July 9th, 2009


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

So this one pretentious elitist British official (or MEP, BNP, BBQ) had the most brilliant idea to control immigrants moving to the EU.

"The only measure, sooner or later, which is going to stop immigration and stop large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans dying on the way to get over here is to get very tough with those coming over," he told the British broadcaster.

"Frankly, they need to sink several of those boats.

Say, isn't that sorta like murdering boats of people?

He denied advocating that anyone should be "murdered at sea," saying: "They can throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya.

Ooh, ok. Somehow this just might work, most like our beloved Stephen Colbert's brilliant idea of putting in "[m]aybe a flaming moat, filled with fire-proof crocodiles."

Except the part about sinking boats and the possibility of those immigrants who don't know how to swim drowning. That he suggested that boats be sunk so the EU won't be "swamped by the Third World" just really grated at me. It's a short article, but if anyone else can find another article, please link to it in the comments.

transcript of Colbert's awesome Commencement 2006 speech at Knox College

Banks Get Rich On Fees From Overdrafts

Banks' 'courtesy' loans at soaring rates irk consumers

Even as regulators crack down on abusive mortgage and credit card practices, another type of lending threatens to mire consumers in a credit trap.

It's called "courtesy overdraft" and has long been used by banks to automatically pay transactions that account holders don't have the money to cover — and then charge them a steep fee. For years, banks have made it easier for customers to overdraw their checking accounts, aided by a cottage industry of consultants who make big money by helping to wring fees out of consumers, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

But what began as a customer service has often become an important revenue driver for banks at the expense of the most vulnerable consumers, according to bank memos reviewed by USA TODAY and interviews with industry insiders.

"This practice has gone awry and needs to be fixed," says Alex Sheshunoff, a key consultant who once advised banks to pay, not return, overdrawn transactions. "This is something everyone should be trying to find a solution to, not fighting."

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Cop tasers teenager for acting like a teenager

New Mexico Teen Girl Tasered In The Head By Police Chief (VIDEO)

The use of tasers by law enforcement is becoming increasingly controversial as more examples emerge of them being used improperly and causing victims serious harm.
This New Mexico teen was arguing with her mother, so her mother brought her to a police station to get help (it's unclear what kind of argument they could have been having that would warrant police intervention).

The girl ran off and the police chief chased her and ordered her to stop. When she didn't, he tasered her in the head. The giant scar and stitches in the teen's head show the tasering was terribly brutal, and it's difficult to see how this could in any way be justified.
dal ja's spring

Rising African soccer star convicted of rape

The story of prisoner F95488
By Sam Alipour

It's March 3, 2008, a brilliant day in Santa Barbara. But for Eric Frimpong, it feels like hell. He's in Superior Court, encircled by sheriff's deputies, making one more trip to the Department 2 courtroom. This is his last stop on the outside for a while, a painful reminder of how far he has fallen. He left his native Ghana in 2005 to play soccer for UC Santa Barbara; a year later he became a campus hero while leading the Gauchos to their first-ever national championship. If the immigrant experience can have a sound, Frimpong's sound was a raucous stadium. But in 2007, just weeks after being selected by the Kansas City Wizards in the MLS draft, he was accused of raping another student on the beach near his house. Now he's a convicted felon.

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Akuma River

18th of Tir/July 9th Worldwide Protest Day

Moved "editorial" to bottom

Protests in Iran 18 of Tir

Iran protests flyer

Footage of July 9th Protests

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 http://www.facebook.com/joebiden 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

UPDATED: 8:21am - 8:51am - 9:01am - 9:03am - 9:18am - 10:53am - 11:10am - 11:31am - 1:48pm
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Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims

• News of the World bugging led to £700,000 payout to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
• Sun editor Rebekah Wade and Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson – both ex-NoW editors – involved
• News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case


Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.

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Source - The Guardian

Hey Murdoch - maybe you should send a memo to NOTW that THIS is investigative journalism. Another huge blow to News International could NOT come too soon, to be honest. :|

19 charged in dogfighting ring across 5 states.

An investigation into dogfighting across five states has resulted in federal charges against 19 people, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

More than 350 dogs were seized after an investigation into dogfighting across five states.

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Fucking disgusting guys. I try to tolerate alot of things, but abusing animals when they can't even defend themselves? There's a special place in hell for these jerks. >:(

Two secessionist peas in a pod: Sarah Palin to campaign in TX for Rick Perry

Governor "Goodhair" Rick Perry, a Bush administration holdover, has been GOVERNOR OF TEXAS FOR NINE YEARS.

In April Rick Perry said Texas could secede from the US. Sarah Palin's husband Todd was in the Alaskan Independence Party, which also wants to secede from the US.

Perry says Palin to campaign for him

By MICHAEL GRACZYK and KELLEY SHANNON Associated Press Writers
July 8, 2009, 4:30PM

CONROE, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Sarah Palin is committed to campaigning for his re-election and that he welcomes the support of the soon-to-be-former Alaska governor.

"Sarah and I were friends well back before she became a national star," Perry told The Associated Press after a luncheon speech to a Lions Club in Conroe, just north of Houston. "She'll be here."

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A Happy Follow-up for Daycamp Kids Kicked Out Of Private Swim Club

Campers "Complexion" No Problem for New Pool

The campers from Creative Steps have cause to celebrate since they will again be able to make a splash.

For kids in the summertime, there's nothing better than jumping full-speed into a pool to cool off. So when 65 kids from a Northeast Philadelphia camp were banned from taking a dip at a private swim club because of fears they would "change the complexion" and "atmosphere" of the club, they couldn't understand why.

After a group of kids were thrown out of a private swim club for fear they would change the "atmosphere" and "complexion," will be able to splash down...

Creative Steps Day Camp paid The Valley Swim Club more than $1900 for one day of swimming a week, but after the first day, the money was quickly refunded and the campers were told not to return.

At first there was no explanation, but some of the campers recalled overhearing comments about the color of their skin while at the club.

Then the swim club president John Duesler issued this statement: "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion &hellip and the atmosphere of the club."

So the staff at Girard College, a private Philadelphia boarding school for children who live in low-income and single parent homes, stepped in and offered their pool.

"We had to help," said Girard College director of Admissions Tamara Leclair. "Every child deserves an incredible summer camp experience."

The school already serves 500 campers of its own, but felt they could squeeze in 65 more – especially since the pool is vacant on the day the Creative Steps had originally planned to swim at Valley Swim Club.

"I'm so excited," camp director Alethea Wright exclaimed. There are still a few logistical nuisances -- like insurance -- the organizations have to work out, but it seems the campers will not stay dry for long.

And to sweeten the deal, the owners of Gumdrops & Sprinkles treated the kids to a free day of candy and ice cream making.

The banning has caused so much controversy that U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) plans to launch an investigation into the discrimination claim.

"The allegations against the swim club as they are reported are extremely disturbing," Specter said in a statement. "I am reaching out to the parties involved to ascertain the facts. Racial discrimination has no place in America today."


Great!  Now let's investigate the hell out of the Valley Swim Club, and publicly humliate them for their bullshit!


HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. – A suburban Philadelphia swim club accused of kicking out a group of minority children visiting from the city denies any racial discrimination.

In a statement posted on its Web site Thursday afternoon, The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley says accusations of racism toward the Creative Steps day camp are untrue.

The statement says the club doesn't have the capacity to deal with outside groups and returned funds to more than one camp.

Creative Steps director Alethea Wright says the camp paid for weekly swim time. But she says during a trip there June 29 some of the children said they heard people asking what "black kids" were doing at the club.

In its statement, the club calls its membership diverse and says any comments that may or may not have been made by members are not shared by its board.

Source (Thanks[info]homasse !)


Another article (this one on MSNBC.com) had some minor additional details.

"Commission plans investigation

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission said it will investigate the allegations that the club kicked out black and Hispanic children.  Commission Chairman Stephen A. Glassman said the NAACP requested the investigation.


Some heard racial comments

Creative Steps, in northeast Philadelphia, had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon, Wright said. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

"A couple of the children ran down saying, 'Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they're up there saying, 'What are those black kids doing here?'"

Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.

"Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded," Wright said. "Only three members left their children in the pool with us."

Several days later, the club refunded the camp's payment without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are "weighing their options" on legal action.


The club's telephone message system was full and a message could not be left there by The Associated Press; Duesler did not return calls to his home.


Gee, I wonder who could possibly have been calling them??? (blinks innocently)

I guess some people might have posted their phone number ALL OVER THE INTERNETS!   Ya think??



(no subject)

Billions in aid go to areas that backed Obama in '08

WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year's presidential election.

That aid — about $17 billion — is the first piece of the administration's massive stimulus package that can be tracked locally. Much of it has followed a well-worn path to places that regularly collect a bigger share of federal grants and contracts, guided by formulas that have been in place for decades and leave little room for manipulation.

"There's no politics at work when it comes to spending for the recovery," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says.

Counties that supported Obama last year have reaped twice as much money per person from the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package as those that voted for his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, a USA TODAY analysis of government disclosure and accounting records shows. That money includes aid to repair military bases, improve public housing and help students pay for college.

The reports show the 872 counties that supported Obama received about $69 per person, on average. The 2,234 that supported McCain received about $34.

Investigators who track the stimulus are skeptical that political considerations could be at work. The imbalance is so pronounced — and the aid so far from complete — that it would be almost inconceivable for it to be the result of political tinkering, says Adam Hughes, the director of federal fiscal policy for the non-profit OMB Watch. "Even if they wanted to, I don't think the administration has enough people in place yet to actually do that," he says.

"Most of what they're doing at this point is just stamping the checks and sending them out," Hughes says.

The stimulus package Obama signed in February includes about $499 billion in new spending, and to date, the Obama administration has allocated about $158 billion to specific projects and programs. Most of that money has gone directly to state governments, which then disperse the money to prevent school layoffs, repair roads and fund social services. That contrasts with the $17 billion that Washington distributes directly to local communities.

Including the larger chunk of money given to state governments, the aid favors states that voted for Obama, which have received about 20% more per person

Not all of the money favors places that supported Obama. About a third of the $17 billion, or $5.5 billion, in contracts that the federal government has signed for projects ranging from repaving runways to cleaning up nuclear waste has gone overwhelmingly to counties that supported McCain.

Jake Wiens, an investigator with the non-profit Project on Government Oversight, says it's too soon to draw meaningful conclusions about whether the type of aid in the stimulus favors Obama's constituents.

But, he says, "it will be important to pay close attention as the data come in to ensure that political favoritism plays no role."

The imbalance didn't start with the stimulus. From 2005 through 2007, the counties that later voted for Obama collected about 50% more government aid than those that supported McCain, according to spending reports from the U.S. Census Bureau. USA TODAY's review did not include Alaska, which does not report its election results by county.


Yeah, I have a feeling that those counties favoring Obama are probably those that get more money because they have less to begin with.  Now watch, someone in the GOP will try and make something out of this.
Obama - Pie

Netanyahu's paranoia extends to 'self-hating Jews' Emanuel and Axelrod

At about 3:15 P.M. yesterday, the government's 100th day in office, political correspondents' beepers went off. In an unprecedented move, the Prime Minister's Bureau was inviting the correspondents to a press conference at the Knesset that was slated to begin in 15 minutes. This was the start of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's panicked, disproportionate response to the criticism senior Kadima politicians had leveled at him three hours earlier.

Kadima MKs had attacked Netanyahu at a press conference under the banner "100 days, zero gains. It's the same old Bibi." Later, Kadima supporters handed out stickers with anti-Netanyahu slogans in the Knesset cafeteria.

Netanyahu, who - unusually - was in the cafeteria on Wednesday, got one of the stickers from his political adviser, Shalom Shlomo, and summoned ministers Yisrael Katz, Gideon Sa'ar and Gilad Erdan to a meeting. "I want to call a press conference," Netanyahu said. His colleagues tried to dissuade
him, but he insisted. However, instead of appearing at the press conference himself, he stayed in his office and sent his advisers.

An atmosphere of permanent crisis has surrounded Netanyahu's bureau ever since he took office, so it was no surprise that the press conference also had an air of panic. The five advisers - National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser, director general of the Prime Minister's Office Eyal Gabai, political adviser Ron Dermer and Nir Hefetz, who heads the public relations desk - arrived at the meeting without a prearranged, uniform message. Over and over, they cut each other off.

Hauser tried to convince the press that Netanyahu's zigzagging on the issue of value-added tax was a deliberate ploy coordinated with the other coalition parties. Arad once again lambasted U.S. President Barack Obama's refusal to honor understandings reached with his predecessor, George W. Bush, on the issue of the settlements, but argued that coordination with Washington on Iran had actually improved. Dermer emphasized Netanyahu's speech at Bar-Ilan University, which he said won international plaudits. And Hefetz denied that there was any panic in Netanyahu's bureau, attributing the friction there to "work-related pressure."

But despite the unified front they tried to present, it is clear that all of Netanyahu's aides dislike each other: They are constantly badmouthing each other and blaming each other for leaks. Arad, for example, demanded that Hauser undergo a lie-detector test and is now demanding the same of Hefetz. And the latter two say "it is impossible to work with" Arad.

Compounding the problem is an inexperienced bureau chief, Natan Eshel, and a former spokesman, Yossi Levy, who is still clinging to his office and refusing to give it up to his replacement, Hefetz - who, for his part, is kept out of half the discussions.

Netanyahu appears to be suffering from confusion and paranoia. He is convinced that the media are after him, that his aides are leaking information against him and that the American administration wants him out of office. Two months after his visit to Washington, he is still finding it difficult to communication normally with the White House. To appreciate the depth of his paranoia, it is enough to hear how he refers to Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, Obama's senior aides: as "self-hating Jews."

"He thought that his speech at Bar-Ilan would become mandatory reading at schools in the United States, and when he realized that Obama gave no such order, he went back to being frustrated," one of his associates said.

At a recent meeting with with Netanyahu, ostensibly about the understandings with the U.S. on the settlements, former prime minister Ehud Olmert was shocked to see the prime minister focusing mainly on the media. "Is this what he called me in for?" a source close to Olmert quoted him as saying.

Behind closed doors, Netanyahu's coalition partners - including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman - have also expressed shock at his behavior. One senior minister told an aide that he is finding it very difficult to work with the premier. "He drives us mad," the minister said. "Every minute things change, and I am constantly busy doing maintenance on Netanyahu."


Ugh, Bibi needs to go. 


ADN Confirms: Palin's Story Doesn't Hold Up

Yesterday evening, Greg Sargent reported on The Plum Line that one of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's key reasons for resigning -- that ethics complaints against her were draining the state of money -- appeared to be false.
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.

The Anchorage Daily News did a thorough analysis and backed up the spokesperson. The ethics complaints took up time that staff could have spent doing other work, but they did not cost Alaska any money.
"Is it a check that we wrote, no, but is it staff hours, yes," Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Palin, said of the expenses related to state employee work.

Those state employees would have been paid regardless.

A large chunk of that work went into the personnel board "Troopergate" investigation, which Palin herself initiated on the grounds that a legislation investigation was politicized. Only three of the ethics complaints are still pending, a fact that makes Palin's explanation seem even less sensible.


It's worth pointing out where during her "resignation" speech last week, where she specifically talked about the ethics complaints that had been filed against her:

Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn't been cheap - the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game.

Well, in fact 18 ethics complaints have been filed, not 15; 3 of the 18 complaints are still pending.  So, yet another lie to try and make herself look better added onto the heap of crap we all knew this speech was made of.  Btw, these are the ethics complaints still pending:

13. and 14. Jan. 26: Two complaints filed by McLeod alleged two of Palin's top aides misused their official positions for Palin's personal and political gain. The complaints said then-press secretary Bill McAllister and Kris Perry -- director of the governor's Anchorage office -- worked on state time to benefit Palin's interests during and after her vice presidential quest. Pending.

18. April 27: Contends Palin is misusing the governor's office for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust. The fund was recently established by supporters to help Palin pay off more than $500,000 in legal debts stemming from other ethics complaints, including troopergate. Complaint filed by Eagle River resident, Kim Chatman. Pending.


The whole list is available here, btw.

' jules


Clark stays mum as field in Bachmann’s district takes shape

Is Tarryl Clark planning to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann? That’s been the persistent buzz in recent days, but Clark’s not talking about her plans. Calls to the Senate Majority Leader’s office and cell phone in recent days were not returned.

Clark has been rumored to be eyeing either the governor’s race or a congressional challenge for months, but she has remained cagey about her ambitions. What’s known is that Clark has been testing the waters with party activists in the district.

“She is actively considering getting into the Sixth Congressional District race,” says Nancy Schumaker, chair of the DFL in the district. “I don’t know what her timetable is to make a final decision.”

But Schumaker doesn’t rule out a gubernatorial bid by Clark either.

“My best answer is she is looking at both and trying to make up her mind and getting advice from others in the party,” she says.

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Tarryl Clark neeeeds to run. She would be such a good rep. Here's a video from her YouTube account about Pawlenty's healthcare fail:

she's kind of a rookie to the whole public speaking thing, but she's outspoken about important issues and challenges the Republicans in the state all the time, I think she would be so great. If she could hold on to her home base in the district and win all the same places Tink did, she would win in 2010, I think, and the whole country could rejoice as Bachmann slinks off to her new job serving lunch in the Fox News headquarters cafeteria.

TIME: "Why are Southerners so fat?"

TIME Magazine cuts to the chase...

Thursday, Jul. 09, 2009

Why Are Southerners So Fat?
By Claire Suddath

People from Mississippi are fat. With an adult obesity rate of 33%, Mississippi has gobbled its way to the "chubbiest state" crown for the fifth year in a row, according to a new joint report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee aren't far behind, with obesity rates over 30%.

In fact, eight of the 10 fattest states are in the South.

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A much more detailed analysis of Palin's crap.....with PIE (charts)


The 2 million dollar meme

meme. n.  A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. [Ref #1]

That’s the definition given in the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition.  The topmost collection of definitions, posted at the Urban Dictionary in 2003 by a user called Emme, provide some additional help in understanding the term, which was coined by the biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene:

1 :  an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media)
2 :  a pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means; a parasitic code, a virus of the mind especially contagious to children and the impressionable
3 :  the fundamental unit of information, analogous to the gene in emerging evolutionary theory of culture….
4 :  in blogspeak, an idea that is spread from blog to blog
5 :  an internet information generator, especially of random or contentless information
[Ref #2]

One might add this definition: an idea that is fed by a less than truthful politician to a lazy mainstream media, which is uncritically transmitted to the public when the true facts are readily available & have even been reported on already — sometimes even by the same media source as the one now  passing on the prevaricating politician’s false information.

Case in point: from Sarah Palin’s July 3 resignation speech:

Political operatives descended on Alaska last August, digging for dirt. The ethics law I championed became their weapon of choice. Over the past nine months I’ve been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations – such as holding a fish in a photograph, wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters’ questions.

Every one – all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We’ve won! But it hasn’t been cheap – the State has wasted THOUSANDS of hours of YOUR time and shelled out some two million of YOUR dollars to respond to “opposition research” – that’s money NOT going to fund teachers or troopers – or safer roads. And this political absurdity, the “politics of personal destruction” … Todd and I are looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn’t cost them a dime so they’re not going to stop draining public resources – spending other peoples’ money in their game. [Ref #3]

There’s actually a number of errors of fact in this brief passage of Palin’s speech, but this post will be long enough if I focus  on the one I’ve emphasized: Palin’s claim that $2,000,000 taxpayer (or rather, oil revenue dollars — this is Alaska, after all) have been spent on responding to ethical complaints against Palin.


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I find it more than a bit ironIc that 63% of the ethics complaint costs actually were for the Troopergate ethics complaints WHICH SHE FILED AGAINST HERSELF.

I am so disgusted.

Texas: Kicked Out For A Kiss


A group of gay men were thrown out of an El Paso, Texas restaurant last week after a security guard objected to a kiss between two of the men. The cops were summoned and the ejected men were stunned when police told them they were liable for a citation as homosexual activity was illegal in Texas.
At about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 29, the five men were placing their order at the Chico's Tacos on Montwood when the two men made their public display of affection, sparking the ire of two contracted security guards at the restaurant, police and witnesses said. After the group sat down, the security guards told them "they didn't allow that faggot stuff to go on there," and made them leave, de Leon said. An officer arrived at the restaurant about an hour later, after police received five calls, including from the security guards and de Leon. The men were told to leave the restaurant and had anti-gay slurs directed at them while they waited for the police.

"I went up to the police officer to tell him what was going on and he didn't want to hear my side," de Leon said. "He wanted to hear the security guard's side first." The officer informed the group it was illegal for two men or two women to kiss in public, de Leon said. The five were told they could be cited for homosexual conduct - a charge the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas. That same year, the city of El Paso passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by employees of the city and by businesses open to the public. El Paso Police Detective Carlos Carrillo said a more appropriate charge would probably be criminal trespass. "The security guard received a complaint from some of the customers there," Carrillo said. "Every business has the right to refuse service. They have the right to refuse service to whoever they don't want there. That's their prerogative."
The ACLU and a local civil rights group point out that if lewd behavior was the restaurant's complaint, that standard must apply equally to straight and gay patrons by El Paso law. Clearly the El Paso police are not up to speed and the gay men have grounds for a lawsuit.



Sessions still pissed off with the whole Civil Rights thing and Black people voting...

Sessions Uses Sotomayor as a Pawn in His Lifelong Crusade Against Civil Rights

In 1986, an ambitious young United States Attorney named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was denied a seat on the federal bench because of his own  deep-seated hostility to the very notion of civil rights. As a federal prosecutor, Sessions conducted a tenuous criminal investigation into voting rights advocates that registered African-Americans to vote -- an investigation that culminated in an unsuccessful prosecution against a former aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He once quipped that he "used to think [the KKK] were OK" until he found out some of them were "pot smokers;" and he routinely referred to an African-American attorney who worked for him as "boy" -- even once warning that attorney to "be careful what you say to white folks" after Sessions overheard him chastising a white secretary.

Moreover, Sessions remains unrepentant for these incidents, although he did reluctantly concede at his confirmation hearing that it "probably was wrong" when he attacked the NAACP as an "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" organizations that "forced civil rights down the throats of people." Watch:

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King explains position: Slavery was ok in the good old days. Stop making a big deal about it!

King Shifts Explanation For Opposing Slavery Resolution: It's Not Balanced

Generally, a politician is headed for trouble when he starts a thought on local radio by saying, "Slavery was abhorrent, but..."

Most politicians have figured out that nothing that comes after that "but" belongs anywhere near the first part of the sentence. Not Rep. Steve King.

King, an Iowa Republican, was the lone member of the House to oppose a resolution to acknowledge the role of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol with a plaque in the Capitol Visitors Center. The GOP representative went on local Iowa radio to explain his decision.

It's all about balance, he said during the radio interview.
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Hey guyz, America is now Germany during WWII!!

DeMint: America is ‘Where Germany Was Before World War II’

Last night, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) gave a short talk and Q&A at at the National Press Club about his book “Saving Freedom.” DeMint told a room of around 100 people about a conversation he’d had with an Iranian immigrant who was panicking about the surge of government spending and control under President Obama and the Democrats. Americans should listen to immigrants like her, said DeMint.

They understand socialism. They understand tyrants. But none of us have ever had it here. We don’t even know what it looks like. Part of what we’re trying to do in “Saving Freedom” is just show that where we are, we’re about where Germany was before World War II where they became a social democracy. You still had votes but the votes were just power grabs like you see in Iran, and other places in South America, like Chavez is running down in Venezuela. People become more dependent on the government so that they’re easy to manipulate. And they keep voting for more government because that’s where their security is. When our immigrants get here, they’re worried, because they see it happening here.

DeMint worried that it was the “eleventh hour” for freedom, but he disputed a question from a man who wondered if America was ripe for another revolution. “The reason I’m convinced we can do this in a civilized way is that I’ve seen, on a number of issues, that when people get informed and want to change their government, the government will change.”

At least it wasnt a comparison of Obama with Hitler... wait...

TARP Recipients Fighting To Keep Charging Exorbitant Credit Card Fees

TARP Recipients Fighting To Keep Charging Exorbitant Credit Card Fees

Undeterred by their sullied reputation, big banks and credit card companies are making a major play to protect a key source of profit: credit card swipe fees.

Last year, the country's largest financial institutions -- including many banks that have received bailout funds -- raked in an estimated $48 billion from credit card swipe fees. That's an average of $400 per American household.

Every time a shopper swipes his card, the credit card-issuing banks charge retailers a percentage (usually between 2 and 5 percent) of the purchase.
The charge was initially intended to cover the administrative costs of processing credit card payments. But even as technology has reduced those costs substantially, the amount of money generated by credit card swipe fees has continued to rise. Since 2001, revenue from "interchange fees" has gone up 120% in the United States.

Industry representatives claim that the purpose of the fee is to cover the costs and risks of credit card transactions, which have increased over the years.

But critics say the system isn't fair. The banks themselves, after all, are responsible for the proliferation of credit cards. And because more people than ever are using plastic as a form of payment, merchants have been forced to raise the price of goods to compensate for the rise in associated swipe fees.

"If their risks have gone up exponentially, it's because they're issuing cards to everyone," said John Emling, senior vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "The claim that they're somehow not responsible for the assumed risk is just a false claim."

Legislative attempts to change the system have been met by a major lobbying and advertising pushback.
Spearheading that effort has been the Electronic Payments Coalition. The coalition's membership reads like a who's who of bailed-out institutions, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Barclay's and JP Morgan Chase.
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Redheads do it best.

This...is awkward.

Akron police investigate teen mob attack on family

Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.

But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.

It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium. Marshall, his family and two friends were gathered outside a friend's home in South Akron.

Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ''This is our world'' and "This is a black world" as they confronted Marshall and his family.

The Marshalls, who are white, say the crowd of teens who attacked them and two friends June 27 on Girard Street numbered close to 50. The teens were all black.

"This was almost like being a terrorist act," Marshall said. "And we allow this to go on in our neighborhoods?"

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I don't even know were to begin on the levels this makes me uncomfortable. For, like, everyone involved.

Well.....this can't be good.

Was The CIA Hiding Cheney's "Executive Assassination Ring"?

The revelation from seven Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee that they were misled about a critical CIA program has sparked a debate that touches on the most sensitive areas of national security policy. What program, exactly, was being kept secret?

No one is answering the question, citing the sensitivities that come when discussing classified intelligence matters. But in various conversations with sources on and off the Hill, two general theories have emerged. The first is that the CIA was keeping quiet about the use of waterboarding on terrorist suspects. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she was misled by the intelligence agency on that very subject. It's also the story told to the Huffington Post by a source with knowledge of the letter the seven House Democrats penned to CIA chief Leon Panetta, in which they complained about being misled.

But the dates don't line up. In their letter, the lawmakers note that members of Congress were "misled" for "a number of years, from 2001 to this week." Pelosi, however, contended that the CIA lied to her about the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the fall of 2002.

And in a conversation with the Huffington Post, Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-Calif.), one of the letter's signatories, said that Panetta "stopped the program the day after he was informed." Waterboarding was ended as a practice during the Bush years.

So what are the "significant actions" that these seven lawmakers insist were kept from Congress? Another theory being bandied about concerns an "executive assassination ring" that was allegedly set up and answered to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, building off earlier reporting from the New York Times, dropped news of the possibility that such a ring existed in a March 2009 discussion sponsored by the University of Minnesota.

"It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," Hersh said. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...

"Congress has no oversight of it," he added. "It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths. Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us."

Asked if this was the basis of her letter to Panetta, Eshoo said she could not discuss what was a "highly classified program." She did, however, note that when Panetta told House Intelligence Committee members what it was that had been kept secret, "the whole committee was stunned, even Republicans."

Panetta himself was kept in the dark about the program -- whatever it was -- having only been told about the classified activity on June 23. "His own top leadership didn't even brief him that this program existed," said Eshoo.

The day after he found out, on June 24, the CIA header briefed members of Congress about the matter. Two days later, on June 26, the seven lawmakers wrote Panetta asking him to publicly correct an earlier statement he had made, in which he declared that it was not the CIA's "policy or practice to mislead Congress."

Asked why it took two weeks for that letter to Panetta to become public (news of the letter broke on Tuesday evening) Eshoo said it was simply a matter of clearance.

"I was informed by one of the committee lawyers that the letter should be classified and so it was sent to him classified," the California Democrat replied. "The lawyers made a determination recently that it did not need to be classified so we made it public."

Had she received a response from the CIA? "We have not," Eshoo said.


I'm not sure I even want to know what it was, but the fact that they didn't even brief the Director of the CIA on this program's existence until June 23rd, and the fact that he turned right around the next day and made sure he briefed those members of Congress on it right away says a great deal about how serious this is......and that it looks like Panetta really is trying to do the right thing here.

Palins Resignation: The gift that keeps on taking....from the Alaskans she wants to "help"

Legislative Session Required to Confirm New Alaska Lt. Governor. Isn’t That ‘Special?’

Legal opinion is in, and a special session of the Alaska state legislature looms. Yup, that means that in all likelihood, this pack of hearty souls who have had to endure what must have felt like the longest gubernatorial partial term in the history of ever….isn’t done yet.
The Commissioner of the Department of Corrections who, for some reason, was chosen and accepted the #3 spot in gubernatorial succession has decided he’d rather not have the job of Lt. Governor after all. Not that anyone necessarily blames him. Even he recognizes that Sarah Palin’s former high school buddy suddenly plopped in the Lt. Governor’s chair might look a little… untoward. After stating that he had no idea Palin was going to quit, he’s reluctantly agreed to fill the spot until all the beaten and bruised souls in the legislature, who finally got sprung to go do some summer recreating get sucked back in to the drama for a special session.

When Palin made her now infamous “I Quit! But Darn it, I’m Not a Quitter” speech on the shores of Lake Lucille, she stated that Commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs Craig Campbell would be “assuming ” the role of Lt. Governor. You know what they say about assuming.

It should also be noted that in her stated desire to save the state money, by appointing someone who has not been confirmed, and necessitating a special session, she may be costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a confirmation hearing July 20 — six days before Parnell is sworn in — though it takes both the House and Senate to confirm a candidate.

“The governor quit and went fishing,” Judiciary Chair Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, said in a statement Wednesday. “Governor Palin failed to leave specific instructions, so the Legislature is stepping in to bring order to the constitutional chaos she created.”

Rep. Ramras apparently does not subscribe to Palin’s “Leadership through Abandonment” philosophy of state government.

In the days since she announced she’ll be qui…. stepping down, one would think she’s been burning the midnight oil with the new team to make sure that all the loose ends are tied up, and that there will be a smooth transition to governor-in-training Sean Parnell, and that she’s done everything she needs to do for the state. Well, actually… She has ‘gone fishing,’ working at the family commercial fishing business in Dillingham, and is on some sort of an odd farewell tour of rural Alaska, doing things like honoring animal caregivers in McGrath, flying over burn areas, and quoting Plato.

Sarah PalinAKGovSarahPalinSo AK kids: take time to take your parents fishing: “You learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation” -Platoabout 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Palin’s chief of staff Mike “I hope citizen ethics complaint filers experience “backlash” Nizich has called Rep. Ramras’ comments that the governor went fishing, and left the legislature in the lurch “irresponsible,” and stated that “she’s in contact with the office, just like normal.” Just like normal? That should make us all feel better.

Under ordinary circumstances, the legislature would not be in session again until January of 2010. And if they convene before then, there are other matters that can be brought to the table, the most notable of which is a vote to override Palin’s veto of $28 million in stimulus funds for weatherization projects. They need a 75% vote in joint session to override. And heck, since they’re all there anyway, how about a nice quick impeachment vote?


"Rep. Ramras apparently does not subscribe to Palin’s “Leadership through Abandonment” philosophy of state government. "



A Palestinian Boy's Death Gives 5 Israelis The Gift Of Life.

A Palestinian Boy's Death Gives 5 Israelis The Gift Of Life (VIDEO)

When a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in the West Bank city of Jenin by Israeli soldiers who mistook his toy gun for the real thing, it could have been just one more blip on the news: one more war, one more child, one more human tragedy that ripped the heart out of a family and a community, but rippled no further into the world's consciousness.

But something extraordinary happened that turned Ahmed Khatib's tragic 2005 death into a gift of hope for six Israelis whose lives were on the line: while overwhelmed with grief, Ahmed's parents consented to donating their son's organs. Suddenly, amid the violence and entrenched hatred surrounding an intractable conflict, a simple act of humanity rose above the clamor and captured worldwide attention.

Heart of Jenin tells the story of Ahmed's tragic death and his father Ismael Khatib's journey to visit three of the organ recipients two years later. One of Ahmed's kidneys went to an Orthodox Jewish girl and his other kidney went to a Bedouin boy. While his parents hesitated to donate Ahmed's heart, it now beats in the chest of a Druze girl.

"I see my son in these children," Khatib says.

Crossing from northern Israel to the Negev desert and ending up in Jerusalem, Khatib encounters every complexity of the conflict: deep-seated animosity, hardened judgments, and heartfelt generosity. While laying bare the deep divisions between Israelis and Palestinians, Heart of Jenin offers a rare vision of common humanity and hope.

UNESCO: Bablyon Historic Site Damaged By US In Iraq

UNESCO: Bablyon Historic Site Damaged By US In Iraq

Iraq's U.S.-led invaders inflicted serious damage on Babylon, driving heavy machinery over sacred paths, bulldozing hilltops and digging trenches through one of the world's greatest archaeological sites, experts for UNESCO said Thursday.

"The use of Babylon as a military base was a grave encroachment on this internationally known archaeological site," said a report which the U.N. cultural agency presented in Paris.

UNESCO officials stressed that the damage didn't begin with the U.S. military's arrival nor fully end after it left. Archaeologists took away some of Babylon's finest treasures in the 19th century, Saddam Hussein embellished the site with his own structures, and looters returned when the Americans handed the site back to the Iraqis 21 months after the March 2003 invasion.

Now Babylon is the object of turf war between newly empowered Iraqi officials. At the national level, Iraq's state antiquities office, focused on conservation, is up against officials of the province surrounding Babylon who want to attract tourists. They have already provoked concern by leveling a section of the site to create a picnic area.

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Things are heating up over at the CIA

Watch Who You’re Calling a Liar

Panetta orders internal probe of secret spy program after some members of Congress say CIA misled them.

CIA Director Leon Panetta has ordered an internal inquiry into the agency's handling of a contentious and still highly classified intelligence program that has caused a heated dispute between the CIA and Democrats on the House intelligence committee. The move by Panetta appears to be an implicit acknowledgment by the agency that it should have disclosed information about the post-9/11 secret program to Congress much earlier than it did.

The internal CIA probe was described by an official with first-hand knowledge as a review by a senior agency officer--rather than a formal investigation by the inspector general's office. The senior officer is not connected with the National Clandestine Service, the CIA branch whose actions are under scrutiny, according to the official who is familiar with the inquiry.

CIA and congressional officials have refused to describe the nature of the covert program, but insisted it is not connected to the CIA's use of controversial "enhanced" interrogation techniques. But the program's existence erupted into a major political dispute Wednesday night when seven Democrats on the House intelligence committee released a letter charging that the agency had "concealed significant actions" and "misled" members of Congress by failing to inform the oversight committees about the program until last month. The Democrats demanded that Panetta "publicly correct" his statement of May 15 declaring that "it is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress."

Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said Panetta has nothing to correct: "Director Panetta took the initiative to raise the issue with the Hill. He did so promptly and clearly, as the oversight committees themselves recognize. He stands by his statement that it is neither the policy nor the practice of the CIA to mislead Congress. He believes, as his actions show, in the importance of a candid dialogue with Congress."

One question Congressional Democrats still want answered: was the program an idea CIA officials had just talked about as a possibility, or had they actually put it into operation? If it was just talk, as some in the intelligence community insist, the argument could be made that there was no requirement to notify Congress. "This program came in post-9/11, and it was indeed on-again, off-again," the official said. "You could argue that it never really took shape." The implication is that whatever the details of the program, it carried risks that some officials at the agency strongly felt might not be worth taking.

"You've got a lot of people [at the agency] who, after September 11, were thinking of creative ways of doing things," said one former senior CIA official. "That doesn't mean you have to run up and tell Congress about it."

The political fight over the program was initially sparked by House intelligence chairman Silvestre Reyes, who claimed in a letter Tuesday night that his panel had been "affirmatively lied to" by the CIA. But after the matter escalated Wednesday, Reyes softened his language. He issued a subsequent statement in which he said, "I appreciate Director Panetta's recent efforts to bring issues to the Committee's attention that, for some reason, had not been previously conveyed, and to make certain that the Committee is fully and currently briefed on all intelligence activities. I understand his direction to be that the Agency does not and will not lie to Congress, and he has set a high standard for truth in reporting to Congress."

The political storm over allegations that the CIA "misled" Congress has so far overshadowed what may be a significant political development: President Obama again appears to be siding with the CIA in resisting demands by human-rights groups and liberal Democrats in Congress for closer scrutiny of covert programs.

Hours before House Democrats released their dramatic letter accusing the CIA of withholding information about the secret scheme, the White House threatened to veto a version of a major intelligence bill crafted by Reyes and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The bill would require the executive branch to disclose the existence of classified programs to the full membership of congressional intelligence committees--not just to a small group of congressional leaders known as the "Gang of Eight."

The Gang of Eight briefings--always behind closed doors with no staff present--helped to spur controversy over Bush-era warrantless wiretappings and harsh interrogation, including the use of waterboarding, a technique that Obama and some of his key aides have described as "torture." After details of the Bush programs leaked out, congressional leaders--including Pelosi--charged that they had been misled in the briefings.

As a result, Pelosi, echoing calls from intelligence-reform and civil-liberties campaigners, called for widening the circle of lawmakers who are privy to high-level intelligence briefings. House Democrats inserted language in a pending intelligence-authorization bill requiring the broader congressional oversight by requiring all members of the intel committees to be informed about secret activities. On Wednesday, in a surprise move, Obama said he would not sign the bill unless the language was stripped out.

Three officials familiar with still-secret details of the dispute said Panetta was not himself complicit in authorizing or covering up the program. One of the officials described the CIA director as a good guy for having voluntarily informed Congress about the information. Two officials also said there was no reason to believe that information about the secret program was about to come out in the media; rather, they give Panetta credit for finding out about it and quickly reporting what he knew to the Hill.


soap&skin 2012

Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) says Earth is 6,000 Years Old

Arizona state Senator Sylvia Allen (R) — Would you expect otherwise? — nonchalantly explains that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Twice.

She says this while voicing her support for uranium mining in the state.

Ironically, it’s by studying the radioactive decay of uranium that we know the Earth is 4,540,000,000 years old.

Keith Olbermann's response under the cut!

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Pelosi shuts down resolution on Michael Jackson

WASHINGTON D.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shut the door Thursday to a resolution honoring Michael Jackson because debate on the symbolic measure could raise "contrary views" about the pop star's life.

Lawmakers are free to use House speeches "to express their sympathy or their praise any time that they wish," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "I don't think it's necessary for us to have a resolution."

A resolution sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, cites some of the singer's charitable acts and proclaims him an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian.

Even before Pelosi's comments, some Democrats said privately they did not support the resolution and a divisive debate would hurt House efforts to muster the votes for priorities such as health care and climate change.
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But Jackson Lee's resolution was in trouble early. It drew only one co-sponsor, Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., and was not endorsed by other black caucus members.
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source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090709/ap_en_ce/us_pelosi_michael_jackson

Blue Dog Democrats step up opposition to health care reform


Health care overhaul bill suffers another setback

By DAVID ESPO and ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writers
38 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The drive to remake the nation's health care system suffered yet another setback in Congress on Thursday when a pivotal group of House Democrats demanded numerous changes in legislation the leadership was drafting on a fast track.

The emerging bill "lacks a number of elements essential to preserving what works and fixing what is broken," 40 members of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats wrote in a letter to party leaders.

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AP article (Source) @ Google News
  • Current Mood
    pissed off
Mr. The Edge

Faux News Strikes Again!

What do you get when you try to get a Fox and Friends anchor to speak without a teleprompter?

See, the Swedes have less dementia because they have "pure" genes. Why do they have "pure" genes, you ask? Because, they don't "keep marrying other species and other ethnics".


Obama's book a threat to National Security

Audacity of Nope: US prison tells inmate that Obama's books harmful to national security

The federal government's most secure prison has determined that two books written by President Barack Obama contain material "potentially detrimental to national security" and rejected an inmate's request to read them.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is serving a 30-year sentence at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, for joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate then-President George W. Bush. Last year, Abu Ali requested two books written by Obama: "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."

But prison officials, citing guidance from the FBI, determined that passages in both books contain information that could damage national security.

A prison spokeswoman referred questions to the FBI, where a spokeswoman was looking into the matter Thursday evening.
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K-Box caricature


5 Reasons Cracked Loves America (A Message to the FBI)

Recently I noticed that some monitoring software I have installed was blocking a government IP address, which is funny because, checking the logs, I saw that no government IP had ever attempted an unprompted connection with my computer before oh, say, July 3rd at about 8:30 EST. I looked up some information on this address and found several forum threads regarding it, with many speculating that it was the FBI watchlist. This, coupled with my intense drug-induced paranoia and something I call ‘recreational schizophrenia’ led to an interesting few nights of hysteria that may or may not have resulted in me attacking passerby with a baseball bat while shouting the freedom of information act - literally just shouting the words “the freedom of information act” while ambushing my neighbors from the trees (because the trees are technically in the sky, and no man can own the sky!)

But regardless of what brought the authorities to my doorstep, I would like to take a moment to assure them that we here at Cracked do not pose any danger to the United States Government but are, at worst, merely a danger to ourselves and others. And, in order to further prove our sincerity, all images in this post have been replaced by hot chicks in American flag bikinis with quotes so patriotic that terrorists would vomit bald eagles if they even read them. God bless the USA.

Read the rest of the article here: