July 10th, 2009

spider skank

Jeb Bush interview

(CNN) – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told an interviewer that he could not say whether or not President Barack Obama is a socialist, and that the president would not have been elected if he had been honest with Americans about his agenda.

Bush would not answer the question of whether he agreed with the assessment of some congressional Republicans that the president is a socialist. "I don't know. Define socialism for me," he told Esquire magazine. "It's a word… I believe he's a collectivist. He believes that through collective action, through government, you can solve more problems." He added that he believed the word "socialism" was a pejorative, and "didn't help" the GOP make its case.

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source + pretty good Esquire article

Hey, Stanley Kubrick! You did it all wrong!

Levi Johnston talks about Palin's resignation
By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jul 9, 11:26 pm ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The former fiance of Gov. Sarah Palin's 18-year-old daughter says he thinks he knows why the Alaska governor is resigning — concerns over money.

Levi Johnston, 19, whose wedding to Bristol Palin was called off earlier this year, says he believes the governor is resigning over personal finances.

Johnston says he lived with the Palin family from early December to the second week in January. He claims he heard the governor several times say how nice it would be to take advantage of the lucrative deals that were being offered, including a reality show and a book.

"I think the big deal was the book. That was millions of dollars," said Johnston, who has had a strained relationship with the family but now says things have improved.

Palin has a book deal, but compensation details haven't been disclosed. The governor has said she is facing more than $500,000 in legal fees.

"It is interesting to learn Levi is working on a piece of fiction while honing his acting skills," Palin family spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Johnston made his comments at a news conference Thursday at the office of his attorney, Rex Butler.

Johnston came forward, Butler said, because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign. She made the announcement last Friday.

Johnston also is pursuing his own book deal. He is working as a carpenter while also pursuing a movie deal.


He's got a fucking MOVIE DEAL!? Sorry screenwriters, you're doing it all wrong. You're supposed to have unprotected sex with the daughter/son of a Republican Vice Presidential Candidate and knock her/have him knock you up. Dibs on not Tucker Quayle.
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U.S. panel demands release of Baha'is facing trial in Iran

Seven Baha'i prisoners face a death-penalty trial Saturday in Iran amid calls for their release from a U.S. panel on religious freedom.

A U.S. panel on religious freedom has demanded the immediate release of the imprisoned Bahai's.

Responding to a letter from Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist who spent four months in an Iranian jail earlier this year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) demanded the seven prisoners be freed rather than stand trial on charges of espionage and religious violations. If convicted, they could face execution.

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Conservative economists think double-digit unemployment is acceptable

July 10, 2009, 8:24 am

Economists oppose more stimulus?

by Paul Krugman

That’s the headline of this WSJ article. And it’s true that most of the economic forecasters they surveyed don’t want more stimulus. But the question is why.

And here’s the thing: it’s NOT because they think a solid recovery is on the way.

On the contrary, their outlook is quite bleak: on average, the surveyed economists expect unemployment to rise to 10 percent, still be 10 percent in June 2010, and fall only to 9.5 percent by the end of 2010.

And a fair number of the forecasters — including Jan Hatzius of Goldman, whose analysis I follow closely, and has been spot on so far — think that unemployment will actually rise through 2010.

So they’re not saying that everything’s OK, no stimulus needed. They’re saying that they don’t like stimulus. And why should you be surprised? These are business economists; they’re generally conservative.

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Aside from the value judgments, one thing I find really puzzling in this set of forecasts is the view on inflation. Remember, here’s what has been happening to wages in the face of high unemployment:
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(no subject)

Eridania Rodriguez, Cleaning Woman, Vanishes At Skyscraper Near Ground Zero

NEW YORK — A Manhattan skyscraper in one of the most security-conscious parts of the city has become the scene of an unlikely missing persons mystery.

Police are trying to figure out what happened to a cleaning woman who vanished midway through her shift Tuesday evening at an office tower a few hundred feet from the World Trade Center reconstruction site.

Eridania Rodriguez, 46, punched in for work at 2 Rector Street around 5 p.m. She donned her blue uniform, chatted with other after-hours employees and was last seen on security cameras around 7 p.m., according to police and her family.

Then, she disappeared.

The building's cameras never recorded her leaving the skyscraper. She didn't meet up with co-workers for her regular subway ride home to Manhattan's Washington Heights section. Her purse and street clothes remained in her locker. Her cleaning cart was found abandoned on the eighth floor, a space recently vacated by the city's transportation department.

The woman's family is distraught and fears the worst, said a lawyer for the family, Daniel Ferreira.

"She had been complaining about a guy at the building who made her kind of nervous," he said. "And she worked on floors that had been empty."

He said Rodriguez is married with several children. One of her brothers is Victor Martinez, a top-ranked professional bodybuilder.
Police quietly sealed off the building Wednesday morning to hunt for clues. They found no trace of the missing woman. Workers were finally allowed back in shortly before noon, but the search continued Thursday.

Investigators combed the 26-story tower, including a sub-basement flooded with two feet of water. They also questioned a Department of Transportation employee, but said he was not a suspect.

"It's a mind blower. How do you go missing here?"
said Rob Ross, an executive assistant in the studio of noted architect Daniel Libeskind, who moved to the tower after getting the commission to redesign ground zero.

Security in the building is typical for the financial district. Employees need identification cards to enter. Security cameras cover every entrance and many public areas. Every visitor is photographed before they are allowed up from the lobby.

Officials at the company that operates the building, Stellar Management, declined to comment. Rodriguez was assigned to clean floors five through eight of the tower, and police are checking video footage of those floors in particular.

Built in 1909, the skyscraper has more than 400,000 square feet of interior space. Besides Studio Daniel Libeskind, the building's tenants include the architectural firm NBBJ and several law firms.


So, I doubt this will see much media coverage since the woman in question isn't white, blonde and pretty.....but it sure is puzzling.  How can a woman just vanish in what is undoubtedly the most security-conscious business district in the country?  This apparently hasn't seen any real coverage, nor will it unless people keep talking about it.  Huff Post picked it up, and it is now on MSNBC's website as an AP story.

Republicans LIKE paying through the nose for healthcare, apparently....

If You Don't Want the Public Option, Get the Hell Out of the Way

This past weekend, lost in the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson coverage and Sarah Palin goodbye-cruel-world nincompoopery, there was a second round of tea party protests.

They were easy to miss because nobody showed up. But if you happened to have been driving in the vicinity of an evil publicly-funded park, you might've seen two or three Republicans loitering around -- sitting there in the socialized grass, believing that a vigorous protest involves napping in lawn chairs.

While I spent a few moments of my holiday weekend revisiting the irony of anti-socialism protests taking place on socialized park land, it occurred to me that the proposed government-run public health insurance option probably won't cost nearly as much as the CBO is suggesting.

Because clearly there won't be any Republicans signing up for it.

I mean, no Republican would dare sign up for inexpensive, easily portable health insurance. Not when red, white and blue All American for-profit health insurance is available. After all, free market private health insurance will probably continue to be the more expensive option, so that must mean it's the finest insurance, right? Expensive equals good, no? (No. More on that presently.)

And of course none of the Republicans or Blue Dogs in Congress are covered by a government health insurance plan. Except for all of them.

Please explain, conservatives and wingnuts, why you wouldn't seriously consider switching to the public option if it turned out to be more affordable and portable from job to job -- not to mention the fact that you wouldn't be turned down for a preexisting condition; you wouldn't be randomly booted from the plan as soon as you needed it most; and you would never have to worry about health insurance coverage ever again. Employed or unemployed. Sick or healthy.

I find it hard to believe that you, Mr. and Mrs. Wingnut, would defiantly pay more for less reliable insurance if offered a better deal. To pay more for less would be outstandingly backwards. Palin backwards. "Quitter" equals "fighter" backwards.

The fact remains that the only downside to the public option is that it's just too awesome. We don't deserve anything that good. Simply put: it's Medicare, but for anyone who wants it. And this is somehow a nightmare scenario -- one that we must never be allowed to experience even though it would cost much less than our current system, it would cover everyone who wants it, and it would be accountable to the American people. This is somehow a terrible idea. Terrible to the private health insurance mafia, that is. They simply can't allow you to have an affordable public option because they need your financial support. Face it, $1.4 million a day to lobby members of Congress isn't cheap.

The "it's too awesome for your own good" argument was the one we heard from both Republicans and centrist Blue Dog Democrats for several months recently. But now it's back to the good old fashioned socialized-healthcare-is-awful frame, most notably trotted out by Republican minority leader and Deep Space Nine shapeshifter Mitch McConnell, who has been peppering his floor speeches with the tear-jerking story of the one person from Canada who doesn't like her free and universal healthcare.

Imagine that. Free. And this one person hates it so bad, you don't even know!

Too bad there's nothing free and universal in God's non-socialist America. Like roads, police protection, fire departments, public schools, and public parks where we can protest against public programs like funding for parks.

But Mitch McConnell says that in Canada people have to wait for a knee replacement. See now, if I'm getting a free knee replacement surgery without fear of being dropped by my health insurance carrier or having to run up credit card debt in order to cover the co-pay, the co-insurance and the deductible, I want my damn knee replacement yesterday.

Waiting eight weeks (the average wait time) for a free Canadian knee replacement surgery is eight weeks too long. In America, I can have my knee surgery over lunch, yes? Of course I have to pay more for such a convenience. And I'm participating in an enterprise that could easily screw me out of the coverage entirely. But I can have my surgery whenever I want it. (Actually, it's about a 21 day wait.)

We sometimes hear a similar argument from rednecks who outright refuse to own a "faggy" fuel efficient car even though they're more affordable in nearly every way. But, you know, maybe I'm wrong and the ability to haul a cord of wood and to disguise their impotence with an optical illusion of enormous genitalia is worth the extra cash they're borrowing from various credit card companies to pay for all of that Middle Eastern gasoline. It's this brand of ignorance and defiance that's holding us back in so many ways, be it in terms of healthcare or green industrial development or education. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Fox News have convinced too many of us that "smart, free and affordable" is un-American while "oversized, unhealthy and expensive" is patriotic.

Yet people in Canada and Europe aren't dropping dead from a lack of affordable healthcare. They're being treated for the same illnesses we are, and with similar quality of care for approximately two-thirds the cost of our system.

But people are, in fact, dropping dead here due to a lack of affordable, reliable healthcare. They're being abandoned on the street. They're being denied coverage and care. They're going bankrupt and losing everything just because they had the bad luck of losing their job and then getting sick. And the Republicans are telling us that this is the best system ever, even though our infant mortality rate ranks 29th, our life expectancy ranks 42nd (so much for "pro life") and our healthcare spending is the highest among industrialized nations.

We have an opportunity to turn all of that around, though, with a strong public health insurance option. In fact, 70 percent of us want it. But if certain wingnuts and Republicans don't want affordable, guaranteed health insurance, then they don't have to sign up. They're welcome to continue to defiantly roll the dice with their private plans. And good luck with that, by the way. Just don't punish the rest of us with this self-defeating Palin-ish ignorance.


Bob Cesca.....I just love you SFM, bb.  :)

Hamas TV screens cartoon on abducted Israeli soldier Shalit

GAZA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Sitting and weeping at a dark corner with his hands tied to the wall, was how Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit looked like in a new cartoon movie, which Hamas satellite channel is airing these days.

"Mum, Mum, where this ordeal has come from?" the sergeant cried in the dusky solitary cell.

The camera tilted up and down and zoomed in and out at the soldier who was still wearing his military uniform.

The film continued, featuring a Palestinian boy dressed in green -- a reference to Hamas -- entering the cell and recognizing Shalit. "Ha Ha Ha! Poor Gilad. You have been here for three years and no one paid attention to you. You will rot here," the boy said.

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Does anyone know how real this is?I cant find the video online.

Ludicrous speed by teh_indy
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A Farewell to Harms

In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan unloads on Sarah Palin:

A Farewell to Harms
Palin was bad for the Republicans—and the republic.

Sarah Palin's resignation gives Republicans a new opportunity to see her plain—to review the bidding, see her strengths, acknowledge her limits, and let go of her drama. It is an opportunity they should take. They mean to rebuild a great party. They need to do it on solid ground.

Her history does not need to be rehearsed at any length. Ten months ago she was embraced with friendliness by her party. The left and the media immediately overplayed their hand, with attacks on her children. The party rallied round, as a party should. She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm.

In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.

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Iran Criticizes Italy's 'Violent Suppression' Of G8 Protesters

9:35 AM ET -- Iran criticizes Italy's suppression of protesters. "Iran summons the Italian Ambassador to Tehran Alberto Bradanini in protest against the violent suppression of anti-G8 protesters. Bradanini was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday to hear Tehran's concerns about the 'violent suppression of justice-seeking protesters by the Italian police.'" No comment.


You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!

(no subject)

Only Six Percent Of Scientists Are Republicans: Pew Poll

A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the GOP is alienating scientists to a startling degree.

Only six percent of America's scientists identify themselves as Republicans; fifty-five percent call themselves Democrats. By comparison, 23 percent of the overall public considers itself Republican, while 35 percent say they're Democrats.

The ideological discrepancies were similar. Nine percent of scientists said they were "conservative" while 66 percent described themselves as either "liberal" or "very liberal." The corresponding figures for the general public were 37 and 25 percent.

Among the general public, moderates and independents ranked higher than any party or ideology. But among scientists, there were considerably more Democrats (55%) than independents (32%) and Republicans (6%) put together. There were also more liberals (66%) than moderates (35%) and conservatives (9%) combined.

"These results were not a complete surprise," said Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research at Pew, in an interview with the Huffington Post. He said they can be mostly attributed to "the difference between Democratic and Republican parties with respect to issues."

The wide ideological and partisan gap among scientists may have been exacerbated by the Bush administration, which often disputed broad scientific consensus on topics such as evolution and climate change.

Keeter acknowledged this factor, but said that "many of these disputes probably predate the Bush administration," noting that scientists have favored liberal views in numerous past studies.

Religion also plays a role. Republicans tend to promote the centrality religion more often than Democrats, and while 95 percent of the public said they believe in "God" or "a higher power," only 51 percent of scientists claimed either.

"Many Republicans, especially the Evangelical wing of the party, are skeptical of evolution, and have argued for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in school," said Keeter.

The results could merely be a reflection of how scientists see the world, rather than of partisan loyalties. In a series of questions posed, the study found that the answers of scientists were consistently more in line with liberal viewpoints than those of the general public.

"The Republican Party has a number of leaders within it who have challenged the accuracy of scientific findings on issues such as climate change, evolution and stem cell research," Keeter told the Huffington Post.

"It suggests that scientists who are Republicans might feel some dissonance from the party's position on some things that are important to them. And while there are Republicans in the scientist sample, there are really not that many," he said.


Wow....that's actually quite interesting, and yet unsurprising.

(no subject)

Two Men Charged With Hate Crime In Attack On Queens Transgender Woman


Two NYC men are under arrest and charged with a hate crime after throwing rocks and beer bottles at a transgender woman in Queens.
"I was being attacked because of who I am," said victim Carmella Etienne, 22. "I'm pretty traumatized." Nathaniel Mims, 25, and Rasheed Thomas, 22, allegedly screamed anti-gay slurs and threatened to cut the woman's throat Wednesday night in St. Albans. They face charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing and harassment. "I didn't know you could get locked up for calling somebody names," Thomas said after his arrest, according to prosecutors. "I called her a bunch of names. I called her a [expletive deleted], but she didn't see me throw anything." Etienne, hit in the leg, told cops she saw the men throwing things at her. "They were yelling homophobic slurs at me. They threatened to kill me. Chunky rocks and empty beer bottles they were throwing at me," said the aspiring fashion designer. "Don't ever walk that block anymore or we will slash your throat," one of the defendants said, according to cops. Etienne is now afraid to leave her home. "The law will hopefully put them to justice. I love being myself," she said.
Etienne was treated for a deep cut to her leg and has been released from the hospital. The men are being held on $5000 bail and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. NYC has experienced a rash of assaults against LGBT people over the last few weeks.


Sen. Ensign's MOM & DAD paid almost $100k to his mistress

Ensign's parents gave mistress's family $96K

By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jul 9, 11:45 pm ET

LAS VEGAS – Sen. John Ensign said Thursday his parents gave his mistress and her family nearly $100,000 "out of concern for the well being of longtime family friends during a difficult time," providing his first public acknowledgment that the woman received payments tied to the affair.

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¤ i know bitch i was watching

what. no seriously, what.

David Brooks: A Republican senator put ‘his hand on my inner thigh’ for a ‘whole’ dinner party.

Earlier this week, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about how “the dignity code” has been “completely obliterated” in Washington, DC. Discussing the concept on MSNBC today, Brooks recalled how he “sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time”:
BROOKS: You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.


BROOKS: I can only imagine what happens to you guys.

O’DONNELL: Sorry, who was that?

BROOKS: I’m not telling you, I’m not telling you.
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... the Republican TMI trend will never die.

Someone tell this bitch that if he wants to give us blind items, we need ~clues~. Sure we can all guess the obvious ones but what if it's like, John Cornyn? WE'D NEVER KNOW.
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Historical black cemetery victim of ghoulish scam artists

Does it even get any more evil than this? Funeral home workers digging up, discarding corpses to re-sell burial plots for $$$.

Above, click to watch CBS News video. They disabled embedding. =(

Cemetery workers made $300K in gravedigging scheme
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer
12 mins ago

ALSIP, Ill. – Four former employees accused of digging up bodies and reselling plots at a historic black cemetery near Chicago made about $300,000 in a scheme believed to have stretched back at least four years, authorities said Friday.

Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington.

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More bones found, Ill. cemetery closed to public
By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer
38 mins ago

ALSIP, Ill. – Some horrified relatives who searched Friday for loved ones' plots at the historic black cemetery at the center of a gravedigging scheme near Chicago instead found more bones on the grounds, prompting authorities to close the cemetery and treat it as a crime scene.

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"I found bones out there, I found individuals wandering aimlessly around" who also found bones, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday night in announcing that Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip would be closed to the public.

(no subject)

John Ensign Scandal Escalates: "It's Not Good"

For a long while, the inspiring tale of Mark Sanford's Latin American jaunt on or near "the sex line" had gripped America with its romantic melodrama. You can read more about it in the forthcoming Tropic Of Capricorn 2: Buenos Aires Nights, by Henry Miller. But as much as the heart wants more from the Mark Sanford story, like "positions explored" and "quantity of white zinfandel consumed," it's now time for the body to get really interested in this whole John Ensign affair story.

So, the dilly: John Ensign, Nevada Senator, copped to having an affair with Cynthia Hampton, who was for a time on his campaign staff. The television media got all worked up about it, saying things like, "This is bad news for Ensign, one of the GOP's presidential contenders." And people like me replied, "Wait! John Ensign is a presidential contender?" later adding, "Seriously, you can't possibly think this guy was ever going to be a presidential contender." And Ensign was thought to be working out all his difficulties with some group called the "C Street Foundation," which describes itself as a "Bible study group" but is actually some sort of detox facility for Congresspersons who are way into sexcapades.

That's when the even shinier Mark Sanford story hit the news, along with Sarah Palin's "Oration On The Verbal Frappe Currently Coursing Out Of My Mouth In Alaska, Because I Have No Political Advisers Who Are Worth A Good God Damn." And Marion Barry straight up stalked a lady, in DC, because he is crazypants. But now: Ensign!

Driving Ensign back into the news are escalating exchanges between Hampton's husband and Ensign's allies over who got paid how much and for what, why, and when. It's all crazy confusing, the sex-scandal equivalent of the Purple Ticket Inauguration fiasco, but I think we have a handle on it:

-- Yesterday, Hampton's husband said that Hampton was paid $25,000 in severance when she left Ensign's campaign.

-- Ensign's camp disclosed that Ensign's parents had actually paid out $96,000 to the Hamptons. But not because anyone wanted this affair kept a secret! No, no! Ensign's parents "decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time," and these monies were "consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others." So, TOTALLY NOT some kind of end-run around ethics requirements at all! What grown up senator wouldn't want his mom and dad giving large sums of monies to random friends, anyway?

-- Doug Hampton continued to make claims that he and Ensign were negotiating further payments, in the "millions of dollars." Ensign's camp, all the while, has insisted that Doug Hampton was making "exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits." Doug Hampton also released letter between Ensign and Cindy Hampton, and granted TV interviews that further stirred the pot.

-- Then, Doug Hampton said that Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was present, with Doug Hampton, at some sort of "meeting"/intervention to cure Ensign of his sexlexia and give the Hamptons all manner of scrilla for their trouble. In an interview, Hampton said, "These men were the ones that said, 'What we need to do is get Doug Hampton's home paid for, and we need to get Doug Hampton some money. We need to get his family to Colorado.'" Colorado being on the other side of the "sex line."

-- Coburn then said that Hampton was not telling the truth:

"John Ensign hasn't put me in a tough position at all," said Coburn, a housemate of Ensign's at a Capitol Hill home owned by a Christian fellowship. "The person that's deceiving now is Doug. And you all need to go do the investigation now on that side of it and quit asking us and ask what's the motivation here."

-- And Coburn, naturally blamed the media for all of this: "You've got two families that are back together and you guys are going to help tear them apart. What do you think their kids are thinking about what you're writing right now? You're helping tear apart two families that are back together -- you need to quit."

-- But now, Republicans are starting to sour on Ensign, big time:

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said of Ensign's situation: "It's not good." Cornyn took over for Ensign after the 2008 elections as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is charged with getting Republicans elected. Cornyn said he has heard no talk of Ensign stepping down.

And, on top of that, there are "raw feelings cited" among Ensign supporters, which underscores the point: LUBE IS IMPORTANT. There: not afraid to be servicey!

-- And, just to cap things off, Ensign is now left to fend off charges that he actually committed a crime in all this mess:

Also today, a Washington ethics group today called for a Department of Justice criminal investigation into whether Ensign gave his mistress considerably more than $25,000 in severance pay that may have gone unreported.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said it has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to order a criminal investigation after Doug Hampton disclosed the severance payment in an interview Wednesday.

"As despicable as Sen. Ensign's conduct has been, it now appears it also may have been criminal," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. "The Department of Justice has a responsibility to ensure that all Americans - even high level political officials - are held accountable for their actions."

So there you have it! Seems like only weeks ago that Mark Sanford had eclipsed Ensign's scandal as the more interesting one. Now, Sanford's coming off looking better, because of the increasing perception that his was something of a heartfelt, romantic struggle. There's poetry and love letters and flowery exhortations and garment-rending. Meanwhile, all the parties in the Ensign case, mucking about over money, are driving the story in a tawdrier and less-relatable direction. That said, as a citizen roaming the streets tonight, the only one you should really worry about encountering is Marion Barry.


Known racist to be head of Young Republicans. The GOP is saved!

The GOP's Young Hatemonger

Audra Shay, accused of endorsing racism on Facebook, is favored to become the head of the Young Republicans tomorrow. John Avlon uncovers new details about her disturbing online comments.

Thirty-eight-year-old Audra Shay’s campaign to become the next chairman of the Young Republicans went from obscure to infamous over the past week, after The Daily Beast revealed details of posts of her Facebook account. Specifically, a thread where one of her friends posts that ““Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist… Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals,” and Shay responds eight minutes later with: “You tell em Eric! lol.”

Following those revelations, several Young Republican colleagues urged Shay to remove herself from tomorrow’s election at the group’s convention in Indianapolis—a request Shay, the favorite going in to the vote, has pointedly refused. Instead, she said that she was responding to an earlier post from her friend, and labeled criticism against her “political attacks” which “proves that my opponents will stoop to the lowest levels to steal this election from the jaws of victory.”

Now, The Daily Beast has obtained more troubling details about her online musings—despite clear attempts by Shay to scrub her social-networking pages clean. Specifically:

* In October 2008, in the wake of news that an effigy of Sarah Palin was being hung outside an affluent Hollywood home as an offensive Halloween decoration, Shay replied, returning to the “LOL” style that she employed after the “coons” comment: “What no ‘Obama in a noose? Come on now, its just freedome [sic] of speech, no one in Atlanta would take that wrong! Lol.”

She picked up the thread again the next morning with a clarification and a new insight. “Apparently I could not spell last night. I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.”

* Posting and endorsing a conspiracy-theory video that attempts to prove that Obama believes he can only “ensure his own salvation” and “fate” if he helps African Americans above whites, complete with Barnum-esque captions (“LISTEN AS HE ATTACKS WHITE PEOPLE”).

* Numerous posts in which Shay says that President Obama is “anti-American” and has “disdain of this country.”
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Pope: Capitalism needs global regulatory body

Conspiranoid Protestants ("New World Order") should have a field day with this. "Social gospel" Catholics might agree with the Pope here, however. My Catholic family vacillates between free market conservatism and the idea that capitalism is ungodly, etc.

Pope calls for a "global authority" on economy

By Philip Pullella
Tue Jul 7, 3:25 pm ET

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict called on Tuesday for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat.

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Labor Union: I got an offer for you...

Union Demands TV Station Yank “Dr. Evil” Lobbyist’s Ad Depicting Labor Chiefs As Mob Goons

A top union is demanding that an Arkansas TV station yank a new ad being run by the “Dr. Evil” of pro-business lobbyists that depicts workers as mobbed up goons to turn Senator Blanche Lincoln against the Employee Free Choice Act, labor’s top priority.

You really have to watch this spot. It’s paid for by the anti-EFCA group Employee Freedom Action Committee, which is headed by notorious lobbyist Rick Berman. He’s been called everything from “sleazy” to “Dr. Evil” by foes, and this ad won’t make him more popular:

In the spot, which also targets Senator Mark Pryor, an employee is asking his boss for a raise when mobbed-up, gold-chain-wearing union goons crash the meeting and threaten to strike if the employee doesn’t get lots of new benefits that even the employee protests he doesn’t want. The message: EFCA, by making it easier to unionize, will deprive workers of their rights and let union bosses set their agenda.

The Service Employees International Union sends over a letter they’ve sent to Arkansas’ KTHV-TV demanding that the station yank the ad, claiming a whole list of falsehoods.

What’s interesting here is that “Dr. Evil” Berman — a longtime pro-business lobbyist who is one of the leading foes of EFCA and many other labor-backed measures — is vying for the title of the labor movement’s Public Enemy Number One. So if the SEIU knocks his ad off the air in a state that’s home to Lincoln, a key centrist Dem who is being heavily lobbied by both sides, it’ll be a significant victory.

Renaissance painters jailed for obscenity. Michelangelo you are next!

Ukraine: Culture War Arrives, With Bans On Porn And Gambling

Igor Gaidai considers himself an artist, who, among other things, produces erotic photography that glorifies the beauty of the feminine form.

In his photo studio and gallery in the center of the Ukrainian capital, he displays his various projects, including one called "Saman," which hearkens back to a "pre-Christian era" when "witches" roamed the earth. In it, naked women are depicted in various poses with brooms, as if in mid-flight, and are meant to glorify "the power of feminine energy, beauty and wisdom." His main display window also exhibits four young nude mothers, partially covered by their equally nude infants.

In recent days Gaidai may have become an outlaw.
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Joe Scarborough is shocked and appalled in the way Nancy Pelosi is being bullied....

Joe Scarborough, Pelosi Critic, Now Laments Unfair Criticism Of Pelosi

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has made it a regular habit to catch the vapors on air after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the Central Intelligence Agency. Now he's lamenting that Nancy Pelosi, "a friend of mine from Congress" has "caught a lot of grief" for that criticism. The big takeaway? Starbucks apparently has a Rohypnol Frappuccino.


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You Guyz! Obamacare is actually a genocide plan to kill Real Americans!

GOP Rep.: Public Health Care Option "Is Gonna Kill People"

Rep. Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican, upped the rhetoric against public health care Friday, saying that giving people the option of a public plan "is gonna kill people."

Broun is a doctor. "A lot of people are going to die," he diagnosed from the House floor.

He criticized the British and Canadian systems of universal health care and said those nations, "don't have the appreciation of life as we do in our society, evidently."


I gotta ask our british and canadian ontds... why dont you appreciate life anymore?...

Same old risky business as usual...

Goldman Sachs Reverts to Pre-Lehman Risk Mean as Profits Surge

July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is poised to report the largest profit since it set earnings records in 2007, marking the return of a business model that was the envy of Wall Street before the financial crisis devastated competitors and spurred a government bailout.

Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, who helped make Goldman Sachs the highest-paying securities firm by wagering capital and fueling the bets with borrowed money, may report the most second-quarter profit per share among the 15 biggest U.S. banks, analysts estimate. While rivals have pared risks, New York-based Goldman Sachs has ratcheted up trading gains and reaped more fees from stock and bond sales, according to Barclays Capital analyst Roger Freeman.

The results come on the heels of a rescue effort that funneled about $200 billion from taxpayers to U.S. financial firms, including $10 billion to Goldman Sachs, after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and near-failure of American International Group Inc. ignited concern that the credit contraction might cripple the world economy.

“Once all the government support mechanisms were in place, they were able to basically go about business as usual,” Freeman, who’s based in New York, said in a phone interview.

Goldman Sachs, which shed government-imposed restrictions on employee compensation by repaying the $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury, will kick off U.S. bank earnings season on July 14. The company will probably say it earned $2.2 billion, or $3.57 per share, in the three months through June, according to the average estimate of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
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Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Plan To Rebrand Failure As Success

I have wonderful news to report to everyone! Apparently I have woken up today in a parallel universe, where the sun is shining and the birds are singing and my coffee tastes like malted orgasm. There's something called a "Dylan Ratigan" on my teevee, asking shouty sports pundit Stephen A. Smith about auto bailouts, so it's not like EVERYTHING makes perfect sense, but here's the real good news! Apparently, the financial collapse in the derivatives market never happened! EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN AND WILL SUCK AGAIN, YAY!

From this bizarro universe's Bloomberg:

Morgan Stanley plans to repackage a downgraded collateralized debt obligation backed by leveraged loans into new securities with AAA ratings in the first transaction of its kind, said two people familiar with the sale.

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Regulations? What regulations? We dont need no stinking regulations!

Bank Lobbyist’s Freudian Slip: ‘We’re Not For Any Regulation’

Today, Scott Talbott, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at The Financial Services Roundtable (one of the financial services industry’s main lobbying arms) appeared on C-Span to discuss the Obama administration’s proposal to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The Roundtable has already made its opposition to the new agency abundantly clear, while claiming there are other ways to enhance financial regulations. However, when asked what the Roundtable would support, Talbott slipped and said “we’re not for any regulation“:

HOST: So if not this process by the administration, the creation of the CFPA, how would the Financial Services Roundtable go about assessing and remedying this…

TALBOTT: Sure, sure. We’re not for any regulation. In fact, we have some proposals, but what we don’t want to do is separate out the regulation of the entity from the regulation of the product, which is what the CFPA would do.

Ever since the administration first suggested creating the CFPA, the financial services and business lobbies have been up in arms, claiming that the agency will drive up costs for consumers and limit which financial products they can use. As part of a wider multi-million dollar lobbying campaign, the industry plans to run “Harry and Louise” style ads saying that the CFPA will amount to government “telling you what you can and can’t buy.” Republicans have bought into this frame, claiming that the CFPA will “decide whether or not we can be trusted with a credit card.”

In reality, the CFPA would “take consumer regulatory responsibility of financial products from seven other agencies and centralize it in one office that is empowered to make rules, examine balance sheets, [and] issue subpoenas.” It’s designed to ensure that all financial products (from mortgages to credit cards) are transparent, with disclosure forms that are clear and fair, thus protecting consumers from exploitation and predatory lending.

The financial services industry claims that it has consumers’ best interests in mind, but as Talbott’s unwitting admission reveals, what it’s really interested in is a return to the free-wheeling practices that contributed to the economic meltdown.

Bush wiretap program


Despite the Bush administration's insistence that its warrantless eavesdropping program was necessary to protect the country from another terrorist attack, FBI agents, CIA analysts and other officials had difficulty evaluating its effectiveness, according to an unclassified government report made public Friday.

The report, written by inspectors general from the CIA, Pentagon, Justice Department, National Security Agency and the Office of Director of National Intelligence, also faulted the Bush White House for its secretive handling of the program.

Bush officials so restricted access to information about the program that Justice Department officials couldn't properly monitor it - or even judge its legality, the inspectors general concluded.

The 38-page report is an unclassified version of a much longer document, hundreds of pages of which remain secret.


Well, duh, how does the Justice Department 'evaluate' something that they aren't allowed to see? So we'll never know if: (1) it was legal, (2) saved us from another attack, (3) is still ongoing, (4) found YOUR mother guilty of raising a terrorist, or (5) has a really cool super secret handshake for members only.

After contacting the good folks at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, they suggested I try this website:

bitch please
  • slurp

(no subject)

Want to get married? Plan on having 12 kids

Renowned Rabbi David Batzri comes up with creative solution for thousands of single women participating in prayer assembly in Jerusalem on 'respectable mating.' Rabbi appeals to women not to put off pregnancy once married, says 'using birth control damages household income'

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 07.10.09, 13:20 / Israel Jewish Scene

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bitch please
  • slurp

(no subject)

Hamas leaders don't know about Shalit's condition'

Group member in charge of kidnapped soldier's case denies reports on progress made in talks, says no one in Hamas leadership – including himself – knows whether Gilad Shalit is 'injured, sick or dead.' Captive's fate will only be revealed upon completion of deal, he adds

Ali Waked
Latest Update: 07.10.09, 18:10 / Israel News

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Assholes does not begin to cover it.
the stupid burns


Conservatives Circulate Picture Of Obama With Bone Through His Nose

You stay classy, GOP: (h/t Oliver Willis)

This was not widely reported in the "MSM," but last month the delightful Michelle Malkin ran a very important "Obamacare poster contest" on her blog, which soars o'er the muck of the internet like a million eagles screeching into the sunset.

The submissions Michelle received were just as insightful, nuanced and discerning as you might imagine, and obviously this is an excellent way to advance the health care debate in the United States, some fun Photoshopping. It beats a lame sketch about Hitler, right? [..]

And then this morning someone forwarded me this email, which as far as I know is unrelated to the Malkin contest BUT follows a similar vein AND has been "making the rounds," as the kids say, under the subject line Obamacare Healthcare is coming soon!

Today's Conservatives: Just when you think they can't sink any lower, they dredge yet another layer of slime out of the swamp.


God Bless
  • lanrek

Bill Moyers Show Tonight Reveals Insurance Lobby's Secret Plan to Attack 'Sicko' and Michael Moore

ALERT: We've just been informed that Bill Moyers, on his show later tonight, will expose for the first time the health insurance industry's secret campaign against Michael Moore and his film, "Sicko."

It contains a stunning revelation and admission by a top health insurance executive -- the former head of publicity for CIGNA, one of the top health insurance companies in the country -- that the disinformation and attacks on Michael and the film were extensive and well-planned. Their job was to stop the movie from reaching a wide audience (and, more importantly, from having the widespread political impact the industry feared "Sicko" would have).

Wendell Potter, former Head of Corporate Communications at CIGNA (which provides health insurance to nearly 70 percent of the Fortune 100 companies) admits that, in fact, "Sicko" "hit the nail on the head" and told the real truth about how much better people in other countries have it when it comes to their health care.

The show airs tonight at 9:00 PM on PBS. (Check your local listings for exact times. Many areas show it on Saturday night, too.)

You can check out the segment about Michael and "Sicko" here:

Be sure to tune into Bill Moyers Journal tonight at 9:00 PM for the full program. Check here for local listings:

If you get this email too late, their website will soon post the full show soon:

Finally, the truth comes out. From one of their own. Amazing.

Yours truly, Webmaster


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(no subject)

Civil Rights Group May Boot Leader For Supporting Marriage Equality


The LA chapter head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Eric P. Lee, may be kicked out for supporting same-sex marriage. The SLCL was founded over 50 years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr. and is one of the most noted civil rights groups in American history.
Mr. Lee’s opposition to Proposition 8 “created tension in my life I had never experienced with black clergy,” he said. “But it was clear to me that any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have that is a clear violation of civil rights and I have to speak up on that.” In April, Mr. Lee attended a board meeting of the civil rights organization in Kansas City, Mo., and found himself once again in the minority position among his colleagues on the issue of same-sex marriage, but was told, he said, by the interim president of the civil rights organization, Byron Clay, that the group publicly had a neutral position on the issue. So a month later, Mr. Lee said, he was surprised to receive a call from the National Board of Directors summoning him immediately to Atlanta to explain why he had taken a position on the same-sex marriage issue without the authority of the national board. Explaining that he was unable to come to Atlanta on such short notice, Mr. Lee then received two letters from the organization’s lawyer, Dexter M. Wimbish, threatening him with suspension or removal as president of the Los Angeles chapter if he did not come soon to explain himself.
According to the above-linked story, it is unclear if the national board has the authority to remove chapter presidents.

Hmmmmm. What would Bayard Rustin think about this?

Flat-rate prostitution met with stiff resistance in Germany

A new twist to marketing the world's oldest profession is putting sex workers in harm's way, according to some concerned citizens and women's rights activists.

A broad spectrum of German politicians from across party lines was engaged in a new initiative to prevent flat-rate fee prostitution on Thursday. The tumult emerged after a flat-rate brothel in Stuttgart encountered resistance from citizens and women's rights organizations. In an open letter to politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, critics called for changes to the prostitution law established in 2002, saying that it degraded women.

The uproar began with the establishment of a flat-rate brothel in Fellbach, near Stuttgart, in June. According to its ad, the brothel invites customers to pay a flat-rate of 100 euros for an all-inclusive offer of food, drinks and prostitution services.

"The protection of the rights of female sex workers must be added to the prostitution law,"
said Beate Pollert-Ebinger, a spokeswoman for the "Aktionsbuendnis gegen Sex-Flatrates," a political action group opposed flat-rate sex services.

Bringing protection to those in need 
When the prostitution law first took effect, the intent was to improve the social and legal rights of prostitutes. As a result these nearly 400,000 men and women have access to social insurance, employment contracts and vacation days. When the prostitution law first took effect, the intent was to improve the social and legal rights of prostitutes. However, many officials and politicians also had a critical view when Stuttgart became the fourth German city to join Berlin, Wuppertal and Heidelberg to open a flat-rate brothel.

"Nobody is being forced to do anything … I'm not aware of any pimps," said brothel manager Patricia F., who is also in charge of the three other flat-rate brothels across Germany.

Police also became involved when Stuttgart's district attorney's office received a complaint against the club for prostitute exploitation. But, while police can continue to keep an eye on the brothel, the authorities are essentially powerless. "We have talked to the owner but presently have no reason to take action," said a spokesperson for the Waiblinger police department.

It's a question of free will

According to their contract, the women can decide which customers to work with and choose what practices to offer.

But Catholic nun Lea Ackermann says the law is not protecting the prostitutes as advertised. She has spent a lot of time fighting sex tourism and human trafficking through her association, Solwodi. "The women are subject to almost complete supervision through video surveillance and security guards. The sexual practices are mandatory; customers can not be rejected," she said.

Yet, according to Patricia F., the rate at which the women get paid depends on what they are willing to do.

The free-will of the sex workers is at the heart of the problem for activists like Solwodi spokeswoman Carol Filter. In the past it was easy to tell when sex workers were being coerced due to physical evidence of abuse, she said. "These days the perpetrators use more subtle methods," Filter said, "For example, there is the 'Loverboy Trick' that pimps use to make young Eastern European girls from usually broken homes fall in love with them. Because they're yearning for love, they would do anything for these guys," Filter said, "And that would seem like free will."