January 8th, 2010

leelakin

Justice for Oury Jalloh?

German high court reopens prison death case

A German court has decided to reopen the case of a Sierra Leonean who burned to death in a jail in the eastern city of Dessau in 2005. A state court had acquitted two police officers on duty at the time.

Germany's Federal Court has ruled against a verdict issued in 2008 acquitting two policemen of manslaughter, after they allegedly failed to assist a man who burned to death in a jail cell in the eastern German city of Dessau.

The Karlsruhe court said there were "serious holes" in the case made to the state court in Sachsen-Anhalt, which cleared the officers of the charges.

The initial ruling had concluded that 23-year-old Oury Jalloh of Sierra Leone committed suicide inside his cell, using a lighter to set his blanket and himself on fire.

Judge Ingeborg Tepperwien said the details of the "suicide" remained unclear and that Jalloh's family members had the right to a fair trial.

Serious holes

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Ugh, finally. I can't even fathom how it took that long to start on the case again, no WAY that was suicide.
There's a witness, another police officer, who kept lessening her accusations each time. But it seems to be a fact that the fire alarm went off SEVERAL TIMES and the police officer in charge just switched it off! D8{ *RAGE*

Reporting

Diamonds are Forever - Africa



January 2010

For many African countries the discovery of diamonds has turned into a curse, with blood or conflict diamonds fuelling exploitation, subversion and division. But in Botswana, its a different story.

The diamond has transformed Botswana from one of the poorest countries in the world, to one of the most prosperous and stable countries in Africa. An inspiring initiative has seen Botswanas vast diamond reserves, worth about three billion US dollars a year, being used to share wealth throughout the nation.

Trade Consultant Ntetleng Masisi says they used diamonds to bring about health facilities, education and a markedly improved quality of life, Masisi says that the partnership is a necessity, "The earnings from our exports of diamonds have really done a lot for us."

But Botswanas reliance on diamond revenue means that the whole of the countrys future is now in the hands of the diamond dealers

Produced by SBS, distributed by Journeyman Pictures

Source

Will Google surrender to French tax?


France to explore "Google tax" to pay creative work

PARIS
Thu Jan 7, 2010 2:51pm EST
 

Mon, Dec 15 2008

 
 
 
 
 
 

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday that he wanted the authorities to explore whether online advertising revenues of major search engines could be taxed in France as well as their home countries.

Speaking to leaders and representatives of the arts and entertainment sector, he also said he wanted the country's antitrust body to rule on whether Google enjoys a dominant market position in online advertising.

"For the time being, these companies are taxed in the country in which they are headquartered even though they make up a big part of our advertising market," he said.

Sarkozy's comments followed a media report saying France could start taxing Internet advertising revenues from online giants such as Google, using the funds to support creative industries that have been hit by the digital revolution.

The proposal, put forward in a government-commissioned survey, is France's latest challenge to the virtual free-for-all for Internet content.

The country has caused controversy in the past with some of the world's harshest laws on online piracy.

The levy, which would also apply to other operators such as MSN and Yahoo, would put an end to "enrichment without any limit or compensation," Liberation quoted Guillaume Cerutti, one of the authors of the report, as saying.

It would apply even if the operator had its offices outside France, as long as the Internet users who click on ad banners or sponsored links are here, the paper said.

DEFENDING CULTURE

President Nicolas Sarkozy has repeatedly tried to present himself as a defender of France's cultural heritage in the digital age, most recently calling for public projects to rival Google's plans for a massive online library.

Critics say the issue of compensating authors is a complex one, given that many of the songs, films and texts published online these days are created for free by amateurs outside the cultural establishment.

Cerutti, president of Sotheby's in France, drew up the report together with Jacques Toubon, a former minister, and Patrick Zelnik, a former music executive who has among others produced the songs of France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

The authors also suggest taxing Internet service providers to raise tens of millions of euros that would be invested in developing the online music business and other creative sectors.

For example, they propose offering government-subsidised online subscriptions and expanding online publishing platforms, said Liberation, which obtained a copy of the report.

In his address to industry players, Sarkozy also unveiled plans to subsidise half the cost of a card -- worth up to 200 euros ($287) -- which young people could use to legally download music from the Internet.

In recent months, operators and users have faced increased pressure to pay for content from online newspapers to films and books. Under France's new Internet piracy law, repeat illegal downloaders will be disconnected and fined.

The new report was handed into the Culture Ministry earlier this week. It was not immediately clear if the government has a precise timetable to act on it.

($1=.6976 Euro)

(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry)

(Editing by Noah Barkin)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6061QN20100107

This is strange to me. A few years ago France was heralded as a beacon for Blizzard and other game companies due to their strict privacy regulations about Internet use.

  • Current Mood
    curious

Could Senate retirements affect U.S. Cuba policy?


« Dodd wants to spend more family time, but.... | Main | WH defends NCTC director »

January 07, 2010

Could Senate retirements affect U.S. Cuba policy?

The departure of Democratic senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan could effect ongoing efforts in Congress to ease U.S. sanctions against Cuba. Both senators -- Dorgan in particular -- have championed efforts to ease trade and travel restrictions against the communist government and their support would be key in the Senate.

"From an ideological point of view, no senator has been a bigger opponent of U.S. policy than Dodd, and from a business perspective, no one has advocated doing business with the Castro regime more than Dorgan,'' said Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, which lobbies in support of the embargo. He noted the pair still has several months left in their tenure, but added, "it's a game changer for 2011.''

Both senators last March introduced legislation that would allow all Americans to travel to Cuba. Dorgan in 2000 authored legislation that opened up agricultural trade with Cuba and has been a major supporter of normalizing relations with the island. Just last month, Dorgan succeeded in softening restrictions on agricultural exports to the island, but complained that another proposal to strip funding to Radio and TV Marti was "emasculated'' and failed to pass.

Sarah Stephens, the executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, said there's still support in the Senate for easing restrictions. Still, she said, "Our hope is that since it's been such a priority for both of them that maybe there will be an extra effort during this last period of their tenure to make it happen.

"There are a lot in the Senate who want the policy to change, but the ones who have stepped up are the two of them,'' she said.

http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/washington/2010/01/could-senate-retirements-effect-us-cuba-policy.html

I was always jealous of my limey counterparts in England who could go to Cuba on holiday :(

  • Current Mood
    curious

Republicans want people to like them :*((((

GOP Populists: Stealing a Page From the Progressive Playbook

— By Corbin Hiar

| Thu Jan. 7, 2010 9:39 AM PST

In his piece "Thank You, Wall Street. May We Have Another?" published online this morning, David Corn notes that "populist fury aimed at the one-time masters of the universe has yet to materialize in any targeted manner." Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who must have read David's article when the magazine hit newsstands late last month, is trying to change that.

Paul Ryan, Grand Old PopulistPaul Ryan, Grand Old Populist

Ryan recently wrote a piece for Forbes with the provocative title "Down With Big Business." In a column hammering Wall Street and the financial industry—many of whom are, oddly enough, Ryan's biggest donors—the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee addresses most of the points David suggests are inhibiting a "mass movement demanding fundamental change," including the confusion and fear many feel as a result of the dire economic situation Wall Street malfeasance has gotten us into. However, the reforms Ryan advocates to mobilize the masses and save the economy will seem strange to all but his lobbyists friends: more deregulation.

"If this sounds twisted and counter-intuitive, that's because it is," writes Thomas Frank, the token liberal on Wall Street Journal editorial page, in a column about Ryan. Warning of the return of Reagan Revolution-styled GOP populism, Frank remarks, "This is an argument that might have sounded good in 1979 but for it to make sense today one has to disregard the wreckage all around us courtesy of three decades of regulatory rollback." But it's an argument that very well might work. "Democrats, for their part, will find it difficult to respond in kind, especially after having spent their first year delivering regal gifts to the insurance industry and dithering over the urgent matter of new financial regulation," Frank notes.

The Tea Partiers, town hall protesters, and dismal political approval ratings all attest to the anger coursing through out the American electorate. Ryan is attempting to rally the rightwing and the swing voters behind his impassioned-if-incoherent financial reform plan. If the Democratic majority is to last long past the 2010 midterms, they will have to come up with a more compelling response to public outrage than "don't blame us." Progressives should follow Ryan's lead and take a look at David's story.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/01/populism

Jesus. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.


  • Current Mood
    annoyed

Blowing up mountains appears to be a turble idea. I'm shocked.

Blowing Up Mountains: Not a Great Idea

— By Kate Sheppard

| Thu Jan. 7, 2010 2:25 PM PST

— Photo courtesy of UMES/Margaret Palmer.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday gave the green light to a new mountaintop removal coal mining permit in West Virginia, after last year calling for a time-out on new permits for the controversial mining process that requires blasting the tops off mountains to reach the coal seams inside.

The approval of Patriot Coal Corp.'s permit to proceed was a huge disappointment to local activists and environmental groups who hoped the Obama administration would approach mountaintop removal (MTR) with more attention to the environmental and health impacts, as it promised last year. And now, just days after the EPA approved this new project, a team of scientists has published a scathing new peer-reviewed study on the impacts of mountaintop removal in the journal Science that makes the case for why MTR should be put on hold indefinitely.

The study, the most comprehensive analysis of studies on mountaintop removal to date, documents both the environmental devastation the process brings to sites in Appalachia and the human health impacts in surrounding communities. The report's twelve authors, representing a wide range of scientific backgrounds from public health to ecosystem studies, recommend that the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers put a hold on all new mountaintop mining permits until further studies and recommendations for impact mitigation can be conducted.

"The science is so overwhelming that the only conclusion one can reach is that mountaintop mining has to be stopped," said lead author Margaret Palmer, director of the Center for Environmental Science at the University of Maryland, at an event unveiling the report on Thursday. Palmer called the evidence of the harmful impacts "strong and irrefutable," and noted that there is no indication that mitigation efforts are successful in reversing the damage.

The public health implications are among the most startling findings in the report. Lower birth weights and higher rates of mortality, lung cancer, and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease are found in areas where mining is heaviest. Michael Hendryx, director of the Rural Health Research Center at West Virginia University and a co-author of the report, said studies have found an average of 11,000 more premature deaths per 100,000 residents in the counties with the most mining.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/01/blowing-mountains-not-great-idea?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Motherjones%2Fmojoblog+%28MotherJones.com+%7C+MoJoBlog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Shocked I tell you. Just shocked.

normal

Shocking News: Giuliani Doesnt Remember 9/11!! Doctors Baffled! Mass Amnesia Out of Control...

Rudy Giuliani: 'We Had No Domestic Attacks Under Bush; We've Had One Under Obama'(VIDEO)

Rudy Giuliani has joined fellow Republicans Dana Perino and Mary Matalin in seeming to forget that the September 11th attacks happened under President Bush.

On "Good Morning America" Friday, the former New York mayor declared, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama."

Not only does the statement suggest Giuliani does not remember the devastating attack in his own city, it also omits the anthrax attacks and the attempted shoe bomber attack.

"Um, really?" wrote ABC News reporter Rick Klein on Twitter. Later he added, "even if Rudy MEANT to say post-9/11, what makes this incident different than [shoe bomber] Richard Reid, I wonder?" Of course, Giuliani could have been referring to the Fort Hood shootings rather than the botched underwear bombing.

A day earlier, Giuliani falsely claimed that the shoe bomber attack occurred before September 11th.

Curiously, the Associated Press did a long write-up of Giuliani's Obama criticisms but omitted the startling mistake. George Stephanopoulos, who conducted the ABC interview, included the quote in a blog post but did not question it.


Stephanopoulos Forgets To Follow Up On Giuliani's Whole Forgetting 9/11 Thing

An ABC News interview between Rudy Giuliani and newly-minted Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos yielded a moment of perplexing amnesia when the former New York City mayor asserted, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama." See, I'm pretty certain I remember there being at least one! How did Stephanopoulos jump on that? Well...he didn't!

GIULIANI: What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama. Number two, he should correct the things that Bush didn't do right. Sending people to Yemen was wrong, not getting this whole intelligence thing corrected."


STEPHANOPOULOS: So the bottom line is that the President has stepped up, he's taken responsibility, he's calling it a war, are you satisfied?

Seriously? This is like Indiana Jones telling you, "Ark of the what, now? Sorry, that doesn't ring a bell."

But the narrative, remember, is the media's most precious bodily fluid. And once you've embarked on a critique of Obama's response to the Christmas Crotchfire attack, I guess it just wouldn't be sporting to switch gears and ask the public figure most connected to the September 11th attacks how it came to pass that he forgot who was President at the time.

Now, look: maybe what Giuliani wants to say is that there were no domestic attacks under Bush after September 11th. In that case...oh, wait, he's still wrong. Let's recall that the precursor to the Christmas Crotchfire attack was "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. His attack -- a virtual parallel to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's -- occurred on December 22, 2001. I'm almost positive Bush was President at the time. Viewers got to see Reid's visage flash on their screens, so it's not like ABC News isn't aware of his existence.

Of course, what's scintillatingly dumb about this is that ABC News knows full well that Rudy's weird memory lapse is the big story here. In the emails they've sent out, pimping this story to reporters, the subject line reads, "Rudy Giuliani to ABC News: 'No Domestic Attacks Under Bush. ... One Under Obama.'" The title of Stephanopoulos' after-action blog post is the same. They're fully aware that it's the quote that's going to resonate with people. They want credit for pulling it out of Giuliani. They just want you to ignore the teensy little fact that they totally bollixed that moment of the interview.

As Rachel Weiner pointed out earlier on these pages, Giuliani isn't the first Republican to make this mistake. So, at the very least, Good Morning America can now write a "trend piece" on forgetting the basic facts of September 11th.
Reasonable_Negro

TWiB! Season 3 - Ep#1 - Keeping it Steele, son.


http://twitter.com/elonjames
http://thisweekinblackness.com
http://facebook.com/twib.tv
http://elonjamesisnotwhite.com

In the brand new season premiere of This Week in Blackness, Elon James White (VH1, NPR, Hufffington Post) comes back to start off 2010 gearing up for Republican National Chairman Michael Steele's New Book "Right Now: A 12 Step Program to defeat the Obama agenda." Plus White puts up a few theories on how to best explain Mr. Steele...
pen

Indian newspaper cartoon 'just plain stupid'

From Australian State, Victoria, vid is in source. I have to say, from reading about some of these murders and attacks, the majority seem to be opportunistic crimes (late at night, in a bad neighbourhood for money).

Indians are vulnerable because they work long hours to support their education and take late public transport and stay in cheap accommodation which means bad neighbourhoods, Indian students don't have as much money as other Asian students do.

But, having said that, I'm sure some of them were racially motivated as well, just not all of them. Needless to say, it's a sensitive topic.

---
An Indian newspaper cartoon likening Victoria Police to the Ku Klux Klan has been dismissed as ridiculous, unhelpful and ‘‘just plain stupid’’ by the state’s Police Association.

But bad press will not halt the investigation into the murder of Indian man Nitin Garg, who was fatally stabbed last weekend, Victoria Police Association secretary Greg Davies said.


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Pride & Prejudice

Iris Robinson business deal broke the law

The wife of NI's first minister broke the law by not declaring her financial interest in a business deal.

BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme said Iris Robinson, an MP, an MLA and a councillor, obtained £50,000 from two property developers. The money was paid to her 19-year-old lover to help him launch a cafe. She later asked him for £5,000 for herself.

Mrs Robinson, who tried to kill herself after her affair, was said to be unable to comment for health reasons. Spotlight also reported that her husband Peter Robinson became aware of the money she had received from the developers.  The programme said that while he pressed his wife to return the money, he failed to tell the proper authorities about the transaction, despite being obliged to act in the public interest by the

Mr Robinson said on Friday that comments and conclusions were made on the programme "without any supporting facts. While I have learned from Spotlight for the first time some alleged aspects of my wife's affair and her financial arrangements, I will be resolutely defending attacks on my character and contesting any allegations of wrongdoing," he said.

'Devastated'

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Well, at least it's not a duck house...
Jesus the JEW

Malaysian churches fire-bombed as 'Allah' row escalates

Three churches have been attacked in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, ahead of protests by Muslim groups.

The administrative offices of one church were destroyed by a firebomb attack and one of the other two churches attacked was slightly damaged. The government of the primarily Muslim nation has condemned the attacks on the churches and vowed to take action.

About 60% of Malaysians are Malay Muslims and the government relies on their vote. There also significant Chinese and Indian minorities, who are mainly Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

The controversy stems from a ban on a Catholic newspaper, The Herald, using the word Allah: the Kuala Lumpur High Court struck down the three-year old ban on non-Muslims using of the word Allah.

Some major Muslim organisations, including the Islamic political party, PAS, have agreed with the court, saying other Abrahamic religions - Christinaity and Judiasm - may use the word, but some vocal groups, including the Muslim Youth Movement, Abim, have cast the use of the word Allah as a surreptitious effort on the part of Christians to try to seduce Muslims away from Islam.

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And the guys in America are worried about gay marchers in Obama's inauguration parade. Priorities, anyone?
normal

Bush Uses Time Machine and Stops 9/11. History Books to Be Rewriten. Bush Legazy Saved!

Using Double Standard, Conservatives Absolve Bush For ‘Domestic Attacks’ On His Watch

As the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss has been pointing out, conservatives and hawks are falling all over themselves to hail the failed Christmas Day bombing as a “success.” “This was — this was an attack that didn’t succeed on the scale it was expected to but did succeed,” said Brit Hume on Fox News.

At the same time, conservatives seeking to exploit the attempted attack for political advantage have been contrasting Obama’s record on terrorism with President Bush’s, claiming that the last administration “had a 100 percent perfect track record.” On Fox News yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declared that “after September 11, not one time did the terrorists who are trying to kill us and end our way of life, not one time were they able to attack the mainland United States.” Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed on Good Morning America today that “We had no domestic attacks under Bush.” Watch it:



Ignoring the irony of Rudy “noun, a verb, and 9/11” Giuliani claiming there were “no domestic attacks under Bush,” the logic of the conservative claim that the failed Christmas Day attack represents a mar on Obama’s record while Bush’s post-9/11 record was spotless reveals a stunning double standard. As many, including ThinkProgress, have pointed out, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab’s failed underwear bombing is nearly identical to Richard Reid’s failed shoe bombing in December 2001, but the conservatives attacking Obama for letting an attack occur on his watch don’t seem to count the shoe bombing as an attack on Bush’s watch.

This was perhaps best demonstrated by Las Vegas Journal Review publisher Sherman Frederick’s column claiming that “the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11″ both happened on Obama’s watch. The only way for this to be true is for Abdulmuttalab’s failed attack to count as a case of domestic terrorism while discounting Reid’s failed attack. Additionally, as Media Matters has repeatedly pointed out, several other domestic attacks did occur under Bush’s watch, such as the 2001 anthrax attacks and the 2002 attack against an El Al ticket counter at LAX.

Update Spencer Ackerman writes: "You actually need to give President George W. Bush credit for this. The Bush people did a wonderfully effective job of making it verboten in mainstream political discourse to consider the deaths of 3000 Americans on 9/11 in any sense Bush’s failing."
 
Update Last November, former Bush press secretary Dana Perino declared that "we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term." Matt Duss discussed Perino's comment here.
frank

H&M and Wal-Mart destroy and trash unsold goods



This week the New York Times reported a disheartening story about two of the largest retail chains. You see, instead of taking unsold items to sample sales or donating them to people in need, H&M and Wal-Mart have been throwing them out in giant trash bags. And in the case that someone may stumble on these bags and try to keep or re-sell the items, these companies have gone ahead and slashed up garments, cut off the sleeves of coats, and sliced holes in shoes so they are unwearable.

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Update
H & M Says It Will Stop Destroying Unworn Clothing

The clothing retailer H & M promised on Wednesday that it would stop the practice of destroying new, unworn clothing that it could not sell at its store in Herald Square, and would instead donate the garments to charities.

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SOURCE 1
SOURCE 2
normal

Is Official: Black People Scares The GOP

Newt Gingrich: Michael Steele's Race Scares Some GOPers

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is praising Michael Steele in his first year as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1995 to 1999, says Steele is off to a good start, citing successes in fundraising and GOP victories in governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey.

"I'm a fan of Steele's," Gingrich said on Thursday in a meeting with reporters about healthcare reform. "I think he is learning, he is smart and he will be an important part of where we're going."

Steele came under fire earlier this week for saying he thinks Republicans have "screwed up" in the years since Ronald Reagan was president and for raising doubt that the GOP can win back the U.S. House in the fall elections.

Gingrich said the party should "relax and focus on winning elections and not on inside-the-party cannibalism."

"Michael Steele makes a number of old-time Republicans very nervous," Gingrich said. "He comes out of a different background. He went to seminary ... he's African-American ... But I think he's pretty close to what we need. He's different, he's gutsy and he's going to make a number of Republicans mad."

Gingrich is founder of the Center for Healthcare Transformation and is calling for President Barack Obama to urge Congress to air the next stage of the healthcare debate on C-SPAN and other media outlets. C-SPAN Chief Executive Officer Brian Lamb has also asked Congress for permission to broadcast discussions between Senate and House leaders when they hash out details of a final bill. Obama said in a January 2008 debate that he would broadcast negotiations on C-Span "so that the American people can see what the choices are." But Democratic leaders have said they plan to work on a final version behind closed doors.

Gingrich said he supports healthcare reform, but not the bills passed by the Senate and House. He added Republicans would likely go after the current legislation if it passes during the fall election season.

"Every Republican in the country is going to say they want to replace the bill with something better," Gingrich said. "We want healthcare reform. This is just the wrong medicine."


On Michael Steele defense, he never wanted the job anyway...

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vidya

Followup: 'Here's to you Mrs Robinson...'

Iris Robinson's lover named as 19-y.o. Kirk McCambley

Iris Robinson, the wife of the Northern Ireland’s First Minister, admitted having an affair with a 19 year-old man after questions were raised over her financial dealings.

As Mrs Robinson’s lover was named as Kirk McCambley, a 21-year-old cafe owner, it emerged she was facing allegations over a business venture she supported on his behalf.

The 60-year-old mother-of-three, an MP since 2001, admitted on Wednesday that she had a brief relationship 18 months ago with someone she had been supporting after a family death, and that her guilt led her to try to kill herself last March.

He was named by the BBC as Mr McCambley, a Catholic man, who was 19 at the time of the affair. He confirmed to the Spotlight Programme that he had an affair with the married woman.

It is understood that the lover set up his business in a building constructed by Castlereagh Borough Council, supported by the EU Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme and administered by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

It has emerged that 24 hours before the surprise announcement, a BBC documentary team had confronted her husband, Peter Robinson, at Stormont with questions about the couple's financial affairs.

Asked if he was confident that neither he nor his wife had done anything illegal, Mr Robinson said: "I am absolutely certain that everything I have done has been done as it should."

He continued: "I received a letter from an organisation within the BBC. It contained no allegation against me. The BBC asked questions that can be easily answered but there are no allegations that will stand."

As part of her statement in which she admitted the affair, Mrs Robinson said of her lover: "I encouraged friends to assist him by providing financial support for a business venture."

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Source. I'm kind of amazed that the guy isn't some greasy old lobbyist, but actually kinda hot; quite what he saw in her I've no idea, other than the number of zeroes on the end. I am totally gleeful about her rank, shrivelled, dried-up hypocrisy.
Little Boots

New Labour Drama Llamas


Gordon Brown today brushed off the latest attempt to oust him as prime minister as "a storm in a teacup" and insisted his cabinet was fully behind him, despite lukewarm statements of support issued by some of his top team late yesterday.

The prime minister spoke out as he faced opposition calls for an immediate general election following an attempt by two former cabinet ministers to unseat him.

In a concerted exercise to draw a line under the affair, Brown's spokesman briefed that the prime minister retained "the full confidence" of his entire cabinet while Brown himself used the airwaves to make light of an email sent to the Labour parliamentary party yesterday calling for a secret ballot to settle "once and for all" the divided issue of his leadership.

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What do you think? Do you think it's time for Brown to GTFO? Do you think a change in leadership will help New Labour?
normal

A Message To ONTD Texans: "Please Stop Gov Perry. Before Is Too Late"

Gov. Perry wants to bring California’s budget misery to Texas.

Last month, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) said that California’s Proposition 13 — which requires that a two-thirds majority of the state legislature approve any tax increase — should be a “guiding light” for the nation. And Lungren is evidently not the only one in favor of crippling a state’s ability to budget. In a column yesterday, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore heaped praise onto Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who is calling for Texas to adopt a Prop. 13-type measure:
On Wednesday, Mr. Perry moved to seal the deal with conservatives by calling for a new constitutional set of protections for taxpayers. Call it a Texas-style “taxpayer bill or rights.” Mr. Perry wants the state’s constitution amended to require a two-thirds vote requirement of the legislature for any tax hikes. He also wants state spending capped at the rate of annual population growth plus inflation.
As Time’s Kevin O’Leary wrote, Prop. 13 lies “at the root of California’s misery,” leaving it no choice but to slash its budget during the economic downturn. Harold Meyerson has pointed out that the Republican minority in Sacramento “has refused in good times as well as bad to raise business or other taxes (increasing the tobacco tax, for instance, has failed each of the past 14 times it has come up for a vote).” So the state is left in an untenable position, and reduced to asking the federal government for support. The Wonk Room has more.
bg-fieldtrip

Charles Johnson Got Threats After Breaking With Right, Relocated


Prominent blogger Charles Johnson announced last month on his blog, Little Green Footballs, that he had "parted ways with the right." He gave a list of reasons, including "support for fascists ... support for bigotry ... hatred, and white supremacism ... support for anti-science bad craziness" and "support for conspiracy theories and hate speech.

Some conservative readers were apparently not pleased with Johnson's critique. In a profile of Johnson, the LA Times reports that the blogger moved into a gated community partly due to violent right-wing threats.
As I talked to Johnson in his office, an alert flashed on one of his two giant computer monitors. An angry screed targeting him on another website concluded: "I think a visit to Mr. Johnson's home might be warranted. Anybody got his address?"


Such veiled threats are at least one reason why Johnson, 56, relocated not long ago. He remains in the Los Angeles area, but now is in a gated community.

Source

I love how the Right Wingers were so kind as to so blatantly prove Johnson's point for him.
' jules

Shenanigans Friday: January 08, 2010.

"Well, there doesn't seem anything else for an ex-PresLOLdent to do but to go into the country and raise big pumpkins."-Chester Allen LOLrthur
Please exploit these resources:
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by sarken
Reporting

The European Right, Is Meeting At Night, Doing Their Little Bigot Thing!


With ever increasing right-wing support across Europe, a New Solidaristic Alternative (N-SA) meeting of neo-nazi supporters, musicians and politicians, may be an insight into things to come.

Its a quiet evening in the Flemish town of Moerbrugge and an extreme right-wing meeting is taking place. The leader of the N-SA is Eddy Hermy, a former member of the outlawed Flemish Militant Order.

Hosting todays convention he rallies the crowd, "In our streets, girls are raped, molested and insulted by gangs of immigrants."

One of the guest speakers is Axel Reitz, a German national-socialist. Convicted of hatred towards Jews, possession of weapons and wearing nazi-symbols, he is the guest of honour, "We are fighting today to preserve Europe as the continent of the white race for our shared 1,000-year-old Arian culture."

Headlining the event is the ultra right wing, Italian band Ultima Frontiera, whose lead singer Allesandro sums up the feeling of the crowd, "Were proud to be fascist."

Source

Can You Be Overweight and Still Be Healthy?

The idea that people can be overweight and yet still quite healthy began gaining scientific and popular credence some years ago, fueled by the publication of a number of studies showing that men and women who were a few pounds overweight but physically active had less risk of developing cardiac disease than people who were of normal weight but sedentary.

Some scientists and doctors began speculating that healthy people who were sporting extra pounds didn’t necessarily need to worry about losing weight. As one researcher told a reporter in 2004, “If a fat person or obese person has normal blood pressure, if their total cholesterol and glucose levels are normal and they are healthy, there is no reason they should necessarily have to lose weight.”

But several new studies are raising questions about that comforting notion at a very inopportune moment, with the holiday overindulgence season barely behind us. In the most recent of these studies, published online on Dec. 28 in the journal Circulation, Swedish researchers examined medical records reaching back 30 years for a group of more than 1,700 middle-aged men in the city of Uppsala.

The men were measured and tested when they reached the age of 50 and then periodically for the next 30 years. They were categorized into groups based on their body-mass indexes and metabolic profiles, a good marker of overall physical health and fitness. Some were normal weight; some overweight (meaning they had a body-mass index of 25 or above); some obese (a B.M.I. greater than 30). In each of these groups, some had normal metabolic profiles, while others were afflicted with a variety of conditions known collectively as metabolic syndrome. A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome means that you suffer from three or more of these conditions: impaired ability to handle blood sugar, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats, low HDL (“good” cholesterol) and a large waist circumference.

To no one’s surprise, the Swedish researchers found that being overweight or obese and having metabolic syndrome was quite unhealthy. Overweight men in that group had a 74 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease by the time they turned 80. Obese men with metabolic syndrome had a 155 percent higher risk. Even being of normal weight, if you had metabolic syndrome, was dangerous. Men in this group, with normal girths but poor cholesterol and blood-pressure readings, had a 63 percent higher risk of developing heart disease than normal-weight men without metabolic problems. In other words, you don’t want to have metabolic syndrome, even if you’re thin.

More startling, though, was the study’s finding that being overweight with no evidence of metabolic syndrome left you at significantly higher risk for heart disease than if, with the same metabolic readings, you were not overweight. Men who were overweight (not obese) with healthy blood pressures, cholesterol readings, blood glucose levels and so on, still had a 52 percent higher risk of developing heart disease within 30 years than men who were normal weight and had similar metabolic profiles. That risk rose to 95 percent among obese men who didn’t suffer from metabolic syndrome.


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Space - lol models

(no subject)

Science Denial on the Rise

From evolution to global warming to vaccines, science is under assault from denialists--those who dismiss well-tested scientific knowledge as merely one of many competing ideologies. Science denial goes beyond skeptical questioning to attack the legitimacy of science itself.

Recent foment over stolen e-mails from a British research group inspired an American creationist organization to pronounce that "a cabal of leading scientists, politicians, and media" has sought to "professionally destroy scientists who express skepticism" about climate change. The Discovery Institute usually reserves this kind of over-the-top language to attack evolution, so it was remarkable to see it branch out to climate-change denial.

Despite such misleading hyperbole, science is meritocratic. Once you achieve a minimum level of education and competence, you can participate, ask a challenging question of even the most respected scientist, or submit papers to scientific journals, where research is judged by the data and methodology. Esteemed scientists face relentless criticism. This is how science works.

Even when a scientific consensus based on evidence emerges--as it has for evolution and climate change--there is opportunity for dissent. As the great physicist Richard Feynman noted, "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."

Science requires conclusions about how nature works to be rooted in evidence-based testing. Sometimes progress is slow. But through a difficult and often frustrating process, we learn more about the world.

Science denialism works differently. Creationists are unmoved by the wealth of fossil, molecular, and anatomical evidence for evolution. Global-warming denialists are unimpressed by mountains of climate data. Denialists ignore overwhelming evidence, focusing instead on a few hoaxes, such as Piltdown Man, or a few stolen e-mails. For denialists, opinion polls and talk radio are more important than thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles.

Denialists often appeal to the ideal of fairness, arguing schools should "teach the controversy" and address "evidence for and against" science, as in then-Sen. Rick Santorum's proposed amendment to the No Child Left Behind bill in 2001. But they apply the ideal selectively to science they dislike: evolution, climate change, vaccines. They hope to cloak themselves in the mantle of science without being restricted by its requirements.

If denialists had evidence disproving global warming or evolution, they could submit it to scientific conferences and journals, inviting analysis by scientists. But, knowing their arguments don't hold water, they spread misinformation in arenas not subject to expert scrutiny: mass-market books, newspapers, talk radio, and blogs.

Understanding science has never been more important than it is today. Critical issues such as climate change and the threat of newly evolved flu strains demand greater scientific literacy among the public and politicians. As long as scientists must squander their time defending their work from denialism, we will fall behind on our fundamental responsibilities.

a source of course

so, basically, I only post things here after they are posted to Bad Astronomy. Errr...
SAY

The Day in "Teabaggers Eating Their Own"

Limbaugh host wrongly accuses area spa
By Louis Llovio
Published: December 30, 2009

When Henrico County businessman Mike Vines applied for a loan to open a second spa, he never imagined his transaction would become fodder for a national radio show.

But that's exactly what happened yesterday when a guest host on conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's radio show accused the co-owner of Escape Massage of taking federal stimulus money.

Vines, who describes himself as politically conservative, said he was shocked when angry callers began barraging his two places of business yesterday afternoon.

"I didn't know what had happened, but all of a sudden we were inundated with calls," he said.

Reading from a list of stimulus-money recipients that is circulating online, Mark Steyn, who was filling in for Limbaugh yesterday, said the "Escape Massage parlor in Midlothian, Virginia" had received $168,300 in government aid.

But Vines said the money actually came from a loan he and partner George Nuckolls obtained through M&T Bank to open a therapeutic spa in the Westchester Commons shopping center in Chesterfield County. The partners also own a spa in western Henrico near Short Pump Town Center.
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The story is over a week old, but I was reminded of it with the Charles Johnson post. Teabaggers losing their shit at the slightest provocation and snaring one of their own in the process never fails to bring me lulz.

I think I take issue with the headline, though: he did benefit from the stimulus in a fashion, and if he was saved the loan fees, how did he not benefit directly?
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The Holocaust is False. 9/11 Never Happen. Neda's Death is a Hoax... What's Next?

Iranian TV Suggests Neda Video A Fake

Iran's Press TV has aired a report on a documentary made by the country's state television which suggests that the death of protester Neda Agha-Soltan was part of a conspiracy, and the infamous video of her passing a fake.


The New York Times Lede Blog explains the documentary's theory:

The conspiracy theory presented in the documentary suggests that Ms. Agha-Soltan first sprayed fake blood on her own face, while pretending to have been shot as part of a ruse intended to discredit Iran's government, and then was later killed by the two men who seemed to be trying to save her life, a doctor who has since fled Iran and her music teacher who remains there.

Here's the report from Press TV:



Radio Free Europe offers more details of the contents:
"While Neda is [pretending] she is injured and is lying on the back seat of the car on their lap, they bring out a handgun from their pockets," the documentary's narrator says.

"A handgun that they obtained from their Western and Iranian friends to water the tree of reforms and kill people and create divisions within society. Neda, for a moment, realizes their wicked plan and struggles to escape, but they quickly shoot her from behind."

The narrator adds that this is how "deceived and deceitful" Neda was killed.
The Iranian doctor who treated Neda, Dr. Arash Hejazi, has spoken out about the accusations, calling them "shameless and worthless," in an interview with Radio Free Europe.

Neda's death has been a huge rallying point for the Iranian opposition and her posthumous fame appears to have shaken Iranian authorities and hardline government supporters. Her grave has been vandalized twice, and Iranian authorities have made attempts to link her death to Western organizations like the CIA and the BBC.
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Haz Michael Steele Gone Rogue? Sure... No... Maybe?...

Michael Steele Abruptly Cancels On 'Top Line', Citing 'Emergency' RNC Meeting [UPDATE]

Yesterday, a defiant RNC Chairman Michael Steele shot back at his critical colleagues by saying, "I'm telling them and I'm looking them in the eye and say I've had enough of it. If you don't want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way."

Is the RNC taking Steele up on the whole "fire me" offer? All eyes on Rick Klein's Twitter feed, where he reports today that Steele abruptly canceled a scheduled appearance on ABC's "Top Line", thirty minutes before air time:




Klein followed up by reporting, via Twitter: "we were told Steele was called into an 'emergency meeting' at RNC HQ and needed to cancel press."

Obviously, we'll stay abreast of this as details emerge.

Steele's 2010 has not started off well, and his critics' concerns are far from superficial. Chief among them is the RNC's current cash flow situation -- back when Steele won the chairmanship, the RNC had $23 million in the bank. But profligate spending on the 2009 off-year elections hit those reserves hard: it's reported that the RNC is down to $8.7 million. Over at the American Spectator, Phillip Klein argued that the best reason to fire Steele is that the RNC is out of cash even as it seeks to capitalize on "the best political environment for Republicans since at least 2004."

Meanwhile, the guy who's been getting rich is Michael Steele. Steele closed out 2009 under a cloud after it came to light that he'd been giving paid speeches, to the tune of $20,000 a pop. The news surprised observers in all camps, including former RNC Chair Richard Bond, who said he was "shocked" at the news. That shock's been renewed now that Steele is out promoting a new book, "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda". The Washington Post reports today that this book, too, "caught GOP leaders by surprise."

The release of Steele's book, "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda," surprised Republican congressional leaders, some of whom first learned of the book by watching Steele's television appearances this week, three top GOP congressional aides said Friday. The staffers would only describe their bosses' communications with the Republican National Committee chairman on condition of anonymity.


"The book came out and everybody went, 'Whoa, what happened?'" one aide said, adding that his employer, a senior House Republican, learned of the book by watching cable news.


"No one in the House or Senate leadership knew he had a book contract."

"He's freelancing," said another top congressional aide.

Compounding this are his recent statements about the GOP's fortunes going into the 2010 election. When asked by Fox News's Sean Hannity if the GOP is poised to take back power this year, Steele replied: "Not this year," adding, "I don't know yet, because I don't know all the candidates yet. We still have some vacancies that need to get filled, but then the question we need to ask ourselves is, if we do that, are we ready?"

One could see that as a fairly blunt and honest read of the field, but when it's compounded by the RNC's cash flow problems and Steele's moonlighting, it's hardly good optics. And it's maybe not the best time to be calling on those critics to "Shut up or fire me."
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' jules

Thank you for being a friend.

Republican Lugar Says Cheney’s Criticism of Obama Is ‘Unfair’



Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended President Barack Obama’s handling of recent terrorism threats, taking issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism.

“It’s unfair,” Lugar said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “I think the president is focused.”

Cheney, who frequently has led Republican attacks on the Democratic president since leaving office a year ago, told Politico on Dec. 29 that Obama “is trying to pretend we are not at war” with a “low-key response” to the Dec. 25 attempt to ignite a bomb aboard a flight to Detroit.

To the contrary, Obama has demonstrated “firmness” and “decisiveness,” Lugar, who represents Indiana, said. “That’s been the antidote to the criticism.”

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Lugar is a qt old man even though he's a Republican <3 I didn't realize he was 77 though wao D:
&#39; how to disappear completely

:(

Biden's Mother Passes Away



The White House just released a statement from Vice President Joe Biden on the death of his mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden:
My mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden, passed away peacefully today at our home in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and many loved ones. At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves. Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.


Source

RIP
she lived a long life and got to see some amazing things!
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Good News! Global Warming is Not Real! Planet is Not Melting. We Are Freezing to Death!

Deep Freeze Continues To Chill The Nation

Snow and blustery winds blew into the already-frigid East on Friday and a deep freeze settled into the Deep South, making highways especially hazardous in a region unaccustomed to the chilly temperatures.


Arctic air continued to blanket much of the nation a day after a tractor-trailer jackknifed on a snow-slick Ohio road and hit a van carrying disabled adults, killing four people.

In Atlanta, more accustomed to winter temperatures in the low 50s, a glaze of ice coated roads Friday after light snow overnight melted and froze. Nearly 30 cars piled up in a pre-dawn crash near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"I wanted to stay home today, but my boss never called me back, so I thought I should try to get in," said Beth Ament, 30, who was fueling her car so she could get to a nearby transit station to take the train to her job in downtown Atlanta.

In Alabama, packed shelters brought out extra cots and opened doors for people fearful of the deadly cold.

"You have to be inside the way it is now. If you're not, they'll find you stiff," said Elizabeth Austin, a homeless woman who sought warmth at an inner-city Birmingham church.

Multiple deaths have been blamed on this week's cold, including a 44-year-old man whose body was found face-down in the snow early Friday in Billings, Mont. Schools in at least 10 states were closed, as were many roads and government offices.


The edge of the storm reached the Philadelphia area overnight. The National Weather Service said 5 to 7 inches of snow was expected across western Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, it has snowed every day since New Year's, a stretch that meteorologists say is unusual.
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sebastien {star bodies}

Portugal Parliament Votes to Permit Gay Marriage



Portugal's parliament passed a bill Friday that would make the predominantly Catholic nation the sixth in Europe to permit gay marriage.

Conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva is thought unlikely to veto the Socialist government's bill, which won the support of all left-of-center parties. His ratification would allow the first gay marriage ceremonies to take place in April — a month before Pope Benedict XVI is due on an official visit to Portugal.

Right-of-center parties opposed the change and sought a national referendum on the issue, but their proposal was rejected and the government's bill was passed by 125 votes to 99.

Gay rights campaigners applauded from the galleries, hugged and kissed outside the building and ate wedding cake.

"This law rights a wrong," Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a speech to lawmakers, adding that it "simply ends pointless suffering."

Socrates said the measure is part of his effort to modernize Portugal where homosexuality was a crime until 1982. Two years ago his government lifted Portugal's ban on abortion, despite church opposition.


Gay marriage is currently permitted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Canada, South Africa and six U.S. states also permit it.

The bill removes a reference in the current law to marriage being between two people of different sexes.

"It's a slight change to the law, it's true," Socrates, the prime minister, said. "But it is a very important and symbolic step towards fully ensuring respect for values that are essential in any democratic, open and tolerant society: the values of freedom, equality and non-discrimination."

Like neighboring Spain, which introduced same-sex marriages four years ago, Portugal is an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country and previous efforts to introduce gay marriage ran into strong resistance from religious groups and conservative lawmakers.

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yes i do

Coakley leads Senate race poll by lower margin than typical

Less than two weeks before the special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, democratic candidate Martha Coakley holds just a nine-point lead over Republican rival Scott Brown, a Rasmussen report found Tuesday.

Though Massachusetts is typically a blue state, consistently low voter turnouts for special elections and an enthusiastic conservative minority has brought the margin between the candidates closer than usual.

Rasmussen Reports President Scott Rasmussen said though these factors may boost Brown’s ratings, they will probably not give him a decisive winning edge in the Jan. 19 special election.

“There’s no doubt in my mind if it was a regular election, [Coakley’s] lead would be bigger because more people would turn out,” he said. “Conservatives are more likely to show up for this election. In some states that would be enough to get a Republican win, but in Massachusetts it’s still a big hill to climb.”

Rasmussen said voter turnout is the key to the race. Higher turnouts will favor Coakley, who is the state attorney general, due to Massachusetts’ democratic majority, whereas lower turnouts will favor Brown.

In the Dec. 8 primary, less than 15 percent of eligible voters cast ballots to advance Coakley and Brown.

“Historically special elections are always low turnout affairs,” he said. “The two campaigns are going to do everything they can to boost totals, and the bigger the turnout, the better it is for Coakley.”

The poll also indicated that the issue that voters are most concerned about in the race is health care.

“We found a strong correlation between views on healthcare and how respondents are going to vote,” Rasmussen said. “That’s not surprising. While the economy is the top issue nationally, health care debate seems to be the one issue in the political world today that is driving perceptions.”

Source: http://www.dailyfreepress.com/coakley-leads-senate-race-poll-by-lower-margin-than-typical-1.2131530

Gay Bashing In Seattle



A man told police he was beaten Sunday night in the parking lot of the Seattle Filipino Community Center because he is gay, and police arrested the man who allegedly made homophobic threats after the assault.

That man, 22, posted bond and was released from King County Jail on Monday night. Seattlepi.com is not naming the man because he has not been charged.

The incident happened about 1:30 a.m. in the 5700 block of Martin Luther King Way South. The victim was with a female friend and was returning from her vehicle when he passed the suspect and another man.

The second man walked behind the victim, and the suspect allegedly walked in front of him, blocking his path.

"Both suspects them punched the victim with closed fists on both sides of the victim's face causing pain and discomfort," South Precinct Officer Joe Hadley wrote in his report. Police said the men then yelled a homophobic insult.

Security from the community center intervened and held the suspect at the scene. The other man fled, yelling a homophobic slur as he left. Police searched the area, but did not find him.

The victim, 22, told police he believes both men knew he is gay and "the only reason that he was assault is because he is homosexual," Hadley wrote.

The man was in pain from the assault, but declined medical aid at the scene.

Police, who also interviewed a witness at the scene, took custody of the alleged attacker and booked him into King County Jail. He denied punching the victim.

He has no previous convictions in Washington, according to court records. The Seattle police case remains open, and the alleged attackers could face charges later.

Source
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Yes, Michael. There is a God and He is LOLing at You...

Steele on serving as RNC chair: God has ‘placed me here for a reason.’(VIDEO)

In recent days, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been under fire from members of his own Party for making controversial public statements, such as ones that show a lack of confidence in the GOP’s readiness to lead. Yesterday he tried to defend himself by (falsely) stating, “I mean, I didn’t ask for, I didn’t seek this job, I didn’t ask for it.” Today, Steele told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he believes that it was God who put him in the position “for a reason“:
STEELE: I’m not defined by this job. When this job is over I will go back to doing something else. But God, I really believe, has placed me here for a reason because who else and why else would you do this unless there’s something inside of you that says right now you need to be here to do this?

The Minnesota Independent points out that Steele’s statement “mirrors those of fellow Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has asserted several times that she went into politics because God asked her to.”


Irrefutable proof that God has a sense of Humor...

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You Sir, Are No Wise Latina...

A Self-Described ‘Wiser Lou Dobbs’ Supports Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants

Former CNN anchor and anti-immigration reform crusader Lou Dobbs appeared on the O’Reilly Factor last night with an interesting announcement. Dobbs told host O’Reilly that he supports immigration reform with a path to citizenship and also lamented his “combative nature” during the 2007 immigration debate. Dobbs continued insisting that his position on immigration hasn’t changed, explaining that he simply overemphasized border security in the past to the exclusion of legalization and that a “wiser Lou Dobbs” has emerged who is committed to promoting both:
DOBBS: I think the essence of the legislation of 2007 is right: pay a fine, learn English, commit to assimilation in the United States, and begin a path to citizenship…there should also be another guest worker program. [...]

O’REILLY: You sound very moderate. As you said, “I’m the tougher guy here.” Why do you think Hispanics come after you so hard?

DOBBS: I think in part — one thing is my own stupidity. I put forward a statement: rational, effective, humane policy…the emphasis became in the debate of my combative nature the issue of border security first and foremost, versus reforming immigration policy. I’m saying the same thing, but I’m keeping it absolutely combined.

O’REILLY: So you’re a kinder, gentler Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: I’m a wiser Lou Dobbs.
Watch it:
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OMG! There is a Death Panel. It Is Chaired By Zombies!

What Do You Mean My Doctor Is Dead?

Anyone who claims the government can't handle health care as well as private enterprise hasn't yet been assigned a dead person for a doctor. But that's exactly what happened this week to Monica, an employee of mine.
When Monica opened her Anthem/Blue Cross health insurance packet on Monday, she expected to see the name of her own doctor, who she had verified as 'in network' by telephone with Blue Cross before she left for the holidays. Instead, she saw the name of a doctor who she had never heard of, and who had died in early September of 2008 (that second tidbit was only revealed after a series of phone calls with the deceased doctor's office, some barely-English speaking Blue Cross representatives and some cursory Google searching).

It wasn't until Monica directly asked the deceased doctor's office staff if the information she had seen on the internet was true did they confirm it and apologize to her. To date, no new information has come from Blue Cross following her calls on Monday. She is left to fend for herself and find another practitioner. This being said, Monica is more likely to find a doctor with a pulse as well.

I have friends without employer-provided health insurance who tell me they want to come work for me just for the benefits. As a small family run business, we've always made sure to care for our employees as best we can, which includes providing health coverage (the cost of which rises every year). But now I'm forced to ask myself: what "benefit" is even being provided? Is the jumping through rings and over hurdles, only to learn that the doctor you've been assigned is six feet under, a benefit?
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Stunning Comments from the White House on the Burgeoning Geithner/AIG Scandal

As a follow up to yesterday's explosive news, check out today's an amazing - and hideous - interchange between CNN reporter Ed Henry and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about new evidence that Tim Geithner's New York Fed instructed AIG to hide information from SEC regulators (by the way, big kudos to Henry for trying to get some answers):

Q: Robert, Does the White House believe that Secretary Geithner should testify on the Hill, turn over any documents he has, to sort of clear this up?

MR. GIBBS: Ed, I'd point you to the Treasury Department. I'm sure you've already talked to them. Secretary Geithner was not involved in any of these emails. These decisions did not rise to his level at the Fed. These are emails and decisions made by officials at an independent regulatory agency --

Q: But how do you know that he wasn't involved? He was the leader of the New York Fed.

MR. GIBBS: Right, but he wasn't on the emails that have been talked about and wasn't party to the decision that was being made.

Q: Well, Republican Congressman Issa says there are probably thousands of more emails and he may not be on some that some people have looked at. In the interest of transparency would the White House want more -- I mean, you run AIG now, essentially --

MR. GIBBS: I would point you to the Department of Treasury, which I think will tell you that --

Q: But what does the White House believe?

MR. GIBBS: I just gave you what the White House believes.

Q: Well, no, you gave me the Treasury Department -- no, what do you believe? Do you believe that more emails should come out so we can learn --

MR. GIBBS: What I said was I'm -- I don't know what the story is about the emails. I would tell you that there are not emails that involve Secretary Geithner in this instance. This is emails and decisions that are being made by two people. That decision did not rise to his level.

Q: Okay, last thing on this. Various liberals have jumped on this and other stories about Secretary Geithner, to say that he really is not fit to serve as Treasury Secretary. He still has the President's full confidence?

MR. GIBBS: Of course.

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It's time for him to go. Seriously.
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Michael Steele Witnessed At The Vicinity of an Airport Bathroom. (He Does Have a Wide Stance)

Steele Trapped: RNC Chair Called Selfish, Compared To Larry Craig By Fellow GOPers

A tumultuous week from Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has spurred more than a few enraged reactions from within the party.

Among conservatives, there is a growing sense that the RNC header has become a distraction -- frequently generating problematic headlines at a time when the focus should be on a stumbling Democrats.
Commenting on Steele's impromptu book tour, which no other Republican officials seemed to have been warned about, one major consultant went so far as to compare the chairman with former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) the infamous Idaho Republican who (allegedly) tried to solicit gay sex in an airport men's room.

"Does he not get it?" asked Larry Farnsworth, one-time press secretary to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. "To write a book like that and not consult with the rest of the party leaders is maddening. It's the most selfish thing I've seen a politician do since a certain senator tapped his foot under the bathroom stall. Michael Steele is clearly using the RNC platform to promote Michael Steele."

"Can you imagine what Karl Rove and the White House would have done to Ken Mehlman or Ed Gillespie if they would have pulled that?" Farnsworth added.

The reactions to Steele's antics don't get much worse than that -- at least in public. In private, the griping has been intense. Other Republicans have expressed fury with the RNC chair for stepping all over news that Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) were retiring by telling Sean Hannity that the GOP was not just unlikely to win back the House in 2010, but wasn't even ready to govern.
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nobody / travis

British woman 'arrested in Dubai after being raped'

A 23-year-old British woman on holiday in Dubai told police she had been raped, only to be arrested herself for having illegal sexual intercourse.



The woman, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, was celebrating her engagement to her 44-year-old boyfriend, and was allegedly attacked when she passed out in a hotel lavatory.

Despite approaching police about the attack, she was arrested after admitting to "illegal drinking" outside licensed premises as well as having sexual intercourse outside marriage. Her fiancé was also charged with the same offenses.

The couple from London are now reportedly on bail and understood to be awaiting trial after having their passports confiscated. Should they be found guilty, they could face up to six years in jail.

The woman, who is said to have accepted her boyfriend's marriage proposal during a three-day break, admitted drinking too much alcohol as they celebrated at Dubai Marina's Address Hotel. The waiter is then said to have followed her into the toilets and raped her while she was in a state of semi-consciousness.

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misc. | UNF

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Jan 8, 2010.


South Korean special warfare forces train in the snow during a winter field drill in Pyeonchang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul on January 8, 2010. The Korean peninsula is the world's last Cold War frontier as Stalinst North Korea and pro-Western South Korea have been technically at war since the 1950-53 conflict.
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JUNG YEON-JE (AFP/Getty Images)



Pls note: dont hesitate to use the "PotD" to discuss/debate SRS political issues relevant/implied by the photo, even if the picture featured is a seemingly innocuous shot of a cute child or smokin' hot people. I'd like to think these posts have enough room for both srs/non-srs comments. ♥
Christian Bale

Israel’s treatment of Ethiopians ‘racist’


Ethiopian Jews are reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education in Israel. AP Photo


NAZARETH, Israel // Health officials in Israel are subjecting many female Ethiopian immigrants to a controversial long-term birth control drug in what Israeli women’s groups allege is a racist policy to reduce the number of black babies.

The contraceptive, known as Depo Provera, which is given by injection every three months, is considered by many doctors as a birth control method of last resort because of problems treating its side effects.

However, according to a report published last week, use of the contraceptive by Israeli doctors has risen threefold over the past few years. Figures show that 57 per cent of Depo Provera users in Israel are Ethiopian, even though the community accounts for less than two per cent of the total population.

About 90,000 Ethiopians have been brought to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has subsequently been questioned by some rabbis and is doubted by many ordinary Israelis.

Ethiopians are reported to face widespread discrimination in jobs, housing and education and it recently emerged that their blood donations were routinely discarded.

“This is about reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” said Hedva Eyal, the author of the report by Woman to Woman, a feminist organisation based in Haifa, in northern Israel. “The unspoken policy is that only children who are white and Ashkenazi are wanted in Israel,” she said, referring to the term for European Jews who founded Israel and continue to dominate its institutions.

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by alexia_drake

France parliamentary bill to impose fines for wearing burqas

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Women who wear a full Islamic burqa could be punished with a heavy fine under a new law proposed in France. Politicians are divided over the plan, with opponents arguing that the legislation is draconian.

Muslim women face a fine of up to 750 euros ($1,080) for wearing burqas and niqabs, which cover the body and face, under a draft bill to be presented to the French parliament.

The measure would prohibit women from wearing such coverings in public places and on the streets, although there would be exceptions for public events and carnivals.

Men who force their wives and daughters to wear the garments may face an even heavier fine.

The law has been proposed by Jean-Francois Cope, leader of the governing conservative UMP party in France's lower parliamentary chamber.

Proposals will be put forward in the next two weeks and are to be debated in parliament after regional elections in March.

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Finally Some Other News Besides Alien Smurfs or Dance With Wolves Plot.

James Cameron's Next Project May Be About Hiroshima

While "Avatar" continues to clean up at the box office, James Cameron may have signaled his next move as a director this week by buying the rights to "The Last Train From Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back," an upcoming non-fiction book by Charles Pellegrino, the Guardian reports.

This news follows on the heels of reports that Cameron visited with Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who was identified last March as the first certified survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings of Japan during World War II, about a possible film project while in Japan last month doing promotion for "Avatar." Yamaguchi died this week at the age of 93, and is still the only person recognized as a survivor of both attacks. He was remembered by the mayor of Nagasaki as a "precious storyteller."

More info about Yamaguchi's incredible story from the AP:
Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said.
:(, boyd, teen wolf

Warm In Cozy In The Arms of Someone Else

Snowed-In Brits boost adultery website

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons snowed in by the wintry weather have been flocking to an extra-marital dating site in the last 24 hours.

IllicitEncounters.com, which provides a platform for married people to conduct affairs, said on Wednesday it has seen an unexpected increase in visitors over the past 24 hours, and received a record number of new profiles on Wednesday morning.

The website said most new members are registering from areas worst hit by this week's extreme weather, including Hampshire, Berkshire, and the West Country, and the site has taken on several temporary staff members to cope with the rush.

"In light of these figures, I'd be interested to see how much work those 'working from home' have actually done," IlicitEncounters.com spokeswoman Sara Hartley said in a statement.

"Perhaps these wives and husbands have just been waiting for a time when they could join, away from the eyes of their work colleagues and, most importantly, their partners..."

The website said it has gained 2,567 new members in the last six days, suggesting that January will be its busiest month ever.

It says it has more than 350,000 members in Britain and that its aim is to create a safe and nonjudgmental environment where married men and women can meet each other.

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Thoughts ONTD_P? Is the winter chill bringing the cheaters out of the woodwork?
XMAS IN JAPAN

East Boston cat called to jury duty

Someone is getting called for jury duty...but it's no human.

A family is trying to figure out how their pet cat was summonsed for jury duty.

“I said, Sal, what’s this? You know, I don’t believe it I was shocked,” said Guy Esposito, Sal’s owner.

Sal’s owners, Guy and Anna Esposito, think they may know the source of the mix up: Sal really is a member of the family, so on the last Census form, Anna Esposito listed him under “pets”.

“I just wrote ‘Sal Esposito’, scratched out the ‘dog,’ and wrote, ‘cat,’” said Anna.

Anna filed for Sal’s disqualification of service (Listing her reason as to why Sal can not serve jury duty because he can't speak English) However, the jury commissioner was unmoved and denied the request.

Sal’s service date at Suffolk Superior Court is set for March 23. Anna said that if the issue isn’t cleared up by then, she will simply have to bring the cat to court.

 Source  :3
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The Best Freedom of Speech Money Can Buy. Freedom Aint Cheap.

Courts Whittle Spending Limits in Election Law

Even before a landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law expected within days, a series of other court decisions is reshaping the political battlefield by freeing corporations, unions and other interest groups from many of the restrictions on their advertising about issues and candidates.

Legal experts and political operatives say the cases roll back campaign spending rules to the years before Watergate. The end of decades-old restrictions could unleash a torrent of negative advertisements, help cash-poor Republicans in a pivotal year and push President Obama to bring in more money for his party.


If the Supreme Court, as widely expected, rules against core elements of the existing limits, Democrats say they will try to enact new laws to reinstate the restrictions in time for the midterm elections in November. And advocates of stricter campaign finance laws say they hope the developments will prod the president to fulfill a campaign promise to update the presidential campaign financing system, even though it would diminish his edge as incumbent.
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Everybody Hatez Bankers. Wall Street Threatens to Move to Narnia.

Wall Street Reform: Traditional Foes Join Forces To Take On Bankers

On Thursday evening, a roomful of people more accustomed to fighting each other met to unite against a common enemy: Wall Street.

The forces that are gathering against the bankers include energy companies, airlines, truckers, farmers and other end users of derivatives, along with unions, consumer advocates and a host of progressive organizations.


"I can't think of anything where such a diverse group has come together. Some of these organizations don't see eye to eye on anything," said Jim Collura, a lobbyist with the New England Fuel Institute and a lead organizer behind the Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition (CMOC), which includes end users of derivatives such as corn or gas futures. The businesses rely on futures contracts to hedge against the risk of price spikes or declines.

A senior administration official who addressed the coalition partners at the meeting would have been considered just as unlikely a bedfellow a year ago. Gary Gensler, now the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), spent nine years with Goldman Sachs and, as a Treasury official in the '90s, pushed the type of deregulation that contributed to wild speculation in derivatives and helped bring about the financial collapse. For those sins, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put a hold on his nomination to the CFTC. He eventually let him move through, convinced that Gensler had seen the error of his ways.

Close observers of the fight to reform Wall Street say that Sanders's judgment has been proven wise and that Gensler has been one of the strongest advocates for reform within an administration often seen as too sympathetic to the financial services industry.

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the star that could kill us

Just another thing to scare the crap out of everyone.




Type 1a supernovas are infrequent. Astronomers often describe them as the ‘candles’ that allow them to measure intergalactic distance, but in truth, they are cosmic pyres of incredible ferocity.

They pierce time and space by being visible across millions of light years, beacons that blaze into view when the galaxies which hosted them may be too distant to leave much of a trace on the sensors of the most powerful telescopes on Earth or in space.


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Mr. T the Patriot

One in Four Blacks, Latino Workers Shut Out of Withered Job Market

The new labor statistics released today show more of the same: official unemployment was about level. Some economists insist that we’re still on track for a steady recovery; left-leaning analysts like the Economic Policy Institute say the hole is much deeper than it looks, and depending on your color, age and education level, you may not even be close to crawling out of it. EPI explains:

The nation’s 10% unemployment rate does not fully capture the extent of the jobs crisis, since millions of Americans have given up looking for work or cannot find the amount of work they need. This large group of discouraged and “involuntary part-time” workers is more accurately counted in the underemployment rate, which stood at 17.3% in December, and is much higher for black and Hispanic workers....

While white underemployment has more than doubled over the course of the recession to 14.6%, underemployment is now 24.3% for black workers and 25.1% for Hispanic workers: A staggering one in four of these minority workers cannot find the amount of work they want.


To clarify: that's one in four people in these communities who are willing and/or able to work, but can't find a job that satisfies their basic needs. Another scary one-in-four statistic: From 2007 to 2008, the number of households at risk of hunger soared to more than 17 million. The rate for white families was about 11 percent. The rate for Black families was a more than 25 percent. Again, one in four Black families who probably wouldn't be able to feed themselves without a government subsidy. EPI analyst Algernon Austin describes this as a long-term, intergenerational crisis for Black communities. Extrapolating from the understated 10 percent unemployment rate, EPI predicts that if the trend persists, Black child poverty will reach 50 percent.

Joblessness today undermines educational opportunity tomorrow. Hunger can impede child development, stymie progress in school, and contribute to behavioral issues. "We want black children to do better in school," Austin writes, "but academic improvements are not likely to occur when more and more black children are growing up in households facing hunger."

The cheerleading in Washington for school reform seems almost blind to the reality that the same system forces students to go to school hungry. Politicians have proposed tighter standards and new funding for schools to bridge the achievement gap, and yet an even more fundamental gap persists in the background, between who eats and who starves in this country. While the economy may be on the road to recovery, the damage it has inflicted on the bodies and minds of children of color is irreparable.


Source

For clarification this is actually addressing four separate but related issues.

First: Black and latino communities are facing higher unemployment and underemployment rates than whites.

Second: The unemployment and underemployment rates are largely hidden in the statistics and will probably not get to rates acceptable for whites for a very long time (if ever).

Third: Because of the bad economy black and latino households are more likely to suffer from hunger.

Fourth: Hunger affects the ability of children to learn which means black and latino children of the coming generations will be even further behind than they would have been without the recession.