May 26th, 2009

Oh...North Korea is throwing a fit again!

North Korea 'fires more missiles'

North Korea has test-fired two more missiles, hours after the UN Security Council unanimously condemned its nuclear test, South Korean reports say.

The communist state fired two short-range missiles off an east coast base, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an official.

The move came as UN diplomats began work on a resolution to punish North Korea for its underground nuclear test.

Diplomats said they were seeking "tough measures", including further sanctions.

Mondays's nuclear test was accompanied by at least three missile tests.

The latest tests on Tuesday involved one surface-to-air missile and one ground-to-air missile, Yonhap said.

They came amid widespread international concern over Pyongyang's activities.

Late on Monday US President Barack Obama spoke to the leaders of both Japan and South Korea to assure them of America's commitment to security in North-East Asia.


Justice Dept. cracking down on corporations who bribe foreign govts. for trade deals

I love the smell of free markets in the morning.

Excerpt "U.S. Cracks Down on Corporate Bribes" from @ Wall Street Journal

The crackdown under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA -- a post-Watergate law largely dormant for decades -- now extends across five continents and penetrates entire industries, including energy and medical devices. Among the companies currently under Justice Department review: Sun Microsystems Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, according to the companies' disclosures.

At least 120 companies are under investigation, according to Mark Mendelsohn, a deputy chief in the Justice Department division overseeing the prosecutions, up from 100 at the end of last year.


In February, energy companies Kellogg Brown & Root LLC and its former parent, Halliburton Co., agreed to pay a total of $579 million for U.S. charges involving bribery of officials in Nigeria. KBR pleaded guilty to charges involved in the case. As part of the settlement, the federal government agreed not to prosecute Halliburton.

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Also, PBS' Frontline has a series on corporate bribery of foreign governments, HERE.

Bush Had Gog and Magog, Bibi Has Amalek

Bush Had Gog and Magog, Bibi Has Amalek

May 25th, 2009 by Richard Silverstein writes: 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers the lifting of the Iranian nuclear threat his life’s mission. Before coming to power, he had mentioned that such an operation might cost thousands of lives, but the price was justified in view of the threat’s severity.

–Aluf Benn, Haaretz

My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israelthe leadership’s job is to eliminate the danger. Who will eliminate it? It is us or no one.”

–Bibi Netanyahu quoted in Haaretz

Recently, Jacques Chirac confirmed that George Bush, in telephone calls leading up the Iraq war, attempted to persuade France to join the coalition of the willing by invoking the Biblical war of Gog and Magog.  While Americans generally knew their president had a evangelical zeal in both his religious beliefs and political stances, even this revelation takes our breath away.  So saith George, the Lord’s avenger:

“This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”…

Bush had reportedly said to the Palestinian foreign minister that he was on “a mission from God” in launching the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and was receiving commands from the Lord.

We didn’t know just how far gone this man was in his religious fanaticism.

The closest political leader to Bush on today’s political stage is Bibi Netanyahu, as the above Haaretz passages make clear.  In addition, there are Bibi’s references to Iran being Amalek, implying Israel’s duty to smite the mullahs a terrible blow lest they first strike Israel in an nuclear attack.

There is always a question, when considering the words of Israeli politicians, of sincerity and conviction.  Unlike politicians of other western democracies, Israel’s tend to bend and sway with the political winds.  What a politician says on any given day could be annulled or modified on the next day–or even the next hour.  So how much Bibi believes in what he is saying about Iran and how much is political posturing is an open question.

But Aluf Benn credits Bibi with firmly held beliefs as does Jeffrey Goldberg (not that Goldberg is my arbiter of truth by any means).  So we must at least credit some conviction to Bibi.  In doing so, we have to concede that the fervor with which he leads Israel to war against Iran is frightening in the extreme.

We have the example of George Bush to guide us.  He too believed he was on a mission from the Lord to tidy up the Middle East.  What good did such religious fanaticism do him?  What good will similar zeal do Netanyahu?  Aren’t we more likely to end up after an Israeli attack on Iran with the same mess to clean up as the one Bush left in Iraq?

And haven’t we learned any lessons about those who allow religion to drive political decisions?  Think West Bank settlers, the Taliban, the Terry Schiavo debacle, etc.  This ends up giving a bad name to religion AND politics.  I’d much rather enjoy my religion and my politics in separate courses, rather than on the same plate.

White "suburban survivalists" stock up for apocalypse in Obama era

Crisis spurs spike in 'suburban survivalists'

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer
Mon May 25, 1:37 pm ET

SAN DIEGO – Six months ago, Jim Wiseman didn't even have a spare nutrition bar in his kitchen cabinet.

Now, the 54-year-old businessman and father of five has a backup generator, a water filter, a grain mill and a 4-foot-tall pile of emergency food tucked in his home in the expensive San Diego suburb of La Jolla.

Wiseman isn't alone. Emergency supply retailers and military surplus stores nationwide have seen business boom in the past few months as an increasing number of Americans spooked by the economy rush to stock up on gear that was once the domain of hardcore survivalists.

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hard as rocks

Prop 8 Upheld =(

California Supreme Court upholds same-sex marriage ban; lets stand existing gay unions

Posted: 05/26/2009 10:06:30 AM PDT
Updated: 05/26/2009 10:06:32 AM PDT


The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, the voter-approved law restoring a ban on same-sex marriages in the state, but at the same time left intact the more than 18,000 marriages for gay and lesbian couples who wed last year before the ballot measure went into effect.

The Supreme Court's decision puts California in unusual territory for the time being, establishing a two-tiered system of marriage across the state for same-sex couples. Under the ruling, Proposition 8 will continue to outlaw same-sex marriage in the future, but those gay and lesbian couples who got their marriage licenses before last November's election will remain on equal legal footing with heterosexual couples.

The 6-1 decision to uphold Prop 8 was widely expected by legal experts, as it was considered unlikely the justices would have the legal authority to overturn a voter-approved amendment to the California constitution. Only Justice Carlos Moreno voted to strike down Prop 8.

The ruling is likely to shift the battleground over gay marriage back to the political arena, as gay rights advocates already are mobilizing to push another ballot measure to erase Prop 8, approved by voters by a 52 to 48 percent margin.

Civil rights groups are hopeful they can duplicate the political momentum they've gain on the East Coast, where a number of states have moved in recent months to legalize gay marriage.

For the state Supreme Court, today's ruling rested on ery different issues than what the justices considered last May, when they overturned California's previous ban on gay marriage in a historic ruling that rocked the state and sent thousands of same-sex couples scrambling to the altar. In that 4-3 decision, the court concluded that a ballot measure and family law statute outlawing same-sex marriage violated the California constitution's equal protection guarantees for gays and lesbians by depriving them of the equal right to marry.

But Prop 8 altered the legal debate because it actually amended the state constitution itself, the ultimate trump card against Supreme Court intervention.

A number of local governments, including San Francisco and Santa Clara County, challenged the measure, along with civil rights groups and same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. The central argument was that Prop 8 amounted to an improper method of amending the California constitution, and that it unfairly targeted a minority group by taking away the right to marry.

Attorney General Jerry Brown went further, arguing that Prop 8 should be invalidated because it conflicted directly with last year's state Supreme Court ruling finding a gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

Prop 8 supporters defended the law, arguing that the Supreme Court should not tamper with a voter-approved amendment to the constitution. Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater special prosecutor and now dean of Pepperdine University law school, led the defense of the ballot measure in court.


GOP accidentally leaks their own Sotomayor talking points memo

Here is the script of pre-fabricated talking points the GOP is sending to talk show hosts and congressmen. The memo also has marching orders for Republicans at the beginning. Unfortunately they copied in members of the media when they emailed this.

Here's an excerpt:

o Justice Souter's retirement could move the Court to the left and provide a critical fifth vote for:

o Further eroding the rights of the unborn and property owners;

o Imposing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage;

o Stripping "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance and completely secularizing the public square;

o Abolishing the death penalty;

o Judicial micromanagement of the government's war powers.

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Queen Francoise

Seriously, I hope his kidneys fail.

Limbaugh on Sotomayor: "I want her to fail"

True to form, Rush Limbaugh today said he hopes Sonia Sotomayor fails.
Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge who was first appointed to the bench by Republican George H. W. Bush, is President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. Her nomination was announced at a press conference this morning. Hours later, Limbaugh was lashing out on his radio show:
Do I want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes. She'd be a disaster on the Court.

Do I still want to Obama to fail as President? Yeah, -- AP, you getting this?

He's gonna fail anyway, but the sooner the better here so that as little damage can be done to the country.

onward and upward!, retro girl!

I bet Huckabella doesn't feel so pretty now.

Huck comes out firing — at 'Maria' Sotomayor

Mike Huckabee comes out hard against the Sonia Sotomayor appointment, with a bit of a misfire as concerns her name:

The appointment of Maria Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is the clearest indication yet that President Obama's campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bipartisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift. The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the "feelings" of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.

(The error was promptly corrected.)

asoneill - Yahoo Me

On the Heels of California...

Bill to define marriage in DC introduced in House

WASHINGTON – A Republican-led group of lawmakers wants to define marriage in the District of Columbia as between a man and a woman.

The group introduced a bill in the House on Thursday, hoping to thwart a city council vote this month recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Five states — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont — allow gay marriage.

Congress, which has final say over laws in the nation's capital, has until July to act against the district measure. Otherwise, it automatically becomes law. Some council members have said the legislation is the first step toward eventually allowing gay marriage in Washington.

More than 30 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of the House bill, said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. However, all but two are Republicans, and it will be a fight to get the bill approved in a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

Obama publicly supports civil unions and believes states should be allowed to make their own decisions about marriage.


Colin Powell And The Failure Of Moderate Republicanism

Colin Powell doesn't get it.

Neither do moderate Republicans, which is why there are an increasingly fewer number of them left.

Let's start with Powell's recent statement on Face the Nation that his late friend Jack Kemp "was as conservative as anybody" and believed in "reaching out." So far, so good. Correct on both counts. Kemp was a proud conservative and did indeed believe in reaching out. He not only believed these things, he lived them. A generation of passionately inspired conservatives are part of the Kemp -- and Ronald Reagan -- legacy.

Then Powell added this: Jack Kemp believed in "sharing the wealth of the country not only with the rich, but with those who are least advantaged in our society."

Stop right there, General. Respectfully, this is as false as it can be. It's like describing the 90 degree heat on the Fourth of July as a February blizzard with temperatures of 50 below freezing. Jack Kemp believed no such thing.

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I definitely agree with this analysis. I don't mind moderate Republicans as long they aren't moderate when it comes to economics. At the same time though, the GOP needs to do a much better job with bridging the two groups together. What do you think about this?
Fuck you releases statement on court decision to uphodl only half of prop 8

'An arm and a leg cut off marriage'

Sacramento, California -- Today's ruling by the California Supreme Court that some 18,000 homosexual "marriages" are valid, despite the vote of the people to prohibit such legal recognition, has frustrated and disappointed pro-family citizens who voted for true protection of marriage licenses for a man and a woman.

"While it was good that the majority of the justices ruled only man-woman marriages could be performed after Prop. 8 passed, it's wrong and unconstitutional for the judges to permit counterfeit marriages in clear violation of Prop. 8," said Randy Thomasson, president of, a statewide pro-family organization that has been fighting for natural marriage in California for more than a decade. "An arm and a leg have been cut off the natural institution of marriage in California."

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Aneesa does not approve of this fuckery, though I'm happy Savemarriage didn't get everything they wanted.
  • bispo

Portman pays visit to VA on eve of holiday

DAYTON — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman stopped at the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Sunday, May 24, to “meet and greet” veterans at the Patriot Freedom Festival, but was quickly informed by VA officials that campaigning on federal property is illegal.

Portman, who was accompanied by his teenage son, Will, as well as his campaign manager, said he wasn’t seeking votes at the VA, but was simply there to talk to veterans about their needs and concerns.

“I will be a champion for this facility if I’m elected,” Portman told a reporter as he left the VA grounds.

Several veterans told Portman that they were concerned about cuts to the VA budget during the Bush administration when Portman was head of the White House Office of Management and Budget. The OMB has broad financial management power as well as the responsibility of preparing the executive budget.

Jim Crane, a former national officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told Portman that during the last four years, veterans have seen the processing time for veterans to qualify for VA health care benefits increase from 70 days to more than 300 days. He also said the VA mental health clinic is no longer staffed on weekends because of a lack of funding.

Obama appointed a new VA national administrator earlier this year, Eric K. Shinseki, and has proposed a VA budget of $113 billion for 2010, a $15 billion increase from the 2009 budget. The request calls for $52.5 billion in funding for VA medical care, an increase of $4.9 billion over 2009 funding levels, or 10.3 percent, according to, a Web site devoted to military and veterans benefits.
Redheads do it best.

Democracy Wins in California

by Rod Dreher

Whatever you think of Prop 8, I don't see how you can disagree with the decision of the California Supreme Court to uphold it. For a court to have nullified a constitutional amendment ratified by a popular vote, and to have done so on a legal technicality, would have been a terrible thing for the democratic process, and the system's legitimacy. Note well that the same court that ruled same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage ruled 6 to 1 that they no longer do -- which, of course, they don't, the constitution having been amended by Prop 8. I'm surprised by how many people don't realize that the amendment process is how our system provides a check-and-balance to the courts.

In our system, either the people have the right to amend their own constitution, or they don't. If we do not, then we live under judicial tyranny, full stop. The right to amend the constitution doesn't mean we will always do so wisely. But it's dangerous to believe that fundamental right should be taken away from a sovereign people because you don't like the decision the people have made.

Keep in mind that today's decision was not about the ultimate justice of same-sex marriage. It was about how California's constitution works. The justices have made clear that they believed under the previous California constitution, there was an inherent right to same-sex marriage. The voters of California changed the constitution when they voted Prop 8. Perhaps they made a mistake. But it was a constitutionally permissible mistake, the High Court now says. Note too that the plaintiffs were arguing for Prop 8 to be overturned on a legal technicality. There is simply no basis in constitutional law for having a constitutional amendment overturned because it conflicts with a previous understanding of the constitution by the court.

Now the pro-SSM folks will work hard to get a pro-SSM amendment on a future California ballot. And if the people pass that one, overturning Prop 8, fine. I think they're wrong, but the people will have spoken, and done so in the most serious possible way: via a constitutional amendment. That's how it works in our system. You've got a better one in mind?


As much as I disagree with Prop. 8, I gotta agree with this. As a judge, I'd have ruled the same. It's how the law works, sorry to say.

Liberty University Democrats: Why They Were Silenced, And What It Means

Liberty University Democrats: Why They Were Silenced, And What It Means

Last week, Liberty University - the evangelical Christian mega-college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell - made the national news when, while implementing a new funding scheme for student organizations, it revoked approval for the campus Democratic organization.

Liberty's Young Democrats club - the first in school history - was formed during last fall's election season, and was given an award for "Up-and-Coming Chapter of the Year" by the Virginia Young Democrats in April. But earlier this month, Liberty VP Mark Hine wrote to club president Brian Diaz that the club's status was being dropped because it had supported candidates whose views were "contrary to the mission of LU and to Christian doctrine," even though the club itself was officially pro-life and anti-gay-marriage. Following a maelstrom of criticism, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. offered to reinstate the club, providing it aligns itself with a pro-life, anti-gay Democratic group, and not the Democratic Party in general. (Which is kind of like saying that you'll allow penguins at your zoo, but not the black-and-white kind that waddle.)

On one level, reading a news story about a fledgling chapter of the Young Democrats having its club status revoked by Liberty University is completely unsurprising. After all, since its founding in 1971, Liberty's mission has always been to cultivate generations of conservative Christian voters and activists. Before his death, Rev. Falwell often said that he wanted his school to be the "Harvard of the right," and to this day, Liberty's official brochure touts the school's "strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America's economic system of free enterprise."
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Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney For Torture Speech (VIDEO)

Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney For Torture Speech (VIDEO)

A former top interrogator is responding forcefully to the case Dick Cheney made on Thursday in favor of torture (what the former VP and his allies refer to as "enhanced interrogation methods.")

Brave New Films released a short video Tuesday of Matthew Alexander taking apart Cheney's argument piece by piece. Alexander, who uses a pseudonym for security reasons, was a 14-year military interrogator who oversaw more than a thousand interrogations and conducted more than 300 in Iraq himself. He led the interrogation team that scored one of the United States' most high-profile captures, that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and he did it using traditional methods.

Alexander easily takes down Cheney's arguments. The most immediate blow Alexander strikes is, of course, his obvious success, which undercuts Cheney's case for more brutal techniques. Alexander also engages on the level of principle. For Cheney, the suggestion that torture is a poor strategy because it aids terrorist recruitment is nothing more than old-fashioned blame-America-first cowardice.

"After a familiar fashion, it excuses the violent and blames America for the evil that others do," said Cheney.

The president and others who have condemned torture don't say that it "excuses the violent." Rather, they say it makes a violent reaction more likely -- and Alexander backed them up.
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(no subject)

Church of Scientology goes on trial in France
French branch accused of preying on vulnerable people for financial gain in second fraud case in six years

France's Church of Scientology today went on trial on charges of organised fraud in a case that could lead to the nationwide dissolution of the controversial organisation.

The Church's "celebrity centre" spiritual association and its Scientology Freedom Space bookshop in Paris stand accused of targeting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

Six leading members, including the celebrity centre's director, Alain Rosenberg, also face charges of illegally distributing pharmaceuticals.

The case is the second in six years to accuse the French church of fraud. It stems from the testimony of a French woman who filed an official complaint against the organisation in 1998.

Lawyers for Aude-Claire Malton claim Scientologists preyed upon her at a time when she was "very psychologically fragile", pressuring her into spending €21,000 (£18,000) – her life savings – on products including "purification packs" and vitamins.

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I'd definitely would like to see the Church of Scientology finally be held accountable for it's actions. The validity of it as a religion aside, the organization itself exists solely to prey on people.
# what is that?

AH-OOOO-GA *eyes pop out of head, tongue rolls out of mouth, etc*

HOT NEW COUPLE ALERT: Rashida Jones Spotted With Hot Obama Speechwriter

To quote’s favorite movie Coming to America: “Why does she always get the good ones?”

A tipster has just informed us of a hot new celebrity power couple, seen getting close this weekend in Washington D.C.: Parks and Recreations actress Rashida Jones was spotted drinking Friday night with D.C.’s hottest bachelor of the moment, Jon Favreau. No, not the beefy actor seen in your Favreau-te movie of all-time, Rudy, but rather the studly 27-year-old Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama. Yes, that one. For girls who like guys that look good on paper, his Wiki page is basically pornography. Also? He’s hot.

Here’s how it went down: Rashida and Jon were hanging out in an exclusive bar in the Georgetown area (yes, D.C. does have “exclusive places”, unless you’re a WASP, as then the world is your nest.) Our tipster reports that the two were attached at the hip all evening, until they starting making out with each other at the bar. Eventually, they left with one another. We can only assume they did the inevitable… shake hands (hands = genitals.)

The next night, Rashida was spotted looking radiant* (*bc she probs had ess) at the White House Correspondents dinner, while her latest boy toy was likely busy backstage writing one liners for the POTUS. So does this mean Favreau, easily the hottest commodity the East Coast has to offer, has broken up with rumored girlfriend and Maxim model Ali Campoverdi? Well, if that is the case, then allow us to digitally shake his hand (again, genital) and congratulate him on the Upgrade. The jury is still out on whether or not he’s a better catch than J. Krasinski, though. (He probably is.)

Source via ohnotheydidnt and Twitter

This is momentous.

This Blagojevich thing is never going to end is it?

FBI tape: Burris pleads for Senate appointment


Transcripts from a call taped by the FBI show Sen. Roland Burris pleaded to be appointed to the U.S. Senate and promised to "personally do something" in response to a fundraising appeal on behalf of then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The promise came in a phone conversation with Blagojevich's brother, Robert Blagojevich, who led the campaign fund. Burris repeatedly says how much he wants to be appointed to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

In response to an appeal for money from the governor's brother Burris says: "I will personally do something."

The transcript was released Tuesday as part of a motion by the U.S. attorney's office. The U.S. Senate ethics committee is investigating how Burris got his seat.


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