December 12th, 2009


Former President's grave dug open and corpse stolen in Cyprus

Outrage in Cyprus at Tassos Papadopoulos tomb raiders

Politicians in the Republic of Cyprus have voiced outrage after thieves stole the corpse of former President Tassos Papadopoulos from his grave.
His ex-rival and successor as president, Demetris Christofias, condemned the "unholy" theft and urged the public to remain calm.

The remains were stolen during a thunderstorm, shortly before the first anniversary of the ex-leader's death. As investigators sought a motive for the act, three people were questioned.
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Socialism Reaches Wall Street! GOP Fails to Protect Free Market!

House Passes Wall Street Reform Bill With Zero GOP Votes

In a close vote, the House of Representatives Friday afternoon passed a financial reform bill intended to re-regulate Wall Street and increase protections for Main Street.

The bill, passed in a 223-202 vote, calls for the creation of a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers that would police consumer credit products like mortgages and credit cards. It also establishes new rules for the trading of derivatives and increases the transparency of the credit-rating process -- two previously under-regulated parts of the economy that played a large role in last year's economic collapse.

Not a single Republican voted for the bill. Twenty-seven Democrats broke with the rest of their party to vote against it.

The measure includes language, introduced in committee by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), that would authorize an expansive audit of the Federal Reserve, a landmark achievement for critics of the central bank's secretive operations.

The bill also requires systemically important banks to pay into a fund that would be used to break them up and sell them off if they go bankrupt. Republicans bitterly and inaccurately referred to it as a "bailout fund,"
telegraphing a critique that will undoubtedly re-emerge during the 2010 midterm elections.

"Today is an important milestone in reversing the decades-long stranglehold Wall Street and big banks have had over our economy. But it is just the first step," said Service Employees International Union Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. "Despite the millions Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce spent fighting the demands of the American people and the dozens of visits by big bank CEOs to strong-arm members of Congress, our leaders found the political will and courage to pass the most historic financial reform legislation in nearly 80 years."

The fight to fundamentally reform financial regulations began soon after President Barack Obama took office. Public zeal, though, was tempered on Capitol Hill by bankers and other Wall Street titans, who united to fight against the kind of reform advocated by consumers, union groups, and academics.

The bill disappointed some consumer groups, who pledged to work to make it stronger as it moves to the Senate.
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Big Pharma to Stop Importation of Cheap Canadian Drugs. We Are Saved!

Pharma Deal Shuts Down Senate Health Care Debate

The White House, aided by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is working hard to crush an amendment being pushed by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) to allow for the reimportation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, Senate sources tell the Huffington Post.

As a result, the Senate health care debate has come to a standstill: Carper has placed a "hold" on Dorgan's amendment and in response, Dorgan tells HuffPost, he'll object to any other amendments being considered before he gets a vote on his.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is a lead co-sponsor of Dorgan's amendment. She said she's confident that, as of now, they have the votes they need. "I think that's why we're not having this vote," she said, smiling. The amendment has the support of a number of other Republicans, including Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), John Thune (S.D.) and David Vitter (La.).

Opponents of the amendment worry that many more Republicans may join the amendment not because they agree with it, but because they want to put the health care bill in jeopardy.

So the White House and the drug makers are trying to persuade as many Democrats as they can to oppose the amendment despite their previous support for it.

"I don't think that's going to get my vote," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said when HuffPost asked about the reimportation amendment. He said that even though he is a supporter of reimportation, he is concerned that if it passes it could blow everything up.

"I'm not messing around with anything without 60 votes. Nothing," he said. "And I'm a co-sponsor of the amendment."

The dispute within the Democratic caucus is becoming personal. "Of course, with Dorgan, it's all about Dorgan," a senior Democratic aide told HuffPost, complaining that Dorgan was willing to blow up health care reform for his own glory.
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from flannel_pants

Karl Lagerfeld Opened His Pre-Fall Show in Shanghai With a Film That Included Yellow Face

Karl Lagerfeld Opened His Pre-Fall Show in Shanghai With a Film That Included Yellow Face

Yesterday Chanel showed its pre-fall collection in Shanghai. (Because they are Fancy, they call it the Paris-Shanghai Métiers d'Art Collection.) This was Karl Lagerfeld's first trip to the city, and he noted the show, in which models wore rice-paddy hats, wasn't about the real China, but his China:
“It is about the idea of China, not the reality,” Lagerfeld told WWD on his first trip to Shanghai. “It has the spirit of, and is inspired by, but is unrelated to China. It is not authentic like a Peking Opera or something.”

Elaborate, as Chanel's pre-fall efforts tend to be, the show was staged on a custom-buit barge with a glass front that faced the famous skyscrapers of Pudong. The boat didn't actually sail anywhere during the show, but it did kick off with a special film in which Coco Chanel fantasizes about going to sixties China and muses about making a collection inspired by a Mao suit. But there's more:

In a potentially controversial move, Europeans in yellow face play some of the Chinese characters. Lagerfeld defended this as a reference to old films. “It is an homage to Europeans trying to look Chinese,” he explained. “Like in ‘The Good Earth’, the people in the movie liked the idea that they had to look like Chinese. Or like actors in ‘Madame Butterfly’. People around the world like to dress up as different nationalities.”

First blackface, now yellow face. Looks like political correctness is out. Models on the runway, however, were not in yellow face. For highlights from the show — including Baptiste's every look (leather pants! furry coats! vamping!) — see the slideshow.

blood / the narrator

Government TD in foul-mouthed outburst in Dáil

DUBLIN - A Government TD has today launched a foul-mouthed attack on a member of the Opposition during the Dáil debate on the Social Welfare Bill.

Green TD Paul Gogarty admitted that he believes the Bill, which makes cuts in allowances to the blind and carers, is grossly unfair.

He also said the Government should have taken some money off the old age pension, rather than make cuts in the Budget for the blind.

But when Labour's Emmet Stagg accused Mr Gogarty of being insincere, he immediately launched a foul-mouthed attack on the TD.

Gogarty said: "With all due respect, in the most unparliamentarily language.. fuck you, Deputy Stagg! Fuck you!", before immediately withdrawing and apologising for his comments.


the video is gold

As climate talks drag on, low-lying atolls are already being flooded

Oh man, this is so heartbreaking, the knowledge that people are going to lose their home, in our lifetime. This is written by a young person who is likely to see her country under the water within the next twenty years.

I am 17 years old. For my entire life, countries have been negotiating a climate agreement. My future is in front of me. In the year that I was born, amid an atmosphere of hope, the world formed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to solve the climate crisis.

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  • jbfalek

"I'm a Christian man. I have problems with people who don't believe in God,"

RALEIGH, N.C. — Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell believes in ending the death penalty, conserving water and reforming government — but he doesn't believe in God. His political opponents say that's a sin that makes him unworthy of serving in office, and they've got the North Carolina Constitution on their side.

Bothwell's detractors are threatening to take the city to court for swearing him in, even though the state's antiquated requirement that officeholders believe in God is unenforceable because it violates the U.S. Consititution.

"The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me and it's certainly not relevant to public office," the recently elected 59-year-old said.

Bothwell ran this fall on a platform that also included limiting the height of downtown buildings and saving trees in the city's core, views that appealed to voters in the liberal-leaning community at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. When Bothwell was sworn into office on Monday, he used an alternative oath that doesn't require officials to swear on a Bible or reference "Almighty God."

That has riled conservative activists, who cite a little-noticed quirk in North Carolina's Constitution that disqualifies officeholders "who shall deny the being of Almighty God." The provision was included when the document was drafted in 1868 and wasn't revised when North Carolina amended its constitution in 1971. One foe, H.K. Edgerton, is threatening to file a lawsuit in state court against the city to challenge Bothwell's appointment.

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Dame Maggie Cute

Uganda bans Female Circumcision

(CNN) -- The Ugandan parliament unanimously passed a bill banning female genital mutilation, a traditional rite that has sparked an international outcry and is practiced in some African and Asian communities.

The practice, which involves cutting off a girl's clitoris, is also called female circumcision. In some communities in eastern Uganda, it is practiced in girls up to age 15.

Convicted offenders face 10 years in prison, but if the girl dies during the act, those involved will get a life sentence, according to officials in the east African country.

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Christian Bale

Why Switzerland Has The Lowest Crime Rate In The World

When thinking about the mass extermination camps of a holocaust think.. The key to freedom is to be able to have the ability to defend yourself &, if you dont have the tools to do that, then youre going to be at the mercy of whomever wants to put you away. Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept. The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols. This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries. Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives. Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home. Once discharged, men serve in the Swiss equivalent of the US National Guard, but still have to train occasionally and are given bolt rifles. Women do not have to own firearms, but are encouraged to.


Washington DC to Stop Lazy Communists from Getting Free Socialized Medicine

DC Armory Wants Group To Pay $77,000 To Host Free Medical Clinic

A non-profit group that provides free medical treatment to those in need is running into fees and regulations that could derail its plans to treat thousands at a temporary clinic in Washington, D.C. next month.

The Washington Convention And Sports Authority, a quasi-public group overseen by a board mostly appointed by D.C.'s mayor, wants to charge the non-profit group Remote Area Medical $77,000 to use the D.C. Armory for three days in January 2010. RAM, which typically treats thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients at temporary free clinics nationwide, says it cannot afford to pay that large a fee for the space. The Washington Post reports:

Founder Stan Brock said RAM has never been asked by other site operators to pay anything approaching that fee. The cost is "prohibitively high" and still climbing, Brock said in a telephone interview this week from Knoxville, Tenn., where RAM is headquartered. "We just don't know what the bottom line is going to be. There are things that just keep coming up."

But costs aren't the only obstacle that could keep RAM out of D.C. City health officials, who say they're concerned with patients' "continuing care" after the clinic, may require RAM to submit a Certificate Of Need, detailing why there's a need for RAM's services. A review of the certificate could take up to 90 days.

RAM's plan to host the clinic next month might be viewed as a political move by some. Thousands would presumably turnout for care and the image of Americans lined up for treatment in the nation's capital could be a potent one used by lawmakers at what stands to be the height of the health care debate.
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Palin Still Popular with White Old Men... The Rest Not so Much...

Palin Poll: Struggles Among Women, African-Americans, Non-Elderly

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin faces major electoral limitations if she chooses to mount a 2012 bid, despite a slight increase in the country's opinion of her, according to a new public opinion survey.

Public Policy Polling released a study on Thursday revealing that, one year after bursting onto the national scene, Palin still has not made inroads among a variety of key demographic groups. Most significantly, among women the Alaska Republican has only a 37 percent favorable rating compared to a 51 percent unfavorable.

"She has had a reverse gender gap in her numbers since about two weeks since John McCain picked her as her running mate," explained PPP pollster Tom Jensen. "I think that women voters pretty much decided quickly since she went on the national spotlight that they didn't like her much and that hasn't really changed."

It isn't just a gender gap that hampers Palin. Only five percent of African-American voters said they had a favorable rating of the former Alaska Governor. Meanwhile, only 37 percent of Hispanics offered a favorable view -- which would seem small if not for the fact that only 31 percent of Hispanics voted for McCain in 2008.

Indeed, much of Palin's political support comes from constituencies that have been trending Republican for many election cycles. Forty-eight percent of white voters have a favorable view of her as well as 50 percent of voters over the age of 65 (a majority of every other age group had an unfavorable opinion). Among geographical regions, Palin was most popular in the South (48 percent approval) and the Midwest (48 percent) -- as opposed to the Northeast (32 percent) and West (27 percent).

The former governor was viewed favorably by 41 percent of the country, up two percentage points from the last time the firm surveyed potential voters. But the jump, said Jensen, was due primarily to growing dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and not to any growing popularity among the masses.
Mr. T Santa

State Department Says Cuba Has Detained US Citizen

WASHINGTON December 12, 2009, 12:31 pm ET

The State Department says the Cuban government has arrested an American citizen and U.S. diplomats in Havana are trying learn more about the case.

Spokeswoman Megan Mattson says the Cuban government told the State Department that the American was detained on Dec. 5. She says the American is not a U.S. government employee.

She says the department can't release any more details, including the American's identity, because of federal privacy law.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the American is a U.S. government contractor who was working on behalf of the Obama administration distributing cell phones, laptops and other communications equipment in Cuba.


This is interesting. If this had happened under the Bush administration they would have used it as an excuse to "bring Democracy to the Cubans". I wonder if Obama will handle this with diplomacy or just ignore it.
fuck the mcu

Muslims due to protest minaret ban as Switzerland blocks German imam

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A German Islamic preacher who aimed to speech in big protest against minaret ban was blocked to entry to Switzerland.

Swiss Muslims are preparing for a big protest against minaret ban as authorities blocked a Germam imam's entry to the much-criticised European country.

Swiss authorities stopped an Islamic preacher at the German border late on Friday to prevent him speaking at a rally against Switzerland's ban on building new minarets, local press reported.

Pierre Vogel, a German national, had been due to attend an Islamic rally in the Swiss capital Berne on Saturday afternoon against a ban on the construction of new minarets, which Switzerland voted for two weeks ago in a referendum.

Vogel tried to cross into Switzerland by car near Basel at about 2230 local time (2130 GMT) on Friday but was refused entry and forced to return to Germany, Reuters quoted daily newspaper Blick.

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Akuma River

Iran erupts again

Pro-government militiamen attack protesting students at two Tehran universities

Iran's chief prosecutor warns that harsher measures will be taken against protesters. Tear gas was reported at today's demonstrations, after more than 200 were arrested in Monday's protests.

Pro-reform Iranian students and hard-line students scuffle during their demonstrations, at the Tehran University campus in Iran. (STR, Associated Press / December 7, 2009)

By Borzou Daragahi

December 9, 2009

Reporting from Beirut - Pro-government Basiji militiamen stormed the campuses of two Tehran universities Tuesday and attacked hundreds of protesting students, and Iran's chief prosecutor vowed to come down harder than ever on peaceful demonstrators he described as a threat to the nation's security.

Tehran University remained under lockdown a day after thousands of students across Iran defied tough security measures to stage anti-government demonstrations. Smaller protests continued Tuesday at that campus and at Shahid Beheshti University.

At least 169 men and 39 women were arrested in Monday's mass protests of the June reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh told the Iranian Labor News Agency. He said the Basiji were not involved in any operations Monday.
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Resilient Iranians still dream of a new revolution

'Stolen' election fuels dissent amid fears of new flashpoint at Shia festival

The new generation: Supporters of the Iranian opposition demonstrating against the regime at Tehran University earlier this week. Analysts have compared their dissent to that of their parents against the shah. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Tehran University students have been filing into their classes past giant posters of Ayatollah Khomeini and the stern slogans of the Islamic revolution for the last 30 years. But the angry scenes on the university's sprawling campus this week seemed like a throwback to another age.

"Marg bar diktatur" (Death to dictatorship), they chanted in their thousands, waving green banners and posters behind high canvas screens tied to the railings as basij miltiamen and revolutionary guards prowled the streets outside.
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In further news. If you are a follower of mine on twitter then you must known by now, by way of my retweets, something is brewing in Iran. There are rumors all up and down the blogosphere that the Administration is horribly upset by the recent protests and are making movements now to arrest the leaders of the Green Party. Mousavi, Rafsanjani, Karroubi, these are the big leaders of the movement and POWERFUL men. Rafsanjani has an army under him.

So far nothing has happened yet. But keep your eyes peeled. Something is brewing in Iran and everyone is worried.
Politics: Anti-War

If he was a USC, why a second ceremony?

Immigrant fights for new country, then for right to belong to it

He will stand and raise his right hand and repeat the oath that has been uttered by aspiring Americans since the spring day when it was first given, in 1778, at Valley Forge.

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince ..."

James Patrick O'Donnell said he can't quite believe the moment is finally here.

He will be able to call himself an American, to get a passport, to know this land he loves is truly his own.

"It's a lifelong dream," said O'Donnell, which, in his case, means more than it does for most.

O'Donnell moved to this country in 1926.

When he finishes his oath of allegiance this morning, America's newest citizen will be 87 years old.

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Conservative "Climate Expert" Wants to Quarantine People with AIDS

Lord Christopher Monckton wears a lot of dubious nametags. He's a go-to guy for conservatives like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and a frequent right-wing pundit when it comes to issues like global warming and climate change.

Of course, don't expect to find Monckton in line to buy a Toyota Prius or blowing his nose into Seventh Generation tissue. Turns out Monckton is a global warming denier who thinks that environmental activism is akin to Nazism, and that youth activists working to stop climate change are similar to the young people that took up arms in Hitler's Army.

And the crazy train doesn't stop there. Media Matters broke the story that Monckton once wrote a piece for the American Spectator where he urged the government to lock up everyone with HIV/AIDS, and to institute mandatory monthly HIV testing for the entire population.

Yikes. And this man is a hero to small government types like Beck and Limbaugh? Monckton's politics and public comments are so extreme, he makes the KGB seem like Care Bears.
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It is scary to realized the people like this are real. I thought you only find them as villains in Disney movies

Pregnant, in Prison and Denied Care

Over the past year, incarcerated women and their allies have achieved a remarkable string of victories against inhumane treatment. First, they persuaded the Bureau of Prisons to issue a new policy in October 2008 limiting the use of restraints on women who are in labor, giving birth or recovering after childbirth; the Marshals Service, which transports people in federal custody, followed suit. Next, they won legislation in the spring and summer of 2009 restricting the use of restraints on pregnant women in New Mexico, Texas and New York. Finally, they successfully petitioned the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit for a rehearing of the full court in a case from Arkansas, which resulted in a ruling in October that shackling women in labor is unconstitutional.
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  • Current Mood
Ani: Amazon Warrior

Immigration Officials Arrest 300 in California

LOS ANGELES — Nearly 300 illegal immigrants who had committed serious crimes were deported or detained this week by federal agents in a demonstration of what immigration officials pledged was a new resolve to zero in on the most egregious lawbreakers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials called the three-day sweep in California their largest operation ever aimed at illegal immigrants with criminal records.

More than 80 percent had convictions for serious or violent crimes and at least 100 have been removed from the country, with the others awaiting deportation proceedings.

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AP IMPACT: Science not faked, but not pretty

E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message. Sometimes, they sounded more like schoolyard taunts than scientific tenets.

The scientists were so convinced by their own science and so driven by a cause "that unless you're with them, you're against them," said Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also reviewed the communications.

Frankel saw "no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very 'generous interpretations.'"

Some e-mails expressed doubts about the quality of individual temperature records or why models and data didn't quite match. Part of this is the normal give-and-take of research, but skeptics challenged how reliable certain data was.

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