January 14th, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Furious Google throws down gauntlet to China over censorship

I know we already have a post on Google, but these articles have more info on what exactly China was doing and some of China's history of hacking. And less sparklepire!Spidey.

Furious Google throws down gauntlet to China over censorship - Google is done censoring search results in China and is prepared to abandon the country over the issue. The move comes amid revelations that Chinese hackers spied on human rights advocates around the globe by infiltrating Google's network.

Well, we've got to hand it to Google—the company's "don't be evil" schtick has long worn thin and governments around the globe are already probing its potential monopoly power, but who else would come out swinging against the entire Chinese government and announce an end to its own collaboration in censorship, all while recognizing that it could lose access to the entire Chinese market? And do it in a blog post?

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Google to end China censorship after e-mail breach

SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country completely after discovering that computer hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts to outsiders.

The change of heart announced Tuesday heralds a major shift for the Internet's search leader, which has repeatedly said it will obey Chinese laws requiring some politically and socially sensitive issues to be blocked from search results available in other countries. The acquiescence had outraged free-speech advocates and even some shareholders, who argued Google's cooperation with China violated the company's "don't be evil" motto.

The criticism had started to sway Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who openly expressed his misgivings about the company's presence in China.

But the tipping point didn't come until Google recently uncovered hacking attacks launched from within China.
The apparent goals: breaking into the computers of at least 20 major U.S. companies and gathering personal information about dozens of human rights activists trying to shine a light on China's alleged abuses.

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I'm really proud of Google for finally saying that enough was enough and living up to their motto.

UPDATE: Google has already stopped censoring google.cn, and apparently put their Beijing staff on paid leave. They did not mess around.
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    Outlandish - Feels Like Saving the World

"Rick Perry is a moron, wants to make sure Texan kids are too."

HOUSTON (AP) -- Texas won't compete for up to $700 million in federal stimulus money for education because the program "smacks of a federal takeover of our public schools," Republican Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top" program, a $5 billion competitive fund that will award grants to states to improve education quality and results. The program, created in the economic stimulus law, is part of Democratic President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the nation's schools.

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Akuma River

"The First Waves of our Rescue and Relief Workers are on the Ground and at Work"

The President on Haiti: "The First Waves of our Rescue and Relief Workers are on the Ground and at Work"

This morning the President gave another update relief efforts in Haiti, promising the people of Haiti that "you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten." Again, while the US Government does all it can, you can also help immediately by donating to the international fund of the Red Cross to assist the relief effort.

* Donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999."
* Contribute online to the Red Cross,
* Find more ways to help through the Center for International Disaster Information.

And of course families of Americans living in Haiti are still encouraged to contact the State Department at 888-407-4747.

Read the President's remarks this morning:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I've directed my administration to launch a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.

The losses that have been suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating, and responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity -- our diplomacy and development assistance; the power of our military; and, most importantly, the compassion of our country. And this morning, I'm joined by several members of my national security team who are leading this coordinated response.

I've made it clear to each of these leaders that Haiti must be a top priority for their departments and agencies right now. This is one of those moments that calls out for American leadership. For the sake of our citizens who are in Haiti, for the sake of the Haitian people who have suffered so much, and for the sake of our common humanity, we stand in solidarity with our neighbors to the south, knowing that but for the grace of God, there we go.
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Video isn't out yet when it is I will add it.
  • teletai

Regulating pregnant women's lives: everybody loses.

Is Refusing Bed Rest a Crime?
January 12, 2010, 12:50 pm

Arguments are under way today in the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, Fla., in the case of Samantha Burton, who was confined to her bed by a judge earlier this year because she was at risk for a miscarriage.

Burton was in her 25th week of pregnancy in March 2009 when she started showing signs of miscarrying. Her doctor advised her to go on bed rest, possibly for as long as 15 weeks, but she told him that she had two toddlers to care for and a job to keep. She planned on getting a second opinion, but the doctor alerted the state, which then asked the Circuit Court of Leon County to step in.

She was ordered to stay in bed at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and to undergo “any and all medical treatments” her doctor, acting in the interests of the fetus, decided were necessary. Burton asked to switch hospitals and the request was denied by the court, which said “such a change is not in the child’s best interest at this time.” After three days of hospitalization, she had to undergo an emergency C-section and the fetus was found dead.

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Wait... If You Hate Pat Robertson Then You Love Rush Limbaugh?...

Morning Joe crew rips Limbaugh: ‘Deplorable,’ ‘insensitive,’ ‘mean-spirited.’

Yesterday, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh attempted to attack President Obama for responding to the devastation in Haiti. “This will play right into Obama’s hands — humanitarian, compassionate,” Limbaugh argued. “They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community — the both the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made to order for them.” This morning, the MSNBC Morning Joe crew took their turns ripping Limbaugh:
– Chuck Todd: “Rush Limbaugh I think lives in South Florida. … Very large Haitian community in South Florida. You would assume he’d have a little more compassion about all of this.

– Joe Scarborough: “The insensitivity is stunning, the words are deplorable. … [It's] indefensible.”

– Pat Buchanan: “They’re deeply insensitive, no doubt about it. I think the President of the U.S. speaks for the country when he stands up there. … I think Rush’s comments were cynical.”

John Harwood then decided to falsely equate Limbaugh’s “mean-spiritedness” with criticism from those on the left. “It’s not just on the right, it’s on the left as well,” Harwood said. Scarborough enthusiastically agreed: “Hate from the left, hate from the right.”

Yesterday on Twitter, Scarborough was complaining that the media were giving too much attention to televangelist Pat Robertson’s inflammatory remarks about Haiti. “MSM will now obsess over Pat Robertson’s ‘devil’ comment but will pay no attention to his organization’s remarkable relief work worldwide,” he wrote. After considerable criticism, he clarified that he wasn’t “defending” what Robertson said, but wanted his comments put into context of “his work on behalf of the world’s poor.”

Update Yesterday, Limbaugh also said that the United States has done enough for Haiti: "We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax."

Akuma River

Red Cross has raised $3 Million through Text Messaging

Text fundraising proves valuable tool as Red Cross takes in $3M for Haiti

Mobile text fundraising has exploded onto the scene in a big way during the Haiti disaster, with the Red Cross reporting it has raised $3 million via texting in just over 24 hours.

That's almost one-third of the $10 million it has raised overall. Here's how the Red Cross describes it in a Twitter posting:

You have donated nearly $3 million to Red Cross earthquake relief efforts in #Haiti by texting "Haiti" to 90999. Thank you. Keep it up.

United Way has also set up a text donation fund for Haiti.

You can give $5 to the Red Cross by texting the word HAITI to 90999 or to the United Way at 864833

The leading source of mobile text fundraising is mGive. Denver wireless content entrepreneur James Eberhard traces the idea for the nationwide system to the Live 8 anti-poverty concert he attended in London which raised $2 million via text messaging.

MGive first rolled out its mobile giving channel with a United Way text fundraising effort during the Super bowl in 2008.

Randy Punley, who manages the mobile giving program for United Way, says it has become a "valuable fundraising tool."

"We need to go where people are," Punley says. "Not everybody is at a computer, not everyone will write a check any more. So we really need to be able to reach out to people in a variety of ways."

He says 20 of the Untied Way charities have signed up to use mGive.

MGive normally gets 35 cents per text, but Punley says the organization has waived its fees for the Haiti fundraising effort. Except for normal texting fees, the wireless carriers do not charge extra for the service, which adds the donation on the caller's phone bill.

(Posted by Doug Stanglin)

'Doomsday Clock' Changes Today: Are We Closing in on Midnight?

ABC News

'Doomsday Clock' Changes Today: Are We Closing in on Midnight?

Symbolic Clock Shows How Close Civilization Is to 'Catastrophic Destruction'


Jan. 14, 2010—
Is humanity approaching an apocalypse?

Today, a group of international scientists will move the hands of the symbolic "Doomsday Clock" for the first time in two years.

The clock, which is maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, reflects how close civilization is to "catastrophic destruction." First set at seven minutes to midnight, the clock has been moved only 18 times since its creation in 1947.
In 2007, it was changed from seven to five minutes to midnight to reflect the threat of a "second nuclear age" and the challenges presented by global warming. The last time the clock was moved within five minutes of midnight was during the final days of the Cold War in 1984.

Watch the event live

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Blue Atomic Mangod Sauce

Abuse of Power

The Cheesecake Factory is known for its oversize portions, delectable desserts, and family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant is also accused of creating nothing but disturbing memories for a few of its employees. In 2008 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit after six Cheesecake Factory staffers claimed they were subjected to repeated sexual harassment at the chain's Chandler Mall location in Phoenix, including allegations of sexual fondling, simulated rape, and even being physically dragged into the restaurant's refrigerator. The Cheesecake Factory denies the charges; in November the company settled the dispute by paying $340,000 to the victims.

Surprisingly, it wasn't a group of female workers who were compensated by the popular eatery: it was a group of male employees who claim they were sexually harassed by other men in the workplace. And, as new EEOC filings show, this situation is not unusual. Between 1992 and 2008, the percentage of sexual-harassment charges filed by men with the EEOC doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent. "While some people may think sexual harassment of male employees is a joke, the issue is real," says David Grinberg, spokesperson for the EEOC. "We are seeing more of it, and such conduct has serious legal consequences for employers."

There are instances when women sexually harass men, but the increase is due mainly to reports of men harassing other men, also called same-sex sexual harassment, Grinberg says. The EEOC tracks the number of men and women who file claims with the agency, but doesn't always keep track of the gender of the harasser. However, Grinberg confirms that the EEOC has recognized a growing trend in the number of men alleging same-sex sexual harassment.

"The classic image of sexual harassment is Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill; it's not two men or even two women," says Dr. Liza H. Gold, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University who serves as an expert in sexual-harassment suits. And yet the experience of men harassed by men may help to illustrate the realities of all such cases. When women are the victims, they may face assumptions that the abuse is the result of an affair gone wrong, hurt feelings, or mixed signals. In truth, sexual harassment of both genders has more to do with issues of control and abuses of power for the purpose of humiliation than with sexual attraction.

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at least i'm different
  • heather

Discovery News: Why is Haiti So Poor?

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, which makes the devastation caused by yesterday’s earthquake that much harder on an already struggling nation. As death toll estimates continue to rise and other nations flood in to provide aid, we wondered how this small country came to be so poverty-stricken.

A market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, appears in the above photo, which was taken between 1909 and 1920.

Our answer came from Bryan Page, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Miami.

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Photo credit: Library of Congress

anthropologyworks.com has a good post about the demographics of Haiti as well.


A good primer to combat some of the fail I've been seeing. Would not recommend the comments section, though.
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franklin sherman

EFF to public: Urge the FCC to close 'Net neutrality 'loophole'

The Electronic Frontier Foundation this morning is issuing a call to arms regarding what it calls a "loophole" in 'Net neutrality regulations being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Today marks the FCC's deadline for initial public comment on that proposal.

The organization has established a special Web page -- Real Net Neutrality -- designed to collect signatures on a letter urging the FCC to reconsider and eliminate language that would require ISPs "to act as copyright cops."

An EFF e-mail received here reads:

Tell the FCC: Don't let Hollywood hijack the Internet

Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules for "Net Neutrality" - a set of regulations intended to help innovation and free speech continue to thrive on the Internet.

Buried in the FCC's rules is a deeply problematic loophole. Open Internet principles, the FCC writes, "do not ... apply to activities such as the unlawful distribution of copyrighted works."

For years, the entertainment industry has used that innocent-sounding phrase - "unlawful distribution of copyrighted works" - to pressure Internet service providers around the world to act as copyright cops - to surveil the Internet for supposed copyright violations, and then censor or punish the accused users.

From the beginning, a central goal of the Net Neutrality movement has been to prevent corporations from interfering with the Internet in this way - so why does the FCC's version of Net Neutrality specifically allow them to do so?

Should you agree with EFF's position and want your voice to be heard, here's the content of the letter you'll be asked to sign:

To the Federal Communications Commission: Your October 22, 2009, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks to create an exception from network neutrality and open Internet principles to allow ISPs to block or filter content which they suspect might be copyright-infringing. I believe this exception would be damaging to lawful fair use, free speech and innovation on the Internet, and that it should be removed.

If you're itching to read the actual FCC document, you can find it here.

The FCC will be accepting initial comments on the proposed regulations through today and replies to those comments until March 5.


TL;DR Version: Net Neutrality makes ISPs into copyright cops. Not just infringing material, but anything they SUSPECT as infringing. Net Neutrality stands to limit free speech on the internet.

Don't read this right after you eat--you'll lose your lunch

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As Wallets Open For Haiti, Credit Card Companies Take A Big Cut

Laura Bassett

As a massive human tragedy unfolds in Haiti, relief organizations are soliciting credit-card donations through their hotlines and websites. About 97 percent of these donations will actually make it to the designated organizations -- but the other 3 percent will be skimmed off by banks and credit card companies to cover their "transaction costs." Collapse )



GOP Tells White People to Leave Island Because is Full of Poor Black People: "Bootstraps!"

GOP Candidate Chuck DeVore's Spokesman: World Community Should Leave Haiti ASAP

Earlier today, I wrote about the push by several major foreign policy voices to ensure that America's role in restructuring Haiti extends beyond emergency response to the earthquake.

The politics seem logical -- the impoverished country has endured plenty of socioeconomic chaos in addition to natural disasters in recent history. And now, more than ever, there is a moral and geopolitical imperative for the U.S. to be involved. But rallying domestic support for a long-term U.S. commitment to Haitian affairs has long proved difficult. And here is another example why:

The communications director for California Republican Senate candidate Chuck DeVore tweeted on Thursday that America, the world and even charity organizations should immediately leave the island once immediate and limited recovery is done.

"[T]he best thing the int'l community can do is tend the wounded, bury the dead, and then LEAVE. That includes all UN and charity,"
wrote Josh Trevino.

This seems a bit blunt, even for the most non-interventionist of Republican candidates (DeVore is a Tea Party favorite). But it also is a reflection of Americans' widespread skepticism about the prospects of building a functioning and stable Haitian society.

I asked former National Security Adviser Tony Lake about the problem in sustaining U.S. interest in Haiti during an interview on Wednesday. He didn't have any specific explanation, but acknowledged that it was problematic.

"There are political voices in the United States that have spoken up for the Haitians, including the black caucus," Lake said. "But generally the political weight of the Haitian community in the United States has been less than the community deserves. And I think that has been a problem in maintaining a consistent American interest."

Black Token Defends Bankers: "Leave The CEOs Alone!"

Steele Comes Out Against Tax On Big Banks

In his press briefing on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs all but invited Republicans to attack the president's proposal to tax roughly 50 of the nation's largest banks as a way of recouping TARP funds and curbing compensation practices.

"If you want to be on the side of big banks," Gibbs said, "this is a good country, you are free to do so."

Already, some in the GOP are taking up the challenge. Minutes before Gibbs briefed reporters, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele slammed the administration's proposal, calling it "nothing more than another tax on the American public."

"The fact is this money has already been paid back by the banks and this punitive tax will hurt Americans' savings and discourage job creation at the worst of economic times," Steele added.

There is a legitimate policy-based foundation to Steele's criticism, including the concern (implicitly acknowledged during the president's statement on Thursday) that any tax levied on banks will simply be passed down to shareholders or consumers, as opposed to compelling executives to take smaller bonus packages. But the politics of this do seem stacked against the RNC Chair.

Next to members of Congress, Wall Street bankers are held in very poor repute. To make a philosophical case that they should not be taxed -- especially as their profit margins seem to be doing quite well -- doesn't seem like a brilliant political strategy.

It is worth noting that Steele's conclusions are at odds with what other respected policy observers have predicted. Felix Salmon, at Reuters, called the tax a "smartly designed" way to recoup TARP losses; one that could raise approximately $ $180 million per firm per year. And as Ezra Klein of The Washington Post notes, this isn't some ad-hoc attempt by the administration to dip into the bankers' wallets. The president is legally obligated to introduce this provision. From the White House's fact sheet on the tax comes this:

"The EESA statute that created the TARP requires that by 2013 the President put forward a plan 'that recoups from the financial industry an amount equal to the shortfall in order to ensure that the Troubled Asset Relief Program does not add to the deficit or national debt.'"

The Trial that must not broadcast it's name Day 4.

Ok so Day 2 & 3 dealt with the history of Marriage as defined by society and religion as well as the up to date current perception and sociological meanings of marriage. The Plaintiffs' (Who want defeat prop 8) Atty attempted to define gay & lesbian as a "suspect class" to show that the discrimination is systemic and institutionalized.  Dr. George Chauncey’s, a "Historian's historian", talked about the history of prejudice and religious intolerance and historical impact of discrimination against gay and lesbian people.
They also discussed how the ads promoting prop 8 were almost entirely fueled by skewed stereotypes and hate speech from various religious communities. Especially the The pro-Prop 8 letter deployed, see more about it here. 
And a social psychologist from UCLA — Dr. Letishia Peplak, serverd as an expert on relationship research. prop8 trial tracker's summaries: BEST QUOTE FROM PEPLAU: “I have a hard time believing that a straight couple is going to say, “Gertrude we’ve been together for 30 years. But now we have to throw in the towel because Adam and Stewart down the street are getting married.”

Today the plaintiffs are demonstrating what the economic benefits are to legalizing same sex marriage. The economist only has a brief period from which to work from (When it was legal in CA) and offers data based upon that. The Defense Attorney, of course, needs to skew the math by adding a lot of extraneous information, for instance about periods of time that people weren't allowed to marry- and illogical information about people who live together... even though not all people who get married necessarily live together before marriage and not all people who live together would like to get married.

But then there's this...
[UPDATE] 10:33 [It’s 1030. We’re taking a break. Judge had announced that the court had withdrawn from the pilot program of videoing. Cooper now says that he has submitted a letter asking that the tape recording of the trial cease. He says it is not within the local rule. ]

Cooper: Clarification. Court was asking for withdrawal of this case from recording program.

Walker: no, that’s not been altered.

Cooper: We have put in a request to court, asking that recording be halted. We believe this would require reporting to be halted.

Walker: I don’t believe so. Local rule permits the recording for purposes of taking the recording for use in chambers. That is customarily done when we have these overflow courtrooms. I think it would be quite helpful for me to have that recording. That’s the purpose for which recording to be made going forward. Not for purposes of public broadcasting or televising. Taking of photographs or recording for those purposes. Recording is not being made for those purposes.

Cooper: I appreciate that clarification.

[They will do ANYTHING to keep this trial secret. I truly believe they’d rather have this trial in a star chamber (Ken or otherwise) than in public. They are afraid of the truth.]
The fuckers who support Prop 8 are trying to keep ANYONE FROM HEARING ALL OF THIS... Which tells me we should all be posting links to these transcripts FAR AND WIDE.

Lot of numbers today so instead of the wall-0-text I am just posting some highlights so far:  See the full Source  @ emptywheel.firedoglake.com
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[ETA- reminder you read the transcriptions for yourself at http://prop8trialtracker.com/ and/ or http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/  Get the word out, let this trial be read and seen .... ]
i want joe biden i need joe biden

Lady Antebellum and the glorification of the pre-Civil War South

A few months ago, “Need You Now” by the country group Lady Antebellum was among iTunes’ free downloads. I’m a curious music lover with eclectic tastes, so I snagged the song for my iPod. It was catchy and nice in the inoffensive and pop-y way of crossover country–think Carrie Underwood not the rougher alt-country of Lucinda Williams. I’ll keep the song, which will fit nicely in some future playlist. But the band chafes me. It’s not the music. It’s the name. “Lady Antebellum” seems to me an example of the way we still, nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War; nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act; and in a supposedly post-racial country led by a biracial president, glorify a culture that was based on the violent oppression of people of color. According to an article in the Augusta Chronicle, the idea for the name “Lady Antebellum” came after a photo shoot where band members dressed in Civil War-era clothing. It seems harmless–just a nod to the band’s roots south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a recognition of the Old South.

Wikipedia defines the antebellum period thusly:

The antebellum period (from the Latin ante, “before,” and bellum, “war”) was the time period in America from after the birth of the United States to the start of the American Civil War. The Antebellum Age was a time of great transition because of the industrial revolution in America. It also was a time of growth in slavery in the American South. It was a phase in American history when America spread towards the west coast which among historians is generally referred to as “Westward Expansion”.

In the public consciousness, part of this story translates into “Gone with the Wind”-style mythology about big manor houses sat on sprawling plantations; fair, delicate, pale-skinned maidens in frilly dresses; brave and handsome men in gray; and solid, traditional American values. This rosy view of the antebellum South only holds up if you don’t scratch too deep. But we’re not likely to do that and disturb the patriotic version of history. We like myth better.

That is why, over the years, at least two women have gushed at me: “I would just love to go back to that time!” One, a white woman who had recently read the Margaret Mitchell novel that became the classic movie, did not consider that for her to be “Scarlett,” I would have to be a darkie working in the fields. My family would have to live in bondage as chattel–our very lives dependent on the whims of our masters. The way of life she associated with the antebellum period, and the economy that supported it, was dependent on free labor and the dehumanization of people of color (not to mention a bunch of classism and sexism). As an African American descendant of slaves, I cannot overlook that bitter reality. My acquaintance read “Gone with the Wind” and wondered how grand it would be to be Scarlett O’Hara. I wondered how awful it must have been to be Mammy.

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Bobby Flay

The White and Food Network used STUNT DOUBLE Vegtables that night?

Iron Chef Special Used Ringers, Not Veggies From The White House Garden

The produce used on the Food Network's Jan. 3 Iron Chef of America two-hour special White House show was billed as being from the White House garden. But the show did not disclose that "stunt double vegetables" were used and not produce from the First Family's garden.

The much ballyhooed show featured a cameo by First Lady Michelle Obama who invited the chefs to pick what they needed from the White House garden in the opening scenes. Mrs. Obama agreed to appear --and give the show access to the garden -- because the episode promoted her healthy eating themes and the garden, her signature first-year project. Iron Chef also reaches an audience that would be interested in Mrs. Obama's local food, anti-obesity and exercise agenda.

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D'oh! Forgot to add the source first I submitted. Fixed now. I find it damn hilarious that some media outlet reported on this. REALLY? "Stunt double" Vegtables?! I'm more or less posting this for the LULZ of it all, seeing how many of you joined my 'live' ICA post when I made it that night. OMG, the page of comments at the source...LULZ!
  • iweep4u

Corporate Citizenship

The US Chamber of Commerce is keeping a list of corporations who have donated to Haitian relief. It's not just straight-up dollar amounts, either. For instance, AT&T is helping to run the text donations to the Red Cross, DHL is helping to coordinate shipments of supplies into Haiti, Walmart donated a bunch of pre-packaged food kits, and Microsoft is running tech support for the relief groups.

Yoinked this link off Anderson Cooper's blog.
Derry Girls; Michelle

McGreevey’s Ex-Wife Speaks Out Against Gay Marriage

By Teresa Masterson
updated 18 minutes ago

The ex-wife of Jim McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who resigned after admitting to being gay and having an affair with a male employee, has come out against gay marriage, reports The Daily Record.

Dina Matos, who stood by her husband when he came out of the closet announcing he was a “gay American,” told The Daily Record that she is glad the N.J. legislature did not pass last week’s gay marriage bill.

Matos, 43, gave a speech at the Zonta Club in Mountain Lakes, telling the group that she believes marriage should only be between and man and a woman.

The legislature’s bill to legalize gay marriage was pushed quickly to a vote last week in hopes to pass it before republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie takes office Jan. 19. But the bill was defeated 20-14.

Matos also talked about her memoir “Silent Partner,” and the horror she experienced in finding out her husband and father of her daughter was keeping such a huge secret from her.

She said that if she had to do it again, she probably wouldn’t have stood by McGreevey as he confessed his infidelity and homosexuality.

“There are at least two million marriages that break up each year because one of the spouses come out of the closet. You don’t understand unless you live it,” said Matos.

McGreevey is studying to be an Episcopal priest. He has said that he would marry his partner if it was legal.


Scott Brown Tells The President What He Cant Do...

Scott Brown: Obama not invited to this party

Surging GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown yesterday warned President Obama to “stay away” from the Bay State during his roiling race against Democratic rival Martha Coakley and not to interfere with their intensifying battle in the campaign’s final days.

“He should stay away and let Martha and I discuss the issues one on one,” Brown said. “The machine is coming out of the woodwork to get her elected. They’re bringing in outsiders, and we don’t need them.”

Coakley’s campaign showed signs of panic as they scrambled to get a last-minute appearance by Obama to bolster their effort before Tuesday’s election.
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A união faz a força.

Brazil offers to build cemetery in Haiti

Brazil is offering to build a cemetery in Haiti for the thousands killed in this week's quake, and promising it will respect the Voodoo beliefs of part of the Caribbean country's population, officials say.

The proposal stemmed from the "great concern over the presence of abandoned bodies in the streets, which could create epidemics," the defence ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"Some people are burying their dead on the sides of hills, which risks the corpses emerging when it rains," it noted.

"A special attention will be given to adherents of Voodoo, a religion with a strong following in Haiti," the statement said.

One of the considerations in that regard is that "relatives do not accept that anybody touches their dead until their rituals are over."

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Haiti has already buried 7,000 quake dead-president

I know talking about burying the dead makes things that much more real (at least I felt so) but it needs to be addressed. My heart goes to the ones in pain. And you have some brave survivors to find, UN peacemakers!

PS: lots of silly rumors are going around. Be careful with your donations!!
PS2:  I'm avoiding flooding ONTD_P with Haiti news but I really thought this was important.

Scribes Get Choked Up During Haiti Coverage

Haiti's earthquake coverage is bringing an element of reporting that many reporters and correspondents don't usually have to cope with -- breaking down in tears on air.

Fox News's Steve Harrigan (who the network often sends to war zones) got choked up during Shepard Smith's show; Smith took over and explained how hard these things are for journalists to cover. Watch the video below (or at the link since the video won't embed).

An excerpt of Smith's on-air remarks:
"If you've ever been to a horrible disaster, if you've ever been unfortunate enough to do so, it's often that sense that people elsewhere cannot have that brings you back to that place. For instance, New York, 9/11 - it had a smell; it was metallic, it was fuel, it had its own thing and you'd never forget it. New Orleans had its own thing, similarly. Haiti is going to be, for everybody who covered it and everybody who lived through it, the smell of death and it will not go away for weeks or months or years because you see the process of excavating - it's very slow."

In another example, NPR's Jason Bovian had to pause to choke back tears during his recent live report from Haiti today.

While describing a little girl covered in bandages laying on a table, he stopped for a few seconds, caught his breath, and seemed disoriented, his voice cracking, and breathed deeply before finishing his report.


i wonder if Rush would have a human reaction to this if he was on the ground there.
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GLAAD Demands Apology and Retraction of Dangerous Anti-Gay Cartoon

January 14, 2010 by Adam @ GLAAD

On Wednesday, 13 January, The Observer, the student newspaper at Notre Dame University ran an incredibly troubling cartoon that promotes violence against the LGBT community.

The cartoon depicted a conversation between two figures. The conversation read,

“What’s the easiest way to turn a fruit into a vegetable?”

“No idea.”

“A baseball bat.”

As many people know, “fruit” is often used as a derogatory term for members of the LGBT community.

This type of advocacy of anti-LGBT violence must stop. It isn’t funny. What’s more, it promotes hate crimes, which are all too prevalent in society today.

The cartoonist had posted on his blog – though it’s since been removed – his original version of the cartoon. In the original version, it shows that the punchline read, “AIDS” instead of “A baseball bat.” The paper, he reported, preferred “not to make light of fatal diseases.”

The Observer made a dangerously misguided decision that promoting violence was somehow superior to making fun of HIV/AIDS. Both versions of the cartoon were abhorrent.

GLAAD contacted The Observer immediately upon seeing this cartoon. The Editor in Chief Jenn Metz relayed a tearful and what appeared to be heartfelt apology by phone. She explained that she was not present when the decision to run this cartoon was made, and that she was incredibly upset that others on staff had made that decision.

Metz plans to run what she describes as a “full retraction and apology,” in Friday’s edition of The Observer. GLAAD will watch for that retraction and apology. Additionally, GLAAD asked Metz to ensure that the staff responsible for running this cartoon – both the cartoonist and editor who decided it was fit for print – be reprimanded.

GLAAD has also reached out to the office of the President of Notre Dame University, and called upon that office to issue a statement condemning violence and this cartoon that promotes violence. We await response from the University on how they plan to address this type of violent dialogue from continuing to be advanced on campus.

We’ll update this post when we receive Metz’s written apology and when we hear back from the University.


So, they understand that making fun people who have AIDS is wrong, but fail to grasp that beating someone to death or into a vegetative state is disgusting as well? I wonder if the apology will be sincere or along the lines of "Sorry you were offended." Taking bets now.

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justin made of awesome


The Haitian ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, appeared on Rachel Maddow last night and responded to televangelist Pat Robertson's comments that Haiti had made a "pact to the devil."

Robertson had contended that the Haitians had made a deal with the devil in order to overthrow the French in 1804.

Joseph responded that that "pact" lead to the Louisiana Purchase.

"So what pact the Haitian made with the devil has helped the United States become what it is," he said.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett also responded to Robertson's comments.

"I'm kind of speechless about that kind of remark," Jarrett said. "Our heart goes out to the people of Haiti. ... That's not the attitude that expresses the spirit of the president or the American people, so I thought it was a pretty stunning comment to make.


Yay! Chile's memory museum finally opens!

Pinochet victims remembered

Chile is gearing up for a presidential run-off next Sunday after neither top candidate clinched a definitive win in the first round of voting.

Independent candidate Sebastian Pinera, a conservative billionaire, is in the lead at present against former president Eduardo Frei.

It is the largest show of support an independent candidate has seen in recent history. The two main candidates faced off in a televised debate late on Monday as their campaigns reach the final stretch.

At the centre of that debate was Chile's human-rights record. Some of Pinera's conservative supporters are known to have backed Augusto Pinochet's iron rule decades ago.

Amid this flurry of political activity, a new memorial museum is opening this week in Santiago, the capital, a project led personally by Michelle Bachelet, the current president.

The museum is a tribute to tens of thousands of victims, who like herself, suffered under Pinochet's rule.

The video made me cry, ngl.
The owls are not what they seem
  • maclyn

You stay classy, Pat Robertson

So, after Pat Robertson's clusterfuck comments on Haiti, the 700 club (NOT Robertson himself) have posted a non-apology to their website.

"On today’s The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed. Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them. His humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.

Chris Roslan
Spokesman for CBN"

I'd just like to say that the following Walrus is classier than every member of the 700 club put together.


Africa has become a "dumping ground" for counterfeit goods

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Stacks of counterfeit radios bearing the false brand name 'Sqnny'

It is early morning in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and a small independent wholesaler is doing a roaring trade. The city's street traders and small independent retailers have come to stock up on household products, one of which is toothpaste. This wholesaler stocks two brands. The first, the so-called genuine article, is manufactured by Unilever, one of the world's biggest consumer goods businesses. The other, the wholesaler describes as "Chinese" - Unilever calls it fake.

By close of business this wholesaler is justifiably pleased. He has sold more tubes of counterfeit toothpaste than the genuine article, which is excellent news for the bottom line.

On the genuine product he has made a 13% mark-up, on the counterfeit an impressive 50%. Fair play to him, some might say - after all it is only toothpaste.

Fake toothpaste ranks low down the list of priorities for the continent's law enforcement agencies. According to Roberto Manriquez, a criminal intelligence officer in Interpol's intellectual property crime unit, counterfeit medicines are the number one priority of the world's biggest police organisation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of medicines sold in developing countries are fakes and a major problem is that high numbers of drugs bought by the state for use in public hospitals are being illegally obtained and then sold on for profit in the private sector.

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SOURCE: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8424403.stm

A Letter to Rush Limbaugh

Leave it to Roger Ebert to call out Rush Limbaugh in no uncertain terms on his racist dumbassery in his column:

To: Rush Limbaugh
From: Roger Ebert

You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of our nation.

Having followed President Obama's suggestion and donated money to the Red Cross for relief in Haiti, I was offended to hear you suggest the President might be a thief capable of stealing money intended for the earthquake victims.

Here is a transcript from your program on Thursday:

Justin of Raleigh, North Carolina: "Why does Obama say if you want to donate some money, you could go to whitehouse.gov to direct you how to do so? If I wanted to donate to the Red Cross, why do I have to go to the White House page to donate?"

Limbaugh: "Exactly. Would you trust the money's gonna go to Haiti?"

Justin: "No."

Rush: "But would you trust that your name's gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?"

Justin: "Absolutely!"

Limbaugh: "Absolutely!"

 That's what was said.

Unlike you and Justin of Raleigh, I went to Obama's web site, and discovered the link there leads directly to the Red Cross. I can think of a reason why anyone might want to go via the White House. That way they can be absolutely sure they're clicking on the Red Cross and not a fake site set up to exploit the tragedy.

But let me be sure I have this right. You and Justin agree that Obama might steal money intended for the Red Cross to help the wretched of Haiti.

This conversation came 48 hours after many of us had seen pitiful sights from Port au Prince. Tens of thousands are believed still alive beneath the rubble. You twisted their suffering into an opportunity to demean the character of the President of the United States.

This cannot have been an accident. A day earlier, a sound bite from your show went viral, in which you said Obama would exploit the situation to please his "black followers -- both the light-skinned and the dark-skinned ones."

Sen. Harry Reid made his careless comment thoughtlessly. Yours must have came after some thought. A one-liner in code to please your listeners who enjoy hearing African-Americans discussed in racist language. Yes, racist -- as anyone living in this country must realize.

You have a sizable listening audience. You apparently know how to please them. Anybody given a $400 million contract must know what he is doing.

That's what offends me. You know exactly what you're doing.