November 29th, 2009


10,000 E. African albinos in hiding after killings

NAIROBI, Kenya – The mistaken belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven thousands of Africa's albinos into hiding, fearful of losing their lives and limbs to unscrupulous dealers who can make up to $75,000 selling a complete dismembered set.

Mary Owido, who lacks pigment that gives color to skin, eyes and hair, says she is only comfortable when at work or at home with her husband and children.

"Wherever I go people start talking about me, saying that my legs and hands can fetch a fortune in Tanzania," said Owido, 36, a mother of six. "This kind of talk scares me. I am afraid of going out alone."

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Usually I'm all for respecting other cultures, but fuck that shit with this. THERE'S NO MAGIC.

Indonesia minister says immorality causes disasters

Oh good smeg, not this crap again...



A government minister has blamed Indonesia's recent string of natural disasters on people's immorality.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that there were many television programmes that destroyed morals.

Therefore, the minister said, natural disasters would continue to occur.

His comments came as he addressed a prayer meeting on Friday in Padang, Sumatra, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in late September.

He also hit out at rising decadence - proven, he said, by the availability of Indonesia-made pornographic DVDs in local markets - and called for tougher laws.

According to the Jakarta Globe, his comments sparked an angry reaction on the internet, particularly among those who followed him on social networking site Twitter.

Why focus on public immorality when there was so much within the government, one respondent reportedly asked.

More than 1,000 people died in the Padang earthquake, which toppled hundreds of buildings in and around the city.

Padang lies to the south of Aceh province, which was devastated in the December 2004 Asian tsunami.

Indonesia lies across a series of geological fault-lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.


Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn...
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creepy but cute

The New Inquisition

Source: The New Inquisition
November 24, 2009

At a literary festival in New York City some years ago, I was introduced to a French writer who, almost immediately after we shook hands, asked me where I was from. When the answer was "Morocco," he put down his drink and stared at me with anthropological curiosity. We spoke about literature, of course, and discovered a common love for the work of the South African writer J.M. Coetzee, but before long the conversation had turned to Moroccan writers, then to Moroccan writers in France, and then, as I expected it eventually would, to Moroccan immigrants in France--at which point the French writer declared, "If they were all like you, there wouldn't be a problem."

His tone suggested he was paying me some sort of compliment, though I found it odd that he would want the 1 million Moroccans in his country to be carbon copies of someone he had barely met and whose views on immigration--had he asked about them--he might not have found quite to his liking. It was only later, when I had returned to my hotel room, that it dawned on me that the profile of the unproblematic Moroccan immigrant he might have had in mind was based solely on conspicuous things. Some of these, like skin color, were purely accidental; others, like sartorial choices or dietary practices, were in my opinion inessential, but from his vantage point perhaps they suggested a smaller degree of "Muslimness."

Was this man really suggesting that I was a more desirable immigrant because I did not look Muslim? We had started our conversation as two equals, two potential friends, two writers discussing literature, but we had ended it as judge and supplicant--the former telling the latter whether or not she would make a suitable immigrant. And why on earth did I not say something on the spot? Why did I not ask him what he meant? Instead, I had stared back at him with what I imagine was dumbfounded perplexity, and then changed the subject. Perhaps if I had confronted him I would have been able to remove the sting of the insult that had lain hidden inside the compliment.

Was this man really suggesting that I was a more desirable immigrant because I did not look Muslim? We had started our conversation as two equals, two potential friends, two writers discussing literature, but we had ended it as judge and supplicant--the former telling the latter whether or not she would make a suitable immigrant. And why on earth did I not say something on the spot? Why did I not ask him what he meant? Instead, I had stared back at him with what I imagine was dumbfounded perplexity, and then changed the subject. Perhaps if I had confronted him I would have been able to remove the sting of the insult that had lain hidden inside the compliment.

In any case, the man's assertion was a purely theoretical speculation. In practice, there is little evidence that even inconspicuous Muslims are fully accepted in France, or elsewhere in Europe. This was made abundantly clear in September, when Le Monde released video footage from an encounter between Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister of France, and Amine Benalia-Brouch, a young Algerian-French activist. Hortefeux and Benalia-Brouch, who were both attending the summer congress of the center-right party Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, were asked to pose for a photograph. A female onlooker touched Benalia-Brouch on the cheek and, in a voice ringing with approbation, said, "[Benalia-Brouch] is Catholic. He eats pork and drinks beer." "That is true," replied Benalia-Brouch, smiling. "He is our little Arab," the woman continued. Hortefeux added, "Very well. We always need one. When there's one, that's all right. It's when there are a lot of them that there are problems."

However offensive Hortefeux's statements may be, they are not particularly remarkable. In French politics, anti-immigrant posturing is something of a rite, often performed at the height of election season. When he was still mayor of Paris, and preparing to run for the presidency under the banner of the center-right party Rassemblement pour la République, Jacques Chirac bemoaned the plight of the "French worker," who was driven "mad" by "the noise and the smell" of the immigrant family next door, "with a father, three or four wives, twenty kids, taking in 50,000 Francs in welfare payments without working." After serving a term as president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing took to the pages of Le Figaro Magazine to argue passionately that citizenship laws needed to replace the "right of land" (jus soli, automatic citizenship for those born on French soil) with the "right of blood" (jus sanguinis, citizenship determined through French ancestry). If such a distinction were not made, he warned, France would face "an invasion." The "right of blood" definition of citizenship, depending on how it is interpreted, could have ruled out the writer Alexandre Dumas, the footballer Michel Platini, the actress Isabelle Adjani, the physicist Marie Curie, the composer Maurice Ravel, the singer Charles Aznavour, as well as Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president of France, but perhaps Giscard d'Estaing felt his country could have done without any of them. (France eliminated the jus soli definition of citizenship in 1993 and then reinstated it in a limited form in 1997.)

In 2002 Manuel Valls, the mayor of Evry and a member of the Parti Socialiste, shot to national prominence when he tried to close down a halal supermarket because it did not carry pork or wine. He claimed the store had to "help us maintain some diversity." Two years before his election to the presidency in 2007, Sarkozy promised he would "hose down" the "scum" of the Paris suburbs, where many of the city's Muslims reside. Declarations such as these cut across party lines and constitute what the French press euphemistically calls dérapages, or blunders.

Read rest, nice overview of a disturbing trend...

A literary critique that makes some very interesting points.
terror must be maintained

(no subject)

Climate Change Bill Faces Delays In Senate
by David Welna

In early December, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to begin talks on a new treaty to curb greenhouse gases and global warming. President Obama will attend the summit.

In urging action on climate change, the president says it's essential "that all countries do what is necessary to reach a strong operational agreement that will confront the threat of climate change while serving as a stepping stone to a legally binding treaty."

White House officials say the U.S. will propose targets for reducing greenhouse gases in line with what Congress is considering. But while the House narrowly passed a climate change bill last summer, no action by the Senate is expected until next spring.

That's a change from earlier this month, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) was bullish on the outlook for the climate change bill he is co-sponsoring with Environment Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA). It was the same day that Boxer's panel had passed the bill without a single Republican showing up for the vote. Kerry approved of her damn-the-boycott, we're-voting-anyway attitude.

"We welcome a healthy debate on this," Kerry said, "but we don't need to play the delay game anymore around here."

But there are other delays. Five other Senate committees have to weigh in with their bills on climate change, and that legislation then has to be mashed into one bill for the full Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has conceded that he has given up on trying to tackle climate change this year and will turn to it "sometime in the spring."

'Stuck In Traffic Behind Health Care'

That was welcome news to Oklahoma's James Inhofe, the Senate's No. 1 climate change skeptic and the top Republican on the Environment Committee.

"It appears now evident, which we've known all along, and that is that we're not going to be passing anything in this country on cap-and-trade," Inhofe said.

Cap-and-trade seeks to curb global warming by capping carbon emissions and trading permits to pollute. Inhofe says momentum for climate change has slowed in the Senate because Americans have lost interest in the issue. Not so, says the Sierra Club's global warming director, David Hamilton.

"The main reason that this doesn't have the momentum that we would want is the fact that the issue is stuck in traffic behind health care," Hamilton said.

With the Senate now expected to debate its health care bill until Christmas, Boxer acknowledges that climate change has had to take a back seat.

"I'd like to deal with it yesterday, you know," she said. "But I don't think it means that there's no progress. I don't think it means that we're never going to do it. What I think it means is that the political agreement that's reached in Copenhagen should spur us on, as opposed to us spurring on Copenhagen."

Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says he's comfortable with the slow track.

"I think some people are trying to hurry the process too much," says Rockefeller, who's from a coal state. His panel has yet to schedule its hearings on climate change. "I think it's not unfair to say that if you use the word 'cap-and-trade,' there may be one-half to two-thirds of the United States Senate [who] could not explain what is meant by that — not a good way to sort of go into a bill of that scope and magnitude. I know that my coal miners, the people in West Virginia, they just know it to be a really bad word."

Seeking Middle Ground

Meanwhile, Sen. Kerry has teamed up with Connecticut independent Joseph Lieberman and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham to draft a climate change bill with broader political appeal. Graham says both sides in this debate have to give ground.

"If you're Republican and you can't agree to emission controls, we don't have a lot to talk about," Graham says. "If you come to the table as a Democrat and said, 'I'm dead set against nuclear power and offshore drilling,' I don't think we have a lot to talk about. But if you're willing to find middle ground, we can get there."

Oklahoma Republican Inhofe, for his part, says he has decided on his next move.

"I have been the lead senator standing up and exposing the science, the costs and the hysteria behind global warming alarmism," he says, "and I will be traveling to Copenhagen."

No Senate-passed bill will be there to contrast with Inhofe's naysaying.


Here's to hoping something the copenhagen summit won't be a complete failure but jeezy creezy, why is Inhofe even on the environment committee?

Swiss vote to Ban Minarets (according to exit polls)

Update: It is official the measure passed with 57% of the vote. Link below

-Projections from exit polls suggest Swiss voters have backed a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets.

The proposal is backed by conservative Christian groups and by the biggest party in Switzerland's parliament, the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), which says allowing minarets would lead to the Islamisation of the country.

There are an estimated 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, most from the former Yugoslavia or Turkey. Islam is the country's most widespread religion after Christianity, but although there are Muslim prayer rooms, proper mosques with minarets are few and far between.

There are just four across Switzerland, and in recent years, all applications to build minarets have been turned down.

Fear of extremism

Although there is little evidence of Islamic extremism in Switzerland, supporters of a ban say the presence of minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system that are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

New results under the cut.
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Puppy chillin
  • 0405

4 police officers killed in Wash. coffee shop. :(

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Lakewood Police officers, shown left to right: Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards.

Sgt. Mark Renninger. Renninger, 39, had 13 years of law enforcement experience and is survived by a wife and three children.

Tina Griswold. Griswold, 40, had 14 years of law enforcement experience. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Ronald Owens. Owens, 37, had 12 years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a daughter.

Greg Richards. Richards, 42,had eight years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.



Authorities identified Maurice Clemmons as "person of interest" in the case. Troyer told reporters that there was not enough information to call Clemmons a suspect, but said that he is believed to be in the area and has had previous encounters with police. Clemmons was described 37 years old, 5'8" tall with black hair, brown eyes and a mole on his left cheek.

More updates in the article/comments.
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New information released from Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said:

The gunman walked into Forza, past the officers and up to the counter as if he was going to place an order. He opened up his coat. The barista turned and ran.

The gunman then turned around and opened fire on the officers.

About 250 tips have come in on the case.

The four officers had previously worked for other agencies. One of the four had worked for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

The reward has been increased to $100,000.

More information at source.

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Uruguay Runoff Election Results

Former guerrilla wins Uruguay vote

* Leftist Mujica wins -- exit polls, projections

* Rightist rival Lacalle concedes (Updates, recasts with Lacalle concession)

By Kevin Gray

MONTEVIDEO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - A former guerrilla fighter who has pledged to take a moderate path won Uruguay's presidential run-off election on Sunday and his rightist opponent conceded.

Jose Mujica, 74, who waged an armed revolt against a democratically elected government in the 1960s and 1970s and was jailed for 14 years, was ahead with 51.2 percent of the vote, according to a quick count of the ballots by Factum polling group.

Two other pollsters made similar projections and Uruguayan television stations called the vote a victory for Mujica.

His rival, rightist former President Luis Lacalle, conceded the election, Lacalle's running mate Jorge Larranaga said.
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lawlz i know like 3 people here care but i really just wanted an excuse to post that fabulous blingee i made today. Plus I'm really happy the left won in Uruguay again...keep it going, Latin America!

Obama Bucks (aka Food Stamps, Aka Welfare Bucks, Aka Lazy People's Money) Soars. GOP: "Bootstraps!"

Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades

With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply. That bipartisan effort capped an extraordinary reversal from the 1990s, when some conservatives tried to abolish the program, Congress enacted large cuts and bureaucratic hurdles chased many needy people away.

From the ailing resorts of the Florida Keys to Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea, the program is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.

There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times.

The counties are as big as the Bronx and Philadelphia and as small as Owsley County in Kentucky, a patch of Appalachian distress where half of the 4,600 residents receive food stamps.

In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.
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well, duh.

Former (British) attorney general's unpublished letter, written eight months before invasion, has been given to Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war

Tony Blair was told by his government's most senior legal adviser that an invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein would be a serious breach of international law and the UN charter.

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[politics] fist bump
  • sarken

Shocking! Person who used to have job says she could've done it better.

White House Guest List Chief Says She Quit Post
Michael Isikoff

The White House staff member whose job was to supervise the guest list for state dinners and clear invitees into the events says she was stripped of most of her responsibilities earlier this year, prompting her to resign last June.

The account of Cathy Hargraves, who formerly served as White House "assistant for arrangements," raises new questions about whether changes that she says were made by President Obama's social secretary, Desiree Rogers, may have contributed to the security lapses that permitted Virginia socialites Michele and Tareq Salahi to crash the state dinner for India's prime minister last week and get themselves photographed with the president.

Hargraves tells Declassified in an exclusive interview that, while she had originally been hired as a White House political appointee in 2001, she landed a new position on the White House residence staff in 2006 and was specifically detailed to the social office to work on state dinners.

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Declassified Sauce

I am detecting no sour grapes or armchair quarterbacking here. Nope. None.
Akuma River

oh Huckabee....

Mike Huckabee Leaning Against Presidential Run In 2012

WASHINGTON — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he's leaning slightly against running for president in 2012 but says it's far too early to say what he will do.

Huckabee says how the 2010 congressional elections turn out will affect his decision. He also will be looking at whether the Republican Party is willing to unite behind him as a candidate.

Another consideration, Huckabee says, is the status of his weekly TV show on Fox News.

Given those factors, Huckabee says mounting another presidential bid is "less likely rather than more likely" at the moment.

Huckabee finished second in the 2008 race for the GOP nomination. He remains a favorite of evangelical conservatives.

Huckabee appeared on "Fox News Sunday."

Of course this all happened BEFORE this came to light:


I do believe we can call it on November 29, 2009 Mike Huckabee's political career is finished.
' jules
  • schmiss

Big thinkin'~

The Foreign Policy Top 100 25 Global Thinkers

From the brains behind Iran's Green Revolution to the economic Cassandra who actually did have a crystal ball, they had the big ideas that shaped our world in 2009. Read on to see the 100 minds that mattered most in the year that was.

25. Joseph Stiglitz

for relentlessly questioning economic dogma.

Economist | Columbia University | New York

When the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy in the winter of 2008, Stiglitz was standing over the wreckage proclaiming: I told you so. The Columbia University and former World Bank economist has long warned that excessive deregulation could spell doom for the U.S. economy. But throughout his career, he has been an equal-opportunity gadfly. Stiglitz won the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics for showing how information asymmetries can cause markets to fail. Best known for arguing that globalization works against poor countries, he more recently has joined the chorus calling for a new reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar. His iconoclasm has often placed Stiglitz on the outside looking in on the policymaking process. But with the financial crisis calling into question core principles of the economic system, politicians from France's Nicolas Sarkozy to China's Hu Jintao are turning to America's most prominent economic dissident for answers.

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Some of these are like... no, just no. And some are like NO FUCKING WAY (*cough* #13 *cough*). But at least this is a more unique and relevant list than most of the end-of-the-year/end-of-the-decade pap we're being barraged with this month.

I trimmed it to 25 because obviously LJ wouldn't let me C+P 100 bios, but I included some other folks that are known to most of us or relevant to the community.