September 1st, 2009

Witch Queen
  • synesis

Opposing gay marriage - the sane way!

Opposing Gay Unions With Sanity & a Smile
NOM Head Moves His Cause to D.C.

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 28, 2009

The nightmares of gay marriage supporters are the Pat Robertsons of the world. The James Dobsons, the John Hagees -- the people who specialize in whipping crowds into frothy frenzies, who say things like Katrina was caused by the gays.

The gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown. They should. He might be more worth knowing about.

Brown is the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, the preeminent organization dedicated to preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage. For two years, Brown has been traveling across the country. He moved his wife and six kids to California, where NOM was instrumental in passing Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as an institution only between a man and a woman. Before that, Connecticut, where his cause was hurt when the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

It was NOM that Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean went to shortly after her infamous "opposite marriage" pageant answer. "Gathering Storm," the much-YouTubed announcement in which actors discussed how gay marriage would negatively affect their freedom of religion? That was NOM.

Now NOM is moving its national headquarters to Washington.

The thing about the John Hagees and the Pat Robertsons is that some people consider them "fringe." And when they speechify, the people they're most persuasive with are the ones who already believe them.

But this country is not made up of people in the far wings, right or left. This country is made up of a movable middle, reasonable people looking for reasonable arguments to assure them that their feelings have a rational basis.

Brian Brown speaks to these people. He has a master's degree from Oxford, and completed course work for a doctorate in history from UCLA. He shoulders the accusations of bigotry; it's horrible when people say that your life's mission is actually just prejudice. He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition.

The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane.
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Source: Washington Post

Queer people should be worried about the appropriation of 'rationality' and th enotion that anger should exclude them from the political debate as irrational. And I think there are pretty strong indicators in the above article that this is very vlearly and very obviously a primarily religious campaign driven by disgust and fear, because the truly *rational* and secular approach is to recognise that gay marriage does not give off magic gay-waves, which make straight people suddenly jump ship.

MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

OM NOM NOMing gay marriage rights: actually homophobic after all!

What the WaPo's National Organization for Marriage profile left out

by Jamison Foser

On Friday, I noted that the Washington Post devoted more than 2,000 words to a profile of National Organization for Marriage executive director Brian Brown -- without ever once quoting a criticism of Brown or NOM.

That's an appalling omission, but it only scratches the surface. The article was an extended mash note to Brown and his right-wing group, describing them as "rational," "mainstream," "sane," people put upon by shrill opponents who irrationally demonize them.

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Since we just got the previous article yesterday, I felt this would be an interesting follow-up.
Akuma River

The Angry Fire has trippled in size since Sunday

Watching the fire
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / August 31, 2009)
A group of young men watch the Station fire from a hill overlooking Tujunga on Monday night.

Flames in La Crescenta
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A U.S. Forest Service firefighter battles flames in La Crescenta.

Flames leap across Angeles Crest Highway Saturday. The road runs through the heart of the area charred by the Station fire. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Blaze consumes 105,000 acres, no end in sight (September 01, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - Corina Knoll, Louis Sahagun and Rich Connell)

A voracious 6-day-old wildfire that has destroyed more than 50 buildings and churned through more than 105,000 acres of mountainous brush showed only small signs of slowing Monday, and fire officials offered little hope of containment as long as hot, dry conditions continued.

The Station fire, the largest of several burning in the state, was plowing through dense hillside vegetation along the San Gabriel Mountains, cutting a remarkable swath that extended from Altadena into the high desert. On Monday, the fire advanced to the west, bringing new evacuations to Sunland-Tujunga and coming within a few miles of Santa Clarita.

Despite the fire's sprawling dimensions, stretching up to 25 miles from east to west and 18 miles from north to south, aggressive ground and aerial assaults managed to contain the blaze to largely undeveloped areas.
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There are now 12 fires burning. One is a controlled one, in La Crescenta, that is ahead of the fire and they burning brush that has not burned in over sixty years. They are hoping this will cut off fuel for the fire if it heads that way.

You should also know that a CAT 5 Hurricane Jinega is heading straight for Baja California. This may or may not help with the fire situation.

Mount Wilson Observatory webcam | Another Mt Wilson Observatory webcam
More than 200 homes evacuated in Yucaipa (August 31, 2009 - LA Times - David Kelly)
Animal preserves act fast as flames close in (September 01, 2009 - LA Times - Robert Lopez and My-Thuan Tran)
California homeowners facing insurance rate hikes (September 01, 2009 - LA Times - Marc Lifsher)

High Res Fire Pictures, On the fire lines:
Southland Fire Pictures
Have you fled your home? Does the smoke get in your eyes? We want to know
Los Angeles fire map: Mount Wilson, La Cañada Flintridge, Altadena, La Crescenta, Acton
Los Angles Times Readers post photos of the fires here
LA County Fire Dept Website
LA Times Fires Twitter Page <- get updates on the fire
LA Times list of School Closures
LA Times list of Road Closures
Air quality at hazardous levels in foothill cities
Air Quality Maps of Califoria

August 31, 2009 Fire post

Fire grows to more than 122,000 acres; officials hope for improved conditions [Updated] (Sept 01, 2009 - LA Times - Hector Becerra at Hansen Dam)

I'm leaving for my internship and won't be back online for several hours. Just post up links and pictures and stuff on the fire and I'll them later.

Take care ontd_p'ers in Cali. Our thoughts are with you.
Akuma River

Middle aged Internet facing barriers to its growth and freedom

As Internet turns 40, barriers threaten its growth (August 30, 2009 - Huffington Post - ANICK JESDANUN)

NEW YORK — Goofy videos weren't on the minds of Len Kleinrock and his team at UCLA when they began tests 40 years ago on what would become the Internet. Neither was social networking, for that matter, nor were most of the other easy-to-use applications that have drawn more than a billion people online.

Instead the researchers sought to create an open network for freely exchanging information, an openness that ultimately spurred the innovation that would later spawn the likes of YouTube, Facebook and the World Wide Web.

There's still plenty of room for innovation today, yet the openness fostering it may be eroding. While the Internet is more widely available and faster than ever, artificial barriers threaten to constrict its growth.

Call it a mid-life crisis.
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What do you guys think?
Akuma River

Ezra Klein: The Gang of 6 says FU to bipartisan healthcare

The Gang of Six Appears to be Dead -- But How Many of Them Know It? (August 31, 2009 - WaPo - Exra Klein)

The White House has, for the first time, spoken out against a member of Max Baucus's "Gang of Six." After Mike Enzi used the GOP's weekly radio to attack the Democrats' health-care plan for promoting "the rationing of [America's] health care," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs fired back that Enzi "clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship and decided that it's time to walk away from the table."

Everyone I've spoken to in the Senate believes, strongly, that this process is about to break down, and the Democrats are going to move forward on a more partisan basis. Presumably, the Republicans in the Gang of Six process have heard the same and have no interest in looking like fools when that happens. And so they're beginning to use their positions in the negotiations not to further the cause of a final bill, but to enhance their stature as spokesmen for the opposition. Grassley, as noted earlier, is sending out fundraising e-mails attacking "Obama-care." Enzi is lacerating Democratic ideas under the banner of his party. As far as I can tell, the Gang of Six process is already dead. What's happening now is that the participants seem to be raiding its corpse.

The rep in the video just keeps yammering on and on with GOP lies.
i want joe biden i need joe biden

President Scarborough? "Morning Joe" Would Be a Viable Threat To Obama in 2012

The ever-shrinking right-wing-nutjob base can have Sarah Palin. My early money for the Republican Party's next presidential nominee is MSNBC pundit and former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough. In case you haven't noticed, this Joe has been more ubiquitous lately than a cup of Starbucks Java on a New York morning. He's everywhere these days, all dressed up (suits vs fleece) with only one place he'd probably love to go: the White House. And if he plays his cards right, he could give President Barack Obama a very difficult challenge in 2012.

Scarborough's been smartly playing the moderate card lately, which is not what we can say for some of the other 2012 "front-runners" like Palin, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee. These guys are so fringe in their ideology that they could never appeal to the all-important middle.

So what does Morning Joe have going for him? To begin with, he has legislative experience, having served Florida's 1st Congressional District from 1995-2001. And, having the hometown advantage in this hotly contested state would be a huge asset in a run for the presidency.

He's also a shrewd operative and knows the issues. He's a fiscal and foreign policy conservative and, though it's been eight years since he was in Congress, where he was socially conservative as well, he's embraced the center, especially when it comes to the environment, immigration and human rights. He's extremely articulate, charismatic and telegenic with a warm squint in the eye and a winning grin. A straight-talking George W. Bush-basher who's savvy and calculating enough to sense he can capitalize on his party's incredible frustration and dissatisfaction with its past and current leadership, as well as tap the wave of disenchantment among Democrats and Independents. He's a young (46) Tonight-Show-ready guitar player who could be the closest thing ever to the GOP's version of Camelot. And, he has great national exposure through his morning television program as well as constant appearances on other high profile NBC shows such as Meet the Press.

Scarborough presents one of the biggest potential threats to Obama, who voters will be judging, one way or another, over his handling of Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy and health-care....and how far he's perceived to have shifted the country's politics uncomfortably to the left. To be sure, the president is facing many uphill battles while staring at precipitous declines in his approval rating. He has failed to connect with voters over his health-care reform bill; needs to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs; has been under attack for racking up massive deficits; needs to figure out a successful Iraq exit strategy; and is stuck with a difficult war in Afghanistan, which is getting worse by the nanosecond. He's going to have to be nothing short of a miracle-man these next 2-3 years if he's to survive politically and fend off challenges from viable opponents like "The Scar."

Source: Andy Ostroy @ HuffPo


Obama Admin Planning To Revive High-Impact Civil Rights Enforcement

Obama Admin Planning To Revive High-Impact Civil Rights Enforcement

The Justice Department is moving forward with plans to expand its civil rights division, pursuing cases of discrimination in the workplace, housing and voting rights.

From his first day on the job, Attorney General Eric Holder has pledged to strengthen the Civil Rights Division he inherited from the Bush administration.

A scathing internal Justice Department report earlier this year found Bush administration officials politicized hiring and job assignments within the division, favoring conservatives whom one official called "real Americans."

At his confirmation hearing, Holder called the allegations disturbing and said the Obama administration was committed to an energetic and nonpartisan approach to the nation's civil rights laws.

He underscored those points in an interview in Tuesday's editions of The New York Times.

As part of the effort, the Obama administration is boosting funding to hire more staff for civil rights, and Holder said earlier this year that the effort will take years, not months.

The attorney general has said he wants to return to the traditions of civil rights legal work that existed at the Department before the Bush administration, calling the effort a reconstruction of how the division used to work.

The civil rights division was formed in the late 1950s, and has often been at the center of contentious debates over racial equality in the years since, from voting rights to busing to affirmative action.
Akuma River

George Will needs to STFU about things he does not understand

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan (September 01, 2009 - WaPo - George F. Will)

"Yesterday," reads the e-mail from Allen, a Marine in Afghanistan, "I gave blood because a Marine, while out on patrol, stepped on a [mine's] pressure plate and lost both legs." Then "another Marine with a bullet wound to the head was brought in. Both Marines died this morning."

"I'm sorry about the drama," writes Allen, an enthusiastic infantryman willing to die "so that each of you may grow old." He says: "I put everything in God's hands." And: "Semper Fi!"

Allen and others of America's finest are also in Washington's hands. This city should keep faith with them by rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan, where, says the Dutch commander of coalition forces in a southern province, walking through the region is "like walking through the Old Testament."

U.S. strategy -- protecting the population -- is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about "deteriorating" (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions. The war already is nearly 50 percent longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.

The U.S. strategy is "clear, hold and build." Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.
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try again

turning all our children into hooligans and whores!

TOKYO -- Japan appears to be in the midst of a marijuana epidemic of unprecedented proportions.

In the past six months alone, four sumo wrestlers have been kicked out of the sport for using the drug and a player on the national rugby team was banned for life. In addition, police have arrested a rock star and staged high-profile raids at some of the nation's top universities, arresting students and confiscating Ziploc bags full of suspicious substances.

To many non-Japanese, the thought of sumo wrestlers smoking weed to foster the munchies and pack on the pounds may seem like the punch-line of a joke. And the idea of rock stars or university students partying with illicit drugs hardly seems scandalous in celebrity circles or on university campuses.

But in Japan, these incidents have shocked the nation. They received front-page coverage. And they prompted television exposes and editorials like the one in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper earlier this month that said, "Our incipient cannabis pollution must be contained at all costs."

The penalty for the possession and use of marijuana in Japan is severe -- not only in terms of prison time (Paul McCartney famously spent 10 nights in jail here after being arrested for possession in 1980). When a player for Japan's national rugby team tested positive for marijuana earlier this month, he was banned from the national teamforever and the professional team he also plays on, sponsored by electronics maker Toshiba, has suspended all team activities until the end of March and has withdrawn from the ongoing national championship out of shame. Smoke on that, Michael Phelps.

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Pat Buchanan's creepy crypto-Nazi apologetics continues

Pat Buchanan, speech writer for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, wrote the speech Reagan gave at Bitburg, Germany, over the graves of SS soldiers, wherein he said that the SS soldiers were as much victims of WWII as Jews. (The Ramones wrote a song about this.)

Did Hitler Want War?

Pat Buchanan Tue Sep 1, 3:00 am ET

Creators Syndicate – On Sept. 1, 1939, 70 years ago, the German Army crossed the Polish frontier. On Sept. 3, Britain declared war.

Six years later, 50 million Christians and Jews had perished. Britain was broken and bankrupt, Germany a smoldering ruin. Europe had served as the site of the most murderous combat known to man, and civilians had suffered worse horrors than the soldiers.

By May 1945, Red Army hordes occupied all the great capitals of Central Europe: Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin. A hundred million Christians were under the heel of the most barbarous tyranny in history: the Bolshevik regime of the greatest terrorist of them all, Joseph Stalin.

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70Th Anniversary of the beginning of World War Two marked in Europe.

Poland marked the occasion with a sunrise ceremony.

In Germany Angela Merkel gave the following speech...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- representatives of the two countries that invaded Poland in September 1939, starting the war -- were to take part in the commemoration later in the day.

Merkel told Germany's ARD television Tuesday that her country would never forget the "causes and effects" of the war.

"Germany triggered the Second World War," she said. "We brought endless suffering to the world."
  • Current Music
    NKVDemon " on the bones of our ememies"

(no subject)

Costco removes "Lil' Monkey" dolls from shelves

Wash. (AP) -- Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday apologized to any of its customers who may have been offended by a doll the company pulled from its stores after a complaint about possible racist connotations.

The doll wore a headband that said "Lil' Monkey" and was cuddling with a stuffed monkey. The "Cuddle with Me, Doll with Plush Monkey" doll came in Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic representations.

But shortly after the toys were put up for sale in late July, Costco received a complaint from a customer in North Carolina concerning the version of the doll that showed an African-American baby with the monkey.

Costco immediately pulled the doll from its shelves and discontinued the product. The Issaquah, Wash.-based retailer said the doll was carried only in its Northeast and Southeast regions and the company's Web site and was only for sale for a matter of days before it was pulled.

A number of reports and Web sites have criticized the retailer for carrying the product, and Costco said it apologizes.

"We are sensitive to any complaint that a product we carry would cause discomfort to any segment of our membership," Costco CEO Jim Sinegal said in a statement. "As soon as it became clear to us that this toy item was offensive to some of our members, we decided to remove it from our warehouses. We don't believe there is room for argument in matters of this type, even though it was an honest mistake, made while we were attempting to do the right thing."

Costco continues to carry the version of the doll that shows the baby cuddling with a panda.


(no subject)

Women Are Sort of More Tentative Than Men, Aren't They?

August 24, 2009

Women hedge, issue disclaimers and ask questions when they communicate, language features that can suggest uncertainty, lack of confidence and low status. But men do the same, according to new research from the University of California, Davis.

"It's a stereotype that men are direct while women are tentative. I debunk that stereotype," said Nicholas Palomares, assistant professor of communication at UC Davis.


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Wait, what?

Gonzales defends Holder's decision on CIA

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Tuesday defended the decision of his current successor, Eric H. Holder Jr., to investigate alleged prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators over President Obama's desire to look forward.

"As chief prosecutor of the United States, he should make the decision on his own, based on the facts, then inform the White House," said Mr. Gonzales, who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 1995 and resigned in 2007.

Mr. Gonzales also said Bush administration lawyers clearly defined what interrogation techniques were legal and the few who went beyond the rules should be investigated, despite the potential "chilling effect" it would have on future intelligence-gathering.

"We worked very hard to establish ground rules and parameters about how to deal with terrorists," he said. "And if people go beyond that, I think it is legitimate to question and examine that conduct to ensure people are held accountable for their actions, even if it's action in prosecuting the war on terror."

Still, Mr. Gonzales, 54, acknowledged the unrest within the CIA over such a "preliminary review," which could lead to a larger investigation.

"I've talked to friends of mine in the CIA, and there is a great deal of concern," he told The Washington Times' "America's Morning News" radio show. "People are scared about taking actions that might be legal but in any way controversial. They're just not going to do it."

Mr. Gonzales said the U.S. attorney general has a "great deal of discretion" in such matters, and he said he has no inside information on whether Mr. Holder made the decision alone, as reported, to name federal prosecutor John Durham to conduct the review, then informed Mr. Obama, who can overrule him.

Still, he expressed his confidence that Mr. Holder is concerned only about the "one percent of actors" who went beyond the guideline of Justice Department lawyers, not conducting a witch hunt.

The other 99 percent "are heroes and and should be treated like heroes for the most part, not criminals," he said.


Huh.  Wow, maybe he does have a conscience after all.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins Laughs Off Uninsured Single Mother (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins stood just a few feet away as a young mother expressed frustration at not being able to afford a doctor for her son, but Jenkins was not swayed from her opposition to a new government-run insurance plan.

Jenkins, a freshman Republican representing the 2nd District of eastern Kansas, is part of a GOP-dominated congressional delegation that has largely decided against what's become known as the public option in federal health care reform. The delegation -- split 5-1 in favor of the GOP -- went into its summer recess opposed to the idea, and nothing in the town hall meetings Republicans have held appears to have changed that.

After several people at town hall meeting in Ottawa advocated a public option, Jenkins reached a not-so-surprising conclusion.

"We're just going to agree to disagree about the public option," she said.

One person in disagreement was Elizabeth Smith, a 27-year-old Ottawa waitress who wanted to know what was wrong with a government-run plan for Americans who are currently uninsured. Smith's 2 1/2-year-old son, Jonah, sat on a nearby table, swinging his legs, as his mother questioned Jenkins.

Jenkins told Smith she'd rather give subsidies to families to allow them to buy private insurance.

When asked directly why she was against a government-run program, Jenkins laughed and said, "A government-run program is going to subsidize not only yours but everybody in this room. So I'm not sure what we're talking about here."

Watch, via Mike Nellis [1:47 minute mark]:

Afterward, Smith said her son hasn't been to a doctor in 21 months, except for emergency room visits for ear infections, because she can't afford either insurance or a doctor's visit.

"I am frustrated," she said. "In a functioning, civil society, people take care of each other."

Jenkins is already under scrutiny for her remark last week that the Republican Party needs a "great white hope" to lead them back to power.


So, basically, the GOP reasoning behind a majority of Americans wanting a public health care option is......SO?   How very Cheney of them.

ETA:  I meant to say....."So, basically, the GOP response to a majority of Americans wanting a public health care option is......SO?   How very Cheney of them."
comics, hug

(no subject)

Katie Callaway Hall trembled for four hours when she heard Phillip Garrido was arrested.

Katie Callaway Hall said she wanted to scream when she heard that Phillio Garrido kidnapped someone else.

"I screamed," she told CNN's Larry King on Monday night. "I started screaming 'Oh my god, Oh my god, it's him.' "

She has thought about him every day since November 22, 1976 when he asked her for a ride at a supermarket in California, before handcuffing her, binding her and taking her to a mini-warehouse in Reno, Nevada, where he raped her.

Garrido was convicted for kidnapping and raping Hall, but was released after serving just over 10 years of a 50-year sentence. He was labeled a sex offender and put on lifetime parole.

"In many ways, the capture of Phillip Garrido has closed a chapter in my life," Hall wrote for a Larry King blog. "I don't have to hide anymore. I don't have to live every day of my life wondering if he is looking for me. I am finally free from the fear I have lived with since the day I learned he was paroled."

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Canada's Ex-Attorney General Michael Bryant held after fatal accident

This story is insane - drag a cyclist and drive the wrong way down the road trying to 'shake' the cyclist who is clinging to your car - then run them over?? wtf?

Former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant is reportedly being interviewed in connection with the death of a cyclist in downtown Toronto.

"The person that we have [in custody] is merely under investigation. There have been no formal charges laid," said Toronto police spokesman Sgt. Tim Burrows.

Michael Bryant sits in the back of a Toronto police cruiser. (Tony Smyth/CBC) Police would not confirm that Bryant was the driver of a car involved in the incident, nor would they say if charges are pending.

But they have told CBC News that homicide detectives have been called in to investigate because of the "complex nature" of the incident, which began near the corner of Bloor Street West and Bay Street at about 9:45 p.m. ET on Monday night.

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Some photos at the source.

Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
  • doop

World's oldest dog dies in NY at 21 — or 147

A wire-haired dachshund that held the record as the world's oldest dog and celebrated its last birthday with a party at a dog hotel and spa has died at age 21 — or 147 in dog years.

The dog, named Chanel, died Friday of natural causes at her owners' home in suburban Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island.

Chanel, as stylish as her legendary namesake, wore tinted goggles for her cataracts in her later years and favored sweaters because she was sensitive to the cold, owners Denice and Karl Shaughnessy said Monday.

The playful dachshund was only 6 weeks old when Denice Shaughnessy, then serving with the U.S. Army, adopted her from a shelter in Newport News, Va.

Along with her owner, Chanel spent nine years on assignment in Germany, where she became adept at stealing sticks of butter from kitchen countertops and hiding them in sofa cushions in the living room, Shaughnessy said. She also liked chocolate, usually considered toxic to dogs, Shaughnessy said.

"She once ate an entire bag of Reese's peanut butter cups, and, you see, she lived to be 21, so go figure," Shaughnessy added.

Karl Shaughnessy nominated Chanel for the title of world's oldest dog after noticing the Guinness World Records book had no record.

Guinness World Records officials presented Chanel with a certificate as the world's oldest dog at a Manhattan birthday bash hosted by a private pet food company in May.

Chanel loved the party, especially the cake, which had a peanut butter flavor and had been made for dogs, Denice Shaughnessy said.

Chanel exercised daily and ate home-cooked chicken with her dog food, but good care wasn't entirely responsible for her long life, said her owners, who attributed God.

"Dogs are God's angels sent here to look out for us," Denice Shaughnessy said.

A dog from New Iberia, La., named Max, is vying for the record of world's oldest dog. Owner Janelle Derouen said Max marked his 26th birthday on Aug. 9. She said Guinness World Records officials were reviewing documents to authenticate his age; a Guinness World Records official in London didn't immediately answer an e-mail from The Associated Press requesting confirmation of that.

When asked the secret to her dog's long life, Derouen said she was shocked he's still with her.

"I have five kids, and all my kids are grown and gone," she said. "Now my grandkids are playing with this dog."


(no subject)

Samar Saed Abdullah's entire body trembles as she speaks about her impending execution. She thinks of the gallows room, the noose around her neck and that moment when she will take her final breath.

"My life is meaningless," she said, choking on her tears. "I can't think of anything else. The other women, we try to help each other, but we cannot escape the reality that we are on death row and they can take us at any second."

The 27-year-old Iraqi woman is sentenced to die in connection with the slayings of three relatives in January 2005. She looks pale and frail, her face sallow, her eyes bloodshot. She shakes with each sob, anxiously twisting a tissue in her hands.

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Oh, Betsy McCaughey <3

McCaughey returns to CNBC with another false health care attack

August 31, 2009 8:40 am ET — 70 Comments

On CNBC, serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey again advanced a falsehood about health care reform, claiming that the "legislation that's now in Congress will force everyone under age 65 to buy the same one-size-fits-all government plan" and that "Page 16" of the House bill "says you must be enrolled in a qualified plan." In fact, McCaughey's claims are false; the provision she referred to does not require anyone to give up their private individual health insurance plan.

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Huff Po
amélie: gnome

Liberals push for fall election

Opposition will call for no-confidence vote at '1st available opportunity': Rae

The Liberals say they will try to trigger the defeat of Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government at the earliest possible date this fall, delivering a message to the prime minister: "Your time is up."

In a campaign-style address to supporters in Sudbury, Ont., where his caucus is meeting, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Tuesday that Harper has failed to meet the four conditions the Liberals set out for him in June to remain in power.

"You’ve failed to protect the most vulnerable, you’ve failed to create jobs, you’ve failed to defend our health care, you’ve failed to restore our public finances," Ignatieff said.

"We cannot support this government any further. After four years of drift, four years of denial, four years of division, four years of discord, Mr. Harper, your time is up."

A Liberal government, Ignatieff pledged, would return "competence and compassion" to the federal government to replace an "incompetent" Harper government that "doesn't care."

"The secret weapon on our side is Stephen Harper's record," he said. "We can do better."

Ignatieff also hit out at Harper for not seeing the recession coming and predicting during the last election that the government wouldn't run a deficit, while also failing to stand up for Canada and Canadians abroad.

"You can't count on a government that can't count," he said.

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Oh, Iggy.


Poland angry at Soviet/ Russian role in World war two...

Polish President Lech Kaczynski has voiced his anger at the Soviet role in World War II at commemorations marking the beginning of the global conflict.

In front of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other world leaders, Mr Kaczynski said the 1939 Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact had divided Europe.

At an earlier event in the port city of Gdansk, he had described Russia's actions as a "stab in the back".

Mr Putin said all pacts with the Nazis were "morally unacceptable".

The day of ceremonies began at the exact time and location where, on 1 September 1939, a German battleship fired at a Polish fort on Westerplatte peninsula - the first shots of World War II.

Speaking at the dawn ceremony, Mr Kaczynski, referring to the occupation of eastern Poland by Soviet forces a fortnight later, said: "On 17 September... Poland received a stab in the back... This blow came from Bolshevik Russia."

(Sorry the video is not up on the BBC world news page at you tube yet)

The other problem is of course the Katyn massacre.

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    the grasshoppers " Munssistrasse"
HP - Felix Felicis = Dan Rad IRL

Michael Steele Town Hall Oh God.

Okay, ONTD_P. Our favorite guy Michael Steele is coming to speak at my college TONIGHT in a town hall style setting and I need your help:


I know I'll prob be like this for most of it but SACRIFICES AND ALL:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Please and thank you!
Red Scribbly Heart

Bryant charged with criminal negligence after crash

Ontario's former attorney general has been charged with criminal negligence causing death after a fatal collision that occurred in the city's Yorkville district on Monday night.

Michael Bryant was held in custody overnight for questioning inside the Traffic Services unit on Hanna Avenue since late last night.

He left Tuesday afternoon, accompanied by his lawyer and made a brief, emotional statement to the media.

"I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family of (the deceased cyclist) Mr. (Darcy Allen) Sheppard," he said, choking back tears. "To all those who offered support to my family in the last 12 hours, thank you."

He asked the media to respect his family's need for distance and privacy for the next few days and asked for understanding for not making further comments on the incident.

Bryant, 43, has also been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

The fatal crash is the result of an apparent altercation that took place between a motorist and a cyclist over several blocks on Bloor Street, from Church Street to Avenue Road, just before 10 p.m.

The 33-year-old cyclist later died.

News cameras at the scene of the accident captured the former politician in the back seat of a cruiser. A car registered to a Michael Bryant was also seen at the scene of the crash.

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How The Profit-Hungry "Medical-Industrial Complex" Hurts Health Care (VIDEO)

"Bill Moyers Journal" aired a new documentary on its show Friday about how the "medical-industrial complex" affects America's health care. Based on the book "Money-Driven Medicine" by Maggie Mahar, the film looks at why our health care costs are so high and yet the care is so often lacking.

Mahar, who has reported on health care for years, explains the situation as follows:
What I learned, during those years, is that in our health care system, profits often trump patients. A great many people are selling and selling hard. By law, for-profit corporations are supposed to put their shareholders' interests first: this means that they must strive to maximize profits. And this goes a long way toward explaining why U.S. healthcare is so expensive.

Watch a clip from the film below. See the whole thing at Bill Moyers Journal.


Do go watch the video at the Bill Moyers Journal. There's a very fact-based talk about costs in medical care. It really goes to the core of why having health care as a profit-based industry is not in the best interests of patients.

At the very least, it should demonstrate in LETTERS 8 MILES HIGH how godawful our existing system is without reform.

ETA:  FYI, the film is split into multiple parts at the Bill Moyers site, so you have to click on Part 2 above the viewing window once Part 1 is finished.

(no subject)

Are Female Journalists Immune from Sexism?


Earlier this year, Tina Brown announced that Hillary Clinton needs to carve out time to go to the gym, while Laura Ingram launched a jab about Meghan McCain's weight. Chloe Angyal from SpliceToday is wondering: why all the woman-on-woman hate?

Angyal neatly sidesteps the ever popular "catfighting women!" angle and instead shifts the focus on why so many conversations about prominent women in the public eye revolve around their physical appearance. She writes:

It's notable that in both of these cases, women were attacking their own. In an age where "bitchy" women make for big news and big box office, it would be easy to imagine that women are to blame for their own double-bind. But the truth is, America has a widespread cultural discomfort with women in positions of power. Sexist remarks about Clinton's appearance and demeanor, made by Chris Matthews and other pundits, were infuriatingly frequent during last year's primaries.

Indeed they were. As you may remember, the Women's Media Center put together a video for their campaign Sexism Sells, But We Aren't Buying It, released during the height of the election season:

Sadly, this can't just be blamed on the crush of the election cycle - the gendered attacks on women working in and around politics have continued to this very day.

I fully cosign with Angyal when she concludes:

The time has come for America to decide: are we going to be a nation in which any person, regardless of their appearance, can contribute their valuable ideas to our public debate? Or are we going to continue to waste time, and women's talent, chatting about lipstick, hairstyles, shorts and pantsuits?

The Female Journalists Who Weigh Down Political Discussion [Splice Today]


Soldier’s Service Leads to a Custody Battle at Home

TEANECK, N.J. — During the 10 months she was deployed in Iraq, Leydi Mendoza, a 22-year-old specialist in the New Jersey National Guard, did everything she could think of to ease her longing for the year-old daughter she had left back home.

A picture taken on her baby Elizabeth’s first Christmas was tucked inside the camouflage patrol cap she wore while guarding prisoners at Camp Cropper in Baghdad. Several times a week, she would phone her former companion, Daniel Llares, who was caring for their daughter, aching as she heard her little girl’s vocabulary grow from babble to phrases like “I miss you” and “I love you.”

And on the flight back in May, Specialist Mendoza fought back the guilt she felt about being half a world away for so many formative moments by telling herself that one day Elizabeth would be proud of her service.

But since her return, Mr. Llares has allowed Ms. Mendoza only a few brief visits with Elizabeth. Despite a written family care plan they had worked out with military officials outlining shared custody upon her return, Mr. Llares now believes it is too disruptive for the baby to spend more than a few hours at a time with “a mother she doesn’t really know or recognize that well,” said his lawyer, Amy Lefkowitz.

After months of arguments, an exchange of legal papers and a restraining order, Specialist Mendoza and Mr. Llares each are demanding full custody of Elizabeth, and are scheduled to appear at a court proceeding Tuesday to determine her fate.

“My daughter needs her mother,” Specialist Mendoza said in an interview last week at the National Guard Armory here in Teaneck. “I left my daughter, and they told me that when I got back, she’d be with me again. But now, it’s like I’m on my own.”

Custody disputes involving returning members of the service have long been an unpleasant fact of military life, but the increasing number of women involved in combat overseas has brought new wrinkles. The Pentagon does not keep statistics on such custody disputes, but military family counselors said they knew of at least five recent situations around the country like the struggle over Elizabeth, in which a mother who served overseas is fighting for more access to her child. Some advocates say an unspoken bias against mothers who leave their young children has heightened both legal barriers and social stigma when these women try to resume their role as active parents.

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Nino will protect the Church?

Connecticut diocese wants Nino Scalia to cover up for it?
"The appeal to the court's most stridently Catholic member, whose son is a priest, smacks of desperation and favoritism," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Ralph Johnson III, attorney for the diocese, declined to respond directly Clohessy's comments but said Scalia was selected because he ruled as an appeals judge on one of the central issues in the case related to the definition of court documents. Johnson also said under the custom of the court a reconsideration of a stay is typically taken up by all nine justices.

Maybe it's just for the latter reason, but I don't know.

"That old man is comforting the victims of a disaster? MY GOD, DON'T YOU SEE HOW DANGEROUS HE IS?!"

China -- showing its displeasure with the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan this week -- has canceled upcoming trips to the island by top state officials, state-run media reported.

Beijing has accused the exiled Tibetan leader of making his visit for political reasons.

China's response appeared to be measured, because not all cross-strait events have been canceled. Several new direct flights between the mainland and Taiwan started this week.

The Dalai Lama has maintained that he is in Taiwan only to support recent typhoon victims.

He addressed thousands of followers at Kaohsiung Arena in southern Taiwan on Tuesday, leading prayers for the victims of last month's Typhoon Morakot before delivering a sermon.

The spiritual leader spoke to a packed audience of about 15,000. Crowds lined up early, well ahead of the 9:30 a.m. start.

The allegations by the Chinese government began dogging him before his arrival in Taiwan. He has said he will not meet with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to avoid politicizing the trip.

"As soon as I received the invitation, I know there's some complications maybe. But it is my sort of moral responsibility to come and to see, show my face, to those people who are passing through a difficult period," the Dalai Lama said in a CNN interview.

Typhoon Morakot dumped more than 3.3 meters (100 inches) of rain on the island before moving onto the mainland. The resulting flooding and landslides killed at least 543 people, Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center said last week, with possibly hundreds still missing.

Xinhua reported Sunday that Beijing maintains "resolute opposition" to the visit, which it said "is bound to have a negative influence on the relations between the mainland and Taiwan."

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


GOP readies wave of objections to stall healthcare bill in Senate

GOP readies wave of objections to stall healthcare bill in Senate

Sen. Judd Gregg has hundreds of procedural objections ready for a healthcare plan Democrats want to speed through the Senate.

Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Budget Committee, told The Hill in a recent interview that Republicans will wage a vicious fight if Democrats try to circumvent Senate rules and use a budget maneuver to pass a trillion-dollar healthcare plan with a simple majority.

The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) leaves Democrats with 59 Senate seats — one shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. That, combined with the pushback from Republican negotiators, has prompted Democratic leaders to look more closely at using budget reconciliation to push a healthcare overhaul through.

The maneuver was originally intended to help reduce the federal deficit by allowing spending cuts and tax increases to pass by majority vote, but it has since been used to fast-track wider-scope legislation, such as former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts.

Republicans, however, warn that if Democrats attempt the maneuver, their healthcare bill will end up looking like Swiss cheese.

Gregg said that Republicans could file “hundreds” of points-of-order objections to the bill, each one requiring 60 votes to waive.

“We are very much engaged in taking a hard look at our rights under reconciliation,” Gregg said. “It would be very contentious.”
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Me - Not Amused :|

Michael Steele Town Hall Interrupted By Pro Health-Care Reform Advocates


This is all I have time to post tonight but this was the most intense part of Michael Steele's "town hall" thing today at Howard, also attended by some George Washington University students. I may do a follow up with more video and photos tomorrow but this is all you all are getting tonight. It may hit C-SPAN and even be on the other cable news channels tomorrow, we'll see (they were all there).

He started off charming enough, talking about how party doesn't matter as much as dedication for helping people blah blah blah black people blah blah blah aspiring for your dreams blah blah blah. So eventually a woman named Amanda Duzak (she may be from who is pro-health care reform stood up as Steele was blathering on about OMG UR GONNA HAVE TO PAY FOR UR HEALTH INSURANCE WHEN YOU GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE OMG TAXES TAXES TAXES. She wasn't from Howard, but she was from some school in Maryland and gave her piece and mentioned that her mom died from cancer because she couldn't afford insurance. I'm not pro-heckling but I agreed with her and I'm glad she spoke up, especially since the format wasn't very interactive. But Steele was rude and was like, "Congrats you made the news". Then some immature idiots were like "OOOOOOH" like this was high school. Blah, the juicy stuff starts around 2:15:

"It makes for great TV. You'll probably make it tonight, enjoy it."

I'm sorry if the camera is shaky and that the sound isn't perfect (I used my camera) but here it is. Again, it may make the news tomorrow.

I talked to the woman and her friends afterward and gave her my support and we exchanged email address.

Again, I'll share more tomorrow about the experience but for now, here's some ridiculousness. CAN I GET A NEGRO PLZ?

ETA: CSPAN linkage. Good stuff starts around 47:00.

ETA 2: Huffington Post Review

The Bush Administration: American Diplomats Advocated "Nuremberg Defense"

American Diplomats Advocated "Nuremberg Defense"

Two newly-obtained documents show how American diplomats during the Bush administration worked tenaciously to incorporate what is commonly known as the Nuremberg Defense into a new international convention addressing enforced disappearances.

The rejection of the notion that government agents could avoid liability for crimes by arguing that they were simply following orders had been a bedrock principle of the American government ever since shortly after the end of World War II, when that defense was employed during the Nuremberg war-crimes trials.

But the new documents, obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information Act litigation, show how State Department officials tried to establish what they called "the good soldier defense" -- in this case, the right of government agents charged with seizing and holding people in violation of international law to claim as a defense that they acted in good faith based on representations as to the legality of the conduct they were undertaking.

American officials found themselves "virtually alone" at the negotiating table with this position, facing criticism from long-established allies, the documents show. The efforts occurred in the context of a proposed "Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances" in 2004 and 2006. The documents are available here and here.

Previously released documents show how Bush administration lawyers in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel gave government agents legal cover to conduct a variety of actions, including torture, that critics say were flatly contrary to domestic law.

"What the OLC memos did on a domestic basis, these documents show American diplomats attempting to do on the international stage," said Joanne Mariner, an analyst at Human Rights Watch with expertise on the U.S. extraordinary renditions program.

The documents show that the diplomats struggled against the prohibition on "disappearings" in other ways as well. They sought an exception from the requirement that it be incorporated in specific criminal legislation, arguing that this was difficult for a federal state to do since criminal law was largely the responsibility of the states. They also opposed the idea that a state be required to disclose basic information about prisoners it holds.Collapse )

Hey Guyz! Dont forget to get a Copy of the USS Constitution!!

Protester Holds Up Copy Of "U.S.S Constitution" To Prove That Congress Can't Regulate Health Care (VIDEO)

Think Progress catches an amusing moment at a seemingly virulent protest against health care reform. At one point, a protester brandishes a copy of what he calls the "U.S.S. Constitution" in order to prove the false point that the federal government doesn't have the right to regulate health care.

Think Progress has more on this new false talking point about health care. Watch the video of the protest below.


Protester: Right here. I got a book here called the U.S.S. Constitution. I'm sure everybody's seen this before. And you know what? I've this book three times now, and I've referenced it dozens of times and I can't find one little paragraph in here that says the government has the right to take over our health care.

WorldNutDaily too much for Some Conservatives...

WorldNetDaily Faces An Organized Challenge From The Right

If you've ever suffered yourself to visit conservative website WorldNetDaily, you've probably despaired at the collection of nonsense and mental derangement and thought that surely the world would be a better place if the place was more regularly and rigorously challenged, especially given its propensity to propel toxic memes, such as "birtherism," into the larger discourse. Well, there's a movement afoot to "organize against" this cuckoo-bananas clearinghouse -- and, laudably, it's a movement from the right.

Over at The Next Right, Jon Henke pulls this paragraph from a recent story in the Boston Herald and calls it "hideously embarrassing":
In a second warning, the Web site says that the government is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents.

Jerome Corsi, the author of "The Obama Nation," an anti-Obama book,
says that a proposal in Congress "appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany."

Naturally, this is all unhinged idiocy. And Henke gets right to the point:
In the 1960's, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being "so far removed from common sense" and later said "We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner."

The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet. The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration. For instance, I have been told that F.I.R.E (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) - an otherwise respectable group that does important work - uses the WND email list. They should stop.

This makes a great deal of sense. And it calls to mind a problem that Matt Yglesias brought up earlier this year:
I was observing the other day that the big problem conservatives are facing in the new media climate is that despite a plethora of outlets they don't have the skills to generate original information and research products in nearly the same volume that generally progressive outlets manage. And to clarify, the issue here is a human capital deficit rather than a financial one. There are a great many people employed in conservative media, and thus conservative media could easily support the salaries of a number of crackerjack reporters. But the reporters just don't seem to be out there.
Henke, along with Patrick Ruffini and Soren Dayton, who also ply their trade at The Next Right, are working right at the center of the technology/reportage deficit that Yglesias hit on. And they've correctly identified WorldNetDaily as an institution that works at cross-purposes to their efforts, driving simple-minded, conspiracy-based foolishness upstream into the mainstream newshole and the mouths of naive conservative politicians such as the oft-mocked Michele Bachmann (Minn.).

There's a similar abundance of bizarreness on the left, if you know where to look for it, but over time, a more sensible media apparatus has taken precedence. Outfits like Talking Points Memo, Greg Sargent's The Plum Line and Yglesias' own ThinkProgress put an emphasis on reporting and research and tend to eschew the sort of claptrap that WorldNetDaily pumps through the conservative online bloodstream. Henke and his colleagues seem to recognize the need for a similar apparatus on the right, and such efforts should be cheered on by all, because success would be a net gain for the substance of our ideological debates and political discourse.

Think about this. On The Ed Show, Ed Schultz has a daily feature called "Psycho Talk," where he ridicules the sort of feeble-minded bilge that emanates from places like WorldNetDaily. He scores points regularly, but -- take it from one who knows! -- these points are very cheaply won. Imagine if those opportunities were not there?

David Frum: The Long Road Back [Spectator]

UPDATE: As many have pointed out, one of the first entities that should disassociate itself from World Net Daily is the RNC. Media Matters has a screenshot, here.

Henke's updated his original post with this information, specific to the RNC:
I have also inquired with the RNC, which appears to have recently paid for access to the WorldNetDaily email list. I have not gotten a substantive response from the RNC yet.

In the meantime, I would encourage you to (a) email me with any substantive information you have on what other right-of-center groups advertise on, or rent email lists from, WorldNetDaily, and (b) email or call to let these groups know that Republican, conservative or libertarian groups should not support Birther/Concentration Camp conspiracy theories.