July 17th, 2009

tv | kosem sultan sends her regards.

whatchu talkin bout, willis [tower]

First came the puzzled looks. Then the confused glances. And finally the questions.

"You mean the Sears Tower?"

On the day that the nation's tallest building was officially renamed Willis Tower, at least a few Chicagoans were still in the dark -- or, at the least, denial -- about the skyscraper's new identity. Residents, visitor guides and even some taxi drivers responded with blank stares when asked for directions to the Willis Tower.

"We don't have Willis Tower. There is no Willis Tower here," said Momansor Hassan, 43, a cabdriver for 19 years.

Not until Thursday, that is. The new signs and flags outside the 1,450-foot skyscraper were hard to dismiss as crowds gathered to witness the building's first day as Willis. The skyscraper, which opened in 1973 as the then-world's-tallest building, was named after Sears Roebuck and Co. It remained Sears Tower even after Sears relocated to Hoffman Estates in 1992.

Millennium Park Visitor Service worker Jean Aza, 40, had never heard of Willis Tower as of Thursday. After scanning a map, he gave up. "This building over here is the Cultural Center. Go over and ask them," he suggested.

A baffled Simbiat Soaga, 21, who works a concession stand in Millennium Park, had to flag down a tourist for help in locating the Willis Tower.

"I don't know of any Willis Tower in Chicago to be honest," she said. "Let me ask someone."

Lucky for her, the tourist knew of the name change.

Corderia Cook, 18, knew where Willis Tower was. The Calumet Park summer camp leader confidently pointed up at Two Prudential Plaza and said, "The middle one right here. With the triangles."

Her charges, a group of 5- and 6-year-olds, never heard of Willis Tower either.

Taxi driver Frank Boateng, 31, had just one question when told to go to Willis Tower. "Do you have the address?" he asked.

Six of the eight cabbies polled knew what the Willis was.

Others acknowledged the building's new moniker brought back memories of another name change: Marshall Field's to Macy's.

"The new Sears Tower," said Sue Becker, 53, who splits her time between Chicago and St. Charles. "They still call it Marshall Field's, so it's always going to be Sears Tower."

Just don't tell that to Willis Group Holding, the London-based insurance brokerage that acquired the naming rights for 15 years. The company is leasing three floors and moving in 500 employees.

The move earned a warm welcome from Mayor Richard Daley. Asked if he would call the building "Big Willie," as Chairman and Chief Executive Joe Plumeri has joked, Daley said, " 'Big Willie,' Willis Tower, yeah. You know why? Because they stepped up to the plate."

Stan Ferstadt, 69, of Milwaukee knew exactly where Willis Tower was when asked. He works for the sign company that changed the iconic landmark's name.

When asked what he would call it, he didn't hesitate.

"Sears Tower.


thats nice. i'll still call it the sears tower until i die :)
tv | kosem sultan sends her regards.

Pope goes to hospital after fall

Pope Benedict XVI has been admitted to hospital after a fall while on holiday in northern Italy, but the Vatican says he was not seriously hurt.

The Pope, 82, went for a check-up at a hospital in the alpine town of Aosta.

"It is nothing serious," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quoted as saying.

Reports say the Pope walked into the hospital with an aide. Pope Benedict, elected pontiff in 2005, was formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The Pope is reported to have injured one of his wrists. A Vatican statement is expected after the medical checks.

The Pope has been staying at a modest house with a view of Mont Blanc, in the village of Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta region. It was a favourite vacation spot for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Murasaki Shikibu

No fatties for Surgeon General!

Surgeon general post is a big job for a big lady - Do you have to be thin to be fit for the role of nation's Top Doc?

By Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
msnbc.com contributor

Since President Obama announced his pick for the nation’s Top Doc, Internet message boards have been atwitter with the observation that Dr. Regina Benjamin is fat.

You would think the entire population of the blogosphere had suddenly reverted to the seventh grade.

“I refuse to let fat be socially acceptable … The President should have known better and picked a doctor who could kick start the debate on fat not perpetuate it,” commented one reader on a national news site.

Another has some mighty specific requirements for the post: “Rather than select a fat Black woman Obama should have chose a Black woman with a body mass index of 25 or less.”

But amid the fat-bashing tirades resides a point worth addressing. One more restrained discussion board poster poses: “How can Dr. Benjamin promote healthy eating if she herself is obese?”

As a man who is constantly trying to trim down, let’s talk some turkey — lean, of course — about Benjamin, the office of surgeon general and body lard.

No, you do not have to be thin to be fit to be a great doctor or even the nation’s No. 1 doctor.

Just as in sports, the best coaches are rarely those who were the best players.

And who said the surgeon general or doctors in general or anyone working in health care must be paragons of health and risk avoidance?

C’mon now. Sure, Benjamin could lose some weight. Other doctors smoke or drink too much. Others ski or pilot small planes. Most don’t exercise enough and nearly all work way too much.

I have even heard tell of a certain skinny president who smokes once in awhile.

I am not saying we give an inch on the war on blubber. Obesity is an epidemic in the U.S. and growing quickly around the globe.

But people need to relate to the surgeon general, and if she can battle her weight on the job, she will do more to curb obesity then all the salads added to the menus of burger joints everywhere.

In fact, if this Alabama physician can connect with fat Americans of all ethnic groups because of her own weight, she stands a very good chance of reaching them about the problem.

Besides, weight aside, Benjamin does bring some rather impressive bona fides to the job. She was awarded the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights, was the first person younger than 40 to be appointed to the board of the American Medical Association, is the immediate past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards (meaning other doctors think highly of her) and won a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Most remarkably, she chose to practice among the rural poor at the clinic she built herself in Bayou La Batre, Ala., charging her poorest patients nothing.

I don’t know about you, but a doctor who chooses to care selflessly for the poor and who has the respect of her peers as a good clinician is a doctor whom I am willing to listen to — even if she wears a plus-size lab coat.


Good article, but then he made it into the whole "she can battle her weight with the rest of the US!" Uh, why would she? Why does she have to go on a diet once in the public eye?

And part of me is thinking if she were a man, this would not be an issue.
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    Andy, Jon Bon Jovi, Rickie Sambora - Stand By Me

Rachel Maddow's "Operation Iraqi Baseball" - UPDATE

Operation Iraqi baseball

July 15: Rachel Maddow has an update on the Iraqi national baseball team, announcing the donation of new baseball gear to the team.

Since MSNBC video refuses to play well with LJ on the embedding front, here's the link to the video segment.  Transcript is below.


But first, an update on what we‘re calling “Operation Iraqi Baseball.” Yesterday, “The McClatchy” news service ran a story about the Iraqi national baseball team which has precisely one baseball jersey for its entire squad and that‘s from a Japanese team. They have three baseballs, nine gloves that they share, and one 5-year-old softball bat. This is the Iraqi national baseball team.

McClatchy reported the Iraqi Olympic Committee has given the team enough money to enter into the international associations they need to enter if they‘re ever going to get a shot at playing another country‘s team. But other than that, they are financially tapped out. Plus, no one in Iraq sells baseball gear even if the team had the money to buy it.

Now, if you‘re a fan of this show, you may have noticed that the staff of this show and a certain host of this show happen to be big, gooey, emotional saps about sports. And so, therefore, in response to “McClatchy‘s” story I mentioned on last night‘s show that we‘ve been seeing what we can responsibly do to get the team some gear.

We didn‘t mean for that literally one sentence mention in last night‘s show to be a huge deal, but we did get a huge response on Twitter, by E-mail, by phone, from friends and from famous people and from regular viewers, coast to coast and beyond.

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Operation Give

So, yeah.....this really makes me happy!
  • foutu

the US is like 'i don't want any' and canada's all 'fffffuuuuu'

(source added)

OTTAWA–Canadian companies are being shut out of prized contracts in the United States while Ottawa and the provinces dicker over a proposed trade-rules compromise that U.S. President Barack Obama could use to try to weaken Buy America policies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Obama discussed the explosive protectionism issue on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Italy last week. It's clear the U.S. administration is waiting for Ottawa's proposal before moving forward with its bid to slow the Buy America juggernaut being propelled by state and local governments.

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now with SAUCE

ew, when will this be over?

thoughts? questions? concerns?

Orly Taitz: Worst Person in the World

From MSNBC's Countdown on Wednesday night:

But our winner, Obama birther and general nut bag Orley Tates (ph), who has now gotten another Obama birther person fired.  We told you yesterday that Stefan Frederick Cook (ph), major, US Army Reserves, had his attorney, Tates, sue to get him out of assignment to Afghanistan.  The claim was Obama‘s not really the president, so he couldn‘t really order anybody to serve anywhere. 

One thing Ms. Tates never mentioned in publicizing the suit, Cook had volunteered for service in Afghanistan, and then sued to stop it.  But as a volunteer, he could simply change his mind and the Army could not send him there.  Meaning, the suit was a transparent political stunt. 

The Army has already vacated Cook‘s orders.  He‘s not going to Afghanistan.  But what this dim bulb Tates, and what increasingly looks like her sap of a victim Cook did not consider was in civilian life, Cook is a systems engineer for a Pentagon contractor.  Naturally enough, the Army, sued by a guy, has the right to say he is not welcome at Department of Defense facilities, which is exactly where Cook was working.  Not anymore. 

Major Cook, by now you must have gotten the hint that this obsession with a birth certificate already endorsed by one of your own whack job sites, World Net Daily, is clouding your judgment.  It has become increasingly poor cover for your real issue with the Obama presidency.  Steer out of the skid.  See if you can give that advice to, if after costing you your job she hasn‘t gone into hiding, Orley Tates, tonight‘s worst person in the world!


Oh, and btw his court case was thrown out Thursday.....pretty much what I think most figured was going to happen.

Good luck finding a new job, Major Mr. Nimrod.

STFU and accept my damn money, BCH!

Washington Post- A Republican proposal to halt spending on federal stimulus projects has prompted a partisan dustup this week in Arizona, where defeated GOP presidential candidate John McCain has waded into the fight with his old Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

The conflict began after Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, who has called President Obama's economic recovery plan ineffective, wrote on his Senate website last week that the government should "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending." Kyl repeated the suggestion during a talk show appearance Sunday.

The Obama administration responded Monday with letters from four Cabinet secretaries to the state's GOP governor, Jan Brewer, outlining the transportation, housing, education and other projects that would be canceled in Arizona if stimulus spending came to a halt.

"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, please let us know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican and former House member...


(Tell Senator Kyl to STFU)

BAM!!! Take that!!!


"drip, drip, drip"......the sound of Gov. Sanford's career going down the drain

Mark Sanford: "Frugal" Gov Flew First Class On State's Budget And Lied About It: AP Investigation

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford shed his fiscal conservatism on several taxpayer-funded international trips, including a South American jaunt that included time with his mistress, choosing expensive first-class or business-class seats while his aides sat in coach.

Sanford, who once criticized other state officials for costly travel, charged the state more than $37,600 for one first-class and four business-class flights overseas since November 2005, expense records show. Other state employees flew in the back of the plane at a fraction of the price, according to the documents.

The Republican governor, who balked at taking federal stimulus money after arguing it was an unwise use of taxpayer funds, charged the state $8,687 for a Delta Airlines trip to Brazil last year that included a leg in business class, state expense records show.

That trip ended with the governor's now well-publicized visit to his Argentine mistress, Maria Belen Chapur, and marked what he says was the start of a nearly year-long sexual affair with the woman he's called his "soul mate."

Other state employees spent less than $2,000 each on economy seats for the Brazil flight, according to the records, released by two state agencies under South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act.

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Popcorn gifs, anyone?


Lugar Becomes First Republican To Announce Vote For Sotomayor

Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court seemed relatively pre-ordained following four days of somewhat news-less testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, it seems, the one question remaining will be how many Republican senators will offer their support.

On Friday morning, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) became the first, releasing a statement of support for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.

"I have listened to the testimony of Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee, carefully reviewed her public service record, and reviewed recommendations from Indiana constituents and colleagues here in the Senate," said Lugar. "Judge Sotomayor is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and she has demonstrated a judicial temperament during her week-long nomination hearing. Judge Sotomayor has had a distinguished career of public service. She is well regarded in the legal community and by her peers. I will vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States."

Lugar does not sit on the Judiciary Committee, so his vote will only matter once Sotomayor's nomination is voted out of that committee. That, however, should not be much of a hurdle for the Court nominee as Democrats hold a large majority there, and some Republicans on the committee -- namely Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) -- have indicated that they will support Sotomayor.


WOOT!  Keep 'em comin'!

Good God, are they running a brothel over at "C Street", or what?

Chip Pickering's Wife Claims He Had Affair  (too)

JACKSON, Miss. — The estranged wife of former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering claims in a lawsuit that the Mississippi Republican had an affair that ruined their marriage and derailed his political career.

Leisha Pickering said in the lawsuit filed this week that her husband and the woman dated in college, reconnected and began having an affair while he was in Congress and living in a building where several Christian lawmakers reside on C Street near the U.S. Capitol. Chip Pickering is the third Republican with ties to the building at 133 C Street SE to find his personal life making headlines in recent weeks, after Nevada U.S. Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Leisha Pickering is seeking unspecified damages in the alienation of affection lawsuit she filed this week against Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd of Jackson. The Pickerings filed for divorce in June 2008, but it is not complete.

Chip Pickering, 45, was elected to Congress in 1996, retired in January and is now a lobbyist in Washington for Cellular South, the company Creekmore Byrd's family owns. The lawsuit does not say when the affair started.

He said in a statement Thursday that his marriage is irreparably damaged.

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So, not only is he another of the "C Street" brethren who apparently have "Thou shalt screw around on Thy wife" as a commandment, but he also was working as a lobbyist for the company that his mistress' family owns??  That's just......wow.  I'm almost impressed at the utter nerve that takes.

For Gen Y woman with cancer risk, 'it's just a boob'

It's Saturday night. Three young women are dressed to the nines at a trendy bistro on Rush Street in downtown Chicago. They're having drinks outside on the kind of summer night that makes you fall in love with the city.

"They call this 'Viagra triangle,'" Lindsay Avner says, to peals of laughter.

On this night, these twentysomethings aren't thinking about flirting, though. They are thinking about issues most women their age don't: life insurance and freezing their eggs.

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NYT: Obama tells black folk like it is....or something.

July 17, 2009
Obama Tells Fellow Blacks: ‘No Excuses’ for Failure

President Obama delivered a fiery sermon to black America on Thursday night, warning black parents that they must accept their own responsibilities by “putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour,” and telling black children that growing up poor is no reason to get bad grades.

“No one has written your destiny for you,” he said, directing his remarks to “all the other Barack Obamas out there” who might one day grow up to be president. “Your destiny is in your hands, and don’t you forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children! No excuses! No excuses!”

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Akuma River

Never Doubt the Sea of Green

The Sea of Green has risen once more. Numbers range in the millions and it completely took the regime by surprise.

iran protests,July 17 2009

I debated on updating my last post since I knew I couldn't get an early am post mod accepted in time for it. I decided to wait. It was probably the better decision.

This morning at 3 something am my local time and around noon in Iran, Ayatollah Rafsanjani took the pulpit. On Twitter it was the second highest trend, since HP was top. And the one blog that gave us translations of the sermon crashed, repeatedly. Nico Pitney found an online radio stream of the sermon and so a good majority of us were able to listen to it (there was also fear of crashing it so a good portion stayed off).

It was incredible to hear the people's chants and it was frustrating as hell when connection would get loss and we would listen to the radio host (a Monarchist) speak before we would be reconnected. This radio station was the only way that we could listen to the sermon as it happened. The sermons are usually televised live but they forgo that this morning. Instead it will be shown at 22:00 after all the hooplah.

This is basically what Rafsanjani said:
Rafsanjani stated in his speech that he wants:
* The journalists back doing their jobs.
* Protestors out of jail
* Media to be run openly and honestly
* The right to protest i.e. the law upheld
* Politicians and clerics to listen to the people

As usual, Nico has TONS of vids and material.

July 16, 2009 post | July 15, 2009 post | July 14, 2009 post | July 13, 2009 post | July 12, 2009 post | July 11, 2009 post | July 10, 2009 post | July 9, 2009 posts | July 8, 2009 post | July 7, 2009 post | July 6, 2009 post | July 5, 2009 post | July 4, 2009 post

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movies | Impish Fräulein2

Shenanigans Friday: July 17, 2009.

"Men say I am a saint losing himself in LOLitics. The fact is that I am a LOLitician trying my hardest to become a saint."--LOLhatma Gandhi
Please exploit these resources:
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by aissle

(no subject)

Mitch McConnell Announces Opposition To Sotomayor

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Friday that he would oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

The opposition is expected. The Kentucky Republican, in fact, isn't the first GOP Senator to announce his no vote -- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said he would vote against Obama's pick for the court back in late May.

In doing so, McConnell emphasized the same charge that Sotomayor has spent the last four days of hearings trying to diffuse: Mainly, that she would put empathy above objective and life experiences above jurisprudence.

"If, however, Judge Sotomayor were to become a Supreme Court Justice, there would be no backstop," McConnell stated, in a portion of his speech highlighted by his office. "Her rulings would be final. She'd be unencumbered by the obligation of lower court judges to follow precedent. She could act more freely on the kinds of views that animated her troubling and legally incorrect ruling in the Ricci case. That's not a chance I'm willing to take."

Below are his full remarks:

"From the beginning of this confirmation process, I've said that Americans expect one thing when they walk into a court room, whether it's a traffic court or the Supreme Court -- and that's equal treatment under the law. Over the years, Americans have accepted significant ideological differences in the kinds of men and women that various presidents have nominated to the Supreme Court. But one thing Americans will never tolerate in a nominee is a belief that some groups are more deserving of a fair shake than others. Nothing could be more offensive to the American sensibility than that. Judge Sotomayor is a fine person with an impressive story and a distinguished background. But above all else, a judge must check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice even-handedly, as the judicial oath requires.
"Judge Sotomayor's record of written statements suggest an alarming lack of respect for the notion of equal justice, and therefore, in my view, an insufficient willingness to abide by the judicial oath. This is particularly important when considering someone for the Supreme Court since, if she were confirmed, there would be no higher court to deter or prevent her from injecting into the law the various disconcerting principles that recur throughout her public statements. For that reason, I will oppose her nomination.

"In her writings and in her speeches, Judge Sotomayor has repeatedly stated that a judge's personal experiences affect judicial outcomes. She has said her experiences will affect the facts that she chooses to see as a judge. She has argued that in deciding cases judges should bring their sympathies and prejudices to bear. She has dismissed the ideal of judicial impartiality as an 'aspiration' that, in her view, cannot be met even in most cases. Taken together, these statements suggest not just a sense that impartiality is not possible, but that it's not even worth the effort.

"Judge Sotomayor's record on the Second Circuit is troubling enough. But, as I said, at least on the Circuit Court, there's a backstop. Her cases can be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This meant that in the Ricci case, for example, the firefighters whose promotions were unfairly denied could appeal the decision. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court sided with them over Judge Sotomayor. If, however, Judge Sotomayor were to become a Supreme Court Justice, there would be no backstop. Her rulings would be final. She'd be unencumbered by the obligation of lower court judges to follow precedent. She could act more freely on the kinds of views that animated her troubling and legally incorrect ruling in the Ricci case. That's not a chance I'm willing to take."


Oh, FFS.  DIAF plz.
panda bear

(no subject)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich passes amendment to let states establish their own health care programs

Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich struck a blow towards his goal of establishing a national government-run health care program by attaching a provision to health care reform legislation that would let states create their own health care programs.

Kucinich's amendment, which the House Education and Labor Committee adopted in a 27-19 vote, would relieve states from a provision in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that lets the federal government block state programs that impinge on employer-based health care plans.

Kucinich's office says legislators in several states, including New York, California and Kansas, want to launch state-run plans, and his amendment will clear their path.

"A single payer health care plan is the best and most tested way to provide health care for eeryone while increasing quality and controlling costs," Kucinich said in a press release.

Three House committees are concurrently drafting health care reform legislation. Kucinich spokesman Nathan White said their efforts will be put together in a joint bill that will hopefully contain Kucinich's amendment. In the Senate, the measure would likely have support from single payer health care backers like Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"The congressman still wants a national single payer plan, but that's been taken off the table by the administration," said White. "This is a way to keep it as an option for states that want to implement it."

panda bear

(no subject)

Ultra-orthodox Jews visit Hamas

Four members of a group of ultra-orthodox Jews opposed to the existence of Israel have visited Hamas in Gaza.

The men, clad in the traditional ultra-orthodox garb of black hats and coats and with long side-curls in their hair, met Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

The Neturei Karta believe that a Jewish state can only be established by the Messiah and thus denounce Israel as heretic and embrace its enemies.

Mr Haniya welcomed them, saying Hamas rejects Zionist ideology, not Jews.

"We feel your suffering, we cry your cry," the Associated Press quoted Rabbi Yisroel Weiss as saying.

"It is your land, it is occupied, illegitimately and unjustly by people who stole it, kidnapped the name of Judaism and our identity."

The representatives entered Gaza, which is under a strict Israeli embargo, with a convoy of activists who travelled through Egypt.

Neturei Karta, Aramaic for "Guardians of the City" was founded some 70 years ago in Jerusalem.

Estimates of the group's size range from a few hundred to a few thousand - some in Israel, others in the UK and US.

Members have praised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying Israel should be erased from the pages of history - sometimes translated as "wiped off the map".

They have also attended a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran and held a prayer vigil for the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as he lay on his death bed.

Mr Haniya described the men as "heroes", according to Palestinian media reports.

"Our problem is with the occupation, that stems from the Zionist ideology and its desire to disperse all the Palestinians," he said.

"Those religious figures that express their objection to the siege, the aggression and the crimes - we can't help but respect them and for their beliefs and their culture."

Israel and most Western countries regard Hamas as a terrorist group and refuse to deal directly with it.

The movement is sworn to the destruction of Israel in its charter and backs attacks on Israeli civilians, although has offered a long-term ceasefire in exchange for a Palestinian state on the full territory of the West Bank and Gaza.


Obviously, Hipsters Are Getting Rid of Their Eyebrows Because of the Economy

Obviously, Hipsters Are Getting Rid of Their Eyebrows Because of the Economy

Tight pants, short shorts, fedoras, pierced septums — these trends will no longer separate one hipster from another. So they're shaving and bleaching their eyebrows! What else would they do? They can't even shave half their heads anymore — Alice Dellal and Cassie have done that. So: eyebrows. What purpose do they serve, really? All they do is keep a person from looking creepy. And if you don't look creepy, you must not be fashionable.

“I get a lot of stares,” said [eyebrow-less] Mr. Toro, who wasn’t immediately recognized by his friends that evening, his face had changed so much. “But it’s cool because they are perplexed looks instead of something hateful.”
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Teen fined $25,000 for cost of NH mountain rescue

CONCORD, N.H. – A Massachusetts teenager who spent three nights alone on Mount Washington in April after he sprained an ankle and veered off marked trails has been fined more than $25,000 for the cost of his rescue.

Scott Mason
had been praised for utilizing his Eagle Scout skills — sleeping in the crevice of a boulder and jump-starting fires with hand sanitzer gel. But authorities say he wasn't prepared for the conditions he encountered and shouldn't have set out on such an ambitious hike.

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While I do feel that he should be fined a certain amount, it's ridiculous to expect him to pay that much in a month.

dal ja's spring

Charles Taylor is finally testifying at his trial in the Special Court for Sierra Leone

Taylor labels Hague case 'lies'

Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor has dismissed as "lies" the war crimes case against him, as he took the stand for the first time at The Hague.

He denies 11 counts including terrorism, murder, rape and torture, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The 61-year-old is accused of having armed and directed rebel groups from Liberia in order to seize control of Sierra Leone's diamond riches.

Mr Taylor is the first African leader to be tried by an international court.

"It is very, very, very unfortunate that the prosecution, because of disinformation, misinformation, lies, rumours, would associate me with such titles or descriptions," he said of the charges.

'Love for humanity'

He denied involvement in atrocities committed by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. 

  • Violation of humanitarian law: Conscripting child soldiers
  • Crimes against humanity: Terrorising civilians, murder, rape, sexual slavery, enslavement
  • War crimes: Violence to life and cruel treatment (including hacking off limbs) pillage
trap jesus

PA court fails juveniles

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - For years, prosecutors in northeastern Pennsylvania stood by and did nothing as a corrupt judge systematically violated the rights of more than 6,000 youth offenders who appeared in his courtroom, lawyers for some of the children asserted in court Friday.

Prosecutors in the Luzerne County district attorney's office had an obligation to report the judge's conduct, but chose to ignore it because "they wanted to get a conviction at any price," Marsha Levick of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center said at a hearing to determine how to restore the juveniles' legal rights.

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This story upsets the hell out of me as a juvenile PO/counselor.