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January 6th, 2010
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A KFC advertisement that shows an Australian cricket supporter giving fried chicken to West Indies fans has caused outrage in the US, where it has been interpreted as racist.
In the ad, part of KFC's "Cricket Survival Guide" series, Mick the Australian is surrounded by dancing West Indies fans, and says: "Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?"
He then hands out a bucket of KFC to the crowd — an action which has been seen as supporting a long-standing US stereotype that African Americans eat fried chicken.
A statement from KFC Australia this morning confirmed the company was aware the ad had been "misinterpreted by a segment of people in the US".
"It is a light-hearted reference to the West Indian cricket team," the statement read.
"The ad was reproduced online in the US without KFC's permission, where we are told a culturally-based stereotype exists, leading to the incorrect assertion of racism.
"We unequivocally condemn discrimination of any type and have a proud history as one of the world's leading employers for diversity."
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Supervisors on Jan. 5 voted 6-2-1 to include language in the county's Human Resources Policy Handbook that forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The vote came down along party lines with Republican Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) voting against the measure.
Board Chairman Scott York (I-at large) abstained.
Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) said he decided to propose the initiative after he learned while campaigning last year for a seat in the state House of Delegates that Governor-elect Bob McDonnell planned to abandon the previous administration's order banning sexual orientation discrimination in state government hiring practices.
"I think people need to be aware that they don't have the benefit of that policy at the top level of government," Miller said. "People need to know that if they can't get help at the highest level, they can get help from their local government."
Miller called the initiative "the right thing to do."
"It's a shame that anyone would put energy into fighting this," he said.
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A 2009 spending spree has left the Republican National Committee (RNC) with its worst election-year cash flow this decade.
The largest GOP party committee has $8.7 million in the bank heading into an election year with 37 governors’ races, a dozen major Senate contests, dozens more in the House and an all-important redistricting cycle on the horizon.
Said one RNC official: “It is very troubling, and the thing is, most people don’t understand this. But it is really troubling.”
The RNC had $22.8 million in cash and no debt when Michael Steele was elected chairman at the end of January, but has since seen its cash on hand drop to less than $9 million at the end of November.
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Richard Pombo is back on the political scene. The squat, nepotistic, buffalo-killing, whale-hating, freeway-speculating, junket-taking, national-park-peddling, Abramoff-courting California rancher who became the nation's worst-ever chairman of the House Resources Committee is running for Congress, three short years after voters booted him from office. Bad sequels aren't just the stuff of Westerns.
For years, Pombo topped environmentalists' Most Wanted list. In 2006 the League of Conservation Voters named him chairman of its "Dirty Dozen." Rolling Stone called him "Enemy of the Earth." His long-running efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling ultimately came to naught, but he pushed through Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative and effectively derailed a government investigation of Pacific Lumber owner Charles Hurwitz, then the nation's leading logger of old growth redwoods. In 2006, Defenders of Wildlife chipped in more than $2 million to help Democratic novice James McNerney unseat him.
The political winds had been changing in Pombo's Central Valley congressional district as it became a bedroom community for the San Francisco Bay Area. Yet his environmental record probably hurt him less than his ties with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In an election year fixated on corruption, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named him one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress.
Since then, Pombo has stayed true to form. In 2007, he took the reins of the Partnership for America, an organization funded by utilities, oil, coal, mining, logging, and agricultural groups that sought to gut the Endangered Species Act (it now appears defunct). Around the same time, he became a senior partner at Pac/West Communications, a PR firm that had held a fundraiser for him and created Astroturf groups to trumpet support for his plans to strip environmental laws. The Pac/West website tries to put a greener face on Pombo, featuring a Q&A in which he gushes that Africa's "natural beauty and abundance of wildlife is awesome."
Rather than challenging McNerney to a rematch, Pombo intends to replace retiring GOP congressman George Radanovich in a district deeper in the Valley. He'll face fewer environmentalists there but more friction from business interests and his own party. Radanovich and the California Chamber of Commerce have already endorsed State Sen. Jeff Denham for the job. And Denham's success fending off a 2008 recall effort pushed by leading California Democrats earned him points with the party faithful. Still, Pombo counts deep political connections in Washington. It may be a close race, and it will be interesting to see if and when environmental groups wade into the fray.
This guy sounds hilarious and completely insane.
The Chicago Police Department is seriously considering scrapping the police entrance exam, sources tell Fran Spielman.
Dropping the exam would bolster minority hiring and avert legal battles, according to one source, while others confirm that the exam could be scrapped to open the process to as many people as possible.
However, the lack of an exam would make Chicago the lone major city without one, and experts contend that the exam is integral to eliminating unqualified applicants.
The CPD has tried in recent years to boost minority hiring by offering the police exam online and turning to minority clergy to help in the recruitment effort.
But those efforts have met with frustration. Despite seeing an increase in the number of minority applicants in 2006, the last year the exam was offered, the online component was never launched.
And as of last year, one in four patrol officers were African-American, but just one in 12 Lieutenants were of color.
Officials at City Hall have admitted that they have been exploring exam options since last fall, according to the Sun-Times.
The CPD is currently operating at 2,000 officers-a-day short of its authorized strength. Police hired only 46 officers this year, with plans to hire less than 100 next year -- and those hirings rely on federal funds.
What's more, City Hall has floated the idea of imposing cop furloughs to meet a tight budget.
Bill George, Goldman Sachs Board Member, Compares Bankers To Pro Athletes, Movie Stars (VIDEO)
Goldman Sachs board member and Harvard professor Bill George defended the firm's massive bonuses and compared employees' compensation to that of professional athletes and movie stars during a recent interview.
In an interview posted Dec. 23, 2009, George told the ideas web site Big Think "I think that one feels like the shareholder value is made up in people and you need the people there to do the job and if you don't pay them for their performance you'll lose them and it's much like professional athletes and movie stars I think."
He went on to admit that he couldn't justify the size of a banker's salary compared to that of a school teacher's, but he said that the same could be said about the salary of a professional athlete.
According to The New York Times, Goldman Sachs has set aside at least $16.7 billion for employee compensation in 2009, or an average of about $700,000. Goldman's bonuses are on track to break the record they set in 2007. The firm has decided their top 30 executives will receive bonuses in long-term stock, rather than cash.
In addition to the $10 billion that Goldman received in Treasury-issued TARP funds, the firm got $13 billion from the government's bailout of AIG and $22 billion worth of government guarantees on its debt.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently told the Israeli consul in Los Angeles that the Obama administration is fed up with both Israel and the Palestinians, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
Emanuel met with Jacob Dayan, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles, about two weeks ago, after which Dayan briefed the Foreign Ministry.
Emanuel told Dayan the U.S. is sick of the Israelis, who adopt suitable ideas months too late, when they are no longer effective, according to Army Radio.
The U.S. is also sick of the Palestinians who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Emanuel reportedly said.
Emanuel added that if there is no progress in the peace process, the Obama administration will reduce its involvement in the conflict, because, as he reportedly said, the U.S. has other matters to deal with.
Emanuel reportedly said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly acknowledged the two-state solution too late, and that the freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank came only after months of U.S. pressure.
The report added that both sides reportedly rejected the peace plan proposed by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but that if there is progress in peace talks, Obama might visit Israel and the region
(text: Refuse to eat American beef innards, ground beef, and boned beef)
Washington -- The U.S. government expressed disappointment Tuesday at a decision by Taiwan's legislature to bar the import of specific U.S. beef products in contravention of a bilateral trade protocol signed in October.
"We're very disappointed with the Taiwan legislature's decision to ban certain cuts of U.S. beef in violation of our bilateral agreement signed just over two months ago, " said Philip Crowley, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. State Department.
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Source: China Post (news), my camera (photos lol)
Oh man when I went to Taiwan for fieldwork in December, beef controversy was everywhere. It affected the local elections the day before we arrived where KMT lost seats and restaurants everywhere had those signs (so I took pictures). When we went to visit the Executive Yuan, there was the Consumer's Association head giving a press conference about how US beef is bad and how Taiwan should not have relaxed import regulations. A director at the Ministry of Economic Affairs also told us about the beef issue and how they're trying to work it out with the US (and Canada since we were a Canadian delegation).
And then while we were still in Canada, the Taiwanese rep to Canada (former rep to US so he's a pretty big guy in MOFA) told us how he tried very hard to get an agreement that Canada and Taiwan both were okay with (allowing certain types of beef products) but then the US wanted more, got more and essentially screwed over Canadian beef and Canada (since both are the same and should be treated the same). :S
Just some background on the beef issue from gov officials. Asia keeps having drama about US beef (see South Korean riots @_@). (lol sorry for the long commentary)
A letter from a US Marine captain criticizing Australian women's clothing, or lack thereof, has prompted angry rebukes from Aussie men and women.
The trouble began when the marine, named Capt. John Campbell, went on a night out in Darwin, Northern Territory. During this night out, he was shocked at the skimpy clothing being worn by Australian females. Unable to contain his outrage, he wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Northern Territory News.
"It's about having standards, ladies," he wrote.
"What are standards? Well, it can begin by dressing in a manner that leaves something to the imagination, to say the least."
The letter has provoked nation-wide outrage in a country where a comfortable climate, not to mention a laid-back attitude, permits many to wear as little as they want.
The Northern Territory News reported that it had been flooded with negative responses to the article. They interviewed one girl, a 19-year-old Darwin dancer named Lana Sandic, who said, 'Most Territory girls would say 'Put it where the sun doesn't shine'."
Other responses were even less charitable:
"Another bloody American trying to educate the world," a Nightcliff resident said. "Mate, look at your women in the US - Rosanne (Barr) to Britney (Spears). At least we have a bar to raise." Another reader wrote: "Leave your opinions in the USA. PS: You didn't vote for Bush by chance?"As the spat threatened to become an international incident, the US consulate responded that they could not find a serving US Marine with that name in Australia, and Northern Territory News confirmed they had been unable to contact the Marine since the letter had been received, thus furthering the mystery.
Keen to have the final word on the issue, however, the Northern Territory News posted a link to an online gallery called "Beautiful Territory" that shows off some of the more skimpy Aussie fashions. What do you think?
Back in 2000, I took a long break from American comics. Outside from a few scattered titles (Blue Monday, Hopeless Savages, A Right to Be Hostile, Public Enemy #2, and Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock-Knock Jokes) I generally migrated over to manga.
So, I missed a lot of the interesting women featured on Kelly's list (which contains spoilers, mind), which include Frau Baby-Eater (Fables) , Promethea (Promethea), Tara Chace (Queen & Country), Deena Pilgrim (Powers), Jakita Wagner (Planetary), Jessica Jones (Alias), Cassandra Cain/Batgirl (Batgirl), Agent 355 (Y The Last Man), Michonne (The Walking Dead), and Kate Kane/Batwoman (Detective Comics), as well as some honorable mentions. However, in the course of Kelly's analysis, she mentioned something pretty important:
Something that occurred to me while I was pulling this list together is that 7 of 10 characters from my list are not currently in circulation (and one of them only just began). And while it's possible that that is part of what makes those characters so strong (i.e. they had clearly defined storylines with definitive beginnings and ends) I will say that it makes me sad to realize that most of my favorite female characters of the past decade don't currently have ongoing stories I can read.
That's a big one. It would be nice to think that having an interesting and engaging female protagonist in a comic wouldn't be such a rare and epic event, but it is. However, more and more people are starting to realize the power of fan girls. Newsrama posted an interview with comics buyer Chris Ureta Casos who explicitly said:
I was talking with a customer not to long ago, and we were asking the same question about Hollywood and other mainstream outlets and what trends might pop up over the next year. We decided that unless the powers-that-be were complete idiots, they would realize the potential with the increasing amounts of female genre fans with the popularity of Twilight and Firefly. Comics saw substantial new interest from female fans when Buffy Season 8 came out, and there were so many great books coming out at the time to cross-sell such as Runaways, Fables, and Y The Last Man.
And it wouldn't take much to keep this trend going. Can we pass on putting female heroes in situations where they are maimed or sexually assaulted? Can we have more heroines who literally become the center of the universe? Can we get more interesting and complex female characters, and some more compelling relationships?
I think we can. The tens are going to be the decade of women in media. After the aughts, there doesn't seem to be anywhere to go but up.
Via Jezebel. The alternate titles for this post were also "I'M THE GODDAMNED BATWOMAN" and "box_in_the_box fanboy post is GO."
Last week, Minnesota State Senate candidate Mike Parry scrubbed from his Twitter account messages calling President Obama a "power hungry arrogant black man" and linking Democrats to pedophiles.
Progressive bloggers preserved the offending messages.
Confronted by reporters, Parry owned up to the Obama post and tried to explain himself -- but he didn't admit to writing, "what's with Dems and Pedophiles?" after the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act.
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"Negro" is pejorative, right? The ethnic classification was common usage through the '60s, and even Martin Luther King used the word in speeches and his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. But we're pretty sure that in 2010 "negro" is widely considered offensive, and the Census Bureau has caused an uproar by including it on their 2010 form. Question No. 9, which asks Americans to state their race, lists "black, African Amer., or negro" as options. But how come there's only one option for "white"? What if one self-identifies as Poindexter, Richie Cunningham, or Whitey McWhite White?
Congress approved the form more than a year ago, and "negro" has appeared on past forms. Census Bureau spokesman Jack Martin says it's intended as a term of inclusion, telling the Daily News, "Many older African-Americans identified themselves that way, and many still do. Those who identify themselves as Negroes need to be included." But TV producer Patrick Riley asks Grio, "If the census form authors are going to go so far as to include an the archaic term 'Negro,' why not put 'Colored' on there? Just in case someone hadn't graduated from that word usage."
Yesterday the News took to the streets to ask blacks on the street what they think about negro. "It's a bad vibe word," said Kevin Bishop, 45, a Brooklyn salesman. "It doesn't agree with me, doesn't agree with my heart." And Taryn Anthony, a 25-year old graduate student, says, "I've yet to hear someone use it in a respectable manner, so placing it on a census seems as yet another way to set back African-Americans."
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Temple of Hume|
Someone needs to come in with the pie chart of oppression.... now.
EDIT!: The full clip of Glenn Beck's insanely racist anti-India rant, in case you wanted some of your daily dose of rage.
The first thing I ever heard about Americans was that they all carried guns. Then, when I came across people who’d had direct contact with this ferocious-sounding tribe, I learned that they were actually rather friendly. At university, friends who had traveled in the United States came back with more detailed stories, not just of the friendliness of Americans but also of their hospitality (which, in our quaint English way, was translated into something close to gullibility). When I finally got to America myself, I found that not only were the natives friendly and hospitable, they were also incredibly polite. No one tells you this about Americans, but once you notice it, it becomes one of their defining characteristics, especially when they’re abroad.
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Not exactly political, but I thought it was an interesting pseudo-analysis of American and British attitudes.
Former cabinet members release letter to MPs after Gordon Brown's first PMQs of the year calling for the leadership issue to be sorted out 'once and for all'
The former Labour cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt today called for a secret ballot to settle Gordon Brown's leadership "once and for all".
In a devastating blow to the prime minister, Hoon, who was Brown's first chief whip after he became premier, and Hewitt, the former health secretary, released a letter to Labour MPs after Brown's first question time of general election year.
The development comes despite efforts by Downing Street insiders earlier today to dismiss as nonsense rumours that backbench critics of the PM were trying to persuade sympathetic cabinet ministers to resign in a bid to force him out.
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This is either a really stupid idea or a brilliant one. I'm tempted to go with the 'stupid' option; it'd be better to get rid of Brown after a disappointing election result. This way would lead to more bloodshed than I think the PLP can handle.
ETA: Frank Field and Charles Clarke have come out in favour of the secret ballot.
Read more: http://biggovernment.com/2010/01/05/c-span-asks-to-televise-health-care-negotiations/
Congressional Democrats are embarking on an abbreviated negotiation to save Reid the hassle of overcoming more procedural hurdles, but that means the resulting negotiations will be held behind closed-doors as the various stakeholders push for final changes. Liberal Democrats in the House have taken exception with the revised process, but most aides argue a drawn-out conference negotiation would give Senate Republicans too many opportunities to derail the process.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31152_Page2.html#ixzz0brFGsWVa
Obama vows to televise health care debate EIGHT TIMES.
edit: white house press sec dodging a question about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOwBSQySYtw
That's what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported last night, after digging up documents that Bristol Palin has filed paperwork for a new "lobbying, public relations, and political consulting services" company, BSMP LLC. Her full name is Bristol Sharon Marie Palin.
According to Palin's lawyer, "The code for BSMP, LLC pertains to several areas but includes public relations. Bristol Palin provides public relations services and is currently an ambassador for the Candie's Foundation."
The Candie's Foundation is a pro-abstinence organization. As Maddow noted, "Bristol Palin has essentially set herself up to be paid as an incorporated entity as opposed to being paid as an individual and that's sort of a common choice people make when they have money coming in from various sources like this."
The Tea Party Teens
By DAVID BROOKS
The United States opens this decade in a sour mood. First, Americans are anxious about the future. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey. Only 27 percent feel confident that their children’s generation will be better off than they are.
Second, Americans have lost faith in their institutions. During the great moments of social reform, at least 60 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing most of the time. Now, only a quarter have that kind of trust.
The country is evenly divided about President Obama, but state governments are in disrepute and confidence in Congress is at withering lows. As Frank Newport of the Gallup organization noted in his year-end wrap-up, “Americans have less faith in their elected representatives than ever before.”
Third, the new administration has not galvanized a popular majority. In almost every sphere of public opinion, Americans are moving away from the administration, not toward it. The Ipsos/McClatchy organizations have been asking voters which party can do the best job of handling a range of 13 different issues. During the first year of the Obama administration, the Republicans gained ground on all 13.
The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.
The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.
The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.
A year ago, the Obama supporters were the passionate ones. Now the tea party brigades have all the intensity.
The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation.
The tea party movement is mostly famous for its flamboyant fringe. But it is now more popular than either major party. According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 41 percent of Americans have a positive view of the tea party movement. Only 35 percent of Americans have a positive view of the Democrats and only 28 percent have a positive view of the Republican Party.
The movement is especially popular among independents. The Rasmussen organization asked independent voters whom they would support in a generic election between a Democrat, a Republican and a tea party candidate. The tea party candidate won, with 33 percent of independents. Undecided came in second with 30 percent. The Democrats came in third with 25 percent and the Republicans fourth with 12 percent.
Over the course of this year, the tea party movement will probably be transformed. Right now, it is an amateurish movement with mediocre leadership. But several bright and polished politicians, like Marco Rubio of Florida and Gary Johnson of New Mexico, are unofficially competing to become its de facto leader. If they succeed, their movement is likely to outgrow its crude beginnings and become a major force in American politics. After all, it represents arguments that are deeply rooted in American history.
The Obama administration is premised on the conviction that pragmatic federal leaders with professional expertise should have the power to implement programs to solve the country’s problems. Many Americans do not have faith in that sort of centralized expertise or in the political class generally.
Moreover, the tea party movement has passion. Think back on the recent decades of American history — the way the hippies defined the 1960s; the feminists, the 1970s; the Christian conservatives, the 1980s. American history is often driven by passionate outsiders who force themselves into the center of American life.
In the near term, the tea party tendency will dominate the Republican Party. It could be the ruin of the party, pulling it in an angry direction that suburban voters will not tolerate. But don’t underestimate the deep reservoirs of public disgust. If there is a double-dip recession, a long period of stagnation, a fiscal crisis, a terrorist attack or some other major scandal or event, the country could demand total change, creating a vacuum that only the tea party movement and its inheritors would be in a position to fill.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this movement. But I can certainly see its potential to shape the coming decade.
As usual, the scariest part of the article are the comments at the site. The mods over at NYT have been hard at work removing so many inappropriate comments.
Paying for stories is losing its taboo...
NEW YORK - Policies forbidding payment for news interviews increasingly seem like the network television equivalent of the 55 mph speed limit: a rule often winked at unless you’re heading into a speed trap.
Three of the past month’s accidental celebrities - Jasper Schuringa, who helped thwart an attack on a Detroit-bound plane; David Goldman, who took a custody fight for his son to Brazil; and the White House party-crashing Salahis - have either sought or received goodies from TV networks eager to hear their stories.
Schuringa gave interviews to outlets that had agreed to purchase blurry cellphone images he’d taken of a man who authorities say tried to use explosives to take down the plane. Goldman and his son accepted NBC’s offer of a ride home from Brazil on a charter airplane.
Representatives for Michaele and Tareq Salahi, who embarrassed the Obama administration by sneaking into a state dinner, were reportedly seeking six-figure bids from networks to tell their story.
“I don’t know if people would have thought of that in the past,’’ said Andy Schotz, head of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. “But now often the first thing people think of is to get a publicist, a lawyer, and an agent and figure out how to make money’’ from instant notoriety, he said.
Yamaguchi, the first person to be confirmed as a double atomic bombing survivor, had been battling stomach cancer. A private funeral attended by his close relatives has been held.
A design engineer at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard during World War II, on Aug. 6, 1945 Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on business just three kilometers from ground zero when the bomb went off. He returned to Nagasaki by train on Aug. 8, and was once more three kilometers from the nuclear detonation that destroyed the city the following day. Yamaguchi lost his hearing in his left ear in the blasts, and was afflicted with acute leukemia, cataracts and other bomb-related illnesses in subsequent years.
Aiming to communicate his thoughts on nuclear disarmament and peace, Yamaguchi self-published a volume of tanka poetry entitled "Ningen Ikada" in 2002. He began serious efforts to share his nuclear bombing experiences in 2005, after his son -- six months old at the time of the Nagasaki bombing -- died at the age of 59. In August 2006, he visited the United Nations in New York to show a documentary film he appeared in and appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
In December last year, Yamaguchi also met with "Avatar" director James Cameron to discuss a possible film about nuclear arms, saying, "I think it's (Cameron's) destiny to make a film (about nuclear weapons)."
Yamaguchi was officially recognized as a double bombing victim in March 2009.
In 2005, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims conducted a study of some 100,000 first person accounts of the bombings and the records of some 17,000 of the dead and found nine individuals who were victims of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. None of the nine have been officially recognized.
Mirza's father says it wasn't until the driver, 78-year-old Phillip Vallone, finished dining that he discovered the girl and realized she hadn't been dropped off with the others. He notified the school, but a Department of Education spokesperson tells the Daily News they did not arrive at the school with Iman until 20 minutes later. Vallone and bus matron Madelyne Shedd, 66, were arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. But the girl's father tells the Post, "I feel bad for the guy. I didn't want to file charges against him, because I didn't want to see a nearly 80-year-old man behind bars."
Encouraged by a group of influential New York Democrats, Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman from Tennessee, is weighing a bid to unseat Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in this fall’s Democratic primary, according to three people who have spoken with him.
Mr. Ford, 39, who moved to New York three years ago, has told friends that he will decide whether to run in the next 45 days. The discussions between Mr. Ford and top Democratic donors reflect the dissatisfaction of some prominent party members with Ms. Gillibrand, who has yet to win over key constituencies, especially in New York City.
About a dozen high-profile Democrats have expressed interest in backing a candidacy by Mr. Ford, including the financier Steven Rattner, who, along with his wife, Maureen White, has been among the country’s most prolific Democratic fund-raisers.
“Maureen and I worked hard for Harold in his last race because we think the world of him,” Mr. Rattner said, referring to Mr. Ford’s run for the Senate in Tennessee in 2006. “He has extraordinary drive and intelligence and will excel at anything that he chooses to do.”
Among those who have encouraged Mr. Ford to consider a run are Merryl H. Tisch, the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, whose husband, James, is the chief executive of the Loews Corporation, and Richard Plepler, the co-president of HBO, according to people who have spoken with them.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has publicly tangled with Ms. Gillibrand, is open to the possibility of supporting a challenger of Mr. Ford’s stature, according to those familiar with his thinking.
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no, just.... NO
I wish he'd won his TN race because hey a half-assed Dem is better than a Republican. but primarying Gillibrand WTF HORRIBLE IDEA. That's the best way to get all her one-time skeptics (like me) firmly in line ready to fundraise for her. And what is this shit about ~tapping into the black community~ like every black person is going to overlook their voting records or somesuch. Time for Schumer to cut a bitch.
ETA: THERE IS A GOD.
Sen. President Richard Codey has scheduled the vote for Thursday. Codey said Tuesday that the people of New Jersey ''deserve the right to a formal debate on the Senate floor.''
Five states now recognize gay marriage. Gay rights advocates have been pushing for New Jersey to join them quickly.
Gov. Jon Corzine supports the measure. But Chris Christie, who will replace him in two weeks, says he would veto it.
A Senate vote was canceled last month because it appeared the measure was going to fail. If it passes the Senate, it would still need the approval of the state Assembly to be sent to the governor's desk.
Sure, there is the standard-issue beef jerky. The raisins. The toothbrush.
Then there is the Maybelline mascara, and the lipstick in light pink and burgundy. Mineral makeup. Tampons. A Lady Speed Stick. A botanical facial bar. Eye masks.
Also, a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine with headlines like "8 Things Guys Notice Instantly," "Hot New Party Dresses" and "Mind Tricks That Melt Pounds."
And a camouflage makeup bag.
A pink one.
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And play doh probably would have entertained Josh and Nathan for much of their flight home from a post-Christmas trip to New Orleans last week, but a TSA screener decided not to allow the play doh through security. The screener allowed them to keep the plastic mat and tools for molding the play doh, but took the 20 cans of clay out of the box.
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A Texas woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly luring a 16-year-old boy from Barrie, Ont.
The woman, Lauri Price, a 42-year-old mother of four, is charged with two counts of online solicitation of a minor and one count of child enticement.
Price was arrested as she returned to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Police in Barrie believe Price flew into Canada on Dec. 29, rented a car and picked up the teenager at his home.
A subsequent search ended when the pair were later spotted in Orillia, Ont.
The boy was returned to his parents unharmed.
Price was released by Canadian authorities, but arrested upon her return to Texas, where the age of consent is 17. In Canada, the age of consent is 16.
Price is being held in jail with bail set at $310,000 for the three charges she is facing.
The teenager and Price apparently started a relationship two years ago through an online fantasy game.
The blogger at Everysaturdaymorning, a pro-choice clinic escort in Louisville, KY, has posted pictures and video of the latest disgusting tactic from the antis outside their clinic: wearing fake escort vests.
( Collapse )To get a sense of what the brave pro-choice clinic escorts are dealing with in Louisville, check out the the video and transcript of an anti verbally harassing a patient after the jump. A warning that it may be triggering, especially to anyone who's not used to hearing this rhetoric.
President Obama’s budget guru has a secret love child — with the woman he jilted for his hot new fiance, The Post has learned.
White House budget director Peter Orszag’s ex, shipping heiress Claire Milonas, gave birth to little Tatiana Zoe in New York Nov. 17. That was just six weeks before Orzsag and ABC news babe Bianna Golodryga gleefully announced their engagement on national TV and in the press.
Orszag and Milonas, the daughter of New York-based Greek shipping magnate Spiros Milonas, were a serious item when he met the stunning Golodgryga at the White House correspondence dinner.
‘‘Claire told Peter she was pregnant, and he said he’d marry her — and then something went wrong,’’ a source close to the situation told The Post.
Orszag and Milonas released this statement:
"We were in a committed relationship until the spring of 2009. In November, Claire gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Although we are no longer together, we are both thrilled she is happy and healthy, and we would hope that everyone will respect her privacy."
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Orszag, you dog!
The Salvation Army thought it had received a grand gift ahead of Christmas – a $25,000 check. But the donation turned out to be an expensive hoax that may force the charity to cut back on winter assistance for the needy.
Investigators said Wednesday that more than a dozen Charleston-area charities received fake checks before Christmas purporting to be gifts from a genuine local company.
None of the other charities cashed theirs, but the Salvation Army deposited its check. It went ahead and spent some of the money on food and toys for about 100 families, counting on the check to clear.
The bank called two days before Christmas to say the check had bounced, and the agency was left with less money than planned to help the needy this cold January.
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SYDNEY – A conservation group's boat had its bow sheared off and was taking on water Wednesday after it collided with a Japanese whaling ship in the frigid waters of Antarctica, the group said. The boat's six crew members were safely rescued.
The clash was apparently the most serious in the past several years, during which the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has sent vessels into far southern waters to try to harass the Japanese fleet into ceasing its annual whale cull.
Clashes using hand-thrown stink bombs, ropes meant to tangle propellers and high-tech sound equipment have been common in recent years, and collisions between ships have sometimes happened.
The society said its boat Ady Gil — a high tech speed boat that resembles a stealth bomber — was hit by the Japanese ship the Shonan Maru near Commonwealth Bay and had its bow sheared off.
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My first thought, honest to god, was, "Way to go, dumbasses." While I understand what the anti-whaling folks were trying to do (even though I disapprove of the methods)...getting your own boat sunk is really not the way to do it.
Continuing his book tour, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and criticized President Obama’s remarks yesterday on the failed Christmas Day attack. He hit Obama for delivering it “two weeks after the event,” saying it should have instead happened on Christmas Day.
However, just a few moments later, Steele said that President Bush made the right move in waiting six days before commenting on shoe bomber Richard Reid in 2001, because “you can’t afford to go much further without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter”:
STEELE: And that kind of approach that the administration has taken, where it was two weeks after the event before the President stands up there. If he had given that speech on Christmas Day — that he gave yesterday?
BRZEZINSKI: You know, it took six days for President Bush to respond to the Richard Reid shoe bomber. [...]
STEELE: I think the timing was right in the moment because you can’t afford to go much further without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter.
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Yesterday on Fox News, RNC chair Michael Steele said that if he wasn’t currently leading the Republican Party, he’d join the ranks of the far right tea party protesters. “As I like to tell people — long before there was this big push on tea parties — if I wasn’t doing this job, I’d be out there with the tea partiers,” he said. This afternoon, Fox’s Neil Cavuto hosted Quincy, IL Tea Party co-founder Steve McQueen and asked him whether Steele would be welcome. “Not quite, Neil,” McQueen replied:
CAVUTO: Retired Army Sergeant First Class and tea party activist Steve McQueen saying, “Not so fast Mr. Steele.” He joins me right now. Steve, you would say “not quite,” right?Watch it:
MCQUEEN: Not quite, Neil. Actually the Tea Party is, I liken that to an army of Davids which I am only one. I do confer with Tea Party organizations all over the country so I feel confident that I understand what the movement’s about and as I understand it right now, the GOP is currently on probation with the American people and obviously you can’t be on probation and probably be a member of the Tea Parties at the same time.
What about all of the other prominent GOP politicians who have been at tea party protests? What makes Steele different from them, I wonder?
A larger-than-life President Barack Obama became a presidential pitchman Wednesday on a Times Square billboard that used his photo without permission.
Outerwear company Weatherproof used a recent news photo of the president in front of the Great Wall in Badaling, China, for the advertisement, with the tagline "A Leader In Style."
White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Wednesday that the White House has a long-standing policy disapproving of the use of Obama's name and likeness for commercial purposes.
Obama stands alone in the image and is captured in a striking, rugged pose. Weatherproof president Freddie Stollmack said he first saw the photo in a newspaper while Obama was on his trip to China in November. The coat looked familiar, so Stollmack got out a magnifying glass and found the brand's logo.
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*bigger picture thanks to ladypolitik!
"He was just very sick," public defender A.J. Kramer said. "It is a sad end to a very sad occurrence."
Von Brunn, 89, a self-avowed white supremacist, was a known Holocaust denier who created an anti-Semitic Web site called "The Holy Western Empire."
Kramer said officials from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons transferred von Brunn to an undisclosed hospital, apparently realizing his condition was worsening. Before being moved, von Brunn was undergoing mental competency tests at a prison facility in Butner, North Carolina.
The cause of death wasn't immediately known.
A federal grand jury indicated von Brunn in July on murder charges in the death of Stephen Tyrone Johns, a six-year veteran of the museum's security staff, the Justice Department said.
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Did the CIA Plot to Kill German Citizen?
Did CIA agents and employees of private security firm Blackwater seek to kill a German-Syrian terror suspect in Hamburg? A recent report by US magazine Vanity Fair has upset politicians from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats as well as the opposition left-leaning Social Democrats and Greens. Politicians are demanding answers and a state prosecutor may investigate.
Dieter Wiefelspütz has been the domestic policy spokesperson for the parliamentary group of Germany's center-left Social Democrats for many years. He knows a lot about gray zones when it comes to intelligence services. But an article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair has taken the breath away from even an experienced domestic policy man like Wiefelspütz. "It sounds like a thriller novel," the Social Democrat says, "but if an ounce of it is true, then the walls here will be shaking."
In the article, which was published just before Christmas but only came to the attention of German politicians this week, it is reported that the CIA, working together with the private security firm Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), sought to murder a naturalized German citizen from Syria in Hamburg after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The magazine reported that Mamoun Darkazanli had been observed by a team in the northern German port city for weeks and was to be assassinated. According to Vanity Fair, the orders for the special team set up to hunt terror suspects were to "find, fix, finish."
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English source (Der Spiegel)
Lol wat. This guy sounds very suspicious, but that still wouldn't warrant an assassination commando or anything. All of this sounds like half Grisham thriller, half incompetence. How random that the Vanity Fair started it.
German officials seem pretty pissed, I wonder what can be dug up to further the drama. XD
An additional 4,000 cases could be accepted and awarded compensation
The Chilean government is reopening its report on torture, which resulted in the registration and compensation of more than 28,000 cases from the Pinochet era, five years after its original assessment.
The government announced last week that, starting immediately following the run-off presidential election on Jan. 17, the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture, also known as the Valech Commission, will begin collecting new cases for a six-month period.
More than 28,000 cases of political detention and torture were accepted during the commission’s original investigation in 2004 and 2005. Then-president Ricardo Lagos had ordered the eight-member commission, lead by Catholic Church leader Mons. Sergio Valech, to address the need for reparation. More than 35,000 people gave their written testimony of alleged torture during General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship — between Sept. 11, 1973 and March 10, 1990.
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plus, the right wing candidate said he wanted to expidite "never ending" human rights trials.
NRCC spokesman Andy Seré has been taking arguably homophobic swipes at Tennessee state senator Roy Herron, who is running for the House seat being vacated by Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.).
"Rather than protecting small businesses, rather than protecting taxpayers, he often seems more interested in watching what he eats, making sure he's jogging enough miles everyday, and just watching his body image very closely," Seré told Talking Points Memo. Asked if there was some innuendo there, Seré denied it, saying he merely thought it was "odd" that "half of his blog entries on his blog are about his body image."
Seré also defended his attacks on Herron for supporting gay people's right to adopt. "Talking about someone's position on social issues, including gay adoption, is not innuendo," he said."It's a legitimate public policy issue."
The progressive AMERICAblog turned the tables on Seré, noting that the Republican flack was at a party where men were photographed shirtless, according to his Facebook account*. A fellow political operative came to Seré's defense, saying, "Andy Sere gets more tail than anyone I know in DC. He's short, he's French and the girls love him."
Seré himself responded by attacking Herron again. "As for the blog posts, they're pretty funny," he said. "Unfortunately for Roy Herron, West and Middle Tennesseans won't find his support for gay adoption quite as amusing."
Conservative Andy Martin recently came under fire for saying in an attack ad that there was a "solid rumor" that his opponent Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) "is a homosexual."
*Correction: This post originally erroneously stated that Seré himself was among the shirtless men photographed; his Facebook page merely has him attending the party.
A Clothing Clearance Where More Than Just the Prices Have Been Slashed
By JIM DWYER
In the bitter cold on Monday night, a man and woman picked apart a pyramid of clear trash bags, the discards of the HM clothing store that reigns in blazing plate-glass glory on 34th Street, just east of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.
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“How about all the solid waste generated by throwing away usable garments and plastic hangers?” Ms. Magnus asked in a letter to the executive, Ingrid Schullstrom. She volunteered to help H & M connect with a charity or agency in New York that could put the unsold items to better use than simply tossing them in the trash. So far, she said, she has gotten no response.
On Monday night, Pepa’s shopping bag held a few items. She pointed to her gray sweatpants. “From here,” she said.
How about coats?
“Maybe tomorrow,” she said.
Young Buddhist monks attend the second day teaching session of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at Kalachakra Ground near the historical Mahabodhi Temple premises where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, Bihar state, on January 6, 2010. Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will spend a week in Bodhgaya where he will pray and deliver teachings to followers at the Mahabodhi temple.( Collapse )
DIPTENDU DUTTA (AFP/Getty Images)
Didn't think the fast food industry could get any grosser? Well it can.
This time, it's not the food, but the soda fountains to be worried about. According to Tom Laskawy, a media and technology professional and blogger for grist.org, a team of microbiologists from Hollins University found that 48% of sodas tested from the fast food fountains contain coliform bacteria, which is typically fecal in origin. And most bacteria found were antibiotic resistant, as icing on the cake.
The microbiologists published their findings in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. They tested 90 beverages from 30 soda fountains. Their abstract states:
...Coliform bacteria was detected in 48% of the beverages and 20% had a heterotrophic plate count greater than 500 cfu/ml. [...] More than 11% of the beverages analyzed contained Escherichia coli [E. Coli] and over 17% contained Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. Other opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms isolated from the beverages included species of Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, Stenotrophomonas, Candida, and Serratia. Most of the identified bacteria showed resistance to one or more of the 11 antibiotics tested.
Laskawy notes that only one recorded outbreak linked to a soda fountain has occurred, and that was ten years ago. But on a smaller scale, these bacteria could cause sickness on an individual level that can go unreported.
Scan, baby, scan. That’s the mantra among politicians at all levels in the wake of the thwarted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet. According to conventional wisdom, the would-be “underwear bomber” could have been stopped by airport security if he’d been put through a full-body scanner, which would have revealed the cache of explosives attached to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s groin.
Within days or even hours of the bombing attempt, everyone was talking about so-called whole-body imaging as the magic bullet that could stop this type of attack. In announcing hearings by the Senate Homeland Security Commitee, Joe Lieberman approached the use of scanners as a foregone conclusion, saying one of the "big, urgent questions that we are holding this hearing to answer" was "Why isn’t whole-body-scanning technology that can detect explosives in wider use?" Former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told the Washington Post, "You’ve got to find some way of detecting things in parts of the body that aren’t easy to get at. It’s either pat downs or imaging, or otherwise hoping that bad guys haven’t figured it out, and I guess bad guys have figured it out."
Since the alternative is being groped by airport screeners, the scanners might sound pretty good. The Transportation Security Administration has claimed that the images "are friendly enough to post in a preschool," though the pictures themselves tell another story, and numerous organizations have opposed them as a gross invasion of privacy. Beyond privacy issues, however, are questions about whether these machines really work—and about who stands to benefit most from their use.
As I documented in my book The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, airport security has always been compromised by corporate interests.When it comes to high-tech screening methods, the TSA has a dismal record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies, and there are signs that the latest miracle device may just bring more of the same.
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By Sharmeen Gangat
Women from a country in the news for its dysfunction and poverty are reaching out to grasp economic opportunities in their new U.S. home, even as they stay true to traditional roots.
January 6, 2010
In Brooklyn, New York, a group of Yemeni women have become microentrepreneurs so that, among other goals, they can buy Metrocards for travel to a center where they learn English. Coming from the poorest country of the Arabian Peninsula, one that has ranked lowest for the last four years on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, they refuse to let the current distressed economic climate in this country confine them to their homes.
These immigrant women—most of whom have been in the United States for less than two years—prepare greeting cards that they sell with the support of the organization that houses their project: the Arab American Family Support Center. As they work to improve their communications skills and gain economic independence, they defy Western notions that veiled women are conservative and insular. Such were the initial assumptions, for example, of a staff writer for the Observer, who was “dismayed” that her English-speaking translator for a story on Yemen women was fully veiled—though she realized as she got to know her that the issue of a veil was a “red herring.”
The residents of Lawndale, California are causing a stink over the town's plants. Apparently, the roads are lined with garlic--which either smells like skunk or marijuana depending on who you talk to. KTLA did a report on the dispute and spoke with Councilman Jim Ramsey who argued against the removal of the plants:
"The only reason we had garlic put in was so we could keep the vampires out of town. And since we have had garlic I haven't seen one single solitary vampire in town."
Woman leaving club on New Year's Eve is stabbed in her right eye during attack
A Buffalo, New York woman was stabbed in her right eye after she and two friends were attacked by two gay-bashing women outside a downtown club following a New Year's Eve celebration.
Lindsay C. Harmon said she and two friends were minding their own business as they walked out of Roxy's, a lesbian nightclub, at about 2 a.m. Friday to head home when two women, in the company of four men, shouted gay slurs at them and then attacked them.
Harmon, a 29-year-old West Side resident, does not have vision in her eye, and it is not known whether she will regain it. She has seven stitches in her right eyelid and eye, along with several stitches in her right cheek and her left arm.
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Police are still looking for the attacker(s), fyi.
The DUP leader also disclosed that Iris Robinson tried to kill herself last year after he discovered her relationship with a prominent Ulster businessman. The East Belfast MP insisted, however, that he would stay in the job as first minister while seeking to rebuild his marriage.
Just before Christmas Iris Robinson announced that she was retiring from politics and public life owing to mental health issues. The Strangford MP was at the centre of controversy last year when she denounced homosexuality as an "abomination" which she said could be "cured" by psychiatry.
There had been speculation over the last 48 hours not only about their marriage but also Peter Robinson's future as first minister. In a press conference tonight at his east Belfast home to which only a handpicked group of broadcasters and journalists were invited, the first minister said he had forgiven his wife and stressed that he would not be resigning.
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To read more about this vicious homophobe, why not look at her wiki entry? Includes: "just as a murderer can be redeemed by the blood of Christ, so can a homosexual.... If anyone takes issue, they're taking issue with the word of God." Charming woman.
In the ultimate battle between our real and fantasy lives, Lost's final season premiere may be bumped by President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
The White House is currently considering either Jan. 26 or Feb. 2 — the night of the premiere — for the State of the Union speech, The Wrap reports. Lost fans aren't exactly the most patient bunch, and a Twitter hash tag has already been started to protest the possible scheduling conflict, #NoStateofUnionFeb2.
The Obama administration hasn't decided on Feb. 2, the site reports. However, if officials do choose to take that major piece of primetime real estate, Lost may have to move its premiere until the following Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Of course, there's no pleasing everyone: The Jan. 26 date would interrupt an all-new episode of American Idol. The White House refused to comment on the scheduling matter.
BERLIN — Police in southern Germany said an officer has been suspended from duty after allegedly having sex in a Catholic church during a service. Regional police spokesman Hans-Peter Kammerer told the German news agency DAPD on Monday that the 26-year-old faces possible disciplinary measures and a criminal complaint for allegedly disturbing religious activities.
He said a visitor discovered the officer with a woman in the church in Rennertshofen, near the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, during an early-morning service last Thursday. The couple then fled, but a church employee recognized the officer.
The man was suspended the following day. Disturbing religious activities can carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.
What have the Republicans done for America lately? Or in the past couple decades?
That's what Chris Matthews pressed Republican strategist Todd Harris about during Hardball on Wednesday.
Matthews repeatedly asked for examples, while citing negative examples like Bush-era spending bills, Katrina, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Harris tried to keep the focus on the 2010 elections and expressed hope that Democrats would keep going after Bush so the GOP could stay on message about being a balance against the current Democratic leadership.
Matthews suggested one answer, which Harris latched onto. "The Bush administration kept the country safe," said the guest.
"Except the one big day," the host shot back.
"YouTube is watching," he told Harris. "You're the Republican consultant. One of the best in the country. Tell me what the Republican party has done for this country in the last ten to 20 years."
Harris stayed silent.
"Thank you," Matthews said to his recurring GOP guest as he closed the segment. "We'll have you back with the answer."
WATCH THE WILD FINISH: