June 14th, 2009


Leno Told Similar Joke About Palin's Daughter. Wut double standard?... shocking!

Leno Told Similar Joke About Palin's Daughter

Alan Colmes (former co-host of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes) makes a great a catch regarding the current feud between David Letterman and Governor Sarah Palin. While Palin has been blasting Letterman all over the airwaves for joking about Yankees star Alex Rodriguez "knocking up" her daughter, Jay Leno told an extremely similar joke during the presidential campaign that resulted in no such uproar:

Gov. Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. And you thought John Edwards was in trouble before! Now he has really done it. -- "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," 9/2/08

Is there a double standard being applied to Letterman? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

RELATED: NOW Joins Palin In Bashing Letterman

Iran's political coup

Former NSC Official Gary Sick writes:

Iran's political coup

If the reports coming out of Tehran about an electoral coup are sustained, then Iran has entered an entirely new phase of its post-revolution history. One characteristic that has always distinguished Iran from the crude dictators in much of the rest of the Middle East was its respect for the voice of the people, even when that voice was saying things that much of the leadership did not want to hear.

In 1997, Iran’s hard line leadership was stunned by the landslide election of Mohammed Khatami, a reformer who promised to bring rule of law and a more human face to the harsh visage of the Iranian revolution. It took the authorities almost a year to recover their composure and to reassert their control through naked force and cynical manipulation of the constitution and legal system. The authorities did not, however, falsify the election results and even permitted a resounding reelection four years later. Instead, they preferred to prevent the president from implementing his reform program.

In 2005, when it appeared that no hard line conservative might survive the first round of the presidential election, there were credible reports of ballot manipulation to insure that Mr Ahmadinejad could run (and win) against former president Rafsanjani in the second round. The lesson seemed to be that the authorities might shift the results in a close election but they would not reverse a landslide vote.

The current election appears to repudiate both of those rules. The authorities were faced with a credible challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who had the potential to challenge the existing power structure on certain key issues. He ran a surprisingly effective campaign, and his “green wave” began to be seen as more than a wave. In fact, many began calling it a Green Revolution. For a regime that has been terrified about the possibility of a “velvet revolution,” this may have been too much.

On the basis of what we know so far, here is the sequence of events starting on the afternoon of election day, Friday, June 12.

  • Near closing time of the polls, mobile text messaging was turned off nationwide
  • Security forces poured out into the streets in large numbers
  • The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men
  • National television began broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the winner
  • The Mousavi campaign was informed officially that they had won the election, which perhaps served to temporarily lull them into complacency
  • But then the Ministry of Interior announced a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad
  • Unlike previous elections, there was no breakdown of the vote by province, which would have provided a way of judging its credibility
  • The voting patterns announced by the government were identical in all parts of the country, an impossibility (also see the comments of Juan Cole at the title link)
  • Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene`i publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements
  • Shortly thereafter, all mobile phones, Facebook, and other social networks were blocked, as well as major foreign news sources.

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Iranian election monitoring commission declares results invalid

Yes, the president of Iran's own election monitoring commission has declared the result invalid and called for a do-over. That is huge news: when a regime's own electoral monitors beak ranks, what chance does the regime have of persuading anyone in the world or Iran that it has democratic legitimacy?


I can't actually read that so I'll take his word on it.
panda bear

(no subject)

Romney On Iran's Elections: Obama's Apology Tour Isn't Working

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said on Sunday that the Obama administration's approach to Iran was "entirely wrong-headed" and made the case that the contested results of that country's elections proved that the president's policy of apologizing for America was "not working."

In an appearance on ABC's "This Week," the failed Republican Presidential candidate and potential 2012 contender called Iran's election results a "fraud," and the results "inaccurate."

Romney began, however, by arguing that Barack Obama's remark that there was a "robust debate" in Iran had proven to be badly off the mark, as witnessed by "brutal repression" of election day protesters. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's widely contested victory, he added, was another indication that Obama's approach to the Middle East and world at large wasn't working.

"It's very clear that the president's policy of going around the world and apologizing for America is not working," said Romney. "North Korea is not just saber rattling. They've taken the saber out of the sheath. Iran is moving head alone towards nuclearization. Russia is on the same course they were on. And all the apologies he provided to the Europeans have not led any of the European nations to provide any additional support for us in Afghanistan. Look, just sweet talk and criticizing America is not go doing enhance freedom in the world."

Reminded by host George Stephanopoulos that losses by Hezbollah in Lebanon just a week earlier were widely attributed as a success for Obama -- as was the mere fact that Iranians were protesting Ahmadinejad's proclaimed victory -- Romney was left a bit more tongue-tied.

"You know, I can't tell you what led to the people running into the streets in Iran," he said. "I hope, in fact, that they're very anxious to see new leadership in that country. But I can tell you the results are what I'm interested in: Is Iran still pursuing nuclear weaponry. And there's no question about at."

That said, the former governor's remarks - another in a line of continuous, harsh rebukes of the White House - seem likely to be the Republican line going forward. Prominent neo-conservative Richard Perle also made the case, Sunday morning, that Ahmadinejad's power grab was the U.S. president's fault.

"Normally, when you unclench your fist it benefits the hardliners," he said, "because Obama appeared to be saying we can do business with you even with your present policies."

panda bear

(no subject)

Ahmadinejad: No guarantee on rival's safety

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declined Sunday to guarantee the safety of his defeated rival Mir Hossein Moussavi in response to a question from CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

"There is rule of law in this country and all the people are equal before the law," Ahmadinejad said when Amanpour asked if he would guarantee Moussavi's safety. She also asked why opposition leaders had been arrested.

"In a soccer match, people may become excited and there may be confrontation between the people and the police force. People who violate traffic regulations will be fined by the police no matter who he is. These are not problems," Ahmadinejad said.

When Amanpour asked a second time if Ahmadinejad would guarantee Moussavi's safety, he said he had already answered the question.

There were conflicting reports on whether Moussavi had been placed under house arrest.

Some reports indicated that he had been detained. Others said he was at home, conducting meetings but was free to come and go.

Guards were stationed outside his house, but it was not immediately clear whether they worked for him or the government.

Analysts had expected Moussavi, a former prime minister who is regarded as a reformist, to defeat Ahmadinejad.

Moussavi is credited for successfully navigating the Iranian economy during a bloody eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s. And he enjoyed tremendous support among the youth. Iran's population has a median age of 27.

When the ballots were counted, the government declared Ahmadinejad the winner -- with 62.63 percent of the vote. Moussavi received 33.75 percent.

Moussavi disputed the results, blaming "untrustworthy monitors." Independent election observers were banned from polling places.

"The results announced for the 10th presidential elections are astonishing," he said in a statement. "People who stood in long lines and knew well who they voted for were utterly surprised by the magicians working at the television and radio broadcasting."

Angered by the returns, Moussavi's supporters took to the streets Saturday. With handkerchiefs and surgical masks shielding them from the pungency of tear gas, they clashed openly with police in a rare challenge to the regime.

Video here.

panda bear

(no subject)

Museum suspect will live to face charges

The man charged with killing a security officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is expected to survive his subsequent shooting by other security officers, the FBI said in a statement released Saturday.

The statement was based on a Thursday court session in which a public defender was appointed for James von Brunn, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, a security officer who police say opened a museum door Wednesday for the 88-year-old reputed white supremacist.

"Defendant was not present in court because he is still in the hospital," FBI Supervisory Special Agent Katherine Schweit said in the written statement. "Government told the court that the defendant was in critical, but stable, condition with an expectation of survival."

Von Brunn was charged Thursday with a federal count of murder and killing while in possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Authorities said von Brunn shot Johns with a rifle at the entrance to the Washington museum after Johns had opened the door for him. Other security guards then shot von Brunn, authorities said.

Johns and von Brunn were taken to a hospital, and Johns died later Wednesday. The FBI said police were investigating whether the killing of Johns, who was black, might be considered a hate crime.

According to court records, investigators found a handwritten message in a notebook in von Brunn's car. The note said the "Holocaust is a lie" and that President Obama "was created by Jews," according to an FBI affidavit.

"Obama does what Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media. The First Amendment is abrogated -- henceforth," the message said, according to the affidavit.

At the end of the writings, according to the affidavit, was the signature: James W. von Brunn.

Von Brunn, of Maryland, had a Web site called "The Holy Western Empire" on which he promoted his book, "Kill the Best Gentiles." The book called the Holocaust a hoax and claimed the Jewish-led "Illuminati" and Jewish figures such as Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx worked "to destroy Western civilization and the Aryan nation that created it."

Von Brunn served six years in prison for trying in 1981 to kidnap Federal Reserve Board members because of high interest rates. He blamed his prison term on a "Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys" and "a Jew judge," he said on his Web site.



Netanyahu accepts limited Palestinian state

The Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday called for creation of a limited Palestinian state for the first time, saying it would have to be disarmed.

Netanyahu made the call during a major policy speech about his Mideast peacemaking intentions.

"In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel," he said.

"If we get this guarantee for demilitarization and necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a real peace agreement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state," he said.

Up to now Netanyahu has resisted endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a Mideast peace settlement, drawing intense pressure from the administration of President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu also said the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and he declared that the solution of the Palestinian refugee problem must be "outside Israel."

Palestinians claim that refugees from the 1948-49 war that followed Israel's creation and their millions of descendants have the right to reclaim their original homes.

"I call on you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions," he said. "Israel is committed to international agreements and expects all the other parties to fulfill their obligations as well."

Netanyahu also called for Arab leaders to meet him and contribute to Palestinian economic development.

Roger Cohen: Iran’s Day of Anguish

Iran’s Day of Anguish

TEHRAN — She was in tears like many women on the streets of Iran’s battered capital. “Throw away your pen and paper and come to our aid,” she said, pointing to my notebook. “There is no freedom here.”

And she was gone, away through the milling crowds near the locked-down Interior Ministry spewing its pick-ups full of black-clad riot police. The “green wave” of Iran’s pre-election euphoria had turned black.

Down the street outside the ghostly campaign headquarters of the defeated reformist candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, the baton-wielding police came in whining phalanxes, two to a motorbike, scattering people, beating them.
“Disperse or we’ll do other things and then you’ll really know.” The voice, from a police megaphone, was steady in its menace. “You, over there, in a white hat, I’m talking to you.”

Anger hung in the air, a sullen pall enveloping the city, denser than its smog, bitter as smashed hope.

I say “defeated.” But everything I have seen suggests Moussavi, now rumored to be under house arrest, was cheated, the Iranian people defrauded, in what Moussavi called an act of official “wizardry.”

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Keep up-to-date with the latest news here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/13/iran-demonstrations-viole_n_215189.html

Murasaki Shikibu

Nate Silver chimes in on the Iranian elections, sort of.

Statistical Report Purporting to Show Rigged Iranian Election Is Flawed

Like most Americans, there are few things I would like to see more than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's hateful President, to be voted out of office. Elections in thuggish, authoritarian states like Iran need be treated with the utmost skepticism and scrutiny. I can't say I have any real degree of confidence in the official results, which showed Ahmadinejad winning with some 62 percent of the vote.

There is a statistical analysis making the rounds, however, which purports to show overwhelmingly persuasive evidence that the Iranian election was rigged. I do not find this evidence compelling.

Iran's election results were reported by its Interior Ministry in six waves. The first wave covered about one-third of the total vote; there were then two relatively large waves that reported about 20 percent of the vote each, and then three smaller waves that reported the remainder of the vote. What other observers have found is that, over the course of the six waves, there is an extremely strong, linear relationship between the number of votes reported for Ahmadinejad and the number reported for his principal opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi (who had declared victory before any results were officially announced):

This relationship is superficially very impressive -- an R-squared of .998, which suggests a nearly perfect relationship.

Just how remarkable really is it, however?

Read the rest and see the graphs at the source.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

Iran post-election Live Thread.

Throwing up an open/live thread at the suggestion of some members, as a lot of events are actively developing with regard to the fall-out following the the 2009 election in Iran. Will try to update the post as notable info pours in. Otherwise, DISCUSS.

Helpful Links:



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Dirty Equipment May Have Exposed 10,000 Veterans To HIV, Other Infections

Hearing to air VA mistakes with hospital equipment

A congressional panel is pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to disclose on Tuesday whether non-sterile equipment that may have exposed 10,000 veterans to HIV and other infections was isolated to three Southeast hospitals or is part of a wider problem.

"Somebody is going to have to take responsibility," said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs' oversight and investigation subcommittee.

The subcommittee scheduled Tuesday's hearing in Washington to discuss mistakes involving endoscopic equipment used for colonoscopies and other procedures at its hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga. with top agency officials and to receive a yet-unreleased report by the VA's inspector general.

Roe said he had not yet seen the report but was told in a briefing Friday that the VA's inspector general conducted a random check on 42 VA locations.

VA officials have said problems discovered at more than a dozen other VA facilities did not warrant follow-up blood tests for patients. Roe, who is a private physician, has questions about whether the problems were isolated to three hospitals or were more widespread.

"I think this was an institutional breakdown," Roe said.

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Hatch Faces Anger At Utah GOP Convention: Calls Blame For Bush Years "B.S."

Hatch, Bennett get not-so-warm welcome

U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, both R-Utah, got polite receptions Saturday at the state GOP convention, but both also recognized that some of the rank-and-file delegates weren't pleased with them.

Hatch, at one point in his speech, appeared upset when some delegates applauded as a way of blaming national Republicans, himself included, for the deficit and other problems of the Bush years.

"Don't you believe that B.S.," Hatch said loudly. But some of the 1,800 delegates clearly did.

While many delegates stood and applauded the longtime incumbents (Hatch 33 years, Bennett 15 years), others sat on their hands — not booing, but showing their disapproval through silence.

A few GOP leaders feared a hostile reception (there was none, as outgoing state party chairman Stan Lockhart told the hall not to boo anyone), and steps were made in scheduling and placement to blunt incivility.
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Ah, yes the *Wonderful Bush Years*, I wonder why conservatives dont talk about it more often...

Are Some Anti-Abortion Attacks Domestic Terrorism?

The murder of Dr. George Tiller has reignited the abortion debate, and raised the question: should violence against medical doctors who perform abortions be viewed and prosecuted as domestic terrorism? This week NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa sits down with two of the remaining handful of doctors who publicly acknowledge performing late abortions, including Leroy Carhart, a fellow doctor in Tiller's Wichita, Kansas clinic.

Carhart discusses his vow to carry on Tiller's mission and what it's like for him and his family to live as "targets". The show also investigates claims that law enforcement dropped the ball when it came to stopping Tiller's alleged murderer, Scott Roeder.

Hinojosa travels to Colorado as well to talk with Dr. Warren Hern, another late abortion provider who says he's been living "under siege" for decades. Dr. Hern works behind four layers of bulletproof windows and is now under round-the-clock federal protection.

This video is 25 mins long, but it's really worth watching to see the point of view from abortion doctors who face daily attacks from pro-life organizations.


(no subject)

Republicans step up the anti-Obama-speak

By Aaron Blake

Posted: 06/14/09 07:07 PM [ET]

Republicans in Washington are offering up some of the strongest language yet in their efforts to distinguish themselves from the 5-month-old Obama administration's economic policies.

In recent weeks, GOP leaders and rank-and-file members have offered stinging rebukes of the Democratic control in Washington in terms that Democrats say have gone over the line.

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Shirley Animated

Coercively sterilized Romani woman will be compensated for violation of her rights.

After three years, the Hungarian government has finally decided to provide financial compensation to a Romani woman who was coercively sterilized in 2001. The case was referred to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and in August 2006 it found the Hungarian government to be in violation of the UN Convention that guarantees an end to discrimination against women.

In March 2008, the Hungarian government declared the opposite. It would not provide any compensation to Ms. A.S., a woman who was sterilized by Hungarian doctors without her consent. Now, on February 24, 2009, after eight years of national and international legal proceedings, there is hope that the victim, as recommended by CEDAW Committee, "will be provided an appropriate compensation commensurate with the gravity of the violations of her rights."
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