Our BB (and I think it's safe to say ONTDP's Collective HBIC News-Girlfriend) Rachel Maddow's been involved in a lil' side gig with the Culture Project.
Bush, Rumsfeld, John Yoo, The War On Terror, Abu Ghraib, Geneva, and how to move forward.
New Poll: Majority Supports Government-Run Health Option
July 1, 2009, 10:04 a.m.
By David M. Drucker
Roll Call Staff
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday gauging registered voters’ views of health care reform underscores the political complexity of the issue, with the results offering ammunition to both the supporters and opponents of President Barack Obama’s No. 1 legislative priority.
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Obama to hold virtual town hall on health care
President Obama is asking for your health care policy questions over Youtube, Twitter and Facebook ahead of a virtual town hall airing July 1 at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Follow and participate in the discussion now, and come back Wednesday to watch the forum live and chime in.
West Yorkshire Police have been storing DNA samples from suspects and car crash victims in a freezer also used for ice cream, a watchdogs' report has said.
The criticism comes in a report from the prisons watchdog and the chief inspector of constabulary.
The inspectors said the management of the samples needed urgent attention to avoid undermining prosecutions.
West Yorkshire Police said the samples found in the freezer were of "no value" and would not have been analysed.
The inspectors also said staff at police custody suites had been confused about which sample belonged to which suspect.
West Yorkshire Police have 13 blocks of cells legally approved to hold suspects following their arrest.
Inspectors from the two watchdogs visited a sample of these cells and accompanying facilities in Leeds and Bradford in October 2008.
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Three Republican congressman have publicly chastised fellow Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for declaring that she would not fill our her census form.
"Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country," said Reps. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives in a statement Wednesday.
Even conspiracy-theorist Fox News host Glenn Beck found Bachmann's anti-census stance baffling.
From the statement:
We share Ms. Bachmann's concerns about ACORN's involvement in the 2010 Census and will continue pressuring the Bureau to follow their own guidelines for partnering organizations and dump ACORN. However, we can not emphasize enough how important it is for every individual to fill out their census forms.
Every elected representative in this country should feel a responsibility to encourage full participation in the census. To do otherwise is to advocate for a smaller share of federal funding for our constituents. Boycotting the constitutionally-mandated census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country.
The unfortunate irony is that Ms. Bachmann's boycott only increases the likelihood that ACORN-recruited census takers will be dispatched to her constituents' homes. Anyone who completes and returns their census form will remove any need for a census taker to visit their residence.
Furthermore, a boycott opens the door for partisans to statistically adjust census results. The partisan manipulation of census data would irreparably transform the census from being the baseline of our entire statistical system into a tool used to wield political power in Washington.
Roll Call reports that the three congressmen approached Bachmann privately and asked her to stop the boycott. They went public because Bachmann "appeared unfazed by their request."
Debbee Keller, a spokeswoman for Bachmann, told the paper: "Congresswoman Bachmann can not be reached, but we appreciate their views and hope to be able to work with them to keep ACORN -- which has earned public mistrust through its repeated voter registration fraud -- out of the Census."
Two men were overheard chatting at a Cosi restaurant in DC this weekend. One said, "You know, with the death of Ed McMahon, Farrah, and Michael Jackson, I think the 70s also died. They're over with once and for all." The other guy said, without hesitation, "I'd believe that if Jimmy Carter weren't still president."
Hey, don't shoot the messenger. I just overheard the conversation. (Please read on for my rather different view.)
Personally, I found the obsessive retrospectives about Michael Jackson a little disgusting. His commercial success for a few years as a pop singer seemed to trump the dark and unsavory aspects of his life. But he was no hero. He was certainly no one to be celebrating. Unless of course, you were an ayatollah. Because one of the truly transcendental ironies of recent history has to be the fact that a symbol of the worst sort of Western spiritual and social corruption...celebrity worship, drug culture, financial excess, debauchery...ended up providing just the distraction that the keepers of the Islamic Revolution's flame in Tehran needed to direct the world's attention away from their abuses of their own people.In an instant, the really important story of tens of millions struggling to be heard in Iran was swept off the air by the death of a 50 year old accused pedophile in America. CNN, which had been congratulating itself daily for bringing the "green revolution" in Iran to the world as only it could in an instant tossed its news judgment out the window and started offering 24/7 retrospectives on how Michael Jackson chose the red leather jacket he wore in the "Thriller" video.
The sad reality is that none of the celebrities who died in the past week say much good about American culture or the state of hero worship in America.
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I know this may seem wanktastic But I do think it's funny how so many people (not here) are soooo emotional distraught over Jackson. While I do feel terrible about such a iconic figure passing, it was still sad seeing people's images of Green and Neda so quickly disappear for a popstar that some probably took part in bringing down/mocking.
Russian energy giant Gazprom has walked blindly into a racism debate with the announcement of its new joint venture in Nigeria - Nigaz.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Nigerian counterpart last week agreed the $2.5billion venture to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Africa's most populous nation.
The name is meant to be an amalgamation of 'Nigeria' and 'Gazprom', pronounced 'nye-gaz'.
However its phonetic reading has sparked offence.
'How more derogatory can it be ... let's join forces in making our government rename this JV,' said the creator of 'Nigerians No Nigaz', a group set up on social networking website Facebook.
Other bloggers took a more mocking approach.
One African-American blogger recommended a playlist of songs from U.S. hip-hop artists including 50 Cent and Tupac Shakur for the Nigaz launch party.
But many comments about the branding blunder on the Twitter and other social networking sites were from white bloggers.'White people are making too much of this. As long as the Russians pay us, they can call it what they like,' said one Nigerian in the commercial hub, Lagos, asking not to be named.
American adults getting fatter
By Julie Steenhuysen
2 hrs 1 min ago
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Obesity rates continued to climb in the past year with 23 U.S. states reporting adults in their states are fatter now than they were a year ago, two advocacy groups said on Wednesday.
Obesity rates did not decrease in a single state last year, and the groups warned that the U.S. obesity epidemic must be addressed as lawmakers reform the nation's health system.
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Commentary: Franken victory is not funny
Editor's note: John Feehery worked as a staffer for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. He is president of Feehery Group, a Washington-based advocacy firm that has represented clients including the News Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He formerly was a government relations executive vice president for the Motion Picture Association of America
The metric system is the kind of thing that you can expect from the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority Democrats now have in the United States Senate.
After the Watergate scandal in 1974, Democrats trounced Republicans in the mid-term elections, getting 61 seats in the Senate and 291 in the House.
In the Senate, they adjusted the rules to make it harder for Republicans to filibuster (reducing the magic number from 67 to 60 to invoke cloture, which ends debate). In the House, they passed all kinds of reforms to take power away from senior members and give it to junior members. And Congress mandated that the American people embrace the metric system.
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The BBC couldn't think of one, and neither can I.( Collapse )
From: The Daily Beast
Sex scandals like Governor Sanford’s and John Ensign’s are private matters that don’t affect public policy and shoot down rising political stars. It’s time to end hypocrisy in America.When I first heard about Governor Sanford’s sex scandal, I was flooded with disappointment for many reasons. Particularly since his admission of an extramarital affair came so closely after Nevada Senator Ensign made a similar confession. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am younger, or that just have a more open-minded view of politicians and sex, but it’s of very little concern to me who elected officials sleep with. Frankly, I think all of that is a private matter between a husband and wife, even if it is made public. Beyond that, life is complicated. And I can’t even imagine how complicated it must get after 20 years of marriage and four kids.
Of the times I have spent with Governor Sanford, I remember his family being absolutely beautiful in that way Southern families often are. I remember my dad describing his boys as “all looking just like Huckleberry Finn.” In other words, theirs was the very definition of a picture-perfect political family. It never crossed my mind that there would be any kind of scandal one day, but, especially in politics, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
The GOP is struggling right now to find anyone who looks to be our next leader. Going forward, I suggest that the party concentrate less on what goes on in the bedroom and more on what is going on in policy.But what goes on in Governor Sanford’s personal life, I believe, just isn’t relevant to his role as a public official. The problem I see, like most problems I have with politics, goes back to the same thing—the hypocrisy of it all. One thing making everyone so mad, myself included, are the clips being played of Governor Sanford publicly blasting former President Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. It looks horribly hypocritical. And it is. We have to stop requiring that our politicians live at such a high level of moral superiority, as if they are infallible creatures. Let me assure you, they are not. Because when these same politicians fall from grace—especially in the South—we demand that they leave office immediately. (Unlike, say, Eliot Spitzer, Governor Sanford didn’t do anything illegal. If he were to be convicted of misusing state funds for traveling to Argentina, then, of course, it is a different matter entirely and he should step down. )
As the former president of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, Mr. Jennings worked tirelessly to bring the homosexual agenda into our nation's classrooms, even in grades as young as kindergarten. In addition, in his autobiography, Mr. Jennings expresses no regret about his past drug abuse or recognition of its risks. Instead, he seems amused. In his words, "[W]atching the planes take off and land is actually quite fun when you are drunk and stoned." Jennings has spoken publicly about a high school student he once counseled who was in a sexual relationship with an older man he met in a bus station - yet Jennings never reported this abuse to the authorities, the school, or the child's parents. Family Research Council is launching www.stopjennings.org, to educate the American people about how Jennings' dangerous views make him unfit to protect our nation's schoolchildren. The website will also serve as an action center for those who will join us in calling on the President Obama and Congress to stop this appointment and put someone in this office who truly cares about schoolchildren - someone who would work to protect them from the very influences he seems to promote.Jennings has also been subject of ridicule and attack on numerous rightwing blogs and news sites.
The head of the San Diego chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, Ben Gomez, said he and other local activists believe Provost's death was a hate crime. On his MySpace page, Provost made references to same-sex dating and identified another Houston man as "the love of my life."This sailor's blood is on the hands of the Administration for refusing to repeal the crazy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which stigmatizes gay service members and fosters hostility and suspicion. The policy needs to go, and it needs to go now.
The officers who raided the Rainbow Lounge claim that the men in the bar made "advances" on them—and Forth Worth's police chief is backing them up:
Monday, police chief Jeff Halstead said the officers' actions are being investigated. However, he also said that officers that entered the bar during the scheduled inspection were touched inappropriately.
"You're touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that's offensive," he said. "I'm happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that."
Allow me to translate the chief's comments: "Them faggots in that thar bar touched mah officers and now they're complainin' about some rough stuff and one little ol' faggot with a brain injury? Those perverts should be grateful they're alive."
This is a classic example of the Gay Panic Defense. In the very recent past all a straight man who brutally murdered a gay man had to say was, "He made a pass at me!", and the jury would ignore the evidence and let the murderer off. The Gay Panic Defense doesn't fly in many courts of law these days but it still has currency in the court of public opinion. And the chief of police in Forth Worth, a major U.S. city, is attempting to use the Gay Panic Defense to convince the citizens of Fort Worth to ignore the evidence—to ignore photographic evidence and credible eyewitness accounts—and let his officers off.
And you'll never guess who the police are accusing of being the groper: Chad Gibson, the one man arrested at the Rainbow Lounge who can't defend himself and may never be able to give his side of the story. But another person at the barwitnessed Gibson's arrest:
"They were hyped up. They were loaded for bear," said Todd Camp, a veteran journalist who was there celebrating his birthday with friends. "They were just randomly grabbing people, telling them they were drunk."
Camp told me he has been in bars during TABC/police "checks" before, "and it was never anything like this." Usually, he said, officers discreetly walk through, looking for anybody who has had too much. This was different. "They were shoving patrons," Camp said, "asking, 'How much have you had to drink?'"
"[Gibson] was taken down hard," said Camp, with "four or five" officers wrestling him to the floor inside the club. Cellphone photos shot by patrons and posted to blogs show a person being held facedown by officers in a short hallway inside the club, then show a dent in the wall where his head was apparently banged.
The police claim that Gibson wasn't injured when those four or five cops slammed him to the floor of the bar, but after his arrest, when, drunk and handcuffed, Gibson somehow fell and hit his head on the pavement outside the bar.
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TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras' Congress approved a decree on Wednesday to crack down on opposition during a nightly curfew imposed after the recent coup.
The decree, covering the curfew period, allows security forces to hold suspects for more than 24 hours without charge, and formalizes the prohibition of people's right to free association at night.SOURCE