October 1st, 2009

Michigan Epic Fail

Like California, Michigan is also fucked.




Michigan slides toward partial government shutdown

(AP) – 31 minutes ago

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's state government stumbled toward a partial shutdown Thursday as one of the nation's most economically battered states remained without a budget.

State lawmakers failed Wednesday to agree on deep spending cuts proposed to balance the budget by a midnight deadline.

They also failed to finalize a temporary budget that could have averted Michigan's second shutdown since 2007.

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SOURCE

ETA: UPDATE!

UPDATED 1:46am

The government shutdown is effectively over.

The Michigan House and Senate have passed continuation budgets - literally buying time while they sort things out.

The governor's office says the governor will sign those bills and that state employees are to report to work later this morning.

There's still a lot of work to do - the budget crisis continues.

And lawmakers still have to work out how much - or how little money schools will get.

But the big news is that after an hour and a half - Michigan's government shutdown of 2009 is over and state employees should report to work.

We have crews at the Capitol and will have much more coming up on 6 News This Morning - starting at 5 a.m.

Another source!

I don't really know what to think. Michigan's in a bad place right now, they've been in bad place for years. The citizens probably can't afford more taxes, but cutting all those services and programs and getting rid of MORE jobs will just decimate the state that much more. On another note, I've lived in three states, and Michigan's income taxes are the cheapest I've ever paid, so my pity is not there whenever someone whines about the state taxes being too high. Probably getting rid of the flat rate would help. Michigan has a flat income tax rate of 4.35%, in case anyone's curious. But in the meantime, we have this circus act to watch again. UPDATE: And we will probably see something like this AGAIN in 30 days! Until the governor election in 2010. I'm already stocking the popcorn for THAT one.
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    Great White-Rock Me
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Punishing the punishers

KARACHI: On Monday, a mob in Phoolnagar, Kasur, tortured three women accused of being prostitutes and then forced them to walk naked down a main road. What words are there to say about this? I first heard about this kind of ‘punishment’ for women when I was very young and read about three women who were forced to walk naked in Nawabpur, a village in Punjab, for some alleged crime. I feel as though I heard about it happening in other places in Punjab too – Bhawalpur, Gujranwala. When I was small, I didn't really understand the ramifications of this act, this public humiliation. I do now.

We live in a tribal society. Make no mistake about that. No matter how much development comes to Pakistan, I don't think any Pakistani villager - even if he moves to a big city - will give up his tribal mentality. A tribal mentality means that you are the chief of your house and your women – including wives, daughters, and sisters – are your property. What man would want to give that up?

 

Even in the West, men wouldn't have surrendered their claim over women if women hadn't risen up themselves and demanded their rights. In Pakistan, women are too ignorant, illiterate, and disempowered to even try, apart from a few pockets here and there.

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(no subject)

 

Frat Boys at GW Rush to Undo Homophobic Stereotypes


GWU, beta members

Beta Testing: Brothers Zelenty, Belok, and Molldrem try something new.

According to fraternal historian Nicholas Syrett, America’s fraternity culture has thrived on a fear of homosexuality since the 1920’s. All-male fraternal organizations, Syrett writes, “compensate for what might be perceived by outsiders as either feminine or gay behavior by enacting a masculinity [of] aggressive heterosexuality.” In order to preempt homosexual interpretations of the fraternal bond, the brothers employ ritualistic paddling, frat house sex, and homophobic epithets to fight their way back to straight.

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Gay Marriage and the National Football League




Somebody must have slipped something into the Gatorade of the National Football League. Or, better yet, maybe we're finally seeing hearts and minds starting to change in the wide world of professional male sports. But within the past two weeks, two high profile NFL players have reiterated their support for marriage equality. And in doing so, at least according to some, they're potentially changing the hyper-masculinity of a sporting culture that all too frequently shames sexual orientation instead of celebrates it.

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Me in Hawaii.

Britain asks Schwarzenegger to close prostitute website

LONDON (Reuters) – A government minister asked California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday to shut down a U.S. website that allows men to rate prostitutes, including many working in London.

Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, told the ruling Labour Party's annual conference that "Punternet" fuels the demand for prostitution -- a vice she said degrades women and puts them at risk.

She said the website was a "very sinister development" in the trade and exploitation of women and allows guests to compare and rate services in the same way as they would a restaurant, a hotel or a holiday.

Pimps put women on sale for sex on the site then clients offered their comments on line, she said.

"Punternet has pages and pages of women for sale in London," said Harman, who is deputy leader of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party.

She said she had raised the issue with the U.S. ambassador to Britain and asked California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to close it down as it is based in that state.

"Surely it can't be too difficult for 'The Terminator' to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does."

The Punternet site describes itself as "The Online Community for Patrons and Providers of Adult Personal Services in the UK" and says it was "created to facilitate the exchange of information on prostitution in the UK."

A U.S. Embassy spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prostitution is not illegal in Britain. But associated activities, including soliciting, advertising using cards in telephone boxes and kerb crawling, are criminal offences.

The minister also used the speech to say the government would make it a criminal offence to have sex with a prostitute who is being controlled by a pimp.

The government was also stepping up action to tackle human trafficking in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games, most of which will be hosted in London.

"We're determined to ensure that, especially in the run-up to the Olympics, international criminal gangs don't trick and abduct women from abroad and sell them for sex in London."

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

sauce

' jules
  • schmiss

John Edwards/GOB Bluth OTP!!!!!!!

The Ballad of John Edwards and Andrew Young



Just what is Politico getting at with this 2,300 word piece on the incredibly close relationship between John Edwards and aide Andrew Young? Hmm? With all this talk of Young's "intensely emotional" "passion" for the dirtbag former candidate?

Here is what they are getting at: Andrew Young was gay for John Edwards. Oh, god, he was so, so gay for John Edwards. Wow! Like, from the first paragraph onward:

When John Edwards returned to North Carolina in the course of his long quest for the presidency, Andrew Young always met him at the airport in Edwards's big black Chevy Tahoe. Young drove, and Edwards rode shotgun, silently raising his left hand whenever he wanted a Diet Coke, which Young would wordlessly supply.

Just a bro, out on a road trip, wordlessly providing another bro with some Diet Cokes. In paragraph two, Young is folding Edwards' dry cleaning.

What was Young's job description again?

Young sometimes described himself as Edwards's "special assistant" and dreamed of serving in an Edwards White House. Other aides, with a combination of disgust - and, perhaps, a bit of envy - referred to him as Edwards's "personal servant," or worse, Edwards's "butt boy."

Yes, well, we're beyond insinuation now, aren't we.

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So, I am totally over the Edwards/Hunter story, but I want to hear more about this one-sided bromance.
pen

Repulsion: Polanski's horror story

Warning: This might be triggery, as it has details of the abuse.



How sickening is the chorus of sycophants and enablers defending Roman Polanski, the 76-year-old Polish director arrested at a Zurich film festival over a three decade-old statutory rape case.

Polanski has been a fugitive from US justice since he skipped bail after being charged over the rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson's Los Angeles home in 1977.

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Source
stairs
  • preeho

Who called it?

goes with this post: Conservatives want Gay kids to get bullied and killed


Seizing "Statutory Rape" Zeitgeist, Right Hones Latest, Gayest Czar Attack



Well look at this! We were totally right — it happens sometimes — and conservatives are firing up their attacks on Kevin Jennings, the nation's gay "safe school czar." And they're using terms like "statutory rape." How timely!

Jennings once lived life as a closeted school teacher. And, at the time — 1988 — a student told Jennings that he had consensual sex with an "older man" in a public bathroom. Jennings told the student to use a condom and later wrote in his book, that the student "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."
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Words fail me.

I didn't want to get people TOO angry, so the Hannity video at duh source



Actually, in celebration of Banned Books I also wanted to throw this letter a librarian wrote to a parent concerned about a picture book about a gay couple getting married. The letter itself is a little old, but I think it's particularly appropriate for us now.  (LONG awesome text behind the cut): 

"Recently, a library patron challenged (urged a reconsideration of the ownership or placement of) a book called "Uncle Bobby's Wedding." Honestly, I hadn't even heard of it until that complaint. But I did read the book, and responded to the patron, who challenged the item through email and requested that I respond online (not via snail-mail) about her concerns."

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Best librarian letter ever? y/y? Source agrees.

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Earliest Human Ancestor Discovered. Conservatives cry "YOU LIE!"

Claims the Bible is the truth and evolution and dinosaurs are as real as unicorns.


Move over, Lucy. And kiss the missing link goodbye.

Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor. The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.




The centerpiece of a treasure trove of new fossils, the skeleton—assigned to a species called Ardipithecus ramidus—belonged to a small-brained, 110-pound (50-kilogram) female nicknamed "Ardi." (See pictures of Ardipithecus ramidus.)

The fossil puts to rest the notion, popular since Darwin's time, that a chimpanzee-like missing link—resembling something between humans and today's apes—would eventually be found at the root of the human family tree.Indeed, the new evidence suggests that the study of chimpanzee anatomy and behavior—long used to infer the nature of the earliest human ancestors—is largely irrelevant to understanding our beginnings.

Ardi instead shows an unexpected mix of advanced characteristics and of primitive traits seen in much older apes that were unlike chimps or gorillas (interactive: Ardi's key features). As such, the skeleton offers a window on what the last common ancestor of humans and living apes might have been like.

Announced at joint press conferences in Washington, D.C., and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the analysis of the Ardipithecus ramidus bones will be published in a collection of papers tomorrow in a special edition of the journal Science, along with an avalanche of supporting materials published online.

"This find is far more important than Lucy," said Alan Walker, a paleontologist from Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the research. "It shows that the last common ancestor with chimps didn't look like a chimp, or a human, or some funny thing in between."

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Source: Liberal left wing media
normal

Bachmann: "Our Schools Will Be Turn Into Sex Clinics Orgies!!!"

Bachmann: "Sex Clinics" In Schools Will Result From Health Care Reform (VIDEO)

Last night on the House floor, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) spoke to Congress about "school based health clinics" (SBHC), labeling the clinics discussed in current House health care legislation as "sex clinics."

The conservative congresswoman suggested that if health care reform passes, the nation's schools might begin offering abortions to students. Bachman's interpretation of the health care reform bill holds that the legislation is designed to bring Planned Parenthood into educational facilities. According to Bachmann,

The bill goes on to say what's going to go on -- comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor acute medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty care -- is that abortion? Does that mean that someone's 13 year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser.


WATCH:



Section 2511 of the health care bill referred to by Bachmann, makes no mention of abortion and stipulates,

(i) "SBHC services will be provides in accordance with Federal, State, and local laws governing-- (I) obtaining parental or guardian consent; and (II) patient privacy and student records, including section 264 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and section 444 of the General Education Provision Act;

The concept of "school based health care clinics" was introduced under the notion that students achieve higher academic performance when they are healthy and receive adequate medical attention. According to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, if implemented SBHCs would give schools access to physicians "so students avoid health-related absense and get support to succeed in the classroom."
normal

GOP Introduces Health Care Amendments. EPIC FAIL

Robin Hood, the Amended Version

It's getting late in the Senate Finance Committee's writing of a health-care bill, but not too late for Republicans on Wednesday to make one more valiant stand for the health insurance industry.

Late in the afternoon, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the committee, requested consideration of the "Grassley F-1 Modified Amendment." Its goal: eliminate $7 billion a year in fees that the government would charge private health insurance companies, and make up the shortfall by reducing benefits to poor people and legal immigrants.

It was dangerously close to a parody: Republicans demanding that fees be reduced on a profitable industry and shifted to low-income Americans. But Grassley pressed on, unafraid. The fees on the corporations, he said, are a "bad idea" and would undoubtedly result in higher insurance premiums. "I urge my colleagues to vote for my amendment, to strike the fees," he exhorted.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) recognized the fat target that Grassley had just set up. "I think it's a 'message amendment,' " he said, suggesting Grassley was sending a symbolic signal to the conservative base. "It certainly takes on legal immigrants and Medicaid in a very sharp way."

Grassley looked hurt. "You don't really believe that this is a message amendment, do you?"

Now, why would anybody get that idea?

Committee Republicans have made it clear they would not propose, as Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) put it, a "massive GOP alternative" to the Democrats' health-care bill. Rather, they offered nearly 300 amendments to the legislation that would, if adopted, represent a most curious piece of social policy.
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(no subject)

Strip-club ad refers to Caster Semenya saga

Teazers

Strip clubs should know better than to be topical. This has been made clear yet again by Teazers, a South African club that recently put up the billboard shown here, featuring a naked woman and the headline "No need for gender testing!" That's a reference to South African sprinter Caster Semenya, who underwent gender tests after winning the women's 800 meters at track's world championships in August. (The tests determined that Semenya has both male and female sexual characteristics.) Not surprisingly, the billboard drew complaints, at which Teazers owner Lolly Jackson scoffed at length. He first said the Semenya situation was "the furthest thing from my mind" when he made the ad. Then he added: "I do not want anyone coming here [to Teazers] with the idea that we do not have women. We have women, 100 percent women here. I did a test on them, I am a professional, and they are 100 percent women." If that didn't turn people off enough, he then insulted both the advertising watchdog ("a bunch of idiots doing a worthless job") and the original complainant ("maybe she is fat and ugly"). The watchdog hasn't acted yet, but I hope they rule against him just to hear his response.

Source

Reporting
  • acmeeoy

In Defense of the French Health System: Having a Baby in Paris


In Defense of the French Health System: Having a Baby in Paris

By Carolyn Forché

As the U.S. Senate struggles to produce health-care reform legislation that can win the votes of 60 members, cost issues rise to the forefront of the debate. Poet Carolyn Forché’s experience suggests that universal access to health care is not only the right thing to do morally but financially as well.

 

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Citadel

‘As A Woman, I Find It Offensive’

The Baucus health bill maintains federal restrictions on abortion funding by preventing federal money from funding any abortions beyond reasons of life-endangerment, rape or incest. Under the mark, women wouldn’t be able to use subsidy dollars for the procedure and would finance the operation only with private premiums.

This morning, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced amendment Hatch C14, requiring that “no funds authorized or appropriated under this Mark may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” Under Hatch’s amendment, women who purchase comprehensive private insurance packages — that include abortion services — would have to pay for the entire cost of the package (even if they qualify for subsidies) and obtain a separate rider for abortion coverage.

Responding to Hatch’s amendment, which ultimately failed in a vote of 10-13, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said, “with all respect to my friend, as a woman, I find it offensive”:

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Source.
Reporting
  • acmeeoy

(no subject)


Sakena Yacoobi’s Vision for Afghanistan

By Marcia G. Yerman

For over a decade, Sakena Yacoobi has worked for the welfare of her nation, particularly the girls and women of Afghanistan. The West can help with infrastructure, she says. But solutions for a better future must be forged with respect to a culture that is thousands of years old.

 

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(no subject)

Pre-Orders Send Palin's Book To #1

 

Pre-orders for Sarah Palin's coming memoir, Going Rogue, have sent the title rocketing overnight to #1 on the bestsellers lists of book merchants nationwide.
Just two days after HarperCollins announced that Palin's "Going Rogue" had been moved up from the spring to Nov. 17, preorders Wednesday night for the former Alaska governor's memoir made it No. 1 on both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Among the books "Going Rogue" is outselling: Sen. Ted Kennedy's "True Compass," Mitch Albom's "Have a Little Faith" and Brown's "The Lost Symbol," his first novel since "The Da Vinci Code" and, perhaps until now, the year's most anticipated release.
Palin got a reported $7M advance for the book. Meanwhile, she is finding few takers for her $100,000 speaking tour.
After quitting as governor of Alaska in July, Palin signed with the top-notch Washington Speakers Bureau, which also reps George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, LA Dodgers manager Joe Torre and magician David Blaine. Palin's bookers are said to be asking for $100,000 per speech, but an industry expert tells Page Six: "The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot." "Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups -- unless they are interested in moose hunting," said our insider. "What does she have to say? She can't even describe what she reads."

Source

Citadel

Commentary: Women Could Actually Lose Coverage: How Did We Get Here?

It's been a rough couple days for health care reform as the Senate Finance Committee marked up its bill. Women's health dodged a couple bullets on Wednesday as the first two anti-choice amendments to come up for a vote were defeated. But I'm appalled they were even on the agenda. Add to that the defeat of the public option and the restoration of millions of dollars for abstinence-only programs , and there's plenty to be angry about.

One of the amendments voted down prohibited all private health plans involved in the government exchange from covering abortion. The proposal would have let women pay extra for a supplemental “rider” that would cover abortion (in case they planned ahead for an unintended pregnancy, I guess.) The other, a so-called "conscious clause," would have expanded existing "opt-out" laws, allowing entire insurance companies to refuse to cover abortion on principle.

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Source.
Citadel

George Tiller Receives PPFA Award

George Tiller, MD was honored posthumously by the International Federation of Planned Parenthood Foundation (PPFA) in Washington, DC, last weekend with the Medal of Honor for "outstanding individual contribution to sexual and reproductive health." The Medal of Honor is one of the highest honors given by PPFA. Dr. Tiller, who was medical director of the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, was assassinated at his church in May.

Alexander Sanger, the grandson of PPFA co-founder and women's rights activist Margaret Sanger, presented the award to Dr. Tiller's widow, Jeanne Tiller, who accepted it on his behalf. Sanger said "for 30 years, George Tiller stood up to protests, harassment and assaults, even being wounded some years ago in a shooting. He kept his clinic doors open to give a choice to women who never imagined they would ever need it-women with a wanted pregnancy that had gone terribly awry as it progressed," according to the Wichita Eagle.

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri told the Wichita Eagle that Tiller's death was "a terrible tragedy that was a blow to women who need the kind of services that only Dr. Tiller provided." A January 2010 trial is scheduled for alleged murderer Scott Roeder.

Source.
Akuma River

Perry cousin killed by Sheriff Deputy in shoot out

...oh Texas' old cranky men who love their guns...

Rick Perry Cousin Killed: Larry Don Wheeler Shot By Sheriff's Deputies (October 01, 2009 - HuffPo)

AP -- The Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting death of a cousin of Gov. Rick Perry in a mysterious exchange of gunfire with sheriff's deputies.

An attorney for Larry Don Wheeler's estate says the 74-year-old North Texas man was sitting on his backyard deck after dinner Saturday night at his home at a Montague County country club. David Gossom says that's when sheriff's deputies responded to a disturbance call.

Montague County District Attorney Jack McGaughey says Wheeler was holding a shotgun and an officer was shot in the hand. No other details have been released, and an autopsy is pending.

Perry's office wouldn't elaborate on his relationship with Wheeler, a retired social worker listed as a member of Perry's 2006 re-election campaign steering committee.

My bet, the old men ordered the cops off his property with his shotgun and it turned ugly.

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s cousin Larry Don Wheeler shot and killed by deputies <- This one says that they were responding to shots fired and that the old man fired on the deputies first.

I wonder what Hutchinson will make of this in the election debate. I wonder how Karl Rove she will be and if she will use it.
trapdoor

Obama 'witchdoctor' slur offends PNG

PAPUA New Guinea tribesmen have demanded an apology from American political satirists who used their traditional dress in a witchdoctor slur against US President Barack Obama.

In the offending image, a headshot of Mr Obama was superimposed on a photograph of a PNG Highlands region man in full traditional costume, supposedly to portray the black President as an African witchdoctor.

Damien Arabagali, Hela Gimbu Association chairman, said PNG's Foreign Affairs Minister and Cultural Minister would have to take up their demand.

"We have never felt such discrimination of our cultural identity, we are not witch doctors," Mr Arabagali said.

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Gov. Good Hair tries to fuck up investigation of execution



Gov. Perry replaces head of agency investigating Texas arson findings

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry was blasted Wednesday after he swept three appointees from their jobs just two days before they were set to critically examine a flawed arson investigation that contributed to the execution of a Corsicana man.

The hearing of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, scheduled for Friday in Irving, was abruptly canceled by the new chairman the governor chose, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley. He is considered one of the most conservative, hard-line prosecutors in Texas.

The commission was to hear from Baltimore-based Craig Beyler, a nationally recognized fire expert, who had been hired by the panel to review the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Beyler's long-anticipated report, released in August, called the Willingham fire investigation slipshod and based on wives' tales about how fire behaves and possible arson evidence.

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On Wednesday, the governor chose not to extend the appointments of commission chairman Sam Bassett, an Austin lawyer, as well as Fort Worth prosecutor Alan Levy and a forensic lab specialist, Aliece Watts of Burleson.

Levy's position, reserved by statute for a prosecutor, was given to Bradley, and the governor immediately named him chairman of the nine-member commission. Watts was replaced by forensic pathologist Norma Jean Farley of Harlingen. A replacement for Bassett, who held the slot reserved for a criminal defense attorney, was not named.

All of their terms had expired Sept. 1, but Bassett, named chairman by Perry two years ago, had asked to retain his slot.

Bradley said he learned of the appointment Wednesday morning when he was called by the governor's office. He said it was not a position he sought.

He said he canceled Friday's commission meeting because he thought "it was too much to ask for myself and the new members to absorb," and because he wanted time to review the Beyler report and materials.

Bradley said he is not yet "informed enough" to know if he would ask Beyler to present his report at a future meeting or continue the line of questioning begun unanimously by the commission.

"I just know it's going to keep my weekend busy," Bradley said.

Bassett said he learned Wednesday morning that he was being replaced – and the timing disturbed him.

"In my view, we should not fail to investigate important forensic issues in cases simply because there might be political ramifications," Bassett said.

Gerald Hurst, a Cambridge-educated chemist who was the chief scientist for the nation's largest explosives manufacturer, was the expert who authored a report sent to Perry shortly before Willingham's execution. His report found that the arson evidence used against Willingham was based on since-discredited junk science.

He said he is not surprised by the governor's actions, although "I didn't think he would go this drastic."

"Look at the situation: He appoints a commission and the first case they take up is an execution that was signed off on by the governor who had a chance to interrupt it," Hurst said.

He added that Perry apparently didn't want the public to hear from Beyler because he is an impeccable source.

"He is one of the top fire scientists in the nation. He's not to be confused with anti-death penalty nuts," Hurst said. "There are only a very few who are at the top of their fields, and he is one."

 

Hutchison critical

 

Perry's challenger in the March Republican primary, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said the case has not been handled properly.

"Why you wouldn't at least have the hearing that the former member suggested, to find out what the facts are, when a man has been executed and now the facts are in dispute – just like DNA has given more tools to determine the facts," she said. "I am strongly for the death penalty, but always with the absolute assurance that you have the ability to be sure – with the technology that we have – that a person is guilty."

Hutchison declined to say whether she believes Willingham was innocent.

"I answered your question," she said. "To the best of my knowledge, I've answered your question."

Democratic candidate Tom Schieffer also said the commission should reschedule the hearing quickly to question Beyler and examine his findings.

"No one in public life should ever be afraid of the truth. In the final analysis, truth is the only thing that serves justice," he said.

Staff writer Todd J. Gillman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Citadel

(no subject)

While the President and First Lady lobby in Copenhagen for the 2016 Olympic Games to come to Chicago, it’s worth pointing out that a lot of people who live in there don’t want them. Mayor Richard Daley has called it “a once in a lifetime opportunity,” and supporters talk about how the Olympics could bring jobs and revenue to the city.

ChicagoansForRio.com urges the Olympic Committee to vote on holding the games in Rio.

But not everyone is buying it.

One poll by the Chicago Tribune/WGN shows fewer than half of Chicago residents want to host the summer games. One group opposed says if Chicago gets the games, “corruption, cronyism, cost overruns… are guaranteed.” Hey — it’s Chicago.

There’s even a web site called Chicagoans for Rio that urges the Olympic Committee to send the games to Brazil. They cite deficits of former host cities which in some cases are huge. They list Chicago’s latest crime statistics… there’s even a picture of Athens five years after the games where they claim 21 of 22 of the city’s Olympic venues now sit empty and unused.

They also compare Rio de Janeiro to Chicago with examples like these:

City nicknames: the Marvelous City vs. the Second City.

Histories: Portuguese empire capital vs. a rail yard.

And… Signature events: for Rio — naked people dancing vs. for Chicago — chubby people eating.

Here’s my question to you: Should it matter if more than half of the people in Chicago don’t want the 2016 Olympic Games?

Source, with some of the replies from others. Posted 'cause I've seen a couple of people from Chicago in favor or against it. What do you guys think?
Citadel

Backlash builds against support of Polanski

While several high-profile actors and directors have rallied around Roman Polanski, not everyone in Hollywood believes he should be freed and forgiven.

In the face of a petition signed by notables such as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and John Landis calling for the immediate release of Polanski following his detainment in Switzerland, a backlash is building against such support.

"I can't believe that Hollywood has separated itself so completely from American morality," said Paul Petersen, a former child actor and president of A Minor Consideration, which advocates on behalf of young performers. "It is yet another case of Hollywood being out of sync with most of America."

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, but fled the United States before he could be sentenced.

In the years since, the director known for "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" settled in France and avoided authorities until he was arrested Saturday while on his way to the Zurich Film Festival.

In the aftermath of Polanski's arrest last weekend, a number of performers -- including Penelope Cruz, Tilda Swinton and Monica Bellucci -- appear as supporters on a petition which states, "Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom."

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Source is Kirsti Allen's homeboy.

Blog served with injunction - via Twitter

The High Court showed it was in step with the times today when it granted an order which allowed service of an injunction via Twitter.

Solicitors Griffin Law, who dealt with the matter, dubbed it "Blaney's Blarney Order" after the subject matter - a blog called Blaney's Blarney (donalblaney.com).

It requires an unknown Twitter user anonymously posting under the same name, and thus breaching the copyright and intellectual property of the blog's owner, to stop posting and immediately identify themselves.

The firm said that it was the first order ever to be served via Twitter and signalled an end to anonymous breaches of the law on Twitter or any other internet site.


Matthew Richardson, the barrister who obtained the order at a hearing at London's High Court before Mr Justice Lewison, said: "The Blaney's Blarney Order is a huge step forward in preventing anonymous abuse of the internet.

"People have to learn that they can no longer hide behind the cloak of anonymity the internet provides and break the law with impunity."


Donal Blaney, the victim of the anonymous impersonation and the principal of Griffin Law, said: "This is an important step in dealing with online bullying. The scales of justice have been tilted in favour of innocent victims today."

Source: The Independent

Fall

Germany mulls realities of first openly gay foreign minister

While I'm not happy at all with how the German elections turned out, I think this is an aspect of the result that goes beyond party politics and might be interesting to non-Germans. Keep in mind that what we are getting now is a conservative government - by German standards, that is.


He had his public coming-out five years ago at Angela Merkel’s 50th birthday party and now Guido Westerwelle is in the frame to become Europe’s first openly gay foreign minister.

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(Westerwelle is on the left; the man on the right is his partner Michael Mronz.

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New Colonialism sweeping Africa ?



This is part one of a six part series done by Aljazeera (english)



another article from Fastcompany.com

"There are already more Chinese living in Nigeria than there were Britons during the height of the empire. From state-owned and state-linked corporations to small entrepreneurs, the Chinese are cutting a swath across the continent. As many as 1 million Chinese citizens are circulating here. Each megaproject announced by China's government creates collateral economies and population monuments, like the ripples of a stone skimmed across a lake.

Beijing declared 2006 the "Year of Africa," and China's leaders have made one Bono-like tour after another. No other major power has shown the same interest or muscle, or the sheer ability to cozy up to African leaders. And unlike America's faltering effort in Iraq, the Chinese ain't spreading democracy, folks. They're there to get what they need to feed the machine. The phenomenon even has a name on the ground in the sub-Sahara: the Great Chinese Takeout. "

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/126/special-report-china-in-africa.html

and then wherever China doesn't have an outpost INDIA does...

http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-04/2008-04-07-voa34.cfm?moddate=2008-04-07
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    Insekt 5 " Only For Killing "

From 'Missed Connection' to art

OK, so your "Missed Connection" post on Craigslist never led to a great romance with that cute hipster who looked your way on the L train--let alone an e-mail from anyone vaguely resembling her. But those hopeful words you sent out into the ether may not be lost after all.

Brooklyn illustrator Sophie Blackall is immortalizing Missed Connections posts in the form of some pretty wonderful and whimsical paintings. And who knows? Maybe your note to that girl with the nose ring and headphones is now a work of art.

"Messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand; the modern equivalents are the funny, sad, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless, poetic posts on Missed Connections Web sites," Blackall writes on her blog. "Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I'm trying to pin a few of them down."

Her original paintings, created with Chinese ink and watercolor, measure about 11 inches by 17 inches and have names like "Hairy Bearded Swimmer," "I Had a Blue Hat," and "Seeking Girl Who Bit Me TWICE Last Night While We Were Dancing."

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source
slideshow of paintings

Tory ties with EU extremists are sickening, says David Miliband

The foreign secretary, David Miliband, today made a politically sensitive attack on the Tories, saying the Conservative party's new alliances in Europe made him feel "sick", and meant that the party was run by "a bunch of schoolboys".

Much of Miliband's annual speech to the Labour conference was devoted to a critique of the Tories' foreign policy and, in particular, their new relationships being forged in Europe. Miliband told delegates that the Tories were now in alliance in the European parliament with the For Fatherland and Freedom party, a Latvian party that participates in an annual event commemorating the Latvian Waffen SS.

The Tories immediately rushed out a response, accusing him of a "disgraceful smear" and "shoddy" politics beneath a foreign secretary.


Speaking on the last day of Labour's annual party conference, Miliband was almost as harsh on critics of his own party's leadership, suggesting that infighting over the next few months would do "the Tories' dirty work for them".

The foreign secretary, who last year was accused of using the annual conference to position himself for the leadership of the party, struck a more loyal note for his last speech to activists before the general election. His tone suggested that the younger generation of cabinet ministers believe they will fight the election with Gordon Brown in charge.

The speech was his first to the party faithful since he admitted in June that he had considered resigning from the government at the same time as his friend and former colleague James Purnell. Shunning the hand gestures that lost him credibility at last year's conference, Miliband this time used uncompromising language to deny that Labour had "run out of steam", and attacked critics within the party.

He said: "When members of this party, even MPs, say nothing much has changed, that we could use a spell in opposition – tell them: don't do the Tories' dirty work for them." As delegates on the conference floor shouted "shame on them", he said: "If we do not defend the record, no one will. Our work is not finished. That is what makes us agents of change in politics."

Instead he said delegates should leave the conference with a "song to sing and a hymn to hum", referring to the welter of policies announced by the prime minister in his conference speech on Tuesday and the party's pre-manifesto document, published this morning.

Miliband devoted a large amount of space, and unusually spiky language, to the Tories' foreign policy, which he said would make the country a laughing stock in international affairs.

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Source: The Guardian

normal

GOP to the Sick: Let Them Eat Free Market Health Care Cake...

Cantor: Public Plan A Non-Starter, Whether In Trigger Or Co-op Form

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor gave further indication on Thursday that the default position of the Republican party will be to oppose Democrat-written health care legislation even if its key provision, the public plan, is drastically watered down.

The Virginia Republican said that if a health care bill includes a trigger for a government-run health insurance plan or merely co-operative insurance plans in its place, conservatives would be ideologically opposed to the legislation.

"The public option, which is the essence of HR 3200, to me is a non starter," said Cantor during his appearance at The Atlantic's First Draft Of History conference. "I do not believe you can take a bill that puts Washington in the business of making rules and then says Washington is going to be a competitor under those rules. You can't do that because you will drive people into a single-payer system. I just think fundamentally, when you talk public option, whether you call it trigger, whether you call it co-op, if you got the structure in place of mandating individual and employer insurance purchasing coverage and then you are defining what it is you're mandating, and then you are putting the government either as a backstop, a trigger or an option you can't see how that doesn't end up with bringing people out of the system."

What Cantor's remarks suggest is something that progressive activists have long warned: that regardless of the changes made by Democrats to the public plan there is little chance of recruiting GOP support. Indeed, when asked whether he would be willing to back a public option as part of a deal for caps on malpractice lawsuits (a GOP cause celebre), Cantor replied: "I don't think I would make that trade."

And yet, at this juncture in the health care debate, the views of Cantor are of somewhat secondary importance. The legislative spotlight now is squarely on the group of conservative Democrats (both in the House and Senate) who aren't fully committed to supporting the prospective bills in their chambers. And the lone Republican worth following appears to be Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who seems likely to back a trigger provision for the public option, considering her earlier push for the proposal.

Jack Thompson Sues Facebook

Former lawyer Jack Thompson has sued Facebook for allowing anti-Thompson groups to post messages that have caused him "great harm and distress."

Thompson was permanently disbarred in September 2008 but that didn't stop his vocal criticism of the videogame industry, nor did it soften the attitude of videogamers toward Thompson and his strident rhetoric, many of whom have come together in Facebook groups to share their frustration with his antics. But Thompson says he feels threatened by some of the messages posted by those groups and on Tuesday, he filed suit against Facebook for letting it happen.

There are hundreds of Thompson-related Facebook groups, according to
SFGate.com; one potentially dangerous group that's mentioned in his suit is named "Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600." He also cited a message posted by a user who offered to pay $50 to anyone who sent him a video of themselves punching Thompson in the face.

He said his situation is similar to that of U.S. President Barack Obama, who was recently the subject of another Facebook controversy caused by a poll asking whether or not he should be shot. Facebook administrators quickly removed the poll but as Thompson noted, "Unlike our President, Thompson does not have the Secret Service to protect him."

But Thompson's suit against Facebook, like most of his others, has little chance of going anywhere, according to WiredSafety.org Executive Director Parry Aftab, who noted that the U.S. Communications Decency Act exempts services like Facebook from liability for what people do with them. "They are no more liable than the phone company would be for anyone who is calling in a ransom demand," she said.

Regardless of the legal merits of his case, however, this isn't the sort of attention gamers need. It may seem like a joke to anyone familiar with Thompson (although in the case of the $50 face-punch bounty, it's hard to say there's not some measure of seriousness involved) but to those on the outside looking in, it can appear more serious. Would anyone ever smack Thompson across the face with an Atari 2600? Of course not. (Those things cost money, you know.) But without context, it looks like a threat; and we, the gamers, end up looking like juvenile idiots or, worse, the violent psychos Thompson has worked so hard to make us out to be. Thompson never learned how to tone it down and it cost him his career. We don't need to make the same mistake.

Source: The Escapist
I thought we'd heard the last of this nutball... guess not.
normal

Graham Not a Fan of Beck... or Birthers... or Lunatics...

Sen. Graham Calls Beck 'A Cynic' And Birthers 'Crazy'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) offered unusually blunt assessments of the fringe elements of his party and conservative media on Thursday, calling the popular and bombastic Fox News host Glenn Beck a "cynic" whose show was antithetical to American values.

"Only in America can you make that much money crying," Graham said of Beck. "Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party. He is aligned with cynicism and there has always been a market for cynics. But we became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers."


Appearing before a crowd of Washington's elite power players and opinion-makers, Graham spoke largely without filter, offering acidic takes on subject well beyond Beck. The Senator called the birther community that questions the president's U.S. citizenship "crazy" and implored them to "knock this crap off" so the country could get on to more important matters.

"I'm here to tell you that those who think the president was not born in Hawaii are crazy," said Graham, who went on to dispel another myth: that Obama is a closet Muslim.


Speaking before The Atlantic's First Draft of History conference, Graham also ventured to call "crazy" a recent article on Newsmax, laying out how a military coup could overtake the Obama administration.

But he insisted that the demagoguery and wild emotions were prevalent to the fringes of both political parties. "There are people out there saying crazy things on our side of the aisle," he said, "there were people saying crazy things about President Bush. That's just the way it is. "

And he insisted that the opposition to Obama was (largely) not based in racial politics.

"How can you go from [the election]," he asked, "and then have a race problem a few months later? There are people in this party who are having a tough time reconciling having a black president.... But most of these people carrying around crazy signs would applaud Alan Keyes. They are very passionate about their politics and if Alan Keyes spoke at their conference they go through the roof."


Reflecting comments made earlier in the day by his colleague and close friend, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Graham said he was deeply worried about "the passions of cable TV" whipping up the emotions of the public. "If you get rewarded for being a jerk you are going to keep doing it," he said, before labeling "Talk radio, MoveOn.org, and the 24-hour news cycle" as the main culprits in polarizing the nation.

"Can you imagine doing D-Day with cable television?" he asked. "Can you imagine writing the Constitution -- you know, O'Reilly says Ben Franklin's giving in on something. Can you imagine having to do that in this environment?"