July 4th, 2009

Akuma River

Latest on Iran

I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes by doing this post but I noticed that it had been a long time since anyone did a post on Iran.

I have been following things pretty closely so I thought I would post up the best links to information on what is going on.

One thing you need to understand is that while the MSM are not covering Iran a lot there are other organizations that are. Another is that while people say things are calm now and that the movement is over they are dead wrong. Political battle lines have been drawn in Paraliament, the Qom and within the Clerics. Things are changing and whether we have seen the worst of what the regime can do is unknown. What is known that people are continuing to try to protest in large numbers. A group of woman being called the Mourning Mothers are gathering near daily to the morn the loss of the protesters lives. The Basij have broken up several of their protests and beat them.

Torture is rampant in the prisons and jail. They do not care if you voted or who you voted for, if you are found on the streets by the Basiji they will take you as a supporter of the oppostion and they will beat you, arrest you and torture you more in jail. On Nico's blog there was a quote by a student leader that sums up the situation:
Student Leader: In Iran we always use this joke to describe this situation: they say that a group sees a fox that is running away, they ask him, "Why are you running away?" The fox says, "The ruler has ordered that all foxes that have three testicles be killed." They note, "But you have two testicles," and the fox responds, "But first they kill and then they count."

Yet, with all this opposition they are continuing to keep the hope alive and fight for their rights. There is a flyer being passed on Mousavi's FB and the interwebs. I can't read Farsi but from those I've talked with on twitter it says the march beings next Thursday and it has routes on it.

It is late now to mention this but there are plans worldwide to turn celebrations of Independence & Freedom green in honor of the Iranians fighting for their Freedom.

July 12, 2009 post | July 11, 2009 post | July 10, 2009 post | July 9, 2009 posts | July 8, 2009 post | July 7, 2009 post | July 6, 2009 post | July 5, 2009 post | July 4, 2009 post

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K-Box cartoon

I ... don't even know what to say about this one, really.

For me, tasteless humor almost always falls neatly and easily into one of two categories - stuff that offends other people, but which I nonetheless find funny, and stuff that may or may not offend me, but which, more importantly, I simply don't find funny. As jaded as I am, it's actually rather rare for me to encounter tasteless humor that makes me go WHAT THE FUCK, but ... yeah, this one definitely falls into that third category:

6 Helpful Tips for Kidnapping the President’s Daughters

No, I'm not going to quote from it. Read it for yourself. I ... think I'm just going to let it sit for a bit.
Murasaki Shikibu

Abortion doc murder suspect advocates via mail

Abortion doc murder suspect advocates via mail

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jul 3, 2:45 pm ET

WICHITA, Kan. – A man charged with shooting a prominent Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions has been advocating through mailings from his jail cell that such killings are justifiable and communicating with individuals on the fringes of the anti-abortion movement, weeks after suggesting others might be planning similar attacks.

Scott Roeder, 51, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the May 31 death of Dr. George Tiller — an attack that reignited the national debate over late-term abortion and gave Roeder icon status among extremists in the anti-abortion movement.

From his cell in Sedgwick County jail, Roeder has been sending anti-abortion pamphlets that laud Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering an abortion provider in 1994, as an "American hero," and include examples of Hill's writings about how the killing of abortion providers is justifiable.

Hill was executed in 2003 for killing Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic.

Roeder has also been corresponding with Rev. Donald Spitz — whose Army of God group's Web site celebrates Hill and who says he sent Roeder seven of the pamphlets at Roeder's request — and Linda Wolfe, an Oregon activist who has been jailed about 50 times for anti-abortion activities and who is close friends with a woman convicted of shooting Tiller in the arms in 1993. She says Roeder mailed her one of the pamphlets.

No one has accused Roeder of breaking any laws because of his jailhouse correspondence. But local and federal law enforcement agencies took seriously a threat Roeder made during a June 7 interview with The Associated Press that there are "many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal." A judge raised Roeder's bond to $20 million, citing his comment to the AP, after a prosecutor argued Roeder's ability to get his message widely disseminated should lead a reasonable person to believe he is engaged in "alleged acts of American terrorism."

FBI and Justice Department officials declined to comment about whether they were concerned about Roeder's jailhouse contacts. The Sedgwick County public defender's office, which is representing Roeder, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. And the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office declined to speak about the matter.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said he has assigned a trusted person to read all of Roeder's incoming and outgoing mail. He said Roeder has received about 100 letters.

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"You have to be called" to kill abortion doctors? That's freaky right there. Ugh.

It's not being "called," it's being a "murdering terrorist."
kurt blaine intimacy

Paul Begala Reviews Mishmash of Nonsense Palin Calls a "Speech"

Sarah Palin Turns Pro by Paul Begala

I wish Hunter S. Thompson had lived to see this.

As Hunter said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Sarah Palin makes Mark Foley, the congressman who sent filthy emails to pages look almost normal. She makes David Vitter, the senator who was hanging out with hookers, look almost boring. She makes Larry Craig, caught hitting on a cop in a men's room, look almost stable. She makes John Ensign, the senator who was having an affair with a staffer, look almost humdrum (and compared to the rest of the GOP whack-jobs, he is). And she makes Mark Sanford, the governor with the Latin lover, look positively predictable.

It was an almost impossible mission, but in resigning from office with 17 months to go in her first term, Sarah Palin has made herself the bull goose loony of the GOP.

Let's stipulate that if there is some heretofore unknown personal, medical or family crisis, this was the right move. But Gov. Palin didn't say anything like that. Her statement was incoherent, bizarre and juvenile. The text, as posted on Gov. Palin's official website (here), uses 2,549 words and 18 exclamation points. Lincoln freed the slaves with 719 words and nary an exclamation; Mr. Jefferson declared our independence in 1,322 words and, again, no exclamation points. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1,796 words -- still no exclamation points. Gov. Palin capitalized words at random - whole words, like "TO," "HELP," and "AND," and the first letter of "Troops."

Gov. Palin's official announcement that she is resigning as chief executive of the great state of Alaska had all the depth and gravitas of a 13-year-old's review of the Jonas Brothers' album on Facebook. She even quoted her parents' refrigerator magnet. (Note to self: if one of my kids becomes governor, throw away the refrigerator magnet that says: "Murray's Oyster Bar: We Shuck Em, You Suck Em!") She put her son's name in quotations marks. Why? Who knows. She writes, "I promised efficiencies and effectiveness!?" Was she exclaiming or questioning? I get it: both! And I don't even know what to make of a sentence that reads:

*((Gotta put First Things First))*

Ponder the fact that Rupert Murdoch's Harper Collins publishing house is paying this, umm, writer $11 million for a book. Ponder that and say a prayer for Ms. Palin's editor.

I'm no latter-day Strunk & White, just a guy who was struck by Palin's spectacularly rambling and infantile prose. It bespeaks a rambling and infantile mind. But perhaps not. Perhaps this is all a ruse. Perhaps Gov. Palin wants us to believe she's an intellectual featherweight who is slightly shallower than an actor on High School Musical. Maybe she's trying to throw us off the trail.

Naah. A lot of people thought that about George W. Bush. He couldn't be so block-headed, they said. He couldn't be as childish and churlish as he came off. Oh yes he could. And so, too, might Ms. Palin be as vapid and puerile as her inane statement suggests.

We will know. In the fullness of time (and I predict, not much time) we will know. Again and again in her statement, Gov. Palin returned to the nettlesome ethics inquiries that have been visited upon her since she signed on to be John McCain's running mate. No doubt they are annoying. But does anyone believe that's why she's resigning? No, there's more to this story. And Ms. Palin's resignation only increases the chances that we will all know the rest of the story soon. Or, as she might put it:

We will all KNOW the "rest of the Story" *((SOON!))*

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-begala/sarah-palin-turns-pro_b_225633.html
*betty draper reading

Conservatives anxious about reemergence of the religous left

* JULY 3, 2009

In Political Ads, Christian Left Mounts Sermonic Campaigns


Randy Brinson, a conservative political consultant in Alabama, has been fielding anxious calls for weeks from business interests across the South.

Their concern is massive ad blitz on Christian and country-music stations across 10 states. The ads, funded by a left-leaning coalition, urge support for congressional legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions -- by framing the issue as an urgent matter of Biblical morality.

"As our seas rise, crops wither and rivers run dry, God's creation cries out for relief," begins one ad, narrated by an evangelical megachurch pastor. Another opens with a reference to the Gospel of John, slams energy interests for fighting the bill, and concludes: "Please join the faithful in speaking out against the powerful."

Dr. Brinson tells his clients they are right to be worried. Such an aggressive political campaign by the religious left is unexpected, he says, and could prove powerful. "This is the first time I've seen a moderate group of evangelicals come together and do a coordinated campaign," said Dr. Brinson. He is warning clients: "You're going to hear a lot more of this."

Emboldened by what they see as a kindred spirit in the White House, progressive and liberal Christians are stepping up their political activism in a big way.

A religious coalition called the American Values Network spent nearly $200,000 placing the global warming ads. Some political analysts credit the campaign with boosting support for the Waxman-Markey climate bill, which narrowly passed the House last week.

The coalition plans to spend an additional $150,000 in the coming months to enlist pastors in Nevada, Arizona and Colorado to rally support in the pews as climate-change legislation moves through the Senate.

Another left-leaning religious coalition will begin airing scripture-citing radio ads in key congressional districts this weekend, calling for legislation to make health insurance more affordable. The coalition -- which includes Faith in Public Life, Sojourners and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good -- also is distributing an eight-page guide, full of Biblical quotes and health-care statistics, to encourage pastors to raise the issue in sermons.

Democratic lawmakers representing conservative districts say such efforts help them make the case to skeptical constituents that they aren't simply toeing the party line -- or turning into bleeding-heart liberals -- when they support President Barack Obama's calls for health-care and climate-change legislation.

"It's important for people to see that it's not just [Democrats] saying this is important, but people who are coming at it from a moral background," said Rep. Tom Perriello, a freshman Democrat who has come under fire in his rural Virginia district for supporting the climate bill.

The religious right and secular conservatives are taking notice. In recent weeks, key religious-right groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council have heavily promoted the work of a group called the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The Cornwall Alliance dismisses global-warming alarms as hype and argues that forceful action to cut greenhouse-gas emissions could cripple the economy and harm the poor. It is organizing conservative pastors to carry this message to the pews.

The religious left has a long tradition of activism on social issues, including the civil-rights movement. But for the past quarter century, faith-based politicking has been dominated by the religious right, which built a powerful army of activists -- and a formidable fund-raising machine -- on the strength of leaders such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority and radio host James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

The religious left's re-emergence as a strong voice -- with the financial backing to make aggressive media buys -- is a "seismic shift," said D. Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University who studies evangelical politics.

"The religious left is experiencing today what the religious right had in 1981," Mr. Lindsay said. "They've finally found a White House that's not just tolerating but welcoming, affirming, of their involvement."

Left-leaning Christian groups also have started to attract funding from secular donors who share their political goals -- and who see Biblical appeals as a promising way to broaden public support.

Oxfam America has worked with churches for years, but on relatively non-controversial campaigns such as staging fasts to call attention to world hunger. Now, the group is teaming up with the religious left to push for congressional action to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

E. Calvin Beisner, a spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance, says the right has to respond forcefully to the well-funded campaigns from the religious left, because "they're certainly not being silent."

Source is worried.

Transcript and audio of health care ads here.

'Desert Rose' Singer Jailed for Trying to Force an Abortion on his Ex lover

Music star Cheb Mami was sentenced Friday to five years in jail for trying to make a former lover undergo a forced abortion, despite pleading for forgiveness at his trial near Paris.

Known as the "Prince of Rai", the 42-year-old Algerian-born singer this week ended two years on the run and returned to France to face trial for the 2005 assault against his ex-girlfriend.

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Source via ONTD

I hope someone scrapes their intestines out in prison.  They should have received higher jail sentences.


Now Palin's resignation is causing split on GOP. Cant she do anything right?

Palin resignation splits GOP

Sarah Palin’s jaw-dropping announcement that she is quitting her job as Alaska governor before finishing even her first term has divided Republican ranks and the wider political community in a very familiar fashion.

Many establishment GOP operatives and political commentators of various stripes were withering, both about the decision and the way she announced it — in a jittery, hyperkinetic news conference that rambled between self-congratulation and bitter accusations at the foes she says are eager to destroy her.

The performance, by these lights, adds credence to the claims of some associates that Palin — burned by the intense scrutiny on her and the crossfire that swirls around her — is so fed up that she's ready to get out of elective politics. Even if it's only the small stage of Alaska politics she hopes to escape, skeptics say Friday’s events also diminished and perhaps even demolished what was left of her viability as a 2012 presidential candidate.

But her defenders believed an unorthodox move, even if risky, has a clear logic and may only further increase her standing with conservatives who don’t care what establishment figures in or out of the GOP think. Leaving the governor’s office at the end of this month leaves her free to travel the country, command large speaking fees, and begin the process of rallying her devotees without pesky home-state opponents criticizing every move.

These varied reactions were an echo of the debates that have followed Palin every step since her nomination as John McCain’s running mate 10 months ago — a surprise that turned out to be just the first of many surprises served up by one of the most colorful and polarizing American political figures in a generation.
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Murkowksi Blasts Palin: You Abandoned Our State

Alaska's Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski issued a surprisingly harsh statement late on Friday, ripping Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to leave office at the end of the month. "I am deeply disappointed that the Governor has decided to abandon the State and her constituents before her term has concluded," Murkowski wrote.

Palin had announced mere months ago that she would help Murkowski raise money for her 2010 Senate race.
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Madoff Hires Consultant to Find Best Possible Jail. Please, someone think of the white rich criminal

Madoff Hires Consultant to Find Best Possible Jail

Bernard Madoff has hired a veteran prison consultant to help him to find the best possible jail in which to serve his 150-year sentence for Wall Street’s biggest fraud.

After his sentencing this week Madoff, now Prisoner No 1727-054, met Herb Hoelter, of the National Center for Institutions and Alternatives, whose previous clients include the jailed Sotheby’s chairman Alfred Taubman and the financiers Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky.

The draconian maximum sentence imposed by the judge means that Madoff, 71, will be assigned to a tougher category of prison than most white-collar criminals.

He could be forced to mingle with murderers, rapists, drug-dealers and white supremacist gangs with a hatred of Jews. Madoff is Jewish.

He could even find himself incarcerated with terrorists in the infamous “Supermax” jail in Florence, Colorado.

“He was incredibly disappointed. He knew he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison. I don’t think that was ever an issue,” Hoelter told The Times. “But it’s patently unfair to cast him as a symbol of all evil.”

Gay people party too much, gay-rights activists aren't happy

When the gay clientele of a New York bar staged a revolt against police harassment in June 1969 it sparked the awakening of the homosexual liberation movement. But 40 years on from the Stonewall rebellion, Britain's gay community is riven by a dispute over which should come first: politics or partying.

As thousands take to the streets of the British capital today for Gay Pride, which traditionally commemorates the US riots, critics hit out at Pride London for "depoliticising" the event and failing to feature its history in its literature or website.

Peter Tatchell, of the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights group, OutRage, and a patron of Pride London, condemned this year's slogan "Come and Play" as "totally anodyne" and accused the LGBT community of "huge apathy and complacency".

He said: "I'm shocked that Pride London has hardly mentioned the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots on its website or in its magazine. Most of the content is about entertainment and partying. To ignore and downplay this important anniversary is an insult to the veterans who began our momentous fight for freedom."

Citing police statistics showing a 63% rise in homophobic hate crimes in Manchester last year and a recent report from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers showing the term gay is still the most frequently used insult in schools, he said: "Lots of people assume that we've won equality and everything is hunky dory. But the battle for LGBT equality is still far from being won. Same-sex marriage is banned and there is a ban on gay and bisexual blood donors. LGBT refugees are often sent back to renewed persecution to violently homophobic countries like Uganda and Nigeria. Police refuse to prosecute fundamentalist clerics and reggae singers who openly advocate the murder of LGBT people. The government's current equality bill gives protection against harassment on all grounds except sexual orientation."

Echoing Tatchell's call for a stronger political message, Anisa de Jong, the director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, said: "Gay Pride should be providing more of a political space in line with its history which is about visibility being a political statement in itself. The whole Pride issue is not just about celebrating our identity but about making a political statement about our identity and addressing injustices."

Joseph Galliano, the outgoing editor of GT magazine (formerly Gay Times), welcomed the celebratory aspects of the march but warned against the loss of its heritage.

He said: "I don't want to be po-faced about it but that celebration is standing on the shoulders of people who made great sacrifices and they should be remembered."

Paul Birrell, of Pride London, defended the decision not to feature the Stonewall riots on the website, but said it would be mentioned in the rally at Trafalgar Square after the march today.

"We decided that the Stonewall anniversary would get a lot of mainstream press interest and, short of being a commemoration event of the Stonewall riots, there's not much Pride can do. We will talk about it on stage on the day."

He stressed that London was one of the few Pride UK marches to retain a campaigning element, but admitted that its focus had changed in recent years to attract more people.

"There's no point in having a march just for already politicised LGBT group members – you would be preaching to the converted," said Birrell. "If you want to campaign, you have to have an audience, so you need to make it fun. When we took over in 2004, only 10,000 people attended, but last year we had 823,000. Our predecessor, mardi gras, was run on a more militant basis, but no one was interested. It collapsed in 2003."

Birrell said the campaign behind the march this year was to protest against the ban on gay men donating blood, but there would be "important but boring" speeches from, among others, Harriet Harmen, the deputy leader of the Labour party, on anti-discrimination issues such as the Single Equality Act.

When asked if sponsorship was a factor in deciding the march's message, Birrell replied: "To a degree. If we were heavily politicised, there's no way we would be in Oxford Street and Regents Street. The traders wouldn't want it and they have a lot of clout with the council, but when they can see it attracts people into the city, they're happy."

Soho Pride cancelled its event this year due to a lack of sponsorship, while the recently elected mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, has threatened to cut funding to the town's Gay Pride event as part of his pledge to fight political correctness.


I can personally see this from both sides point of view although I'm siding more with the LGBT human rights group more.  Clearly, the average person needs to be educated about homosexuality and how difficult it has been for them to get some of the rights they have today; I think that's an important history lesson. As well as that, the gay community should be having fun and partying it up during their Gay Pride - it is a celebration after all but they should remember what their celebrating in the first place and call attention upon it - which brings up their history again.
At the same time, like Paul Birrell has said; to have the event recognised and publicised; there has to be interest in it and so it seems (sadly) people are more interested in seeing the gay community playing up to their stereotypes than preaching about rights.
What are everyone's thoughts?

‘Family Friendly’ White House Is Less So for Aides

WASHINGTON — When President Obama talks up the family-friendly vibe at the White House — the nightly family dinners, the flexibility to attend school presentations and join impromptu plunges in the pool with his girls — his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, sets him straight. “Family friendly to your family,” Mr. Emanuel counters.

The schedule of Christina D. Romer, the president’s chief economist, is so packed, for example, that her first visit to her son’s school this year came at 10 p.m. on a Friday. “It felt wretched, just wretched,” Ms. Romer said of the evening that her 12-year-old boy pointed out his classroom in the dark.

Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget chief who is a divorced father of two, works so many weekends that he often imports his parents to help care for his 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. “We’re still sort of groping here,” Mr. Orszag said.

As for Mr. Emanuel, he recently squeezed in a swim with his two daughters, 9 and 11, at 5 a.m. “No matter how much the president tries — and he and Michelle try, they do — the White House is brutal on family life,” said Mr. Emanuel, who has struggled to make time for his wife and three children since they moved here from Chicago.

The Obamas have vowed to create an accommodating workplace for their employees. For many advisers, though, the work-family balance that the Obamas enjoy remains elusive.

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FBI Denies Palin Investigation

Sarah Palin not under FBI investigation, agency spokesman says

The former GOP vice presidential candidate's surprise resignation as Alaska governor had set off speculation, including rumors of a pending federal corruption probe or charges.
By Josh Meyer
July 5, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- A day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resigned, a federal official in her home state dismissed one potential explanation for her sudden and unexpected resignation -- a rumored FBI investigation into the former Wasilla mayor on public corruption charges.

Despite rumors of a looming controversy after Palin's surprise announcement Friday that she will leave office this month, some of them published in the blogosphere, the FBI's Alaska spokesman said the bureau had no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity.

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That statement seems pretty strong, but I still think there is something fishy going on. Thoughts?

Joe Biden

I ♥ you, Mr. VP.

Biden Rejects Palin Complaint She Was Victim of 'Political Blood Sport'

Vice President Joe Biden today rejected Gov. Sarah Palin's complaint that she has been the victim of political blood sport.

"No, I respect her decision, I don't," Biden told me when I asked him if he agreed with the Alaska governor's complaint that she had been the victim of "superficial, wasteful political blood sport."

Palin announced during a surprise news conference Friday that she is stepping down at the end of the month from her job as Alaska governor and won't run again in 2010.

During my exclusive behind-the-scenes interview with Biden in Iraq airing Sunday on "This Week," the vice president -- -- the last person to run against Sarah Palin in the 2008 election -- told me he takes Palin at her word that her decision to step down was personal.

"Those who've been deeply involved in politics know at the end of the day that it is really and truly a personal deal," Biden said, "and personal family decisions have a real impact on people's decisions."

Biden told me he often speculates about people who have rejected seeking higher office that their decision may have had more with "what the state of their life was and the state of their family."

"I don't know what prompted her decision to not only not run again and also to step down as a consequence of the decision not to run in 2010," Biden said, "and I take her at her word that it had a personal ingredient in it and you have to respect that."

Biden added, "I'm not going to second guess her."

--George Stephanopoulos


McCain says Palin to play leadership role as ex-Governor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator John McCain expressed support for his former presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, on Saturday as Washington speculated about why the Alaska governor abruptly announced her resignation.

McCain made the comment a day after Palin stunned the political world by announcing she is stepping down with 18 months left in her term.

McCain had plucked Palin from obscurity to make her his vice presidential running mate in last year's presidential campaign won by Democrat Barack Obama.

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