January 13th, 2010


Google 'may end China operations over Gmail breaches'

Internet search company Google says it may end operations in China over alleged breaches of the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

It said in a blog post it had detected a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China".

"A primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists", it added.

Google did not specifically accuse the Chinese government.

But the company said it was "no longer willing to continue censoring our results" on its Chinese search engine, as the government requires.

Google said the decision could force it to shut down its Chinese site and its offices in the country.

The company said its investigation into the attack found two Gmail accounts appeared to have been accessed.

However, activity was limited to account information such as the date the account was created and subject line, rather than e-mail content, it said.

It was also discovered the accounts of dozens of US, China and Europe-based Gmail users, who are "advocates of human rights in China", appeared to have been "routinely accessed by third parties".

It said these accounts had not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but "most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on users' computers".

Shortly after the news was announced, shares in Google fell by 1.23% to $584 (£361) in after-hours trading in New York.


Ffffuuu Google. My term paper on search engines in China is worthless now.
Akuma River

Worst Earthquake in 200 Years

Haiti Earthquake: Capitol Shattered By 7.0 Trembler


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from humble shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.

Destroyed communications made it impossible to tell the extent of destruction from Tuesday afternoon's 7.0-magnitude tremor, or to estimate how many were dead among the collapsed buildings in Haiti's capital of about 2 million people.

France's foreign minister said the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was apparently among the dead.
Collapse )

The Presidential Palace, UN headquarters, numerous government buildings, hospitals, the airport (the control tower(s) are gone not sure on the building and runways), schools, hotels, communication towers et al are all destroyed. It is reported that the President and his wife are alive. The ambassador to Haiti reported that on GMA. He is also asking for a hospital ship (like what they received last year after the four hurricanes, first responders, clean water, medical supplies, food, and clothing.

Sam Champion on GMA was reporting on the science of the quake and why it happened. The fault is similar to the San Andreas fault and it is much shallower, about 6 miles from the surface, so it is more devastating. Haiti has in the past 500 years experienced about a dozen 7.0 earthquakes on this fault. Right now there has been over 33 after shocks from this earthquake and they are still continuing to happen. The quake itself lasted 45 seconds.

In order to compare how devastating this I would say it would be a Katrina scale disaster taking place in Washington D.C.

News is still trickling in. No one can get in or out of Haiti at this moment. The closest people have gotten has been the Dominican Republic (they felt the quake for 10 seconds) and flyovers. We have NOT seen the true scale of damage of this earthquake.

GMA is reporting that the USS Carlise (sp?) from Norfolk (and will be picking up helicopters for search and resuce) and USS Comfort (hospital ship) are being sent to Haiti but they won't reach Haiti until Monday because they are slow moving ships. Every aspect of the US government is looking to see what they can send. CDC is also sending people to help prevent outbreaks of HIV, TB, and other diseases.

Haiti Earthquake Casualties: Too Soon To Estimate, Haitian Diplomat Says
Haiti Earthquake Relief: How You Can Help
Haiti Earthquake: First Images (PHOTOS) (VIDEO)
Damage Widespread as Buildings Tumble; High Toll Expected

Facebook Groups for finding information on loved ones and new information
EARTHQUAKE HAITI (14, 544 members)
HAITI EARTHQUAKE! (2,467 members)
NY TIMES helping readers get in contact with family members in Haiti

Updates on Haiti - The Lede - NY Times
Anxious Haitians in U.S. Search for Information
Haitians Confront Devastation of Quake
Washington Post slideshow


From Party of No to Party of Do Nothing. Clearly They Will Win 2010...

GOP Senate Candidate Marco Rubio Calls For Suspending Congress For Two Years To Fix The Economy

Last night on CNBC, Marco Rubio, a right-wing Republican running for US Senate in Florida, told host Larry Kudlow about his “solutions to the high unemployment” and economic recession. Rubio chafed at responding with any actual ideas, policies, or solutions. In fact, Rubio proposed that if he were elected, he would call for “a two year recess or something” so no laws or reforms could be enacted:

KUDLOW: If you were elected Senator, what would you do about the 10% unemployment rate, which may or may not be 10% if and when you get in? But, what are your general solutions to the high unemployment and worries about the economic recession?

RUBIO: Well the problem is the people in Washington don’t understand what’s causing it. They think that Presidents and Senators are job creators and they’re not. The job creators are people who have access to money, whether it’s their own or borrowed, who use that money to open up a new business or expand an existing one. And they’re not doing that right now because of the tax chaos and all the regulatory chaos and all of this uncertainty created in Washington DC. Perhaps the most stimulative thing they can do right now is take a two year recess or something.

Watch it:
Collapse )
Mr. T the Patriot

Housing Advocates Settle Suit For Disabled Renters

FRESNO, Calif. January 13, 2010, 06:47 am ET

Thousands of renters with disabilities are poised to get extreme home makeovers thanks to a major settlement ending a federal lawsuit against a development company run by the sons of GOP donor and San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos.

The settlement announced Wednesday by the National Fair Housing Alliance will require the A.G. Spanos Companies to retrofit 82 apartment buildings in 14 states with wheelchair-friendly doorways, graded walkways and other improvements to ease access for the disabled.Collapse )

Prop 8 liveblooggin part 9

In which We see a Historians Historian serves up some reality about Teh actual oppression of homos whom the defendants think are going to take our children force all good xtians to be gay married !!! (btw, the transcription is quoted from the source so all mispellings and abbreviations are the authors - whom I assume was trying to type really fast. I did a spell check for u guz. it's a good read.

A Federal Court in San Francisco is reviewing the decision to uphold the infamous Proposition 8 in which Bush/Gore 2000 adversaries David Boies and Ted Olson team up to defeat California's ban on same-sex marriages. FDL is covering the trial. [Posted yesterday on FDL By: Teddy Partridge Tuesday January 12, 2010 2:16 pm]

~~~~~~~ 0-0~~~~~~~

We resume the trial this afternoon with the plaintiffs’ case. Another expert witness, a professor named George Chauncey, is scheduled to testify for the plaintiffs.

Walker: We’ll soon be ready for our next witness. In the meantime, with regard to the broadcasting proposal, ALL the responses have been stored in the jury room for counsel inspection. Except for the group responses which I won’t display because of their numerocity.

Boies says that the SF CIty Attorney, Assistant Attorney Teresa Stewart, will conduct the examination of Dr George Chauncey. (Being sworn, giving and spelling name) BA, MA, MF, and PhD  One year professorships at Rutgers and NYU, and fourteen years at UChicgo, three years ago moved to Yale, teaches AmStudiesTwo Books: Gay New York; Why Marry; and contributor to collections. Also working on a book on post-war gay culture and politics More than a dozen articles and many conferences and papers at Am Studies Association, American Historical Assoc. Awards: Gay New York, best dissertation in American History, and best history dissertation. Best book in history, LA Times book prize.

Stewart: Tell us about your sources?

Chauncey: Rely on court records, police records, records of gay organizations and social service agencies, diaries and personal journals, films, ads, interviews with over 180 elderly gay men.

Stewart: Political records?

Chauncey: Congressional offices, debates, transcripts.

Stewart: Types of courses you teach?
C American history since 1919, urban history, social history since ww2, lesbian & gay history.

Stewart: Your honor, offer as an expert in social cultural and political history f lesbian/gay in America.
No objection, so ordered.

Stewart: Plz summarize your expert opinions you will offer today.

Chauncey: Widespread =discrimination throughout American history, criminalization, restrictions on employment, public accommodation, and association, stereotyping and demonization to reinforce existing pattern of hostility and prejudice.
Criminalization of homosexuality, sodomy laws, and early laws were focused on SOME people who had sex with others of the same sex. These laws came to represent the criminalize homosexual sex. SCOTUS Georgia law against sodomy criminalied all sodomy bbut only enforced it against gays.
Other ways besides laws?

Chauncey: In the 19th century end, stepped up policing against community as it became more public. Disorderly conduct statutes used against homosexuals, and actually called disorderly (degenerate) by police and then in the law. Soliciting a man for unnatural acts became a kind of disorderly. Used against all gatherings in NYC until 1966, 50,000 arrests until then: bars, private parties, parks. Of 100 men I interviewed for one book, half of them had been arrested, almost all for disorderly.
These laws were further defined to specific gay people and all their activity. The effect was to register society’s disapproval of their behavior, using sodomy laws only against gays. You couldn’t let openly gay soldiers serve alongside other soldiers because they were viewed at the time as predatory sodomists.
Collapse )
OUaT - Snow caught

Anti-piracy agency's logo broke copyright

The French government's web police force – called Hadopi – was set up to stop piracy and clamp down on illegal downloaders.

The agency's logo was unveiled this by French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand, who said that Hadopi "finally had a face".

But within hours of its launch, it was forced to apologise for using a typeface without permission that belonged to France Telecom.

The blunder was spotted by graphic designer Jean-Francois Porchez, who created the distinctive "Bonjour" font and sold it exclusively to France Telecom.

The design agency Plan Creatif that created the Hadopi logo has now admitted it used the typeface by mistake and the design had now been "tweaked".

But Mr Porchez said he was still considering legal action against the government for illegal use of his design.

He said: "My lawyer will contact the culture ministry and France Telecom in the hope of finding a solution."

Source, more on this hypocrisy at BoingBoing and TorrentFreak

You really couldn't ask for sweeter karmic payback here...
franklin sherman

Obama wants $33 billion more for wars

Comes on top of record $708 billion request for next year

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration plans to ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record request for $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned.

The administration also plans to tell Congress next month that its central military objectives for the next four years will include winning the current wars while preventing new ones, and its core missions will include both counterinsurgency and counterterror operations.

The administration's Quadrennial Defense Review, the main articulation of U.S. military doctrine, is due in Congress on Feb. 1. Top military commanders were briefed on the document at the Pentagon on Monday and Tuesday. They also received a preview of the administration's budget plans through 2015.

The four-year review outlines six crucial mission areas and spells out capabilities and goals the Pentagon wants to develop. The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with a goal of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expansion of Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.

The extra $33 billion in 2010 would go mostly toward expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Obama ordered an extra 30,000 troops for that war as part of an overhaul of the war strategy late last year.

The request for that additional funding will be sent to Congress at the same time as the record spending request for next year, making financing the war an especially difficult pill for some of Obama's Democratic allies to swallow.

Military officials have suggested that the 2011 request would top $700 billion for the first time, but the precise figure has not been made public.

U.S. officials outlined the coming requests on condition of anonymity because the budget request will not be sent to Congress until later this month.


As always, our largest expense is exploding people thousands of miles away.
Iowa represent!

interesting perspective

Hansen: When prayers fly at Capitol, someone gets mad

MARC HANSEN • mahansen@dmreg.com • January 13, 2010

Those pesky atheists are at it again. First, they put ads on metro buses telling nonbelievers, "You are not alone."

Now, according to a letter sent to Iowa legislators, they want our elected officials to stop inviting clergy to begin each day of the 2010 session with an official prayer.

Collapse )


Someone posted in the comments that they worked for a Jewish senator/representative (can't remember) and it was very uncomfortable for them to be forced to sit through a prayer.

Speaking of the comments, some of them are pure lulzy gold, some of them are totally *headesk-y*. Worth a read though!
  • Current Mood
Akuma River

President Obama's remarks on Haiti

Help for Haiti

The President has been receiving updates on the urgent situation in Haiti late into last night and this morning, and top members of his team have been convening to formulate the government response.

You can also help immediately by donating to the Red Cross to assist the relief effort. Contribute online here, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999."

Families of Americans living in Haiti are encouraged to contact the State Department at 888-407-4747.

Update: Read the President's remarks this morning:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. This morning I want to extend to the people of Haiti the deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people following yesterday's terrible earthquake.
Collapse )

White House Video

TWiB! Season 3 Ep#3 - "Michael Eric Dyson Should Shut Up" & other black musings...


The Brooklyn Comedy Company proudly presents the latest installment of Season 3 of "This Week in Blackness" Host Elon James White continues with the snark, since Blackness just wont quit this past week. In the latest episode Elon touches on Michael Eric Dyson, Tavis Smiley, R.Kelly and More.

Welfare CEO Admits They Have a Money Addiction Problem. Promises to Do it Again...

Financial Crisis Commission Testimony: READ The Latest Updates (VIDEO)


The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission held its first hearing in Washington today; with another session scheduled for tomorrow. Today's witnesses included Goldman Sachs CEO; Lloyd Blankfein; Bank Of America CEO Brian Moynihan; Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack; and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.:

If there was any doubt that Wall Street thinks the government will step in to save "too big to fail" firms, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein dispelled it on Wednesday morning.

In response to a question about whether the federal government would prevent one of his three counterparts at today's hearing -- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley -- from failing, Blankfein essentially said that the government would in fact step in.

"I think tomorrow in the context of this environment, at some level the government would intervene." "Because of the fragility of the system," Blankfein said, the government would be forced to step in.

In other words, 'too big to fail' is real. And Wall Street knows it.

Blankfein qualified his answer by stating that perhaps the government wouldn't have stepped in a year and a half ago, nor would they perhaps step in a year from now.

UPDATE, 1:30 P.M.:

After a short break, the commission opened its afternoon session by speaking with financial industry analysts and experts, including Kyle Bass, the managing director of Hayman Advisors. In his prepared testimony, Bass tore into the amount of leverage in the financial system before -- and after -- the financial crisis. Here's Bass:
"Depository institutions like Citibank were able to parlay their deposits into large levered bets in the derivatives marketplace. In fact, at fiscal year‐end 2007, Citigroup was 68.4X levered to its tangible common equity, including off‐balance sheet exposures."
Bass was particularly harsh on the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which, the Treasury Department announced last month, would have blank check support from the U.S. government:
These organizations have been some of the single largest political contributors in the world over the past decade with $200 million being given to 354 lawmakers in the last 10 years or so. Yes, the United States needs low cost mortgages, but why should organizations created by Congress have to lobby Congress? Fannie and Freddie used the most leverage of any institution that issued mortgages or held mortgage backed bonds. At one point in 2007, Fannie was over 95X levered to its statutory minimum capital with just 18 basis points set aside for losses. That's right, 18 one hundredths of one percent set aside for potential losses. They must not be able to put humpty dumpty back together again. If they are to exist going forward, Fannie and Freddie should be 100% government‐owned, and the government should simply issue mortgages to the population of the United States directly since this is essentially what is already happening today, with the added burden of supporting a privately‐funded, and arguably insolvent, capital structure.
Read Bass's full testimony here.

This is how we do it in the 90210

January 14, 2010
Beverly Hills Blocks Outside Students

LOS ANGELES — In a contentious meeting ringed by police officers, the Beverly Hills school board voted Tuesday night to dismiss roughly 470 students enrolled in its schools on out-of-district permits.

The school system there has long opened its doors to students who live outside the district — currently about one in seven of its roughly 4,800 students — in large part because they brought a financial windfall for the system. But now, because cash-poor California has reduced local support to schools, including the reimbursements for out-of-district students, the so-called permit students are more of a burden to the schools than a boon.

Beverly Hills will soon use its own property tax dollars to finance its schools to replace money lost from the state. So the board voted to notify most of the out-of-district students that they must go.

“Although I recognize this is an inconvenience, it’s certainly not life or death,” said Steven Fenton, the board president. He added that for those who want to keep their children in the schools, “there are apartments waiting for you tomorrow.”

Most of the students now must choose between private schools or their local school under the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is largely troubled. “Go back to your home school to make it better,” Lisa Korbatov, the board’s vice president, admonished parents with children in the Beverly Hills schools on permits. “I don’t understand this entitlement.”

Only one board member, Myra Lurie, argued for all the children to fully matriculate. “What we’re doing here is a defining moment,” she said. A student representative on the board, Rachel Feinberg, did not take a position and instead read a poem decrying community infighting.

All five members voted for a new system, which will begin in the next school year, that will mean no children below high school age would be allowed to renew their permits, with the exception of seventh graders, who would be permitted to go on through eighth grade. All high school students would ostensibly be able to stay through graduation; an earlier plan had excluded ninth graders. The district will not permit new out-of-district permits; it will continue to extend them to children of district and city employees, some high school students from poor areas and children whose parents went to Beverly Hills schools and whose grandparents still live in the district.

“We are Beverly Hills and we can show some compassion,” Mr. Fenton said. Families could appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, which has ultimate authority on transfer matters.

California reimburses the majority of public schools on a daily rate per child using a complex formula based on property tax rates. When the schools here were not able to fill their classrooms with local students, the state gave the system $6,239 per child this year for each student who came from out of the district. The school board members and some parents and Beverly Hills residents have maintained that the out-of-district students have gone from providing money to draining the system, and now cost the district roughly $2 million a year, according to the superintendent, a figure that parents of children on permits insist is wildly inflated. The district’s annual budget is about $62.5 million.

The meeting on Tuesday at Beverly Hills High School — which attracted a half-dozen police officers, a fire marshal and so many parents, students and community residents that an overflow room was needed to hold the crowds — was peppered with two and a half hours of impassioned testimony, largely from opponents including some of the children who would be removed under the plan. “If you kicked me out of my home,” said Amanda Christovich, a seventh grader. “I will be lost.” Two people in the audience were removed from the meeting for mocking a board member.

Lamenting the need for police officers — requested by the board members because the issue has become so heated — and saying the board’s decision smacked of “perverse elitism,” Robert K. Tanenbaum, the former mayor of Beverly Hills, said, “We made a commitment to these students, and we expect you to abide by that commitment.”

But some parents, citing what they see as entitlement among parents and students who attend the schools on the so-called opportunity permits, asserted that only Beverly Hills residents should benefit from services paid for with their tax dollars. “This is a community trying to take care of its own,” said Genevieve Peters, a resident and parent, “and there is nothing wrong with that.”

default, mask

(no subject)

Facebook College Protest Fizzles

Eleven Ontario colleges were supposed to grind to a halt Tuesday afternoon, with furious students marching out of class to protest a looming teachers' strike. Instead, a few solitary souls were left to do the dirty work after thousands of their Facebook friends let them down.

A strike vote Wednesday by faculty at 24 schools could result in the second college shutdown since March 2006, when classes were cancelled for three weeks.

The question is if the province's 450,000 college students care.

In a spectacular case of diminishing returns, a Facebook antistrike group drew 22,000 members. Then came 4,000 signatures on an online petition, and 356 students – representing 11 schools – promised to walk out of class.

At Humber College's Lakeshore campus, however, one solitary student, Beth Corbett, turned out to carry a copy of the petition into administration and union offices.

Graeme McNaughton, founder of the antistrike Facebook group, said he had found volunteers at 11 colleges who were willing to lead student walkouts. In the end, however, turnout was meagre, and in no case exceeded 20 people.
Collapse )

Source, failing to grasp what might be called irony, includes a link to share the story with your friends on Facebook.

The Chrisitians are oppressed! :Prop 8 trial Day 3.

Fire Dog Lake provides Liveblogging Prop 8 Trial: Day Three, Wednesday Morning (Ten) By: Teddy Partridge Wednesday January 13, 2010 10:00 am. Also some excellent summaries provided at prop8 tracker  such as; "Thompson now wants to show video of people who were beaten up for supporting Prop 8.  [ETA: CARRIE PREJEAN MAKES A CAMEO FFS!!!] SF Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart objects, because it is not relevant.>> Opponents of gay marriage love playing the victim.  The irony of this is that during the Prop 8 campaign, "Yes on 8" folks tried to organize boycotts of businesses that gave money to "No on 8." See: http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=6222 -- Once the Election was over, nobody talks about this anymore.  All we hear about is "Yes on 8" people being boycotted and persecuted for their beliefs, when the EXACT SAME THING happened to our side before the election.  Judge allows Thompson to continue line of questioning on religious groups being “defaced” — but won’t let him show a video (commentary on http://prop8trialtracker.com/  .)

~~~~~~~~~~Collapse )

Obama signs EO to "Strengthen Further Partnership Between the Federal and State % Local Governments"

President Obama Signs Executive Order Establishing Council of Governors

Executive Order will Strengthen Further Partnership Between the Federal and State and Local Governments to Better Protect Our Nation

The President today signed an Executive Order (attached) establishing a Council of Governors to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards.  When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities.

The bipartisan Council will be composed of ten State Governors who will be selected by the President to serve two year terms.  In selecting the Governors to the Council, the White House will solicit input from Governors and Governors’ associations.  Once chosen, the Council will have no more than five members from the same party and represent the Nation as a whole.

Federal members of the Council include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, the U.S. Northern Command Commander, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.  The Secretary of Defense will designate an Executive Director for the Council.

The Council of Governors will provide an invaluable Senior Administration forum for exchanging views with State and local officials on strengthening our National resilience and the homeland defense and civil support challenges facing our Nation today and in the future.

The formation of the Council of Governors was required by the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act which stated, “The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.”  (NDAA FY2008, Sec 1822)


So the president signs an EO so the federal government can meddle in states' rights by "advising" governors on how to use the National Guard. Sorry, but the National Guard is NOT your domestic military force you can just use for any reason during non-wartime/non-National Emergency situations within the US.  Handy, these EO's, no?

Bayonetta: empowering or exploitative?

Bayonetta's hardly a realistic woman. Her legs are probably twice the length of her body, she's disproportionately slender and yet possesses a butt that her character modeler confesses to having spent a lot of time getting "perfect."

Nor is she demure; Bayonetta fights enemies with the same magical hair she wears as clothing, which means vigorous combat leaves her naked. She blows kisses to break through magical barriers. She's constantly nursing a small lollipop, suggestively, for little apparent reason. Oh, here we go, video games are exploiting female sexuality again, right? Not so fast.

Game director Hideki Kamiya is known for distinctly stylizing his action games. The Devil May Cry franchise has always been about flair that often goes comically over-the-top, and characters that make players feel powerful just by virtue of how cool the heroes look. Dante, Vergil and Nero perform acts of almost elegant violence, an artistic approach to combat design that's always been a refreshing alternative to the blunt-force melee and the barrage of gunfire we see in other titles.

Thematic style is Kamiya's calling card, and with Bayonetta, he's said the theme he's going for this time is "sexiness" instead of violence. While his games have always featured strong, sexy women (Devil May Cry's Trish, Lady and Nevan) the ladies are more or less just eye candy, objects to be ogled.

Collapse )


US Weekly would be more impressive, frankly.

Bristol Palin was faced with an unplanned pregnancy at the young age of 18. After giving birth to her son Tripp in December 2008 — and broke up with her boyfriend, Levi Johnston — the reality of single motherhood quickly set in.

I remember sitting on a black recliner, just bawling my eyes out,” Bristol tells In Touch. “I was just rocking Tripp to sleep because he had been screaming for so long. I was just like, ‘What am I going to do? This is as bad as it gets.'”

Though raising an infant has been challenging, Bristol has the unconditional love and support of her family, including her mother Sarah Palin. Just a year earlier at the age of 44, Sarah carried her son Trig to term, even though she was told during a sonogram that he would be born with Down syndrome.

The mother-daughter duo are sharing their unique experiences of raising baby boys together under the same roof. “The last few years have been unreal and surreal,” Sarah says.

For the full exclusive check out this week’s issue of In Touch, on newsstands Friday.


yes, I did just source celebritybabyscoop.com on ontd_political. I'm not proud of it.

Birther Congressman Sends Letter: Demands Real Birth Certificate.

Nathan Deal Birther Letter Sent To Obama, White House Confirms

The White House last week confirmed that U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) made good on a promise he made in November to formally raise questions of President Obama's birthplace.

According to the White House, the letter arrived on December 10, but neither the staff of the president nor the Georgia congressman seemed excited to discuss its content.

"[Deal] just did what he said he was going to do," Todd Smith, Deal's chief of staff said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "It's not news."

A White House spokeswoman Gannet Tseggai acknowledged receipt of Deal's letter, but would not release a copy or discuss its content, saying that the issue has been addressed repeatedly.

Barack Obama's camp released a digitally scanned copy of the presidential candidate's birth certificate in the summer of 2008, a document that shows he was born on Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaiian government officials, as well as independent news organizations, have both concluded that the document is authentic.

In November, however, Rep. Deal decided that it wasn't good enough. "I have looked at the documentation that is publicly available and it leaves many things to be desired," the lawmaker told the AJC.

In the summer of 2009, Republican lawmakers attempted to draw up a bill that would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their birth certificates. The bill would eventually fail. Yet, despite constant defeats, it seems that somebirther movement won't die.
yes i do

(no subject)

This week, the White House is sponsoring some online discussions/Q&A sessions on different topics. Unfortunately, today's discussion on Health Care was canceled because the main speaker, Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius was called to a meeting with Democratic leaders in Congress. I thought I'd share Monday's and Tuesday's videos.

First up, Monday was a discussion with the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate, Carol Browner. She talked about "the President's push to create the new cleaqn energy economy.":

On Tuesday, Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council discussed "the President's handling of national security and foreign policy.":

Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/01/11/where-weve-been-where-we-are-where-were-headed

Chile Repatriates Remains of Captured Indigenous Group

The “capturing of savages” and human zoos bring back nightmares of colonial times

The remains of five of the 11 Kawésqar people captured in 1881 by German businessman Carl Hagenbeck and displayed throughout Europe returned to their homeland on Tuesday to memorable and emotional welcoming ceremonies.

Around the time of their capture in 1881, many native groups around the world found themselves enclosed behind bars and exhibited for Europeans to see. The Kawésqar people, an indigenous South American people from southern Chile, were no exception. Shortly after being captured in Tierra del Fuego the group was displayed in Paris. Later that year they were exhibited in Berlin’s zoo and in Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Zurich.

The remains of five of the 11 Kawésqar people, as seen in the illustration, returned to Chile Tuesday. Photo by Pehuén Editores (flickr)

Collapse )

The idea of 'human zoos' is just so damn WTF. Didn't this happen in the US as well around the turn of the 20th century as well?
' jules
  • schmiss

~oh shit, did you see the way she got her toes did?~

Senate Hopeful in New State Airs Evolving Views

In his first extensive interview since he began weighing a run for United States Senate from New York, Harold E. Ford Jr. distanced himself from his previous opposition to same-sex marriage, his description of himself as “pro-life” and his push to permit local police officers to enforce federal immigration law, and said he would be a fiercer advocate for New York than Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Mr. Ford said that he had missed politics since leaving Congress four years ago and believes New Yorkers would be open to his candidacy, despite his Tennessee roots and intermittent Southern accent.

In a clear swipe at Ms. Gillibrand, he said he would not be a lap dog for Democratic leaders in Washington, who have rushed to her defense since Mr. Ford expressed interest in the seat.

“If I am elected senator from New York, Harry Reid will not instruct me how to vote,” he said, referring to Mr. Reid’s efforts to keep him out of the campaign.

Mr. Ford agreed to the interview with The New York Times as he tests the response to his possible candidacy. His interest in the race, reported a week ago, has set off intense reaction and furious strategizing among Senate Democratic leaders and White House officials, as they try to discourage his campaign and avoid an ugly and expensive primary in September that could risk losing a crucial Senate seat.

A Ford campaign could become a delicate subject for the Obama administration, however, which is more reluctant to assert itself in New York politics after failing last year in its effort to elbow Gov. David A. Paterson out of his election bid.

Mr. Ford said he had been emboldened by the response he had received from the public in recent days. Everyone — from the cabdrivers who shuttle him around the city to the executives with whom he rubs elbows on Wall Street — has urged him to run, he said.

Collapse )

Related reading: Gawker: New York Times Allows Harold Ford to Destroy Himself

"Right. So, just so we're clear, Harold Ford: you want to run for office in New York. You want people in New York to vote for you. Democrats in New York are the people you are trying to appeal to. And, when asked if you prefer the Giants or the Jets, your answer is that you're better friends with the Tisches than with Woody Johnson, so Giants...? That is an insane answer. That is the answer of a man who has not left his bubble of town cars-to-MSNBC and billionaire Democratic donor friends for six years. Harold: name the quarterbacks, not the owners.

Oh, he also defends banker bonuses, and his job-creation program is "a huge-tax cut bill for business people," and also " we need to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent." And: a capital-gains tax cut! That is my favorite kind of economic stimulus! So, congrats, Senator Gillibrand, the New York Times just gave you a present."

Ezra Klein seconds that emotion.

Nothing witty to say *sharpens stake*

Yes, Calling Rachel Maddow a Man Is Homophobic

Somebody must have tied Tucker Carlson's bow tie a little too tightly yesterday. What else could explain his decision to run a column by the Weekly Standard's Matt Labash on his new Web site, The Daily Caller, that was not only homophobic, but insensitive to rape victims?

Carlson had hoped his new Web site would match the power and success of political sites like Talking Points Memo. Instead, it looks like it's just going to foster the same juvenile and crass comparisons that led Jon Stewart to give Carlson the smackdown oh-so-many years ago.

The column in question was Labash's introduction to readers, where he said he was qualified to write for Carlson's site because he has the gift of wisdom. Seriously. But who knew the gift of wisdom could be so homophobic?


Collapse )

Astroturf Loves Foreign Oil and Hatez Clean Energy.

‘Grassroots’ Opposition To Clean Energy Reform Bankrolled By Foreign Oil, Petro-Governments

Clean energy legislation passed by the House, now pending in the Senate, faces fierce opposition from the proprietors of fossil fuel companies, and much has been reported on how domestic oil and coal companies have flooded the debate with money, lobbying, and misinformation. These opponents of clean energy reform claim to be “standing up” for American jobs and security. However, according to an investigation by ThinkProgress, many of the lobbyists and right-wing operatives engineering the attacks on clean energy reform either work directly for petro-governments, or work for companies in the business of importing foreign oil:Collapse )

Oh, he's just being Rush-y.

RUSH:  Yes, I think in the Haiti earthquake, ladies and gentlemen -- in the words of Rahm Emanuel -- we have another crisis simply too good to waste.  This will play right into Obama's hands. He's humanitarian, compassionate.  They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, "credibility" with the black community -- in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country.  It's made-to-order for them.  That's why he couldn't wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.

Collapse )

Much, much more fail at the source

What is this I don't even... These are only excerpts because he ranted for so long. I shouldn't be surprised, but I guess I just didn't expect him to go about blaming it on Obama this way? Thank you winniechilli for the audio link!

Prop 8 Tracker: SCOTUS IS listening, SPEAK OUT! (ontd: ORLY?)

Supreme Court dissent says that this is YOUR trial

January 13, 2010

By Rick Jacobs
For anyone who thinks that online action does not matter, please read this excerpt below from Mr. Justice Breyer’s dissent (.pdf) in today’s 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States not to allow the public to see the Prop. 8 trial ongoing now in federal court in San Francisco.
Then, on December 31, the Court revised its public notice to ask for comments directly. By January 8, 2010, the Court had received 138,574 comments, all but 32 of which favored transmitting the proceedings.
There was also sufficient “opportunity for comment.” The parties, the intervenors, other judges, the public—all had an opportunity to comment. The parties were specifically invited by Chief Judge Walker to comment on the possibility of broadcast as early as September. And the entire public was invited by the District Court to submit comments after the rule change was announced, right up to the eve of trial. As I said, the court received 138,574 comments during that time. How much more “opportunity for comment” does the Court believe necessary, particularly when the statutes themselves authorize the local court to put a new rule into effect “without” receiving any “comments” before doing so when that local “court determines that there is an immediate need” to do so (and to receive comments later)? And more importantly, what is the legal source of the Court’s demand for additional comment time in respect to a rule change to conform to Judicial Council policy?
The proponents of Prop. 8 seek to hide and obfuscate. They did not want their own ad played in court. They did not want documents from their own strategists to become public because the documents show clearly that their entire campaign was built on the decades of prejudice and fear that we heard about in detail yesterday from Prof. Chauncey. As Ted Olson keeps saying, their arguments do not hold up in public or in court. They only win when they can manipulate the media and the public, using scare tactics.
Please keep reading this blog and keep telling your stories. Keep sharing the story of this trial of LGBT rights in America and of America itself. The world hears you and more importantly, your neighbors and your friends hear you.
[UPDATE] For background on the signature delivery, Julia Rosen blogged here yesterday about the Courage Campaign Institute and CREDO Action’s delivery of these signatures last Friday:
On Friday the Courage Campaign Institute delivered 140,671 signatures on a letter to Judge Walker, per his request for public comments on airing the trial. 138,248 were on paper, the rest of the letters urging him to televise the trial were delivered electronically.
It turns out that (Courage and CREDO) accounted for nearly every single comment Judge Walker received.

L’union fait la force, Haiti!

Brazil to send additional troops to Haiti

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Army announced on Wednesday that the country's Defense Ministry is studying the possibility of sending additional troops to Haiti, in order to help with the rescue and reconstruction works after the earthquake which devastated the country on Tuesday.

Collapse )


France dispatches aiding groups for quake-hit Haiti

PARIS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- France decided to dispatch civil security service and gendarmes to participate in rescue operation in Haiti, where a powerful earthquake has caused numerous victims and destructions, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

Collapse )


UN rushing aid to Haiti following deadly tremors

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations is mobilizing its resources in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday, sending its experts and supplies such as food to victims of the massive tremors in the Caribbean nation, UN officials said here Wednesday.

Collapse )


China delivers aid, rescue team to quake-hit Haiti

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- China sent an emergency rescue team Wednesday evening to quake-hit Haiti, where several thousands of lives may have been claimed.

Collapse )


Germany joins international emergency aid effort for Haiti

The German government has earmarked 1,5 million euros ($2,17 million) in relief aid.

Collapse )

Europeans take action

Elsewhere, the EU has pledged three million euros.

Collapse )


Britain vows assistance for Haiti

Britain has pledged to assist Haiti
after a devastating earthquake which is believed to have killed thousands of people and left millions in need of aid.

Collapse )


Canadian rescue, relief, military resources mobilized

OTTAWA — Ottawa's rescue-and-relief efforts for Haiti kicked into high gear Wednesday, and included attempts to reach a trapped Canadian and the possibility of an evacuation from the country of at least 80 Canadians who have taken refuge at the country's embassy in Port-au-Prince.

Collapse )


Russia readies Haiti disaster relief

Russia is preparing to send disaster relief to quake-struck Haiti, including a mobile air hospital, the emergencies ministry said Wednesday.

Collapse )


EDIT for Douchebag Limbaugh:

Venezuelan Humanitarian Team Arrives in Haiti after Earthquake

Caracas January 13, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela sent its first aid airplane to Haiti, a Bolivarian National Armed Force's Hercules C-130, with a fifty-strong advance humanitarian aid team on board, on Wednesday morning, after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake leveled the country’s capital Port-au-Prince, late Tuesday.

Collapse )


Cuba Considers Helping Haiti A Priority

In a meeting with his Surinamese counterpart Lygia Louise Irene Kraag-Keteldijk who is on an official visit in Havana, Rodriguez said that there were more than 400 Cubans working on collaboration programs in Haiti at the moment the earthquake shook the country and 344 of them are health experts who are already helping out the victims of the natural phenomenon.

Collapse )


About the edit: I'd likle to give a shout out to all the brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean doing their best to help. I hear good things from Mexico to Chile, from Jamaica to Colombia. It's time to come together.

A few reasons to be a little bit more positive (sorry about the unpopular sources). Didn't post the American news because you all know them already. Feel free to post donation numbers in the comments, everybody! Still hoping germli's family is ok.

Bankers Sorry That They are Making Too Much Money.

Bankers apologize for actions that led to crisis

Challenged by a skeptical special commission, top Wall Street bankers apologized Wednesday for risky behavior that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But they still declared it seemed appropriate at the time.

The bankers — whose companies collectively received more than $100 billion in taxpayer assistance to weather the crisis — offered no regrets for executive pay that is now likely to increase as a result of their survival. They did say they are correcting some compensation practices that could lead to excessive risk-taking.

The tension at the first hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was evident from the outset.

"People are angry," commission Chairman Phil Angelides said. Reports of "record profits and bonuses in the wake of receiving trillions of dollars in government assistance while so many families are struggling to stay afloat has only heightened the sense of confusion," he said.

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, took the brunt of the questions, especially on his firm's practice of selling mortgage-backed securities and then betting against them.

"I'm just going to be blunt with you," Angelides told him. "It sounds to me a little bit like selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars."
Collapse )

How the U.S. Military Will Help Haiti

When an earthquake ravages a country as poor and urbanized as Haiti, it produces the cruelest kind of synergy, as poverty breeds cramped living quarters that are left even more vulnerable by substandard construction work. While U.S. officials weren't issuing estimates of casualties from Tuesday's strong 7.0 earthquake, there was growing concern that pancaked buildings in Port-au-Prince, home to some 2 million people — and Haiti's inability to quickly rescue those who are trapped — could lead to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of fatalities.

The U.S. response began with a Navy P-3 Orion based at Comalapa, El Salvador, which flew over the Haitian capital gathering photographic and other intelligence on the extent of the damage. Officials at the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command began using that information to guide U.S. and international rescue efforts. At first light on Wednesday, a Coast Guard helicopter evacuated four critically injured U.S. embassy staff and took them to a hospital at Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for treatment. Elements of the Air Force First Special Operations Wing deployed on Wednesday to the international airport at Port-au-Prince to provide air traffic control capability and airfield operations. 

Pentagon officials said an initial team of 30 people arrived in Haiti on Wednesday to join the 63 U.S. soldiers who are permanently stationed there. The team includes military engineers, operational planners, communication specialists and a command and control group. They'll work with U.S. embassy staff as well as Haitian, U.N. and other officials on the ground to assess the situation and coordinate rescue and recovery efforts. The Navy aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson is on the way and is expected to arrive off the coast of Haiti on Thursday, where it will be joined by additional Navy vessels that are under way.


Collapse )
JL: Annoyed J. Law

Haiti's Earthquake In Part A Human-Made Disaster?

The disaster in Haiti did not occur yesterday.

While the nation's latest tragedy was triggered by yesterday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake, its real roots were not 10 kilometers beneath the earth's surface as seismologists concluded. Rather, they were in two centuries of misfortune that have plagued the country and most heart-breakingly in the particular failures of the international community and the country's leaders to help the country during the most recent decade and half -- a period when real hope backed with real money seemed to bloom and then, just as quickly, fade.

It was the crushing poverty in the hemisphere's poorest nation that resulted in Port-au-Prince being a city of ramshackle homes of unreinforced concrete or worse, shanties assembled of odd-shaped bits of rusty, corrugated metal, scrap wood, cardboard and old packing crates. It was decades of neglect that made rebar an unaffordable luxury for virtually all on the island or that left communications, power and water systems so underdeveloped that even prior to the earthquake they were operating at what even other poor nations would consider crisis levels.

While it would have been impossible to know precisely when an earthquake of this magnitude would hit or that when it did it would hit so close to this hemisphere's most fragile city, it was known that such a calamity was possible, and not only by seismologists. We have watched repeatedly as hurricanes have battered Haiti and left it staggered because just a few hundred miles away from the richest country on earth was one so deprived that it was ill-equipped even for the predictable weather that came with so many autumns.

We knew all this and yet with every failure to act or to follow through on a good intention, we assured yesterday's outcomes.

Collapse )

Source: http://rothkopf.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/01/13/learning_from_the_foreshocks_of_the_haiti_disaster