July 23rd, 2009


Pee Power: New Technology Produces Hydrogen from Urine

Pee Power: New Technology Produces Hydrogen from Urine

Imagine a cheap and plentiful resource that could one day fuel our cars and clean up wastewater at the same time. Dr. Gerardine Botte, Director of the Electrochemical Engineering Research Library (EERL) at Ohio University, has developed a cost-effective method that produces cheap hydrogen from urine.

Yes, urine.

Dr. Botte and a team of researchers have developed an inexpensive nickel-based electrode device that produces hydrogen from urine.

Until now, producing, storing and transporting hydrogen has been a costly process. Urea, a major component of urine, contains four hydrogen atoms per molecule, which are bonded to two atoms of nitrogen. The new technology uses electrolysis to break down the molecule using 0.37 volts which is applied across the cell. In comparison, extracting hydrogen from water uses large amounts of electricity; specifically, 1.23V is needed to split H20 molecules. Botte’s method uses less energy than it takes to extract hydrogen from water. Simply put: by placing the inexpensive electrode into urine and applying current, hydrogen is released.

Tests were performed using both synthetic urine, made from dissolved urea, and human urine. The device is also small enough to be used in vehicles. Botte estimates a fuel cell urine-powered vehicle could potentially travel up to 90 miles per gallon. The current prototype, which measures about 3 x 3 x 1 inches, can produce up to 500 milliwatts of power. The team is working on creating larger scale versions of the electrolyzer. 

The report was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry ChemComm.

Using urine for power is not new. In 2007, a Japanese company, Aqua Power System, developed a unique line of rechargeable batteries. Injecting water, beer, saliva or urine into the battery chamber using the included pipette, recharges the Non Pollution Power batteries.  The batteries, also called NoPoPo, do not contain harmful mercury or lead, can power a flashlight for about 20 hours and can be stored up to 10 years.

"Pee power"  may one day prove to be an inexpensive and readily available alternative source of fuel.

arrow: felicity smoak

North Korea puts the OH NO THEY DIDN'T in ONTD_P

North Korea calls Clinton vulgar, unintelligent

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, bristling at being described by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as behaving like an unruly child, responded in kind Thursday, calling her vulgar and less then clever.

Clinton is in Thailand for a major regional security meeting where she is urging governments to keep pressing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and enforce sanctions against the reclusive state.

"She has made a spate of vulgar remarks unbecoming for her position everywhere she went since she was sworn in," North Korea's KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

It said her comments earlier in the week that North Korean behavior such as a recent spate of missile launches was like an unruly child demanding attention "suggests she is by no means intelligent."

"We cannot but regard Mrs. Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community.

"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," the report added.

"It is our view that she can make even a little contribution to the implementation of the U.S. administration's foreign policy as secretary of State only when she has understanding of the world, to begin with."

The impoverished state insists that it is only trying to develop an atomic weapon to defend itself from what it considers as a hostile United States.

However, many analysts say North Korea's autocratic leadership under sickly ruler Kim Jong-il sees a nuclear arsenal as the one asset it can use to extract worthwhile concessions from the outside world without putting its own position at home at risk.

North Korea in April announced its second nuclear test, incurring more international sanctions.

It has sent a low-ranking official to this week's ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket who told his Thai hosts that Pyongyang did not want to become a punchbag at the security meeting.


The New Face of Obamacare

Conservative Activist Forwards Racist Pic Showing Obama As Witch Doctor

The election of our first black president has brought with it a strange proliferation of online racism among conservatives.

And we've got the latest example.

On Sunday night, Dr. David McKalip forwarded to fellow members of a Google listserv affiliated with the Tea Party movement the image below. Above it, he wrote: "Funny stuff."

Now, Tea Party activists trafficking in racist imagery are pretty much dog bites man. But McKalip isn't just some random winger. He's a Florida neurosurgeon, who serves as a member of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates.

He's also an energetic conservative opponent of health-care reform. McKalip founded the anti-reform group Doctors For Patient Freedom, as well as what seems to be a now defunct group called Cut Taxes Now. Last month he joined GOP congressmen Tom Price and Phil Gingrey, among others, for a virtual town hall to warn about the coming "government takeover of medicine." And in a recent anti-reform op-ed published in the St. Petersburg Times, McKalip wrote that "Congress wants to create larger, government-funded programs for health care and more bureaucracy that ration care and impose cookbook medicine."

Asked about the email in a brief phone interview with TPMmuckraker, McKalip said he believes that by depicting the president as an African witch doctor, the artist who created the image "was expressing concerns that the health-care proposals [made by President Obama] would make the quality of medical care worse in our country." McKalip said he didn't know who created it.

But pressed on what was funny about an image that plays on racist stereotypes about Africans, McKalip declined to say, instead offering to talk about why he opposes Obama's health-care proposals.

"I have a busy day," he said eventually, before ending the call.

Steele urges Democrats to pass health care bill without Republicans. Its a trap!!!!

Steele urges Democrats to pass health care bill without Republicans.

Michael Steele has spent a lot of time in his short tenure as RNC Chairman railing against President Obama for what he perceives as the president’s lack of outreach to the Republican Party. “When you don’t take our suggestions seriously…you’re not serious about bipartisanship,” Steele said in March. Just this week, Steele even complained of an Obama/Pelosi-led “cabal” that is constructing a “closed health care system where Washington decides.” But last night on Fox News, Steele urged Democrats to pass a health care reform without GOP input. Host Sean Hannity agreed:

STEELE: Look at what these guys are saying and doing, not at what we’re saying and doing. You got 60 votes in the Senate. You got almost a two-to-one majority in the House. The Democrats control the entire power structure of the federal government. If you want health care, get the votes. Do it!


STEELE: I mean, Republicans can’t block the bill. The Republicans can’t even filibuster in the Senate.

Watch it:


Dick Cheney is a living Dick and ballsy!

Cheney "Got In The President's Face" On Libby Pardon: "He Just Wouldn't Give It Up"

In next week's cover story, TIME magazine delves deep into the relationship between former President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney -- in particular, their falling-out over the pardon of Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame leak.

Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf examine the "last hours ...in the mysterious and mostly opaque relationship at the center of a tumultuous period in American history," a press release from the magazine reads.

Cheney stretched the boundaries of his relationship with Bush in his relentless quest to get his ex-Chief of Staff pardoned:

Petitions for pardons are usually sent in writing to the White House counsel's office or a specially designated attorney at the Department of Justice. In Libby's case, Cheney simply carried the message directly to Bush, as he had with so many other issues in the past, pressing the President in one-on-one meetings or in larger settings. A White House veteran was struck by his "extraordinary level of attention" to the case. Cheney's persistence became nearly as big an issue as the pardon itself. "Cheney really got in the President's face," says a longtime Bush-family source. "He just wouldn't give it up."

And there was a darker possibility. As a former Bush senior aide explains, "I'm sure the President and [chief of staff] Josh [Bolten] and Fred had a concern that somewhere, deep in there, there was a cover-up." It had been an article of faith among Cheney's critics that the Vice President wanted a pardon for Libby because Libby had taken the fall for him in the Fitzgerald probe.

Bush and his lawyer ultimately agreed that Libby had lied under oath. Read the whole story.


Bachmann joins Paulsen on GOP’s most-vulnerable-incumbents list

Bachmann joins Paulsen on GOP’s most-vulnerable-incumbents list

The National Republican Congressional Committee has added another Minnesota representative to its list of most vulnerable incumbents for 2010: Rep. Michele Bachmann joins Rep. Erik Paulsen in the NRCC’s “Patriot Program,” Roll Call reports.

The NRCC announced it is adding 15 more candidates to its fundraising program, bumping the total count of incumbents to 25. Bachmann’s addition means she’ll compete to make a final cut of 10 candidates who’ll participate in the next “Patriot Day,” a one-day fundraiser that brought in almost $100,000 last time it was held, in June.

The NRCC’s program, modeled after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 42-member “Frontline” program, is “designed to hold Members accountable for their own re-election campaigns,” Roll Call (subscription only) reports. “If the incumbent does not meet certain benchmarks for fundraising and infrastructure, they will not get financial help from the NRCC.”

The Swing State Project states that Bachmann is in “real danger” next election; she’s among three “Patriot Program” members elected with the lowest margin of victory in 2008 — three percentage points or less.

Hufflepuff  Darren stan Narhwal

Politics this week (courtesy of The Economist)

Politics this week
Jul 23rd 2009
From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama used a prime-time news conference marking six months in office to make the case for his blueprint for health-care reform. Polls show Americans increasingly disapprove of the president’s plans, and some Democratic congressmen are questioning the cost. In its latest estimate, the Congressional Budget Office said the health-care bill would add $239 billion to the federal deficit over ten years. See article

A panel looking at the best way to close Guantánamo Bay missed a reporting deadline and said it needed another six months. It did produce an interim report, suggesting that although most detainees could be tried in federal courts, some should be judged by military tribunals. The administration insists it is still on track to close the camp by January.

California’s legislature prepared to vote on a deal crafted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor, and party leaders in the Assembly and Senate that would close the state’s $26.3 billion budget deficit. The agreement brings in deep spending cuts to social programmes, but no tax rises. See article

Voters in Oakland approved a measure, by 80% to 20%, that sharply increases the tax imposed on the receipts of the city’s “cannabis business”. The measure is expected to reap $300,000 in revenue next year.

Talks to try to resolve the conflict in Honduras between Manuel Zelaya, the recently ousted president, and the de facto government made little progress. The European Union said that it was suspending aid. The de facto government ordered Venezuelan diplomats to leave Honduras. In Washington conservative Republicans delayed the nomination of Arturo Valenzuela as the State Department’s top diplomat for Latin America because of his condemnation of last month’s coup. See article


Mexico’s government sent 5,500 troops and police to the western state of Michoacán after 16 federal police agents were murdered, apparently by members of La Familia, a drug-trafficking gang. See article

Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000, was convicted by a court in Lima of illegally paying off his former intelligence chief with $15m in public money. Mr Fujimori is already serving a 25-year sentence for authorising a paramilitary death squad.

A video was leaked by Colombia’s police in which a leader of the FARC guerrillas spoke last year of payments to the campaign of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president. Mr Correa dismissed the video as a “fabrication”. See article

The American vice-president, Joe Biden, visited Ukraine and Georgia, reassuring both countries that America would support them even as it sought better relations with Russia. Ahead of the visit, Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, promised a string of democratic reforms, partly in response to opposition complaints about his excessive power.

A second so-called Ergenekon trial of 56 senior Turks, including two former generals, began in Istanbul. The defendants are accused of seeking to engineer a military coup against Turkey’s government.

Two Bosnian Serb commanders were found guilty of committing war crimes in Bosnia by The Hague war-crimes tribunal. Among other offences, Milan and Sredoje Lukic, who are cousins, burned alive Muslim women and children during the Bosnian war in 1992-95.

The European Commission made a concession by approving a large state-aid programme for Poland’s shipyard in Gdansk. The shipyard was the birthplace of the anti-communist trade union, Solidarity, in the 1980s.

An international court of arbitration at The Hague proposed new boundaries between north and south Sudan that would give the main oilfields in the disputed Abyei region to the north. Leaders from both sides have promised to abide by the ruling, in the hope of a final end to a long-simmering conflict.


Some 223,000 people have fled Somalia’s beleaguered capital, Mogadishu, since early May, when jihadist rebels attacked government forces there, according to the UN’s High Commission for Refugees. The Dadaab refugee camp in north-east Kenya, designed to host 90,000 people, now has 286,000 inhabitants.

A year after taking power in a military coup, Muhammad Ould Abdelaziz was elected as Mauritania’s civilian president in a multi-candidate poll. Various governments and international bodies, led by the African Union, which at first denounced his original takeover, seemed likely to welcome the country back as a proper democracy. See article

Factories across South Africa closed as tens of thousands of workers in the chemical and other industries called for pay rises of up to 15%. Hundreds of thousands of public-sector workers, including doctors and teachers, also threatened to stop work for more pay. See article

India and America signed a defence agreement that will allow the sale of sophisticated American military equipment to India. A separate pact would increase American involvement in India’s space programme.

The chief suspect in last year’s Mumbai bombings, Muhammad Ajmal Qasab, a Pakistani citizen, reversed an earlier plea, confessed his involvement in the atrocity, pleaded guilty in court and said he was ready to be hanged. He faces 86 charges including murder and waging war on India.

Jemaah Islamiah, an extremist group with branches across South-East Asia, was blamed for two suicide-bombings in luxury hotels in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, that killed nine people. See article

In the week of the 20th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi’s first house arrest by Myanmar’s military authorities, Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, said that growing military co-operation between Myanmar and North Korea was a threat to the stability of South-East Asia. See article

Getty Images
Getty Images

England’s cricketers beat Australia in a Test match at Lord’s in London, “the home of cricket”, for the first time since 1934 and only the second time since 1896. England lead one-nil (the first Test was drawn) in a five-match series, with three to play. See article

Source: my inbox

BTW, I get these emails a few times a week.  If y'all like this format, I'll be more than happy to copy-paste every time I get one.

ETA: If you go here, you can sign up for your own emails.  Click "Newsletters" and register, and you're on your way

(no subject)

Four boys ages 9 to 14 have been charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year old girl, police in Phoenix, Arizona, said Wednesday.

The girl was lured into a vacant storage shed by the suspects, who offered her chewing gum, police said at a news conference.

The girl was restrained while the boys -- ages 9, 10, 13 and 14 -- sexually assaulted her, police said of the July 16 incident.

All the suspects except for the 14-year-old live in the same apartment complex, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill. The 14-year-old has been charged as an adult, Hill said.

Detectives said the girl was placed in the custody of Phoenix child protective services after the attack because of her parents' attitude toward her.

The girl and the boys charged are all from families that have come to the United States from the West African nation of Liberia, police said.


Guys. I don't even. Just. WHAT?

Does your doctor judge you based on your color?

John Reid, a retired businessman, came home from a Caribbean cruise a few years ago with an infected toe as a souvenir. As a diabetic, he knew it was serious, so he went to the emergency room near his home in New York City. There, he says, the first doctor he saw ordered an immediate amputation, scheduling him for surgery right then and there.

Horrified, he argued with the doctor, insisting there had to be a way to avoid lopping off his toe. "You'd better bring the head doctor in here," he said.

Reid says the more senior doctor prescribed a long-term regimen of intravenous antibiotics and physical therapy -- a treatment much more expensive and time-consuming than an amputation -- and saved his toe.

Reid, who is African-American, firmly believes that if he'd been a white man, the junior doctor wouldn't have been so quick to order the cheaper and more drastic solution over his objections.

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(no subject)

Bowe Bergdahl wanted a life of adventure

By the age of 23, he had learned to navigate the high seas on an expedition that took him from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

He didn't care for cars, choosing to bike to and from odd jobs he worked to pay for his travels, friends say.

"He's a good kid," said his hometown buddy Dylan Fulmer. "Strong as an ox."

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' jules

Crazy bitches!

Politico’s Anonymous Sources Slam Barbara Boxer’s “Abrasive Personal Style”

I used to think that US Senate Barbara Boxer was an experienced legislator with a solid progressive record on the issues. But then I read this Politico article in which various anonymous people criticize her “abrasive personal style” and “outspoken partisan liberal” demeanor. Big trouble! And then I got to thinking, I recall having read similar critiques of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. And Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate and now as Secretary of State has been subjected to similar criticism. Nancy Pelosi, too.

You’ve really got to wonder what the deal is with the Democratic Party that every woman who comes forward into a position of power and influence is a shrill, castrating harridan. I mean, what are Democrats thinking? What poor judgment! Doesn’t everyone know that politics is a business in which the only people who get ahead are soft-spoken sweethearts like Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer? Somehow male politicians have managed to figure this out. What’s stopping the women?


I was going to post the original but I raged and then found Yglesias's writeup which is so much better. I love the whole hubbub about her asking a general to call her Senator instead of Ma'am. Umm that's kind of military policy, people, and it's not like the guy was upset at her. ffs.
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Who shot Natalia Estemirova?

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In all probability, nobody will ever be brought to justice for the murder of yet another Russian human-rights campaigner:

It should have been a brief trip. Last Wednesday, Natalia Estemirova, known to her friends as Natasha, left her flat in the Chechen capital, Grozny, and set off towards the bus stop. Usually, it took her 15-20 minutes to get to work – a bumpy ride in a shared No 55 mini-van, down an avenue of green tower blocks, past giant posters of Chechnya's warlord president Ramzan Kadyrov, and several of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.

On this occasion, she didn't make it. A hundred metres beyond the entrance of her 10th-floor flat – which overlooks a patch of grassy wasteland and a grove of shabby walnut trees – four gunmen were waiting. They grabbed Estemirova, bundled her into a white Russian-made Zhiguli car and drove off. A woman passer-by saw the abduction and heard her cry out.

It was 8.30am. Her kidnappers headed in the direction of Ingushetia, Chechnya's neighbouring republic. Probably, they took the M-29 highway, though there is also a grassy back-route looping along a hillside. The road is a scenic one: it cuts though a dark tunnel of poplar trees; on the roadside women sell melons from the backs of trucks. The kidnappers breezed through several checkpoints.

Two hours later, Estemirova was dead. The men stopped their vehicle soon after crossing into Ingushetia. Up ahead, a group of Islamist militants had ambushed a government car, opening fire. Estemirova's kidnappers may at this point have panicked. They marched her, hands tied, off the road. And then they shot her five times in the head and chest – leaving behind her money, passport and ID card.

This was no robbery. Instead, her friends believe it was something else: a vile, cowardly, meticulous, state-sponsored execution, apparently designed to send a chilling warning to the small, dwindling number of activists still working in Chechnya, Russia's rogue republic. Last week, Estemirova's colleague Oleg Orlov certainly felt in no doubt as to who killed her.
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source (Guardian)

Her death has been previously reported here.
panda bear

(no subject)

For First Time, U.S. President More Popular Than Bin Laden In Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia

A major new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that there have been moderate signs of improvement in the attitudes of predominantly Muslim countries toward the United States since the election of President Barack Obama.

Still, for the most part, the study's authors conclude that, "The opinions among Muslims in the Middle East remain largely unfavorable."

Among the 25 countries, in which public opinions were surveyed, only one exhibited a less favorable opinion of the United States: Israel.

Conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Turkey and the United States, the survey has a whole host of interesting data points.

The headlines include:

The United States' approval ratings in Western Europe have risen to pre-Bush levels.

In Western countries -- England, France, Germany and Spain -- it is a nearly universally held belief that President Obama will "do the right thing in world affairs." Whereas only 16 percent, 13 percent, 14 percent and 8 percent of those respective countries' populations said the same thing about former President George W. Bush in 2008.

The favorability ratings of the United States, the study concludes, are "driven much more by personal confidence in Obama than by his specific policies."

The United States' image in Israel took a hit following President Obama's foreign policy address in Cairo, according to the survey. America's 76 percent favorability rating in the Jewish state fell to 63 percent following the president's speech, when he called for dual sacrifice and responsibility in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, while 60 percent of Israelis said they were confident in Obama's leadership before the Cairo speech, just 49 percent were confident after the address.

On the flipside, the number of Palestinians who said that Obama would consider their interests when making policy rose from 27 percent before the speech to 39 percent after.

Finally, in what is at once a remarkable and depressing statistic, for the first time in the Pew survey, an American president is more popular than Osama bin Laden in most Muslim nations. In Jordan, for example, 30 percent of the populace says they are confident in Obama, 28 percent say they are confident in bin Laden. Just 7 percent of Jordanians said they were confident in Bush in 2008.

That said, the world's-most-wanted terrorist does enjoy higher confidence ratings than Obama in Pakistan (18 percent to 13 percent) and the Palestinian territories (52 percent to 22 percent).


(no subject)

Christian Right Trying To Change Public Education In Texas: God Made The USA


Christianists in Texas are trying to create a history curriculum for public schools that says the United States would not exist were it not for the divine intervention of God.
Members of a panel of experts appointed by the [Texas school] board to revise the state's history curriculum, who include a Christian fundamentalist preacher who says he is fighting a war for America's moral soul, want lessons to emphasise the part played by Christianity in the founding of the US and that religion is a civic virtue. Opponents have decried the move as an attempt to insert religious teachings in to the classroom by stealth, similar to the Christian right's partially successful attempt to limit the teaching of evolution in biology lessons in Texas. One of the panel, David Barton, founder of a Christian heritage group called WallBuilders, argues that the curriculum should reflect the fact that the US Constitution was written with God in mind including that "there is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature", that "there is a creator" and "government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual". Barton says children should be taught that Christianity is the key to "American exceptionalism" because the structure of its democratic system is a recognition that human beings are fallible, and that religion is at the heart of being a virtuous citizen.
One of the members of the panel is a pastor who says that Hurricane Katrina and the defeat of the United States in Vietnam were God's punishment for sexual promiscuity and the tolerance of homosexuals. The above-linked article points out that history education in Texas could actually use a tweaking, as one-third of students recently answered a test question to say that the Magna Carta was signed on the Mayflower.

(Via - AmericaBlog) +JMG


Jon Stewart Eviscerates The 'Birther' Movement

In a lengthy opening segment, Jon Stewart took on "birthers" last night, mocking their internal leadership and the media figures and politicians who support them. If you don't know by now (which is totally possible as a rational adult who does not engage with the lunatic fringe) "birthers" think that our president is not an American citizen, but instead a citizen of Kenya, who, through a massive government and familial conspiracy, tricked the American people into electing him.

Despite OVERWHELMING evidence that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, "birthers" have created a media frenzy of late that has prompted conservative representatives to introduced the so called "birther bill" that would call for presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates before running. There has been some very responsible reporting on the subject, if you can ever call engaging crazy people responsible, by Rick Sanchez, Chris Matthews and others who called these people crazy and showed copies of the president's birth certificate amongst other documents proving he was born in Hawaii.

Still, the subject hasn't really been delved into with the amount of scrutiny it deserves until the "Daily Show" does a segment on it.



Obama - Pie

Obama Defends Criticism of Cambridge Police in Arrest of Gates

President Obama today stood by his comments that the Cambridge, Mass., police department acted "stupidly" in its arrest of Henry Louis Gates, telling ABC News that the Harvard University professor should not have been arrested.


"I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don't need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who's in his own home," Obama said.


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Rhode Island: Minors too young to smoke and drink, but old enough to have sex and work as strippers.

Minors in R.I. can be strippers

Rhode Island teens under 18 can’t work with power saws or bang nails up on roofs.

But dance at strip clubs? Sure. Just as long as the teens submit work permits, and are off the stripper’s pole by 11:30 on school nights.

It’s enough to surprise even those in America’s mecca of striptease and sin –– Las Vegas.

“Everybody buzzes about ‘Nevada and Sin City, tsk, tsk,’ ” said Edie Cartwright, spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general’s office. “But we regulate it.”

Providence police recently discovered that teen job opportunities extend into the local adult entertainment world while they were investigating a 16-year-old runaway from Boston. The girl told detectives that she worked at Cheaters strip club this spring, and the police got tips about other underage girls working at another club on Allens Avenue.

That’s when the police found that neither state law, nor city ordinance bars minors from working at strip clubs. Those under 18 can’t buy pornography, and no one may take pictures or film minors in sexually suggestive ways. But the law doesn’t stop underage teens from stripping for money. Even if the police saw underage boys or girls on stage at a strip club, they wouldn’t be able to charge them or the club owners with a crime.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” said youth services Sgt. Carl Weston, “and I can’t find anything that says it’s illegal for a 16-year-old or a 17-year-old to take her top off and dance.”

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Graying Shanghai encourages couples to have 2 kids :\

Family planning officials in Shanghai are making home visits and slipping leaflets under doorways to encourage certain residents to have a second child in a bid to lessen the burden of the city's growing senior population.

A statement about the new campaign posted Thursday on the Web site of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission was quick to emphasize that it didn't signal any change in China's one-child rule and was only an attempt to let people know about the policy's many exceptions.

About 3 million, or 21 percent, of Shanghai's nearly 13.7 million registered residents are now aged 60 or older, the statement said, and providing for them poses a huge challenge for the city.
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ben smith!

Billboard Raising Eyebrows In Gatesville (Texas)

A follow-up to this entry about a billboard decrying gay rights in Gatesville, TX.

Billboard Raising Eyebrows In Gatesville

Posted in Local News on Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

A Central Texas minister thinks the notion of civil rights has been diluted.

Oen Dollins is the man behind a sign that reads “Gay Rights are Not Civil Rights” on Main Street in Gatesville

The sign is causing some confusion amongst residents, but Dollins says the message is crystal clear.

“It’s very poor taste for the gays to use, to try to infringe in on somebody else’s hurt and a group of people that were really hurt for years and are still being hurt.”

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I've never posted here before so if something is wrong, please tell me. My brother told me he saw something about this on the local news. It was on the "Morning Buzz" where they go and talk to local people. Surprisingly, everyone they talked to was supportive of the billboard. Yay, Central Texas. :(
you could cut ties with all the lies

Standoff between 'funny lady' Clinton, North Korea gets personal

Standoff between 'funny lady' Clinton, North Korea gets personal

North Korea's rhetoric toward the United States has always had a certain bizarre, over-the-top quality to it. Under the Bush administration it labeled Undersecretary of State John Bolton "human scum."

But the North Korea's latest comments about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are stunningly personal.

An unnamed North Korean official quoted by the state-run KCNA news agency calls Clinton "by no means intelligent" and a "funny lady."

"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," he said.

The remarks seem to be a reply to Clinton's comments to ABC News in which she compared North Korea's leadership to "small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention."

Behind the scenes, U.S officials for months have made similar comparisons, claiming the Pyonyang's modus operandi is to be deliberately provocative, to "act out" to get the United States' attention and be rewarded for its "misbehavior."

This time, they say, it's not going to work. Clinton said Pyonyang has "no friends left."


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Sgt. James Crowley Gives his side of the story ( Cambridge cop who arrested Henry Gates)

-Though he harbors no “ill feelings toward the professor,” a calm, resolute Crowley said no mea culpa will be forthcoming.

“I just have nothing to apologize for,” he said. “It will never happen.”

Attorney Charles Ogletree, Gates’ close friend and fellow Harvard savant, told the Herald, “It’s regrettable and unfortunate that the officer feels that way, and I do hope that some progress will be made in healing this wound.”

Gates, who upon his arrest allegedly bellowed to a gathering crowd on Ware Street, “This is what happens to black men in America!” believes he was targeted by Crowley - whom he called a “rogue” cop - because of his race.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas, with Gates attorney Walter Prince’s consent, agreed Tuesday to drop the charge of disorderly conduct, calling the incident “an unfortunate set of circumstances.”

Rest of the article and more local coverage under the cut.
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(no subject)

Gordon Liddy Struggles Embarrassingly To Defend Birther Conspiracy

Watergate conspirator and conservative radio host G. Gordon Liddy went on Hardball Thursday afternoon to address the inexplicably still-debated question over whether or not President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

The exchange was, at times, excruciating to watch as a largely catatonic Liddy struggled to explain the slew of evidence that points to Obama's U.S. citizenship. At one point, Matthews showed Liddy a certificate of live birth, which he noted was sufficient enough documentation to get a passport issued by the State Department.

"Let me see it, if you would. It's interesting that it's redacted," Liddy said, pointing to a sequence of numbers in the upper right hand corner.

Matthews then produced a copy that wasn't redacted. "What do you think now?" he asked.

There wasn't much to think about. Liddy went through the normal litany of "birther" conspiracy points, including a "sworn statement" from Obama's step-grandmother that she saw him born in Mombasa, Kenya. But for the one-time Nixon hand and current hawker of Rosland Capital gold coins, it was a painful segment at best, with Matthews sitting back and letting Liddy trip all over himself.

Video of this at the source!

Wtf is he on? He's hardly even awake/coherent!

GOP's awesome plan to retake the country back in 2010!

Inhofe: If GOP Can ‘Stall’ Or ‘Block’ Health Care Reform, It Will Be ‘A Huge Gain’ For The 2010 Elections

Last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) set off a political storm when he said that if Republicans can defeat health care reform it would be President Obama’s “Waterloo” because it would “break him.” Since then, some Republicans have sought to distance themselves from DeMint’s view that defeating health care would yield political advantages for the GOP.

But Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) isn’t shying away from revealing his honest feelings. Appearing on Janet Parshall’s radio show yesterday, Inhofe argued that the defeat of President Clinton’s health care reform “started the demise of Bill Clinton that led to the 1994 Republican takeover of the House and the Senate.” He then added that he is now “tracking the demise” of Obama’s health care plans and it is making him “optimistic”:

INHOFE: They ought to know, they ought to know from history. This is a losing proposition for them. And for those out there who believe, that would like to have something optimistic to look at, we are plotting the demise on a week by week basis of where Bill Clinton was in 1993 and where Obama is today and his demise ratio is greater than Clinton’s was in 1993. So, he’s trying to do the same things, except more extreme.
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Glenn Beck: State Rights now, State Rights tomorrow, State Rights forever!

Glenn Beck Removes States' Stars From American Flag Until "They Get Serious About States' RIghts" Like Alaska, Tennessee (VIDEO)

Fox News host Glenn Beck is known for the bizarre antics he pulls on his radio and TV show.

But, in his latest stunt, caught by Media Matters, Beck just may have outdone himself.

Noting that one of the reasons he loves Sarah Palin is that she recently signed a joint resolution claiming sovereignty for Alaska under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, Beck said "That means states rights." Evidently, this resolution exists in six other states, but only Alaska and Tennessee have had their governors formally sign it.

The fact that so few states have these types of resolutions asserting their rights infuriated Beck, and to show his displeasure he went to a board with an American flag and swept off all the stars representing the states except for Alaska and Tennessee.

Beck warned that he wouldn't replace the stars until their representative states "decide to get serious about states' rights."
dal ja's spring

Coalition pressures in Honduras

Honduras pressure mounts, U.S. wants deal "now"

By Simon Gardner

TEGUCIGALPA, July 21 (Reuters) - The United States and Europe stepped up pressure on Honduras' de facto government on Tuesday as deposed President Manuel Zelaya and his supporters called on Washington to pave the way for his return.

With negotiations deadlocked and Zelaya vowing to return to Honduras within days, some fear Central America's worst crisis since the end of the Cold War could flare into violence.

Talks mediated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias collapsed over the weekend but he hopes to bring both sides back to the negotiating table on Wednesday..

The U.S. government threw its weight behind Arias' proposal that Zelaya, who was toppled in a June 28 coup, be reinstated to set up a coalition government.

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It's ridiculous to demand a legally elected government to form a coalition with their opponents who are trying to maintain/take power by force, in order to prevent potential destabilization. The legitimate government has done some unconstitutional things, but it should be taken care of through the courts, not creating power-sharing governments composed of the people who won a democratic election and those who lost the election.


Jindal Cashes In On Stimulus While Bashing It. Have your cake and eat it too!

Jindal Cashes In On Stimulus While Bashing It

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has reemerged after his disastrous State of the Union response prompted a brief sabbatical from the spotlight. In a Politico piece Monday, Jindal wrote that "the nearly trillion dollar stimulus has not stimulated," but somehow, in spite of terrible government intervention, "things in Louisiana are looking up."

How did that happen? It might have something to do with the millions of dollars in stimulus money that went to the state. Jindal must know about it, because he's been handing it out all over, in giant-check form. Think Progress reports:

Despite the fact that the checks contain millions of dollars of Recovery Act funds for job training programs, housing assistance programs, homelessness prevention programs, police training, criminal justice technology upgrades, and community development block grants,
Jindal has been printing his own name on the checks and taking credit for the money. For example, Jindal presented Lafayette with yet another jumbo-sized check that contained at least $2,125,584 in Recovery Act funds. Though the money came from spending policies authorized by the Recovery Act, Jindal did not appear to credit the Recovery Act at all. And although the state stands to gain nearly $8 billion in federal funding from the Recovery Act, Jindal was one of several GOP governors to try to block the measure earlier this year.

They note that the stimulus distribution has garnered Jindal many positive headlines -- in contrast to his grandstanding against the federal funds last fall. Now he's trying to have it both ways: Oppose the stimulus in Washington and get credit for it back home.

Toilet seats and dirty diapers? Thanks, but no thanks.

UK waste prompts Brazil complaint

Brazil is to lodge a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization over an alleged illegal shipment of UK toxic waste, its government has said.

Environment Agency officers and police in Britain raided three properties in the Swindon area of Wiltshire this week, arresting men aged 24, 28 and 49. They want 1,400 tonnes of waste from 99 containers returned for inspection.

Brazil says at least two held waste like syringes and condoms - possibly breaching waste movement codes.

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I know some people got really mad over this, but lol at this whole thing. Sure, dump your used condoms in Brazil and Ghana, we should be familiar with the material.