June 27th, 2009

Murasaki Shikibu

Executing dissenters and oh, you mischievous Britons

Iranian cleric: Some in unrest should be executed

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer Karin Laub, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 18 mins ago

EDITOR'S NOTE: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.


Iran's increasingly isolated opposition leader effectively ended his role in street protests, saying he'll seek permits for future rallies. A senior cleric demanded in a nationally broadcast sermon Friday that leaders of the unrest be punished harshly and that some are "worthy of execution."

Iran's ruling clergy has widened its crackdown on the opposition since a bitterly disputed June 12 presidential election, and scattered protests have replaced the initial mass rallies.

The official Web site of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main tool of communicating with his supporters, was hacked Friday, leaving it blank, an aide said.

Mousavi has said victory was stolen from him through fraud, challenging the proclamation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner.

Mousavi has sent mixed signals to his supporters in recent days, asking them not to break the law, while pledging not to drop his challenge of the election.

Hundreds have been detained since the vote, including journalists, academics and university students, and a special court has been set up to put them on trial.

In Friday's central Muslim sermon at Tehran University, a senior cleric, Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, called for harsh retribution for dissent.

"Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction," he said in the nationally broadcast speech.

The cleric alleged that some involved in the unrest had used firearms.

"Anyone who takes up arms to fight with the people, they are worthy of execution," he said. "We ask that the judiciary confront the leaders of the protests, leaders of the violations, and those who are supported by the United States and Israel strongly, and without mercy to provide a lesson for all."

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I wish I could say this was a surprise, but no. As Reza Aslan said on TDS, Iranians are good at eating and mourning...so making new 'martyrs' might not have the effect TPTB want it to.

And LOL at "Britons have behaved very mischievously." It just sounds so very cute.
  • bispo

Upstart mayor accused of plagiarism

The youngest mayor in China, sworn in last Sunday, is experiencing a rollercoaster-like emotional rush as public opinion of him remains divided only days after he took office.

At the age of 29, being young and successful has not been easy for Zhou Senfeng, the mayor of a county-level city of Yicheng in central China's Hubei province. Zhou said it is tiring to find peace away from public scrutiny.

"Job pressure is no match to the stress I feel from the society," Zhou was quoted as saying by the Beijing News. "I wish media could focus less on me but give me some time to work and think - in a way like protecting development of youth."

Zhou, formerly acting mayor of Yicheng who graduated with a master's degree from China's Tsinghua University in Beijing, was elected unanimously as mayor last Sunday in a "secret" ballot of the city's people's congress.

Zhou's whirlwind promotion at a young age has triggered doubts and an exhaustive online search into his family and academic backgrounds, the transparency of the election process and even his political views.

According to Eastday.com, a Netizen wrote an online article two days after he took office that claims more than half of the content in a published thesis on Commercial Research written by Zhou in 2004 before his graduation, matches another thesis printed in 2002.

The university is reportedly taking the accusations seriously and investigating the plagiarism allegation.

Also in response to rumors that Zhou's wife is a vice-director of another city's people's congress in Hubei province, China News Service reported on June 23 that she is in fact the head of a subdivision of the congress. Backgrounds of the couple and the occupations of their respective parents were also detailed.

Some displeased Netizens pasted pictures of Zhou "posing apparently" like a corrupted bureaucratic. In the photos, a man is standing behind Zhou while holding an umbrella for him on a rainy day during a survey visit to a township earlier this month.

Another picture featuring a pack of luxurious cigarettes, possibly worth 120 yuan ($17) and placed on a conference table near his hand also drew public criticism.

Li Chengyan, head of Peking University's Clean Government Research Center, told China Daily on Friday: "Putting the alleged scandals aside, he should be regarded as a role model of grassroots politicians for young graduates today, especially as the global recession dampened outlook of employment rate."

Sanford's Affair Sparks Debate In GOP Over Family Values Emphasis

Sanford's Affair Sparks Debate In GOP Over Family Values Emphasis

Gov. Mark Sanford's admission to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina has sparked a debate within the backchannels of the GOP over how strongly the party should emphasize morality and religion going forward.

For decades, the GOP has used issues like respect for the sanctity of marriage and the notion of family values as a key component of its political platform and a point of divergence between Republicans and Democrats. A series of sex scandals involving high-ranking officials, however, has drastically altered that equation. And now some strategists are questioning whether the party should rethink the way it emphasizes these matters.

"It creates a very interesting tension for Republicans because they understand that there is a very interesting constituency that they have to appeal to, particularly in places like South Carolina, by resorting to that kind of moral values rhetoric," said Mike Maslansky, CEO of Luntz Maslansky, a predominantly conservative communications firm. "I don't say rhetoric as a means of demeaning it. Talking in those terms is a way to appeal to the base. In an election season they find it is a significant advantage to talk in those terms. Maybe for the other three years out of their term they wish that they hadn't."
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  • bispo

U. of I. jobs-for-entry scheme

E-mails reveal law school put a price on admission of unqualified candidate

What does it cost to get an unqualified student into the University of Illinois law school?

Five jobs for graduating law students, suggest internal e-mails released Thursday.

The documents show for the first time efforts to seek favors -- in this case, jobs -- for admissions, the most troubling evidence yet of how Illinois' entrenched system of patronage crept into the state's most prestigious public university.

They also detail the law school's system for handling "Special Admits," students backed by the politically connected, expanding the scope of a scandal prompted by a Chicago Tribune investigation.

In one e-mail exchange, University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman forced the law school to admit an unqualified applicant backed by then- Gov. Rod Blagojevich while seeking a promise from the governor's go-between that five law school graduates would get jobs. The applicant, a relative of deep-pocketed Blagojevich campaign donor Kerry Peck, appears to have been pushed by Trustee Lawrence Eppley, who often carried the governor's admissions requests.

When Law School Dean Heidi Hurd balked on accepting the applicant in April 2006, Herman replied that the request came "Straight from the G. My apologies. Larry has promised to work on jobs (5). What counts?"

Hurd replied: "Only very high-paying jobs in law firms that are absolutely indifferent to whether the five have passed their law school classes or the Bar."

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Body language

Ann Coulter on O'Reilly: Tiller Murder a 'Termination'

Media personality Ann Coulter appeared on Bill O'Reilly's television program this week to discuss the murder of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Never one to shy away from controversy, Coulter offered the following ethical assessment of the crime:

"I don't really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester."

When pressed by O'Reilly on this statement, Coulter replied,

"I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don't want to impose my moral values on others."

Here's the clip in context. The salient portion occurs at the 3:35 mark.

Setting aside Coulter's tongue-in-cheek, rhetorical gamesmanship, the likening of Tiller's murder to a late-term abortion is an interesting tact. Her point seems to be: What really distinguishes the killing of a fetus from an out-of-the-womb homicide? Shouldn't we view them as one and the same?

That seems like a fair enough argument for those who would deny moral shades of gray. Either you're for a "culture of death" or you're against it. But, as O'Reilly points out, that metaphor seems to fall flat when Coulter playfully claims that she doesn't want to lay an ethical guilt trip on those who would shoot abortion providers (even while celebrating the idea of a "Hooray-George-Tiller-is-dead party").

The point is, of course Coulter wants to impose her values on America. She, like O'Reilly, has made a nice career out of doing just that. And that career is built upon headline-grabbing remarks like the one above, for better or for worse.


Also, Peter David has stated "Don’t let anyone tell you that too much is being made of Coulter making a bad off-the-cuff joke.  Tiller was 68.  She ran the numbers; 203 is exactly correct.  She actually took the time to research her 'joke.'"

' jules

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth/the minor fall, the major lift/the baffled gov composing...

Hallelujah! All the Mark Sanford news that's fit to repost.

(picture by aissle)

Sanford: King David Didn't Resign, So Why Should I?

Mark Sanford has been holding a televised cabinet meeting this afternoon.

And the South Carolina governor started out by using an interesting comparison to respond to calls for his resignation. King David didn't back down after his own sex scandal, he told his colleagues, and neither will I.

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Jenny Sanford: I Learned Of Affair In January

South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford says she discovered her husband's affair in January when she found a letter to the governor from his mistress.

Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press on Friday she told him to end the affair and was shocked this week when she found out he'd gone to Argentina to see his mistress. She says she believed Gov. Mark Sanford had gone somewhere to work on writing a book.

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Argentine Man Is Said to Be Source of Sanford E-Mail

The mystery of who revealed Gov. Mark Sanford’s e-mail messages may finally be solved. A business associate of Mr. Sanford’s Argentine mistress said Friday that private messages between the two lovers had been sent anonymously to a South Carolina newspaper last December by an Argentine man the mistress had briefly dated.

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I'm glad he pulled the King David card because now we can reference "Hallelujah" and "Dead" along with "Maria" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina".
serenaded by the terror bird
  • 5047

Call for action: www.tranny-alert.com

This is straight from gudbuytjane's original entry.

From www.tranny-alert.com. This is not just appropriative or transphobic, it directly threatens the safety and privacy of trans women:

Our site cannot survive without your submissions!
Spot a tranny or suspected tranny around town? See a hot tranny mess? Observe a guidette in New Jersey with tranny style? Notice trannies on TV/Radio/Billboards? Find yourself at a Lady Gaga concert? WE WANT TO KNOW!

Remember, if you spot a tranny: snap your fingers, snap a pic, and e-mail those photos to: mayday@tranny-alert.com !

In light of the murders of trans women such as Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata and others, it is indefensible to run a website that requests readers submit photos of trans women (or people they've read as trans women) without their consent and publicly out them. This site threatens the safety of every person they post a photo of. Please spread the word and take action.

ETA: To enter a complaint at Blogger, follow this link: http://help.blogger.com/bin/request.py?contact_type=hate_speech&blog_URL=http://trannyalert.blogspot.com/ (Thanks queersubversion!)

ETA2: TrannyAlert's response on Twitter: "Wow people really need to get a fucking sense of humor."

ETA3: If you have access please post about this on LJ trans communities, as this account isn't a member of any of them (and will have to wait for approval to post, etc.).

ETA4: This is actually posted on their site as a disclaimer. Yes, they actually link to the National Center for Transgender Equality:
This site is in no way meant to disparage or belittle any member of the LGBT community. We here at Tranny Alert are simply admirers of the bravery and uniqueness of the entire trans-community. While there is a comedic element to our site, under no circumstance do we condone any mistreatment of any member of the LGBT community and support full and equal rights for all. For more information please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality at http://www.nctequality.org/.

ETA5: This action has been picked up by GLAAD, and posted about on their blog! Keep up the good work, people, you are all AMAZING!

- gudbuytjane

Uh, "sense of humor"?

How about they get a fucking sense of what is HUMOR AND WHAT IS DEFAMING. And also, they need to get a clue that they are putting a great number of transsexual people, supposedly transsexual people - and even gay men in drag - into great pit of danger and harassment. BASTARDS. >:|
panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Issues Signing Statement On War Spending Bill

On Friday, President Obama signed a new war spending bill into law, but "not without taking a page from his predecessor and ignoring a few elements in the legislation," the Hill reports.

Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill.

President George W. Bush was heavily criticized for his use of signing statements, declaring he'd ignore some elements of legislation by invoking presidential prerogative.

The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The full text of Obama's statement is below, and available on the White House website here.

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2346, the "Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009." This Act provides the necessary resources for our troops while supporting ongoing diplomatic and development efforts around the world.

We face a security situation abroad that demands urgent attention. The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda is increasing its attacks from its safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The funding provided in this Act will ensure that the full force of the United States is engaged in an overall effort to defeat al Qaeda and uproot this safe haven.

At the same time, funding contained in this Act will provide resources to help create political and economic stability in post-conflict areas. These funds will assist Afghans and Iraqis in protecting and sustaining their infrastructure and building their capacity for more responsive and transparent governance. The Act also provides critical support for continued U.S. diplomatic and development activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

In addition, this Act includes funding for other domestic and international issues, including nearly $8 billion to enhance our Nation's capability to respond to the potential spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak. It also expands the resources available to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by allowing it to boost its lending ability. Many developing countries are experiencing severe economic decline and a massive withdrawal of capital, and the IMF needs to make sure it has the resources necessary to effectively respond to the current financial crisis.

However, provisions of this bill within sections 1110 to 1112 of title XI, and sections 1403 and 1404 of title XIV, would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions. I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations.


Russian cruise offers chance to fight Somali pirates

[How about a trip into a third world ghetto hunting muggers? You get a 9mm Beretta, 2 clips and an ex police officer escort and you walk around looking rich so you can kill some poor bastard when he tries to rob your decadent ass in order to feed his 5 kids.]

Luxury Yacht Company Offers Pirate-Hunting Cruises

Passengers on a new cruise along the coast of Somalia are paying to catch more than just salmonella.

A Russian luxury yacht company is now offering pirate-hunting trips that promise the chance to be attacked by real sea bandits. The yachts cruise from Djibouti to Mombasa in Kenya at deliberately low speeds in the hopes of attracting pirates.

Passengers pay $5,000 for the trip, and an extra $17.50 a day for an AK-47 and 100 rounds of ammo. The price includes free origami towels in the rooms. Former Special Forces troops are on board to make sure none of the cruise passengers are injured.

And for entertainment, the comedy stylings of Geechy Guy!

movies | Pooh Bear

Biden mingles at the annual St. Anthony's Italian Festival Parade, remains adorable while doing so.

Where's Joe? At the parade
VP has crowd buzzing as he works the street

IRA PORTER • The New Journal • June 15, 2009
WILMINGTON -- A little sun, a lot of ceremony and a surprise visit by the nation's vice president brought out a throng ready for a festival Sunday, blessing the final day of the city's annual bow to Italian heritage.

Sunday marked the end of the St. Anthony's Italian Festival, and crowds had been subdued somewhat by rain that seemed to linger throughout the week.But that was nothing a little visit by Vice President Joe Biden couldn't fix, with hundreds responding to the word-of-mouth buzz that the state's favorite son created once he began to work the parade route in the Little Italy area.

full article @ Delaware Online

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"How Unions Gave My Redneck Family a Chance at the American Dream"

How Unions Gave My Redneck Family a Chance at the American Dream

By Joe Bageant, AlterNet. Posted June 22, 2009

Restoring dignity to laboring America won't be easy. It won't be pretty, and it won't be "within the system." Because the system is the problem.

In looking back on growing up, I always remember 1957 and 1958 as "the two good years." They were the only years my working-class redneck family ever caught a real break in their working lives, and that break came because of organized labor.

After working as a farmhand, driving a hicktown taxi part time and a dozen catch-as-catch-can jobs, my father found himself owning a used semi-truck and hauling produce for a Teamster-unionized trucking company called Blue Goose.

Daddy was making more money than he'd ever made in his life, about $4,000 a year. The median national household income at the time was $5,000, mostly thanks to America's unions.

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