June 1st, 2009

Fed. Government taking domestic terrorism seriously?! Color me shocked! (And thrilled.)

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***UPDATE*** US Attorney General Eric Holder is dispatching US Marshals to protect abortion clinic and doctors around the country.

Holder issued the following statement:

The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.

Via HuffPo, and thanks for the heads up, calimoonchild. :)

Seriously, this is awesome. For too long the fed. government has ignored legitimate threats of domestic terrorism, although it is unfortunate that it took this tragedy to make them act, I am still happy regardless. Copycats are a legitimate fear at this point, and I'm grateful that the administration realizes that.
Eternal Sunshine

On the killer

The following is an article about the suspect. It's a long article and I know most of you have seen a lot of posts about Dr. Tiller on your friends pages today but it gives you the info on the psyche of the guy who did this. I've bolded the more interesting parts if you want to do a speed read.

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Source. Cross-posted to sluts4choice.
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Marshmallow Blaster

Maryland Attorney General Considers Recognizing Gay Marriages

ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland's attorney general is looking into whether the state can recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Maryland law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But the state also sticks to a long-standing legal principle that generally acknowledges couples married elsewhere.Attorney General Doug Gansler's office is expected to issue an opinion in the coming weeks.

A spokeswoman for Gansler declined to comment while the matter is being researched.Gansler, a Democrat, supports gay marriage, while Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley wants the state to adopt civil unions.

Any move to recognize gay marriages would likely draw legal challenges. Republican Delegate Don Dwyer said he would "take (Gansler) to task" if he issues an opinion "that somehow circumvents the law."


Israeli diplomats told to take offensive in PR war against Iran

From Haaretz:

Organizing demonstrations in front of Iranian consulates worldwide, staging mock stonings and hangings in public, and launching a massive media campaign against Iran - these are just some of the steps Israeli diplomats have been told to take in the coming weeks. The goal, according to a senior Foreign Ministry official, is "to show the world that Iran is not a Western democracy" in the run-up to the country's presidential election on June 12.

About a week ago, the head of the ministry's Task Force on Isolating Iran sent a classified telegram to all Israeli embassies and consulates, titled "Activities in the Run-up to Iran's Presidential Election." It detailed things Israeli representatives should do before, during and after the election.

The telegram noted that hundreds of journalists from around the world will go to Iran to cover the election. Therefore, Israeli representatives must try to give background briefings to various media outlets before the journalists depart, and to the host country's foreign ministry officials.

In addition, diplomats should try to promote press coverage of stories that reveal the Iranian regime's true face, especially its violations of human rights and suppression of individual liberty.

The main message Israeli diplomats should try to send is that "despite the democratic game of a presidential election, this is still a terrible regime that infringes on human rights and imposes many restrictions on its citizens," the telegram said. In a nutshell, the goal is to "blacken Iran's international reputation."

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GOP Senators OK With Race-Based Sotomayor Attacks. Have your cake and eat it too...

GOP Senators OK With Race-Based Sotomayor Attacks

Republican Senate leaders won't call Sonia Sotomayor a racist. But they're fine with Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich playing the race card to rile up an out-of-power GOP.

Republican lawmakers and officials are cobbling together a strategy to oppose Sotomayor, an appeals court judge and the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court. While some of Sotomayor's past comments could pose a challenge for President Barack Obama's nominee, elected leaders are navigating a tricky question of how to object without alienating the nation's fast-growing, and increasingly politically active, Hispanic population.

For now, it appears Republican lawmakers will urge respect. But they'll allow talk-show host Limbaugh to call Sotomayor a "racist" and former House Speaker Gingrich to say she's a "Latina woman racist."
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GOP Dominated By White Conservatives: Gallup Poll

As the GOP struggles to define itself in the face of its own considerable image problems, a new poll indicates that the Republican party's base fundamentally lacks diversity.

The poll, released today by Gallup, shows that a staggering 89% of the GOP is white, and that 63% identify as conservatives. It is, in the words of the poll's author, "first and foremost a political entity dominated by white Americans."

In contrast, the poll found that around 36% of Democrats are non-white. Of the 64% of Democrats who are white, the poll found that about half lean toward a moderate or liberal ideological position.

The poll also suggests that Republicans are more religious than either Democrats or Independents, with about half of those polled identifying as "strongly religious."
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duh! Of course, this explains alot!

Israel War Preparation Drill Biggest Ever

Israel War Preparation Drill Biggest Ever

In what is being touted as Israel's most mass-scale war preparation drill ever, 'Turning Point 3' will over the course of five days involve both military and civilian participants practicing defensive protocols in a simulated attack scenario, CNN reports. According to CNN:

It will be conducted in public facilities, including schools, military bases and government offices. Students, soldiers and other civilians will practice how to gather at protected places during an emergency.

Officials said the drill will include simulated rockets, air raids and other attacks on infrastructure and essential facilities, and use of weapons on civilians.

Though the drill accounts for a number of possible attack scenarios, the primary concern is missile strikes, presumably from Iran, for which new forewarning technology is being tested. According to Jerusalem Post:

For the first time in such an exercise, the IDF Home Front Command will also test a new system that issues warning of incoming missile attacks to private cell phones. The IDF is also reviewing technology that would enable it to send little "pop-up" screens to computers that are connected to the Internet.

The critical moment of Turning Point 3 is set to be on Tuesday when air raid sirens will sound throughout the entire country, signaling every citizen to take cover within seconds, Al Jazeera reports. Also noted in the Al Jazeera report is that this is the third consecutive year that Israel has carried out a nationwide defense drill, though this year's is said to surpass previous drills in scale and intensity. From Al Jazeera:

The manoeuvres began in the aftermath of the July-August 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which revealed major weaknesses in how Israel dealt with the rocket attacks on its territory. ...

Al Jazeera's James Bays, on the Lebanese border with Israel, said: "Israel said that this is something that was planned a long time ago. But on this side of the border, people are very suspicious."


Rightwingers are now Terrorists!!

George Tiller Murder Prompts Second Look At Scandalized DHS Report

In the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, The Plum Line's Greg Sargent is making a lot of sense:
You may recall the enormous controversy that erupted in April over a Department of Homeland Security report that assessed the threat of "right wing extremists." The story provoked days of nonstop cable chatter, and DHS chief Janet Napolitano ultimately apologized.

Fast forward to the huge and horrible news yesterday that late-term abortion doctor George Tiller was shot dead by a man who reportedly posted on the blog of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Maybe we should take another look at all that criticism?

One passage from the DHS report that provoked nonstop outrage said that right wing extremists "may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
I recall that at the time, I found it a bit bizarre that many conservatives seemed to want to go out of their way to identify and equate themselves with domestic neo-Nazi organizations and violent religious fundamentalists. As has been often pointed out, the word "conservative" did not appear in the report, so the race to stand up for and embrace a violent political fringe seemed unnecessary and contrary to logic.

That said, one can't ignore the recent uptick in the mainstreaming of this sort of fringe whackery. Back in April, Dave Weigel noted that Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak was likening the "tea party" movement to the "Project Mayhem" domestic terrorists depicted in the movie Fight Club. (Which I thought we agreed we weren't supposed to talk about?) And, via Matt Yglesias, here's Representative Michael McCaul urging a crowd to bloodshed for the sake of the "tree of liberty":

The Bush administration, which put in motion the research that led to the aforementioned DHS report, and Janet Napolitano, who shepherded it to its public release, seem to have been on to something. Looking back, I think it's just swell how everyone dug down really deep into the politics of it, instead of the substance.

Top 30 Stupidest Attacks on Obama

["LOL WUT" at Number 28 - wow.]

Conservatives have been throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Obama for 4 months now in an unprecedented onslaught of negative partisan politics, and their attacks have become increasingly desperate and ridiculous. Read below for a list of the 30 most pathetic lies, smears, distortions, and conspiracy theories they have used.

Why is the right lambasting the president in such a way? In my opinion, the answer is simple: they are following the exact same playbook they used in 1992 after the election of Bill Clinton. They start by obstructing and attacking. The Democrats usually respond with an increasingly elevated voice of their own, leading to the popular conception that BOTH parties are bad and guilty for the mudslinging. Next will come the calls for terms limits (the same call that suddenly vanished after the GOP took over congress in 1994). Finally, some ploy similar to the failed 'Contract With America' will be headlined by the supposedly 'new' GOP during midterms in 2010 in an attempt to retake the House and Senate, effectively hamstringing Obama and the movement for change in this country.

In any case, a simple google search can find even more than those listed below, including a huge collection by internet wingnuts johswift and Alex Jones . To debunk these claims, FightTheSmears, ObamaConspiracyTheories, FactCheck.org, TruthObama and Wikipedia are good resources. Always keep the truth on your side, and the moral high ground will be yours. Anyways, feel free to use these links liberally and on with the show:

1. Hannity Attacks Obama For Putting Mustard On His Burger

2. RNC slams Obama for romantic date with Michelle in New York

3. Obama is targetting GOP owned car dealerships

4. Obama Birth Certificate is a Fake

5. Obama to increase debt to $27.225 trillion by 2012

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AIG Wants Charity Money Back To Pay Executive Bonuses! Think of the Poor Executives!!!


Insurance giant AIG is trying to seize a $490 million charitable endowment -- and claw back $27 million it already awarded to New York charities -- to pay executive bonuses, The Post has learned.

The endowment, called Starr International Foundation, is run by former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg, and has given millions to the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, Citymeals and other local groups.

At issue is a legal conundrum that started in the 1970s, when Greenberg was building AIG into the world's largest insurance empire, and wanted a way to reward his executives off the books.

He and several co-founders set up their own offshore piggy bank -- unaffiliated with AIG ownership -- and seeded it with their own stock shares that would pay dividends and build up nest eggs and bonuses for retiring executives.

The separate company, Starr International Co., worked well for decades. But in 2005, Greenberg was pushed out of AIG in a boardroom coup, foreshadowing AIG's collapse.

Greenberg closed his piggy bank for any future bonuses beyond 2005, though AIG executives who had vested by that point can collect when they turn 65.

The rest of the AIG shares held by Starr International Co. -- about 290 million -- were transferred to a charitable subsidiary, Starr International Foundation.

AIG said it's entitled to the whole pot of stock going back to 2005, when it was worth about $20 billion. A year ago, it was worth nearly $11 billion, until AIG's recent collapse. At Friday's close, the shares were worth $490 million.

AIG says it has the right to seize the stock because Greenberg set up the company specifically for company employees. The insurer says in a legal filing that it needs the foundation's money "for the exclusive purpose of being distributed to AIG employees in the future."
AIG intends to go to trial in federal court June 15.

AIG lawyers said in documents it would seek not just the shares still left in the foundation's coffers, but the shares the foundation already cashed out in the past three years to raise $27 million in grant money. That money went to groups like the Sept. 11 Museum ($1 million), Seedco ($500,000) and Citymeals ($250,000).

AIG didn't return calls by The Post about how the seizure and potential clawbacks of assets would impact charities. Greenberg declined to comment.

AIG has stuck by its previous statement that it needs the charity's assets "so the company can attract and retain top employees to manage the business, preserve and restore stockholder value and ultimately repay taxpayers."

Legal experts say that if AIG wins its case, it would have the right to sue to claw back some of the $27 million already awarded to charities.

The government owns nearly 80 percent of AIG due to the Treasury's $70 billion cash infusion and loans for up to $85 billion.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who has often grilled AIG in congressional probes, said that if AIG wins the money from the foundations and other charities, "it should go to taxpayers, not for bonuses."
blue, the national

Cookies, not torture, convinced al Qaeda suspect to talk, FBI interrogator says

Cookies, not torture, convinced al Qaeda suspect to talk, FBI interrogator says

The practice of torturing suspected terrorists received fresh blows Friday after a magazine reported that a key al Qaeda suspect offered useful intelligence after receiving sugar-free cookies.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, revealed in an article being released in June that Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard opened up about the 9/11 terror attacks only after being offered -- sugar free cookies.

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Now I really want some cookies right now...


Playboy Comes Up With List Of Conservative Women They Want To Hate Fuck

This is what you get when you mix misogyny with Conservative hatred:

Playboy likes to claim that it prints pictures of naked women as a means to empower them. Uh-huh. It seems that Playboy and Hugh Hefner only like to empower women to the extent that they’ll take off their clothes, but when they open their mouths and have an opinion … well, then it’s time to roll out the demonization. They have a new feature on the website that features — and I’m not making this up — conservative women they’d like to “hate-fuck".

Michelle Malkin is number 1, with Megyn Kelly, Amanda Carpenter, Mary Katherine Ham, and Pamela Geller also making appearances. (Note: I will edit the entry to include the full list when I'm not using public internet access.)

Let’s be clear about terms here. A “hate fuck” sounds like something perhaps just short of rape, but degrading enough to entertain the perverted twerps at Playboy. The fact that the magazine published this piece of effluvium should be enough to show that everyone in the editorial process, from the writer to Hef himself, don’t want women empowered. They want silent sex objects, and when confronted with women whose opinions differ from theirs, want them humiliated.

Indirect SOURCE to avoid NSFW stuff

ETA: Photobucket

This list is nothing short of disgraceful. I'm offended as a woman and as a Conservative. Playboy's notions of us as sex objects whose political opinions are not to be taken seriously is patently ridiculous and wrong. The political hatred pisses me off just as much as the blatant misogyny. I hope feminists complain about this too because I doubt these fools will listen to right wing protests. If you want to complain about this bullshit, send an email to Lou Mohn, lmohn@playboy.com, Playboy’s publisher.

Cartoonist Michael Troy's Take On Obama's Gay Rights Record

Clearly, artist Michael Troy does not have the same feelings toward President Obama as, say, Shepard Fairey. But his image is striking for its simplicity. And, perhaps, its inaccuracy. Sure, Obama has remained silent-but-deadly on plenty of gay rights issues, but you see, Barack Obama has weighed in on equality for gay Americans: He doesn't much care if there is any.


Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
  • doop

Cheney Offers Support For Gay Marriage

Dick Cheney rarely takes a position that places him at a more progressive tilt than President Obama. But on Monday, the former vice president did just that, saying that he supports gay marriage as long as it is deemed legal by state and not federal government.

Speaking at the National Press Club for the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards, Cheney was asked about recent rulings and legislative action in Iowa and elsewhere that allowed for gay couples to legally wed.

"I think that freedom means freedom for everyone," replied the former V.P. "As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don't support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. ... But I don't have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that."

Cheney has made similar arguments in support of gay marriage in the past, including during the run-up to the 2004 election. But his current comments come at a moment when the Republican Party and conservative movement is increasingly split on the issue. Bush recount lawyer Ted Olsen and John McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt have both argued in favor of gay marriage. The religious right, as expected, remains opposed.

Caught up in the debate is the Obama administration. The president has said he supports civil unions for gay couples but that he remains committed to marriage being between and man and woman. His press department has been completely quiet about the recent California Supreme Court case upholding a ban on gay marriage in the state -- something that, it seems, Cheney would object to in spirit if not law.

Bertie by cheesygirl

I may karate-chop black people, but I do like mariachi bands, so I'm not racist! Or something

Remember this asshole? Well, there's a whole lot more news about him. For one thing, Tancredo isn't going to fire him. For another, he also works for Pat Buchanan. (Yeah, I know. Shocker!) UVA seems less happy to be associated with him.

And now his past is being scrutinized a bit, we're learning his views on Diversity:

Epstein: 'Diversity Can Be Good In Moderation' As Long As 'Trends Do Not Overwhelm The Dominant Culture'
By Brian Beutler - June 1, 2009, 2:27PM

Earlier this year, a New York Times editorial blasted Marcus Epstein for a report he authored as executive director of The American Cause, arguing that Republicans ought to embrace anti-immigration extremism if they still dream of an eventual renaissance.

In the course of their digging, the Times editors came across an online archive of Epstein's writings which contain gems like:

"Diversity can be good in moderation -- if what is being brought in is desirable. Most Americans don't mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers -- as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture."

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Lots of links at the source. And TPM keeps finding out more about this guy.

Mancow Addresses Accusation That His Waterboarding Was A Hoax (VIDEO)

Mancow Addresses Accusation That His Waterboarding Was A Hoax (VIDEO)

Erich 'Mancow' Muller appeared on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" Friday to address rumors that the waterboarding he underwent a few weeks ago to see whether the technique was constituted torture was in fact a hoax. Olbermann mentioned a report on Gawker which reported that Mancow's waterboarding was 'completely fake' and simply a publicity stunt. As evidence they mentioned an email from Mancow's publicist that said "It will be a hoax but have to look real."

While Mancow admitted to Olbermann that it was fair to call the incident a "stupid radio stunt," he noted that "waterboarding, all it is is water in your nose and mouth with your head back. I'm not David Copperfield. We had 50 news cameras there." He suggested that while the event was meant as a stunt, as his publicist suggested, the events that took place were completely real.


Rightwingnut logic: Is not torture when we do it. Is not murder when we do it...

Randall Terry: Tiller "Reaped What He Sowed," I Won't Tone Down Rhetoric (VIDEO)

A day after Dr. George Tiller was gunned down, one of his most vehement critics expressed no regret for the inflammatory rhetoric with which he has repeatedly denounced the Kansas doctor.

In a hastily convened press conference at the National Press Club, Randall Terry, founder of the group Operation Rescue, said that his main concern in the wake of Tiller's death was not that the culture wars had become overheated, causing his fellow pro-life advocates to flinch from the debate.

"The pro-live movement right now is in a crossroads," said Terry. "We have become steadily and politically irrelevant. Our leadership is either retiring or dying and many of the new leaders do not have the fortitude or clarity of thought to not flinch in an hour of crisis like this."

"President Obama, the pro-abortion groups and their friends on Capitol Hill are going to try to browbeat the pro-life movement into surrounding our rhetoric, our actions, and our images," he added. "We must not flinch. We must not retreat a single inch."

Speaking in a small room to a handful of reporters, Terry called Tiller, "demonic" and "diabolical," a "mass murderer" who "reaped what he sowed." But he denied playing any role in contributing to the frenzied environment that led to the doctor's shooting.

"We do not hold responsibility for saying the truth," he said. "George Tiller was a mass murderer... so what people are saying is they don't want us to say the truth anymore. They don't want us to use rhetoric that is real. John Paul II... said that abortion was murder. Are you going to say the pope was responsible for Tiller's death? It is absurd."

Indeed, Terry's main concern was not the murder itself, but the perilous state in which he believes the pro-life movement now finds itself. Terry made no effort to hide the fact that he was on a media blitz, saying at one point that he was playing "hardball" with the press right now. Later, he promised to give a reporter a "sound bite" after he offered a longer answer.

"There are going to be hostile elements that are going to try and derail the entire movement because George Tiller's death," he said. "And I'm not going to let that happen."
empress i

(no subject)

Minnesota Supremes Grill Coleman Lawyer On Lack Of Evidence
By Eric Kleefeld - June 1, 2009, 12:03PM

The oral arguments just finished at the Minnesota Supreme Court, in Norm Coleman's appeal of his defeat at the election trial, with Coleman's lead attorney Joe Friedberg arguing that serious constitutional issues mean the trial court's legal conclusions should be overturned and more previously-rejected absentee ballots from Coleman's selected list put into the count. Franken's side obviously argued differently. For this post, let's focus on the Coleman side.

It's always a tricky business to read clues into the questions that judges ask the lawyers during these proceedings -- despite some basic assumptions about how this works, judges can surprise you. But if we just go by the basic assumptions, it didn't look good for Coleman, with the judges asking pointed questions of Friedberg that at certain points amounted to ridicule of him for putting on a shoddy case.

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delicious schadenfraude sauce

Creating a women-friendly Seoul

Creating a women-friendly Seoul

Women in Seoul may soon have the luxury of pulling into parking spots marked with bright pink lines and pink figures wearing skirts, while men are left to station themselves in dark and less convenient corners.

These pink fixtures — which are starting to pop up around the city and which most people are not aware of yet — are part of an effort to create a safer environment for women after a crime wave hit the country, as well as part of a broader movement called "Women-Friendly Seoul."

The Seoul city government has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the four-year project to transform the city into one in which women feel "happy."

The ambitious plan encompasses a mix of cosmetic and far-reaching changes, some requiring large expenditures, others more visually startling than fiscally demanding.

It proposes to create 28,000 jobs for women who abandoned their careers because of childcare or marriage. The jobs vary from office workers to hairdressers and women can receive training at city-provided education centers.

Other aspects of the plan are geared toward making women feel comfortable in the city by renovating public restrooms, redoing sidewalks to make them "high heel suitable" and creating more nursery schools.

"By renovating public facilities to make them more women-friendly, we hope that other private companies will follow and make people think differently about women," said Han Mi-ae, a city official on the Seoul project.

But some men are not happy. And men and women alike question whether it is the best use of funds.
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farin: srsly?


The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009

The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman -- called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 -- that literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any "photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States." As long as the Defense Secretary certifies -- with no review possible -- that disclosure would "endanger" American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure. The certification lasts 3 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.

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Bill Source

Obama's Israeli-Palestinian agenda on track, but danger signs

Marc Lynch writes:

The Obama administration has done surprisingly well thus far in dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His team has aced the virtually inevitable early test of intentions and credibility over the settlements issue. As my colleague Laura Rozen has reported, the Israeli team has been shocked to discover that Obama actually meant what he said about the need to stop settlements and has seemingly consolidated broad support in Congress for the position. Not so weak, naive, easily rolled, or exactly like Bush after all, evidently. Secretary of State Clinton, Middle East envoy Mitchell and others in the administration have reportedly been pounding home the importance of the settlements issue at every opportunity -- both in private and in what I would consider a well-coordinated strategic communications campaign. General David Petraeus added his voice to the mix in a front page interview in the influential Saudi paper al-Hayat, saying that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would improve American security and weaken its adversaries. (Perhaps the imprimatur of Gen. Petraeus will sway some American skeptics as well?)

As Obama leaves for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, he will thus benefit from the headlines and op-eds in the Arab press featuring his strong stand on the settlements. His team has done an outstanding job setting the stage, establishing its credibility both with Israeli and Arab audiences and generating real momentum. It should help him get a receptive audience for the much-anticipated address, and allow him to point to deeds matching words (the most frequent Arab criticism of his outreach thus far).


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UVA says no to Karate Chop Racist, but Liberty University will be happy to accept him...

University Of Virginia: Epstein Will Not Enroll With Us

One thing that struck us about The Karate Chop Heard 'Round The Blogosphere was the news that the chopper--Marcus Epstein--is saying goodbye to Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan this summer to go to law school at the University of Virginia. Dave Weigel reported this, and Bay Buchanan told me the same thing.

But Jason Wu Trujillo, UVA's Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, now says Epstein will not enroll this fall, or ever.

Trujillo couldn't discuss the specifics of that decision, but it raises a question: The incident itself occurred on July 7, 2007, before Epstein applied, but the school requires applicants to disclose all criminal convictions.

Now, suddenly, Epstein isn't going to UVA anymore. Trujillo couldn't comment further on the situation, saying that his office can only comment on students who are enrolled or intending to enroll at the school, and that Epstein fits neither description. Notably, though, he didn't suggest that this was somehow the first he'd ever heard of Epstein. So, did Epstein omit the information from his application?


Air France jet crashes into Atlantic with 228 aboard

PARIS (Reuters) - An Air France plane with 228 people on board was presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday after hitting stormy weather during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

The airline offered its condolences to the families of the passengers, making clear it did not expect any rescue.

"It's a tragic accident. The chances of finding survivors are tiny," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport after meeting passenger relatives.

The plane was packed with 216 passengers including seven children and one baby, Air France said. Most of them were French or Brazilian but they included around 20 Germans and several other nationalities. Twelve crew members were also on board.

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Umm .. we can post news as well as politics. Such a terrible thing to happen. I hope we find answers soon.
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And now, something fun: The Lord Justice Hath Ruled: Pringles are, indeed, Potato Chips

June 1, 2009
The Lord Justice Hath Ruled: Pringles Are Potato Chips

Britain’s Supreme Court of Judicature has answered a question that has long puzzled late-night dorm-room snackers: What, exactly, is a Pringle? With citations ranging from Baroness Hale of Richmond to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Lord Justice Robin Jacob concluded that, legally, it is a potato chip.

The decision is bad news for Procter & Gamble U.K., which now owes $160 million in taxes. It is good news for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs — and for fans of no-nonsense legal opinions. It is also a reminder, as conservatives begin attacking Judge Sonia Sotomayor for not being a “strict constructionist,” of the pointlessness of labels like that.

In Britain, most foods are exempt from the value-added tax, but potato chips — known as crisps — and “similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour,” are taxable. Procter & Gamble, in what could be considered a plea for strict construction, argued that Pringles — which are about 40 percent potato flour, but also contain corn, rice and wheat — should not be considered potato chips or “similar products.” Rather, they are “savory snacks.”

The VAT and Duties Tribunal disagreed, ruling that Pringles — which have been marketed in the United States as “potato chips” — are taxable. “There are other ingredients,” the tribunal said, but a Pringle is “made from potato flour in the sense that one cannot say that it is not made from potato flour, and the proportion of potato flour is significant being over 40 percent.”

An appeals court reversed, in a convoluted opinion that considered four interpretations of the law before ultimately rejecting three of them. In the end, it decided that Pringles are exempt from the tax, mainly because they have less potato content than a potato chip.

The Supreme Court of Judicature reversed again, in an eloquent decision. Lord Justice Jacob, in an apparent swipe at the midlevel court, insisted the question was “not one calling for or justifying overelaborate, almost mind-numbing legal analysis.”

The VAT and Duties Tribunal took an eminently practical approach, he said. It considered Pringles’ appearance, taste, ingredients, process of manufacture, marketing and packaging, and concluded that “while in many respects” they “are different from potato crisps and so they are near the borderline, they are sufficiently similar to satisfy that test.”

The tribunal was not obliged, he said, “to go on and spell out item by item how each was weighed as if it were using a real scientist’s balance.” It came down to “a matter of overall impression.”

The Supreme Court of Judicature had little patience with Procter & Gamble’s lawyerly attempts to break out of the potato chip category. The company argued that to be “made of potato” Pringles would have to be all potato, or nearly so. If so, Lord Justice Jacob noted, “a marmalade made using both oranges and grapefruit would be made of neither — a nonsense conclusion.”

He was even more dismissive of Procter & Gamble’s argument that to be taxable a product must contain enough potato to have the quality of “potatoness.” This “Aristotelian question” of whether a product has the “essence of potato,” he insisted, simply cannot be answered.

In the Pringles litigation, three levels of British courts engaged in a classic debate over line-drawing, a staple of first-year law school classes. At some point, a potato-chip-like item is so different from a potato chip that it can no longer be called one — but when? Lord Justice Jacob invoked the wisdom of Justice Holmes: “A tyro thinks to puzzle you by asking you where you are going to draw the line and an advocate of more experience will show the arbitrariness of the line proposed by putting cases very near it on one side or the other.”

In other words, sometimes you just have to call them as you see them.

Conservatives like to insist that their judges are strict constructionists, giving the Constitution and statutes their precise meaning and no more, while judges like Ms. Sotomayor are activists. But there is no magic right way to interpret terms like “free speech” or “due process” — or potato chip. Nor is either ideological camp wholly strict or wholly activist. Liberal judges tend to be expansive about things like equal protection, while conservatives read more into ones like “the right to bear arms.”

In the end, as Lord Justice Jacob noted, a judge can only look at the relevant factors and draw an overall impression. His common-sense approach was a rebuke not only to Procter & Gamble, but to everyone out there who insists that the only way to read laws correctly is to read them strictly.


I can't tell you how hard I tried not to laugh when I read this.  It's still political as the writer ties it neatly back to Sotomayor, but MAAAN.  The part about "essence of potato" and Aristotle... I DIED.

Marshmallow Blaster

Debbie Schlussel Compares Sotomayor to J.Lo

Media Matters reposted the screen shot of Debbie Schlussel's blog post. It's pretty terrible. Racist, denigrating and down right disrespectful. She calls Justice Sotomayor "So-So" or "Sonia from the block" and compares her to Jennifer Lopez. She calls her a "chick" and argues that her life story (growing up Puerto-rican in the South Bronx) is the only reason she's been nominated by Obama.


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Shirley Animated

Obama's Late Term Abortion Comments Ignore Stark Realities

Thirteen years ago I became an unwilling pawn in the first matches of the national debate on late term abortion. The experience has afforded me a personal perspective that few share. Unfortunately, for myself and a small percentage of other affected women, proximity to an issue has never been a requirement of opinion.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama recently clarified his position on late term abortion to the publisher of Relevant magazine:

"...I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that "mental distress" qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions."

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Just a little perspective for those who don't understand what late-term abortion is or why it's necessary.
Shirley Animated

Is Dr. Tiller's murder a foreshadowing of things to come?

For those who would like to think today's murder in church of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, is an isolated incident: here's the horrifying news: You are wrong. The pattern is clear and frightening.

In March 1993, three months into the administration of our first pro-choice president, Bill Clinton, abortion provider Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Pensacola, Florida. That was the beginning of what would become a five-fold increase in violence against abortion providers throughout the Clinton years.

Today's assassination of Dr. George Tiller comes five months into the term of our second pro-choice president. For anyone who would like to believe that this is a statistical anomaly, a coincidence that doesn't portend anything, again, you are wrong.

During the entire Bush administration, from 2000-2008 there were no murders.

During the Clinton era, between 1994-2000 there were six abortion providers and clinic staff murdered, and 17 attempted murders of abortion providers (one of these attempts was on Dr. Tiller who was shot in both arms.) There were 12 bombings or arsons during the Clinton years.

During the Bush administration, not only were there no murders, there were no attempted murders. There was one clinic bombing during the Bush years.
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Marshmallow Blaster

(no subject)

Obama Issues Gay Pride Proclamation


Hours after a similar statement released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama has issued his own recognition of LGBT Pride Month. Here is his complete proclamation (PDF).


Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

Very, very nicely done. I don't see repealing DOMA mentioned up there, but I suppose that might be covered by the "supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples" bit. Maybe not.



KKBB--Captain *Fucking* Magic

(no subject)

‘Black man did it’ hoax sparks outrage

Pa. mother's abduction claim latest in string of false accusations

AP National Writer
updated 3:14 p.m. PT, Mon., June 1, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - It's an old lie, claiming that The Black Man Did It.

But it was trotted out again last week when a white mother from suburban Philadelphia said two black men snatched her and her 9-year-old daughter from their SUV and abducted them in the trunk of a black Cadillac.

Blacks across the country were outraged after Bonnie Sweeten was found in a luxury hotel at Disney World. Authorities quickly unraveled the hoax, but not before an Amber Alert, frantic searches and national news coverage that played into images of marauding black men.

Racial boundaries are slowly dissolving in America, with President Barack Obama the most obvious example. Yet Sweeten's story, plus the killing of a black New York City cop by a white officer days later, was a reminder that old ideas remain burned into many minds both black and white.

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Marshmallow Blaster

(no subject)

Girls Who Play Boys Who Don't Think Girls Should Play Boys

Hannah Berner
's high school doesn't have a girls' tennis team, but she still gets flak for playing with the boys. Her story got us thinking about girl athletes who happen to play against the opposite sex, and the strange combination of stereotypes they face.

Berner [pictured, second from right] went 16-2 this season, and helped New York's small Beacon High School sweep the city's three major tennis tournaments. But her opponent aren't happy about a girl demonstrating such prowess. After one of her wins, the opposing coach claimed that the game was unfair "because her gender unnerved her opponents." The coach said that for a boy, playing Berner is "a lose-lose situation. If he wins, he's supposed to win. If he loses, he lost to a girl."

This statement highlights the weirdness of people's reactions to girls like Berner. Traditionally, the rationale for keeping girls out of boys' sports has been that girls aren't good enough to compete with boys. But increasingly, parents and coaches are complaining that girls are too good. Twelve-year-old Jaime Nared was ousted from a boys' team, likely because of concerns that she was outshining the boys (she was later reinstated). And when the Cheetahs, a girls' soccer team, began playing boys' teams, parents got concerned about girls beating their sons.

The whole issue is a sad example of stereotypes begetting stereotypes. If no one had ever assumed that girls would be worse at sports than boys, there would be no shame in boys getting beaten by them. But because boys are brought up to think girls are obviously lesser athletes, they are "unnerved" when a girl is actually good. The solution isn't to continue protecting boys' fragile masculinity by keeping them away from female opponents. It's to expose them to girl players more often, so that they understand that girls can be athletes in their own right, and not just wimpier versions of boys.

It's not necessarily true that all sports should be coed — women's bodies are different from men, and segregation at the professional level can make sense for some sports. A single-gender environment may be good for some girls too. Anna was impressed by "the Cheetahs' embrace of their more aggressive, competitive sides," an embrace that may be easier to develop if you're not worried about impressing boys. But in many situations, coed competition can teach boys and girls that sports aren't just a guy thing, and that winning is about using your skills, not proving your masculinity.

Shirley Animated

Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism: Call it what it is.

It's shocking to write. But it's time to start calling it what it is.

When Jim D. Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church with 76 rounds and a shot-gun, he killed 2 people and was charged with murder. His motive was "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays." He should have been charged with terrorism.

Sunday George Tiller, a Wichita doctor, was killed INSIDE the lobby of his Wichita church. Reformation Lutheran Church became a crime scene; fundamentalist terrorism.

The right wing media hacks make targets of the left. The fundamentalist reverends blather their intolerance of other Americans. Their marriages are in jeopardy if the GLBT community can walk down an aisle. Their children are going to be molested if you have to rent to a same sex couple. Fear...fear...fear the queer.

Bill O'Reilly's hit piece on Dr. Tiller is a training tape for Christian Fundamentalist Terrorists. Never did he ask the woman interviewed how she, as a 13 year old, got pregnant, who was the father, or where her parents were when she underwent an abortion at Dr. Tiller's clinic. I'm sure O'Reilly's drivel will insist on personal accountability for the murderer. I'm sure he won't be in line for any "accountability" for calling the doctor "Tiller the baby-killer" or his clinic a "death mill."

Are anti-choice groups celebrating today? An abortion doctor is dead so women won't have unwanted pregnancies!

The "war on terror" needs to include domestic religious, fundamentalist terrorists.
Who is next?


(forgot to close the source tag, sry guize)
Shirley Animated

Frank Schaeffer: How I (and Other "Pro-Life" Leaders) Contributed to Dr. Tiller's Murder

My late father and I share the blame (with many others) for the murder of Dr. George Tiller the abortion doctor gunned down on Sunday. Until I got out of the religious right (in the mid-1980s) and repented of my former hate-filled rhetoric I was both a leader of the so-called pro-life movement and a part of a Republican Party hate machine masquerading as the moral conscience of America.

In the late 1970s my evangelical pro-life leader father Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop (who soon become Surgeon General in the Reagan administration) went on the road with me taking the documentary antiabortion film series I produced and directed (Whatever Happened to the Human Race?) to the evangelical public. The series and companion book eventually brought millions of heretofore non-political evangelical Americans into the antiabortion crusade. We personally also got people like Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan and countless Republican leaders involved in the "issue."

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Frank Schaeffer is a writer. He is author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and also author of the forthcoming Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don't Like Religion (Or Atheism)


He's not quite right on a few points here, but w/e.

O'Reilly vs. Olbermann on Tiller murder

O'Reilly's video is first (gist: Forget about the incident, let's see how we can turn this into a way I can bash "the far left" some more - which includes DailyKos, etc.)

Olbermann's is second (gist: It is hypocritical for conservatives to blame TV for declining moral standards then claim exception when it's your own TV shows that lead to bad behaviors + reflection on gravity of crime).

  • bispo

Buchanan Mocks Sotomayor For Learning English By Reading Children’s Books

Yesterday, C-SPAN invited right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan onto its hour-long Washington Journal show. In recent days, Buchanan has made headlines for spewing hatred toward Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Yesterday, he continued, mocking the fact that she was still struggling with English while in college:
BUCHANAN: Well I, again in that Saturday piece, she went to Princeton. She graduated first in her class it said. But she herself said she read, basically classic children’s books to read and learn the language and she read basic English grammars and she got help from tutors. I think that, I mean if you’re, frankly if you’re in college and you’re working on Pinocchio or on the troll under the bridge, I don’t think that’s college work.
Watch it:
Buchanan is referencing a recent New York Times article, which talked about how hard Sotomayor had to work to graduate at the top of her class from Princeton:
Judge Sotomayor is not known to have identified herself as a beneficiary of affirmative action, but she has described her academic struggles as a new student at Princeton from a Roman Catholic school in the Bronx — one of about 20 Hispanics on a campus with more than 2,000 students.
She spent summers reading children’s classics she had missed in a Spanish-speaking home and “re-teaching” herself to write “proper English” by reading elementary grammar books. Only with the outside help of a professor who served as her mentor did she catch up academically, ultimately graduating at the top of her class.
Nowhere did the article say that all of this was Sotomayor’s “college work.” But Buchanan has been doing all he can in the past week to make it seem like Sotomayor is unqualified and simply an affirmative action nominee.
Buchanan has long claimed that Hispanic immigrants are resistant to learning English and has said that it would be easier for them to “assimilate” if they did so. When writing about Mexican immigrants in 2006, Buchanan said that in contrast to Italian immigrants, “millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico.” Similarly, he has also said that “the road to culture is language” and “they want to keep their Spanish language.”
So basically, Buchanan yells when Hispanics are allegedly unwilling to learn English. However, when they make an attempt to do so, he mocks them as being dumb.

  • bispo

Why'd Obama switch on detainee photos? Maliki went ballistic

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama reversed his decision to release detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki warned that Iraq would erupt into violence and that Iraqis would demand that U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq a year earlier than planned, two U.S. military officers, a senior defense official and a State Department official have told McClatchy.

In the days leading up to a May 28 deadline to release the photos in response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, U.S. officials, led by Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told Maliki that the administration was preparing to release photos of suspected detainee abuse taken from 2003 to 2006.

When U.S. officials told Maliki, "he went pale in the face," said a U.S. military official, who along with others requested anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.

The official said Maliki warned that releasing the photos would lead to more violence that could delay the scheduled U.S. withdrawal from cities by June 30 and that Iraqis wouldn't make a distinction between old and new photos. The public outrage and increase in violence could lead Iraqis to demand a referendum on the security agreement and refuse to permit U.S. forces to stay until the end of 2011.

Maliki said, "Baghdad will burn" if the photos are released, said a second U.S. military official.

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serenaded by the terror bird
  • 5047

Cuba Officially Recognizes Its Transgender Community

Sexologist Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro (pictured right), has announced that Cuba has officially begun performing sexual reassignment surgeries or sex change operations, reports Agence-France Presse. Sexual reassignment surgery was performed once in the island nation in 1988 on a man who transitioned to a woman; however, controversy around the case led to the suspension of the practice. Cuba has a terrible record of homophobia, but Ms. Castro has lately been spearheading efforts to change that. In June of 2008, the Cuban Ministry of Health approved a plan submitted by the National Center for Sex Education to allow surgeries for 19 transgender individuals. The Cuban government officially recognizes 28 individuals as transgender. Ms. Castro, Director of the National Center for Sex Education, said in an interview on state television, "We started practicing surgery for women and men for a complete sexual reassignment for those who meet certain health criteria." The surgeries will be free for the individuals and performed by Cuban medical teams who trained with European specialists. As expected, the Cuban Catholic Church has expressed strong opposition to the surgeries, saying that Cuba "has hit bottom" by allowing them to proceed. In our view, the country seems finally to be rising to the occasion. Bravo!

Bravo, indeed!

hot source