June 8th, 2009

Zen Tree

(no subject)

U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

The reference to interdictions — preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas — was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the administration’s highest-ranking official to talk publicly about such a potentially provocative step as a response to North Korea’s second nuclear test, conducted two weeks ago.

While Mrs. Clinton did not specifically mention assistance from China, other administration officials have been pressing Beijing to take such action under Chinese law.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Mrs. Clinton said the United States feared that if the test and other recent actions by North Korea did not lead to “strong action,” there was a risk of “an arms race in Northeast Asia” — an oblique reference to the concern that Japan would reverse its long-held ban against developing nuclear weapons.

So far it is not clear how far the Chinese are willing to go to aid the United States in stopping North Korea’s profitable trade in arms, the isolated country’s most profitable export. But the American focus on interdiction demonstrates a new and potentially far tougher approach to North Korea than both President Clinton and Mr. Bush, in his second term, took as they tried unsuccessfully to reach deals that would ultimately lead North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Mr. Obama, aides say, has decided that he will not offer North Korea new incentives to dismantle the nuclear complex at Yongbyon that the North previously promised to abandon.

“I’m tired of buying the same horse twice,” Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said last week while touring an antimissile site in Alaska that the Bush administration built to demonstrate its preparedness to destroy North Korean missiles headed toward the United States. (So far, the North Koreans have not successfully tested a missile of sufficient range to reach the United States, though there is evidence that they may be preparing for another test of their long-range Taepodong-2 missile.)

In France on Saturday, Mr. Obama referred to the same string of broken deals, telling reporters, “I don’t think there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which North Korea is constantly destabilizing the region and we just react in the same ways.” He added, “We are not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation.”

While Mr. Obama was in the Middle East and Europe last week, several senior officials said the president’s national security team had all but set aside the central assumption that guided American policy toward North Korea over the past 16 years and two presidencies: that the North would be willing to ultimately abandon its small arsenal of nuclear weapons in return for some combination of oil, nuclear power plants, money, food and guarantees that the United States would not topple its government, the world’s last Stalinesque regime.

Now, after examining the still-inconclusive evidence about the results of North Korea’s second nuclear test, the administration has come to different conclusions: that Pyonyang’s top priority is to be recognized as a nuclear state, that it is unwilling to bargain away its weapons and that it sees tests as a way to help sell its nuclear technology.

“This entirely changes the dynamic of how you deal with them,” a senior national security aide said.

While Mr. Obama is willing to reopen the six-party talks that Mr. Bush began — the other participants are Japan, South Korea, Russia and China — he has no intention, aides say, of offering new incentives to get the North to fulfill agreements from 1994, 2005 and 2008; all were recently renounced.

“Clinton bought it once, Bush bought it again, and we’re not going to buy it a third time,” one of Mr. Obama’s chief strategists said last week, referring to the Yongbyon plant, where the North reprocesses spent nuclear fuel into bomb-grade plutonium.

While some officials privately acknowledged that they would still like to roll back what one called North Korea’s “rudimentary” nuclear capacity, a more realistic goal is to stop the country from devising a small weapon deliverable on a short-, medium- or long-range missile.

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  • bispo

Peter Mandelson e-mails damn ‘angry and insecure’ Gordon Brown

LORD MANDELSON, the business secretary, penned a devastating critique of Gordon Brown’s character, labelling him “insecure”, “self-conscious” and “angry”, according to leaked e-mails.

The memos are understood to state that Mandelson thought Brown was too preoccupied with celebrity gimmicks and should concentrate on “strategic policy formulation” rather than “telling people that you watch The X-Factor”. Only last week the prime minister telephoned to inquire about the health of Susan Boyle, the Britain’s Got Talent runner-up who had been admitted to the Priory suffering from exhaustion.

Mandelson also suggested that Brown could not win the next general election unless he brought back more heavy hitters into the cabinet.

The disclosure of the e-mails, which claimed that the prime minister tried too hard to be a “normal” person, comes just two days after Mandelson was promoted in the cabinet reshuffle to become first secretary of state – deputy prime minister in all but name.

While publicly, Mandelson has been helping to save Brown’s stricken leadership, the e-mails reveal his private concern about the prime minister’s suitability for high office.

His remarks have echoes of the devastating accusation that Brown suffered from “psychological flaws”, a remark attributed to Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former director of communications.

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Gingrich Shifts Rhetoric On Sotomayor, Calls Her A ‘Racialist’ (or Racist Light: Less hate filling)

Gingrich Shifts Rhetoric On Sotomayor, Calls Her A ‘Racialist’

Newt Gingrich attracted a great deal of attention for himself last month when he said that Judge Sonia Sotomayor should withdraw her nomination because she is a “Latina woman racist.”

That rhetoric proved too much for even right-wing Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), both of whom distanced themselves from Gingrich.

So Gingrich
pretended to back down. “The word ‘racist’ should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable,” he wrote.

But this morning on CBS’s Face the Nation, Gingrich again used the word “racist” but suggested that what he really meant is that Sotomayor is a “racialist”:
When I did a Twitter about her, having read what she said, I said that was racist — but I applied it to her as a person. And the truth is I don’t know her as a person. It’s clear that what she said was racist, and it’s clear — or as somebody wrote recently, “racialist” if you prefer.

Watch it:

A spokesman for Gingirch told Politico recently, “nothing has changed in the structure of his argument, he is just retracting the word racist.” And apparently replacing it with the word “racialist.”
Murasaki Shikibu

Suspect in Kan. doctor's death warns of violence

Suspect in Kan. doctor's death warns of violence

WICHITA, Kan. – The man charged in the shooting death of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller warned Sunday that more violence is possible.

Scott Roeder, being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in Tiller's killing one week ago, called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail.

Tiller, whose Wichita clinic was among only a few in the U.S. performing third-trimester abortions, was shot while serving as an usher at the Lutheran church he attended.

"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said.

He would not elaborate.

Tiller's clinic in Wichita had been a target of regular demonstrations by abortion opponents. Most were peaceful, but his clinic was bombed in 1986 and he was shot in both arms in 1993.

A funeral was held Saturday for Tiller. Most anti-abortion groups avoided the service, having denounced Tiller's shooting.

Roeder, a 51-year-old abortion opponent, was arrested a few hours after the shooting just outside Kansas City.

He told the AP he refused to talk to investigators when he was arrested, and has made no statements to police since then.

"I just told them I needed to talk to my lawyer," Roeder said.

Asked if he shot Tiller, Roeder replied that he could not comment about that and said he needed to clear everything with his lawyer.

In two separate calls to AP on Sunday morning, Roeder was far more talkative about his treatment at the Sedgwick County jail, complaining about "deplorable conditions in solitary" where he was kept during his first three days there.

Roeder said it was freezing in his cell. "I started having a bad cough. I thought I was going to have pneumonia," he said.

He said he called AP because he wanted to emphasize the conditions in the jail so that in the future suspects would not have to endure the same conditions.

Roeder also said also wanted the public to know he has been denied phone privileges for the past two days, and needed his sleep apnea machine.


Awww, poor baby, he has a cough and his phone privileges revoked. HOW I WEEP FOR YOU.

Jail's just not what you thought it would be, eh?
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Pawlenty: The GOP should be ‘just like Eminem.’

On Friday night, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) gave the keynote address at the College Republicans National Convention. Perhaps seeking cache with his young audience, he referred to a stunt at the recent MTV Movie Awards, and suggested that the Republican Party should be “just like” the rapper Eminem:

Opening his remarks with a reference to NBC’s “Inside the Obama White House” special, Pawlenty told the gathering of about 200 students, “I haven’t seen something that staged since that half-naked Austrian fell onto the face of Eminem at the MTV music awards.”

“Eminem was mad,” he continued, to laughter and applause. “And so, just like Eminem getting dumped on, we’ve got to kind of regroup. We’ve got to continue to fight. And we’ve got some things worth fighting for.”

Considering Eminem has been criticized for sexism and homophobia, perhaps he is already serving as a model for the modern conservative movement.

Update: Was Pawlenty aware that Eminem's current single features a line about his desire to "nail" Sarah Palin and tell her, "Baby say hello to my little friend"?

Stephen Colbert Shaves Head for Troops

BAGHDAD – Stephen Colbert, wearing a camouflage suit and tie, brought "The Colbert Report" — Comedy Central's political satire in which he plays a conservative TV pundit — to hundreds of U.S. troops at Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters on the western edge of Baghdad.

He drew rousing applause from the uniformed audience when he poked fun at the fact that many of them have been deployed to Iraq multiple times and could end up in Afghanistan as soon as the U.S. effort there accelerates.

"It must be nice here in Iraq because I understand some of you keep coming back again and again," he said during the taping of the first show on Sunday. "You've earned so many frequent flyer miles, you've earned a free ticket to Afghanistan."

But the loudest roars came when his first guest, Gen. Ray Odierno, accepted a videotaped order from President Barack Obama to shave Colbert's head.

The towering, bald general started the job with an electric razor, although a stylist finished it off.

The back-and-forth was humorous, but it took on serious undertones as Colbert sought to cast a spotlight on the declining attention paid to the 6-year-old war in Iraq.
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I just thought with all the negative nonsense on the news lately, it was kind of nice to read about something that DIDN'T make me want to punt kittens. Plus, he's got a point; you hardly ever hear about Iraq anymore. While it's good that incidents there have declined ... I don't think it should have receded quite so much until we're actually completely out of the country.
cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?


PRUDEN: 'Inner Muslim' at work in Cairo

Now it's on to Normandy, to apologize to the Germans. It's the least an American president can do after the way the Allied armies left so much of Europe in rubble. There's a lot of groveling to do for what America accomplished in the Pacific, too.

This prospect should appeal to Barack Obama, who relishes the role of Apologizer-in-Chief. Apologizing for manifold sins against civilization is not always easy, but it's simple enough: "Blame America First." You just open a vein and let it flow. In Cairo, Mr. Obama opened an artery.

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"First president without an instinctive appreciation of the culture, history, tradition, common law and literature whence America sprang?" "Genetic imprint writ large in his 43 predecessors is missing?" Shit, people, I think that's the wordiest way of yelling "N*****!" I've ever heard.

Some awesome news, for a change ...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Introducing America's First Black, Female Rabbi

By David Kaufman
Saturday, Jun. 06, 2009

Alysa Stanton poses in front of an ark in the synagogue at Hebrew Union College, Thursday, May 21, 2009, in Cincinnati. Stanton is to be ordained June 6, as mainstream Judaism's first black woman rabbi. She will become the rabbi at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, N.C., on Aug. 1.

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She is AWESOME, and I am beyond thrilled to see people with psych backgrounds moving into religious positions. Really cool.
try again

(no subject)

Monday, June 8, 2009; 10:26 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting a request by the Obama administration.

The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The federal appeals court in Boston earlier threw out a lawsuit filed by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans. He was the only member of that group who asked the high court to rule that the Clinton-era policy is unconstitutional.

In court papers, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that "don't ask, don't tell" is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion."

During last year's campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won't stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.

Last year, the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed a decorated flight nurse to continue her lawsuit over her dismissal. The court stopped short of declaring the policy unconstitutional, but said that the Air Force must prove that ousting former Maj. Margaret Witt furthered the military's goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the first that evaluated "don't ask, don't tell" through the lens of a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas ban on sodomy as an unconstitutional intrusion on privacy.

The administration did not appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court and Witt's lawsuit is ongoing.

The appeals court in Pietrangelo's case also took the high court decision into account, but concluded that it should defer to Congress' determination that the policy fosters cohesion in military units.

The case is Pietrangelo v. Gates, 08-824.


Republican on Republican violence: Death Match EDITION

Palin Locked In DEATH MATCH With Republican Fundraisers

Will Sarah Palin appear at a fancy fundraiser tonight for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee? No way in hell, unless she changes her mind! First she was invited to headline at the event, and she said yes, but then she said no because she was so “overexposed,” so events organizers booked Newt Gingrich instead because Newt Frigging Gingrich is a less “controversial” speaker. But the drama was just beginning!

Some fundraising busybody tried to broker a detente, saying that Palin “would be in the neighborhood around the time of the dinner,” and so maybe she could have appeared at the dinner and maybe even said a few words, until the head of the NRCC said, “She can come but for God’s sake do not let her open her mouth.”

AND THEN “Palin’s team was offended that she was not given the chance to speak.” Goodness gracious.

Sarah Palin has made something of a post-election career for herself out of accepting invitations to do something and then bagging, and now she is mad that the people she bagged on are not inviting her back so she can bag on them again. She is basically a four-year-old child, but with a national following of wingnuts.

Palin and GOP spar over fundraising dinner [The Hill]


Grassley devolves into a mean teenage girl

Grassley Tweets Belligerently About Al Gore, Barack Obama, Whatever

Jesus fucking christ. Remember back in 1780-something, when we had actual smart people writing our founding documents in beautiful longhand when they weren’t inventing new kinds of ploughs and bifocals and shit? Now our nation’s top legislators just type away like petulant teenage girls, with their thumbs, about how the president is so awful for spending the weekend in Paris. We are all stupider for having read this. [Chuck Grassley's Twitter]


Iranian election coverage: How do you say OH NO THEY DIDN'T in Persian?

In Iran, Harsh Talk as Election Nears

TEHRAN — The leading candidates are accusing each other of corruption, bribery and torture. The wife of the strongest challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to sue him for defaming her. And every night, parts of the capital become a screaming, honking bacchanal, with thousands of young men dancing and brawling in the streets until dawn.

The presidential campaign, now in its final week, has reached a level of passion and acrimony almost unheard-of in Iran.

In part, that appears to be because of a surge of energy in the campaign of Mir Hussein Moussavi, a reformist who is the leading contender to defeat Mr. Ahmadinejad in the election, set for Friday. Rallies for Mr. Moussavi have drawn tens of thousands of people in recent days, and a new unofficial poll suggests his support has markedly increased, with 54 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him compared with 39 percent for Mr. Ahmadinejad.

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NY Times sauce (and no, I don't know what's up with their spelling of "Moussavi")

In Iran, disparate, powerful forces ally against Ahmadinejad

Reporting from Tehran -- Powerful reformists and conservatives within Iran's elite have joined forces to wage an unprecedented behind-the-scenes campaign to unseat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, worried that he is driving the country to the brink of collapse with populist economic policies and a confrontational stance toward the West.

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They have used the levers of government to foil attempts by Ahmadinejad to secure funds for populist giveaways and to permit freewheeling campaigning that has benefited Mousavi. State-controlled television agreed to an unheard-of series of live debates, and the powerful Council of Guardians, which thwarted the reformist wave of the late 1990s, rejected a ballot box maneuver by the president that some saw as a prelude to attempted fraud.

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LA Times sauce

The Iranian elections will be on Friday. Although I'm always heartened to see how many people Ahmadinejad has pissed off left right and center - especially people like Larijani - as I understand it, Rafsanjani isn't all that popular either. Ahmadinejad could still get a significant FU vote.

NYT: Italy Is Not A Meritocracy But A Highly-Evolved Feudal Society

In Italy, Questions Are From Enemies, and That’s That

ROME — I got a call last week from an Italian friend, an investigative reporter. He had just spoken to an Italian magistrate who wanted to sound out a theory.

The magistrate wondered — in all seriousness — if
my recent article in The New York Times about Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s personal life could be evidence that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, envious of Mr. Berlusconi’s media empire, was using me to take down the prime minister.

My friend quickly and rightly dismissed the theory for what it was: insane. But the fact that it had been advanced by a respectable magistrate tells you almost everything you need to know about how power operates in Italy. It also goes a long way toward explaining the unstoppable success of Mr. Berlusconi, a phenomenon as alien to Americans as conflict-of-interest laws are to Italians.

Americans are forever asking how Italy can keep voting for Mr. Berlusconi, whose legal problems — not to mention his wife’s recent threats of divorce and accusations about her husband’s dalliances with very young women — would have toppled governments elsewhere.

But Italians don’t always see things this way. In Italy, abuse of office is something of a foreign concept, even though an Italian court is now investigating whether Mr. Berlusconi committed it when he used government planes to shuttle guests, including a Neapolitan singer and a flamenco dancer, to gala parties at his villa in Sardinia.
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Villagers angered by mosque blast attack Taliban. Taliban bit more than they could chew...

Villagers angered by mosque blast attack Taliban

UPPER DIR: Two Taliban commanders and their four fighters were killed in an armed action taken by a tribal Lashkar in the Doog Darra area of Upper Dir district on Sunday.

(According to AP news agency 11 militants were killed in the attack.)

The Lashkar was formed in Hayagay Sharqi, and was supported by people of Hayagay Gharbi, Doon, Kilot and Miana Doog villages, after the suicide attack on a local mosque during Friday prayers that killed over 30 people, including several children.

The Lashkar stormed Taliban bunkers in Doog Darra, Salam Bekay, Ghazigay, Shatkas, Panaghar and Maluk Khwar and torched about 20 houses of people who harboured militants.

People from several other villages joined the Lashkar to expel Taliban from their area.

According to local people, both sides were using heavy weapons in fierce clashes between the Lashkar and the Taliban.

Sources said the village force was attacking Taliban positions in Shatkas, Miana and Doog Bala.

Meanwhile, people of Maluk Khwar and Panaghar villages, who were active supporters of the militants, also parted ways with them after the mosque blast and announced support for the tribal Lashkar and vowed to evict militants from the area.

Doog Darra area, it may be mentioned, was attacked by planes in the third week of May.

Two men of the Lashkar identified as Shah Khalid and Mohammad Ayaz were injured in Sunday’s clash.

The militants, holed up in their stronghold of Shatkas and Gazigay, were putting up stiff resistance, the sources said.

Agencies add: The incident underscored a swing in the national mood towards a more anti-Taliban stance, a shift that comes as suicide attacks have surged and the military wages an offensive in the Swat valley.

DCO Atif-ur-Rehman said some 400 villagers formed a Lashkar and attacked five villages in Doog Darra area.

The militia has occupied three of the villages since Saturday and is trying to push the Taliban out of the other two.

The government has encouraged local people to set up militias to oust Taliban fighters.

‘It is something very positive that tribesmen are standing against the militants. It will discourage the miscreants,’ Mr Rehman said.

He said around 200 militants were putting up stiff resistance in their strongholds surrounded by the villagers.

‘We will send security forces, maybe artillery too, if the villagers ask for reinforcement,’ he said.

Pregnant tourist told to leave country

Pregnant tourist told to leave country

Immigration New Zealand has ordered a heavily pregnant Lithuanian tourist to leave the country - despite a doctor's warning that she must be near medical help at all times and that travel could harm her and her child.

Supporting 29-year-old Jurga Skiauteris's application to stay, North Shore Hospital antenatal consultant doctor Alex Ivancevic wrote: "Her pregnancy is a high risk ... She is strongly advised bed rest and avoidance of any activity that might potentially provoke pre-term labour."

But Immigration NZ will not extend Mrs Skiauteris's three-month visitor's permit because she is "not of an acceptable standard of health" and will require high-cost pharmaceuticals and hospital care during her stay in New Zealand.

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Rob, Arnie, and Dawn Show Finally Apologizes For Encouraging Violence Towards Transgender Children

For those of you who haven't been following this story, I've posted about it here and here.  First they made offensive comments about being transgendered and encouraged abuse of transgendered children, then a crapload of advertisers pulled sponsorship of their show.  Now they've decided to apologize.

From the front page of the Rob, Arnie, and Dawn In The Morning show:





Read the rest of the statement at their website.


Also thanks to mhael  for the heads up.

Air France Flight 447 updates

One week after the crash, things are far from clear, predictions are still far from optimistic.

  • 16, not 17, bodies recovered;
  • French submarines, including one that explored the Titanic, on the way;
  • Air France pilots might refuse to fly before instrument replacement;
  • Mystery continues, 4 articles behind the cuts.

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Worst celebration of the "Year of France in Brazil" ever. Also, the Brazilian Air Force and Navy finally decided to keep their mouth shut until they are sure what the hell they are talking about, so details will remain secret. But props for their hard work, though.

(no subject)

BREAKING: SCOTUS Rejects Challenge To Don't Ask, Don't Tell


The U.S. Supreme Court has just refused to hear a challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting an Obama administration request to maintain the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" directive. The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military's policy.

The federal appeals court in Boston earlier threw out a lawsuit filed by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans. He was the only member of that group who asked the high court to rule that the policy is unconstitutional. In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the policy as a compromise after strong resistance from the military and Congress toward allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces. In court papers, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that "don't ask, don't tell" is "rationally related to the government's legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion." Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman referred requests for comment to the Justice Department, but said the military policy "implements the law."
The Obama administration asked the Court to uphold DADT?

UPDATE: Well, we certainly would want any awkwardness when it comes to our civil rights.
The rebuff spares President Barack Obama’s administration from the awkward task of mounting a legal defense for a policy the president says should be repealed. In urging the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal, administration lawyers said a lower court was correct to uphold the policy.

UPDATE II: Law Dork evaluates the decision. He makes me feel a little better about this.

The Supreme Court has a docket that is pretty much completely of its own choosing, a process known as certiorari, or cert for short. If the court grants cert, it accepts the case, will receive a full briefing on the issues in the case and decide the merits of the legal issues between the parties. The action taken today was denial of certiorari, which ultimately means that there were not at least four justices willing to accept the case.

So, today’s action was not a decision on the merits of the case; the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

What’s more, the decision, particularly coming right now, likely tells us little about what the members of the Court actually think about the constitutionality of the policy. Why? Because a justice, say Justice Ginsburg, might believe the policy is unconstitutional but could vote against cert because she was uncertain of the Court’s other members’ views and did not want to risk losing the argument. Additionally, with the Court is in the midst of a personnel change, I’d think we’re unlikely to see many high-profile, likely 5-4 case, cert grants before a new justice takes the bench.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this case came to the Court with a very odd background posture. As detailed here, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a legal group dedicated to supporting lesbian and gay soldiers, had been involved in this case, originally representing the 12 individuals challenging the policy. The organization, however, was no longer representing James Pietrangelo when he sought certiorari. SLDN continued to represent the other 11 individuals and filed a brief opposing having the Court accept this case.


EDIT: sorry I submitted this before I saw the other post, BUT...it's got some other information in it so...I guess I'll leave it up?

(no subject)

Kim Jong-il's Son Too Girly to Rule

Click the byline to view more stories by this author.
By Michelle Garcia
Kim Jong-il's Son Too Girly to Rule

North Korea's "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il named his third son his successor -- at the expense of an older son whom he considered "too effeminate," according to the dictator's longtime sushi chef. Kim Jong-chul, the 27-year-old middle son, was apparently deemed too girlish to rule the communist nation. The eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, took himself out of contention after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001, reportedly to go to the Tokyo Disney Resort, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Kim Jong-un, the proposed next ruler of North Korea, was born in Japan and attended the Kim Il-sung Military University in Pyongyang. According to reports, the favored son has been drinking heavily since his mother's 2004 death and is now overweight and may be saddled with health problems like diabetes and heart disease due to lack of exercise.


{BSG}Why Three Wins At Life...

Ana Marie Cox on why DADT is dangerous and wrong.

Special Feature

By Ana Marie Cox

"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is dangerous and wrong, sapping the Armed Forces of thousands of skilled, patriotic men and women anxious to serve their country. So why is Obama stalling on repealing it?

Last January, Robert Gibbs, spokesman for then-President-elect Barack Obama, fielded a citizen-submitted question about the military's policy of dismissing openly gay soldiers. Thaddeus from Lansing, Michigan asked, "Is the new administration going to get rid of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy?"

GIbbs, looking a tad paler and heavier than he is now, was obviously pleased with his own answer: "Thaddeus," he said, "You don't hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

Last month, I asked Gibbs on two occasions if the administration would be getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell," and he took over 105 words and several minutes to give a qualified "maybe."
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Because I fail, I forgot The Source
team science

(no subject)

Slate.com has once again hacked the president's facebook account.

enjoy it here

favourite bit:

Arnold Schwarzenegger sent California a request for $21 billion.
California sent Arnold Schwarzenegger a flaming turd.
Gay People sent California a request for Marriage.
California sent Gay People a flaming turd.
America sent California a request for A Good Summer Movie.
California sent America a flaming turd.

Bree Gun

One Woman Takes On The Virgin Myth

"This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe's traditional healers, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of those victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves." But there is hope.

Betty Makoni is amazing. Herself a victim of rape - she was assaulted at 6, and told to keep quiet by her mother - she says she realized the "potentially deadly consequence of a woman's silence" when she watched her father murder her mother three years later. And this culture of silence and abuse has helped to facilitate the dissemination the "virgin myth" that's grown apace with the AIDS epidemic. As an adult, Makoni has devoted her life to ending the culture of systemic abuse, and the ensuing shame, that affects so many women in her country, .

The virgin myth - a widely-held superstition that sex with a virgin will cure a man of HIV or AIDS that's been around in various forms, and all over the world, at least since the 16th century - has led to a rash of child rapes in sub-Saharan Africa (most notably in South Africa) and the ensuing pregnancies and AIDS infections are a little-addressed source of shame for the victims.

Makoni, who says she's seen baby girls as young as one day old raped as a result of the myth, became aware of the scope of its consequences as a teacher. The increasing absences of female students - and what she found when she looked into the cause - led her to found the Girl Child Network (GCN) ten years ago. The GCN started as a support group, a safe place for victims to talk about their experiences without judgment or shame. Now there are 700 GNC clubs throughout Zimbabwe, and their methodology has been replicated in Swaziland, Malawi and South Africa. It's become an important public forum and an invaluable resource - Makoni estimates that the GCN's three "empowerment villages," which provide asylum, medical care and counseling, have helped to rescue some 35,000 girls from abusive sitautions, both "virgin myth"-related and otherwise. Some ten girls per day report rapes; given the pervasive culture of silence, one can only imagine how many go unreported.

While Makoni's amazing work, chronicled in the documentary Tapestries of Hope, is inspirational, it's hard not to fear for the GCN's future: last year, Makoni was forced to leave Zimbabwe for the UK after her life was threatened. She now runs the organization from England in concert with the DOVE project, a domestic violence organization, and is trying to raise GCN's international profile. But while Makoni's relief work is crucial, we wonder how the "virgin myth" - and a culture that allows for its perpetuation - can be discredited: surely hundreds of experiments - i.e., rapes of young girls which have not resulted in the curing of AIDS! - should begin to rob it of its potency?

Worryingly, increasing AIDS education has not stopped the epidemic of child-rape in South Africa; as AIDS rates rise, child-rape stats have risen accordingly. And it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation; as the "virgin myth" proliferates, so too can child and sexual abuse generally, and rising rates of frustration, alcoholism and financial desperation - all on the rise along with AIDS rates - can work in horrifying concert. Depressing? Oh, yeah. And sometimes looking at the systemic nature of the issue, some epic form of cultural headdesk can seem like the only viable option. But if Makoni can keep the faith in the face of its daily reality, the rest of us can profit by her example.


Get Involved: Girl Child Network [Official Site]
Child Rape Survivor Saves 'Virgin Myth' Victims [CNN]
Tapestries Of Hope [Tapestriesofhope.com]
HIV/AIDS, The Stats, The Virgin Cure And Infant Rape [Science in Africa]
Zimbabwe: Profile On Betty Makoni and the Girl Child Network [UNGEI]

(no subject)

Obama speeds projects to create, save 600,000 jobs

Mon Jun 8, 2009 2:31pm EDT

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday accelerated stimulus spending would create or save 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days, pledging action to slow the growth of unemployment that has reached a 25-year high.

"We've got a long way to go, but I feel like we've made great progress," Obama said at a White House meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and cabinet officials aimed at highlighting gains made since Congress passed the massive stimulus package in February.

"The biggest concern that I have moving forward is that the toll that job losses take on individual families and communities can be self-reinforcing," Obama said.

"People lose jobs, they pull back on spending, that means businesses don't have customers, and suddenly you start seeing more job lay-offs."

The White House event took place three days after the Labor Department reported that U.S. unemployment rose to 9.4 percent in May, even though job losses last month slowed to 345,000.


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National Review is reliable okay guys

Making Believe
Obama’s speech was deep in fable, short on fact.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

The Islamic world has heard the much anticipated speech about the relationship between Islam and America from “Barack Hussein Obama” — emphasis added by the president himself, who until recently considered the use of his middle name a right-wing smear. The oration was called “A New Beginning.” “A Pretend Beginning” would have been a more accurate.

Though President Obama has won plaudits from some surprising quarters — including from National Review — the speech was warmed-over leftist dogma sprinkled with a fictional accounting of Islam and its history. NR’s editors forgive this as the “obvious consideration” that a presidential address must “stress some truths more than others and soften the harsher ones.” This is a promiscuous conception of truth. What the president did was promote various fictions about Islam while airbrushing truths that are not merely harsh but are the facts behind the rampage that has victimized us for much of the last three decades. That rampage, moreover, was substantially discounted in a haze of moral equivalence.

It would be bad enough to do this under any circumstances, but it is inexcusable to do it while paying only lip-service to one of the few truths the president did speak: namely, that any “partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.”

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Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YTBkYjRmMzI4MmI3NTRkMzIwYzU0NDhkNzk2NTBlZmU=

Hey guys we get to condemn a religion because in one passage it says to not kill and to help others and then in another contradicts that but also you shouldn't condemn Christianity for the same thing also all enlightenment brought from the middle east only was in SPITE of their barbaric ways also GOD I GET A BONER AT THE THOUGHT OF BEING ABLE TO ACCENTUATE OBAMA'S MIDDLE NAME NOW HNNNGHHHHH
  • Current Mood

Blue Dogs Backsliding On Health Care.

Blue Dogs Backsliding On Health Care

Conservative House Democrats agreed to a set of health care principles late last week that angered advocates of a overhaul of the health care system.

The Blue Dog Coalition issued a statement that said it would only support the public health care option as a fallback measure that would be triggered sometime down the road if private insurers don't meet a particular set of goals.

The backsliding took advocates of reform by surprise because 20 members of the coalition had previously signed a pledge expressing their support for a public option without a trigger. The statement was written and organized by the reform coalition Health Care for America Now (HCAN), which strongly opposes a trigger and sees it as an industry plot to strangle a public option in the crib.

Blue Dogs, by their charter, need two-thirds of their 51-member caucus to approve a position before it can be officially adopted. With 20 Blue Dogs backing a public option, they would be short several votes if everyone stuck to their pledge in the closed-door meeting.
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Republican youglings suffering from Identity Crisis?

No Fight Left
Just like grown-up Republicans, College Republicans face an identity crisis.

The College Republican National Committee is a famously cutthroat operation. Karl Rove and Lee Atwater learned the ropes there in the 1970s, dragging then-RNC Chairman George H.W. Bush into a disputed election. More recently, two people you never heard of (at least until their campaign was hilariously recounted in the New Republic) spent several hundred thousand dollars in a bare-knuckled fight for chairman.

By historical standards, then, this year's convention, which took place last week at the Renaissance Marriott in Washington, D.C., was tame. There was only one contested race—for the Midwestern regional chair, fought with Midwestern collegiality—and no constitutional amendments to debate. This uncharacteristic politesse could not have come at a worse time: the first convention in the age of Obama, the first in eight years without a Republican in the White House. After an election in which young voters went 2-1 for the Democrat, colleges Baracked the vote, and Sarah Palin was trotted out as a role model for youth, what's a young conservative to do?

According to those headlining the conference, who ranged from the baby-faced Rep. Aaron Schock, 28, to the rapidly fossilizing Phyllis Schlafly, 75, the party needs to diversify. Get back to principles. And, oh, use Twitter.
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Coleman: We need more Ethernet! And cultivate more Grass-space-e-hyphen-roots!

Coleman: Cultivate "Grass E-Roots" To Win Youth Vote (VIDEO)

"Ethernet" expert and former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman has some advice for the Republican party: Cultivate grass e-roots.
Coleman was in St. Louis last week for the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference. In a speech to the audience of traditional-values voters, Coleman shared his hi-tech strategy for saving the GOP.
We need to cultivate our grass e-roots. Grass e-roots. I heard a little bit about that discussed this morning. That's spelled Grass-space-e-hyphen-roots. We have a new [unintelligible] in American politics called grass e-roots. In this new world, the one with the most cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses and YouTube hits wins. Despite the fact that we had superior tickets and issues in November, we never caught up on the Democrats on the ability to raise funds fast and cheap, and communicate with millions of people in milliseconds. Door-knocking and direct mailing still have a role but e-politics is the name of the game and we have to learn it. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online social targeting. Conservatives need to manage the communication tools of the 21st century. ...
Coleman was in Minnesota Supreme Court earlier in the week, but he did not let the gloomy predictions for his case stop him from pitching his "e-politics" strategy.

A videographer from the Minnesota Independent taped the event:


After the speech, Coleman was seen telling a supporter that the key to Republican success lies in the "ethernet."

Chrysler-Fiat Deal = Delayed

The US Supreme Court has granted a request to delay the sale of carmaker Chrysler to a group led by Italian carmaker Fiat.

Three Indiana state pension and construction funds filed papers at the court on Sunday calling for the sale to be halted so they can pursue an appeal.

The Obama administration, which strongly backed the sale, had called on the court to reject the request.

The court said Chrysler's sale was "stayed pending further order".

Chrysler entered bankruptcy protection in April following a massive slump in sales brought on by the financial crisis.

The US government had strongly supported its sale to the Fiat-led consortium, which would allow it to emerge from bankruptcy.

However, the pension funds, which hold about $42m (£26.3m) of Chrysler's $6.9bn in secured loans, are opposed to the sale.

They say it inverts usual bankruptcy practice and unlawfully rewards unsecured creditors, such as the union, ahead of secured lenders



"Third Way" on Public Option: Make One that Can't Work

"Third Way" on Public Option: Make One that Can't Work

The "progressives" at Third Way, that moderate public policy think thank tank that apparently exists to make the DLC look like regular liberal firebrands, turned their hyper-incrementalist bullshit domestic policy sites on something that matters: the public option in the health care reform package.

This leaked draft [pdf] of their upcoming policy paper shows that they're not even going for a hyper-incrementalist watering down of the public option--they're trying to kill it. Here's their premise:

Whether health care reform should include a "public plan" is an issue that now threatens to fracture the emerging consensus on health reform.  If left unresolved, the debate over a public plan could derail the broader reform agenda while other pressing issues central to reform are put on hold.

The proponents of a public plan seek the right goals—to broaden access and lower costs. But there is a very real danger that an overly intrusive public plan can ultimately undermine these very goals and destabilize the private-sector coverage that middle-class Americans—i.e., Harry and Louise—depend on and are largely satisfied with.

They actually invoke Harry and Louise again, which is fitting, since Harry and Louise were a creation of the insurance industry, much like this plan seems to be. In the event that Third Way forgot, "proponents" of the public option include President Obama, one of the key Senate leaders on the issue, and the largest voting bloc in the House of Representatives. It's not a fringe group of DFHers who want a solid public option. It's the consensus of the majority of Democrats. And the President.

Nonetheless, Third Way seems committed to doing the dirty work of the insurance lobby from the "left." Here's the plan's four basic elements:

  • An explicit rejection of price controls and rate-setting on medical services and products;
  • A level playing field that preserves and enhances a vibrant and robust private insurance industry with market-based competition;
  • An assurance of stable coverage for the middle class, meaning that reform will not force people to change plans; and
  • Mechanisms to ensure private-sector cost-containment, in conjunction with the health care industry’s pledge to achieve the $2 trillion in savings over ten years

Those four elements are spelled out in the "key policy proposals" they will presumably put forward:

  • Explicit rejection of price controls and rate-setting
  • A level playing field on taxes, regulations and administration
  • Limited participation to certain market segments (e.g. small group and individual)
  • Required supermajority approval for federal bailout of the public plan (in addition to self-financing)
  • Automatic sunset after four years unless the plan can demonstrate solid financial performance and positive impacts on market stability
  • Mandatory accreditation or evaluation of providers, plans and other stakeholders to ensure private sector cost containment if targets are not met

To clarify, this means the public option wouldn't be "public" as much as limited to those small businesses and the uninsured, or "market segments" that are geographical. It would "firmly and explicitly reject Medicare-style price controls and rate-setting," and not be allowed to to negotiate with drug companies or hospitals or doctors at all for prices (in the name of "innovation"). Should the plan require a emergency federal funding, it would have the barrier of obtaining a supermajority of Congressional approval.

It gets better. They propose that actually administration of what they are calling their "hybrid" should be contracted out to private industry. Finally, they want their plan to have a "reverse trigger," to sunset after just four years should it not prove effective, because "Harry and Louise must feel confident in knowing not just that their employers won’t be dropping their existing coverage in favor of the public plan." As if restrictions can't be placed on employers to prevent them from dropping Harry and Louise? Given all the the restrictions they want placed on it, what do you think the chances of that success might be? What's more, four years is a ridiculously short amount of time for an evaluation period. Every analyst worth her salt is estimating a decade for reform plans to prove their worth.

Then they have the gall to conclude with this:

Progressives who believe in both the power of markets and of government to work together in bettering the lives of the middle-class should embrace the notion of a hybrid plan that can energize and enhance the current market.

Where they got the idea that they speak for "progressives" on this issue is beyond me. This morning, DemFromCT laid out all of the reasons we should be putting our weight behind a solid, trigger-free public opton. Job one is killing this Third Way "hybrid" before it gets beyond the draft stage.


Two Dems Jump Ship, Giving Control Of NY State Senate To GOP

ALBANY – Republicans seized control of the New York State Senate on Monday, in a stunning and sudden reversal of fortunes for the Democratic Party, which controlled the chamber for barely five months.

A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control.

It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session.

All 30 Republicans stood with their hands raised, signaling a vote for a change in leadership. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate joined them, each raising his hand. It appeared that Republicans had won the vote by a 32-to-30 margin. With Republicans in charge of the chamber, it is likely that Dean G. Skelos, of Long Island, will be the new majority leader.

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HOLY SHIT!! The Democratic failboat controlling New York is sinking!! All we need now is a Republican governor!
' jules

It's 3 AM... and a phone is ringing in the governor's mansion

VA-Gov: Deeds Takes Big Lead in PPP's Final Poll

Public Policy Polling (6/6-7, likely voters, 5/28-31 in parens):
Creigh Deeds (D): 40 (27)
Terry McAuliffe (D): 26 (24)
Brian Moran (D): 24 (22)
Undecided: 10 (26)
(MoE: ±3.0%)
Wow. What a huge movement for Creigh Deeds in just a few short weeks. Remember, Deeds was lagging at 14% in PPP's 5/1-3 poll, but a well-timed endorsement from the Washington Post was clearly the catalyst for Deeds' remarkable surge -- and probably also a sign that a sizable share of Moran and McAuliffe's support was pretty soft in the first place. Indeed, in the vote-rich DC burbs in Northern Virginia, where Deeds has been almost a non-factor for much of the race, Deeds has now pulled ahead of Moran by a 38-35 margin, with 20% going to McAuliffe.

And speaking of McAuliffe, take a look at his horrid favorability rating; among Democratic primary voters, just as many voters have a favorable opinion of the ex-DNC chair as those who dislike him (40%-40%). That's pretty brutal. If Deeds can hold onto his lead on Tuesday, we may be dodging a major bullet here.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: Pegging the primary voter universe is a notoriously tough business (especially in an ultra-low turnout state like Virginia), and the ground game will be key on Tuesday. For now, though, the momentum is clearly at the back of Deeds.


Virginians, who are you voting for? If I was in VA I would probably vote for Deeds, I was leaning to Moran but rn I think people need to worry about just defeating McAuliffe (also Moran did some goofy stuff like giving out his cellphone number on TV, get a brain Moran etc etc).

It'll be so lolarious if McAuliffe loses. His opponents were even hitting him for the 3 AM ad he was so proud of last year - not to rehash the drama of the primaries, but I think most of us ~Obamabots~ would agree, that's karma right there.

Netanyahu thinks Obama wants a fight with Israel. Let's get ready to rumble!!

Aides: PM thinks Obama wants policy clash with Israel to please Arab world

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that U.S. President Barack Obama wants a confrontation with Israel, based on Obama's speech in Cairo last week, Netanyahu's confidants say.

In Netanyahu's opinion, the Americans believe an open controversy with Israel would serve the Obama administration's main objective of improving U.S. relations with the Arab world, the aides say.

In his speech, Obama called for a "new beginning" in relations between America and Islam, and spoke at length about the Israeli-Arab conflict.

He demanded that Israel recognize the Palestinians' right to a state and freeze construction in the West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu objects to a complete suspension of construction beyond the Green Line. This is Netanyahu's main bone of contention with the Obama administration.
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' jules


Breaking: Lieberman-Graham Dropped From Supplemental

According to sources on the Hill, the Lieberman-Graham detainee photo suppression amendment is out of the conference report of the supplemental.

For everyone who made phone calls -- pat yourself on the back.

Let us all now sit back and enjoy the spectacle of Joe Lieberman throwing a tantrum.


HuffPo's report:

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com is reporting that the Lieberman-Graham amendment to suppress detainee photos "is out of the conference report of the supplemental."

The Huffington Post confirmed that the provision has indeed been removed from the bill. The war supplemental had been weighted down both by it and a $108 billion line of credit for the IMF. With Republicans threatening to oppose the war money because of the IMF funding, Democratic leadership couldn't afford to lose left-wing Democrats who were opposed to the FOIA provision.

The left-right alliance was making it hard for leadership to get the necessary votes.

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Previous post about the administration's support for this unneccessary amendment here.

Now can I get a HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL YEAH from everyone else who opposed it? And people who supported it, look on the bright side, you don't have to swallow those right-wing talking points anymore.

sry to any Beyonce haters it's the best dancing GIF I have rn


I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled business to announce that I'm working on a Wiki entry that displays the awesomeness of this community. Since the mothership has one, the best spinoff should as well.

I'm looking for suggestions, links to epic posts, images to use on the entry, and help with formatting and such since I just joined Wiki. Any contributions will be much appreciated!

ETA: I understand the risk of deletion. For the seasoned Wiki people, what would make the article less likely to be deleted?
ad | tobias

I can has good news from Europe, too?

Greens make big gains in EU parliament vote


LONDON (AP) — Polar bears have taken over screen savers. Two of the last five Nobel Peace Prizes have gone to eco-campaigners. Climate change has crept onto government agendas.

And now the European Parliament itself has gone a bit more green.

Riding a wave of public concern over the effects of climate change, the Green-European Freedom Alliance bloc captured 53 of the EU parliament's 736 seats, compared with 43 spots in the last 785-seat assembly.
"To have increased our side with the parliament seats going down in number is a nice surprise," said Greens-EFA spokesman Chris Coakley.

Green candidates now account for 46 of their Green-EFA's seats, compared with 36 previously, according to the political bloc, which also includes independents and members of smaller pro-EU national parties. The bloc's final size could change slightly, depending on alliances.

Europe's Greens were the only major bloc whose parliamentary proportion increased — from 5.5 percent to 7.1 percent in this election. Far-right groups and anti-EU parties, including the UK Independence Party, also saw big increases in the independent group.

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If anyone cares, here are the official (preliminary) detailed results from all countries.
comedy | Hobo of the Year

An apparent iconic photo of vintage Govanator.

Fran Lebowitz on Warhol shooting Schwarzenegger:

"I’m pretty sure that this photograph was taken at the Factory. I’m also fairly certain that I was there at the time although this may be one of those false memories of childhood abuse. At any rate, there are not many people who could put this photograph in its proper context. Luckily for you, I am one of those people.

This photograph was taken around the time that George Butler’s movie Pumping Iron was causing something of a stir in certain circles. It was definitely a Factory favorite and Arnold Schwarzenegger occupied the same position as any other Warhol superstar with all the same low-rent high hopes that this implied. "Muscle queens," as they were most politely called were an absolutely submerged level of gay culture and this photograph, I assure you, was taken with Andy’s signature mix of envy and contempt. This signature, of course, turned out to be written in disappearing ink and Andy’s eventual triumph of the will was to live long enough to see Schwarzenegger become an actual movie star and the actual spouse of an actual Kennedy."

Source: Corbis | "Storied" feature


I had no idea that Fran Lebowitz was so witty. Loved the blurb. Also, I was not aware that this Polaroid even existed until 5 minutes ago, but was drawn by it's fierceness, and felt obliged to share. Young!Arnold was a cutie, negl.

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More 'Big Government' spending that Republicans are sure to hate!

Folks that claim to hate "big government" are sure to be outraged and out holding tea party protests about this increase in the size of the federal government, I bet!

Just like they were livid when, back in March, the press reported that 7 in 10 arms programs were over budget, and when it was announced the Pentagon intended to add 20,000 more jobs onto the government/taxpayer payroll. Remember the round of denunciations over that on FOX News, from the AM radio right-wing punditocracy, from Newt Gingrich, etc., because that would make the government larger, while conservatives believe in "limited government"?

And remember how forcefully US Libertarian Party folks came out against hose things, all the Objectivists and Ayn Rand fans who spent as much time railing against this "statist-collectivist" expansion as they do on "welfare" or "government-run health care"...?

I don't remember it, either.

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Rich, artsy hipsters on parents' trust funds also facing tough times =(

NYT sez: "The flow of parental money that helped fuel one of New York City’s most radical gentrifications [Williamsburg] has ebbed."

June 8, 2009

Parental Lifelines, Frayed to Breaking

For the past five years, Ernie DiGiacomo has been able to count on parents to guarantee the $1,500 to $2,500 rents he charges for the 15 apartments he owns in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When he called renters who had missed payments, he often heard, “My parents will send you a check.”

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