May 28th, 2009


Contractors in fatal shooting say they're scapegoats. "Xe" (aka Blackwater): New Name, same BS...

Contractors in fatal shooting say they're scapegoats

Two U.S. security contractors involved in the shooting death of an Afghan civilian said they were pressured to say they had been drinking in order to protect the company's contract.

"There was no question as to, 'Were you drinking?' It was, 'I know you were drinking, I know this happened,' and then pretty much trying to force us into making a statement on that," Steven McClain told CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" in a story to air on Wednesday.

McClain and Justin Cannon were on their first job with the security company Paravant. The former U.S. military members were hired to help the U.S. Army train Afghan troops.

McClain, Cannon and two other contractors, Armando Hamid and Chris Drotleff, were involved in a shooting in Kabul on May 5 that left an Afghan civilian dead and two wounded. The U.S. military is investigating.

"If you can say that a guy was drunk, you just turned that into a personnel issue," Cannon said.

Paravant is affiliated with Xe, the new company name for the security contractor Blackwater Worldwide. Both Paravant and Xe are owned by Erik Prince.
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survey says: nearly 2/3 of white evangelical Protestants okay with torture

Torture poll shakes up evangelicals
By The Associated Press
Sat. May 23 - 10:12 AM

Among evangelical leaders, debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists has prompted introspection about faith, ethics, the Golden Rule, just wars, Jack Bauer and Jesus.

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The Sick Bastard Rate
Posted by Fred Clark on May 26, 2009 at 02:24 PM

Here's a depressing bit of polling data.

  • 62 percent of white evangelical Protestants said torture of a suspect could be often or sometimes justified.
  • 51 percent of white, non-Hispanic Catholics said torture could be justified.
  • 46 percent of white mainline Protestants were willing to justify torture.
  • 40 percent of the religiously unaffiliated chimed in to agree to justify torture.

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source: AP, Slacktivist
phallic kitty

On Sotomayor, Some Abortion Rights Backers Are Uneasy

Published: May 27, 2009

WASHINGTON — In nearly 11 years as a federal appeals court judge, President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has never directly ruled on whether the Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. But when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents.

Now, some abortion rights advocates are quietly expressing unease that Judge Sotomayor may not be a reliable vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision. In a letter, Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, urged supporters to press senators to demand that Judge Sotomayor reveal her views on privacy rights before any confirmation vote.

“Discussion about Roe v. Wade will — and must — be part of this nomination process,” Ms. Keenan wrote. “As you know, choice hangs in the balance on the Supreme Court as the last two major choice-related cases were decided by a 5-to-4 margin.”

the rest of the article/source

Fury at BNP candidate's claims over Holocaust

28 May 2009
Leaders of Yorkshire's Jewish communities are appalled at a British National Party decision to field a Euro-election candidate who said "dentistry and plastic surgery" were positives to come out of the Holocaust.
Marlene Guest made the comments in a Sky One documentary, BNP Wives, broadcast in January, 2008 when she also attempted to minimise the scale of the Holocaust.

Naming the BNP leader and a notorious neo-Nazi book, she said: "Now Nick Griffin queried numbers... I've read a thing called Did 6 Million Jews Really Die?... If they'd have kept the crematorium going in this little camp for 24/7 for 50 years they still couldn't have burnt that amount of bodies."

Three Jewish community leaders from Leeds, Sheffield and Hull have expressed their horror at Ms Guest's inclusion on the BNP list of candidates for Yorkshire, which is home to dozens of Holocaust survivors

They said in a statement: "We are appalled by the decision of the British National Party to include a candidate on its European election list who claimed on television that "dentistry and plastic surgery" were positives to come out of the Second World War death camps.

"It would seem that beneath the BNP's 'respectable' veneer, neo-Nazi propaganda continues to feature on its members' reading list.

'The Jewish community is used to coping with the denial of the grim reality of the Nazi death camps by a misguided or bigoted few. However we are disturbed to find these views expressed by someone who proposes to represent the people of Yorkshire and make laws on their behalf.

'In a normal democratic party an election candidate who quoted such material would surely be expelled. But the BNP on its website congratulated Marlene Guest on her TV appearance.

"We believe that a party which is so comfortable with neo-Nazi material and denial of the truth of the Holocaust, which decimated Jewish families and communities, is not fit to represent the people of Yorkshire. We call on everyone to go out and vote. A high turnout will ensure that the BNP's message of division and hate is rejected."

Signatories to the statement are Sue Dorsey, president, Leeds Jewish Representative Council; John Speyer, chairman, Sheffield & District Reform Jewish Congregation; Ian Sugarman, chairman, Ne've Shalom, Hull Reform Synagogue.
serenaded by the terror bird
  • 5047

TransLondon announces boycott of Pride London, 2009

In a busy meeting on May 19th, members of TransLondon, London's largest support group for all trans-identified and genderqueer people, voted overwhelmingly for a boycott of the Pride London 2009 march and rally. As a result, for the first time since the group was formed, TransLondon will have no presence in the parade, nor at the rally.

This is part of an ongoing estrangement from Pride. Last year, a successful Pride march was marred at the rally in Trafalgar Square when a number of trans women were denied access to the women's toilets by Pride security stewards. One woman was subsequently sexually assaulted after being told to use the male toilets. Roz Kaveney, one of the women targeted in the 2008 "ToiletGate" incident, explained how she felt Pride London had only ever provided a grudging apology under threat of legal action, and that she felt they had never taken the discrimination against trans women in the 2008 rally seriously.

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I first heard the news via transgender. The fact that discrimination exists within the world of LGBT makes me really angry and sad.


PS. Can we have a transgender tag on this comm? Thank you, mods!

(no subject)

Iraqi Militias Step Up Murders Of Gay Men


ABC News is reporting that six more gay men have been found murdered by Iraqi militias as the genocide of homosexuals there continues.
Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, and police confirmed they found the bodies of four more men, all killed during a 10-day period after an unknown Shiite militia group urged a crackdown on homosexuals in the country. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs believes as many as 30 people have been killed during the last three months because they were -- or were perceived to be -- gay. In a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the human rights group Amnesty International called for "urgent and concerted action" to end the violence against the gay community, the group reported on its Web site.

Two gay men were found elsewhere in Sadr City, alive but bearing the scars of severe torture. They were beaten, their chests showed signs of cigarette burns, and when police found them they were rushed to the hospital. They had been sodomized with iron bars, sources said. Other men said they had had their chests slashed and their nipples cut off.
An Iraqi soldier told ABC: "Two young men were killed Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor." Five coffee shops reported to be gay hangouts have been set on fire in the last ten days.

And our government continues to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.


Dear God, make it stop.

Krikorian: People should stop pronouncing Sotomayor’s name correctly.

Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies Mark Krikorian of the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies blogs on the Corner today about his outrage over people “[d]eferring” to Sotomayor over the “unnatural pronunciation” of her own name:

Deferring to people’s own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent’s simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn’t be giving in to. [...]

[O]ne of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that’s not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there’s a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.

What’s next? Should people with “unnatural” names “adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with“?


Contact your rep about supporting civil unions in Illinois

Civil Unions in Illinois- a letter to my Rep.
by Captain Pants

Thu May 28, 2009 at 05:32:12 AM PDT

The Illinois House is slated to vote on HB2234, a bill that provides the option of civil unions while also protecting religious rights. The final deadline is this 30th. They have pushed this back 3 times because Greg Harris, the bill's author, isn't sure he has all the votes. Many politicians are staying on the fence for as long as possible, as that is the safest place to be. If you are an Illinois resident, please call your representatives and ask them to support this bill.

How to contact your rep.

Below is a letter to my House Representative, who happens to be one of those republicans hanging out on the fence for as long as possible.Collapse )

i want joe biden i need joe biden

Fairfax High School's prom queen is a guy

Sergio Garcia stood in the gymnasium and told the senior class at Fairfax High School not to worry: If he was elected, he wouldn't wear a dress.

"I will be wearing a suit," Garcia said, "but don't be fooled, deep down inside, I am a queen!"

Garcia, 18, spent most of his years at Fairfax openly gay and wanted to be part of the Los Angeles school's prom court -- but not as prom king. He felt that vying for prom queen would better suit his personality, so he decided to seek that crown, running against a handful of female classmates.

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LA Times

Empathy Is A Code Word For Judicial Activism

It's a good thing I Twitterstalk famous Conservatives, because I found this gem of an editorial:


Both President Barack Obama and Republicans get something they want from the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Obama said he wanted to replace Justice David Souter with someone who had "empathy" and who'd temper the court's decisions with a concern for the downtrodden, the powerless and the voiceless.

"Empathy" is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn't pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would generate voter backlash.

There is a certain irony in a president who routinely praises America's commitment to "the rule of law" but who picks Supreme Court nominees for their readiness to discard the rule of law whenever emotion moves them.

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Yeah, I get that Sotomayor is a flaming Liberal, but there's not much the GOP can do about her. At least she's replacing a useless RINO, so the balance of the court stays the same.

Jane Fonda explains famous mug shot on new blog entry

Her entry is here:

May 26, 2009

I have gotten a lot of questions about my mug shot–what’s the story behind it? Is it a real mug shot? So here’s an abbreviated answer:

Late in 1970, I was starting a nationwide speaking tour about the Vietnam War and, in particular, about the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) that some of us were organizing together with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. WSI was to take place in Detroit in early 1971, an American version of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal aiming to prove what soldiers and many of us in the anti-war movement already knew: The My Lai massacre, while greater in numbers of people killed at one time, was not an isolated incident, but a not-uncommon occurrence that was part and parcel of the U.S.’s war strategy.

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  • nikoel

NOM Misspells Marriage in National Ad

How Do You Spell “Marriage”?

by David Badash on May 28, 2009

NOM Airs Ads In NYC, Albany. Spells Marriage Wrong

Conservatives often write gay “marriage” as if it weren’t real, as if it were some sort of liberal oxymoron. Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization for Marriage is airing an anti-gay marriage ad on local New York television and radio stations. Here’s a bit more via The Advocate:

“Think same-sex marriage doesn’t affect your family?” asks the narrator, in twang-inflected speech that sounds curiously out of step for the New York market. “Legalizing gay marriage has consequences for kids.”

The spot, which will run through Sunday in New York City and Albany, aims to tackle arguments that marriage equality will have no impact on religious liberty. It is part of $100,000 of media spending that includes a radio ad. NOM also has paid for automated calls in more than 24 senate districts, and a billboard in Times Square.”

In the ad, NOM didn’t write “marriage” but they did write “marraige”. You’d think Maggie, who reportedly spent over $100,000 of her money (that’ a lot out-of-pocket) would have proofed it first. We all make typos, (myself included) but typos airing in markets of eight million really don’t make one look good. Of course, NOM’s message doesn’t help Conservatives either.

Just curious why this is NOM’s first ad (not including The Gathering Storm) that features African-Americans?


Top 10 Conspiracy Theories

The 10 Most Popular Conspiracy Theories
By Vicki Santillano, Divine Caroline

Posted on May 28, 2009, Printed on May 28, 2009

Agatha Christie once famously said, "The simplest explanation is always the most likely."

However, when something shocking or catastrophic happens in our lives, simple explanations just aren't satisfying. We crave deeper reason and meaning and when that isn't given to us, sometimes we create our own. This is how conspiracy theories are often born -- someone doesn't like the official account of a major event and challenges it with a different version. Conspiracy theories can attract a wide array of people, from vehement supporters to those who just like a good story. Whether they're somewhat believable or completely ridiculous, the most popular conspiracy theories got that way for a reason -- they're just plain fascinating.

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If they did a Top 20, fluoride-in-the-water and "Obama's Birth Certificate" would have to be included. Oh, and also the Navy HAARP "weather control" system..... Oh, and colloidal silver-ingesting, blue-skinned Libertarians would have to be in there somewhere.

Who am I kidding, I love this kind of stuff.
film // fight club // bruises from fight

US to host next G-20 summit in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh is known for steel. For sports. For smoke and smog. For a spectacular downfall. But not often for recovery.

For years, political leaders, community activists and ordinary residents tried to convince the world beyond its three rivers that this former industrial powerhouse was on the rise with an economy built on higher education, medicine and new technology.

From Sept. 24 to 25, it will get a chance to prove its point to the world leaders representing 85 percent of the world's economy. On Thursday, the White House announced that President Barack Obama decided to host the next Group of 20 economic summit in Pittsburgh as a way of illustrating what success can look like.

"This is Pittsburgh's chance to show visitors the world over a first-class time in our first-class city," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama recommended Pittsburgh at the end of the group's April meeting in London, because the city "has seen its share of economic woes in the past, but because of foresight and investment is now renewed, giving birth to renewed industries that are creating the jobs of the future."

Once the American frontier, Pittsburgh emerged from the battles of the French and Indian War 2 1/2 centuries ago.

Strategically located to move goods from east to west, the city at the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers became an industrial superpower, leaving a permanent stamp on steel, coal, glass and aluminum. Money followed, with industrialists from Andrew Carnegie to Henry Clay Frick pouring millions into the city, attracting bankers and culture.

Quaint neighborhoods grew along the rivers for the immigrants who poured into the area to work in the steel mills. Carnegie built museums and universities. Frick planted the seeds for a 561-acre park in his name.

The city's rise was followed by a just-as-spectacular fall.

Beginning in the 1970s and lasting through the 1980s, steel mills in the city and across western Pennsylvania shut down. Businesses and shops that fed off the industries followed suit.

The region lost 150,000 jobs in a decade. Residents fled, and the city's population shrank from 424,000 in 1980 to just over 311,000 today.

Neighborhoods deteriorated. Schools shut down. The city's confidence burst.

But with small, careful steps, the city began to climb out of the abyss in the early 1990s, investing in its universities and health centers.

Pittsburgh is not entirely in the clear — in 2003, the state declared it financially distressed and two quasi-governmental boards oversee its finances — but signs of improvement abound.

Smoke and smog are a thing of the past. The rivers have fish in them again and boats zip along the water, beneath bright, yellow bridges that attract the attention of tourists. An old rail line is now a bike trail connecting Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. A riverfront trail is rapidly developing.

The city's young waterfront convention center, one of the largest environmentally friendly buildings in the United States, will be the spot to showcase it all.

"Perceptions die hard. They really do. Unless people have actually been here and seen it for themselves, the image they have is probably of steel mills," said Dennis Yablonsky, executive director of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and a 56-year-old Pittsburgh native. "The decades of investments ... are starting to pay off."


(no subject)

Anti-Gay "Journalist" Dragged Kicking And Screaming From Air Force One


The Secret Service had to drag Georgia-based "journalist" Brenda Lee (!) away from Air Force One in Los Angeles today when she refused to leave, saying she had to personally deliver a letter to the president urging him "to take a stand for traditional marriage." Lee, who claims she has White House press credentials, said she writes for the Georgia Informer, a Christian website aimed at an African-American readership.

On the Georgia Informer site, however, Lee is identified as Rev. Brenda Lee, where so far I can only find an incomprehensible editorial by her in which she thanks God for not destroying California with an earthquake, despite all the wicked people living there. It also doesn't look like the Georgia Informer site has been updated since last year. Is the good Reverend just another crazy Christianist liar, in addition to being a complete loon?

UPDATE: Ooh, it turns out her official title is Black Catholic Priestess Brenda Lee. From her Prop 8 post of last year:
GOD’S mercy is not everlasting. That is why there is death and hell. Californians will vote Yes on Proposition 8 to establish marriage between a man and woman or they will go down for their wickedness. In November voters all over the United States should demand that its political leaders reconfirm that the United State is a GOD fearing country or it will move closer to becoming a Third World Country. GOD will bring this country to its knees via natural disasters that will turn into financial disasters. From the presidential to local candidates, every politician who stands with and for gay marriage must be defeated in November. And then Americans must make it clear that the president and governors who nominate gay sympathizers to judgeships will be defeated in the next election.
Seriously, read it, it's a hoot. She is so from Crazytown.


(no subject)

PA Newspaper Takes Ad Calling For Assassination Of President Obama


The Warren, Pennsylvania Times-Observer has apologized, saying that the person who approved the ad "didn't recognize the significance of the names" and that they have "notified the authorities." Seriously? Garfield and McKinley...sure. But Lincoln and Kennedy?


(no subject)

May 29, 2009

Sotomayor’s Sharp Tongue Raises Issue of Temperament

WASHINGTON — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, has a blunt and even testy side, and it was on display in December at an argument before the full federal appeals court in New York. The case concerned a Canadian man who said American officials had sent him to Syria to be tortured, and Judge Sotomayor peppered a government lawyer with skeptical questions.

“So the minute the executive raises the specter of foreign policy, national security,” Judge Sotomayor asked the lawyer, Jonathan F. Cohn, “it is the government’s position that that is a license to torture anyone?”

Mr. Cohn managed to get out two and a half words: “No, your hon — .”

Judge Sotomayor cut him off, then hit him with two more questions and a flat declaration of what she said was his position. The lawyer managed to say she was wrong, but could not clarify the point until the chief judge stepped in.


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Tancredo Claims Sotomayor In "Latino KKK" (VIDEO)

Tancredo Claims Sotomayor In "Latino KKK" (VIDEO)

Tom Tancredo, the former Colorado congressman and radical anti-immigration activist, stepped up his attacks on judge Sonia Sotomayor Thursday. Appearing on CNN, Tancredo suggested that Sotomayor's affiliation with the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights group, was equivalent to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

TANCREDO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino -- it's a counterpart -- a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that's going to convince me and a lot of other people that it's got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is "All for the race. Nothing for the rest." What does that tell you?

SANCHEZ: Alright. We're not talking about -- we're not talking about La Raza --

TANCREDO: She's a member! She's a member of La Raza!

The only problem with Tancredo's claim is that "All for the race. Nothing for the rest." is not La Raza's motto. Instead, the group's motto is the utterly uncontroversial "Strengthening America by promoting the advancement of Latino families."

The phrase that Tancredo incorrectly links to Sotomayor is, in fact, found only in the founding documents a wholly different group to which Sotomayor has no known affiliation.

The La Raza claim is just the latest in a series of racially-tinged attacks that conservatives have been making against Sotomayor. On Tuesday, just after President Obama announced Sotomayer's nomination to the Supreme Court, Tancredo told MSNBC's Ed Schultz that Sotomayor has said plenty of "things that are racist."

Indeed, Tancredo, who ran for president in 2008 on an anti-immigration platform, is no stranger to racist comments.
One of his campaign ads suggested that illegal immigrants are likely to be terrorists and he has been behind efforts to deport all illegal immigrants from the country and outlaw immigration to the U.S..


The KKK is now accepting latinos for membership!! They truly are changing now!

Obama: Health Care Reform This Year -- Or Never

Obama: Health Care Reform This Year -- Or Never

President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that if health care reform didn't take place this year, it won't be completed during his presidency.

"We need health care reform legislation that works, that preserves what works about health care, that fixes the things that are broken. And I think the status quo is unacceptable " said the president, on a conference call with volunteers for his leftover campaign arm, Organizing for America. "And we have to get it done this year. If we don't get it done this year we are not going to get it done."

Underscoring the high stakes of the debate, Obama called on his supporters to make the same organizational effort on behalf of health care that they did during the election. There were, he said, few more important issues facing his administration.

"Now we are moving to one of our biggest priorities," he said, "something that all of us on the phone have been talking about since the earliest moments of this campaign... We know what is at stake; we know we need reforms... Americans now spend more on health care than on housing or food."

The conference call, in which Obama participated while onboard Air Force One, is one of several moves on the part of Organizing for America to help set the table for the upcoming battle over health care reform. Organizing for America is also distributing a video message from the president and hosting a kick-off event for its health care reform campaign on June 6.

"This is our big chance to prove that the movement that started during the campaign isn't over, we are just getting started," said Obama. "The election in November -- that didn't bring about change, that just gave us the opportunity for change. So now we are really going to have to re-mobilize. We had a chance to catch our breath after the election. We got a lot of things done in the first four months. But health care, that's a big push."

Earlier in the call, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also addressed the president's volunteers. Stressing the need for door-to-door engagement to help beat back the health care reform cynics and skeptics, saying that "failure it not an option here."

"This is our chance so that 20, 25 years from now, people will look back and say that that moment in time, the president and his supporters met the moment," said Plouffe. "They did the right thing. They did the tough thing and we won't have any more people in this country without health care coverage, cost will be under control, which means our economy will strengthen."

Obama Meets Abbas, Israel On Edge Over Settlements

Obama Meets Abbas, Israel On Edge Over Settlements

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gingerly trying to advance Mideast peace, President Barack Obama declared on Thursday the U.S. is a "stalwart ally" of Israel but challenged the Israelis to stop settlement construction in the disputed West Bank to help advance the long and painful road to peace with the Palestinians.

Obama's message came on the same day that Israel refused a demand to freeze all construction in the West Bank, land the Palestinians hope to claim for a future nation of their own. The president stuck to a hopeful tone, saying he had pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the matter only last week."I think it's important not to assume the worst, but to assume the best," Obama said in the Oval Office, sitting alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama said Netanyahu needed time to work on the issue back home, and the U.S. president said he was not willing to base his decisions on a week-old conversation.

Obama and Abbas met privately before being joined by their delegations.

The U.S. president made clear he expected commitments to be upheld by the Palestinians, too, including enhanced security in the West Bank so that Israelis have confidence they're safe there. Obama said he asked Abbas to reduce anti-Israeli sentiments that can be easily stoked in schools, mosques and the public square.

Said Abbas: "We are fully committed to all of our obligations."
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Is Dubai hype over?

Dubai Property Scandal Claim Emerges Amid Media Blackout

"Fake" pictures are at the heart of a property scandal that could harm the reputation of the once-booming real estate market in Dubai.

A major property development firm with links to the ruling family of the UAE city-state, and the firm's marketing agency, are accused by investors, many of whom are UK citizens, of obtaining millions of pounds through the use of false construction photographs.

On Thursday, after local and regional media had been alerted to the situation by angry investors, news agencies across the city said they were silenced by senior representatives of the Government of Dubai, as orders were issued for reports of the storm to be pulled.

Around 500 property buyers of varying nationalities collectively purchased three planned tower blocks named Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers area of the Gulf city last year from property development firm Al Fajer Properties, at a total cost of £428 million.

The firm is part of the Al Fajer Group, ran by company president Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, brother-in-law to the supreme ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

But at the weekend it was claimed that Al Fajer Properties and its marketing agent Dynasty Zarooni misled their customers into parting with millions of pounds by presenting photographs showing construction of three buildings, purported to be Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2, up to the sixth storey.

In fact the photographs were of buildings on neighbouring plots. Today, the plots on which Ebony 1, Ivory 1 and Ivory 2 are to be built, are empty holes in the ground, as our photographs show.

"I only handed over my money because I was shown property under construction," said UK-based Ebony and Ivory Investor's group spokesperson Moses Oye. "That's my simple gripe. It's a black and white issue."
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John Cornyn Repudiates Gingrich And Limbaugh Comments About Sotomayor

John Cornyn Repudiates Gingrich And Limbaugh Comments About Sotomayor

One of the top Republicans in the Senate, John Cornyn, is repudiating recent comments by Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich which claimed that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a racist.

Cornyn, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NPR's "All Things Considered":

"I think it's terrible... This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent."

Cornyn dismissed Limbaugh and Gingrich, adding: "Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong."

In recent days, Limbaugh and Gingrich have made headlines and stirred up controversy, along with condemnation from the White House, with their comments.
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U.S. minimum wage hike a stimulus to economy: report

U.S. minimum wage hike a stimulus to economy: report

A higher U.S. minimum wage is providing a cushion to the economy when it is most needed, according to a report released on Thursday.

The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank based in Washington, said recent rises in the minimum wage have acted as a "stealth stimulus," preventing the worst recession in generations from spiraling out of control.

The study found that the bottom-rung pay increases will boost spending by $4.9 billion.

Such findings counter conventional wisdom among economists, who tend to argue that mandated wage increases hurt businesses' bottom line, putting a crimp on hiring.

On the contrary, say EPI analysts, who argued that further growth in low-end incomes would go a long way toward engendering an economic recovery.

"An increase in the minimum wage would not only benefit low-income working families, but it would also provide a boost to consumer spending and the broader economy," said Kai Filion, an analyst at EPI.

In the first increase in over a decade, the minimum wage was raised to $5.85 two years ago after a tough battle in Congress.

The EPI study found the July 2007 minimum wage hike benefited over 700,000 families and added $1.7 billion in additional spending over the following year.

A July 2008 increase benefited over 1.3 million families and added $3.1 billion in additional spending over the following year, the EPI analysts added.

White House Denies Accusations of Abu Ghraib "Rape Photos"

Last night this post covered the news, from Britain's Daily Telegraph, about possible Abu Ghraib rape photos, some of which apparently show the rape of a 15 to 18 year old male by a male translator in military clothes, as well as the sodomy of others with different objects including wire.

From "Pentagon attacks Daily Telegraph over report":

"The Telegraph quoted retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio Taguba as saying the pictures showed "torture, abuse, rape and every indecency."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Telegraph had shown "an inability to get the facts right."

"That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images," he told reporters. "None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article."

Click Here for detailed Daily Kos commentary, as well as the video clip of the press briefing in which Press Secretary Gibbs goes further and slams the reliability of the British press as a whole.

'Men In Power' Raises Awareness of the Male Experience

'Power' move by male students ruffles U. of C.

A group of University of Chicago students think it's time the campus focused more on its men.

A third-year student from Lake Bluff has formed Men in Power, a student organization that promises to help men get ahead professionally. But the group's emergence has been controversial, with some critics charging that its premise is misogynistic.

Others say it's about time men are championed, noting that recent job losses hit men harder and that women earn far more bachelor's and master's degrees than do men.

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Creepy Newt Gingrich Twitter entries

I dunno, I just found these strange & disturbing. It reads like a kind of broken English rant, the kind of thing a sociopath might post to a website before he snapped and went out to kill a bunch of people.

Seeing this and also watching Sen. Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) get drawn into some exchange with some random Internet yahoo from the Land of Free Republic (@USAMIA) makes me wonder how good it is for politicians to be on there. Or at least actively interacting with people on there. It's like being on a forum with some truly nutty people. (McCaskill: "@USAMIA I'm just curious. Are you also opposed to Medicare?" USAMIA: "@clairecmc Yes I'm opposed to Medicare entitlement. Without it, free markets would have produced a more efficient & effective solution. U?")

FreedomWorks is Dick Armey's organization that was behind a lot of the April 15 tea bag protests.

3 worst reasons to oppose Sotomayor

Paul Krugman gave a rundown of some of the worst reasons the GOP and conservatives have given to oppose judge Sotomayor.

1. The pronunciation of her name is "unnatural."

2. Sotomayor's fondness for traditional Latino foods like rice, beans, and pork will cause her to make bad judicial decisions.

3. Sotomayor does not have enough money in her savings (or retirement) account.

Krugman's column about this is beneath the cut.

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