Calls Chuck Schumer ‘That Jew’

Wingnut Senate Candidate Calls Chuck Schumer ‘That Jew’

Arkansas state Sen. Kim Hendren (Wingnut) wants to be a real-life senator in Washington, so he described Chuck Schumer to some local wingnut group as “that Jew.” But he didn’t mean anything by it! Schumer’s a Jew, after all. Just making note of the facts! “I ought not to have referred to it at all,” Hendren told the AP. “When I referred to him as Jewish, it wasn’t because I don’t like Jewish people. I shouldn’t have gotten into this Jewish business because it distracts from the issue.” Well said! [New York Daily News]

The Democrats want to kill us all, according to Jim DeMint

This just came into my Inbox, and I had to share this special moment...

It is now clear that Congress and the president’s top priority for 2009 is health care reform. Since the collapse of Hillary-Care in 1994, Democrats have been working to re-plan and re-package a government takeover of your health insurance.

This year, they’re hoping to get their chance. Last month, Senator Ted Kennedy offered a glimpse of what they have in mind when called for the creation an optional, “public health insurance plan, where coverage is provided in the public interest.”

That may sound nice, but in one sentence, it describes everything that is wrong with a government take-over of American health care.

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NH Gov Lynch Says He Will Sign Marriage Bill

[I'm a die-hard NY Yankees fan, but right now I love New England]

NH gov will sign gay marriage bill if it's changed

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch says he will sign a bill to make his state the sixth to legalize gay marriage, but only if it strengthens protections for churches opposed to gay marriage.


Associated Press Writer

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch says he will sign a bill to make his state the sixth to legalize gay marriage, but only if it strengthens protections for churches opposed to gay marriage.

The bill has been passed by the Legislature, but hasn't yet reached Lynch's desk.

It would allow churches to decide whether they will conduct religious marriages for same-sex couples. But Lynch said Thursday he wants clearer language to ensure that people won't be forced to violate their religious principles. He says laws in Connecticut and Vermont do that.

The >only other New England state not committed to recognizing same-sex marriage is Rhode Island. It's also legal in Iowa.


Glad to see NY is attempting progress; wishing NJ would hurry the hell up, but as I said the other day, since we already have civil unions people aren't gonna wanna pay taxes to have to update the forms since the state's near broke already
blog about this

(no subject)

CIA rebuffs Cheney over interrogation documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA Thursday rejected a request by former Vice President Dick Cheney that it make public documents that he said showed the effectiveness of using harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects.

Cheney had asked the agency to declassify two memos that he believes back up his contention that useful intelligence was gained through such methods. The Bush administration authorized the use of waterboarding, sleep and food deprivation and forced nudity as it sought information after the September 11 attacks.

The CIA said the two memos Cheney asked to be made public were relevant to pending litigation.

"For that reason -- and that reason only -- CIA did not accept Mr. Cheney's request for a Mandatory Declassification Review," Paul Gimigliano, CIA spokesman, said.

A spokeswoman for Cheney, who has become the most public defender of much of key aspects of George W. Bush's presidency that ended in January, said he was preparing an appeal.

He has been involved in an increasingly contentious battle with the Obama administration over the interrogation program, whose disclosure prompted international anger and undermined the United States' reputation around the world.

In one of his first acts as president, President Barack Obama ordered more humane treatment for terrorism suspects.

Obama called waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, a form of torture and has not ruled out prosecution of those Bush administration officials who authorized it.

Cheney criticized Obama's decision last month to release legal opinions prepared during the Bush administration which justified the use of the techniques, employed against some caught in Bush's declared war against terrorism after the Sept 11 attacks.


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Crazy-eyes cat

Myanmar opposition leader to go on trial again

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thu May 14, 11:49 am ET

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar's Nobel Prize-winning pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced new charges Thursday less than two weeks before her house arrest was due to end after an American man swam across a lake and entered her home, her lawyer said.

Supporters accused the military government of using the incident to keep her in detention ahead of general elections scheduled next year.

Suu Kyi, whose detention was set to end May 27, could face a prison term of up to five years if convicted, said lawyer Hla Myo Myint. The trial is scheduled to start Monday at a special court at Yangon's notorious Insein Prison, where she was arraigned Thursday.

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Road to Ruin: Mortgage Fraud Scandal Brewing

Road to Ruin: Mortgage Fraud Scandal Brewing

Criminal fraud may be the most under-reported aspect of our current financial crisis. In this "Road to Ruin" report, former subprime lenders from Ameriquest, once the country's largest lender, describe a system rife with fraud. They describe how a "by-any-means-necessary" policy pushed employees to cut corners and falsify documents on bad mortgages and then sell the toxic assets to Wall Street banks eager to make fast profits.



Pakistani Women Protest Taliban But Support Islamic Law

Pakistani Women Protest Taliban But Support Islamic Law (VIDEO)

In February, the now-famous video of a young woman being flogged by Taliban brought women in cities across Pakistan into the streets in protest.

Soon after, Islamic law (Sharia) was imposed in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Last week, as President Zardari met with Obama and the Pakistani army bombed Taliban strongholds in the Northwest, another front was taking shape: a civil society movement of Pakistani women protesting "Talibanization." More and more they are taking to the streets, as in this march in Karachi.

These middle and upper-class women of Pakistan's bustling cities, long accustomed to their secularized freedoms, have much to fear.
But is it Sharia? Ashfaq Yusufzai an Inter Press Service correspondent, reports that Muslim Khan, the Taliban's spokesperson in Swat, said, 'Female education is against Islam. They (women and girls) are required to sit at home and not venture out.' Yusufzai notes that, 'a total 188 girls' schools and 97 boys' schools were destroyed by Taliban since late 2007.'
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Half of Israelis unhappy with Netanyahu: poll

Half of Israelis unhappy with Netanyahu: poll

Half of Israeli voters are unhappy with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he agreed tax hikes and spending cuts in a two-year budget, according to a poll on Channel 10 network on Thursday.

Some 48 percent of people questioned said they were "unhappy with his conduct" of government business while 26 percent had a positive opinion and 26 percent had no view, the television station reported.

The figures revealed a sharp downturn from the previous poll two weeks ago when a majority of those interviewed said they were satisfied with the right-wing premier, who will fly to the United States on Sunday for his first meeting with President Barack Obama.

After tough negotiations, the government on Wednesday adopted a 2009 and 2010 budget including an increase in VAT and cuts in spending by various ministries, though defence funding is little affected.
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Iran's missiles not an existential threat, study says

Iran is currently capable of carrying out a conventional missile attack on Israel - a substantial but not existential threat, say two Israeli analysts who will present their research on Tehran's missile capacity tomorrow. The analysts consider Iran's missile arsenal its main deterrent and describe the country's significant investments in the area.

The research was carried out by Uzi Rubin, former head of the Defense Ministry's Homa Project (code for the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system), and Tal Inbar, head of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.
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Death to Potatoes!!

Spuds of wrath: potatoes-for-votes protest blights Iranian election

For 30 years it has been the signature slogan of Iran's revolutionary lexicon, swearing an oath of death upon America, Britain, Israel, Saddam Hussein and sundry other presumed enemies.

Now the once chilling "death to" chant, an expression of zealous radicalism still heard at Friday prayers and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rallies, has been unleashed on a new and unlikely object of wrath: the potato.

"Death to potatoes" ("marg bar sibzamini" in Farsi) has been adopted as a mantra by anti-Ahmadinejad campaigners in Iran's forthcoming presidential ­election. Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who has positioned himself to woo the reformist vote, chanted the slogan this week at a rally in Yasouj in central Iran.

Demonstrators were rallying against the government's policy of giving away free potatoes in what Ahmadinejad's opponents brand a blatant attempt to buy votes and distract attention from an economy blighted by high inflation and rising unemployment.
Ahmadinejad's presidency has been marked by discontent over the increasing cost of basic food and vegetables.

Officials say the great potato giveaway was prompted by a surplus resulting from a bumper crop.
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Pentagon Preps Soldier Telepathy Push

Pentagon Preps Soldier Telepathy Push

Forget the battlefield radios, the combat PDAs or even infantry hand signals. When the soldiers of the future want to communicate, they’ll read each other’s minds.

At least, that’s the hope of researchers at the Pentagon’s mad-science division Darpa. The agency’s budget for the next fiscal year includes $4 million to start up a program called Silent Talk. The goal is to “allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals.” That’s on top of the $4 million the Army handed out last year to the University of California to investigate the potential for computer-mediated telepathy.

Before being vocalized, speech exists as word-specific neural signals in the mind. Darpa wants to develop technology that would detect these signals of  “pre-speech,” analyze them, and then transmit the statement to an intended interlocutor. Darpa plans to use EEG to read the brain waves. It’s a technique they’re also testing in a project to devise mind-reading binoculars that alert soldiers to threats faster the conscious mind can process them.


The project has three major goals, according to Darpa. First, try to map a person’s EEG patterns to his or her individual words. Then, see if those patterns are generalizable — if everyone has similar patterns. Last, “construct a fieldable pre-prototype that would decode the signal and transmit over a limited range.”

The military has been funding a handful of  mind-tapping technology recently, and already have monkeys capable of telepathic limb control. Telepathy may also have advantages beyond covert battlefield chatter. Last year, the National Research Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency released a report suggesting that neuroscience might also be useful to “make the enemy obey our commands.” The first step, though, may be getting a grunt to obey his officer’s remotely-transmitted thoughts.

arrow: felicity smoak

UND dumping 'Fighting Sioux' mascot. FINALLY.

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education has agreed to drop the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo, a move intended to resolve a decades-long campus dispute about whether the name demeans American Indians.

The name and logo, which is a profile of an American Indian man with feathers and streaks of paint on his face, could still be saved if North Dakota's Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux tribes agree by Oct. 1 to give the university permission to use them for at least 30 years.

However, tribal officials say that possibility is remote. Unless the name and logo receive tribal endorsement, they will be retired for good on Aug. 1, 2010.

The board, which met Thursday at Dickinson State University, voted 8-0 to retire the logo and nickname. UND President Robert Kelley began making plans for replacements.

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EDIT: Source.

After secretive meeting with Obama, Krugman counsels President of Taiwan

There, he just blogged about it! HAPPY!?

A few weeks after dining with Obama at the White House, Paul Krugman was invited to Taiwan for a similar, less secretive, discussion.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou asks Paul Krugman for economic cure
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2009-05-14 08:22 PM

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou asked Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman for advice Thursday on how to cure Taiwan’s economic ills.

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You can't be...

Published: May 13, 2009

IMPERIAL, Calif. — Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.

The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.

“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.

It is all quite a step up from the square knot.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”


...serious. Um, really? Uh, no. No. Not really. Didn't think so.
MISC - moustache

Wisconsin high court to review 2006 gay marriage ban

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed Thursday to decide whether the state's 2006 ban on gay marriage was properly put to voters.

The court will review a challenge by political science instructor William McConkey, who claims the referendum on the constitutional amendment illegally put two questions to voters: whether to ban gay marriage and whether to outlaw civil unions. The state constitution limits referendums to a single subject.

A Dane County judge upheld the referendum last year, and the Baileys Harbor man appealed that ruling. Last month, the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals asked the high court to take the case immediately because of its statewide significance.

Justices announced Thursday they decided to take the case and gave lawyers 30 days to file initial briefs. Oral arguments are not yet scheduled but are expected this fall, with a decision potentially before the end of the year.

Fair Wisconsin, the state's largest gay rights group, praised the court's decision to take the case.

"The constitutional amendment is definitely something we see as a stain on the constitution. It sort of enshrines discrimination," said its legislative director, Katie Belanger. "We are really looking forward to the Supreme Court making a fair decision about whether or not the amendment was put to the people in the legal and constitutional way."

A spokesman for Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen pledged a vigorous legal defense of the amendment, which was approved by nearly 60 percent of voters.

"We have defended the voter's choice, and we will continue to do so," Bill Cosh said.

A ruling striking down the amendment would not legalize same-sex marriage because state law still defines marriage as a union between husband and wife. However, it could pave the way for lawmakers to eventually allow it, or for advocates to file lawsuits seeking that right.

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&#39; jules

Sometimes Google Image Search is good to me.

Olbermann vs. Maddow: It's On!

Did Keith Olbermann create a monster when he got Rachel Maddow her own show on MSNBC?

Olbermann's boosterism was essential to Maddow getting her MSNBC gig; her regular fill-in role on Countdown basically served as a try-out. When Maddow launched, Olbermann offered a fulsome, heartfelt welcome to his new ideological soulmate and participated in lengthy throws between his show and hers to shepherd his audience to her. It was a master-apprentice relationship, with the magnanimous and successful Olbermann lending a hand to a bright new upstart. What could go wrong?

Well, Olbermann has a bit of an ego, doesn't he? As we noted earlier today, he has said it "fires on all cylinders," and described it as a "personality disorder" that can be useful in his business. So when young grasshopper beats your show in the ratings, and becomes a star in her own right, maybe that old competitive instinct that got you this far kicks in. Perhaps a friendly rivalry develops. Maybe you start to feel a little bit more secure about your status once Saturday Night Live deems you worthy of an impersonation by none other than Ben Affleck. Don't worry, Old Boy, you've still got it!

And then Ben Affleck goes on his publicity tour for State of Play, and of course he'll come by Countdown so he can talk about what it's like to impersonate you, right? He's yours. It just makes sense. Where else would he go? What? Rachel? You made Rachel. Surely she'd defer to your seniority in this special instance and back off. She won't? Well, you are the top dog here at MSNBC, and it's unfortunate that you have to pull rank, but if she won't back down you'll just have to go up the chain of command, then. What? Phil Griffin won't sort this out for you? Well...well... fine then!

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Panicked denials in 3... 2... 1...

ETA: Gawker responds to Olbermann's denial: "Keith Olbermann's Ego Trumps the Truth"
blue, the national

Going Dutch: How I Learned to Love the European Welfare State

Going Dutch

Published: April 29, 2009
PICTURE ME, IF YOU WILL, as I settle at my desk to begin my workday, and feel free to use a Vermeer image as your template. The pale-yellow light that gives Dutch paintings their special glow suffuses the room. The interior is simple, with high walls and beams across the ceiling. The view through the windows of the 17th-century house in which I have my apartment is of similarly gabled buildings lining the other side of one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals. Only instead of a plump maid or a raffish soldier at the center of the canvas, you should substitute a sleep-rumpled writer squinting at a laptop.

For 18 months now I’ve been playing the part of the American in Holland, alternately settling into or bristling against the European way of life. Many of the features of that life are enriching. History echoes from every edifice as you move through your day. The bicycle is not a means of recreation but a genuine form of transportation. A nearby movie house sells not popcorn but demitasses of espresso and glasses of Dutch gin from behind a wood-paneled bar, which somehow makes you feel sane and adult and enfolded in civilization.

Then there are the features of European life that grate on an American sensibility, like the three-inch leeway that drivers deign to grant you on the highway, or the cling film you get from the supermarket, which clings only to itself. But such annoyances pale in comparison to one other. For the first few months I was haunted by a number: 52. It reverberated in my head; I felt myself a prisoner trying to escape its bars. For it represents the rate at which the income I earn, as a writer and as the director of an institute, is to be taxed. To be plain: more than half of my modest haul, I learned on arrival, was to be swallowed by the Dutch welfare state. Nothing in my time here has made me feel so much like an American as my reaction to this number. I am politically left of center in most ways, but from the time 52 entered my brain, I felt a chorus of voices rise up within my soul, none of which I knew I had internalized, each a ghostly simulacrum of a right-wing, supply-side icon: Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Rush Limbaugh. The grim words this chorus chanted in defense of my hard-earned income I recognized as copied from Charlton Heston’s N.R.A. rallying cry about prying his gun from his cold, dead hands.

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I'm not sure if this has been posted before, but it's a very intruiguing article.  I didn't bold anything because it's long and I'm pressed on time, but the whole thing is worth reading.

blue, the national

Norway Thrives By Going Against the Tide

Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson

OSLO — When capitalism seemed on the verge of collapse last fall, Kristin Halvorsen, Norway’s Socialist finance minister and a longtime free market skeptic, did more than crow.

As investors the world over sold in a panic, she bucked the tide, authorizing Norway’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund to ramp up its stock buying program by $60 billion — or about 23 percent of Norway ’s economic output.

“The timing was not that bad,” Ms. Halvorsen said, smiling with satisfaction over the broad worldwide market rally that began in early March.
The global financial crisis has brought low the economies of just about every country on earth. But not Norway.

With a quirky contrariness as deeply etched in the national character as the fjords carved into its rugged landscape, Norway has thrived by going its own way. When others splurged, it saved. When others sought to limit the role of government, Norway strengthened its cradle-to-grave welfare state.

And in the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent and its ledger is entirely free of debt.

By comparison, the United States is expected to chalk up a fiscal deficit this year equal to 12.9 percent of its gross domestic product and push its total debt to $11 trillion, or 65 percent of the size of its economy.

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I admit I lol'd at the bit about the drug addict.  Oh Norway, don't you ever change.

blue, the national

Abuse photos put U.S. in 'double catch-22'

Abuse photos put U.S. in 'double catch-22'

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The one-star general almost yells when asked to talk about the infamous Abu Ghraib photos showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees.

"If we had had a company commander doing what he was supposed to be doing, a battalion commander doing what he was supposed to be doing ..." Brig. Gen. David Quantock said.

He carried on -- growing more and more angry. So the next obvious question was, "It makes you angry?"

"It does make me angry," he said. "Because I think we lost a lot of American lives because of those photos."

And there it is -- the issue of detainee abuse and what the U.S. military struggles with, and has struggled with, since the release of those photos in 2004, some of which showed naked prisoners being humiliated, stacked in piles or subjected to mock torture.

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IMHO, Obama's decision to stop the release of the photos was a horrible idea, but this article, despite its brevity, might provide some perspective.

blue, the national

'Slumdog Millionaire' child star's 'illegal' home demolished

'Slumdog Millionaire' child star's 'illegal' home demolished

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- "Slumdog Millionaire" leaves audiences uplifted. But that is hardly how one of its child stars felt on Thursday.

Despite the hit movie's mega-millions in box-office receipts, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail's life changed little after he returned home to Mumbai, India's, Garib Nagar, or city of the poor.

On Thursday, even the roof over the real-life slum dweller's head was taken away as Indian authorities tore down the shanty where Ismail's family lived.

Authorities said the home and about 20 others around it were illegally built.

Senior Inspector Rahim Sheikh told CNN that the shanties were brought down as part of a municipal drive to clear encroachments on public land. Bulldozers leveled the slum built on a municipal garden, said Sheikh, who is in charge of the locality in Mumbai where Ismail lived.

The little boy sat among twisted corrugated metal and other debris, surrounded by filth and squalor. Memories of Hollywood's glitz and glitter were distant as tears streamed down his face.


He said his family was given no notice of the demolition and did not have time to remove their belongings. But, they said, they plan to return and rebuild.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is the story of Jamal, an impoverished, uneducated teen who competes on an Indian game show. Ismail, who played a young Jamal's brother, Salim, traveled to Los Angeles, California, in February for this year's Academy Awards, where the movie won eight Oscars, including best picture.


It just keeps getting worse for these kids, doesn't it?