June 3rd, 2009

Rod Blagojevich's wife eats tarantula on national TV

Blagojevich "moved" by wife eating hairy spider
Posted: June 2, 2009 11:08 AM

In an interview on WLS Radio's "Don Wade and Roma Morning Show," the former governor on Tuesday said he was "moved" when he saw his wife eat a large, hairy spider on the premiere of NBC's "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"

He says she ate the unconventional snack because she loves her two young daughters.

garf tired

Corzine Campaign Kickoff with VPOTUS Biden

I don't know if I'm allowed to post this, but I'll try my luck with the mods here. =)

Tonight, New Jersey Gov Jon Corzine (D) launched the kick off of his re-election campaign, here in my town of West Orange, NJ, at the South Mountain/ Richard Codey Arena.

Vice President Joe Biden was here to stump for Corzine as he launched his re-election campaign. I attended this event, and I would like to share a couple photos and a poorly produced video of the event. BIDEN HEAVY.

And an official source.


And just a couple of pics ( took a ton, but I don't want to spam up ONTD_P)

I'm linking to them since they are large and will stretch ONTD_P's interface.





I was THISCLOSE to meeting Biden as he greeted after the rally, but there were like 3 people smushed in front of me, and by the time I got to the front, he was moved too far down the line. I did get to shake Corzine's hand (not sure how I feel about that, since Corzine for me is the cold opposed to electing the flu.)
Truly Outrageous

Charity declines Patti Blagojevich's "Celebrity" donation

Charity to Patti Blagojevich's 'Celebrity' donation: No

By James Janega | Tribune staff reporter
1:39 PM CDT, June 2, 2009

The day after former Illinois First Lady Patti Blagojevich ate a dead tarantula on network television to benefit herself and a charity, the selected charity said today it had declined the offered money. Another charity took its place, said NBC.

The former first lady said last Thursday she would be on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" for some undisclosed compensation, as well as to raise money for Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Not so, the foundation said, rejecting the offer last week on principle.Collapse )
  • Current Mood

O'Reilly Suddenly Distancing Himself From Past Tiller Rhetoric

On Monday, Bill O'Reilly boldly defended his vicious attacks on the late Dr. George Tiller. "No backpedaling here," he told viewers. "Everything we said about Tiller was true."

Two days later, it seems O'Reilly is, in fact, backpedaling. On Tuesday night he claimed his previous references to George Tiller as "the baby killer" were merely standard reporting.

"I reported what groups were calling him. I reported accurately." The host then went on to 'report' the number of abortions Tiller had performed and estimated the doctor's income at a million dollars a year. (O'Reilly is paid over $10 million a year.)

More at the source


British hostage Edwin Dyer 'killed by al-Qaida'

Gordon Brown condemns 'barbaric' killing of Briton, who was reportedly beheaded in north Africa

Edwin Dyer was kidnapped in Mali four months ago.

Gordon Brown today condemned as "barbaric" the killing of a British hostage Collapse )

The horror just never seems to end. I would ask if this murder is tied to al-Qaida's current desperation to retain relevance, but nothing they do makes any sense to me. I just don't know enough.


Sarah Palin: Tiller Murder A "Tragedy"

On Tuesday, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin expanded on the murder of George Tiller, comparing the doctor's death to the "equally disgusting" murder of army recruiter William Long. Both crimes, she wrote, were committed by politically and religiously motivated fanatics.

"The stories of two very different lives with similar fates crossed through the media's hands yesterday -- both equally important but one lacked the proper attention. The death of 67-year old George Tiller was unacceptable, but equally disgusting was another death that police believe was politically and religiously motivated as well.

William Long died yesterday. The 23-year old Army Recruiter was gunned down by a fanatic; another fellow soldier was wounded in the ambush. The soldiers had just completed their basic training and were talking to potential recruits, just as my son, Track, once did.

Whatever titles we give these murderers, both deserve our attention. Violence like that is no way to solve a political dispute nor a religious one. And the fanatics on all sides do great disservice when they confuse dissention with rage and death.

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rightwingnut idiot finally listens to common sense but damage already done...

Gingrich Takes Back Sotomayor "Racism" Comment

Newt Gingrich is not known for his verbal self-restraint. But even he thinks he went too far when he called Judge Sonia Sotomayor a racist in a Twitter post. In a Human Events column, the former Republican House Leader wrote:

My initial reaction was strong and direct -- perhaps too strong and too direct. The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so. Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve on the nation's highest court have been critical of my word choice.

With these critics who want to have an honest conversation, I agree. The word "racist" should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted).

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Unlike Gingrich, Limbaugh Won't Back Down From Sotomayor "Racist" Remarks

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich backed down on Wednesday from his earlier remarks calling Judge Sonia Sotomayor a racist -- in large part, it seems, out of concern about the political implications of attacking the first Latina Supreme Court nominee on those lines.

His counterpart in that effort, however, is staying true to his words. Rush Limbaugh led his show on Wednesday by insisting that his words on Sotomayor "have not been too strong," adding later, "I'm not retracting it."

At one point, remarkably, the brash radio host said he could see himself supporting Sotomayor's nomination, provided that she had the right position on social issues. (I assume a Pro-whitey position)
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Old Racist still on teevee...

Buchanan's Creepy Racial Obsessions Continuously Rewarded By Media (VIDEO) [UPDATED]

Yesterday, we highlighted a recent appearance that Pat Buchanan made on Washington Journal, in which he mocked and derided the efforts made by Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to master the English language -- a mastery that seems to have been largely successful, given the arc of her professional career and the fact that she did, in fact, graduate atop her class at Princeton.  Amanda Terkel of Think Progress very astutely pointed out that having very loudly decried Hispanics for being "allegedly unwilling to learn English," the fact that he'd turn and profess similar contempt for a woman who went to great lengths to learn English bespeaks -- at best -- pure and unadulterated intellectual dishonesty.
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GOP: We dont need the stinking Latino-kkk-illegal alien vote... but we do need the Rush vote!!!

Rick Perry: "God Bless Rush Limbaugh" (VIDEO)

The conventional wisdom surrounding Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court is that elected Republicans will tread lightly in their critiques, lest they burn their already weak bridges to the Hispanic community.

Along these lines, comments from Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich (who has since recanted his remarks) and others calling Sotomayor a racist were deemed the GOP establishment as counterproductive, especially for GOPers in states with large Hispanic populations.

But maybe not.

This past Friday, at the apex of the conservative movement's anti-Sotomayor rhetoric, Limbaugh was bestowed the title of "honorary Texan" by the state's governor, Rick Perry, during an event in Houston.

"You said something on your radio station that you thought you ought to pack up and move to Texas," said Perry. "Well when you get here brother you're an honorary Texan... God bless Rush Limbaugh!"

Perry, of course, is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative who has built his political career by appealing to his party's most ideological elements. Hence his recent talk of secession. But the governor is also facing an incredibly difficult primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. The Hispanic population in his state -- one of the largest in the countries -- could play a major role in who gets the nod. And the extent to which Limbaugh can serve as a political prop or foil (even within the Republican Party) could be put to an early test.

(no subject)

Enforcing femininity: SC school will ban pants-wearing female students from graduation

A South Carolina school has put a star student on notice - unless she wears a dress, she won't be welcome at her graduation ceremony.

She's the image of a model graduate, this year's recipient of the Heart of Chapin Spirit Award, proud of her school from tassel to class ring, but Chelsea Sarvis' high school won't allow her to participate at graduation without the dress.

"I just don't see why girls have to wear dresses," said Sarvis.

Chapin High School's graduation dress code requires females to wear a dress or skirt. Males must wear dress pants. Chelsea says wearing a dress makes her feel very uncomfortable.

"If girls are uncomfortable with their bodies like I am, I just don't like wearing them," said Sarvis. "Why is it a stereotype that a girl has to wear a dress?"

Indeed. You know, what bothers me is not that the dress code exists - after all, there are a lot of antiquated rules still on the books at schools. What really gets me is that the principal of this school is actually enforcing the dress code, and in turn enforcing traditional gender roles.

Chelsea says she's not trying to be disrespectful. She'll be dressed as formal as other males. "If it looks nice, why can't they wear it?" she said.

Chelsea wore a tuxedo to prom with no problems and she wore blue face paint at more Chapin sporting events than anyone else this year. She feels to be forced out of pants and into a dress, would be a complete contradiction to the proud student she's been these last four years.

"If I had to walk across the stage in a dress, I'd be completely miserable and that's not how I want to leave high school," said Sarvis.

But what's a miserable student compared to ensuring that school administrators feel comfortable with young people's gender presentation?

A similar case in Delaware last month resulted in the school backing off the dress code. The ACLU chapter there got involved, noting that the policy was "based on illegal gender stereotypes."


Lindsay Graham opens mouth, makes fool of himself, part 100

Waterboarding-lover and generally bad human Lindsey Graham met with Sonia Sotomayor today as she was making her “rounds,” in Congress. While most legislators have simply said afterward that they had a pleasant, interesting conversation with her, Lindsey Graham bragged to reporters about how he told her, “Sonia, you would not believe how much I want to vote against you. It is literally insane, the level of hatred I have towards you, personally.”

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SOURCE has the whole thing

Fierce bish is fierce. Katie Couric takes Princeton to task for no female speakers.



Princeton invited Katie to be its first female Class Day speaker and she made sure they knew how unacceptable that is:

But, actually, I do have a bone to pick with you. I have discovered I am the first female Class Day speaker in Princeton’s history. OMG, WTF [Thanks for the LOL]

All these years, and only one woman? Now, I understand this isn’t Lilith Fair and there are plenty of great men out there…… but you actually asked Bradley Whitford of the West Wing BEFORE you had a woman? I understand the concept of casting a wide net…but great women like Madeline Albright, Sally Ride, Mother Teresa, Ellen Degeneres all bested by a fake political advisor to a fake president!? And then you had Stephen Colbert, a fake TV anchor? Actually, Stephen could be a REAL anchor…with just a little more product in his hair! I must say, I’m shocked you didn’t invite Doogie Howser this year, a fake doctor and graduate of Princeton Class of 83. Or maybe you did, but he was too busy on the set of “How I Met your Mother.” Or as we call it, My Favorite MILF.

So, I’d like to officially welcome Princeton to the 21st Century. You’ve embraced the female gender at the perfect time…because it’s been quite a year for women.

Way to call out the gender inequities with a sense of humor.  Read the full speech (it’s really good.)


Andrew Sullivan: Something Is Happening In Iran

Something Is Happening In Iran


I don't know whether you have been reading the various press accounts of the election campaign in Iran. I know that the candidates' list is fixed, but I can also see democratic spirit when it is bang in front of me. There appears to be a genuine fight for votes; and the images from the Mousavi rallies look more like Obama rallies than assemblies in a totalitarian state. Notice how young these people look, and how unafraid.

Does anyone doubt that if this kid of peaceful campaigning were happening in Iraq, it would be regarded as a sign of a nascent democracy? And, for what it's worth, Ahmadinejad increasingly looks desperate - the bribing of Red Iran doesn't seem as powerful right now as the rallying of Blue Iran. Check out the photos of a May Mousavi rally headlined by Khatami on this Iranian photo-blog, TehranLive.org. The blogger's description of the event:

As a symbolic gesture, the Saturday’s pro-Mousavi rally was held on the anniversary of Khatami’s first election victory in 1997 on May 23 — the day dubbed as the day of reform movement in the Islamic republic. Iran’s former reformist president Mohammad Khatami on Saturday openly threw his weight behind ex-premier Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is contesting the June 12 presidential election. Speaking to thousands of young supporters at a rally in Tehran’s indoor Azadi (Freedom) sports stadium, Khatami said: “Stand up and do not miss this rare opportunity.”


Now check out this video of a public clash between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi supporters in the streets of Tehran. It's vivid, electrifying stuff - not a sign of a brutal totalitarian regime. I know we have to be cautious and I know who holds the military power. But we should not be blind to change when it emerges. Ahmadinejad has discredited himself in the eyes of many Iranians. They are looking for change they can believe in. This is the target audience for Obama this Thursday. He needs to reach out to the democratic forces in that country and remind them that America is their ally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8dAEnXJGwg


The Atlantic

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  • bispo

Marine recruiter charged with pimping girl, 14

HEMET, Calif. - A U.S. Marine Corps recruiter in Riverside County, Calif., has been accused of pimping a 14-year-old girl. Police were also looking into whether he used the girl to entice possible Marine recruits.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Damone Cunningham pleaded not guilty to seven felonies, including felony pimping and kidnapping. Police in Orange, Calif., said they discovered the teenage girl in a car with Cunningham and two other men, ages 18 and 19, described as potential Marine recruits.

The girl, who has since been returned to her parents, told police that she'd met Cunningham online and had sex with all three men, authorities said. 

The two potential Marine recruits face felony charges of having sex with a minor. Cunningham is being held on $1 million bail and has a court hearing June 18.

Meira Kumar and Katie Couric ftw. Gents, eat your hearts out.

India's newly-elected parliament has elected its first woman speaker - Meira Kumar. She is also a member of the country's low-caste Dalit community. Her name was put forward by the Congress Party, which won a sweeping victory in the recent general elections.

Amid applause from lawmakers across ruling and opposition benches, 64-year-old Meira Kumar was elected, unopposed, by a voice vote as speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Wednesday.

A smiling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described it as an "historic occasion."

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"For the first time, a woman member of this august house has been elected as speaker, and that, too, a woman belonging to the Dalit community. In electing you to this august office, we members of Parliament pay tribute to the womanhood of our country," he said.

Not new to Parliament

Meira Kumar is a five-term member of Parliament. She was sworn in as a Cabinet minister last week, but resigned after the Congress Party offered her the speaker's post.

She is the daughter of a former deputy prime minister, Jagjivan Ram, who was a prominent leader of the low castes.

Political analysts say the choice of Meira Kumar as speaker will enable the Congress party achieve twin objectives as it seeks to build on its decisive victory in the recent general elections.

Image boost

It will boost the Congress party's image as being a pro-women party. During its last term in office, the Congress Party was instrumental in helping Pratibha Patil become the country's first woman president.

Even more significantly, the party hopes to strengthen its base in the low-caste Dalit community, which in recent decades has switched its loyalty to a host of regional parties headed by low-caste leaders. The Dalits belong to the lowest rung of Hindu religion's complex caste system and have faced discrimination for centuries. Congress wants to be seen as a party committed to improving their social and economic status.

A smiling Meira Kumar said she is overwhelmed and has promised to do her best in her new job.

"It would be my endeavor to run the house as well as I can and give a very fair chance to all sections of the house," she said.

Not easy

The task may not be easy in a house where noisy disruptions are common and lawmakers frequently stall proceedings by shouting slogans and storming the podium.

The prime minister has already appealed to lawmakers to observe a "new beginning" and allow parliament to function smoothly.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee backs the plea.        

"Perhaps I would like to have the indulgence of the house that ... we would like to create a new precedent not of obstruction, but debate and discussions," said Mukherjee.

But not many people are sure that will happen in India's raucous and noisy democracy.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-06-03-voa11.cfm
music | sleigh anne.

NH Legislature Approves Gay Marriage

New Hampshire governor signs gay marriage law

The New Hampshire Legislature approved revisions to a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday. If Gov. John Lynch signs the measure into law, the state will become the fifth in New England and the sixth nationally to allow same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers have been working on the bill for months; gay-rights supporters hope the latest changes will ensure it becomes law. The changes further emphasize that by legalizing gay marriage, the state will not impinge on the religious freedom of those who do not believe in it. Mr. Lynch, a Democrat, has indicated he approves of the latest revisions.

As originally passed, the bill exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings. At the request of Governor Lynch, the Legislature amended the bill to make clearer that religious opponents of same-sex marriage would not have to participate in ceremonies celebrating it. But the House narrowly rejected that language on May 20, and legislative leaders appointed a conference committee to negotiate more palatable changes.

The changes include a sentence that states, “Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, teachings and beliefs regarding who may marry within their faith."

New Hampshire's governor has signed legislation making the state the sixth to allow gay marriage.

Gov. John Lynch was Surrounded by cheering supporters of the move as he signed the three bills about an hour after the key vote on the legislation in the House.

The law will take effect in January, exactly two years after the state legalized civil unions. New Hampshire joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa in recognizing same-sex marriages, though opponents hope to overturn Maine's law with a public vote.

Lynch demanded — and got — language protecting the rights of religious opponents of gay marriage before signing the bills.



(no subject)

Syracuse Park Shut Down Over 'Sex and the City' Trivia Game Box


The terror alert level was raised to hot pink in Syracuse, New York yesterday, when a public square was shut down for more than two hours after a Sex and the City trivia board game box was left on the steps of the park's Civil War monument:

Satc "A passerby reported the suspicious box to police about 2 p.m. and police were standing by the box while waiting for a bomb disposal expert to examine it. The box is a metal 'Sex and the City" trivia game container. A man appeared to leave the game in the square at about 1:40 p.m., Lt. Joe Cecile, of the Syracuse police, said. The box is on a step on the fountain side of the monument. The wind blew florescent (sic) pink game cards into the square's fountain, where they sank. Police first tried to track down the men and get them to return to the park to open the box, Cecile said. That turned out to be unsuccessful, he said."


Obama Says He Is Open To Health Care for All

One day after signaling a fresh willingness to consider taxing employer-sponsored health insurance, President Obama indicated yesterday a new openness toward a nationwide requirement that every American have health coverage.

In his push to enact sweeping health-care reform legislation this summer, Obama previewed what could be the outlines of a compromise on two of the thorniest issues confronting Congress. He said he could support mandates on both individuals and employers to contribute to the cost of health insurance if the bill provides protections to certain small businesses and poor people.

"If we do end up with a system where people are responsible for their own insurance, we need to provide a hardship waiver to exempt Americans who cannot afford it," he wrote in a letter to top Senate Democrats.

During the presidential primaries last year, Obama attacked then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's so-called individual mandate as a scheme to "go after people's wages."

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just as a side note, a great article comparing the U.S. health care system to other countries



Sotomayor Cartoon In The Oklahoman Comes Under Fire

Sotomayor Cartoon In The Oklahoman Comes Under Fire

Some women's groups are outraged over an editorial cartoon that ran in The Oklahoman newspaper on Wednesday - it depicts Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor strung up like a piñata with a sombrero-clad President Obama handing out bats to Republican members of Congress.

Jean Warner, the chair of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition, wrote:

She's served on the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for 10 years, heard over 3,000 cases and written over 380 opinions (but she's of Puerto Rican descent ~~ ergo the piñata image - right? wink, wink).

Not funny; actually stupid and damaging. A picture speaks louder than words and that cartoon sends a message to women of all ages: "Back off. Know your place. Or we'll take a stick to you and teach you a lesson."

Daily Kos poster OKC law dork wrote:

"I'm appalled that [The Oklahoman] would publish a cartoon showing a federal judge who happens to be a minority strung up from a tree... There is a vigorous racist block of voters in Oklahoma who harbor racist feelings toward 'Mexicans' (usually meaning anyone of Hispanic origin) that I believe this cartoon is catering to."

The editor of the Oklahoman, which is considered to have a conservative editorial viewpoint, did not return calls for comment.

Judge for yourself. Here's the cartoon:


Blackwater Sued For War Crimes, destroys evidence

Blackwater Sued For War Crimes, Again

The families of three men killed in Iraq sued Blackwater yesterday, alleging that company employees wrongfully killed the men and then destroyed documents to hide the evidence. The private military company, now known as Xe, faces civil action in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Virginia. The case was originally filed in a California federal court in April.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that on Feb. 7, 2007, heavily armed Xe-Blackwater employees shot the three men, who worked as security guards for the Iraqi Media Network. Sabah Salman Hassoon, Azhar Abdullah Ali, and Nibrass Mohammed Dawood were killed in front of approximately 20 other Xe-Blackwater employees and although company supervisors were alerted, the shootings were not reported, according to the complaint.

Not only did the company fail to report the shootings, claim the plaintiffs, but also actively covered up the incident by "refusing to identify the shooters to Iraqi authorities and destroying documents and other evidence relating to this and other Xe-Blackwater shootings."

This is the latest in a string of lawsuits filed against the company since the start of the Iraq War, including suits by both Iraqi and U.S. families accusing the company of fraud and negligence, among other charges. The plaintiffs in the recent case claim that Xe-Blackwater continues to operate a company in Iraq called Falcon though company officials have denied any connection to Falcon in the past.

Xe spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell told Huffington Post that she was unfamiliar with the case.

According to the lawsuit, Hassoon, Ali and Dawood were manning their posts at the Iraqi Media Network across from the Iraqi Justice Ministry. After escorting a U.S. diplomat to a meeting at the ministry, Xe-Blackwater "shooters" took up positions on the roof and fired at Dawood for "no reason," according to the lawsuit. When Ali and Hassoon ran to the guard's assistance, they also came under fire. The document goes on to say that the Iraqi Army commander at the site, Captain Ahmed Thamir Abood, questioned the Xe-Blackwater employees at the time of the shootings, but the employees "joked amongst themselves, giving contradictory statements regarding to whom the captain should speak."

The lawsuit alleges that "Xe-Blackwater management refused to fire or discipline mercenaries who murdered innocent Iraqis," and accuses the company of war crimes.

Economy is so bad that even death penalty is too expensive...

Public Defender Can't Afford Death Penalty Cases, Defense Fund Down To $100

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Cook County public defender's office says it can no longer afford to handle dozens of capital cases and is asking judges to either take the death penalty off the table or appoint private attorneys.

During a news conference Wednesday, Cook County Public Defender Abishi (ah-BEE'-shy) Cunningham said the county has depleted its share of a state fund that pays for costs in death penalty cases.

He says Cook County's fund has about $100 left to last until new state money arrives in September or October.

And even then, public defenders say about 75 percent of the $2.25 million they'll get is owed to expert witnesses waiting to be paid for work they've already done.

Cunningham says his office will file motions in about 60 capital cases, half of its capital caseload.
[AC] :D

Live Post: This a'int yo momma's administration

by ladypolitik

On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 2 & 3, 9-10 PM ET, NBC News Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams will take viewers "Inside the Obama White House," for an exclusive, wide-ranging look at what happens throughout the White House and the West Wing during a day in the life of the Obama administration. There will be more than a dozen crews and cameras strategically placed throughout the White House, capturing nearly ever aspect of the day. This unique documentation will consist of behind-the-scenes footage, as well as interviews with key administration players and those who make the West Wing work.

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Relevant links:

* "Inside the Obama White House" web-only sneak previews.
* "Inside the Obama White House" on TwitPic / Twitter.
* Flickr photostream of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
* NBC White House tour specials dating back to the Truman administration.

human, please!

Repeating the question

Hague gets Paxman grilling on Newsnight

Jeremy Paxman repeated a question over a dozen times to shadow foreign secretary William Hague.

Newsnight's presenter wanted Mr Hague to confirm whether he had asked the Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft if he is resident in Britain for tax purposes.


Embarrassment squick alert!


CNN Poll: No frontrunner in GOP 2012 presidential race

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll of Republicans suggests that there's no front runner at this extremely early moment in the next race for the White House.

Three possible candidates are all bunched at the top of a CNN/Opinion Research
Corporation survey released Tuesday.

The survey suggests that 22 percent of Republicans would most likely support former Arkansas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's presidential nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent say they would most likely back Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, with an equal number supporting former Massachusetts governor and former White House hopeful Mitt Romney.

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*ala Mr. Burns* Eeeeeexcellent.

The Trial of Laura Ling and Euna Lee Begins

Two American journalists accused of entering North Korea illegally and engaging in "hostile acts" faced the country's highest court Thursday for a trial on charges that could land them up to 10 years in a labor camp.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gor 's California-based Current TV media venture, were arrested March 17 near the North Korean border while on a reporting trip to China.

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Florida comes up with some messed up kids sometimes

Lee Myers, Raymond Price-Murray, Randall Moye and Diemante Roberts now face adult charges in the alleged rape of a flag-football teammate in a school locker room.

TAMPA - Four middle school students accused of repeatedly raping a flag-football teammate with a broomstick and hockey stick can remain free on $15,000 bail each, a judge ruled today.

Three of the teens also must wear electronic monitors, and all four must honor a 7 p.m. curfew and have no contact with the victim or witnesses, said Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Wayne S. Timmerman. One of the four was released on bail this evening and was released at about 8:30 p.m.

Raymond A. Price-Murray, 14, Randall John Moye, 14, Diemante Roberts, 15, and Lee Louis Myers, 14, are charged as adults. Each faces four counts of sexual battery, a crime that carries up to 30 years in prison on each count.

The teens pleaded not guilty and were taken into custody after the bail hearing. Family and friends spoke on their behalf as defense lawyers asked that their clients be kept out of jail.

The victim told Timmerman how hard the situation has been on him and his family.

"I couldn't even leave my house," the 13-year-old boy said softly. He is not being named because of the nature of the allegations.

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This is a local story for me but the sheer ... anger this creates in me prompts me to make it a more well known story. What possible kind of defense do they think they have? Who DOES this to another human being?

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ETA: OMG y'all I didn't mean to make y'all feel sick right before bed.

Here, it's dangerous to go alone, take this:


Traditionally conservative New Hampshire today became the sixth state in the nation -- and the fifth state in New England -- where same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

"Today we're standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law," Governor John Lynch said before signing the legislation in a State House ceremony at about 5:20 p.m.

Lynch said it was a New Hampshire tradition "to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections, and that tradition continues today." The room, filled by scores of the bill's supporters, resounded with applause as he signed.

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Revealed: How Obama Wins Friends, Influences People In Health Care Push

Revealed: How Obama Wins Friends, Influences People In Health Care Push

Sometime in the next few weeks, Congress and the White House will descend into the labyrinthine politics of comprehensive health care reform. For Barack Obama, this signals the end, in a sense, of the eventful prologue to his presidency. Impressive as they are, Obama’s legislative victories to this point — most notably the $787 billion stimulus bill and a stunningly ambitious $3.6 trillion budget resolution — have been relatively easy lifts for a popular new president installed at a time of economic crisis and buffered by comfortable majorities in the House and Senate. Sure, getting those bills passed required a fair amount of perseverance on the part of the White House, but persuading congressmen to spend public money in their districts doesn’t exactly qualify as dark magic. Designing a new health care system, on the other hand, is a legislative goal that has eluded every Democratic president since Harry Truman and that Obama repeatedly vowed to accomplish during last year’s campaign; he has said that it is not only a moral imperative but also a crucial part of his plan to remake the American economy, an ever-expanding share of which is swallowed up by doctors’ bills and hospital stays. Making good on his promise will require not just public expenditure on a disorienting scale but also the kind of activism and creativity, the birthing of new rules and institutions, at which Washington hasn’t succeeded for generations.

It has been 16 years, in fact, since another young, freshly inaugurated Democratic president with a Democratic Congress tried to remake the architecture of health care, and the catastrophe that followed is generally cited as the main deterrent to thinking big about anything in the capital. The plan Bill Clinton took to Congress then, running to more than 1,000 pages of impenetrable new regulations, wasn’t what you’d call politically savvy, but the strategy used to sell it was even worse. Having been elected as the latest in a series of outsider presidents after Watergate, ex-Governor Clinton seemed to believe he had been sent by the voters to purify the fetid culture of Washington; he installed a boyhood friend as his chief of staff and stocked his White House with loyal Arkansans and campaign aides ready to overrun a fossilized Congress. His wife, the current secretary of state, developed the health care plan largely without taking House and Senate leaders into her confidence, instead dropping it at the doorstep of the Capitol as a fait accompli. Ever jealous of its prerogative, Congress took a long look, yawned and kicked the whole plan to the gutter, where it soon washed away for good — along with much of Clinton’s ambition for his presidency.

The first senator elected directly to the Oval Office since 1960, Obama has an entirely different theory of how to exercise presidential power, and he has consciously designed his administration to avoid Clinton’s fate. After winning the office with the same kind of outsider appeal as his predecessors, he has quietly but methodically assembled the most Congress-centric administration in modern history. Obama’s White House is run by Rahm Emanuel, a former House leader who was generally considered to be on a fast track to the speakership before he resigned to become chief of staff, and it is teeming with aides plucked from the senior ranks of both chambers. Obama seems to think that the dysfunction in Washington isn’t only about the heightened enmity between the parties; it’s also about the longstanding mistrust between the two branches of government that stare each other down from twin peaks on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

And so, from Obama’s perspective, passing a health care plan this fall isn’t primarily a question of whether to include an “individual mandate” requiring every American to have insurance or how fully to regulate providers or even how to hit back against “Harry and Louise”–type attack ads, although his aides spend time contemplating all of those things. It’s more about navigating the dueling personalities and complex agendas within his own party’s Congress. Rather than laying out an intricate plan and then trying to sell it on the Hill, as Clinton did, Obama’s strategy seems to be exactly the opposite — to sell himself to Congress first and worry about the details later. As Emanuel likes to tell his West Wing staff: “The only nonnegotiable principle here is success. Everything else is negotiable.”

That this White House seems to view its majorities in Congress almost as its principal constituency reflects, in part, the shared worldview of the three former legislators who are the administration’s most powerful figures: Obama, Emanuel and Vice President Joe Biden. “I’m a Senate guy,” Biden told me bluntly when I visited him a few weeks ago in his West Wing office. “It’s been my whole life, and I’m incredibly proud of it. Other presidents I’ve worked with, they view Congress almost as a constitutional impediment, you know?”
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