September 2nd, 2009

OTT British immigration laws scaring away students?

The "house full" sign went up at most of the country's top universities last week as students snapped up the few spare places in record time. But now some institutions are worried that, come the new term, there will be rows of empty seats.

There are signs that up to 20% fewer students could be enrolling this autumn, compared with what was expected for this year.

In April, the government overhauled the immigration system and introduced a points-based system for, among others, international students applying for study visas. So far, it has not been a success, as far as many in the sector can tell.

To get a visa, international students are now expected to show that they can afford their tuition fees 28 days before they apply, have at least an extra £600 a month and £400 for each dependant in living expenses, and to keep it all in a bank account in their own name for the first year of their study. They also need a biometric identity card and have to have received their exam results by the time they apply.

Agents who recruit international ­students for the UK's schools and universities say these requirements are too much and take too long.

Many more student visas are being rejected than in previous years, they say, encouraging students to give up on the UK and opt for Australia or the US for their higher education instead.
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Source: The Guardian
Hmm...yet more ID card-related fail. Colour me flabbergasted.
MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Executions and torture-induced confessions in Iraq

Iraqi woman fears execution, can't stop thinking of gallows

By Arwa Damon

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- 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.

We first met Samar in spring 2007, at al-Kadhimiya Women's Prison in Baghdad. She had been on death row for about two years, and she was terrified.

"I don't sleep at all on Wednesdays," she said then. "I stay up from morning until night, because that's the day they pick for executions."

Samar was sentenced to death by hanging for being an accessory to murder in the killings of her uncle, aunt and cousin -- slayings that she says were carried out at their home by her husband-to-be, who remains on the loose. She maintains that she is innocent, and there are disturbing questions about her conviction.

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Sarah Palin's New Comedy Show!

Sarah Palin's CLSA Speech May Be "Borat"-Style Practical Joke

Sarah Palin is planning her first trip to Hong Kong, having accepted one of a over a thousand speaking invitations. She may have chosen poorly.

Business Insider reports that the request from brokerage firm CLSA was made "almost certainly as a practical joke."
In the past, they've polled Asian fortune tellers for index targets, hired anime cartoonists to draw Japanese research, and generally love to push the boundaries between entertainment and analysis. They are a real research firm, it's just that they love to sprinkle in some hilarity every now and then as a smart marketing gimmick.

Sarah Palin is this year's big laugh for them.

"Our keynote speakers are notable luminaries who often address topics that go beyond traditional finance such as geopolitics," company spokeswoman Simone Wheeler said in a statement.

"We just felt it would be a fabulous opportunity for CLSA clients to hear from Mrs. Palin," Wheeler said, adding that CLSA approached Palin with the offer.

Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore said the story makes sense, given that Palin is hardly an investment expert: "If CLSA's purpose is comic relief in hiring her, they may get their money's worth... that's if she shows up."


The "Intolerance" Party? GOP Strategists Worry Ideologues Are Bad For The Party's Future

The "Intolerance" Party? GOP Strategists Worry Ideologues Are Bad For The Party's Future

A major rift has emerged within the Republican Party. On one side: Ideologues who are inciting the base with wild rhetoric and banking on a "great American awakening" that will sweep conservatives back into power. On the other: Strategists, who see the party's growing intolerance as a prescription for minority status.

So far, the ideologues are winning.

"Nobody helps the cause when they use name-calling instead of substantial criticism," says strategist Charlie Black, a senior adviser to almost every Republican presidential campaign since Ronald Reagan first ran.

But name-calling and demagoguery are the hallmarks of the movement conservatives and media celebrities like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who are increasingly being viewed as dominant forces in the modern GOP.

Palin's allegation that Obamacare would result in creation of government "death panels" has been widely criticized within her own party. Republican strategist Whit Ayres, who is no fan of the Democratic health care plan, noted: "Wildly inappropriate comments hurt the argument that the comments are supposed to support."

As early as last October, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks called Palin "a fatal cancer on the Republican Party," and George F. Will, a voice of the Republican establishment, dismissed the former Alaska governor as "an inveterate simplifier."

On July 28, Glenn Beck asserted on Fox News that Obama has "a deep hatred for the white people or the white culture...This guy, I believe, is a racist." And Rush Limbaugh -- not one to moderate his rhetoric - spent part of his August 6 broadcast discussing "the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi party in Germany."

Alex Castellanos, strategist and media consultant to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns and to Mitt Romney, said, "We have a case to make and sometimes I think we draw more attention to the battle than to the message."

Despite this intra-party struggle, there is one area of common ground: Both the strategic and ideological factions are convinced that the outspoken public opposition to the Obama health care plan voiced at House and Senate town halls during the August recess has been highly advantageous to the GOP. Conservative radio and television hosts have fanned the flames of protest but professional Republican operatives -- some of whom initially voiced concerns that the expressions of intense anger might backfire - are now on board.

The town hall forums on health care "have been a huge benefit," said Castellanos. "This has gone far beyond the base of Republican activists." Charlie Black, in turn, argued that "people who don't normally get involved are looking at the news stories and getting involved" in the health care debate. Ayres warned "incivility almost never helps," but added, "energy and passion go a long way toward furthering an argument. The town halls really raised serious doubts about the health care plan, and intensity matters in politics."

* * *

The split between Republican ideologues and strategists has deep roots. Many GOP operatives, consultants, and tacticians believe the party will be relegated to enduring minority status unless elected officials aggressively tone down and reach out: Tone down the hard-edged stands on such issues as gay marriage and abortion to avoid alienating socially liberal young voters; And reach out to minorities, specifically to Hispanics, once immigration returns to the front burner. Party professionals, in stark contrast to movement conservatives, argue for the necessity of a version of immigration reform which makes possible -- at least for some -- a "path" to citizenship.

"How about we actually look at ourselves as an ordinary, non-political business, selling a commercial product?" asks Republican consultant Bill Greener, founder of Greener & Hook. Citing the strength of Democrats among growing minority groups -- and the continuing Republican dependence on white support when the share of the electorate that is white is declining -- Greener poses the question, "Who would ever start down a path that essentially said that we will be strong in all the declining markets while we let our only significant competition be strong among the emerging and growing markets? Unless North Dakota suddenly gets 54 electoral votes, would someone please show me another way for Republicans to realistically conclude we can compete at the national level?"

On the "movement" side, social and fiscal conservatives are convinced that Democratic successes in 2006 and 2008 were aberrant -- caused by Republican wavering on core principals and the party's deviation from a hard line. In their view, the only change that is needed is the restoration of backbone. Democrats, they believe, will run aground on the shoals of reckless spending and failed "social engineering" -- giving the GOP renewed legitimacy.

This struggle has played out in the past in primary challenges to moderate Republicans from candidates aligned with the conservative Club for Growth. The current Republican conflict will be on center stage in the 2010 Texas Republican gubernatorial primary. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a centrist Republican, has announced that she will take on incumbent governor Rick Perry, a movement conservative.

"I do not want a governor who is going to narrow our base, make it dwindle," Hutchison told Texas voters. "I will work to build the Republican Party, not make it narrower." Perry, who has strong support from the far right of the party, countered: "it's a fight between a real, proven conservative and one who is not so conservative."
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Japan's new first lady says she went to Venus on a UFO

Japan's new first lady says rode UFO to Venus
Wed Sep 2, 2009 7:33am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's next prime minister might be nicknamed "the alien," but it's his wife who claims to have had a close encounter with another world.

"While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus," Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of premier-in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama, wrote in a book published last year.

"It was a very beautiful place and it was really green."

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Kinky Friedman enters Texas governor's race - as a Democrat

Kinky Friedman announces for governor - this time running as Democrat

12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 2, 2009

By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Kinky Friedman returned to the political ring Tuesday, announcing he will run for governor as a Democrat and trying to bring some star power to the race, which has been dominated by the Republican primary fight.

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[misc] your own sun
  • sarken

Vatican to Bishop: Wow, and we thought WE were extreme. GTFO.

Bishop Martino: Too Outspoken on Abortion for the Vatican?
Was an Anti-Abotion Bishop Too Outspoken?

By Amy Sullivan
Wednesday, Sep. 02, 2009

For suddenly departing politicans and CEOs, the standard line is to "spend time with my family." Now the Catholic church may have its own version of this unconvincing, stock answer. On Monday controversial Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino stunned longtime church-watchers by announcing that he was resigning his post because of problems with insomnia and fatigue.

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The tl;dr summary: Martino was so staunchly, outspokenly anti-choice it's possible even the Vatican told him to STFU and GTFO. The question: Does this signal some sort of shift in the Church's approach to politics? Or is this guy just bugnuts, as the gossip goes?
Magneto & Xavier.
  • doop

Chicks Being Ground Up Alive Video

WASHINGTON — An undercover video shot by an animal rights group at an Iowa egg hatchery shows workers discarding unwanted chicks by sending them alive into a grinder, and other chicks falling through a sorting machine to die on the factory floor.

Chicago-based Mercy for Animals said it shot the video at Hy-Line North America's hatchery in Spencer, Iowa, over a two-week period in May and June. The video was obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Warning: Video is graphic

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More on the Health Care debate

September 2, 2009
A Milwaukee Clinic Fills a Need but Faces Failure

MILWAUKEE — Like many low-income neighborhoods, the north side of Milwaukee has seen a gradual depletion of its primary care doctors over the last two decades. One by one, they have retired or surrendered to financial reality, rarely to be replaced.

At the few remaining practices, the wait for an appointment can make it almost purposeless to seek one. When Martha Brown’s 3-year-old daughter, Loverree (what?!?!), woke up with a runny nose last Thursday, her doctor’s office told her it would be a week. “I couldn’t wait,” Ms. Brown said. “I had to see what was wrong with my baby. I think she’s got an infection.”

Rather than heading to an emergency room, Ms. Brown took her three children to the Milwaukee Immediate Care Center, a small nonprofit clinic that has treated the north side’s largely African-American community since 1986. The clinic, which keeps hours at night and on weekends, is the only full-time operation in the neighborhood that provides urgent care, luring patients with a sign that reads, “When You Need a Doctor Today.”

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"Now you can't have any of my pot pie."
  • doop

Levi Johnston: "Me and Mrs. Palin"

Three days after Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, the McCain campaign released a statement saying that her 17-year-old unwed daughter, Bristol, was pregnant. The baby’s father, an 18-year-old former hometown hockey star, was thus thrust into the national spotlight. In the October issue of Vanity Fair, Levi Johnston explains what happened behind the curtains of the campaign—and inside the Palin home.

For “Me and Mrs. Palin,” Johnston tells Vanity Fair his story about life with the Palin family—with whom he lived for two months after the election—over the course of his two-and-a-half-year relationship with Bristol. He turns a number of commonly held beliefs about the former governor—the purportedly loving mother, devoted wife, and prolific hunter—upside down.

The Palin house was much different from what many people expect of a normal family, even before she was nominated for vice president. There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook—the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school. Most of the time Bristol would help her youngest sister with her homework, and I’d barbecue chicken or steak on the grill.

Even before Palin became John McCain’s running mate, she seemed worried about what a grandchild would do to her political career. According to Johnston, she had a plan for how to handle her daughter’s unexpected pregnancy.

Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.

After the campaign, Johnston watched Palin turn into a different person. The result back home in Alaska was a woman ready to turn in elected office for money.

Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make “triple the money.” It was, to her, “not as hard.” She would blatantly say, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out.


John Paul Stevens to Retire?

Justice Stevens slows his hiring at high court

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual, generating speculation that the leader of the court's liberals will retire next year.

If Stevens does step down, he would give President Barack Obama his second high court opening in two years. Obama chose Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the court when Justice David Souter announced his retirement in May.

Souter's failure to hire clerks was the first signal that he was contemplating leaving the court.

Stevens, 89, joined the court in 1975 and is the second-oldest justice in the court's history, after Oliver Wendell Holmes. He is the seventh-longest-serving justice, with more than 33 years and eight months on the court.

In response to a question from The Associated Press, Stevens confirmed through a court spokeswoman Tuesday that he has hired only one clerk for the term that begins in October 2010. He is among several justices who typically have hired all four clerks for the following year by now. Information about this advance hiring is not released by the court but is regularly published by some legal blogs.

Stevens did not say whether he plans to hire his full allotment of clerks or whether he will leave the court at the conclusion of the term that begins next month. Retired justices are allowed to hire one clerk.

Former law clerks said the justice has for years hired all his clerks at once, usually in June or July of the year preceding their appointment. "I'd be surprised if he hired one but not four," said Columbia University law professor Jamal Greene, who worked for Stevens in 2006 and 2007.

But as to what that might mean, Greene said, "Frankly, your guess is as good as mine."

But one former clerk, University of Oklahoma law professor Joseph Thai, said he takes it as a sign that Stevens is likely to retire soon.

"It seems to indicate that he probably won't go beyond the current term," Thai said, cautioning that Stevens has said nothing to him about leaving.

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justin sepia tone aquaman shot

Mapping the 7 Deadly Sins

Feel free to delete if this doesn't belong

Via WIRED Magazine

We're gluttons for infographics, and a team at Kansas State just served up a feast: maps of sin created by plotting per-capita stats on things like theft (envy) and STDs (lust). Christian clergy, likely noting the Bible Belt's status as Wrath Central, question the "science." Valid point—or maybe it's just the pride talking.

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Balthier - Not impressed

Sanford: 'It was just a little while lie!'

Gov. Mark Sanford says he told "a little white lie" to his staff to conceal his secret trip to Argentina in June to visit his lover. The governor also says God is on his side, and he has no intentions of resigning.

Sanford has been defending himself during twin probes into his travel expenses and disclosures, one conducted by the S.C Ethics Commission and one by Sen. David Thomas, R-Greenville.

Sanford compared the probes to the inquiries that essentially forced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin out of office.

SOURCE wants him to GTFO now

Help a brother out

So John Kerry's holding one of those Town Halls not too far from me in a matter of hours. The paint is drying on a sign in my kitchen as we speak. It says "WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION"

Taking suggestions on what the other side should say. Thinking about just writing something along the lines of "GLENN BECK IS A MORON," but I wonder what you guys might suggest.
group w

Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out : "Public Should Receive More Complete Warnings"

From CBS News Investigates:

WASHINGTON, August 19, 2009

Amid questions about the safety of the HPV vaccine Gardasil one of the lead researchers for the Merck drug is speaking out about its risks, benefits and aggressive marketing.

Dr. Diane Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Harper helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved, and authored many of the published, scholarly papers about it. She has been a paid speaker and consultant to Merck. It’s highly unusual for a researcher to publicly criticize a medicine or vaccine she helped get approved.

Dr. Harper joins a number of consumer watchdogs, vaccine safety advocates, and parents who question the vaccine’s risk-versus-benefit profile. She says data available for Gardasil shows that it lasts five years; there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years.

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Source here.

(no subject)

UF study: Education best predicted support for gay marriage ban

The study found education level was five times more important than race.

The education level of Florida voters, not race, best predicted support for the state's gay marriage ban, according to a new University of Florida study rebutting conventional wisdom.


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Bree Gun

(no subject)

Minnesota Teachers Who Mocked Student for Being Gay Are On Leave

A Minnesota school district which recently paid a family $25,000 after a high school junior was harassed by two teachers over his perceived sexual orientation, has announced that the teachers involved are on leave.

The Star Tribune reported in August, Anoka "The boy's 'fence swings both ways,' teacher Diane Cleveland commented during a class in the 2007-2008 school year, according to an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. When the boy wrote a report on Ben Franklin, Cleveland allegedly said before the entire class that the boy had a 'thing for older men.' Another teacher, Walter Filson, said in front of other students that the boy 'enjoys wearing women's clothes.' When the boy decided to report on Abraham Lincoln, Filson allegedly said, 'Since you like your men older ...' the Human Rights report said."

Now, the paper reports: "Diane Cleveland, a 39-year-old social studies teacher, and Walter Filson, a 56-year-old law enforcement teacher, went on leave within the past week, said Ginny Karbowski, director of career and technical education for the Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) in Anoka, where the two taught. Cleveland's attorney, Phil Villaume, said: 'Our position is that she is taking an unpaid, voluntary leave of absence at her request. ... This was done in the last week, and it was her decision and her decision alone.' Villaume doesn't represent Filson and couldn't comment on his status. Filson couldn't be reached for comment."


Why do they still have jobs?

(no subject)

Levi Johnston Is Actually Going to Strip Down for Playgirl


You know how in Vanity Fair's behind-the-scenes video Levi Johnston jokes with his manager about posing for Playgirl? Well, Gawker's learned it's not a joke. We've confirmed it's actually going to happen. But don't get too excited.

After reading on Gawker that Levi was game for posing nude, the guy who puts together Playgirl's photoshoots, Daniel Nardicio, emailed Johnston's manager Tank Jones about having his client pose nude for their website. (The print version of the magazine closed earlier this year). Tank referred the matter to Levi's lawyer Rex Butler (how many handlers does one Alaskan babydaddy need?) who emailed back: "There are people out there that want to see such a shoot of Levi and we are ready to do it if the proposal is right." The only hitch, Levi's not willing to do a nude shoot, only pose in his skivvies.

And since a nearly nude Levi is better than no nude Levi at all, Playgirl's down and there's an agreement in place to do the shoot. They're in final negotiations to get the thing together right now.

Funny thing is that Playgirl's biggest get in years doesn't have a clue about who reads the male flesh mag. As he and Tank joke in the Vanity Fair video, Levi says, "I'm assuming it's where a dude poses for women."

Oh Levi, don't be ashamed to go down the gay icon route. Just wait until June, when you'll be introducing dance diva Amber at Cincinnati Pride!


Get it, boy!


Senior Citizen Assaulted Outside of Miami Town Hall Meeting by Anti-Reformer of Health Care

Healthcare reform advocate punched by opponent at Nelson event

A 65-year-old man rallying in favor of healthcare reform was knocked to the ground by a man who disagreed with the call for a government-run health plan outside of a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce meeting headlined by Sen. Bill Nelson.

Luis Perrero of Coral Gables was standing among about 40 Democratic activists and union workers when a man in a Ford pick-up truck pulled up to the rally at Jungle Island and began arguing with the crowd. The man, who only gave his first name as Raul, said Perrero called him a Spanish curse word. He punched Perrero in the face. Perrero fell to the ground and lay motionless for a few minutes.

"I'm amazed the way this has become such a politicized issue,'' Perrero said, while still sitting on the ground but sitting up. "It shows that people who are against the public option will resort to anything, including battery on a senior citizen to prevent healthcare reform.''

Wilhelmina Ford, another healthcare reform proponent at the rally, said, "It was totally uncalled for. The guy may have had words with him but he didn't have to hit him in the face.''

Fire rescue responded to the scene, where a Herald reporter was present.


(no subject)

Health Care Reform Town Hall: no room for a centrist

by Brian Donohue/The Star-Ledger
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 5:19 PM

Is there room for discussion with health care?

I never thought I'd see a crowd of people heckle and boo a handicapped woman in a wheelchair. I never thought I'd be called a communist and a shill for big business - both in the same ten minutes.


But that was before the debate over federal health care reform came to my hometown, last night, at a town hall meeting on federal health care reform with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th District).

I kind of wish it hadn't. There was no discussion, no one listened to anyone. Pallone could not open his mouth before being jeered and heckled. Opponents of the health care legislation sponsored by Pallone grew so rabid they at one point began booing people who were asking Pallone NOT to vote for the bill. When one opponent of the bill began her comments by quoting Margaret Mead, she was booed loudly. She was challenging Pallone and was clearly opposed to the bill. But I guess the crowd heard her mention Margaret Mead and assumed, if they were quoting an intellectual, it must be a liberal talking. So they bood her almost out of the joint.

Both sides did their share of yelling. I guess they at least got their frustrations out. But for someone like me - who believes we need fundamental health care reform, but maybe HR 3200 is not the way to go about it, there was no relief. And there seems to be no place at all for us in the current debate.


Eccentric Democratic lawmaker James Traficant freed from jail

I remember The Daily Show and some others used to have a field day with this guy in the early 2000s. He had spawned a lot of fan clubs, Cafe Press type items, etc., at one point.

Ex-Ohio congressman Traficant freed from prison
By NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press Writer
36 mins ago

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Former Ohio Rep. James Traficant walked out of a Minnesota prison Wednesday morning after serving a seven-year sentence for bribery and racketeering.

The nine-term Democrat from Youngstown left the Federal Medical Center in Rochester and stepped into a waiting cab.

Traficant, who wore a gray T-shirt, white shorts, white knee-high socks and had his famously wild hair pulled back, ignored a reporter's shouted question.

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***ETA: 2002 Daily Show clip about Traficant:
Thatcher - Ugly Poisonous Creature

More Tory Homophobia - News At Eleven.

Lottery grant to Bristol gay teens' group 'outrageous'

A lottery grant of almost £400,000 awarded to a Bristol youth group challenging homophobia has been denounced as an "outrageous" waste of money.

The leader of Bristol's Tories, Richard Eddy, said the Big Lottery Fund award to a Clifton project called Reach was proof that money was no longer being handed out impartially but was instead being awarded to reflect "politically correct" lobbies favoured by the Government.

Reach has been set up by charity Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (Each), which is working to set up youth groups for youngsters who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

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No matter what those at the head of the Parliamentary Conservative Party say about their new wonderfully enlightened views, a lot of their people on the ground seem to think somewhat differently. I hope Alan Duncan bitchslaps this guy at the Tory Conference...

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated

Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.

“We were all surprised by the high prevalence rate,” said Ruth Milkman, one of the study’s authors and a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York. The study, to be released on Wednesday, was financed by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.

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I for one am shocked and appalled, and fully expect action to be taken in a timely and decisive manner.

Obama wants to talk to kids, he has candy

Jim Greer, Florida GOP Chair, Warns That Obama "Back To School" Speech Will Foment Socialism

The Orlando Weekly's Bloggytown is reporting today that a rather generic letter, sent to school principals across the United States by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, has caused one local GOP official to completely lose his mind. Duncan's letter previewed a national address that President Barack Obama planned to give on "the importance of education." Somehow, Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer managed to take away that this meant "taxpayer dollars" would be used to "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda." O-kay!

Here's the letter that launched a thousand ships to the Straits Of Nutlog, bearing Greer.

Dear Principal:

In a recent interview with student reporter, Damon Weaver, President Obama announced that on September 8 -- the first day of school for many children across America -- he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

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Oh lawd y'all. I've already got some nutcase on facebook saying, "____ can't believe that Obama wants to reform education by having public schools teach more about him, have students write how they can help him, and listen to his speeches and have class discussions about them (grades Pre-K - 6). Can anyone think of someone else who instituted this type of propaganda? Let's just say this is very comparable to Nazi Germany."

and someone supports her, "_______ Nazi Germany a bit far? You really think Hitler would have gotten away with what he got away with if he was "up front." Open your eyes people. Learn from History...People Of Germany thought Hitler was "up to something good"...ya think they want a do over?????? exactly."

Public Option Vigils

I just got home from one of the 300ish public option vigils that went on nationwide today!

I thought you all might like to see some of the pictures I took.
(Or maybe post some of your own?)

There wasn't a huge turnout at the one I went to, but it was interesting and encouraging nevertheless!


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Source: Me and my camera.
  • Current Mood

Un-american Handicapped Woman Booed for Asking a Question. HOW DARE YOU!

Wheelchair-Bound Woman Shouted Down At New Jersey Health Care Town Hall (VIDEO)

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the man who recently "let it be known" that he'd step in should Gov. Corzine drop out of the New Jersey gubernatorial race, had his hands full at a town hall meeting in Red Bank last week.

More than 1,500 people showed up to talk health care, but things quickly turned ugly. Much like the unruly town hall meetings that have been going on across the country, the angry crowd held up bizarre and nonsensical posters of protest while hurling insults at Rep. Pallone, and each other.

A new low for these meetings may have been set when the crowd shouted down a wheelchair-bound woman with "two incurable auto-immune diseases" who had the gall to ask a question. has footage of the meeting:


Palin Invited To Testify Before NY Senate On Elderly Care, Death Panels

Palin Invited To Testify Before NY Senate On Elderly Care, Death Panels

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whose claim to fame in the current health care debate is helping to spread the infamous "death panel" myth, has been invited to testify before the New York State Senate about how reform will impact the state's elderly.

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, a conservative Democrat from the Bronx who is sympathetic to Palin's views, will be hosting a Senate Aging Committee hearing next week on "President Obama's proposed health care reform and the impact it will have on New York State senior citizens."

The witnesses invited include a host of officials from the medical, political, private insurance, and non-governmental world -- each with a clear area of expertise on the topic of caring for the elderly.

Then there is Palin. The former Alaska Governor's health care policy contribution is defined by a brief Facebook message she wrote in early August in which she warned that Democratic reform would create "death panels" tasked with determining who to euthanize, including her Down Syndrome child.

Palin has not yet accepted or declined the invitation to attend the September 8 hearing, according to Diaz's office. As for why she was invited, Cathy Bern-Smith, a spokesperson for the senator, noted that in another Facebook entry, Palin had referred to "a letter that Senator Diaz wrote to [Rep.] Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), that was posted on the senator's website."

"There was this Internet conversation going on where she made a comment on her post about something the senator had said," Bern-Smith added. "So we thought, well let's invite her."

Even if Palin doesn't show, the hearing will not lack for controversial conservative figures. Also invited, and confirmed to attend, is Betsy McCaughey, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York and head of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.

McCaughey actually preceded Palin in pushing the death panel myth, while also promoting a host of equally dubious charges against health care reform. She has, for example, insisted that White House adviser Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wanted to redefine the Hippocratic Oath. She also claimed -- again falsely -- that the House health care bill would "absolutely require" end-of-life counseling for seniors "that will tell them how to end their life sooner."

Private Sector Demonstrates Once Again Why They Do a Better Job Than The Government...

Kabul U.S. Embassy Guard: Sexual Deviancy Required for Promotion
Whistleblower Says Bosses Required Sex Acts for Guards Seeking Best shift, Promotion

Private security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were pressured to participate in naked pool parties and perform sex acts to gain promotions or assignment to preferable shifts, according to one of 12 guards who have gone public with their complaints.

Click here to see the slideshow.

In an interview with ABC News for broadcast tonight on the "World News with Charles Gibson," the guard, a U.S. military veteran, said top supervisors of the ArmorGroup were not only aware of the "deviant sexual acts" but helped to organize them.

Watch Brian Ross' full report tonight on "World News with Charles Gibson" at 6:30pm.

"It was mostly the young guys fresh from the military who were told they had to participate," said the guard, who talked on a phone hook-up arranged by the Project on Government Oversight, which first revealed photographs of the parties.

"They were not gay but they knew what it took to get promoted," said the guard, spoke on condition that ABC News not publish his name.

The State Department said it was investigating the allegations and the circumstances surrounding the photographs which show naked and barely clothed men fondling one another. The guard who spoke with ABC News said the drunken parties had been held regularly for at least a year and a half.

The State Department renewed its contract with ArmorGroup to provide security at the Kabul embassy last month even though there have been a series of complaints about its performance.

In June 2007, the State Department warned "the security of the US embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy" because of "deficiencies" on the part of ArmorGroup.

Similar complaints were raised at a Senate hearing in June 2009 by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Sam Brinkley, vice-president of the ArmorGroup's corporate parent Wackenhut Services, defended the company's performance in Kabul.

"We are a guard company that prides itself in doing missions well," Brinkley testified.

Wackenhut did not immediately return requests for comment.

Naked Photos at U.S. Embassy in Kabul

The photographs of the naked parties all involve one of four shifts assigned to the embassy, Charlie Shift, according to the guard who spoke with ABC News. why are we still hiring private contractors again?...

BNP forced to pay legal costs in white membership case

The BNP will be forced to pay legal costs in a case against their 'whites only' membership policy after turning up to court unprepared today.

The party had waited until last night to brief their legal team on the matter, meaning the case had to be adjourned until October 15th.

The party will therefore have to pay legal costs, which will be assessed at the next session.

Judge Paul Collins said: "This is an application by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for an injunction against three officers of the BNP.

"To put it very crudely for the purposes of this morning, the commission take the view that the terms on which the BNP admit persons to membership is in breach of the Race Relations Act because it discriminates against persons on the grounds of race and they want an injunction to stop it."

A BNP spokesman claimed to the adjournment was a result of Nick Griffin being required in Brussels.

He added: "The BNP has had this policy for 20 years. This action by the commission is obviously politically motivated, due to the recent success the BNP had in the European elections.

"We are quite hopeful that we will be successful, when we come back."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued county court proceedings against the party last week in respect of its constitution and membership criteria.

The equalities commissioner is seeking an injunction against the party.

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(Edit to say: no, you're not crazy; his eye did just move. Mentioning this because it's spooked a few people now)


Hey Guyz! Bible Never Preached Socialized Medicine! It Preached The Wonders of Private Health Care!

Tony Perkins Accuses Obama Of Falsely Using Bible's Scripture To Promote Health Care Reform (VIDEO)

Ed Schultz had the director of the Family Research Council, a conservative organization of evangelicals, on his show tonight to discuss whether or not we having health care cover all Americans is a moral obligation. While Schultz believes it is indeed a moral obligation, the group's director, Tony Perkins, hedges. Perkins claims that we need to do what we can to protect the weakest among us, yet we don't need a public option because it's the duty of the people to take of each other and themselves, not the government.

While the two men debate health care and morality, Perkins takes a shot at President Obama, accusing him twisting scripture to fit a secular purpose:

The President and others are using scripture and applying it to the State when it's really not to be applied to the state. There's a double standard here. When a conservative uses scripture the media goes into convulsions, saying they're trying to create a theocracy. When the liberals use it, they just report it. I guess cause they know they don't mean it.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe: Obama determined to turn foreign terrorists loose on U.S. soil.

Inhofe blasts Obama at Grove town hall

Right-thinking Americans can only hope the country will survive the next 16 months of the Obama administration until Republicans can regain control of Congress, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Wednesday.

“I never dreamed I would see an administration try to disavow all the things that have made this country different from all others,” Inhofe told more than 300 people at a town hall meeting in the Grove Community Center.

“I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America.” Inhofe found a highly receptive audience. Many wore T-shirts of a local organization called Get America Back. Its Web site promises “a plan to eliminate the socialist government and return Americas (sic) freedoms.”

The “plan” is a link to a YouTube video by Lloyd Marcus, a Florida artist and singer making the circuit of anti-Obama “Tea Party” rallies.

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Why Michelle Obama's Hair Matters

When the First Lady attended a country-music event in July without a single strand of hair falling below her jawline, the blogosphere exploded with outbursts ranging from adoration to vitriol. Things settled down only when her deputy press secretary clarified that there had been no First Haircut. In the aftermath, a didactic post on proclaimed that anyone "familiar with the amazing versatility of black hair" would have known that the new summer look was simply "pinned up."

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It's nice that black hair has become a more discussed topic, and I hope that it'll help women feel more at ease with natural hair or unrelaxed hair.  At the same time, I get tired of the demonizing talk that's directed at those who DO relax their hair.  I hope we can get to a point where people can recognize that either choice can lead to "good hair".

Holy Common Knowledge, Batman!

WSJ adding to the official Captain Obvious Echo Chamber:

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This is what pisses me off so much about the "EXCUSE ME FOR DOING IT RIGHT AND PAYING OFF MY DEBTS WHY CAN'T EVERYONE ELSE DO THE SAME?!" bootstraps rant.  Almost all of the people I know who've used it didn't have to pay back nearly as much as this generation's going to have to, never mind the economic bind where jobs are scarce and the burden falls disproportiaonately on the younger crowd.