January 11th, 2010

China faces growing gender imbalance


More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses by 2020, says the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The gender imbalance among newborns is the most serious demographic problem for the country's population of 1.3 billion, says the academy.

It cites sex-specific abortions as a major factor, due to China's traditional bias towards male children.

The academy says gender selection abortions are "extremely common".

Forced prostitution

This is especially true in rural areas, and ultra-sound scans, first introduced in the late 1980s, have increased the practice.

The latest figures show that for every 100 girls born in China, 119 boys are born, the academy says in a new book.

A reluctance among young urban Chinese to have a first or second child is exacerbating the problem.

In some provinces, 130 boys are born for each 100 girls.

The growing imbalance means that forced prostitution and human trafficking has become "rampant" in some parts of the country."



Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8451289.stm




Russia has a similar problem. It's pretty f-ing sad, if you ask me.
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Obama: The Musical...


'Hope!': Obama Musical To Open In Germany (VIDEO)


A musical based on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign will be hitting the stage in Germany next month.

The video below shows some highlights from the show, including a rousing rocker from John McCain. Not shown in the video, but no doubt bound to make some headlines, is a Sarah Palin character.

It's worth noting that the creator of the musical, an American named Randall Hutchins, apparently had the idea right at the beginning of Obama's campaign.

shifted

Is Whole Foods Bad for the Environment?

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has probably brought more people to organic foods than anyone else in the United States. And many of the folks shopping at his markets undoubtedly consider themselves to be environmentally aware. They might even believe that by purchasing their groceries at Whole Foods outlets they are doing their part to help the planet. But certainly many of them would probably be startled to learn of of Mackey's position on climate change: he's a global warming denier.
In a recent New Yorker profile of Mackey, the Whole Foods chief argues that there is no scientific consensus regarding the causes of climate change. He lists Heaven and Earth: Global Warming--the Missing Science, a skeptical take on warming, as one of his recent favorite reads. He frets that the "hysteria about global warming" will cause the United States "to raise taxes and increase regulation, and in turn lower our standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty." He adds: "Historically, prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures."
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I work for Whole Foods, and was pretty annoyed that Mackey is against any sort of universal/single payer healthcare, but this is just ridiculous. It's so ironic that the man who represents a company that supports "environmental sustainability" would not believe in climate change. This got me thinking about the reusable bags we sell. They're supposed to be better for the environment, but they are mass-produced, and come from China, and a lot of people forget to even bring them, so they just buy more. Eventually people will just throw them away. Any thoughts?
  • Current Mood
    tired
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Amazing News: Republicans Are The Beacon of Racial Equality! Trent Lott Was a Saint!

Right Wing Rallies Around Trent Lott’s Segregationist Remarks To Attack Harry Reid

Yesterday, Republicans moved swiftly to make political hay of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “racially-tinged” reference to Barack Obama as “light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect.” In an effort to stir the faux controversy, top conservatives claimed a “double standard” exists because former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) was forced from office for making segregationist comments, while Reid remains.

“If [Lott] should resign, then Harry Reid should,” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said. Karl Rove piled on: “If you didn’t accept Lott’s apology, to be consistent, wouldn’t have to reject Reid’s, as well?” RNC Chairman Michael Steele — who resisted calling for Lott’s ouster in 2002 — said “it is” right for Reid to step down, citing the Lott precedent.

Recall, Lott argued in 2002 that “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years” had segregationist Strom Thurmond been elected President. Fox News contributor Juan Williams noted this morning, “I don’t think Barack Obama would be in the White House if we had a segregationist country. That’s a major, major difference.”

Republicans are reportedly trying to further the story by using Lott’s comments to “press reporters to ask Reid what he really meant.” Fox News is assisting that effort by compiling a graphic of all the Democratic Senators who criticized Lott. After displaying the graphic, Fox host Martha MacCallum pressed contributor Bob Beckel on whether there is a double standard, arguing that then-Sen. Obama said “Republicans need to rid themselves of Trent Lott.” Beckel responded by observing the key distinction in the two statements:
BECKEL: Let me just make this point: what Trent Lott said was a racist statement. When you said in the opening, Martha, that this was a comparable racial statement, it is not comparable at all! What Lott said was that he thought we should support Strom Thurmond when he was a segregationist running for President. Harry Reid used the word in a positive sense. It was a bad choice of words, but I mean the two of those make no connection between themselves.

MacCallum quickly retreated, acknowledging “I hear what you’re saying…when you look at the context of the statements, they are different.” Watch it:

 



“It brings tears to my eyes to listen to Republicans wake up and defend Barack Obama because he’s been attacked by Harry Reid,” Fox’s Beckel observed. “Give me a break! … You guys can’t make anything that you don’t turn into politics against Barack Obama and the Democrats.”

Update TPM’s Josh Marshall observes that the Lott comparison is “laughable,” recalling that Lott’s segregationist remark “suggested that he knew the implications exactly and believed them deeply.”

Update On MSNBC this morning, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that “Trent Lott said something that was far more innocuous than the racially tinged comments that Sen. Reid made."
pen

Teen forced to marry boyfriend's dad

A New Zealand teen was forced to marry her boyfriend's father and consummate the marriage after the groom gave her parents a pig and some mats as a dowry, according to a report on Sunday.

The girl's mother and a man understood to be her stepfather have been charged with detaining her, "allegedly to force her to be the groom's wife and to force her to have sex with him", the Sunday Star-Times said.


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IF Palin Was President, We Would Have Already "Liberated" Iran. WMDs for Everyone!

Heilemann: Palin ‘regularly’ said that ‘that Saddam Hussein had been behind 9/11.’



In September 2008, then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin raised eyebrows when she appeared to link the invasion of Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks, telling “an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’” The McCain campaign claimed at the time that Palin “was referring to al-Qaeda in Iraq, a terror group that formed after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and claims to be allied with the global al-Qaeda organization.” But in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes last night, New York magazine’s John Heilemann, who is a co-author of a recently released book on the 2008 campaign, said that Palin “regularly” claimed during the campaign “that Saddam Hussein had been behind 9/11.” Watch it:

Witch-doctors reveal extent of child sacrifice in Uganda



-A BBC investigation into human sacrifice in Uganda has heard first-hand accounts which suggest ritual killings of children may be more common than authorities have acknowledged.

One witch-doctor led us to his secret shrine and said he had clients who regularly captured children and brought their blood and body parts to be consumed by spirits.

Meanwhile, a former witch-doctor who now campaigns to end child sacrifice confessed for the first time to having murdered about 70 people, including his own son.


WARNING for disturbing video and content!!!!!

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Hey Guyz You Can Get Free Porn! (4Chan What Have You Done!?)

Tea Party Nation: Liberals Have Attacked And Are Uploading Porn To Our Site

It was a rough week for Tea Party Nation.

The group first accused MSNBC's Rachel Maddow of joining as a sort of liberal spy, and after TPMDC's coverage of the issue (and Maddow denial) the site seems to have gotten a flood of liberals engaged in apparently suspicious activity.

Organizers with Tea Party Nation, planning a convention in Nashville next month starring Sarah Palin, sent out an email blast late Friday detailing what they have seen, and noted they will "correct these problems."

"They have joined en masse, coming on the site to offend, disrupt and interfere as much as they can," organizers wrote. "They have uploaded inappropriate content, sent us obscene messages and even uploaded pornographic images."

Organizers lament the corrections may slow what has been "phenomenal growth."

The message, which we obtained as a member of the email list, is in full below.

 

A message to all members of Tea Party Nation Friends, over the last 36 hours, our site has been attacked by liberals. They have joined en masse, coming on the site to offend, disrupt and interfere as much as they can. They have uploaded inappropriate content, sent us obscene messages and even uploaded pornographic images.

We are taking steps to correct these problems.

We want to take this opportunity to thank those who have become members of Tea Party Nation in the last few days. Before our site was assaulted, our growth had been phenomenal. Our precautions are going to slow our growth, but ultimately will keep TPN the site that you want it to be.

Visit Tea Party Nation at: http://www.teapartynation.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network


Last week Keith Olbermann talked about our coverage of the issue and teased Maddow about the tea party group using her name.

直樹:DJ

Japan to come clean on secret nuke deals with U.S.

TOKYO (AP) -- To the government's critics, it was a long and shocking act of official stonewalling: Agreements long hidden in Foreign Ministry files allowed nuclear-armed U.S. warships to enter Japanese ports, violating a hallowed principle of postwar Japan. Yet their very existence was officially denied.

Now, in a clear break from the past, a new prime minister has gone where none of his predecessors dared go: He has ordered a panel of ministry officials and academics to investigate the secret agreements.

The findings, due out this month, are part of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's wide-ranging campaign to wrest power from the bureaucracy and make government more open than under the conservatives, who ruled Japan for most of the past 50 years.

They also could intensify public debate about the future of Japan's long-standing security alliance with the U.S., which has bases here. Hatoyama, a liberal who took office in September, has called for making the relationship more balanced, starting with efforts to evict an unpopular U.S. base from the island of Okinawa.

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Fatpie42

More Than Two Condoms? You're A Prostitute!

Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady of the Night: DC Cops Can Arrest You for Carrying More Than Two Condoms



Washington DC police can arrest a woman in any area they’ve declared prostitution free zone. And in a backasswards move to curb prostitution, carrying more than two condoms is considered proof of intention to prostitute.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been lucky enough to date 3+ condom types. And even with one shot wonders, the fact is condoms break and you may need spares. A smart dater brings his or her own just to be safe. And to make sure you have the brand you like.
But all of that aside, “you’re a whore for carrying condoms” issue puts prostitutes and their clients (not to mention their clients’ other sex partners) at risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. Washington DC has an HIV/AIDS infection rate of 3%, the highest in the United States.
Dr. Ray Martins, Chief Medical Officer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the largest provider of HIV care in the nation’s capital said
"If we know that three percent are currently diagnosed, the underlying number is probably five and six, or closer to five percent."

The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization consider a one percent infection rate as the threshold for a severe epidemic. 

(Source)

As well as Washington, it appears that it is also a problem in San Francisco and New York! (For those interested, there's a campaign against the situation in Washington here.)
n o p e

Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The rise of social networking online means that people no longer have an expectation of privacy, according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Talking at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco this weekend, the 25-year-old chief executive of the world's most popular social network said that privacy was no longer a "social norm".

"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," he said. "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time."

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fb is such shit now, even when disregarding all the privacy fuckery.

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Well... The Free Market Haz Spoken!

Move Your Money Campaign Helps Trustco Bank

Aside from taking the media world by storm, the Move Your Money campaign is having a real-world effect.

Albany's WTEN reports that Glenville-based Trustco Bank has seen a surge in business ever since the Move Your Money campaign began calling for consumers to stop lining the pockets of the too-big-to-fail banks and to support their local community banks. Trustco saw 30 new accounts opened in one day, including one worth seven-figures.

Bank officials say that other branches of the bank are seeing similar results.

[info]open_the_blinds)

(no subject)

How Israelis do Airport Security

New York (CNN) -- In the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, authorities are ramping up air passenger screening, particularly for those flying from 14 nations that the U.S. describes as "state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest."

Hundreds more full body scanning machines are on order for U.S. airports. But some airline security experts say the real answer to greater security is to follow the approach used by Israel's airline, El Al.

Isaac Yeffet, the former head of security for El Al and now an aviation security consultant in New York, said El Al has prevented terrorism in the air by making sure every passenger is interviewed by a well-trained agent before check-in. Collapse )

El Al is considered one of the safest air carriers (from terrorism, anyway) around, no? Maybe this is advice worth listening to...

And Yeffet makes a rather obvious point about full-body scanners.

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I Can See The Next Town Hall Madness: "Collective Socialized Labor Destroys Free Market"

Trumka: Employee Free Choice Act Will Pass In Early 2010

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka predicted on Monday that the Employee Free Choice Act -- the provision that would give workers easier avenues to unionize -- will be passed into law in the next few months.

"I think you will see the Employee Free Choice Act pass in the first quarter of 2010," said Trumka.

The comment, delivered at the end of an address Trumka gave before the National Press Club, is by far the most optimistic assessment of the legislation's prospects in recent memory. Before health care reform took center stage, EFCA had seemingly run up against a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate. And while it's hard to see the political landscape improving in the bill's favor, Trumka insisted that the provision will pass after the election.

"The president fully supports the Employee Free Choice Act, the Vice President fully supports the Employee Free Choice Act, a vast majority of the members of the House support the Employee Free Choice Act, a vast majority of the people of the Senate support the Employee Free Choice Act. And I think we are going to have the Employee Free Choice Act despite the determined efforts of the Republican Party..."

The AFL-CIO header did not comment on a proposal to drop one provision (majority sign-up -- in which 50 percent of workers signing cards is enough to trigger an election for the creation of a union) in favor of securing another (binding arbitration -- which allows an arbitrator to rule on a dispute in a timely manner rather then letting the disagreement go to court). But he did insist that he and other union leaders are gearing up to make another push.

"I think every workshop ought to have a union in it," said Trumka. "Because I believe better decisions are made when you sit down at the table as an equal."
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To The So Called "Patrios", Warmongers, and Chickenhawks: F.U.

Suicide Rate Of Veterans Increases Significantly For Former Soldiers 18-29

The suicide rate among 18- to 29-year-old men who've left the military has gone up significantly, the government said Monday.

The rate for these veterans went up 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to preliminary data from the Veterans Affairs Department. It's assumed that most of the veterans in this age group served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If there is a bright spot in the data, it's that in 2007 veterans in the group who used VA health care were less likely to commit suicide than those who did not. That's a change from 2005.

The military in recent years has struggled as well with an increase in suicides, with the Army seeing a record number last year. While the military frequently releases such data, it has been more difficult to track suicide information on veterans once they've left active duty.

The VA calculated the numbers using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers from 16 states. In 2005, the rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18-29 was 44.99, compared with 56.77 in 2007, the VA said. It did not release data for other population groups.

The VA and the military have sought to more aggressively tackle the problem in recent years with measures ranging from a suicide hot line to educational campaigns.


At a conference on Monday in Washington dedicated to addressing the issue, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said his agency needs to do a better job understanding what led to each suicide. He said he'd also like to see more stringent protocol put into place at VA facilities about how to handle a potentially suicide veteran, similar to what's done with someone who's having a heart attack.

He noted that of the 30,000 suicides each year in America, about 20 percent are committed by veterans.

"Why do we know so much about suicides but still know so little about how to prevent them?" Shinseki said. "Simple question but we continue to be challenged."
Citadel

Remarks on the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development

(By Hillary Clinton, given Jan 8th 2010)

Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you all very much. My goodness, thank you. Wow, this is a wonderful occasion. Several of us were quite nervous when we saw the snow start last night, so I’m delighted the sun is out and shining on all of you here as we gather for this commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the groundbreaking gathering and agreement in Cairo.

When I think about that and the thousands of people who were part of it who came together to declare with one voice that reproductive healthcare is critical to the health of women, and that women’s health is essential to the prosperity and opportunity of all, to the stability of families and communities, and the sustainability and development of nations, it makes me nostalgic for conferences that are held that actually produce results – (laughter) – and give us a framework for moving forward. There is no doubt in my mind that the work that was done and the commitments that were made in Cairo are still really the bulwark of what we intend to be doing and are expected to do on behalf of women and girls.

The year 2015 is the target year. Part of the reason we wanted to have this commemoration is not only to look backwards, but to look forward. What is it we will do between now and 2015? Remember what was expected of us. All governments will make access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services a basic right. We will dramatically reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality. We will open the doors of education to all citizens, but especially to girls and women.

It is somewhat hard to believe in retrospect that Cairo was the first ever global forum that recognized the connection between women’s health, the quality of women’s lives, and human progress on a broader scale. So I am delighted to join you in marking this landmark event, but more importantly, to asking you to join with us in rededicating ourselves to the goals that we embraced 15 years ago. They remain critical and they remain unfilled.

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thumbelina

Palin to Join Fox News

One more reason NOT to watch Fox.



Sarah Palin will be a contributor to the Fox News Channel, the network has confirmed. Her future appearances are part of a multi-year deal with Fox.

Palin will not have her own program, but will host an "occasional series." The flexible schedule will allow the former governor time to continue her quest to dominate all forms of media.

A formal announcement of the deal is anticipated this afternoon. No word yet on how much Palin will rake in for her appearances. Stay tuned for updates.

SOURCE
Rainbow

Prop 8 Federal hearing starts today. Court to hear from Real-life homos! *gasp*

Source LA TIMES

Prop. 8 trial to include unprecedented testimony
  [ETA: But we can't watch it on tv.]

Challengers of the same-sex marriage ban plan to call to the stand homosexual couples, experts on the history of sexual discrimination and marriage, and the architects of the ballot measure.


By Maura Dolan

Scholars, gay and lesbian partners and opponents of same-sex marriage are expected to testify about the nature of marriage and homosexuality during an unprecedented federal trial today to determine whether gays and lesbians may marry.

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked video coverage of the Prop. 8 trial in San Francisco. Read more. Gay-rights supporters are upset by the court ruling. Read more on L.A. Now.

The case, Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, is expected to become a landmark that eventually will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Both sides have hired leading legal advocates with lots of experience before the high court.
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The Gang
  • acmeeoy

Seven Days to Preserve the Internet

By Mary Alice Crim

FCC rules are about to be made that will either keep the Internet a forum for free exchange of ideas or else reward corporate entities that want to make money by controlling the flow. It’s time for the public to weigh in.

January 7, 2010

January 14, 2010, may not sound like an important date. By then, many holiday celebrations have come to a close, and it’s not officially time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. But January 14 is actually an important step in the march for freedom and democracy on the Internet.

Between now and then, the public has a chance to take a stand for “Net Neutrality,” the Internet principle that protects consumer choice and equal opportunity online. But the voices of those who support consumer choice aren’t the only ones out there. Big Internet companies are also weighing in—against Net Neutrality. That’s why we need to speak out for a free and open Internet without corporate gatekeepers. So if January 14 isn’t specially marked on your calendar, it’s time to pencil it in.

A Net Neutrality rulemaking process is currently under way at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates our media system. Public comments received by January 14 will be considered by the agency as it drafts new rules to protect the open Internet, and women’s voices and opinions need to be heard.

 

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pen

what are the odds?

Another wildlife story from Australia.

Flying jellyfish stings fisherman

A man who was stung on the face yesterday by an irukandji jellyfish while on board a commercial ship in north Queensland is in a stable condition.

The man, who decided to do a spot of fishing over the side of a towering bulk carrier, was stung when the jellyfish was flung skywards from the sea below.

A spray of seawater carried the jellyfish 25 metres up, hitting the man as he stood on the deck and leaving him with a nasty sting.


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hpyy

This is getting good...

Brazil’s Human Rights minister threatens to resign over controversial bill


Brazilian Minister of Human Rights Pablo Vanucchi threatened to resign on Sunday if the military are successful in reviewing the bill creating a Truth Commission on the Brazilian dictatorship (1964/1985) which caused internal turmoil in the administration of President Lula da Silva.

“I’m a removable fuse. My resignation would not be a problem for Brazil or the Republic”, said Vanucchi in a Sunday interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.

Vanucchi is at the heart of a dispute between different interests in government for having drafted the Human Rights Program presented to Congress last December 21st by President Lula da Silva.
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SOURCE

Plus BBC article.

Brazil truth commission arouses military opposition


A package of reforms put forward by the Brazilian government to improve human rights is causing growing controversy. A proposed truth commission to investigate torture during military rule is said to have so angered forces chiefs that they threatened to resign.

Parts of the Catholic Church have opposed moves thought sympathetic to abortion and gay civil unions.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is to consider how to deal with the row when he returns to work this week.

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There's a LOT at stake here. Too many debates going on at once (military past, freedom of the press, rural violence, gay rights...), I'm not sure happy endings can be reached that way but I hope most of the themes are dealt with. I confess I'm laughing at a bunch of ministers threatening to resign (ahhh, there's gonna be ministerial reform because of the elections anyway, time to lose Jobim, Lula!!!). And LOL at BBC interviewing FHC.
Mr. T the Patriot

Palin finally gets a job

NEW YORK — Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Monday struck a "multi-year deal" with Fox News to serve as a political commentator and part-time host, the television channel said.

"Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the Fox News lineup," Executive Vice President of Programming Bill Shine said announcing the contract.

Palin, 45, "will provide political commentary and analysis" for Fox News's political and business news programs and will host "periodic episodes of FNC's 'Real American Stories,' a series exploring inspirational real-life tales," a company statement said.

The series is to debut later this year, it added.

Palin joins a stable of conservative pundits at the channel, which has often been fiercely critical of Barack Obama's presidency.

"I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News. It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news," Palin said in the Fox News statement.

The statement made no mention of Palin's salary.

A mother of five, Palin ran for vice president last year on John McCain's losing ticket and is seen as a potential Republican presidential contender.

Her memoir, "Going Rogue," shot to the top of the US bestseller list in its first week after publication in November and is currently the number one New York Times bestseller.

A polarizing figure who generates a media frenzy with her every interview, Palin enjoys fervent support among Republican activists.

In mid-November she dropped a hint that she might seek to run for the White House in 2012 as champion of America's Republican right.

Source

If she is good enough as a pundit to get her own show a la Rachel Maddow Fox would easily launch her to the White House in 2012. She's already got a built in audience and Fox News would probably advertise her relentlessly as their candidate (while remaining fair and balanced of course). So I guess this is pretty much a party post for bluetooth16 and afa_mom.
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Republican Jumps Ship, Joins The USS Tea Party. News of Iceberg Exaggerated

Candidate to GOP: Sorry, But Tea Party Label Better for Me

Network computer consultant Donn Janes, who filed for Tennessee's 8th district race as a Republican in August, has decided to instead run as an Independent Tea Party candidate this cycle.

Janes, who has bashed the National Republican Congressional Committee for backing gospel singer Stephen Fincher (R) in Tennessee's open 8th district, said he decided to seek a third party nomination because "the National Republican Party continues to aggressively support candidates who lack depth on issues and conservative values, but instead focus on candidates who are able to self fund or raise large sums of money."

Democratic strategists said Monday the move will help their chances to hold the seat of retiring Rep. John Tanner (D) by siphoning off Republican votes in the general election.


Janes made his announcement at a a Tea Party event in Paris, Tenn., on Saturday, about a week after wealthy physician Ron Kirkland of Madison County officially threw his hat into the GOP race.

Janes said last month he expects to report less than $20,000 raised in the fourth quarter of 2009.

CQ Politics presently rates the Tennessee 8 race as a Toss Up.
grrm sux

Pope says gay marriage threat to creation

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Tuesday linked the Church's opposition to gay marriage to concern about the environment, suggesting that laws undermining "the differences between the sexes" were threats to creation.

The pope made his comments in an address to diplomats in his yearly assessment of world events. The main theme of the address was the environment and the protection of creation.

"To carry our reflection further, we must remember that the problem of the environment is complex; one might compare it to a multifaceted prism," he said.

"Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes," he said.

"I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America," he said.

 

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[info]open_the_blinds)

(no subject)

Anne Frank diary guardian Miep Gies dies aged 100

Miep Gies, the last surviving member of the group who helped protect Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, has died in the Netherlands aged 100.

She and other employees of Anne Frank's father Otto supplied food to the family as they hid in a secret annex above the business premises in Amsterdam.

Anne's diary of their life in hiding, which ended in betrayal, is one of the most famous records of the Holocaust.

Mrs Gies died in a nursing home after suffering a fall at Christmas.

Speaking last year as she celebrated her 100th birthday, Mrs Gies played down her role, saying others had done far more to protect Jews in the Netherlands.

She and her fellow employees kept Anne and the seven others supplied for two years, from 1942 to 1944.

Anne Frank
Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945

When the family were found by the authorities, they were deported, and Anne died of typhus in the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen.

It was Mrs Gies who collected up Anne's papers and locked them away, hoping that one day she would be able to give them back to the girl.

In the event, she returned them to Otto Frank, who survived the war, and helped him compile them into a diary that was published in 1947.

It went on to sell tens of millions of copies in dozens of languages.

Mrs Gies became a kind of ambassador for the diary, travelling to talk about Anne Frank and her experiences, campaigning against Holocaust denial and refuting allegations that the diary was a forgery.

For her efforts to protect the Franks and to preserve their memory, Mrs Gies won many accolades.




World needs more people like her.

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Mysterious Ghost Witnessed at The Vecinity of The Limbaugh's Residency.

Rush Limbaugh Says Ted Kennedy Had 'Negroes' Serve Him 'Booze' (AUDIO)

Rush Limbaugh wasn't afraid to speak ill of the dead on Monday. The conservative radio talk show host weighed in on deceased Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy's drinking habits and managed to include a racist remark.

According to "Game Change," the newly published book about the 2008 presidential campaign, former President Bill Clinton offended Kennedy when asking the Senator to support Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. Talking about then-candidate Obama, Clinton allegedly told Kennedy that just a few years before, Obama would have been serving Clinton and Kennedy coffee. At this, Kennedy reportedly decided to endorse Obama.

Limbaugh pounced on the alleged exchange:

I know the real reason that Teddy Kennedy was mad and offended when Bill Clinton said 'Hey, come on man, this guy woulda been fetching us coffee a few years ago.' what made Teddy Kennedy mad was it's women get him coffee. It was Negroes that brought Ted Kennedy his booze. And that's why he was all offended... We deal in the truth here..."
master

IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH MADE (for guys who can't get laid)

The world’s first “sex robot”, a life-size rubber doll called Roxxxy who can have real conversations with her owner, including about football, has been unveiled.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The dark-haired, negligee-clad, life-size robotic girlfriend comes complete with artificial intelligence and flesh-like synthetic skin.

Standing five feet, seven inches tall, the doll weighs 120 pounds, comes with five “personalities”, is “ready for action” her developers said.

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Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6963383/Foxy-Roxxxy-worlds-first-sex-robot-can-talk-about-football.html

Idk, part of me wants to argue that this is an example of the further sexual objectification of women, another part wants to feel sorry for the sort of man who would actually need something like this
, and another part just wonders what the consequences of putting your junk into electrical equipment could be.
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&#39; jules
  • schmiss

god dammit

Harold Ford Junior Gay-Marries Gay Marriage



HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA: Harold Ford Junior, who voted for a constitutional ban on gay marriage while representing Tennessee in the House, is of course now an avid and lifetime supporter of both gay marriage AND civil unions, whatever that means? “I love you youze fags,” Ford told New York voters today.

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pen

Gay Muslims made homeless by family violence

Here, have some depressing. Doesn't matter the religion, it's always sad to see people turned away from their family because of fundamentalism. And forced marriage sucks, I don't think it would be crash hot for the woman or man that gay and lesbians are forced to marry either, talk about a recipe for marital dysfunction and loneliness.



A UK charity is dealing with an increasing number of young gay Muslims becoming homeless after fleeing forced marriages and so-called honour violence.

During a weekly drop-in group held by the Albert Kennedy Trust in London, Suni, a 20-year-old London student, helps himself to a warm mince pie and a steaming cup of coffee.


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Tea Party Soon to Bite The Invisible Hand of The Market...

No Seat for Wall Street at Tea Party

Could all those populist pitchforks currently pointed at Washington be turned toward Wall Street instead?

That's the question that ought to worry Wall Street executives as they prepare to pay themselves nice bonuses this month, hard on the heels of a government bailout of the financial system, and amid continuing job losses around the rest of the country. Financial firms know they're in for heat on bonuses; they've already been chastised on national TV by President Barack Obama's chief economist.

The more searing heat, though, might come not from Washington's corridors of power but from the streets, where disjointed populist armies are starting to organize in the so-called tea-party movement.

It's a movement dominated for the moment by mistrust of big government and big government health-care plans. But it's also animated by mistrust of big institutions in general, and a tendency to see those institutions secretly working in tandem to the detriment of the little guy. So it's a short leap from anger at Washington's spending of taxpayer dollars to anger at Wall Street executives saved by those same taxpayer dollars -- and then taking home big bonus checks.

We won't have to wait long to find out how combustible this mixture might be. The tea-party movement is holding its first national convention Feb. 4 to 6, in Nashville, and organizers say it's already sold out. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be the star speaker; East Coast elites of all stripes might want to steer clear.
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I am Blagosonfoabitch And I am Bigger than Obama...


Blago Apology: Blagojevich Sorry For 'Blacker Than Obama' Remarks (VIDEO)


Rod Blagojevich apologized Monday morning for his "stupid, stupid, stupid" comments, reported in Esquire magazine, that he's "blacker than Barack Obama."

Using the word "stupid" dozens of times in an ad hoc five-minute press conference, the former Illinois governor called his comments a "metaphor," but defended the spirit behind them. He claimed that his comments were expressing a frustration with Barack Obama's policies, bailing out the banks but leaving everyday people behind.

"This administration is bailing out the banks, bailing out Wall Street crooks...and ordinary people are not getting a fair shake," Blagojevich said. "So while I apologize for that stupid metaphor, the frustration that I expressed is very real.

"I'm very sorry if I offended anybody by saying it the way I said it."


While he took full responsibility for the Obama remarks, saying "I'm not going to blame anyone but me," he denied having made other incendiary statements in a href="http://www.esquire.com/features/people-who-matter-2010/rod-blagojevich-interview-0210" target="_hplink">the Esquire piece, specifically referring to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her father, Speaker Mike Madigan.


read the constitution by rozmcclure
  • gmth

Mr. Smith Rewrites The Constitution


ABOUT the Senate, a college professor of mine used to say, “One day, the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional.” He was joking, I think.

But the Senate, as it now operates, really has become unconstitutional: as we saw during the recent health care debacle, a 60-vote majority is required to overcome a filibuster and pass any contested bill. The founders, though, were dead set against supermajorities as a general rule, and the ever-present filibuster threat has made the Senate a more extreme check on the popular will than they ever intended.

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I'm glad to see this is getting more attention in the MSM. It's definitely an issue that needs addressing, in one way or another.

ETA: Garret Epps from Salon has an opposing viewpoint here. (Thanks to gooeykablooie for the heads up.)
Rainbow

You call this Decline? I call it a reshuffling of um, priorities... (an optimistic outlook)

Being the worry wart that I am, I enjoyed reading this article from The Atlantic Online. It is  Very Much TL;DR but give it a shot if you have the time, I think it's worth the read. Hell, Even the quote from Ralph Nadar made me hate him  less .


How America Can Rise Again

Since coming back to the United States after three years away in China, I have been asking experts around the country whether America is finally going to hell. The question is partly a joke. One look at the comforts and abundance of American life—even during a recession, even with all the people who are suffering or left out—can make it seem silly to ask about anything except the secrets of the country’s success. Here is the sort of thing you notice anew after being in India or China, the two rising powers of the day: there is still so much nature, and so much space, available for each person on American soil. Room on the streets and sidewalks, big lawns around the houses, trees to walk under, wildflowers at the edge of town—yes, despite the sprawl and overbuilding. A few days after moving from our apartment in Beijing, I awoke to find a mother deer and two fawns in the front yard of our house in Washington, barely three miles from the White House. I know that deer are a modern pest, but the contrast with blighted urban China, in which even pigeons are scarce, was difficult to ignore.

And the people! The typical American I see in an office building or shopping mall, stout or slim, gives off countless unconscious signs—hair, skin, teeth, height—of having grown up in a society of taken-for-granted sanitation, vaccination, ample protein, and overall public health. I have learned not to bore people with my expressions of amazement at the array of food in ordinary grocery stores, the size and newness of cars on the street, the splendor of the physical plant for universities, museums, sports stadiums. And honestly, by now I’ve almost stopped noticing. But if this is “decline,” it is from a level that most of the world still envies.
The idea of “finally” going to hell is a modest joke too. Through the entirety of my conscious life, America has been on the brink of ruination, or so we have heard, from the launch of Sputnik through whatever is the latest indication of national falling apart or falling behind. Pick a year over the past half century, and I will supply an indicator of what at the time seemed a major turning point for the worse. The first oil shocks and gas-station lines in peacetime history; the first presidential resignation ever; assassinations and riots; failing schools; failing industries; polarized politics; vulgarized culture; polluted air and water; divisive and inconclusive wars. It all seemed so terrible, during a period defined in retrospect as a time of unquestioned American strength. “Through the 1970s, people seemed ready to conclude that the world was coming to an end at the drop of a hat,” Rick Perlstein, the author of Nixonland, told me. “Thomas Jefferson was probably sure the country was going to hell when John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Acts,” said Gary Hart, the former Democratic senator and presidential candidate. “And Adams was sure it was going to hell when Thomas Jefferson was elected president.”

But the question wasn’t simply a joke. Through the final year I spent in China, in which the collapse of the U.S. financial system was blamed for half the bad things happening in that country, I got used to hearing sentences that began “With U.S. power on the wane …” or “In a post-American world …” From Australia I have just received an invitation similar to many others I have heard about. The conveners began, “We would like to develop a session we have tentatively titled ‘America: In Decline?’” I also heard from Chinese and other foreigners who look at America with an analytic eye and find it wanting. Just as the material bounty of America is more dramatic on return to the country, so are areas of backwardness or erosion you do not notice unless you’ve been somewhere else. Cell-phone coverage, for instance. In other developed countries, and for that matter most developing countries I’ve visited, you simply don’t have the dead spots and dropped calls that are endemic in America. There are reasons for the difference: China, in which I never lost a signal when on subways, in elevators, or even in a coal mine, has limited competition among phone companies that coordinate to blanket the country with transmitters. Still, this is one of several modern-tech areas in which the U.S. is now notably, even embarrassingly, behind. I went several times to a private medical clinic in Beijing and once to a public hospital in Shanghai (the Skin Disease and Sexually Transmitted Disease Hospital—it’s a long story). In each, the nurses entered my information at a computer, rather than having me fill out the paper forms, on a clipboard, on which I have entered the same redundant information a thousand times in American medical offices. Again, there’s a reason for the difference; but we’re not keeping up.Collapse )
A source who speaks like a comforting Grumpy old man, "Depression? You call this tough? HA! When I was in school...."
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57 Percent of Americans Think Wimpy Nerdy Yet Competent President is Keeping Us Safe

Obama Praised By 57 Percent Of Public For Handling National Security Scare

Perhaps the New York Times should have waited one more day before running an article questioning whether President Barack Obama is "a wimp or a warrior."

The morning after the paper led a story in its Week in Review section by noting that: "like every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy, President Obama is battling the perception that he's a wimp on national security," CNN actually polled a subset of the issue. And the results seemed to dispel the notion that the topic is hotly debated.

According to the survey, 57 percent of respondents approved of the way Obama had responded to the botched Christmas airliner attack, with 39 percent disapproving of how he handled the situation. Fifty-five percent of Independents approved of how he handled the situation.

The numbers are only a measurement of public sentiment on Obama's handling of a single incident. And it's likely they'd be different if the survey was broadened to encompass the White House's broader approach to national security. That said the problem for the NYT article seems to be that the frame is wrong. Rather than concerning themselves with strength -- as conventional wisdom holds -- the public seems more interested in competence. They also seem to be more resigned to the fact that a muscular foreign policy isn't the panacea that was promised during the Bush years.

Sixty-percent of respondents said, in the same CNN poll, that they believed terrorists would always find a way to launch a major attack no matter what the U.S. government does, with only 39 percent saying they thought the government could prevent attacks.
Magneto puppet
  • drbat

LA Suburb Trying to Cope With Hungry Bears



Maybe they should just refer it to the zoning board.

Hungry bears have been invading the Los Angeles suburb of Monrovia, with reported sightings last year nearly quadrupling to about 460. So far no one has been injured in bear encounters, but the city is contemplating a range of measures -- including adding bear-resistant garbage cans and letting people electrify their fences -- in hopes of separating man from beast.

Other cities in Los Angeles' foothill suburbs have reported similar problems, resulting partly from a spike in the number of bears in California. State Fish and Game spokesman Kyle Orr estimated there are 35,000 bears in the state, up from about 10,000 in the early 1980s. And as both bear territories and communities have expanded, so have human-bear encounters.

"Bears are attracted to anything edible," Orr said, recommending that people in bear country secure garbage and pet food, pick up fruit fallen from trees, and keep the barbecue grill clean. "When wild animals feed on human food and garbage, they lose their natural ways."

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For a Guy With "Little Experience" He is Doing Ok...


CQ: Obama's Winning Streak On Hill Unprecedented


In his first year in office, President Obama did better even than legendary arm-twister Lyndon Johnson in winning congressional votes on issues where he took a position, a Congressional Quarterly study finds.


The new CQ study gives Obama a higher mark than any other president since it began scoring presidential success rates in Congress more than five decades ago. And that was in a year where Obama tackled how to deal with Afghanistan, Iraq, an expanding terrorist threat, the economic crisis and battles over health care.

Unprecedented Success Rate

Obama has been no different from his predecessors in that he's always ready to send a firm message to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue as he "urges members of Congress" to come together and act. All presidents demand specific action by Congress — or at least they ask for it. But when you look at the votes of 2009 in which Obama made his preference clear, his success rate was unprecedented, according to John Cranford of Congressional Quarterly.

"His success was 96.7 percent on all the votes where we said he had a clear position in both the House and the Senate. That's an extraordinary number," Cranford says.

The previous high scores were held by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, with 93 percent, and Dwight Eisenhower, who scored 89 percent in 1953. Cranford notes that George W. Bush's score hit the high 80s in 2001, the year of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But Obama surpassed them all, Cranford says.
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Shocking News: Michael Steele May Stop Bringing The LOLZ!!!

Katon Dawson denies possible coup to replace Michael Steele as Republican National Committee chairman

Former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson denies there’s a coup in the works to replace RNC Chairman Michael Steele, but refuses to say whether he’s been encouraged by Republican friends to make himself known in case the RNC chairman is ousted from office.

Dawson, who lost to Steele by only 14 votes to lead the RNC last year, raised eyebrows with news that he will travel to the committee’s winter meeting in Hawaii on Jan. 25 — where Steele could face reprimand by committee members — as a substitute for South Carolina’s chairwoman.

Republicans have blamed Steele for overshadowing last week’s news of high-profile Democratic retirements with comments that the GOP would not win back the House. Steele has also come under fire recently for giving paid speeches and for low fundraising numbers.

Asked whether committee members have approached him to gauge his interest in replacing Steele, Dawson declined to comment. He dismissed the notion that the trip is about making himself visible while frustration with Steele is high.

“Me going to Honolulu has nothing to do with that,” he said, maintaining he’s merely going to “reconnect with people.”

Dawson said he “planned weeks ago” to go to the meeting as a substitute for the current South Carolina GOP chairwoman, who will be absent because of a conflict.
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The GOP cant possibly be that stupid to fire a black man from an (almost) all-white political party... oh crap...

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Good News GOP! You Are Geting Free Ice Tea!!

At Least 16 Tea Party Activists Step Up To Challenge Top Republican Incumbents And Recruits

Recognizing the emerging popularity of the so-called tea parties, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele sought to embrace the fringe movement. “If I wasn’t doing this job, I’d be out there with the tea partiers,” Steele recently told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. But the tea party movement Steele is encouraging does not appear to be a loyal servant to the GOP. Many of its activists are in fact running for office to take on Republicans.

In December, ThinkProgress reported that ten GOP incumbents were being challenged by tea party activists in Republican primaries. In the interim weeks, many more tea party activists have stepped up to challenge both top Republican recruits and more Republican incumbents, denouncing the hand-picked candidates as too moderate and current lawmakers as divorced from conservative governance:
– Despite his recent conversion to the GOP, Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL) is facing a serious challenge from tea party activist Les Phillip in the Republican primary. Local conservative radioshow host Dale Jackson said both Michael Steele and the NRCC should be “ashamed” to support Griffith. “He was unacceptable a year ago and he’s acceptable now? A year ago, they were saying this guy was a murderer.”

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) has drawn several tea party challengers in his primary election. Jerry Ray Hall – no relation – even submitted his ballot application with the word “Tea” after his middle name.

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) faces developer and tea party supporter Frank Roszell in a primary. “No one will jerk my chain but my wife,” he promises on his campaign Web site.

– Chris Younts is challenging Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) for the Republican nomination. “Contrary to opinions on both sides, the Tea Party movement was never intended to play the role of an infatuated, doting cheerleader of all players with an ‘R’ on their jersey, regardless of past indiscretions,” noted Younts.

– The National Republican Campaign Committee has placed its support behind State Sen. Robert Hurt (R-VA) to run against Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). However, Hurt has been eviscerated by his tea party opponents for voting to raise taxes and recently, for refusing to participate in the tea party-organized debates.

Former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-IN), in a coup for the NRCC, announced that he intends to run against Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN). However, tea party activists Todd Young and Travis Hankins have been campaigning for this seat for months, and it remains to be seen if Sodrel can surpass them in the GOP primary.
The emergence of the tea parties as the opposition movement says more about Republicans than it does the agenda of the Obama administration. The Republican Party has not articulated coherent plans to deal with the health care crisis, poverty, global warming, dependence on foreign oil, financial industry abuses, or any other major national issue. Perhaps that is why so many tea party-goers are now challenging the Republican status quo.