August 27th, 2009

  • grant

Malaysia Bars Muslims From Black Eyed Peas Concert

Malaysia's government has barred Muslims from a concert by U.S. hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas next month because the event is organized by Irish beer giant Guinness, an official said Thursday.

The prohibition comes amid a clampdown on alcohol consumption among Malaysia's Muslim majority. A Muslim woman who drank beer in public was sentenced to caning by an Islamic court last month, though authorities this week agreed to review the penalty. Officials also recently curbed retail sales of liquor in a central state.

In family and personal matters, Muslims in Malaysia are governed by Shariah or Islamic law, which forbids the consumption of alcohol.

The Black Eyed Peas will perform at a theme park near Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 25 as part of worldwide celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of Guinness' flagship brewery in Dublin. Malaysia's largest city is one of five places hosting Guinness' concerts.

The Malaysian show's official Web site said "the party is only open to non-Muslims aged 18 years and above." Previous major pop concerts in Malaysia, including one by the Black Eyed Peas in 2007, have always been open to Muslims.

"Muslims cannot attend. Non-Muslims can go and have fun," an official at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture told The Associated Press.

She said the concert would not have been permitted at all under normal circumstances because government regulations forbid alcohol companies from organizing concerts. But authorities made an exception on the hopes the event would boost tourism, the official said on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to make public statements. Guinness must not use its logo in concert publicity material, she said.

It was not immediately clear how the ban on Muslims will be enforced. Concert organizers did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Ethnic Malays comprise nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people and are all legally considered Muslim, while the rest of the country is mainly ethnic Chinese and Indians, most of whom are Buddhist, Christian or Hindu.

The Black Eyed Peas have enjoyed phenomenal success this year. The foursome has topped Billboard's Hot 100 singles charts for the past 20 consecutive weeks, the most ever by an act.

Their performance next month is the latest to be hit by restrictions in Malaysia. Shows by Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne in recent years faced protests by conservative Muslim Malaysians over immodest clothes, forcing the artists to don attire that revealed little skin.


McCain Evicts Angry Woman From Town Hall

McCain Evicts Angry Woman From Town Hall

Sen. John McCain met with an angry crowd at a town-hall meeting about health care reform Wednesday, sometimes having to fight to talk and telling one woman who wouldn't stop yelling that she had to leave.

The Arizona senator hadn't yet opened up the meeting at McCain's central Phoenix church to questions when one audience member continuously yelled over him.

"You're going to have to stop or you're going to have to leave," McCain told the woman. When security guards approached to escort her out, he told her "Goodbye, see ya" to a round of applause.

After McCain opened it up to questioning, one man angrily pointed at him and asked the senator why he deserves a better health care plan than him.

"I'm trying to get it for you," McCain told him. "We'll do it for you. We'll make it affordable and available to you."

Other audience members in the crowd of 2,000 told McCain about their medical problems, such as HIV and multiple sclerosis.

McCain urged them he would fight for health care reform but reiterated his opposition to President Barack Obama's plan to create a government option to compete with private insurers, arguing that it would be the eventual end of private insurers in the U.S.

Obama and most Democrats say a government option would serve to balance the power of private insurers. But insurance companies see it as a step toward a government takeover, and many business groups agree.

In a voice of feigned surprise, McCain said "Really? I didn't know that."

"There's more interest and involvement in this issue than I've ever seen in many years on a domestic issue," McCain said afterward. "There's obviously strong feeling and emotions on this issue and I think the town-hall meetings are a very important way to get people's viewpoints and allow them to deal directly with their elected representative."

The Democratic plan has repeatedly run into problems at such meetings. Throughout August, unruly opponents have tried to shout down lawmakers at local town hall meetings.

McCain also spoke against the proposal at a much more subdued town-hall meeting Tuesday in the retirement community of Sun City.

McCain canceled a Friday trip to Flagstaff so he can attend services for longtime colleague Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died Tuesday night.

GOP fundraising 'survey' outrages some recipients

GOP fundraising 'survey' outrages some recipients

Raymond and Louise Denny of La Center were surprised last week to receive a mailing from Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, entitled "2009 Future of American Health Survey."

After reading it, their surprise turned to outrage.

They were especially irked by the following:

"It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person's political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibility concern you?"

Raymond Denny, a retired insurance underwriter, characterized the question as akin to "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

"It's so blatantly lopsided," he said. "I called them up and said, 'This is ridiculous!' They just said, 'All right.'"

The RNC did not return a call requesting comment.

Raymond Denny's larger concern is that in the volatile political environment surrounding health care reform, those and other survey "questions" in the mailer could quickly gain legitimacy and be accepted as fact, inciting fury at town hall meetings across the country.

Not all the questions are incendiary. One asks whether it is justified to ration health care, another whether health care decisions should be made by a patient and his or her doctor, not "government bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."

But the survey also asserts that "Rationing of health care in countries with socialized medicine has led to patients dying because they were forced to wait too long for treatment," and asks, "Are you concerned that this would be inevitable in the U.S. under the Democrats' plan?"

The Dennys, transplants to Clark County from Connecticut, aren't sure why they are on GOP mailing lists. They've tried to get their names removed. He describes himself as a liberal Democrat. "Both of us have been social liberals and fiscal and constitutional conservative," he said.

"I wrote insurance policies," Raymond Denny said. "I know how words can be used to make people do what you want them to do. The law allows a lot of latitude with politicians. That I understand. Some of these techniques are used by both parties. But this to me seems way over the edge of normal politics."

Not so, say two professional pollsters.

It's standard practice to use such faux "surveys" to raise money for a variety of causes, said Portland pollster Mike Riley. "It's common, trying to stir the pot to see what kinds of issues get attention."

"Both parties do that," Riley said. "They are using some of the hot-button issues to see what activates the voters. It's politics as usual within the party faithful. No one that I know puts any credibility in these types of polls."

Riley recalled a recent fundraising "survey" sponsored by Democrats that attempted to link issues of child safety and gun ownership. One question asked whether it is important to keep children safe and to keep them away from guns. The implication, he said, was "that guns shouldn't be in homes where children are present."

A tip-off that a survey really is a fundraising tract, Riley said, is when questions cover more than one issue. "It's called a double-barreled question" and would not be used by a professional pollster, he said.

Portland pollster Bob Moore agreed.

"It's a fundraising appeal, is what it is," he said. "Everyone does it — Democrats, anti-tax groups, environmentalists. The audience that receives it has given to that organization at some point in time and is on the list to receive solicitations."

If such tactics "weren't effective, they wouldn't be using them," Moore said.

Denny said his own views on health care reform are straightforward: "I favor any option that extends availability to people."

"My feeling is, we have had erosion in the number of people who are covered," he said. "The amount of health care has diminished. We just can't have that in society. It hurts on a lot of levels."

NYT gets in on the debate.

August 27, 2009
Skin Deep
Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics

SILKY straight hair has long been considered by many black women to be their crowning glory. So what if getting that look meant enduring the itchy burning that’s a hallmark of many chemical straighteners. Or a pricey dependence on “creamy crack,” as relaxers are sometimes jokingly called.

Getting “good hair” often means transforming one’s tightly coiled roots; but it is also more freighted, for many African-American women and some men, than simply a choice about grooming. Straightening hair has been perceived as a way to be more acceptable to certain relatives, as well as to the white establishment.

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Storytime! I have been both natural and relaxed. I wear my hair relaxed now (and have for some time) because I like it like this (and it makes my cut fall better). I recently went to a salon to get my cut redone, and the girl had locs. She then proceeded to give a lecture on assimilation and how I was destroying my hair with relaxers (even though she started by saying I had such "good hair"). I was like,"Hold on. I didn't come here for that. I didn't ask for your opinion on relaxers. And I want to speak to your manager." Needless to say, I didn't get my hair cut that day and I've found a new place since.

Monkeys with two mothers offer hope

  • DNA replaced by material from donor egg
  • Technique could eradicate mitochondrial disorders

Four baby monkeys created in a laboratory in the United States could hold the key to the eradication of a class of incurable genetic diseases, scientists revealed today.

In an experiment that brings the creation of babies with three biological parents a step closer, Spindler, Spindly and twins Mito and Tracker were born through IVF using a technique that should make it possible to prevent women who carry genetic disorders of the mitochondria from passing them on to their children.

Defects in mitochondria – tiny structures known as the power houses or batteries of a cell because they convert food into energy – affect about one in 6,500 births in the UK and can cause about 50 known diseases, such as fatal liver failure, stroke-like episodes, blindness, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and deafness. Mitochondrial DNA also plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.

The team of scientists from the Oregon National Primate Research Centre in effect swapped the mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) from the macaque monkey mother's egg for the mDNA of a donor egg. Reconstructed eggs were then fertilised with the father's sperm and the healthy offspring were born. Tests showed that no mDNA from the mother's egg had been transferred.

This is the first time that primates have been genetically modified in this way. The fact that healthy offspring have been produced, paves the way for the use of the techniques in humans. But the research, published in the journal Nature today, will reignite the debate over genetic engineering and so-called "designer babies".

Babies born using the new technique would inherit most of their genetic material from their mother and father. But a tiny amount – mitochondrial DNA accounts for less than 1% of all the DNA in a human body – would come from the donor of the mDNA. This genetic material would be passed on to future generations.

British scientists who developed a similar technique using mice provoked controversy last year when they revealed they had created 10 human embryos each containing DNA from one man and two women. The one-celled embryos, created at the University of Newcastle, were destroyed within days, as required by law.

Recognising the "devastating effects" of mitochondrial diseases, the new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which comes into force on 1 October, allows for secondary legislation to permit treatment of mitochondrial diseases should therapies become available.

Mitochondria, which are strewn throughout the cell body, contain their own DNA separate from that in the nucleus. Like nuclear DNA, mDNA harbours genes that can mutate and cause disease. However, mDNA can only be passed on to offspring via mothers' eggs. It is not transmitted by sperm.

Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov, who led the research team, said: "With the proper governmental approvals, our work can rapidly be translated into clinical trials for humans, and, eventually, approved therapies." He accepted the research was controversial because it involved making the genetic changes that could be passed down generations, He said: "We are taking about birth defects that cause terrible diseases. The only way to treat them is to replace these genes."

Peter Braude, head of the department of women's health at King's College London and director of the centre for preimplantation genetic diagnosis at Guy's hospital, London, described the work as "very exciting". These were "just the sort of procedures that were anticipated when parliament left the door open for transfer of genetic material to avoid mitochondrial disease in the latest revision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act".

Dr Marita Pohlschmidt, director of research at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said: "We welcome these new advances and believe affected families should be offered the choice of having a healthy child."

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, of the medical research centre for regenerative diseases in Edinburgh, who created Dolly the cloned sheep, welcomed the research tonight: "The authors are to be congratulated for being the first to demonstrate in primates a new route to therapy. This brings us an important step nearer to being able to prevent the birth of children with a particular type of inherited disease."

Gene genie: New front in search for cures

Mitochondrial DNA mutations are linked to a growing list of human diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer and infertility.

Mitochondrial diseases with neuromuscular disease symptoms are often referred to as a mitochondrial myopathy and, say the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, around 3,500 people in the UK are affected by this type of the disease. Other conditions caused by defective mDNA include diabetes mellitus and deafness – although the combination can occur for other reasons – multiple sclerosis-type diseases, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, where sight loss can begin in young adulthood, Leigh syndrome, marked by seizures and dementia. Mutations are increasingly implicated in a range of prevalent conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Since the distribution of the defective mDNA may vary from organ to organ, and each mutation is affected by other variants in the genetic make up, the effects of mitochondrial disease can be quite varied. A mutation that in one individual may cause liver disease might cause brain disorder in another.

Source: The Guardian

  • dwer

Your Steeley Eyes... your mushy logic...

In an interview with Michael Steele, NPR’s Steve Inskeep repeatedly asked the RNC chairman to explain why Republicans keep defending Medicare at the same time they claim that the government is incompetent at running anything.

Steele grew frustrated with the questioning, telling Inskeep to stop being “cute” and “doing a wonderful little dance.” But even while admitting that people “like Medicare” and it’s “a valuable program is it’s the last line of opportunity to receive health care for a lot of our seniors,” he continued to attack it as “bloated” and inefficient. “I’m not saying I like or dislike Medicare,” an exasperated Steele finally said. “It is what it is.”

At one point, Steele tied himself into knots trying to explain his view on the proper role of government after saying that “there are issues in the insurance market that we can regulate a little bit better”.

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I particularly liked the part where Inskeep had to define the word "nuanced" to Steele. Bolded parts of it, but the lulz are throughout.

Source is uncomplicated.

Interview is Here.

Girls victimized by Taliban find safe haven to learn

In Pakistan's combustible Swat Valley, some girls refuse to wear uniforms so they can make it to school without being harmed.

Other girls hide textbooks in their shawls to escape harassment.

School-age girls are among the victims in the fierce fighting between government soldiers and Taliban militants in the Swat Valley. The Pakistani government said it has flushed much of the Taliban out of the area, but some fighting persists.

Many girls remain banned from schools. Dozens of their schools have been bombed, and militants have burned books.

A new program has taken 26 girls out of the battle-scarred region to Islamabad for a 10-day retreat, where they can learn in safer surroundings.

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And is anyone else having issues with tags not showing up? I keep getting "Error updating journal: Client error: Not allowed to add tags to entries in this journal".

(no subject)

China "resolutely opposes" a planned trip by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Thursday, hours after Taiwan's president announced the visit.

Beijing opposes the visit "in whatever form and capacity," a spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said, according to Xinhua, which did not name the spokesman. "Under the pretext of religion, (the Dalai Lama) has all along been engaged in separatist activities," he said.

The Tibetan leader's spokesman denied there was any political subtext to the visit.

"His holiness has received an invitation from several mayors inviting him to Taiwan. He has accepted for the sole purpose (of expressing) his condolences and to share his sorrow for Taiwan's people," Tenzin Taklha said, calling the visit "completely... non-political."

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said earlier Thursday that he had approved a visit by the Dalai Lama to pray for the victims of the typhoon-battered island.

Ma made the announcement Thursday while visiting a school in the southern part of the country, a government spokesman said. The Dalai Lama has accepted the invitation, his spokesman Tenzin Taklha said.

"We are working on the details of his visit, which will take place soon," he said.

Typhoon Morakot slammed into Taiwan on August 8 and unleashed floods, mudslides and misery. More than 400 people were killed.

The visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan seemed certain to anger mainland China, which accuses both the Tibetan spiritual leader and the island nation of separatism.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating for Tibetan independence from China, and considers Taiwan to be a renegade province.

Taiwan and the mainland are only now smoothing their relationship after years of animosity.

Taiwan's relations with China have improved under Ma, who has taken a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor. Then-Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian rejected China's assertion that there is only "One China" and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.


'John schools' try to change attitudes about paid sex

The accused came from all walks of life: Retirees, dads and twentysomethings. An engineer, a business owner and an auto worker. A man in a wheelchair. Men in need of Spanish or Farsi translators.

About 40 men somberly entered a classroom on a recent Saturday morning. About half of them wore shiny wedding bands.

All had tried to buy a prostitute's services and were caught by police. It was their first offense, and a county court referred them to a one-day program called the John School. It's a program run by volunteers and city officials in conjunction with Magdalene House, a nonprofit that works to get prostitutes off the streets.

"Prostitution doesn't discriminate," said Kenny Baker, a cognitive behavioral therapist who is the program's director. "Most of these men don't have a prior criminal history, so our goal is to help these folks understand why they put themselves in a bad position, to prevent it from happening again."

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(no subject)

Michigan Gay Man Beaten, Burned in Possible Hate Crime


Shawn Bennett, a gay Lansing, Michigan man, is recovering after being attacked in a public park by suspects he says began threatening him in June. He says they made the attacks because of his sexuality.

WLNS reports: Lansing2 "He was sitting on a picnic table when he heard a noise behind him, and that's when the beating began. The suspects pulled him to the ground and burned him at least a dozen times with a cigar or cigarettes. Bennett says the attack wasn't random. He says the suspects live in his neighborhood started threatening him back in June. On Saturday night they turned their words into actions because he is gay. Lansing police say they've identified the suspects, but Bennett says nothing can change what's been done he wants justice. He just wants to know why."

Said Bennett: "This shouldn't happen to anybody, no matter if they're gay, straight, black or white. We are people. They stuck gravel in my face, putting rocks in my ears, the hospital actually had to take them out. I was just begging them to stop. I told them to just stop, just leave me alone."

Lansing police are investigating but have not made any arrests.

WLNS video report here.


Limbaugh Shows Some Class, Agian!

Limbaugh declares: "Kennedy screwed up everything he touched"

From the August 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: It just breaks my heart folks, I tell you, you know -- to sit here and watch this, to watch the purposeful destruction of the free enterprise system. To watch the purposeful destruction of American capitalism. That's what we're watching right before our very eyes.

And we're lionizing a guy who had a fundamental role in it all of his legislative career, and that's Senator Kennedy. Senator Kennedy screwed up everything he touched.



This is so much fuckery

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009
State Separates Mother and Child Over Language
By Tim Padgett with Dolly Mascareñas / Oaxaca

Can the U.S. government take a woman's baby from her because she doesn't speak English? That's the latest question to arise in the hothouse debate over illegal immigration, as an undocumented woman from impoverished rural Mexico — who speaks only an obscure indigenous language — fights in a Mississippi court to regain custody of her infant daughter.

Cirila Baltazar Cruz comes from the mountainous southern state of Oaxaca, a region of Mexico that makes Appalachia look affluent. To escape the destitution in her village of 1,500 mostly Chatino Indians, Baltazar Cruz, 34, migrated earlier this decade to the U.S., hoping to send money back to two children she'd left in her mother's care. She found work at a Chinese restaurant on Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

But Baltazar Cruz speaks only Chatino, barely any Spanish and no English. Last November, she went to Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Miss., where she lives, to give birth to a baby girl, Rubí. According to documents obtained by the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, the hospital called the state Department of Human Services (DHS), which ruled that Baltazar Cruz was an unfit mother in part because her lack of English "placed her unborn child in danger and will place the baby in danger in the future."

Rubí was taken from Baltazar Cruz, who now faces deportation.
In May, a Jackson County judge gave the infant to a couple (it is unclear if for foster care or adoptive purposes) who reportedly live in Ocean Springs. Baltazar Cruz is challenging the ruling in Jackson County Youth Court and hopes that if she is deported she can at least take Rubí back to Mexico with her. (She has not disclosed the father's identity.)

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Private citizen and moose huntress Palin urges support of Glenn Beck

As boycott continues, Glenn Beck's audience swells
August 27, 2009 | 11:17 am

An advertising boycott against Fox News host Glenn Beck has succeeded in keeping most major sponsors from running commercials on his show even as the controversial commentator's viewership has grown.

Beck attracted 2.81 million viewers Monday, his third-largest audience since his show launched on Fox News in January, according to Nielsen Media Research data provided by the network. On Tuesday, nearly 2.7 million viewers tuned in, his fifth-largest viewership to date. And the conservative host got a plug from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who urged people to watch his program in a post on her Facebook page.

“FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House,” she wrote Wednesday to her 800,000-plus supporters.

From "Sarah Palin's Notes" on FaceBook:

FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House.

Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch.




Inequality, class, and race

London Review of Books

What Matters
by Walter Benn Michaels


It would be a mistake to think that because the US is a less racist, sexist and homophobic society, it is a more equal society. In fact, in certain crucial ways it is more unequal than it was 40 years ago.

No group dedicated to ending economic inequality would be thinking today about declaring victory and going home. In 1969, the top quintile of American wage-earners made 43 per cent of all the money earned in the US; the bottom quintile made 4.1 per cent. In 2007, the top quintile made 49.7 per cent; the bottom quintile 3.4.

And while this inequality is both raced and gendered, it’s less so than you might think. White people, for example, make up about 70 per cent of the US population, and 62 per cent of those are in the bottom quintile. Progress in fighting racism hasn’t done them any good; it hasn’t even been designed to do them any good.

More generally, even if we succeeded completely in eliminating the effects of racism and sexism, we would not thereby have made any progress towards economic equality. A society in which white people were proportionately represented in the bottom quintile (and black people proportionately represented in the top quintile) would not be more equal; it would be exactly as unequal. It would not be more just; it would be proportionately unjust.

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Article @ London review of Books
Hitchhiker's Guide | Bad Move

I suggest you sit down for this one, if you aren't already

Jury finds man guilty of raping prostitutes

Sounds great, right? Justice was served! Wait 'til you read the defense attorney's arguments. I started to bold them, but there were too many. Just read. And rage.

A jury found Thomas H. Gravely, 31, of East Bank guilty of sexually assaulting Charleston prostitutes, despite a graphic argument by his defense attorney that women willing to sell themselves for sex cannot be raped.Collapse )

Why Do Teens Shun Twitter?

It’s conventional wisdom that teenagers are early adopters of tech innovations, including Web-based social networks like Facebook and MySpace. But that apparently isn’t the case with micro-blogging site Twitter, which is largely shunned by the adolescent crowd.

According to a New York Times article, teens would much rather text than tweet. The piece quotes 18-year-old Kristen Nagy, a New Jersey teen who calls Twitter “weird,” and adds that she “doesn’t feel like everyone needs to know what I’m doing every second of my life.”

Just how uncool is Tweeting? According to ComScore, only 11 percent of Twitter users are aged 12 to 17, the Times reports.

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New figures expose immigration scare tactics

A dramatic fall in migration figures published today exposes the scaremongering of anti-immigration groups, says the think-tank ippr.

Latest government figures published today show that net migration to the UK dropped by 44% in 2008.

The surplus of those immigrating over those emigrating for 2008 was 118,000, after a number of years when it was in excess of 200,000.

Leading think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) highlights the fact that the drop is largely explained by rapid increases in the emigration of non-British citizens from the UK – up 50% in 2008. This trend is particularly marked for migrants from new EU member states – net migration from these countries was just 14,000 in 2008, down from a peak of over 80,000 in 2007.

They say:

ippr argues that these trends are unsurprising. There is strong evidence that migration responds to economic conditions – people come to the UK when there are jobs, and leave when there aren’t. The cyclical pattern of migration in the most recent period of economic growth was exaggerated in the UK by the impact of EU accession, but this was only a short-run effect – most of the migrants who came to the UK after 2004 always planned to go home.

ippr’s Head of Migration, Tim Finch said: “ippr has pointed out for some time that migration flows go in cycles, and these latest figures for 2008 indicate that after a number of years in which net migration was high, it is now declining sharply – almost certainly because of a combination of the economic downturn, the short term nature of much migration from new EU countries, and the impact of stronger controls and management put in place by the government.

“There has been a lot of irresponsible scaremongering about immigration in recent years which was based on the false assumption that high net migration into the UK was inevitable for years to come. As our recent report on re-migration showed, migration flows go both ways and we now need to be thinking about how our managed migration systems can continue to attract and retain the migrants we need to help our economy to recover and grow.”

All statistics taken from Office for National Statistics Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, August 2009, available at :

Source: Liberal Conspiracy

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

California Girl Kidnapped 18 Years Ago Kept as Sex Slave in Couple's Backyard


An 11-year-old California girl kidnapped in 1991 while waiting for a school bus has been found alive, and a convicted sex offender is accused of raping her and fathering two children with her while he and his wife held her captive in their backyard.

Despite the shocking revelations, the discovery of Jaycee Lee Dugard brought sudden relief to her family 18 years after their young girl disappeared.

Dugard was being kept with the two children in a series of tents and sheds hidden behind the Antioch, Calif., home of Phillip and Nancy Garrido, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday at a news conference.

Dugard and her two daughters are "in good health, but living in a backyard for the past 18 years does take its toll," Undersheriff Fred Kollar said.

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Edit Pictures of the Garridos who kept Jaycee in their backyard.
Photobucket Photobucket


France: Woman Wearing Hijab Denied Entry By Bank

France caused a stir in the Muslim world in 2004 with a law barring the hijab (headscarf) and all other religious clothing from state primary and secondary schools. Earlier this month, a Paris swimming pool refused entry to a young Muslim woman wearing a burqini, a swimsuit that covers most of the body. Earlier this week, Société Générale, one of France's largest Banks, refused to let a 24-year-old female Muslim customer enter the bank, unless she removed her headscarf. The hijab-wearing woman said that her face was visible and she posed no security risk to the bank. She also said that she will be suing the bank.


Magneto & Xavier.
  • doop

Nazi death camp blueprints given to Israel

Sketched on yellowing parchment, the 29 blueprints presented to Israel's prime minister Thursday lay out the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in chilling detail, with gas chambers, crematoria, delousing facilities and watch towers drawn to scale.

"There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened," Benjamin Netanyahu said as he accepted the documents as a gift to Israel's Holocaust memorial, where they will go on display next year.

"Let them come to Jerusalem and look at these plans, these plans for the factory of death."

Netanyahu lingered over the large sheets spread on a table. Stamped with the Nazi abbreviation for concentration camp "K.L. Auschwitz," one of the largest featured multi-colored sketches, with barracks and even latrines drawn in detail. Other smaller sheets showed architectural designs of individual buildings, drawn from various angles.

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A Fine Society Guide For How To Deal With F***wits

The Town Hall Mob

My fellow Democrats: We're in for the fight of our lives. I know more about what we're up against than most Democrats, because I'm married to a staunch Republican, attend a church that's 90+% Republican, and have many friends among them. I'm also a sociologist by training and a debater by practice.

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Your choice of two flavors of sauce:
Honey Barbeque Blog
NotchYo Cheese Times

This is really quite old, but I held off posting because A)It seemed likely such good advice would show up here, and B)I ... kind of hoped we still wouldn't need it almost a month later.

TL:DR - The advice is sound: Don't talk about namby pamby moral imperatives and kitten cuddling rhetoric, because the two sides speak wildly different dialects of that language. Talk about the market, talk about the business, talk about the structure, and wait for them to show what kind of foundation they really stand on.

Soccer Star Benched for Fasting During Ramadan

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which falls each year on different dates of the Western calendar, began on Aug. 21, just in time for another event in Europe with near religious significance: the kickoff of soccer season. But the timing has sparked controversy in Italy, where in the last four days both a prominent coach and a team owner in the top Serie A league have linked the rigors of Ramadan's sunrise-to-sunset fasting to Muslim players' poor performance on the pitch.

Just 30 minutes into his team's disappointing 1-1 tie Sunday with Bari, Inter Milan's Portuguese-born coach Jose Mourinho pulled midfielder Sulley Muntari, a practicing Muslim, out of his home debut. "He was clearly struggling," Mourinho said of the 25-year-old Ghanian player during the post-game press conference. "It's the month of Ramadan and that's what affected his performance, which is why I took him out."

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PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama wins praise for Katrina

WASHINGTON – As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama pledged to right the wrongs he said bogged down efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Seven months into the job, he's earning high praise from some unlikely places.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., says Obama's team has brought a more practical and flexible approach. Many local officials offer similar reviews. Even Doug O'Dell, former President George W. Bush's recovery coordinator, says the Obama administration's "new vision" appears to be turning things around.

Not too long ago, Jindal said in a telephone interview, Louisiana governors didn't have "very many positive things" to say about the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But Jindal said he had a lot of respect for the current FEMA chief, Craig Fugate, and his team. "There is a sense of momentum and a desire to get things done," the governor said.

Added O'Dell: "I think the results are self-evident."

The retired Marine general served what he calls a frustrating stint as Bush's recovery coordinator last year. "What people have said to me is that for whatever reason, problems that were insurmountable under previous leadership are getting resolved quickly," O'Dell said.

"And I really hate to say that because (the top FEMA leaders) in my time there were good, hardworking, earnest men, but they were also the victims of their own bureaucracy."

It's not that Obama has not miraculously mended the Gulf Coast since Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. The storm killed more than 1,600 people in Louisiana and Mississippi and caused more than $40 billion in property damage. Hurricane Rita followed nearly a month later, with billions of dollars in additional damage and at least 11 more deaths.

On the fourth anniversary of Katrina, many communities remain broken, littered with boarded-up houses and overgrown vacant lots. Hundreds of projects — including critical needs such as sewer lines, fire stations and a hospital — are entangled in the bureaucracy or federal-local disputes over who should pick up the tab.

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 Source, and no it's not The Onion

I'm thinking we need a "Look at this goddamn FEMA director" macro for Fugate.  :)

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.): I'll Vote Against Reform Without Reading Bil

Inhofe: I'll Vote Against Reform Without Reading Bill

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) admitted this week that he would vote against health care reform without reading the bill, or knowing what was in it.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday Sen. Jim Inhofe told Chickasha residents he does not need to read the 1,000 page health care reform bill, he will simply vote against it.

"I don't have to read it, or know what's in it. I'm going to oppose it anyways," he said.

Inhofe said he was able to form such a strong, yet uninformed opinion through polls and the media.

Republicans challenged Democrats to read the whole bill this summer -- even though Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell later admitted that he hadn't.

In July, Inhofe said that stalling or blocking health care reform would be a "huge gain" for Republicans in the 2010 election.

Hey Guyz! Is Obama Season!! Get Yer Guns Out!

Rex Rammell, Idaho GOPer, Jokes About Hunting Obama

An Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful insists he was only joking when he said he'd buy a license to hunt President Barack Obama.

Rex Rammell, a long-shot candidate slated to run against incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May 2010 GOP primary, made the comment at a Republican rally Tuesday in Twin Falls where talk turned to the state's planned wolf hunt, for which hunters must purchase an $11.50 wolf tag. The hunt is due to begin on Tuesday.

When an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags," Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Rammell told The Associated Press Thursday he sees no reason to apologize for the comment because it was just a joke.

"What I would say to all my Democrat Idahoans: Take a deep breath and relax," he said. "We're not going to go out and hunt Obama."

He also told the Times-News newspaper, "I would never support him being assassinated."
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on his defense Obama is not the Real President since he is a Mooslim Foreigner...

OMG Guyz! Obama will make Death Panels Mandatory in the Private Sector!!

Private Insurer Also Provides "Death Panel" Coverage

For all the hysteria regarding "death panels" being established in health care legislation, it's worth noting that under one major private insurance plan consumers are offered end-of-life planning coverage that is similar to that being put forth by House Democrats.

Under the "Member Rights and Responsibilities" portion of United Healthcare's website there is an outline of "exactly what you can expect from your health care experience and how you can improve that experience, too." The list includes the following pledge:

Consumer will be allowed to "Choose an Advance Directive to designate the kind of care you wish to receive should you become unable to express your wishes."

The goal of the provision, it seems, is to offer consumers the type of medical consultation that is often needed (and frequently forgone) to make end-of-life procedures can be smoother and less painful. If it sounds similar, that's because the House provision that has been derided as creating government-administered "death panels" is very similar.

Under the now infamous section 1233 of H.R. 3200, Medicare would pay doctors to provide voluntary counseling on end-of-life issues. Conversations would cover topics like advance care planning, creating "living wills and durable powers of attorney," denoting a health care proxy should your medical decision deteriorate drastically, and sharing information about medical and hospice care as well as "the continuum of end-of-life services."

In short, the House bill promises to provide the funds for Medicare to cover the same type of activities that United Healthcare pledges to its customers.

Conservative figures like Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey have argued that the financial incentives are such that, under the House bill, doctors would be encouraged to "pull the plug" on grandma. But what seems more evident is that instead of just private health care companies offering to cover end-of-life care service, House Democrats are insisting that Medicare do the same.

Officials with United Healthcare did not immediately return request for comment.


Rightwingnut Indicted After Threatening to Kill Family of Abortion Director... Wait, WUT?

Man indicted for threatening Boulder abortion doctor Warren Hern
If convicted, Washington man could face six-year prison sentence for June phone call

A federal grand jury indicted a resident of Spokane, Wash., on Wednesday for allegedly threatening to kill Boulder abortion doctor Warren Hern and members of his family.

Donald Hertz called in a death threat to the Boulder Abortion Clinic at 1130 Alpine Ave. on June 23, according to the indictment. The grand jury also alleges that Hertz, 70, tried to intimidate employees who work at the clinic.

Hern, whose clinic has been shot at because he provides abortion services to women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, was given round-the-clock protection by federal agents in late May after Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller was fatally shot.

"This kind of terrorism has to stop," Hern, 71, said Wednesday. "I'm very grateful for the hard work the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service did to find this man who made a threat to my family."

Hern said he had to pull his 92-year-old mother out of bed in response to the phone call and bring her to a safe place.

"This threatening phone call was very disturbing to my family," said Hern, who has been threatened numerous times before.

He said he isn't allowed to confirm or deny whether he's still under federal protection.

Hertz was charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a federal crime to injure, intimidate or interfere with, by force or threat of force, employees of a facility that provides reproductive health services.

Hern was "grateful" that the law was used in his case and said he hopes it continues to be applied in other cases where abortion providers are harassed.

If convicted, Hertz faces a prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of up to $350,000.


Utah Governor Herbert: Discrimination Against Gays Should Be Legal

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who took over for moderate Governor Jon Huntsman after Huntsman resigned to become Ambassador to China, has spoken out against anti-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation:

"In his most definitive comments yet on gay rights, Herbert told reporters he doesn't believe sexual orientation should be a protected class in the way that race, gender and religion are.

'We don't have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and we don't have to have a law that punishes us if we don't,'Herbert said in his first monthly KUED news conference.

In Utah, it is legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. The gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah has been trying to change state law for several years but has always been rebuffed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Last year, the group got Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman's support for extending some rights to gay people, although none of the bills it backed became law."

Unfortunately, that's why we have anti-bias laws. Because people don't do the right thing.

Source :(
Obama has a crush on me

Can I get a witness?

Archbishop Tutu to Haaretz: Arabs paying for Germany's crimes

"The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns," Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told Haaretz Thursday.

Commenting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement in Germany Thursday that the lesson of the Holocaust is that Israel should always defend itself, Tutu noted that "in South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected."

The Nobel Prize laureate spoke to Haaretz in Jerusalem as the organization The Elders concluded its tour of Israel and the West Bank. He said the West was consumed with guilt and regret toward Israel because of the Holocaust, "as it should be."

"But who pays the penance? The penance is being paid by the Arabs, by the Palestinians. I once met a German ambassador who said Germany is guilty of two wrongs. One was what they did to the Jews. And now the suffering of the Palestinians."
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I feel like I know her
  • maclyn

Essex, England: Racists kidnap Muslim leader

'Racists kidnapped Muslim leader'
by Naresh Puri
BBC Home Affairs Reporter

A Muslim community leader has claimed he was kidnapped by white racists who threatened to kill him unless he stopped running prayer sessions.

Noor Ramjanally, 35, says two men abducted him at knifepoint from his home in Loughton, Essex, in broad daylight and bundled him into a car.

He claims the men told him to stop running prayer sessions at Murray Hall in Loughton.

Essex Police confirmed it was investigating the alleged abduction.

Mr Ramjanally told the BBC: "They knocked at my door and when I answered, they grabbed me by the wrists and marched me to their car.

 "I was thrown into the boot and then they drove me to nearby Epping Forest and threatened me.

"I was very scared, they had a knife placed right against my back.

"They drove me to nearby woodland and then walked me around the area for 10 minutes and then I was threatened."

Mr Ramjanally said his abductors told him Muslims were not wanted in Loughton and if he did not stop they would come back for him.

The attackers then left him alone in the woods.

'Hate crimes'

On 2 July this year, Mr Ramjanally received an anonymous letter telling him to stop using the hall for prayers. The next day his flat was firebombed.

Supt Simon Williams, of Essex Police, said: "We are treating the incidents as hate crimes, and a possible motivation would appear to be the use of Murray Hall by the Muslim community for Friday prayers."

 In March, this year, Mr Ramjanally started running prayer sessions for local Muslims - which is attended by about 80 people.

The British National Party has been handing out leaflets titled No Mosques in Loughton, containing warnings about the "Islamification" of the area.

Mr Ramjanally believes the BNP campaign has led to the trouble that he has faced.

But Councillor Pat Richardson, leader of the BNP group on Epping Forest District Council, condemned the attack.

She said: "It's terrible, I don't agree with these illegal actions. I must say the BNP has no link to the incident.

Mr Ramjanally has vowed to continue his work and continue to pray at Murray Hall.

He said: "If I give in, then they have won , that will not happen."

No BNP link, eh? Bullshit.

Glenn Beck and O'Reilly whine about far left loons trying to destroy them

The radical far leftist loons tried to get O'Reilly taken off the air and failed, but they're succeeding in their efforts to destroy poor Glenn Beck.

Glenn goes off on some tangent about Van Jones, an advisor to the Obama administration who founded Color of Change, and how Van Jones is a self-proclaimed communist, radical revolutionary who named his son after a Marxist guerrilla out of Africa or something. Seven minutes of complaining about this guy, and others in Obama's administration, who did said stuff they don't like like 20 years ago, and how left-wing loons want to censor people they disagree with.