January 15th, 2010

  • hinoema

Cultures in Danger: the Tarahumara (Rarámuri) of Copper Canyon

Who are the Tarahumara?

The Tarahumara Indians have lived in the Copper Canyon region of the state of Chihuahua for over 2000 years, with their heir traditions, customs, and religion being essentially unchanged. The Tarahumara have proved to be a valuable group for study because a simple American Indian culture still functions among them in a large tribal entity.

The Tarahumara are natives of the Gran Chichimeca area, an enormous area of over 2,700,000 square kilometers ranging from the North American Pacific coast across northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States. In this region, many other great societies have suffered collapse, dispersion, reorganization, or abandonment and no longer exist today, including the Mimbres, the Mesa Verdeans, the Hohokum, and the Mogollon. Unless action is taken, the Tarahumara may suffer a similar fate. Collapse )
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    Muzak (Argh!)
Akuma River

Fuck the Banks!

Faith Group To Lead 'Exodus Of Our Money From Bank Of America' (VIDEO)

A network of religious community organizers is calling for its members to pull their money out of Bank of America after the bank failed to meet their demands during negotiations on Tuesday evening in Antioch, Calif.

"Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it is time to lead an exodus of our money from Bank of America," said Rev. Mario Howell, pastor of Antioch Church Family, according to a statement. "It is time to go to a bank which will serve us."

The faith-based divestment effort is separate but parallel to the "Move Your Money" campaign.

People Improving Communities through Organizing, a coalition with over 1,000 member congregations across the country, threatened to launch the divestment campaign if Bank of America officials did not agree to their demands, which included a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. Other groups, including the SEIU and the NAACP, joined PICO at the negotiating table with bank officials.
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WATCH video of Howell's bank-bashing sermon as Tuesday's negotiations wrapped up:

Move Your Money

Are you angry about Wall Street's reckless excesses? Are you disappointed with President Obama's limp approach to reform? You can change this, acting individually and collectively. Withdraw your deposit and savings accounts from the large banks that brought the system to ruin and were subsequently rescued with billions in government bailouts. Put your money instead in smaller, safer banks or credit unions closer to home--the thousands of community institutions that do not harvest their profits from greed and recklessness.

"Move Your Money" is an electrifying slogan that's lighting up the Internet because it shows people how they can push back against the big dogs of banking. The concept is simple, but this is a big idea that could alter the timid direction of financial reform.
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Mass Effect, Fem!shep

How much political power does Jon Stewart have?

Bill O'reilly devoted a segment of Wednesday's show to discuss Jon Stewart political power and how much it actually influences young people. Of course, we all now that *that* has never been done before and that it's a very original subject. For someone who thinks Jon is invalid, he sure spends a lot of time mentioning him. You can watch it here on Fox News's website:


He also, of course, mentiones that the audience of The Daily Show are 'Koolaid drinkers'(I'm not american, wtf is that?), that they have no real interest in politics whatsoever, and generally suggests that they are unable to think on their own. This is not new, however, last time Bill was proved wrong by a survey that showed The Daily Shows viewers were actually more informed about the news, than Fox News's viewers. He apoligized on The Daily Show, after Jon gentle promted him too, which is why it's odd that he does it again.

Just thought I would post it here, since I find it interesting that O'reilly would actually spend time thinking about someone he finds so unimportant.

Edited for typoes.

2010 The Year of The Tea Party. R.I.P. GOP.

In Power Push, Movement Sees Base in G.O.P.

The Tea Party movement ignited a year ago, fueled by anti-establishment anger. Now, Tea Party activists are trying to take over the establishment, ground up.

Across the country, they are signing up to be Republican precinct leaders, a position so low-level that it often remains vacant, but which comes with the ability to vote for the party executives who endorse candidates, approve platforms and decide where the party spends money.

A new group called the National Precinct Alliance says it has a coordinator in nearly every state to recruit Tea Party activists to fill the positions and has already swelled the number of like-minded members in Republican Party committees in Arizona and Nevada.
Its mantra is this: take the precinct, take the state, take the party — and force it to nominate conservatives rather than people they see as liberals in Republican clothing.

Here, in a perennial battleground district outside Philadelphia, Tea Party activists are trying to strip the local committee of its influence in choosing the Republican nominee to run against Representative Patrick J. Murphy, a Democrat who won the seat in 2006 by about 1,500 votes.

After the local party said it would stick to its custom of endorsing a candidate rather than holding an open primary, Tea Party groups decided to hold their own candidate forum where people could cast a ballot. If the party does not yield, the groups say they will host a debate, too.

“We kind of changed the rules,” said Anastasia Przybylski, one of the organizers.
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More Prop 8, Commentary, links and liveblogging sources galore

Ok, If anyone wants to keep up on this trial they have many resources to choose from now.  Prop 8 Trial Tracking has provided some excellent links to read up on with some excerpts from each source. There are six liveblog posts now @ prop8trialtrackers [Awesome!!!!] 

This is from Julia Rosen @ Prop 8 trialtracker.
If the readers tonight have time for only one thing, I urge you to read the comments on Rick’s fifth liveblog post today. I dare you not to get verklempt.

Excerpt: "Reading this stuff about concealment is eye opening, indeed. I’m a straight guy and most of my best friends are gay. But I work in a very conservative environment and I find myself concealing my friendships (or aspects of them) on a regular basis during routine, mundane water-cooler conversations." (read more...
* Over at the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot digs into one of “more tortured rationales ever advanced for banning same-sex marriage” that it seems the defendants are planning on using:
In a 2005 case called Morrison v. Sadler, an appellate court in Indiana concluded that same-sex couples with children did not need marriage because they were already so stable—it was so expensive and complicated for them to adopt or conceive a child that they were bound to stay together. [WTF!] “By contrast,” the court observed, “procreation by ‘natural’ reproduction may occur without any thought for the future.” The stork could come calling on heterosexual couples without invitation, and when it did, marriage helped ensure that the surprised progenitors would stay around to raise the children.

* Syd Peterson covering over at LGBT POV and has a good post on this morning’s testimony by Edwin Eagan.
one comment made here gives me a lot of hope" The cross-examination of Egan was roundly criticized by observers, with NCLR’s Kate Kendell tweeting, ‘Patterson does not know how to conduct a cross examination, great time to learn.’ Dan Levine described … Judge ‘Walker clearly frustrated with pace: tells Patterson to cross “the old-fashioned way” instead of taking the witness’s deposition.’ Levine later noted, ‘Walker just prompted Patterson again. This is getting a little embarrassing.
[I can't recall where but someone made a very valid point that the Plantiffs are introducing everything now in case this does go to SCOTUS, for one they can't introduce new testimony there and secondly- somehow- the economical impact has a large impact on the case at that stage. I will see if I can find the rational.]

* The Mercury has been doing some liveblogging of their own and has a central location for their blogs, articles and a #Prop8 twitter feed.
Experts again headline Proposition 8 trial : The impact of the same-sex marriage ban on local governments and on the mental health of gay and lesbian couples is cited in testimony as the groundbreaking trial heads into today, when fireworks are expected in the testimony of a controversial Proposition 8 proponent.
* Teddy Partridge over at FDL has an powerful post called “The ‘Private Hell’ of an Inauthentic Life”, which uses Dr. Meyer’s testimony to talk about the negative impact of having to hide who you love in every day life.
Imagine living like that, if you are straight. Imagine not ever using the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ to describe the person to whom you’re married and have a family. Imagine not being able to chime in on your military base when all your mates are talking about their girlfriends, or boyfriends if female.

Imagine, as another plaintiff said on Monday, being denied the common language of partnership in America.

And, further, think about being excluded from associations, events, places, and health and social services specifically designed to serve those of you who are attracted to someone of the incorrect gender, because you don’t want to reveal who you are.
[Fire Dog Lake is where I've been extracting some of the more extensive transcripts but they are written so fast they're almost illegible at times. So it's good to get a summary from Prop8TT then check the details at FDL.  Please take a look at some of these links and read up on some of commentary. Despite the lack of media attention or availibility, there are a lot of people blogging and commenting in the Internets. I think it's pretty moving. ]
NYC- credit eternity_grphx

Sanders is throwing it down, so pick it up and run!

Where do we go from here?
By Bernie Sanders

One year ago the nation gave a collective sigh of relief as the worst and least popular administration in modern American history came to an end. Not only was the Bush administration heading out the door, but the Republican Party was reeling from two consecutive elections in which it suffered massive losses at all levels.

With a huge taxpayer bailout attempting to prop up a reckless and greedy financial system on the verge of collapse; with 700,000 workers a month losing their jobs in the worst recession since the 1930s; with the continuation of a war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into; with a rapidly increasing national debt caused largely by that unpaid-for war as well as tax breaks for the rich; and with the continued refusal to address or even acknowledge the crisis in global warming, the American people were ready for change.

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Just so you know, it's lengthy.
I don't agree with a few things but it is a good piece. I love hearing what he has to say.

Companies + Individuals who are making a difference in Haitian relief effort

I thought we could use some positive news about Haiti, so here's a round-up of good things that people and companies are doing to help.

T-Mobile USA Waives Call Charges to and From Haiti
The company will allow current T-Mobile customers to make phone calls to Haiti free of charge. T-Mobile is hoping to help unite family members by enabling phone calls without charges retroactively from January 12, 2010, until January 31, 2010. And any T-Mobile customers will also be able to roam free-of charge while in Haiti.

Additionally, T-Mobile committed itself to helping to restore the wireless communications infrastructure maintained by its partner networks, Voila and Digicel, that was damaged in the earthquake. T-Mobile will also donate wireless equipment such as generator equipment and cellsites.

Google Donates $ 1 Million + Posts Donation Links on Homepage
Google said Thursday that it will donate $1 million to organizations on the ground that are providing rescue efforts as well as water, food, medical care, shelter and support to those affected.

The search engine giant has also included a link on its Google.com homepage with information about how you can help people in the region. Users can donate directly to UNICEF or CARE from that page using Google Checkout or click on links to provide funds to groups like the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, and Doctors Without Borders.

Microsoft to donate $1.25M for Haiti relief, match Employee Donations + work with Haitian Government
Microsoft will give $1.25 million to humanitarian efforts in earthquake-devastated Haiti and is urging its employees also to donate, the company said.

The company's Disaster Response team is in contact with government, non-governmental and international humanitarian organizations to help coordinate its support.

The company said it will match employee donations of up to $12,000. Badshah said Microsoft also is working with affected customers in Haiti "to help get critical systems up and running."

Other Corporate mentions / blurbs that I found on the web:
  • Apple has set up a donation mechanism within iTunes
  • Verizon's foundation is also donating $100,000 and matching employee donations.
  • Goddady.com said it is donating $500,000
  • Salesforce.com is matching public donations made via a special Web site up to $100,000.
  • Abbott Laboratories, Coca-Cola, Google, Pepsico and UPS pledged $1 million in donations
  • Nestlé Waters North America sent $1 million worth of bottled water
  • The New York Yankees gave $500,000.
  • News Corp. donated $250,000, to be divided between the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. In addition, the company will match employee donations to several charities up to a total of $250,000.
Source and Source

And lastly, on the celebrity front:
  • Tiger Woods donated around $ 3 million to send a cargo plane with a mobile hospital, including "50 EMTs to go set up a triage."
  • Alyssa Milano donated $50,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and started a Twitter fundraising challenge
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's foundation is contributing $1 million to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres, whose three hospitals in Port-au-Prince were severely damaged, forcing the staff to work out of open-air hospitals.
  • Olivia Wilde told fans she will send a personalized "thank you" video to everyone who donates in excess of $200 to help out in Haiti.
  • Blink 182 is selling a special Haiti charity support t-shirt, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.
  • Wyclef Jean went to Haiti himself and spent the last few days "clearing bodies from the streets of Port-au-Prince."
source, source, source , source , source ,source

I'm sure I've left out loads of amazing individuals + companies so mention them in the comments and I'll update this post. :)
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

iDefense: The China Government was behind the attack on Google

Researchers identify command servers behind Google attack - VeriSign iDefense researchers have identified the source of the recent cyber-assault against Google and have found the command-and-control servers that were used to orchestrate the attack.

VeriSign's iDefense security lab has published a report with technical details about the recent cyberattack that hit Google and over 30 other companies. The iDefense researchers traced the attack back to its origin and also identified the command-and-control servers that were used to manage the malware.

The cyber-assault came to light on Tuesday when Google disclosed to the public that the Gmail Web service was targeted in a highly-organized attack in late December. Google said that the intrusion attempt originated from China and was executed with the goal of obtaining information about political dissidents, but the company declined to speculate about the identity of the perpetrator.

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But China says:

Censors back on Google as China defends Internet actions

Beijing, China (CNN) -- The Chinese government was defending its Internet practices Thursday, even as censorship of Google results -- which had briefly been lifted -- appeared to return.

Chinese officials' assertion that China "works hard to encourage the healthy development and expansion of the Internet" came a day after Google said it may close its China-based site.

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This is gettin' good, y'all. Another really good article that came out on this yesterday is here: Google and China: the attacks and their aftermath. The post was already getting long, so I didn't include it, but I recommend reading it, because it has info about why it was the hackers were able to just get e-mail subject lines and from addresses.

Also, I love the about-facing China is doing in the newspapers. First the papers like were all "Google won't leave China, they make too much money here so we're too important," and now they're going, "Wait, no, please don't go~!" when Google started talking severance packages with their Chinese staff and started looking like it was serious.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Fox and the Daily Mail intentionally get science wrong? I'm shocked, I tell you.

Why is the news media comfortable with lying about science? - When the news industry catches its own making up the content of a news story—especially involving politicians—the result is typically scandal, firings, and some public soul-searching. Why isn't the same true when it comes to science?

The year is only a couple of weeks old, but it's already been a strange one for science news. With a steady flow of coverage on a huge range of complex subjects, it's easy for things to go wrong, and for journalists to come up with material that doesn't get the science right. But a few recent cases appear to involve news organizations that have gone out of their way to get a science story wrong. The news industry tends to respond badly to cases where people make up the contents of their stories—witness Jayson Blair and the fake Bush National Guard records. But, so far, the response to the recent science news-related events has been complete indifference.

The most egregious case seems to have happened at the UK's Daily Mail, which ran an article in the Science and Technology section of its website entitled "The mini ice age starts here." In it, the author argues that we're due for decades of global cooling, driven by ocean currents that the article claims produced the last century's warming—not greenhouse gasses. These facts are ascribed to impeccable scientific sources: the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, and Mojib Latif, a prominent climatologist based in Germany. A substantially similar story, with precisely the same attributions, later appeared on the Fox News site.

There was small problem here, though: Mojib Latif is still alive, and was easy to get a hold of. When contacted, he pointed out that large portions of the report were inaccurate. A prominent climate blogger contacted both Latif and the NSIDC; he quotes Latif as saying, "I don't know what to do. They just make these things up." Referring to "facts" attributed to it by the article, The NSIDC's director said, "This is completely false. NSIDC has never made such a statement and we were never contacted by anyone from the Daily Mail."

So far, Fox News has run a note indicating that its original version included erroneous reporting. The Daily Mail doesn't seem to have responded, despite the fact that one of its competitors ran a story on its poor reporting.

It's not just the climate that brings out this sort of insanity. A recent review in the journal Pediatrics examined the incidence of digestive problems in children with autism. It concluded that there was no clear evidence that these problems occur at higher rates among those with autism, and absolutely no evidence that dietary interventions help autistic children. What the authors did suggest is that autistics may have dietary issues at the same rate as the regular population, but have difficulty communicating them; therefore, changes to diet can significantly improve their behavior.

It's a complicated message, which really requires a credible and authoritative source to convey. ABC News responded to that requirement by turning to actress Jenny McCarthy, who (predictably) complained that doctors weren't "listening to our anecdotal evidence." McCarthy has a long history of dismissing epidemiology, statistics, and all the other evidence-based tools we use to make public health decisions, so ABC News knew exactly what it was doing by giving her a podium. In essence, the message it sent was "we will intentionally undercut the best available science using a celebrity." Calling that message irresponsible grossly understates the problem.

If a news organization had put words in the mouth of a political figure, there would almost certainly be a firestorm of controversy. The same would occur if one had turned to a Hollywood star or sports figure for comment on, say, a Congressional Budget Office report. When it comes to science, however, the response seems to be limited to a few outraged bloggers. It's difficult not to think that there's a double standard involved in the complete indifference to accuracy when it comes to scientific information.


I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked, to find out the Daily Fail and Faux News don't fact check.

Also, wtf, ABC.
Magical Wes Animated

Tailormade Press for a Tea Party

Mind you, the teabaggers are TOTALLY an INDEPENDENT party not at all affiliated with the Republicans and Fox News, it's just that the Repub/winger media won the lottery as to who gets to cover this massive (semi)public demonstration of mutual onanism.


Tea Party Nation has received hundreds of requests for press credentials to cover this convention. Everyone from a small town newspaper in Iowa to Fox News has asked for press credentials. We have had requests from Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Croatia and Japan. We have been hard pressed to accommodate all of these requests and do not have the space or resources to support the entirety of the press corp. Indeed, we have asked the hotel if they would be willing to provide a press room during the convention. However, given these practical limitations, we have approved the following press organizations:

Fox News



The Wall Street Journal

World Net Daily
' jules
  • schmiss

Shenanigans Friday: January 15, 2010.

"Son, in LOLitics you've got to learn that overnight chicken shit can turn to chicken salad."-LOLdon B. Johnson
Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
  • macro blanks: browse by TAGS
  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)
MOAR Picture Sources:

by lone_concertina

Shepard Smith was held up at gunpoint in Haiti 18 years ago

Shepard Smith's Haiti Experience: 'I Was Too Green 18 years Ago to be Working There'

For Fox News anchor Shepard Smith the news from Haiti this week is reminding him of a reporting trip he took to the island nation during the chaotic days of the 1993 political power struggle and refugee crisis. Smith, who was working as a reporter for Fox affiliate WSVN, conducted an interview with a man in Port-au-Prince when things turned violent.

"A gunman took my crew and me from the street, confiscated our video tape, held us for a short time and threatened to kill the Haitian man who we'd just interviewed because of his position on the Jean Bertrand Aristide government," Smith tells TVNewser.

"It was a frightening experience for an inexperienced journalist," he says.

While Haiti's people are passionate, warm and resilient, its streets can be a very dangerous. I was too green 18 years ago to be working there."

After the jump, a YouTube clip of the story on Smith as reported by Ft. Myers station WBBH:

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  • wands

Max Blumenthal on Haiti's political history

"The American mainstream media is covering the Haitian earthquake as it always covers natural disasters: by showing graphic footage of wreckage and issuing plaintive calls for donations to aid agencies without any scintilla of political analysis. There is no other phrase for this style of coverage but disaster porn.

Those who have taken even a cursory interest in Haiti know there has been a longstanding campaign by Washington going back to the US Marine occupation that began in 1915 to control the country’s government and maintain it as an outpost for American corporate interests. Of course, the earthquake can’t be blamed on the so-called Washington consensus. However, the Haitian government’s inability to mount even a band-aid relief effort, combined with the fact that the decimated rural economy has overwhelmed Port-au-Prince with new residents, placing enormous stress on its already inadequate infrastructure and leading to the mass casualties we are witnessing, are factors directly linked to American meddling."

source + Max's article about Haiti for Salon.com is right here
Akuma River

Haiti Earthquake was the "Big One"

I know some of other articles have touched on this but this is a q and a with a seimologist about the earthquake.

Haiti Earthquake Was the 'Big One' Says Top Seismologist

By EBEN HARRELL / LONDON Eben Harrell / London – Wed Jan 13, 4:00 pm ET
The British Geological Survey in Edinburgh has been one of the leading geoscience research centers in the world since its founding in 1835. To understand more about the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Tuesday, TIME spoke with one of the survey's seismologists, Roger Musson, about the science behind the seismic event.

What sort of earthquake was this?
An earthquake is the sudden release of energy along a fault line in the earth's crust as rocks break in response to stress. There are three types, and they depend on the sort of movement along the fault. This was what we call a strike-slip, or transform, earthquake, where one side of the fault slides horizontally past the other one.(See pictures of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.)

Which fault produced this earthquake?
It is rather baroquely called the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault. It is a major plate boundary fault and is analogous to the San Andreas fault in California. It starts around the southern border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and runs west until it reaches Jamaica.

Was it the most destructive type of earthquake?
A thrust earthquake, in which one side of the fault goes up, is the type that produces truly enormous events like the Sumatra earthquake of 2004. But strike-slip faults often run through populated areas, so they can be the most damaging to humans.(Read "Haiti Death Toll May Be in the Thousands.")

People talk about waiting for the Big One in California. Was this a similar earthquake for this fault?
This was the Big One. The fault has been more or less locked for 200 years. Seismologists were unsure as to whether it would produce one Big One or several smaller ones. We seem to have the answer.

Does that mean the fault will be quiet now that the pressure has been released?
The pressure has probably shifted to the west, so it's likely that there will be another earthquake or perhaps a succession of earthquakes moving westward to Jamaica. That is not in the immediate future but in the next decades or 100 years. My guess would be that we will have another earthquake in Haiti or Jamaica within 20 or 40 years.

What about aftershocks?
Aftershocks, which are a sort of settling down of the earth's crust in the vicinity of the main shock, have been continuing [in Haiti], and the biggest was 5.9 [magnitude] and happened eight minutes after the main shock. But they seem to be slowing down. (Read "Italy's Earthquake: Could Tragedy Have Been Avoided?")

Will we learn anything scientifically from this earthquake?
Every earthquake teaches us something, but this is not really a remarkable earthquake - a similar one occurred in 1770 and 1751 on the fault.

Was this a fault that seismologists were concerned about, not for geological reasons but because of the vulnerability of the population there?
Seismologists are human. We are aware of such things. When I saw the data for this earthquake last night, I can tell you that my heart sank.
panda bear

(no subject)

Hillary Clinton heading to Haiti Saturday

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she is heading to Haiti to inspect the damage from this week's devastating earthquake firsthand.

Clinton will travel with USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah Saturday. She plans to meet with President Rene Preval and other Haitian officials.

She says she will inspect U.S. relief efforts. Clinton says she wants to convey to the Haitian people "our long term, unwavering support, solidarity and sympathies."

panda bear

(no subject)

Haitians in U.S. get protected status

A temporary protected status for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of Tuesday has been designated by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, she announced Friday.

"This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months," she said.

"Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery."

Napolitano estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Haitian nationals are in the United States illegally. She told reporters the temporary status allows them to stay for 18 months, authorizing them to work and send remittances back to Haiti as the nation "gets back on its feet."

However, she said, Haitians who now attempt to travel to the United States will not be eligible for the temporary status and will be repatriated to Haiti. She added that there have been no signs so far of an increase of Haitian nationals trying to enter the United States after Tuesday's earthquake.


Arizonan Republicans Stealing Money and Going Against The Wishes of an Old Lady? I am Shocked!

Arizona Republicans Reappropriate $250,000 Inheritance Meant For State Parks

As children, we learned the basic rules of respect: respect your parents, respect your teachers, and respect the dead. But someone needs to remind Arizona Republicans about that last one. GOP legislators recently pilfered a nearly $250,000 gift left by an elderly woman - now deceased - for the Arizona State Parks system.

The severity of budget cuts in Arizona is quite disturbing, but the cuts to State Parks have touched an especially raw nerve. In 2003, 82-year-old Asta Forrest left nearly $250,000 to the Arizona State Parks Board. This Danish immigrant's gift to Arizona was inspired by her love of its beautiful natural surroundings.

Fast forward to Arizona's current budget crisis. Instead of pursuing fair, common-sense solutions, Republicans started sweeping money from funds that weren't really theirs to touch. And last month, they swept up most of Asta Forrest's generous, heartfelt donation to Arizona's State Parks.
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Haiti: opportunity knocks

You want to hear about chutzpah? You want to hear about sheer gravity-defying audacity? Well, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, prepare to catch your lower jaw. Forget Limbaugh's racist anxieties. Forget about Pat Robertson drooling about Haiti's 'pact with the devil'. He's a senile old bigot, and his sick provocations are familiar by now. Collapse )

Republican Telling Tea Party Candidate to Take His Tea Bags Away.

3rd-Party Candidate Named Kennedy Could Tip Senate Race in Massachusetts

In most elections, a politician calling himself the Tea Party candidate would cheer Democrats, raising hopes that he would siphon votes from Republicans by attracting some of the disaffected anti-Washington, anti-Obama electorate.

But when the election is being held to fill a seat that was left vacant by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and the Tea Party candidate happens to be named Joe Kennedy, things get a little murkier.

Democrats here are concerned that some uninformed voters might confuse him for a member of the better-known, well-loved Kennedy clan, which he is not. And Mr. Kennedy’s libertarian positions make him even more of a wild card in the last days of the race: some could appeal to the right, like his call to abolish the federal Department of Education, while others could appeal to the left, like his call for immediately ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The underfinanced, little-publicized campaign of Mr. Kennedy, 38, is not likely to get many votes on Tuesday. But if the race between the major-party candidates — Martha Coakley, a Democrat and the state’s attorney general, and Scott Brown, a Republican state senator — is as tight as some polls suggest, Mr. Kennedy could play a key role by drawing just a few percentage points from either of them.

The fate of the Democrats’ bill to overhaul the health care system, whose passage depends on their keeping the Massachusetts Senate seat, just might be decided by Mr. Kennedy, a little-known information technology executive from Dedham.

At a campaign event here on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Kennedy, who spoke at length about competing economic theories and seemed a bit bookish in his gray suit, black loafers and, at times, rimless glasses, did not look very much like someone who just might change the balance of power in the Senate. Only a dozen people showed up to hear him speak in a community room in the basement of a library here, and one man sat and read a newspaper for almost the entire time.

But in an interview afterward, Mr. Kennedy said he had been deluged with e-mail messages from supporters of Mr. Brown, urging him to drop out of the race because they fear he could dilute the Republican vote, thus enabling the health care bill to pass.
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Akuma River

Google Hack? Another reason to NOT use IE.

Hack of Google, Adobe Conducted Through Zero-Day IE Flaw

•By Kim Zetter
•January 14, 2010 |
•2:27 pm |
•Categories: Hacks and Cracks

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a link to a Microsoft advisory about the new vulnerability as well as a Microsoft blog post discussing ways for users to reduce their risk of attack.

The recent hack attack on Google, Adobe and other companies occurred through exploitation of a zero-day vulnerability that affects many versions of Internet Explorer, according to Microsoft and a security researcher with a leading anti-virus firm.

Microsoft learned about the vulnerability only Wednesday evening, said the researcher, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak with the press.

Update: Microsoft has posted an advisory about the new vulnerability and issued a statement confirming that hackers breached Google and other unspecified companies using it.

The company indicated the flaw does not affect IE version 5.01 with service pack 4 and is difficult to exploit in other versions. The company also has so far not seen widespread attacks using the flaw, “only targeted and limited attacks exploiting IE6.”
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Google Hack Attack Was Ultra Sophisticated, New Details Show

By Kim Zetter January 14, 2010 | 8:01 pm | Categories: Breaches, Cybersecurity, Hacks and Cracks

Hackers seeking source code from Google, Adobe and dozens of other high-profile companies used unprecedented tactics that combined encryption, stealth programming and an unknown hole in Internet Explorer, according to new details released by the anti-virus firm McAfee.

“We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee. “It’s totally changing the threat model.”

Google announced Tuesday that it had been the target of a “highly sophisticated” and coordinated hack attack against its corporate network. It said the hackers had stolen intellectual property and sought access to the Gmail accounts of human rights activists. The attack originated from China, the company said.

The attackers used nearly a dozen pieces of malware and several levels of encryption to burrow deeply into the bowels of company networks and obscure their activity, according to Alperovitch.
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JL: Annoyed J. Law

Is looting a reality in Haiti right now?

It’s been three days since an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale devastated the small island nation of Haiti, leaving tens of thousands dead and many survivors homeless. Sadly, the images and stories emerging from the disaster—including dead children and aid shortages—are all too reminiscent of those that followed Hurricane Katrina. So is an unfortunate media talking point: looting.

Already, tales of “machete wielding gangs” looting Haiti’s rubble are widespread, from news outlets on the left and the right. Similar stories surfaced after Hurricane Katrina, but we now know of a large body of evidence proving that the media greatly exaggerated reports of post-Katrina New Orleans being overrun with violence and theft.

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There has been a lot of discussion among people I follow on twitter on whether it's really looting if you're looking for food for your family so I was curious to see what people here were thinking.

Despite the bad news, remember: Unity makes strength.

Haiti earthquake: anger turns to violence on the streets

Anger turned to violence on the streets of Haiti as earthquake survivors lost their patience with the painfully slow process of getting international aid to those desperate for food, water and medical treatment.

Although doctors, rescue teams and supplies had been flying into the capital, Port au Prince, a series of bottlenecks meant aid was not getting to those who needed it most.

The sound of gunfire echoed around Port au Prince as looters fought over scarce food supplies, hijacked vehicles and raided a UN warehouse where 15,000 tons of food had been stockpiled.

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I'm pretty sure by now all of us heard it's a "logistical nightmare" over there. Planes having to come back with help is too sad and frustrating for words. The protests are completely understandable but worrying. And security is definitely a problem. A group of Brazilians came back home for treatment and one of the soldiers (from one of the collapsed buildings) talked briefly to the press. He said immediately after the quake he left with another friend for back up/help and some Haitians were already looking for weapons under the wreckage.
I am the Lizard Queen!
  • maclyn

Nick Griffin, notorious gobshite, says UK aid to Haiti is "stinking elite hypocrisy"

Claims by BNP leader Nick Griffin that the UK winter will cause as many deaths as the Haiti earthquake have been condemned by the leader of the UK MEPs.

Glenis Willmott said fellow MEP Mr Griffin was trying to "stir up racial hatred" in his comments, made on social media websites on Thursday.

She said: "How can anyone not look at those horrific pictures from Haiti and not feel compassion?"

In response Mr Griffin described UK aid to Haiti as "stinking elite hypocrisy".

Mr Griffin's original postings, on Facebook and Twitter, said: "While the Haiti earthquake is terrible, the winter death toll in Britain will be similar. No aid here though."

About 45,000-50,000 people have died since Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince and 300,000 have been made homeless, according to UN estimates.

The Pan American Health Organization has estimated that the death toll could be as high as 100,000.

Cold deaths

Ms Willmott, Labour MEP for the East Midlands, said: "Yes, people will die here this winter, even though the Labour government set up a welfare state that spends billions to help prevent too many deaths."

She added: "Our government and local councils are quite rightly funded to do all they can to help everyone suffering from the cold.

"But I am also proud that our government will do all it can to help the people in Haiti and I totally support all the work done by the charities to get supplies out there as soon as possible."


Sending aid to rioting ingrates while our own people die is stinking elite hypocrisy
Nick Griffin

Mr Griffin, MEP for North West England, responded with another Twitter post, saying: "Individuals should give whatever they feel appropriate, but Britain is bankrupt. Fifty thousands pensioners will die... of cold this winter.

"Boys get blown to bits because we can't afford to armour their Land Rovers.... Sending aid to rioting ingrates while our own people die is stinking elite hypocrisy."

Asked about Mr Griffin's comments, BNP deputy leader Simon Darby criticised the government's £6m contribution to the aid effort in Haiti.

He said: "I'd rather see that £6m that we spent keeping our own people alive. You look after your own first.

"If they've got surplus money to give away to Haiti - how many people have died because we didn't have the infrastructure to grit the roads?"

Let me tell you, internet: I live in a hill in Scotland that is waaay above sea level, and it's gone down to about fifteen below zero here. And I turned up my heating and wore sensible boots outside. Now why don't folk in Haiti just do THAT?

Akuma River

Texas GOP infighting = gold popcorn

Hutchison's ammo falters in debate

12:21 AM CST on Friday, January 15, 2010

By WAYNE SLATER / The Dallas Morning News

DENTON – Kay Bailey Hutchison had to convince Republican primary voters of two things in Thursday's debate: why they should boot Rick Perry out of the governor's office and why they should put her in.

The veteran senator offered plenty of ammunition for the first: toll roads, new taxes, school dropouts under Perry's tenure and the dark warning of creeping cronyism in Austin.

But for the voters she needs – the conservative, small-government, anti-abortion party activists who will dominate turnout in March – the reason to pick her seemed a less convincing case.
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Sniping colors GOP debate: Clashes between Perry and Hutchison frustrate Medina
Jan. 15, 2010, 12:04PM

DENTON — Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison clashed repeatedly in the first Republican gubernatorial debate, speaking over one another and all but calling the other a liar.

Activist Debra Medina pushed for a place apart, describing Perry and Hutchison as politicians who embrace big-government solutions to Texas' problems. After one overlapping exchange of sniping between Hutchison and Perry, Medina expressed frustration.

“This squabbling isn't getting us anywhere,” Medina said.

The debate was a key exchange between the candidates leading into the March 2 primary. Only one other debate currently is scheduled for the Republicans. There is no Democratic debate scheduled between the front runners, former Houston Mayor Bill White and millionaire businessman Farouk Shami.

Perry, as the incumbent, was the one to beat going into the debate. And while he repeatedly showed he was willing to take the contest to Hutchison and Medina, they would not back down.

The senator went after Perry's veracity time and again, while he painted Hutchison as out of touch from her years in Washington.
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Campaign Trail Mix

12:00 AM CST on Friday, January 15, 2010

Christy Hoppe

White has $5.5 million

in his campaign coffers

Democrat Bill White has nearly $5.5 million in the bank for his race for governor, his campaign said Thursday. White, who jumped into the race Dec. 4, took in $2.5 million before the end of the year.

The former Houston mayor also transferred money from the account he established earlier to run for Senate.

Candidates face a deadline today to file campaign finance reports with the state. White will face hair care magnate Farouk Shami and five other contenders in the March 2 Democratic primary.

On the Republican side, Kay Bailey Hutchison has said that she has $12 million to spend, and Rick Perry is not far behind with $11.6 million.

Christy Hoppe