July 8th, 2009


GOP to Jobless: Get a Job!

Jobless Feel Effects of States' Stimulus Rejection

Latunga Childers lost her $8-an-hour job as a McDonald's manager in April. Soon after, she opened an envelope from Alabama unemployment officials expecting to find a check.

Instead, there was a letter declaring her ineligible for benefits. Behind that letter was a complicated fight over the federal stimulus and the strings that come with it.

Alabama stood to receive $100 million in federal stimulus money this spring for benefits to people who lose low-wage jobs, as well as part-timers and seasonal workers. In all, the stimulus provided $7 billion for such workers, an estimated 650,000 people nationally, who typically didn't qualify for any benefits.

But the federal money came with strings attached, and Alabama -- along with Mississippi -- balked. To collect, most states needed to pass new laws governing the distribution of benefits and make other adjustments. Those laws can be repealed later, but that process is often harder than passing new laws in the first place.
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garf tired


Does Rachel Maddow speak for the left?

A few weeks ago, Rachel Maddow appeared on Charlie Rose and announced that conservatives weren't the only ones disenchanted with Barack Obama. "The President has disappointed the left," she said. Rose asked her to be more specific – on what exactly? "I would say on the war, on healthcare, on economic [policy]… on civil liberties and on civil rights," Maddow said.

That's pretty deep disappointment. But if it's true, it begs the question of what, exactly, constitutes "the left." Certainly not most Democrats, 90 percent of whom approve of Obama's job performance (that's from the latest Quinnipiac survey; other polls have recorded even higher figures). Or most African-Americans, among whom Obama's approval rating is 94 percent. Or most Hispanics, 70 percent of whom think Obama is doing a fine job. Or most voters under thirty-five.

Maddow, presumably, was referring to a much smaller cohort of self-identified (white) progressives: people who favor a single-payer universal health-care system, have attended antiwar demonstrations, believe catastrophic global warming is imminent, support shutting down Guantanamo immediately, champion full equality for gays and lesbians, and perhaps supported John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary before finally coming around to Obama.

I know a number of such people (they're not hard to find in New York City), and, since watching Maddow's appearance on Charlie Rose, I've shared Maddow's assessment of Obama with some of them and asked whether they agreed with it. Nearly all have said they did not, quite a number sharply and angrily. "That's absurd!" one exclaimed. "Ridiculous," said another. What explains this? I think there are three reasons:

(1) Progressives and left-leaning Democrats (if not self-identified radicals who want the system overthrown) are in an overwhelmingly pragmatic mood, notwithstanding the wide-eyed idealism that supposedly swept Obama into office. They see the auto industry collapsing, the financial system melting down, Pakistan imploding, Iran imploding, jobs disappearing. These are big, complicated problems that do not seem amenable to easy solutions or quick ideological fixes. The fact that Obama has been confronted with so many problems all at once naturally makes people sympathize with the sheer difficulty of the challenge facing him.

(2) The legacy of the Bush era. Eight years of colossal ineptitude and corruption is not easily forgotten. Whatever progressives may think of a specific Obama policy or initiative, they remember what it was like to have a President who consistently insulted their intelligence and seemed completely out of his depth on just about every issue imaginable. Those who don't remember this got a useful reminder recently from Sarah Palin.

(3) The likeability of Obama. Obama is not an ideological leftist, clearly, but nobody who has listened to his speech on race or his speech in Cairo can doubt his moral seriousness, his thoughtfulness, his uncanny ability to strike the right tone even when (precisely when) addressing freighted, divisive issues. Rachel Maddow told Charlie Rose she was a policy person, but many progressives understandably see their country's first African-American President as a unique, in many ways transformative figure, and I suspect the vast majority find themselves rooting for Obama - and appreciating him - even when they don't fully agree with what he's saying.


News from Germany

Two six-year-old boys pretending to have built a mini nuclear power plant has prompted German police and the fire brigade to clear their street, authorities said.

The school children in the western town of Oelde had built the nuclear reactor mock-up out of a computer casing and taped a "radioactivity warning" they had printed out from the internet on its side.

"When the boys returned to their 'nuclear power plant' from a brief stop at home they were sent away again as the area and a wide radius around it had been cleared and blocked off," police said in a statement.

Residents were ordered not to leave their homes and firefighters tested for a radioactive leak.

The boys' parents thought the fire department was conducting a drill until they read about the operation online and what led to it.

They reported to the police station and explained their six-year-olds had not managed to build an actual nuclear reactor.

  • Current Music
    Congress of Starlings

Federal Web sites knocked out by cyber attack

Federal Web sites knocked out by cyber attack
Federal agency Web sites knocked out by massive, resilient cyber attack

A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime, The Associated Press has learned.

The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government. Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked, officials there said.

U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss details of the cyber attack. But Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and "advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks."

The U.S., she said, sees attacks on its networks every day, and measures have been put in place to minimize the impact on federal Web sites.

It was not clear whether other federal government sites also were attacked.
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Maureen Dowd Channels Palin: Sarah's Secret Diary. "Diary of a Mad Woman"

Sarah’s Secret Diary
Published: July 7, 2009

No one understands me. It’s like I’m speaking some Eskimo dialect or something. Andrea Mitchell follows me all the way to Kanakanak Beach and I get a French manicure and set up this huge photo op for her, even though she spooked the salmon.

Todd and me are in our cool fishing bibs. Piper’s helping out on the boat. It’s an amazing day that shows how our Creator favored my beloved Alaska, gatekeeper of the continent, and makes a great shot for all the network reporters up here to milk. This progresses me away from my image as some kind of flaky “rogue diva” and back to my image as a tough huntin’ and fishin’ gal.

But Andrea makes such a darn big deal about how I’m quitting in the middle of my term.

“You’re not listening to me!” I snap.

She says maybe I didn’t want to go back to the nitty-gritty of Alaska politics after the bright lights of the national campaign.

“The nitty-gritty, like, you mean, the fish slime and the dirt under the fingernails and stuff that’s me?” I said. Awesome response, huh?!!

It’s the same old double standard. I am not one of those who would whine and cuss. It’s just not how I’m wired!!! But the minute I start to whine and cuss, the mainstream media totally misunderstands my verbiage and the combination of things that brought me to this place of knowing. And I know that I know that I know those crappy bloggers will put out more confliction stories.
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British scientists say created sperm from stem cells

British scientists say created sperm from stem cells

A team of British scientists claimed Wednesday to have created human sperm using embryonic stem cells, in a medical first that they say will lead to a better understanding of fertility.

Researchers led by Professor Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) developed a new technique that allows the creation of human sperm in the laboratory.

They stressed that the sperm, developed from stem cells with XY chromosomes (male), would not be used for fertility treatment, as this is prohibited by British law and in any case is not their main interest.

"This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men -- why it happens and what is causing it," said Nayernia.

"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own."
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Resolution honoring Jackson faces GOP opposition

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee may have trouble keeping the promise she made at Michael Jackson's public memorial for a House resolution that "forever" honors the late pop star.

Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, took the stage Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and hoisted a framed copy of the resolution, embossed with a gold seal. The measure will be debated on the House floor, she said.

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Yes, let's see other GOP members follow in King's footsteps.  MJ fans are already rallying to elect any person who runs against King.  And I love that they don't want to honor Michael, yet we have a day for Christopher Columbus, who let the torture and genocide of Native Americans go on in the West Indies.

Obama adviser agrees with Krugman: US needs another stimulus package

This made the local news this morning, and the anchors were reporting it like, "Good Christ, ANOTHER stimulus?? *eyeroll* Those wacky tax-and-spend liberals! When will they stop???"

Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, James K. Galbraith, and others all maintained the first stimulus was not big enough to do a good job.

Tyson Says U.S. Should Mull Second Economic Stimulus (Update3)
By Shamim Adam

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. should consider drafting a second stimulus package focusing on infrastructure projects because the $787 billion approved in February was “a bit too small,” said Laura Tyson, an outside adviser to President Barack Obama.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today “we need to be open to whether or not we need additional action” on an economic stimulus.
Speaking in Washington, he cautioned, though, that it is “too early” to assess whether the current stimulus plan is succeeding.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki sought to dampen talk of a second stimulus plan.

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Interracial Roommates Can Reduce Prejudice

As a freshman at Ohio State University, and the only black student on his floor, Sam Boakye was determined to get good grades — in part to make sure his white roommate had no basis for negative racial views.

“If you’re surrounded by whites, you have something to prove,” said Mr. Boakye, now a rising senior who was born in Ghana. “You’re pushed to do better, to challenge the stereotype that black people are not that smart.”

Several recent studies, at Ohio State and elsewhere, have found that having a roommate of a different race can reduce prejudice, diversify friendships and even boost black students’ academic performance. But, the research found, such relationships are more stressful and more likely to break up than same-race pairings.

As universities have grown more diverse, and interracial roommate assignments are more common, social scientists have looked to them as natural field experiments that can provide insights on race relations.
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Stuck in Traffic Less?

Thank the economy.

Americans are spending less time stuck in traffic and wasting less gas, according to a new report.

Americans spend a little less time in traffic, a study shows, but drivers on I-110 in Los Angeles might not notice.

Rising joblessness and stinging gas prices have put the brakes on worsening trends in traffic congestion, according to a study issued Wednesday by the Texas Transportation Institute, the nation's largest university-based transportation research facility.

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CNN sauce!
"Now you can't have any of my pot pie."
  • doop

Assault charge filed in dispute over cat

LONDONDERRY — An animal lover turned himself in to police after allegedly punching a man who abandoned a cat on the roadside.

Jonathan Morales, 19, of Derry was charged with simple assault Wednesday. He was released on personal recognizance and is to appear in Derry District Court on July 28.

Morales was working at the Mohawk Drive Dunkin' Donuts on June 10, when the cat's owner, Anthony Griffin, came to get a cup of coffee about 8:30 p.m., according to a police affidavit.

Griffin and Morales knew each other, police said.

Griffin told police he was visiting with the night manager, Patrick Joyce, who also is a friend. The two were at the counter talking when Morales came from a back room and told Griffin to leave. Griffin told police he and Morales argued briefly, and then Morales punched him in the face, police said.

Morales was angry because Griffin abandoned a cat by the roadside, Griffin said.

Morales had offered to take the cat "as a last resort" if Griffin could not find a home for it, and told police he was upset the cat was abandoned anyway.


SC Sen. Jim DeMint has the real health care fix, y'all

If you’ve ever wondered if there might be a better way, then my new Health Care Freedom Plan might be for you.

The plan, which I introduced last month in the Senate, is the opposite of a government takeover like HillaryCare in 1994 or ObamaCare this year. It does not force any American off of their current plan, but provides them with the ability to access and own a health plan that best meets his or her needs. Compared to the Democrats’ plan, my bill will cover more uninsured Americans, in half the time, at no cost because it will be paid for entirely by terminating the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and reclaiming the Wall Street bailout funds over the next five years.

My plan puts individuals back in control of their health care decisions by offering every American a health care voucher -- worth $2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for families -- to purchase a plan that best works for them.

SOURCE is still a douche It's also a senate.gov website, which seems to be DOA at the moment.

ROFLMAO! Dude, you've never shopped for insurance before, have you? I have, and with all my pre-existings, not to mention the dozen or more surgeries I've had in the last few years, $2000 wouldn't cover four months of insurance, let alone a whole year.
  • Current Mood
Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Bill O'Reilly Still Obsessed With Michael Jackson

Summary: Last night Bill O'Reilly took on Marc Lamont Hill, Ph.D. and asks him why black people like Michael Jackson even though he clearly wanted to be white. Chaos ensues.

Notable Excerpts
“Yes the man was an all star entertainer but that’s it”

“Jackson’s interaction with children were unacceptable for any adult”

“His incredible selfishness spending hundreds of millions of dollars on himself while singing “We Are The World” should make any clear thinking American nauseas

“Why are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton making this a racial deal. Jackson bleached his own skin and then chose white men to provide existence to his children. To hear Sharpton speak today, you’d think Jackson was Martin Luther King, Jr.”

“Why is he being held up in the African American Community as a pillar of Black America when he bleached his skin”

“The crowd outside the service was much smaller than predicted. The service itself was well done. But the media coverage was bizarre.

"…and after Michael Jackson was found “Not Guilty” the American media did not exactly elevate him to hero status. Did it? But now that he’s dead (most likely from an accidental drug overdose). He is a hero. How does that work?"

* Excerpts provided by sharemygrief


This was posted on the mothership, but I figured a discussion here would probably be less wanky.

Hamas tries to detain woman walking with man

JERUSALEM (AP) — An attempt by Hamas police to detain a young woman walking with a man along the Gaza beach has raised alarms that the Islamic militant group is seeking to match its political control of the coastal territory with a strict enforcement of Islamic law.

The man she walked with and two of his peers were detained, beaten and ordered to sign statements promising not to engage in immoral activities, said the woman and one of the men.

The incident was the first known case of Hamas openly trying to punish a woman for behaving in a way it views as un-Islamic since seizing power two years ago. But it follows months of quiet pressure on Gaza's overwhelmingly conservative 1.4 million residents to abide by its strict religious mores.

Hamas officials in Gaza have publicly urged shopkeepers to take down foreign advertisements showing the shape of women's bodies and to stash away lingerie often displayed in windows. Officials search electronic shops to check if they are selling pornography on tiny flash drives.

"There's an open, public program to preserve public morals in Gaza," said local rights activist Isam Younis. "In reality that means trying to restrict freedoms."

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nobody / travis

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion"

Dymire Baylor says he overheard a woman ask, "What are all these black kids doing?" when he and his freinds showed up.

More than 60 campers from Northeast Philadelphia were turned away from a private swim club and left to wonder if their race was the reason. Kids at Creative Steps Day Camp were thrilled to go swimming once a week at the Valley Swim Club. But after only one trip to the private club, they were...

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded. "I said, 'The parents don't want the refund. They want a place for their children to swim,'" camp director Aetha Wright said.

Campers remain unsure why they're no longer welcome.

"They just kicked us out. And we were about to go. Had our swim things and everything," said camper Simer Burwell. The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement. While the parents await an apology, the camp is scrambling to find a new place for the kids to beat the summer heat.



Enraging video and comments at source
JL: Annoyed J. Law

We Need a Strategy, Not a Silver Bullet, to Stop the LRA by Sen. Feingold

Since the late 1980s, the people of northern Uganda have lived a nightmare. Over the years, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by the brutal Joseph Kony, forcibly abducted tens of thousands of children to fill their ranks as soldiers and sex slaves. Sadly, this nightmare went mostly unnoticed by the world community. Thankfully, that has started to change. Last month, nearly two thousand young people from across America came to Washington D.C to advocate for action to stop the LRA, a far cry from just a few years ago when the tragedy in Uganda was called the world's worst neglected humanitarian crisis. For a long time, the international community paid little attention and the Ugandan government did even less to protect its citizens living in the northern part of the country. Thanks in part to these young people, those days of neglect are over.

Yet the end of neglect has not meant the end of the LRA. First, in late 2005, the rebel commanders moved their base of operations into northeastern Congo. And since then, a series of new efforts have failed to resolve the crisis. From 2006 to early 2008, representatives of the rebels and Ugandan government negotiated a series of agreements in southern Sudan. These negotiations were not perfect, but they did achieve a cessation of hostilities and provided a framework to address the larger issues that enabled the conflict to exist for so long, including the grievances of northern Ugandans. Unfortunately, Kony repeatedly refused to sign the agreement and instead his forces launched new attacks in Congo, Sudan and, for the first time, Central African Republic.

Last December, the violence and bloodshed escalated significantly. The Ugandan military, with its regional counterparts, launched a coordinated offensive against the LRA's new bases in northeastern Congo, but it failed. Those planning the operation were unable to anticipate contingencies and did not take adequate precautions to protect civilians. When the operation failed to apprehend Kony and his top commanders, they retaliated against Congolese civilians. In the six months since, the UN estimates the LRA has killed an estimated 1200 Congolese civilians and abducted another 1500. Time and time again, rash military operations that are poorly designed and poorly carried out have inflamed this crisis rather than resolved it.

The United States provided support for both these efforts. In 2007, at the urging of Congress, the State Department appointed a senior diplomat to observe and assist the ongoing peace negotiations. And last year, at the request of regional governments, the Bush Administration provided non-operational, non-lethal assistance for the military offensive. But the twin failure of peace talks and military operations has shown that there is no simple solution to this crisis and that we can not just throw our support behind the single most promising initiative of the day. Advocates have tended to back either peace talks or military operations, but both those efforts in isolation have failed. It's time for a new, multifaceted strategy to confront the LRA.

That is why I joined with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) in authoring the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (S. 1067). Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) has introduced the same proposal in the House (H.R. 2478). With the help of the thousands of young people, momentum for our legislation is gaining. If passed, the measure would require the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy to help protect civilians while seeking to eliminate the threat posed by the LRA. This legislation leaves it up to the discretion of the Administration to determine the specifics, but it seeks to ensure a multifaceted approach that includes all elements of U.S. policy -- economic, political, intelligence and military -- and coordinates our efforts across the four affected countries.

Our bill does not, however, encourage a new Ugandan-led military offensive against the LRA and does not sanction any specific military operation. Instead, it seeks to push a comprehensive approach in which military activity would be one component within a larger framework. Such an approach, though, should also include humanitarian components and support for credible diplomatic efforts to press for a viable political solution.

A comprehensive approach also requires attention to rebuilding the lives and communities of those most affected by the violence. The U.S. and other international donors have already contributed substantial funds to help recovery efforts in northern Uganda. But, we also need to ensure that the government of Uganda is upholding its end of the deal and that complementary steps are being taken to address the original causes of the war. To that end, the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act also includes support for transitional justice and reconciliation efforts. Ultimately, as we have seen with so many other conflicts, our success may depend less on how we end the violence and more on how we build the peace.


Mass. challenges DOMA

Mass. challenges federal Defense of Marriage Act


Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, has become the first to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, saying Congress intruded into a matter that should be left to individual states.

"Our familes, our communities, and even our economy have seen the many important benefits that have come from recognizing equal marriage rights and, frankly, no downside," Attorney General Martha Coakley said this afternoon at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. "However, we have also seen how many of our married residents and their families are being hurt by a discriminatory, unprecedented, and, we believe, unconstitutional law."

The suit filed in US District Court in Boston claims that the Congress, in enacting the DOMA, "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people."

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arrow: felicity smoak

Greenpeace climbers hang Obama banner on Mount Rushmore


President Obama got his face on Mount Rushmore for a few minutes this morning.

Eleven rock climbers from Greenpeace evaded security at Mount Rushmore National Memorial and hung the 65-foot by 35-foot banner, which billowed for a few minutes next to Abraham Lincoln’s carved stone face.

The banner featured an unfinished portrait of Obama with the message, "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming.”

Unveiled around 10:30 a.m., the banner came down after a few minutes. But not before Greenpeace photographed the banner and broadcast video of the event live online.

Authorities were quickly alerted to intrusion, arrested a dozen activists, and more arrests may follow, said Nav Singh, memorial spokesman.

“When you have individuals who are determined, who ware equipped, who are organized, who are willing to do damage to government systems, there’s not many systems that are fail-safe to that,” he said.

The 12 arrested activists got their first appearance before a Federal judge in Rapid City at 2 p.m. said U.S. attorney Marty Jackley, in a written statement.

The activists climbed to the top of Mount Rushmore, which is 5,725 feet tall, using existing anchors placed by the National Park Service for periodic cleanings, according to Greenpeace.

Three of the climbers rappelled down, hanging the 2,300-square-foot banner as they descended, according to the organization. The climbers were all highly trained in rock and industrial climbing, according to the organization.

Security sensors alerted authorities to the intrusion, and park security workers followed it response procedures to find and apprehend the activists, said Singh, the memorial spokesman.

“All of our security measures did exactly what they were designed to do to alert us as this was happening,” he said.

At least two of the climbers used Twitter to report their location on the mountain to the world. Matt Leonard, one of the climbers, didn’t post again on his Twitter account after announcing his location through a cell phone. Michael Gaworecki, a San-Francisco-based Web editor for Greenpeace USA, told the Journal via Twitter that Leonard had been taken into custody.

Singh said the operation to find the activists involved in the banner unveiling is still in progress. Authorities just found another two activists atop the mountain, bringing the total of arrests to 12.

“We brought them down as well,” he said. “So this is ongoing.”

Singh said the memorial would host a press conference Friday at 10 a.m. to discuss the incident.

The demonstration comes as President Obama meets other G8 leaders in L'Aquila, Italy today to discuss the global warming crisis in the lead-up to UN climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen this December. The protest was one of several Greenpeace staged around the world related to the G8 meeting.

"This monument celebrates leaders who rose to the great challenges of our past. Global warming is the greatest crisis humankind has ever faced and it is the defining test of leadership for this generation. It's an open question whether President Obama will pass that test," said Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett, in a written statement.


This is like the ultimate combination of things that Western South Dakotans hate: liberals, environmentalists, Obama and the defacing of the state's greatest tourist attraction. The LULz I'm going to get from this for the next two weeks are going to be awesome.

That being said, I don't know how they managed to climb the mountain today. It was windy as hell in Rapid City this morning, and I don't even want to imagine what it was like out there.

Fox & Friends: Brian Kilmeade Would Like Species and 'Ethnics' to Remain Pure

Brian Kilmeade Would Like Species and 'Ethnics' to Remain Pure

To stave off dementia! Yes, today the befuddled screech owls on Fox & Friends were discussing a study that states that those that stay married fend off Alzheimer's and dementia better than lonely divorcees. Brian Kilmeade took issue with this.

He didn't trust the study because it was done in Finland and Sweden and the Finns and the Swedes stay "pure" by only marrying each other. Whereas in America, everyone marries everyone (so long as they're white and their partner is white. Oh, and straight!) So therefore the study doesn't mean anything.

Suddenly the clouds parted and a thin ray of sunshine shone down on the pesky corn nut that is Gretchen Carlson—descendant of some Nordic "species", for sure—and she ably, if simply, mocked crazy dumb Kilmeade for being crazy and dumb and possibly suffering from dementia.

It was a fine moment of morning television. Incidentally, after discussing this execrable show with my sister over seltzers at a picnic table in Rhode Island this weekend, she called me this morning and said "I tried watching Fox & Friends. I couldn't even get through five minutes. How can you possibly watch this every day?" And then I told her that I don't, that there are lovely video people who watch it for me and I cackled into the phone.

So, in short, thanks guys!

Quote of the day

Watching Fox News' morning show, "Fox and Friends," is a little bit like watching the aftermath of a particularly nasty car crash. Yeah, it's awful, but you just have to keep looking, because, well, who knows what mangled body parts they'll pull from the wreckage next?

Even by those standards, though, host Brian Kilmeade's performance on Wednesday was just terrible.

Kilmeade and two colleagues were discussing a study that, based on research done in Finland and Sweden, showed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's. Kilmeade questioned the results, though, saying, "We are -- we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other ..."

At this point, his co-host tried to -- in that jokey morning show way -- tell Kilmeade he needed to shut up, and quick, for his own sake. But he didn't get the message, adding, "See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes .... Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society."

“We are — we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other … See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes …. Fins marry other Fins, so they have a pure society.” Meaning: Ronald Reagan was a mulatto.
Akuma River

Tomorrow is Protest Day!

Here is a brief of what we know, confirmations that torture of the prisoners has intensified, hot water being poured on them, refusal of sleep, solitary confinement and sexual harassment and rape of both male and female prisoners. Prosecution procedures have are in the works to start and high profile political prisoners are being refused contact with family and medical attention. More information can be found in NiteOwl's new brief for July 7th.

Tomorrow, Thursday the 9th is known as 18 of Tir (Persian calendar) and it is the ten year anniversary of a student led revolt. There are plans for demostrations, protests and perhaps a repeat of what happened on Saturday the 20th. Worldwide protests are being planned as well. And for those of you, like me, who can't make it to one, there is details on how to stage one FB against Joe Biden (I think his comments about Israel and Iran really really pissed some people off. I think there are going to be THOUSANDS of videos posted on his FB.

Khamenei in gree
Khamenei has been tagged green!

iran protests
“God is on our side. Do you intend to filter God, too?”

From Nico:
1:38 PM ET -- An online demonstration targeted at Biden. From a reader:
WHEN - Thursday, July 9th @ 8pm PST or 11pm EST

WHO - everyone who wants to help give Iran a voice against their aggressors
WHERE - at your house - so no excuses, it is the least you can do for all those giving their lives
Please watch the video for instructions on the July 9th Onlne Protest

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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'United Breaks Guitars': Passenger Strikes Back With Song (VIDEO)

'United Breaks Guitars': Passenger Strikes Back With Song (VIDEO)

Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. The LA Times reports that one United Airlines passenger was so dismayed over a guitar broken by United staffers that he's writ his anger across the web.

Dave Carroll was flying from Nova Scotia to Nebraska and had his Taylor guitar ruined. After a protracted attempt to get United to pay for the damage, Carroll struck back. Here's Carroll's saga in his own words (from his personal website):

"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn't deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say "no" to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world."

Here's the first of the Carroll's songs:


Rep. Steve King: "Acknowledging slavery is frivolous and a liberal myth and anti-christian"

Rep. Steve King Lone Vote Against Acknowledging Slave Labor Construction Of US Capitol

That the United States Capitol, and specifically the Statue of Freedom that rests above it, was built by slave labor has long been a
source of shame. The House sought to redress that grievance on Tuesday evening, however slightly, with a resolution acknowledging the role slaves played in the construction.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) isn't having it.

The resolution passed 399-1, with King voting against.

The purpose of the resolution, according to its text, is to direct "the Architect of the Capitol to place a marker in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center which acknowledges the role that slave labor played in the construction of the United States Capitol."
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America's new surplus in whores! The Economy is saved!

Going down in the downturn
More women are turning to sex work in a bad economy. Does it beat working at McDonald's?

"Boob play," "pics of kitty," "topless housecleaning" and "hypno role play." The list, scribbled in a lined yellow notebook, is followed by a double-underlined figure: $725.

It's 9 a.m. on a Friday and 30-year-old Marie is sitting on her couch clad in Donald Duck pajamas, munching on buttered toast and staring at her cellphone like she can will it to ring. If someone calls in response to the ad she posted this morning on Craigslist, she can add $75 to her projected income for the month.

Five months ago, before being laid off, Marie was bringing in $45,000 a year at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Now, she operates out of two offices: her living room and a regularly changing hotel room. Her uniform is different, too: Instead of conservative business attire, she dons a lace bra and booty-hugging capris. The former corporate supervisor has become a sex worker.

She's applied for every strait-laced office gig she can find -- regardless of hours, pay or whether her University of California degree makes her absurdly overqualified. She went from being a manager to fighting for personal assistant positions. But last month, after innumerable unanswered cover letters, overdue bills and a delay in her unemployment checks, she entered a world of code words and cash wads. It was baptism by -- bodily fluids: She peed on a guy in her own bed for $100. Since then, she's been paid more times than she can count, or cares to count, for sex, blow jobs, hand jobs and sensual massage.
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Phelps Sues Another City

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CN) - A week after winning a temporary reprieve from a state law aimed at curtailing funeral protests, a member of a gay-hating church has filed a new suit claiming that a city law violates her free speech rights. Shirley Phelps-Roper, of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., sued the City of Maplewood in Federal Court.

Phelps-Roper claims Maplewood's law, which prohibits picketing at the place of a funeral from 90 minutes before until 90 minutes after the funeral, violates her First Amendment rights.

Westboro members have picketed hundreds or thousands of events, including the funerals of U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq. The church claims the deaths stem from the wrath of God because of America's acceptance of homosexuality.

Phelps-Roper wants Maplewood enjoined from enforcing its ordinance. She is represented by Anthony Rothert. Maplewood is 10 miles west of St. Louis.

Last week, Phelps-Roper won a temporary reprieve from a similar, statewide law when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Missouri's appeal. A lower court ruled that Missouri could not enforce the law until Phelps-Roper's lawsuit was settled. Missouri was attempting to appeal the ruling. A trial in that case could take place in July 2010.


Report: Probe found weaknesses in federal security

WASHINGTON – Federal investigators had no trouble smuggling bomb-making materials past ill-trained and poorly supervised guards at federal buildings, senators were told at a hearing Wednesday.

"This is the broadest indictment of a federal agency I have ever heard," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said at a Homeland Security Committee hearing on the performance of the Federal Protective Service, the office responsible for the safety of some 9,000 federal facilities.

"This is really serious stuff."

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Rep. Patrick Murphy, Iraq Vet, Takes Charge of DADT Fight

So, look back at the presidential campaign when President Barack Obama promised to do away with the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" regulation, which forces everyone in the armed service to pretend that there are no gays and lesbians serving our nation with distinction. From time to time, the regulation even requires the military to discharge perfectly capable soldiers from their duties. Since the campaign, however, Obama has been tenacious in his passivity, opting to not take direct action to end the regulation, preferring to let Congress decide the matter. I wonder what James Pietrangelo II, who was discharged from the Army under DADT, thinks about all of this?

"He's a coward, a bigot and a pathological liar...This is a guy who spent more time picking out his dog, Bo, and playing with him on the White House lawn than he has working for equality for gay people...If there were millions of black people as second-class citizens, or millions of Jews or Irish, he would have acted immediately."

That about sums it up! Luckily for Pietrangelo, someone has decided to take lead on this issue: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.). Brandon Friedman, over at VetVoice, has an email that Murphy sent out to supporters this morning:
In less than an hour [10:00 AM], we will officially announce that I am taking over as the chief sponsor for The Military Readiness Enhancement Act -- the bill that will finally repeal the policy known as "Don't Ask,Don't Tell." I have been speaking out against for many years against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- first as an ROTC cadet, then as a professor at West Point, and later as a candidate and a congressman. To now take the lead on such an important piece of legislation is an honor and a privilege beyond words. This is going to be a busy day full of meetings and interviews. We'll even be launching a new website dedicated to this issue: LetThemServe.com. But before it all got started I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to stand up and fight for the values we all believe in. I couldn't do this without you, and I'll never forget that.

Friedman writes: "Given that the troops have been harmed by this law, it's good to see a soldier leading the way on the repeal."

I just think it's good to see anyone leading the way on this.


Howard Dean: "This Is Ridiculous. We're 60 Years Behind the Times" on Fixing Health Care

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During the 2004 presidential primaries, the conventional wisdom among Howard Dean's energized supporters was that the over-the-top conservative attacks on the Vermont governor reflected the degree to which the right feared his nomination. With his blunt, plainspoken populism, the argument went at the time, Dean represented a threat to the Bush administration's prospects for re-election that his more polished Democratic opponents lacked.

Five years later, and it may be the "disease care" industry -- now spending $1.4 million each and every day to lobby lawmakers against implementing significant health reforms -- that may be sweating Dean's simple, but uncompromising, brand of politics.

In his new book, Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Health Care Reform, the physician and former candidate explains what makes the American health care system the most expensive in the world but nowhere near the best. He calmly destroys the industry's arguments against substantial change and offers a plan to give everyone access to quality health care at a price that won't break the bank.

AlterNet caught up with Dean to discuss the book and the larger political landscape in which the debate over health care is taking pace.

Joshua Holland: In your new book, you offer a prescription for fixing our ailing health care system. You lay out the scope of the crisis really well, both in human terms and in terms of the costs -- the financial burdens our system places on households and firms. And like the plan that Obama has laid out, like the Hacker Plan, your prescription revolves around a robust public health insurance option. Can you explain in a nutshell what that is -- what that looks like?

Howard Dean: In a nutshell, it looks like Medicare. We've had a single-payer in this country for 45 years, and the Republicans have used the same language today that they were using in 1965 to denounce it. And it works really well.

It has its faults like every system, but it is cheaper, it is more efficient and a far smaller percentage of dollars that goes into it is spent on non-health-care items. It's about five times as expensive to insure yourself with a private health insurance than it is with Medicare. So that's what the public option looks like. It's what we've had -- and your grandparents, and your parents have had -- for years.

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One more interview with Dean. I don't know why I even bother bolding, if you care about the public health care debate, everything is relevant. Some issues have already been addressed in the Esquire article, but there is also a lot of new stuff.



Key Reason Palin Gave For Quitting May Be False

One of the chief reasons Sarah Palin has given for resigning as Governor of Alaska is that her state’s taxpayers are being forced to spend money defending her government against ethics complaints that would otherwise fund teachers, cops, and road repair.

But in response to our questions, a spokesperson for the Alaska governor’s office just gave us new information that casts serious doubt on this assertion. The revelation makes the resignation episode even stranger, and raises fresh questions about the real reasons for her abrupt departure.

During her resignation speech last week, Palin presented herself as a heroic defender of the taxpayer. She said that money being spent on government lawyers to defend against these “frivolous ethics violations” could be “going to things that are very important, like troopers and roads and teachers and fish research.” Palin repeated exactly the same point this week.

But David Murrow, a spokesperson for the Governor, said in an interview that much of this money was budgeted to the lawyers in advance and would have gone to them anyway, even if state lawyers hadn’t been defending against these ethics complaints.

In response to our questions, the Governor’s office provided us with a detailed breakdown of the millions Palin has claimed has gone to defending against ethics complaints. It does list roughly $1.9 million in expenditures.

But Murrow, the spokesperson, acknowledged to our reporter, Amanda Erickson, that this total was arrived at by adding up attorney hours spent on fending off complaints — based on the fixed salaries of lawyers in the governor’s office and the Department of Law. The money would have gone to the lawyers no matter what they were doing. The complaints are “just distracting them from other duties,” Murrow said.

In other words, while these lawyers might have been free to do other legal work for the state, the ethics complaints have apparently not had the real world impact Palin has claimed, and didn’t drain money away from cops, teachers, roads and other things.

Similarly, TPM reports that there are only three ethics complaints outstanding against the Palin administration in any case — which, combined with the above, casts serious doubts on one of her chief stated reasons for quitting.

Murrow has not responded to folllow-up questions asking him to explain how this squares with Palin’s claims. We’ll update you if he does.


Okay, so is anyone reallllly surprised??? 

(noise of crickets)

No, I didn't think so.


(no subject)

House Chairman Says CIA Lied to Lawmakers

House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes has suggested Republicans would be well advised to avoid politicizing the intelligence authorizaton bill later this week in light of evidence that, he says, shows that the CIA “affirmatively lied to” the panel.

In a Tuesday letter to his committee’s top-ranking Republican, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, that was obtained by Congressional Quarterly, Reyes, D-Texas, wrote that the committee has recently received information that reveals significant problems with the intelligence agency’s reporting to the panel.

“These notifications have led me to conclude this committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one occasion) was affirmatively lied to,” Reyes wrote.

Reyes did not describe or detail the alleged false or misleading statements to the committee.

“This agency and this director are committed to a candid dialogue with Congress,” said CIA spokesman George Little. “When Director Panetta believes something should be raised with the Hill, it gets done quickly and clearly. Our oversight committees recognize that.”

Republicans contend a provision of the fiscal 2010 bill (HR 2701) scheduled for floor action Thursday would modify congressional notification procedures to provide political cover for Speaker Nancy Pelosi . Such briefings are a sensitive political topic, because Republicans have repeatedly criticized Pelosi over what she knew and when about the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques and her assertion that the CIA “misled” Congress on that topic.

The executive branch is required by the National Security Act of 1947 to keep the House and Senate Intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed about intelligence activities.

“Like you, I was greatly concerned,” Reyes told Hoekstra, about what the committee learned on June 24 and another unspecified date from CIA Director Leon E. Panetta . “As you know, I have begun to take steps to gather information on the recent notifications,” Reyes wrote. “This may well lead to a full committee investigation. I believe that you share my concern, and I look forward to working on this issue with you.”

We’re not going to respond to something so unprofessional as a letter that was slipped under the Republican staff director’s door after hours after everyone had gone home for the night,” said Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Hoekstra and Intelligence Committee Republicans. “It’s been two weeks since this [notification from Panetta] happened, per their letter, and they’ve not tried to have any conversations with the ranking member.”

The pending authorization bill would eliminate the executive branch’s right to decide when to brief the full Intelligence panels, as opposed to top committee and congressional leaders, on the most sensitive intelligence activities. Instead, Congress would set the ground rules for the so-called “Gang of Eight” briefings.

Democrats say the bill would tilt control over congressional oversight of intelligence from the executive branch to the legislative, but Republicans say the provision is poorly drafted and could prompt the executive branch to leave Congress in the dark.

Hoekstra said in a June 18 statement that committee Democrats were trying to assist Pelosi.

The CIA earlier gave lawmakers a document indicating that she was briefed on the use of harsh interrogation methods that she criticized the Bush administration for using. That prompted the Speaker to say the CIA “misled” Congress.

“As we go to the floor [with the authorization bill], I hope that we can focus on the merits of the legislation,” Reyes wrote. “I hope we can avoid questions of who knew what and when.

Reyes sent copies of his letter to Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader John A. Boehner , D-Ohio. 



Sean Hannity Performing Creative Reality-smithing.....again.

Sean Hannity Caught Selectively Editing Obama Speeches, Again (VIDEO)

Whenever President Barack Obama goes abroad, cameras follow him, and record the things he says to people. Just as often, it seems, Fox's Sean Hannity takes the recordings made by those cameras and starts splicing and resplicing up a storm, in order to make it seem that Obama said a bunch of things that he didn't say. And then, armed with his cut-up, bowdlerized junk, Hannity plays his audience for fools.

Let's take Obama's trip to Russia, for example. Obama sat for an interview with Fox's White House Correspondent, Major Garrett. Hannity presented their exchange over Garrett's first question, like so:


GARRETT: In your speech this morning, you said the Cold War reached its conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years. Mr. President, are the Russian sensitivities so fragile that you can't say the Cold War was won, the West won it, and it was led by a combination of Democratic and Republican American presidents?

OBAMA: There were a whole bunch of people throughout Eastern Europe who showed enormous courage, and I think that it is very important in this part of the world to acknowledge the degree to which people struggled for their own freedom. We don't have to diminish other people in order to recognize our role in that history.


Hannity, predictably, produced an outraged bleat:

HANNITY: Unbelievable. Now, that's interesting, because Lech Walesa, the leader of the Polish Solidarity Movement, said this about the end of the Cold War; he said, quote: "We in Poland took him, Ronald Reagan, so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. Now this can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century." Mr. President, if I were you, you may want to consider hitting the history books maybe before your next foreign trip.


Yeah! Burn! Shouldn't Barack Obama be able to demonstrate knowledge of Lech Walesa and the contributions of American presidents in bringing about the end of the Cold War? HE SO TOTALLY SHOULD! The thing is, in reality, HE TOTALLY DID. Here's Fox News' own transcript of the interview:


GARRETT: In your speech this morning, you said the Cold War reached its conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years. Mr. President, are the Russian sensitivities so fragile that you can't say the Cold War was won? The West won it? And it was led by a combination of Democratic and Republican American presidents?

OBAMA: Well, listen, the -- I think that you just cut out Lech Walesa and the Poles. You just cut out Havel and the Czechs. There were a whole bunch of people throughout Eastern Europe who showed enormous courage. And I think that it is very important in this part of the world to acknowledge the degree to which people struggled for their own freedom. I'm very proud of the traditions of Democratic and Republican presidents to lift the Iron Curtain. But, you know, we don't have to diminish other people in order to recognize our role in that history.

This is definitely not the first time this has happened! After Obama delivered his speech in Cairo, Hannity and his punk-ass scissors were all snippety-snip on the events of the real world, too. In the wake of that speech, Hannity asserted that Obama had "given 9/11 sympathizers a voice on the world stage." But again, it was a nifty bit of selective editing, which Jon Stewart and his Daily Show researchers famously called Hannity out on, not that Hannity ever has to face consequences!


OBAMA: I'm aware that there's still some who would question, or even justify the offense of 9/11.


OBAMA: I'm aware that there's still some who would question, or even justify the offense of 9/11. But let us be clear. Al Qaeda killed nearly three thousand people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Naturally, it's not surprising at all to learn that the world we live in is a far fouler place after Sean Hannity has had his way with it.


Here's the roster of economists that support 3rd stimulus

Paul Krugman kept up the argument today for another stimulus and criticized the media for how it laughs off the idea.

From Center for Economic and Policy Research:

Economists Who Make the Third Stimulus Honor Roll

The country is experiencing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The economics profession bears part of the blame – almost the entire profession was unable to see an $8 trillion housing bubble. Even as the unraveling of the bubble began to throw the economy into recession, economists were slow to recognize the need for a strong response from the government to boost the economy.

This failure of the economics profession allowed the first stimulus, passed during the Bush administration in February of 2008, to consist of a relatively modest tax cut that provided limited benefit to the economy. Congress passed a considerably larger stimulus in February of 2009, but one that is still far too small to address the severity of the downturn.

Congress will be more likely to move on a third stimulus when economists recognize and speak out about the inadequacy of the second stimulus. In an effort to promote forward thinking by economists, and challenge those who have not yet faced up to the severity of the current recession to examine economic developments more closely, CEPR is keeping an honor roll of economists calling for a third stimulus.

Below are two lists of economists - the first includes those economists who publicly and explicitly stated that the second stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was too small.

The second list shows those economists who have called for a third round of stimulus to boost the economy.

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(no subject)

First, They Came For The Gays....

A "community activist" group in Milwaukee wants their police chief charged with a felony for committing adultery, something he has admitted.
A group of community activists met face-to-face with the Milwaukee district attorney, demanding criminal charges against the police chief for having an extramarital affair. While they appreciate the crime fighting success of Milwaukee's police chief, they say Ed Flynn's extramarital affair with Jessica McBride is criminal. "It's a felony act," said one activist." The chief has admitted to being in this affair and we think these issues need to be investigated." Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says adultery, while a felony in Wisconsin, is not on his office's front burner. "This is not a crime that is prosecuted," said Chisholm. "And I know of no case that's been prosecuted by this office since I've been an assistant [district attorney]." A class one felony of adultery can bring three and a half years in prison.



Dallas Police Cut Bush's Extra Security Due To Budget Cuts

Dallas police cut extra protection at George W. Bush's home

The Dallas Police Department has cut back on some of the additional protection that the department provided around the Preston Hollow home of former President George W. Bush.

In addition to the usual Secret Service protection, Dallas until last week had stationed one on-duty tactical officer per eight-hour shift on the street outside the president’s home. The estimated cost of that service was $300,000 for about a year, according to police officials who asked that they not be named.

“We just had to cut it,” said one police official, who agreed to speak on the condition on anonymity. “We’re about to layoff people.”

The city of Dallas has been struggling to deal with a $190 million budget deficit, and police officials said that the police department’s civilian workforce likely will be reduced by as many as 190 of the department’s 739 employees.

But Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, who declined to discuss specific changes said, “Our decision on how to deploy people around security issues like this is not dependent on the budget. They’re based on other factors.”

Police officials said that they had been already gradually reducing extra security provided for the former president even before the city’s fiscal crunch.

“From the time the president got here, we’ve been working with the Secret Service to determine what level of protection was appropriate,” said Kunkle. “We always knew we would change and adapt.”

The cuts to the president’s security detail were first reported by KTVT-TV on Tuesday.

When Bush first moved to Dallas, tactical officers accompanied him when he made official appearances. That service was ended sometime ago, police said.

Rob Caltabiano, a Secret Service spokesman in Dallas, said he could not comment on what, if any, changes had been made to security around the former president’s home. But he said that security needs are constantly reassessed and changes made as needed.

“We’re still working with the police department,” Caltabiano said. “Nothing has been negatively impacted. They have been excellent as to what we need. In 21 years, I’ve worked with a lot of police departments and Dallas has been one of the most cooperative.”

Police officials said that if the Secret Service, which is responsible for the president’s protection, needs their help, Dallas will still respond with additional police presence as needed.

“The president lives in north central,” said another police official. “North central officers have known the president’s location. Just because we’re not sitting at the corner doesn’t mean we’re not giving it some kind of periodic coverage. The intersection is not completely abandoned.”

In early January, police department officials had said that the tab to provide crowd and traffic control at the new Preston Hollow home of former President Bush could reach $1 million a year. The $1 million figure was based on the cost of providing at least two officers per 8-hour shift on a 24-hour basis for one year.

Just when John Ensign thought he'd dodged the bullet

The husband of the woman he had an affair with has given an interview.

Talking Points Memo has a recap of the new info, including a copy of the letter Ensign wrote to break off the affair, apparently with Tom Coburn standing over him. In fact, it reads like something dictated to a naughty boy. Not only did Rep Coburn, who got involved through that C Street Christian Fellowship Mark Sanford also belonged to, get involved, he suggested that Ensign pay Hampton millions of dollars (damages? hush money?) so they could relocate. And the letter didn't do the job, because the affair continued for six months after it was written.

I put TPM's summary behind the cut, because it has other links and quotes. The most bizarre (and creepy) thing to me is that Cynthia Hampton seems to have no say in whether this affair starts and stops. It's all about men negotiating over her sexuality and, seemingly, attaching price tags.

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Las Vegas Sun article

ETA: Slideshow of the Hampton family residence, which may be one reason for their need for cash. The house seems to have dropped considerably in value over the last few years.

*yawn* Oh, look, another F-lister comparing the president to Hitler...


Victoria Jackson, Former SNL Star, Compares Obama To Hitler In Mad Rant

Former "Saturday Night Live" star Victoria Jackson posted an incoherent rant against President Obama on Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood website on Tuesday.

Taking aim at everything from health care reform to rock bands, Jackson's rambling diatribe describes Obama as a kind of wolf in sheep's clothing.

"You see, evil doesn't just show up. It disguises itself as something nice; so you'll let it in. It tricks you," she writes.

Jackson, an actress, singer and comedienne, was part of the same SNL cast as Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Phil Hartman. She also appeared on the VH1 weight loss show "Celebrity Fit Club" in 2005.

During the 2008 presidential election, Jackson came out against then-Senator Barack Obama, calling him everything from a racist to a communist.

In a particularly irrational appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor," she told O'Reilly that Obama reminds her of "Castro In Cuba, the guy in China." (Presumably Mao.)

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All I can say is... "What the ever-loving FUCK are you yammering on about, lady????"

Edited the title because B-list is too generous and the only D-lister I'll acknowledge favorably is Kathy Griffin.
Hufflepuff  Darren stan Narhwal

Pornography Outlawed in Ukraine. Bricks shat.

Possession of pornography is now a criminal offense in , Lenta.ru reports, after Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a law to that effect today. Human rights activists and members of the Ukrainian artistic community had asked the president to veto the law.

The draft of the law was prepared by the Ukrainian government. It was passed by the Ukrainian parliament, the Supreme Rada, on June 11.

Now pornography can be kept only “for medical purposes,” according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice. The ministry also warns that possession of a large number of identical images will be considered evidence of trading in pornography, which is also criminalized.

Punishment for possession of pornography will include fines and imprisonment for up to three years.