October 7th, 2009

Japan is a sore loser

Representatives of Rio de Janeiro’s successful 2016 Olympic bid are seeking an apology from Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, after the defeated leader of the Tokyo Olympic bid made some unfriendly comments about why he thought Rio won:

Mike Lee criticized Ishihara’s comments and went as far as to call the Tokyo governor “a bad loser.”

Ishihara said at a press conference in Tokyo on Sunday he heard that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made “daring promises” to African people and that French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to support Rio’s bid if Brazil purchased French-made fighter jets.

He also said, “invisible dynamics were at play.” It is unclear, however, which of those comments were a direct cause for Rio’s backlash.

“It was suggesting or hinting that there was some sort of trickery involved. It was very inappropriate. Everybody fights to win and some do better than others,” said Lee.

Sour Soy Sauce

It also should be said that Japan treats the Brazilians that live in Japan (~317,000 people) like 2nd class citizens, trying to pay them to go home BACK home to Brazil, refusing them into the public schooling, etc. This is a indirect blow to Japan's nationalistic pride and Ishihara's being a lil' bitch about it.

Top Rwanda genocide suspect caught in Uganda

KAMPALA, Uganda – A top suspect wanted for orchestrating the killings of thousands of people in Rwanda's 1994 genocide — including children, hospital patients, priests and even an elderly and revered African queen — has been captured, police said Tuesday.

Former Rwanda Deputy Intelligence Chief Idelphonse Nizeyimana was arrested Monday in Uganda, police said, under an indictment from the Rwanda war crimes tribunal on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to commit genocide in the systematic slaughter of more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days in 1994.

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It's kind of tripping me out to hear this news right after James Earl Jones's portrayal on House this week.
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Max Cleland: 'I Cried Uncontrollably for 2 1/2 Years'


In a phone interview on Monday, former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland was upbeat – "What's goin' on, kid?'' – and quick to laugh. But after losing his U.S. Senate seat to an opponent who ran post-9/11 TV ads that showed the decorated Vietnam vet alongside Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, Cleland fell into a depression he was afraid he might not pull out of. It was public service, he says, that had given his life shape and meaning after he left three limbs on a battlefield in Khe Sanh. But without that role, the old darkness came back. Along with his job and his bearings, he lost his relationship with his fiancée. "That's emotionally and physically over,'' he told me. "That's gone.'' And for a time, he was once again a patient at Walter Reed, where he'd first been put back together nearly four decades earlier – and was now surrounded by vets from Iraq and Afghanistan: "I cried uncontrollably for 2 ½ years.''

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The links are as they were in the source.

That 2002 senate race was a terribly low point in American politics. As Jon Stewart said in '04: Once you've portrayed a one-armed, no-legged war hero as a traitor to his country, what process is there to go back to?
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Afghanistan: Will Obama Listen to the Women?

By Jodie Evans

Eight years ago on October 7, the United States sent troops into Afghanistan. Having just returned from there, the author, co-founder with Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, brings an open letter to President Obama from prominent Afghan women and their supporters from Pakistan, India and the United States—asking that he send no more troops and work quickly toward a political solution.


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(no subject)

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX): Hate Crimes Bill Holding Soldiers Hostage


Last night on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) attacked the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill, which is attached to a defense appropriations bill. Gohmert says the hate crimes bill is holding soldiers hostage, preventing hate preachers from stating their opinions, and attacking the moral fabric of America.

Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jerrold Nadler rebutted Gohmert's sickening diatribe.

Watch them all

(via inlookout)

A fucking mess.

A D.C. Council Embarrassment
And guess who's at the center of the action.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 


THERE ARE valid questions to be asked about whether Ximena Hartsock is the best qualified candidate to head the District's department of parks and recreation. Shockingly, though, D.C. Council members at a recent hearing on her confirmation seemed more interested in her ethnicity, gender and immigration status than in her work and educational background. No matter what one's opinion of Ms. Hartsock, D.C. residents should be appalled that their elected officials would subject anyone to such disrespectful treatment.

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(no subject)


Sexism in horror novels: the real monsters aren't the ones you think

The row raging over sexism in the British Fantasy Society's new horror anthology is only part of the story


In a typical horror novel, you might expect to find, say, women shrieking as they are about to be raped, mutilated, murdered or otherwise menaced by monsters far beyond human taste and decency. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that the genre has been accused of sexism.


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Georgia: 16 Year Old Boy Drops Out After Being Told He Can't Cross Dress

Before he enrolled, school officials at a Kennesaw, Georgia high school assured Jonathan Escobar, 16, that he would be allowed to cross-dress as he pleased. But after a fight erupted between one of Jonathan's supporters and one of his tormentors, the school told him that he was in violation of their "no disruptive clothing" policy. He dropped out after four days rather than comply.


Gay French footballers 'snubbed by Muslim team'

I love it when people say, I'm sorry, but not really mean it. When I say love, I mean, hate it intensely.

And I wonder what the reaction would be if a football team said, I'm sorry, I can't play against a Muslim team, because I don't agree with their ideas.

Gay French footballers 'snubbed by Muslim team'

October 7, 2009 - 8:11AM
An amateur club of gay football players in Paris said Tuesday its members were victims of homophobia when a team of Muslim players refused to play a match against them.

The Paris Foot Gay team says it received an e-mail Saturday from the Creteil Bebel club canceling a match scheduled for the following day.

"Because of the principles of our team, which is a team of devout Muslims, we can't play against you," the e-mail said, according to Paris Foot Gay. The e-mail continued with: "Our convictions are much more important than a simple football match."

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Video from Guinea

This is from Reuters news service (won't embed) it shows part of the demonstration on Sept.28th at the football stadium. The solders shot about 150 people (those were the men)


This is from France24english, a french news service similar to BBC America (Guinea is a former french colony). In this report women give witness to the rapes and attacks that occurred after the mass shooting at the football stadium. Warning for content...

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franklin sherman

Half a trillion dollars to explode people and homes.

Senate passes $636 billion defense spending bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved $636 billion to fund military operations for the fiscal year that started on October 1, $3.9 billion less than requested by the Obama administration.

Lawmakers must resolve differences with a similar spending bill passed by the House of Representatives before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.

Following are some key provisions of the bill, which passed by a vote of 93 to 7:

* $128.2 billion would fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress in prior years funded the two wars separately from regular Pentagon operations.

* The bill would end production of Lockheed-Martin Corp.'s F-22 fighter plane and the VH-71 presidential helicopter, also made by Lockheed. The Pentagon has said it does not need these aircraft.

* The bill likewise contains no funding for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is being built by General Electric Co and Britain's Rolls-Royce Group Plc.

However, the engine program could survive despite a White House veto threat. The House has approved $560 million for the program and lawmakers from both chambers have agreed to include that money in a separate bill that sets the Pentagon's budget.

* The bill allocates $2.5 billion to continue production of Boeing Co.'s C-17 cargo plane -- another program the Pentagon had sought to shut down.

* It prohibits the Obama administration from transferring international terrorism suspects currently held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison to the United States.

* It includes $2.7 billion for hundreds of lawmakers' pet projects, from a World War Two museum to a civic-education center named for the late Senator Edward Kennedy, that the Pentagon did not request. Such "earmarks" serve as a lightning rod for budget hawks concerned about runaway federal spending, but senators turned back several attempts to strip them out.

* $7.7 billion for missile defense, a $1.4 billion cut from last year.

* $154 billion for operations and maintenance, which is $2.4 billion less than the Pentagon wants.

* $125 billion to pay salaries and other personnel costs for 1.43 million active-duty troops, including an increase of 22,000 troops for the Army, and a reserve force of 845,000.

* The bill provides $3.65 billion to build two DDG-51 destroyers, one more than the Pentagon wants.

  • luomo

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Scott Fujita Speaks Up for Gay Rights

New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita talks about why he is endorsing the National Equality March and why he supports gay rights in an interview with Dave Zirin in the Huffington Post:

"By and large in this country the issue of gay rights and equality should be past the point of debate. Really, there should be no debate anymore. For me, in my small platform as a professional football player, I understand that my time in the spotlight is probably limited. The more times you have to lend your name to a cause you believe in, you should do that...A year ago or two years ago, I remember reading about an initiative that was proposed in the state of Arkansas. It was some kind of measure that was aimed at preventing adoptions by single parents. Now, the way I read that and the way that I translated that language was that only heterosexual, married couples could adopt children. As an adopted child that really bothered me. I asked myself, what that is really saying is that the concern with one's sexual orientation or one's sexual preference outweighs what's really important, and that's finding safe homes for children, for our children. It's also saying that we'd rather have kids bounce around from foster home to foster home throughout the course of their childhood, than end up in a permanent home, where the parent, whether that person's single or not, gay or straight. Either way, it doesn't matter. It's a home that's going to be provided for a kid who desperately needs a home. As an adopted child, that measure really bothered me. It just boggles my mind because good, loving homes for any child are the most important thing."

Fujita, who is straight, married, and has kids, also discusses homophobia in the locker room and whether or not his views on gay rights make him a target for mockery among teammates.

Adds Fujita: "I have no concern about that whatsoever. I know who I am. My wife knows who I am. I don't care one way or the other Dave. I imagine that when some of this gets out guys in the locker room might give me a hard time, and they always give me a hard time. They call me the Pinko Communist Fag from Berkeley. I'm used to it. I can take it all."


Sarah Palin's Memoir Ready for Christmas Book Market

Fans and foes alike are hoping for surprises in Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, which leapfrogged Dan Brown and Glenn Beck to the top of the Amazon.com bestseller last week before even being published. But with a few weeks to go until the book hits shelves on Nov. 17, the biggest shocker so far is the sheer speed with which she wrote it. The former Alaska governor penned the 400-page tome in just four months, finishing well before the planned spring release date. So how the heck did she do it?

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Ghost Sauce
Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

"Radio Host" Throws Down Some Race!Fail Like I've Never Seen Before

WARNING: Do not watch these videos unless you're able to spend a few quiet minutes to yourself to calm down or else you might kill the next person you encounter. This guy's words are so ugly it makes Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh seem like lovable unicorns.


Now everyone, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go off in a corner and have a conniption. The sad part about all of this, is that I know men who have this kind of mentality.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tax Cheating: When Big Corporations Do it, Is For The Good of The Economy & Their Patriotic Duty...

Chamber Of Commerce Gets What It Wants On Tax Dodger Ban From Senate Committee

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the Senate Appropriations Committee to weaken a ban on government contracts with "inverted corporations," reports The Hill on Wednesday. Inverted corporations are domestic companies that set up nominal overseas headquarters to dodge U.S. taxes.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group raised hell about "a big corporate loophole" that found its way into the Senate version of an appropriations bill. The offending language says that the ban on contracts for inverted corporations "shall not apply to the extent that it is inconsistent with the United States obligations under an international agreement."

U.S. PIRG points out that many known tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, are parties to international agreements that could exempt companies "based" there from the ban. The Chamber of Commerce says, "We don't want to be violating trade agreements."
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Republicans Lack Credibility on Economic Policies, Even Conservatives Think They Are Idiots!

Partisan Economics in Action

Successful economic ideas usually end up being taken too far.

Democrats dominated the middle part of the 20th century, thanks in part to their vigorous response to the Great Depression. They used the government to soften the effects of the Depression and to build the modern safety net. But they failed to see the limits of the government’s ability to manage the economy and helped usher in the stagflation of the 1970s.

Ronald Reagan then came to power promising to cut taxes and unleash the forces of the market. And the Democrats spent the next dozen years struggling to absorb the lessons of their failures.

More than a few people believe the Republican Party is in a similar place today.
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GOP: Okay, we admit it: We really don't have an economic policy <:D

This is a fascinating admission by a conservative that the Republican Party will either a) say they want one thing economically, yet do another; or, b) simply act to block a Democratic policy proposal if the GOP thinks it will make the Democrats more popular.

Partisan Economics in Action

New York Times
Published: October 6, 2009


When I asked Dale Jorgenson, the eminent expert on productivity (and a Republican), what had been the positive aspects of President George W. Bush’s economic policy, Mr. Jorgenson said, “I don’t see any redeeming features, unfortunately.”

After Republicans opposed the stimulus package this year, The Financial Times, not exactly a liberal organ, called the party’s ideology harebrained. When Olympia Snowe was recently explaining why she might be the only Republican senator to vote for health reform, she suggested it was because her party had moved so far to the right.

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Article @ New York Times
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Jesus/Constitution mashup creates a black hole of art, threatens to consume everything in its path

Jon McNaughton Painting Shows Crippled Kids, Soldiers With Jesus; Lefty Journalists, Professors With Satan
First Posted: 10-6-09 08:41 PM | Updated: 10-6-09 10:57 PM

Blingee idea totally stolen from Wonkette
This is a wild one.

Artist Jon McNaughton of Utah has created a painting inspired by a vision he received during the 2008 elections. The painting -- titled "One Nation Under God" -- depicts Jesus surrounded by characters from American history plus Satan. Some of the characters are actual people (Ronald Reagan, James Madison ) and some are archetypes (handicapped child, liberal news reporter). The "liberal news reporter," along with the professor clutching Darwin's Origin Of Species and the judge weeping over Roe vs. Wade are huddled in the lower right hand corner of the painting, next to Satan. (The pregnant woman is also in Satan's corner.)

See the full painting, with rollover descriptions of the characters here.(*)

(h/t Mother Jones)

* I haven't been able to connect to this guy's site, but a cached version is still showing up -- eventually -- at Google. It's also mirrored at Shortpacked, albeit with lulzy revised captions. (Also, via Mother Jones: Haikus!)

I'll put all McNaughton's tl;dr captions under a cut:

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Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

The View Discusses Good Hair... Barbara Misses the Point

The ladies on The View discuss Chris Rock's new documentary Good Hair, and Barbara offers some of her deep wisdom on black people.

Full episode can be found here, however, unfortunately the site is down right now for maintenance, but it should be up and running again soon.

No Barbara, black women don't straighten their hair to look like white women. Sit down. She plugged that opinion all morning! Good hair =/= white hair, jfc.

Sources: 1, 2, 3
franklin sherman

Officer put in school to protect kids... you know what happens next

Kid gets BEAT DOWN from cop for not tucking his shirt in.

" No explanation at all... No one is talking about it."

edit: more recent cop stories.

Police chief immune from prosecution after he tasered the husband of the woman he was molesting.

Nurse suing chicago police after they arrested her for following hospital procedure.

Pheonix police (true champs of justice) shoot homeowner 6 times in the back, plan coverup, all audio-recorded.

cop arrest skateboarder, threatens to break his arm like a twig.

Drunk driving, power abusing, evidence tampering cop to be given job back, with backpay
panda bear

(no subject)

Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran?

Is the U.S. stepping up preparations for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities?

The Pentagon is always making plans, but based on a little-noticed funding request recently sent to Congress, the answer to that question appears to be yes.

First, some background: Back in October 2007, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had asked Congress for $88 million in the emergency Iraq/Afghanistan war funding request to develop a gargantuan bunker-busting bomb called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). It's a 30,000-pound bomb designed to hit targets buried 200 feet below ground. Back then, the Pentagon cited an "urgent operational need" for the new weapon.

Now the Pentagon is shifting spending from other programs to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. The Pentagon comptroller sent a request to shift the funds to the House and Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees over the summer.

The comptroller said the Pentagon planned to spend $19.1 million to procure four of the bombs, $28.3 million to accelerate the bomb's "development and testing", and $21 million to accelerate the integration of the bomb onto B-2 stealth bombers.

The notification was tucked inside a 93-page "reprogramming" request that included a couple hundred other more mundane items.

Why now? The notification says simply, "The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON." It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).

The request was quietly approved. On Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide "Massive Penetrator Ordnance Integration" on B-2 aircraft.

This is not the kind of weapon that would be particularly useful in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran.


Gay Tories hold first Pride night.

Gay Tories hold first pride night

The party on Tuesday night on Manchester's Canal Street was a political one.


Tory gay pride logo
The evening of music and performance drew a colourful crowd, but the traditional Tory "blue rinse" brigade decided to stay away.

Instead at a bustling bar there were Conservative cocktails and Tory tree logos painted in rainbow colours.

The hand of friendship to the gay community follows David Cameron's apology for Section 28, the 1980s law that banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools.

Speeches by shadow cabinet ministers Theresa May and Nick Herbert were warmly received.

Mr Herbert, the gay shadow environment secretary, declared that he was "living proof" the party had changed. 

'Broken Britain'

He joked that being gay and in the shadow cabinet was not an issue, the problem was staying in it - a reference to his recently demoted colleague, Alan Duncan.

Mr Herbert told his audience "that gay people are not the property of the Labour Party" and that the battleground had moved on.

Absent from the stage was Ben Summerskill, head of the equality campaign Stonewall.

He pulled out in protest at the appearance at fringe meetings this week of Michal Kaminski and Roberts Zile, two controversial Conservative allies in the European Parliament.

As the party got going, revellers were treated to some 1990s hits with a performance from singer Angie Brown who said she had written a more recent song with "broken Britain in mind" - a reference to one of the Tories' key themes this week.

The Conservative night of fun received a more hostile reception from Outrage protesters gathered outside and at a rival event at the long-running gay club, Poptastic, just around the corner. 

'Tory shame'

Their alternative "Tory shame" night, hosted by gay performer and broadcaster Amy Lamé, aimed to draw attention to the party's past record, rather than current aspirations.

Amy Lamé told BBC News she felt it "important to highlight that the Conservatives have a terrible reputation when it comes to equality".

The performer pointed out David Cameron's past voting record against the repeal of Section 28 and claimed the Tories have "nothing in their policy to make gay voters feel comfortable or confident".

Labour 'Tory shame' poster
Labour and Lib Dem activists held a rival event

The atmosphere at Poptastic seemed less politically charged than might have been expected, but a drag queen dressed as Margaret Thatcher drew laughs of recognition from some.

The Conservative organisers of the Pride event dismissed "Tory Shame" as, well, "a shame".

They argued it was little more than a stunt organised by gay Labour and Liberal Democrat activists.

But some of the hardcore party goers at Conservative Pride were more open minded, declaring their intention to attend "Tory Shame" afterwards.

If nothing else, the recent spat between Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives over their records on gay issues shows that whichever party you choose to go to, the election battle for the "pink vote" has begun. 

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8294427.stm


tv | Some girls | Rocky

Students Raped On University Campus

Police are hunting a university rapist after two women were attacked on the same day in the same halls of residence.

Officers have launched high-visibility patrols at the University of Glamorgan, in Pontypridd, south Wales, and staff have set up a hotline for worried students.

Detectives said there was no evidence to suggest the two rapes were carried out by the same person.

In the first attack, an 18-year-old woman was raped by a man with a knife in a campus bedroom in the early hours of September 26.
He was described as white, 6ft tall, of solid appearance, and wearing gloves and a dark hooded top.

On Monday night, police officers patrolling the campus were approached by a 20-year-old woman who said she had been raped by two men, also on September 26.

She is now being interviewed by specially-trained officers.

Police superintendent Tony Smith said: "The rape happened in a bedroom at the Glamorgan Court Halls of Residence.
"We are seeking any witnesses who may have heard or seen anything suspicious, or saw two or three men with a 20-year-old female in this area.

"We are also appealing for any witnesses who saw two or three men walking with a 20-year-old female from the Treforest area to the campus in the early hours of Saturday, September 26.

"Since the initial incident was reported to us, there has been a 24-hour police presence at the university's campus, which will continue, as well as the campus' own security staff."

The university's vice-chancellor Professor David Halton organised a meeting with students at Treforest campus to advise them on how to protect themselves.

He said: "The safety and welfare of our staff and students is our priority and we have increased our campus security presence and have a dedicated counselling service available.

"Staff and students should also follow personal safety advice and guidance provided by the university and the students union."

This creeps me out more than it normally would because up until this year it was my uni campus and the reason i transferred was because those halls of residence were so unsafe. I know uni residence isn't great anywhere really, but it's 10x worse than any campus i went to on opens days or the uni i'm at now.

Saudi sex braggart gets 5 years, 1,000 lashes

A Saudi court on Wednesday sentenced a man who caused uproar by bragging about his sex life on television to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes, according to Ministry of Information officials.

Mazen Abdul Jawad, a 32-year-old airline employee and divorced father of four, spoke openly about his sexual escapades, his love of sex and losing his virginity at age 14. He made the comments on Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, which aired the interview a few months ago.

Saudi authorities shut down LBC offices in Jeddah and Riyadh after airing the interview on an episode of its popular show "A Thick Red Line." Abdul Jawad was arrested shortly after the program aired and charged with violating Saudi Arabia's crime of publicizing vice.

On the program, Abdul Jawad is also shown in his bedroom, where he holds sexual aids up to the camera. The episode ends with him cruising the streets of Jeddah in his car looking for women.

The episode caused an uproar in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, where sharia, or Islamic law, is practiced. Pre-marital sex is illegal, and unrelated men and women are not permitted to mingle.

The segment in question has been posted on the video-sharing site YouTube since its initial broadcast last month, and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Speaking about promiscuous acts "is a violation of the sharia regulations on the one hand and against Saudi customs on the other," police spokesman Suleiman Al-Mutawae told Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia.

Before Jawad's detention, Arab News reported that he initiated a damage-control campaign, apologized for his comments and was considering filing a complaint against the show's producers for presenting him "in the worst possible manner by taking two hours of footage and condensing it down to a minutes-long segment."

Jawad's lawyer could not be reached for comment. The ministry officials spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.

Shirley Animated

NOW blasts Letterman for creating a "hostile work environment"

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The National Organization for Women has sharply criticized comedian David Letterman, accusing him of promoting a hostile, uncomfortable work environment.

"The latest Letterman controversy sheds new light on the widespread objectification of women in the workplace," NOW said in a statement Tuesday. "Most women can attest to the fact that many workplaces are plagued with inappropriate behavior by men in power."

The "Late Show With David Letterman" host admitted last week on his CBS program that he had sex with unnamed employees and had testified about those liaisons before a New York grand jury as part of an alleged extortion attempt.
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You know, NOW has a good point here. What do you guys think? Are they right in their assessment of workplace gender relations?
Shirley Animated

Helen Keller statue unveiled at Capitol

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A bronze statue of Helen Keller was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers praised her as a trailblazer and an inspiration for those with disabilities.

"Some are still dismissed and cast aside for nothing more than being less than perfect," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said at the unveiling ceremony. "The story of Helen Keller inspires us all."

The statue shows Keller -- who lost her sight and hearing to illness when she was 19 months old -- standing at a water pump as a 7-year-old, a look of recognition on her face as water streams into her hand. It depicts the moment in 1887 when teacher Anne Sullivan spelled "W-A-T-E-R" into one of the child's hands as she held the other under the pump. It's the moment when Keller realized meanings were hidden in the manual alphabet shapes Sullivan had taught her to make with her hands.

"W-A-T-E-R," said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. "Five simple letters that helped rescue 7-year-old Helen Keller from a world of darkness and a world of silence.
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Who else has read Lies My Teacher Told Me and remembers the part about Helen Keller? I doubt McConnell and his ilk would be so quick to praise her if they thought about what she went on to do. She was a radical socialist and awesome.
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Meet The Pro-Rapists

Meet The Senators Who Voted Against The Franken Amendment

I think that all homo sapiens can understand how the mere thought of an organization that receives government money through contract mechanisms being tangentially involved in setting up a fake tax shelter for a fake pimp and his fake prostitution ring of fake prostitutes can justifiably lead to lawmakers going absolutely cross-eyed with white-hot, impotent rage. But what happens when a similarly taxpayer-endowed contractor attempts to cover up employee-on-employee gang rape by locking up the victim in a shipping container without food and water and threatening her with reprisals if she report the incident? Somehow, it doesn't engender the same level of anger!

Credit new Senator Al Franken however, for introducing an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would punish contractors if they "restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." You'd think that this would be a no-brainer, actually, but that didn't stop Jeff Sessions from labeling Franken's effort a "political attack directed at Halliburton." Franken, of course, pointed out that his amendment would apply broadly, to all contractors, because otherwise, 'twould be a bill of attainder, right? Right?

Franken's amendment ended up passing, 68-30. Here's a list of the Senators who showed broad support for Roman Polanski by voting against it:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)


ADDENDUM: It's been pointed out to me that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied against the Franken amendment as well:

Republicans point out that the amendment was opposed by a host of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and applies to a wide range of companies, including IBM and Boeing.

I guess we must cover up crimes like rape in order to save capitalism.
franklin sherman

Medicare has a higher Claim Rejection Rate then private insurance.

Beverly Gossage, Research Fellow for Show-Me Institute and founder of HSA Benefits Consulting wondered which insurance companies rejected the most claims. She found her answer in the AMA’s own 2008 National Health Insurer Report Card.

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/368/reportcard.pdf (big pdf file!)

The chart below appears on page 5 of the 16-page report.

Of the eight insurers listed, Medicare is most likely to reject a claim, sending away 6.85% of requests. This is more than any private insurer and double that of the private insurers’ average.


Rick Berman, a.k.a. Dr. Evil on The Rachel Maddow Show

Rick Berman, Washington, D.C. lobbyist, Berman and Company, goes on Rachel Maddow to try to disabuse us of the notion that he's anything but a bought-and-paid-for corporate schill attempting to astroturf over the public good in forming public policy.

A taste of a schill-meister at work:


I have to laugh especially at his notion that raising the minimum wage hurts the poor, and is presumably unnecessary because the average family income of a minimum wage worker is $50,000.

Are we supposed to believe that families make $50,000 a year on minimum wage jobs alone?

Wait, no, it's OK to pay people less than minimum wage because the only people who get paid minimum wage are teenagers and housewives, and they really don't need the extra money because their family earns $50,000 a year!

I could keep going, but Rick does a much better job of this bulls**t in this USA Today article:

"[quoting Berman] 'Raising the minimum wage or forcing employers to pay increased health care benefits (equivalent to forcing them to raise wages) is counterproductive, inevitably leading to job displacement as employers scale back hours, cut jobs and turn to automation in order to maintain a profit margin.'

"Among others,
[Berman] cites the University of Georgia's Joseph Sabia, who says a 10% increase in the minimum wage is associated with about a 1% decline in both retail and small-business employment."

This is refuted by the Employment Policy Institute, and by common sense. Again, quoted from the USA Today article:
"A 1998 EPI study 'failed to find any systematic, significant job loss associated with the 1996-97 minimum wage increase. In fact, following the most recent increase in the minimum wage in 1996-97, the low-wage labor market performed better than it had in decades (e.g., lower unemployment rates, increased average hourly wages, increased family income, decreased poverty rates).'"

EDITed to post a correctly functioning video.
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Public Options With Opt-Out Clauses

Dems Discussing Public Option With Opt-Out Clause: The Silver Bullet?

Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.

The proposal is envisioned as a means of getting the necessary support from progressive members of the Democratic Caucus -- who have insisted that a government-run insurance option remain in the bill -- and conservative Democrats who are worried about what a public plan would mean for insurers in their states.

"What folks are looking for is what gets 60 votes," said a senior Democratic Hill aide. "The opt-out idea is very appealing to people. It has come up in conversations. I know personally that a handful of members have discussed it amongst themselves."

In conversations with the Huffington Post, sources have said that while the opt-out approach to the public plan is in its nascent stages it has been discussed with leadership in the Senate. It was pulled out of an alternative idea, put forth by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and, prior to him, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, to give states the power to determine whether they want to implement a public insurance option.

But instead of starting with no national public option and giving state governments the right to develop their own, the newest compromise approaches the issue from the opposite direction: beginning with a national public option and giving state governments the right not to have one.

"It is being discussed," said one progressive strategist who has been working on reform with both the White House and Congress. "In the end obviously, the goal and near-term exercise is to get to the bargaining table and get to the conference committee between the Senate and House with the strongest position [on the public plan] possible."

How such a system would work is still being debated, according to those with knowledge of the proposal. But theoretically, the "opt-out" approach would start with everyone having access to a public plan. What kind of public plan isn't yet clear. States would then have the right to vote -- either by referendum, legislature, or simply a gubernatorial decree -- to make the option unavailable in their health care exchanges

For conservative Democrats -- especially those from states with major private health insurance industry interests -- this concession could be key, allowing them to punt a vote on a public plan to local governments. For progressives, it would not be the hardest pill to swallow.
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Conservatives Attack Mary Cheney For Having Baby While Being Gay. Dick Cheney to Go "Hunting" Soon.

Mary Cheney Baby News Not Received Well By Conservative Base

The conservative base can usually be counted on to support all things Cheney, especially when we're talking about Dick "The World's Most Interesting Drunk Quail Hunter" Cheney and his birther-loving warblogger-in-waiting daughter Liz. Sadly, that penumbra of affection doesn't seem to extend all the way to Cheney's other daughter, Mary, because the righty base dislikes the way she's all gay and having children with the woman with whom she's enjoyed a long and loving relationship.

Over at Pandagon, Pam Spaulding has collected a Little Golden Treasury of priceless reactions from the Free Republic website, as they greet the news that Mary Cheney and Heather Poe have a second child on the way. Here's a taste, to whet your gag reflex:
I respect Dick Cheney, but I don't understand why he is allowing his daughter to take innocent children into her lesbianic home. Can anyone claim that these kids won't be scarred for life? So sad.

Also repugnant, IMNSHO, is the use of "they are expecting a child" when, for obvious reasons "they" could not POSSIBLY have conceived. It is the slight of hand that the left does with rediculous name reversals (like "FAMILY PLANNING") that implies something that in fact does just not happen...

As much as I don't like it, God will have to sort this out in the end.

Who is the father? Yes, you selfish lesbians, there is ALWAYS a father. Not that the baby will benefit from one. sick.
I wonder if Hallmark makes a card for this occasion? Yathink? Congratulations on your baster bastard?

Of course, the former vice president has long offered his daughter his unrelenting love and support, and very recently came out in favor of gay marriage, saying, "I think that freedom means freedom for everyone." I think that this underscores that a strong conservative argument can be made in favor of LGBT rights. I further think it underscores my bafflement that anyone would dare cross Cheney in this regard, because, dude... he will mess you up.

Dick Cheney's daughter Mary and her partner are expecting their second child

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Mary Cheney, the former vice president’s daughter, and her long-time partner, Heather Poe, are expecting their second child in mid- to late November, a source close to the family confirms.

Cheney, a lesbian, attracted much attention from the conservative movement when she announced her first pregnancy in late 2006. Social conservative and founder of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, penned a controversial op-ed for Time magazine called “Two Mommies Is One Too Many,” regarding Cheney’s decision to start a family:

With all due respect to Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father. That is not to say Cheney and Poe will not love their child. But love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development. The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy–any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl."

Cheney has remained a conservative voice and supporter of her father’s campaigns, although did not publicly address the Bush Administration’s Federal Marriage Amendment to the chagrin of gay rights groups.

Mary and Heather are already parents to 2-year-old son, Samuel David Cheney.

Congratulations to the Cheney-Poe family!


Police break up second day of anti-IMF protest

ISTANBUL (AP) — Protesters smashed shop and bank windows, attacked a police vehicle and hurled stones and fire bombs at police in a second day of protests Wednesday against the International Monetary Fund.

Police confronted the protesters by firing warning shots in the air, using water canons and tear and pepper gas.

The crowd of some 150 people — most members of fringe left-wing groups — gathered about half a mile (a kilometer) away from the venue of the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank being held in Istanbul, shouting "IMF get out!"

They shattered the windows of a Burger King fast food restaurant as well as windows of several Turkish and foreign banks in Istanbul's Sisli district. An Associated Press photographer said protesters hurled fire bombs and stones at police.

A group of protesters then made their way to a nearby highway and threw stones at a police vehicle driving past. Police inside the car fired warning shots into the air to try and keep the protesters at bay.

Outnumbered by police, the protesters ran down side streets but regrouped quickly in an attempt to break through police lines and march to a complex where the IMF and World Bank were wrapping up discussions on internal reforms and the fragile recovery from the global economic meltdown.

At least 20 demonstrators were arrested.

On Tuesday, police detained some 100 people following a similar protest in which masked demonstrators shattered shop and bank windows and hurled stones at riot police.

Last week, a student journalist threw a shoe at IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn at a university in Istanbul. The shoe missed him.


i think even the anarchists on here will have to agree the protestors got a bit overexcited 

Christian Bale

UFO During Iranian Missile Test Launch?

UFO tracks Iranian missiles

A UFO streaks through the sky in this astonishing video of the Iranians test firing a controversial missile.

The mystery object zooms unseen through Iran's airspace — before splitting a cloud in two as the film focuses in on the soaring rocket.

A UFO expert today described the unknown craft — which appears to be tracking the weapon — as "phenomenal".

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Berlusconi's Lawyers Press Leader's Need for Immunity

Berlusconi's Lawyers Press Leader's Need for Immunity

ROME — Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers asked an Italian court Tuesday to uphold an immunity law that has shielded him from a corruption trial in Milan, a decision that could determine the future of his government.
The Constitutional Court in Rome was hearing arguments Tuesday before deliberating over whether the legislation complies with the Constitution, but it was unclear when the court’s 15 judges would issue a ruling. But one of Mr. Berlusconi’s lawyers, Gaetano Pecorella, suggested that a decision could be made this week.

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Berlusconi immunity law overruled

Italy's highest court has overturned a law granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office.

The Constitutional Court annulled the law, which had allowed him to withdraw from several cases. In one he was facing corruption charges.
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emily 2

As repetitive as articles on the 'Arrested Development' Movie - Pot Legalization in CA?

SAN FRANCISCO — Marijuana advocates are gathering signatures to get as many as three pot-legalization measures on the ballot in 2010 in California, setting up what could be a groundbreaking clash with the federal government over U.S. drug policy.

At least one poll shows voters would support lifting the pot prohibition, which would make the state of more than 38 million the first in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Such action would also send the state into a headlong conflict with the U.S. government while raising questions about how federal law enforcement could enforce its drug laws in the face of a massive government-sanctioned pot industry.

The state already has a thriving marijuana trade, thanks to a first-of-its-kind 1996 ballot measure that allowed people to smoke pot for medical purposes. But full legalization could turn medical marijuana dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.

Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, period. After overseeing a series of raids that destroyed more than 300,000 marijuana plants in California's Sierra Nevada foothills this summer, federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske proclaimed, "Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine."

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franklin sherman

Ron Paul & Alan Grayson are like Batman and Robin

n a letter they will send to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd this afternoon, Reps. Ron Paul (R., Tex.) and Alan Grayson (D., Fla.) will ask that the Senate hold off on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s confirmation hearing until the central bank releases more information about its rescues. ( Read the full letter.)

It is up to the Senate and not the House to confirm the Fed chairman, and the congressmen’s letter might not carry much weight in the neighboring chamber. Still, it is a sign of the potentially hostile environment Mr. Bernanke could face when he returns to Congress in the weeks ahead to defend his policies in confirmation hearings. Mr. Paul has won broad support in the House for a bill that would subject the Fed to audits by Congress’s Government Accountability Office.

The lawmakers offer a long list of disclosure demands, including a call for more information on which financial firms have received emergency Fed loans in the past year and transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee meetings up to June 2009. Transcripts are released with a five year league. The Fed has resisted calls for information about firms receiving its loans for fear it will stigmatize them in markets and make them and others reluctant to turn to the central bank in a time of crisis.

Both congressmen have been sharp critics of the Fed.

“We are writing to ask you postpone the confirmation of Ben Bernanke until the Federal Reserve releases documentation that will allow the public and the Senate to have a full understanding of the commitments that the Federal Reserve has made on our behalf,” the letter says. Senate confirmation hearings haven’t been scheduled yet.

The Fed declined to comment.


Pro-Rape DeMint Continues to Boast The Death of Health Care Reform and Obama's Future Failure.

DeMint Brings Up Obama's "Waterloo" Again

When Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in mid-July projected that the Republican Party would "break" President Obama by making health care "his Waterloo," it marked a turning point in the political debate.

The South Carolinian's remark became notorious both for its stridency as well as its unabashed partisanship. It also, to a certain extent, changed the way that Democrats approached the process of reform, making them a bit more doubtful that the Republicans were negotiating in good faith.

Almost three months have passed since then. But on Wednesday, DeMint was talking about Waterloo again.

In an interview with conservative blogger Melissa Clouthier that was picked up by the progressive Media Matters Action Network, the senator's message was still the same: if Republicans stop Obama on health care they can derail his entire agenda.

"If it goes through, I think we go over the cliff as a country, because the level of spending and debt and government takeovers has accelerated dramatically this year," said DeMint. "And if the president passes the health care he wants to go straight to cap and trade, which is a huge tax on electricity and energy in our country. And he freely admits that the electricity rates will skyrocket. And then he wants to go on to what they call card check, which is taking away a worker's secret ballot when they are trying to unionize.

"So the reason I said that health care was so pivotal -- I actually said it is the Waterloo in effect - is if we can stop him on health care, stop the momentum of spending and takeovers, and force him and the Democrats to sit down and work with the American people on some issues, we might have a chance to salvage this thing."

Md. university system devising policy on student displays of porn films

Md. university system devising policy on student displays of porn films

Groups raise free-speech concerns as state works on first such plan in U.S.

Nasty Sauce

Maryland's public university system is poised to become the first in the country with a policy on student displays of pornographic films, a direct response to legislative demands made after a screening earlier this year of a XXX-rated film at the University of Maryland, College Park.
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Titanic - dancing and smitten


Reading this story just warmed my heart.

UK minister meets Moscow relative

Britain's young minister for energy and climate change, Ed Miliband, had come to Russia to talk about global warming. Little did he know he would end up meeting a long-lost member of his family.

It came in the middle of a phone-in programme on the popular Moscow radio station "Ekho Moskvy".

As the fresh-faced Mr Miliband prepared to answer questions on CO2 emissions and melting permafrost, the voice of an elderly woman came on the line.

"I am Sofia Davidovna Miliband, I am your relative; I am the only one left."

As the British minister looked on bemused, the host of the show cut her off - clearly worried she was a hoaxer.

But it was no hoax.

The British ambassador and dozens of invited guests (and the BBC) were left stranded at an embassy reception as Mr Miliband raced off to meet his long-lost kin.

It turns out that Sofia Davidovna Miliband is an 86-year-old academic.

She was once a leading expert on Iran at the Moscow School of Oriental Studies.

After much translation and a call to his mother in the UK, the British minister - whose brother David, is the UK's foreign secretary - worked out that his great-great grandfather was the brother of Sofia's grandfather.

Both of them had been born in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw in Poland.

Ed Miliband's grandfather fled Poland in the 1920s and ended up in Belgium. He fled again ahead of Hitler's invading army and made it to Britain on forged papers with his son, Ed and David Miliband's father.

Unknown to them another part of the Miliband clan had come east to Moscow.

Sofia Davidovna reportedly told him she was delighted.

She has no children and thought she was the last of the Milibands.

Little did she know that in faraway England there are not one, but two of them in the British cabinet.

Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's PM programme his relative was "an amazing woman".

"I did sort of vaguely know when I was a boy about her existence. The way I know about it, if you look on a library computer her name pops up.

"I've always slightly wondered about her ever since I was a kid, it was amazing for me to come face to face with her."

On meeting her, he said: "I think she was much less interested in what David or I do than in making the family connection and realising she wasn't the last Miliband around and that there was a branch of the family in Britain."


(there needs to be some kind of "yay! happy news!" tag. also yes the story is about ed, "the lesser miliband" or "miliband the younger", but he doesn't have a tag yet... poor woobie.)

NYC undercover stings expose 'gun show loophole'

NEW YORK – Private unlicensed gun dealers were captured on video selling weapons to undercover investigators who admitted they couldn't pass background checks in a sting operation by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to highlight the "gun show loophole."

The stings, described in a city report and documented on video released at City Hall on Wednesday, were conducted at seven gun shows in Tennessee, Ohio and Nevada. Those states are among the many that permit private unlicensed dealers, known as "occasional sellers," to sell weapons at gun shows without conducting background checks.

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I think they got good results out of this sting, but g--damn, 1.5 million bucks to do it?