January 20th, 2010

comedy | J. Peterman

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Jan 19 2010.

A Haitian man washes the face of his wounded family member as he is treated at the Israeli army hospital on January 18, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haiti is trying to recover from a powerful 7.0-strong earthquake on January 12 that struck and devastated the country while displacing millions and killing thousands.

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Uriel Sinai | Getty Images

Check out the fully gallery: "Hati-- one Week Later" (Denver Post Photo Blog)

Why the Word "Marriage" Matters by Cristian Asher

Does marriage matter? Would we all be better off if the State "got out of the wedding business?"

This was the question posed repeatedly by Judge Vaughan Walker as the Proposition 8 trial got started in San Francisco last week. And it's one of those questions, like many issues in this trial, for which there's no perfect solution.

Theoretically, the answer should be yes. As long as the rules are consistent for everybody, gay and straight, then what the state calls its version of a legal union shouldn't matter.

But real life is not that simple. The fact is, the word "marriage" carries enormous power in our society, and that's not going to change any time soon.


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Haiti hit by second strong earthquake

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/20/haiti-hit-by-second-earthquake

A second strong earthquake hit Haiti today, waking people from their beds and sending others running into the streets in panic.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 6.1, and hit a country already ravaged by an earthquake eight days ago.

The tremor was centered 26 miles north-west of Jacmel, and there were no immediate reports of injuries. The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 13.7 miles.
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Damn, that was so good I wanna buy him a short set...

January 19, 2010
More Men Marrying Wealthier Women

Beagy Zielinski is a German-born 28-year-old stylist who moved to New York to study fashion in 1995 and stayed. Just before Christmas, she broke up with her blue-collar boyfriend, who repaired Navy ships.

“He was extremely insecure about my career and how successful I am,” Ms. Zielinski said.

An analysis of census data to be released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center found that she and countless women like her are victims of a role reversal that is profoundly affecting the pool of potential marriage partners.

“Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women,” said Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center. “In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men.”

The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women’s earnings have been increasing faster than men’s since the 1970s.

“We’ve known for some time that men need marriage more than women from the standpoint of physical and mental well-being,” said Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director for the Council on Contemporary Families, a research and advocacy group. “Now it is becoming increasingly important to their economic well-being as well.”

The education and income gap has grown even more in the latest recession, when men held about three in four of the jobs that were lost. The Census Bureau said Friday that among married couples with children, only the wife worked in 7 percent of the households last year, compared with 5 percent in 2007. The percentage rose to 12 percent from 9 percent for blacks, among whom the education and income gap by gender has typically been even greater.

“I’m not married, I would like to be married, and my friends are all in a similar situation,” said Dr. Rajalla Prewitt, a 38-year-old psychiatrist in New Jersey. “We’re having difficulty finding someone where there’s a meeting of the minds, where we can have the same goals and values.”

“Particularly, African-American men who are educated want a traditional home where they are the breadwinner,” said Dr. Prewitt, who is a black woman.

In 2007, the Pew report found, median household incomes of married men, married women and unmarried women were all about 60 percent higher than in 1970. But among unmarried men, median household income rose by only 16 percent. These days, men who marry typically gain another breadwinner.

In 1970, 28 percent of wives had husbands who were better educated, and 20 percent were married to men with less education. By 2007, the comparable figures were 19 percent and 28 percent. In 1970, 4 percent of husbands had wives who made more money; in 2007, 22 percent did.

College-educated wives are less likely to have a husband who is college-educated and in the highest income bracket than they were in 1970, and married women are less likely to have a husband who works.

“Among all married couples,” the report said, “wives contribute a growing share of the household income, and a rising share of those couples include a wife who earns more than her husband.”

While marriage rates have declined over all, women with college degrees are still more likely to marry today than less educated women.

But some women find that the dating pressures are intense. Syreeta McFadden, a 35-year-old Columbia and Sarah Lawrence graduate who is between jobs after working in real estate development, said: “With men of any ethnic group, it’s a little intimidating for them to encounter smart women. Money is tricky.

“But, I think for me, it comes down to compatibility,” Ms. McFadden said. “Can you grow with me? Or as my genius friend the textile designer says, she asks on first dates or meeting men in bars, ‘Do you have a passport and a library card?’ ”

Elaine Richardson, who is in her 50s, is divorced and owns a health care consulting firm in Westchester, said that men “call you high maintenance if you look like you don’t need anyone to take care of you.”

Professor Coontz at Evergreen State recalled that from the late 19th century through the 1940s, it was not uncommon for a woman to finish high school or go to college and marry a man who made more but was less educated.

“This changed in the 1950s to 1970, as financial returns to education really mounted for men, but not for women,” Professor Coontz said.

The latest shift, Professor Coontz said, “is truly a sea change in gender relations within marriage.”

“Many people have worried that men’s increasing dependence on their wives, especially if they are laid off, might lead to the kind of backlash against women workers that happened in the Great Depression,” Professor Coontz said. “But I think that wives’ work has become so normative that this is unlikely.”

Ms. Zielinski, the fashion stylist, said her best friend, a man, told her once: “ ‘You are confident, have good credit, own your own business, travel around the world and are self-sufficient. What man is going to want you?’ He laughed, but I found that pretty depressing.”


The accompanying picture to the article did give me pause because I thought it was gonna be the tired "women of colour can't find a man" meme. I actually wish there was a "huh." tag because that's exactly my first reaction to the article. Huh.
' jules
  • schmiss

oh boy

Palin To Campaign For Bachmann, McCain, Perry

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) campaign has just announced that she will be joined by a very special guest on the campaign trail: Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), who will be coming to Minnesota to help with Bachmann's re-election campaign.

"There is absolutely no one more in tune with the hearts and minds of everyday Americans than Governor Palin, and I'm excited to welcome her back to our beautiful state this spring," said Bachmann, in the press release.

The event will happen on April 7 -- and should probably be pretty fun to watch. Palin is also set to campaign for Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and her former running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), both of whom are facing primary challenges.

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GOOD as far as I'm concerned. No better way to rile up the Dem base and alienate independents than sending Palin over here.
there are going to be some tears about the fact that Palin is endorsing McCain and not Hayworth.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Scaling the Digital Wall in China

Scaling the Digital Wall in China

The Great Firewall of China is hardly impregnable.

Just as Mongol invaders could not be stopped by the Great Wall, Chinese citizens have found ways to circumvent the sophisticated Internet censorship systems designed to restrict them.

They are using a variety of tools to evade government filters and to reach the wide-open Web that the Chinese government deems dangerous — sites like YouTube, Facebook and, if Google makes good on its threat to withdraw from China, Google.cn.

It’s difficult to say precisely how many people in China engage in acts of digital disobedience. But college students in China and activists around the world say the number has been growing ever since the government stepped up efforts to “cleanse” the Web during the Beijing Olympics and the Communist regime’s 60th anniversary last year.

As part of that purge, the Chinese government shut down access to pornography sites, blogs, online video sites, Facebook, Twitter and more.

While only a small percentage of Chinese use these tools to sidestep government filters, the ease with which they can do it illustrates the difficulty any government faces in enforcing the type of strict censorship that was possible only a few years ago.

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I thought this was a really interesting article, albeit short, about how people are getting around their government censoring the internet. That, and I'm eating up everything on the Google-China thing like candy.

A really good article summing up everything to date, mainly because of all the links, is this, and I recommend it: Google v. China: the Chinese government reacts. Definitely, definitely, check it out, especially the links to the Chinese press, which definitely puts a very different spin on everything.

Teen expelled for guns in off-campus car

Hearing on teen's guns draws crowd

By Hudson Sangree
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 - 10:01 am

link to article

A teenager expelled from Willows High School for parking on the edge of campus with two duck-hunting shotguns in his pickup truck took his case to the Glenn County Board of Education on Tuesday, asking it to overturn his expulsion.

After a three-hour hearing, the board said it would issue its ruling Friday.

Gary Tudesko's case, in a rural community where waterfowl hunting and gun ownership are a way of life, has drawn national attention and sparked an impassioned debate over gun rights and public safety in the wake of Columbine and other campus shootings.

Tudesko's disciplinary record for disruptive behavior and racist remarks has further complicated the issue.

The slight 16-year-old junior sat between his parents in a packed meeting room, looking somewhat stunned as lawyers argued, supporters clapped and voiced opinions among themselves, and banks of television cameras recorded the proceedings.

Disciplinary hearings normally are closed, but Tudesko's parents requested that his expulsion hearings be open to the public.

"I never thought it would go this far," Tudesko said afterward.

The facts of the case are undisputed. On the morning of Oct. 26, Tudesko and a friend went hunting for geese and ducks in the rice fields south of Willows. Then Tudesko, who said he was worried about being late for school, drove straight to campus and left the unloaded shotguns and ammunition in the truck's back seat. He parked on West Willow Street, a few feet from the campus' tennis courts.

Later, as private security guards performed a perimeter search, a gun-sniffing dog alerted to his vehicle. Tudesko was called out of class to open his truck.

Mort Geivett, the Willows High School principal, suspended him, and on Nov. 19, the governing board of the Willows Unified School District ordered him expelled for the rest of the school year.

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tin man - glitch/cain (friends of doroth
  • kseda

Prop 8 Trial - Day Seven

Resources: Liveblogs of the proceedings and commentary
Firedog Lake Trial Coverage
Prop 8 Trial Tracker

Day 7 Preview and More from Mayor Sanders
January 20, 2010

By Eden James

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization that has funded the legal challenge to Prop 8 in this court case, announced in a press release that the following gentlemen will be taking the stand on Wednesday — Day 7 of the Prop 8 trial:
Ryan Kendall, a gay man who will testify about the “conversation therapy” he underwent in his youth and how he has been affected by discrimination
Gary M. Segura, Ph.D,Professor of American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He will testify about the relative political power of gays and lesbians as a class of citizens, and their level of political vulnerability.

The rest of AFER’s press release is below the fold, including comments by Mayor Jerry Sanders and his lesbian daughter Lisa at the daily post-trial press conference on Tuesday (as well as the YouTubed speech by Sanders shown at the trial on Tuesday). A staunch Republican and conservative, Sanders made this provocative point at the press event about the meaning of equality:
“I think denying marriage equality is just as wrong as telling blacks that they couldn’t use white-only drinking fountains. It’s government action that’s founded in prejudice,” Sanders said to reporters at the courthouse. “The first step towards equality in society is equality under the law.”

Longtime reporter Rex Wockner also attended the Sanders presser and has photos and quotes here.

ETA: FDL's liveblog for today: Part 1 (objection wrangling and depositions) | Part 2 (with Kendall and Dr. Segura's testimony)
ETA 2: Prop 8 Trial Tracker's liveblog for today: Part 1 | Part 2

ETA 2: Prop 8 Trial Tracker sued for copyright infringement over their logo, which is a parody of the "yes on 8" logo. I am linking this as it brings the lulz in the midst of today's testimony, which...mostly does not.

I'm taking over for bnmc2005 today, as they have jury duty. There are rumors going around that a studio is going to be doing a reenactment à la the Michael Jackson trial and putting it on YouTube, so IF this happens I will totally add links. Proceedings begin at 8:30 am PST!


Triumphant Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown veered off-script in his acceptance speech last night, mentioning that his two daughters were "available." Was it "funny ha-ha," "funny strange," or just plain creepy?

In an awkward departure from his prepared remarks, Brown told the crowd that his college-age daughters Ayla and Arianna were "both available." Ayla, apparently playing along, told him, "not Arianna," at which point he extended the awkwardness by pointing out, "Arianna definitely is not available, but Ayla is." Brown finished up the creep portion of his speech with the words, "I can tell I'm going to be getting in trouble when I get home" — but he may be in trouble with bloggers as well as his daughters. Medaite comments, "now talking heads will debate for the next 24 hours – was that comment 'funny ha-ha'? Or just 'funny strange?'" We're going to go with "gross."

Brown (who, as most know by now, once posed nude for Cosmo) has been accused of sexism in the past. At a rally, one of his supporters shouted, "Shove a curling iron up her butt," referring to opponent Martha Coakley, and Brown appeared to respond, "We can do this." It's not totally clear whether Brown's comment was a direct response, SFGate blogger Zennie62 points out that he didn't take the time to condemn the "curling iron" remark either. And after a presidential campaign rife with cries of "terrorist" and "kill him," candidates can no longer simply let their supporters' hateful words slide (though, for the record, Brown denies having heard his supporter's remark).

Brown's weirdness about his daughters didn't rise to "curling iron" levels, but it's unlikely Brown would've made a similar comment if he'd had sons. However, his supporters will no doubt find it reassuring that after his foray into matchmaking, Brown returned to what's really important — his truck.


Lawrence O'Donnell: Will Scott Brown Ruin Republicans' (Secret) Plan to Pass Obamacare?

It is now a given that if he wins a Massachusetts Senate seat on Tuesday, Scott Brown will destroy the Democrats' plan to pass health care reform. But he will also destroy the Republicans' not-so-secret plan to pass health care reform.

In Washington, where everyone is desperate to know what's happening behind closed doors, all you have to do to keep something secret is do it out in the open, preferably on C-Span. Mitch McConnell did exactly that when he entered a unanimous consent agreement with Harry Reid about how to proceed on the health care bill. McConnell knew that agreement was going to make it impossible for Republicans to amend the bill and would put it on a fast track toward passage.

McConnell accepted an agreement brilliantly designed by Reid that required 60 votes to pass an amendment. McConnell did that without anyone noticing anything odd after a year of saturation coverage of the importance of 60 votes in the Senate. Everyone outside the Senate now thinks it takes 60 votes to do anything. Not amendments. Amendments pass by a simple majority, 51 votes. Amendments are usually debated for a couple of minutes or hours or days, then voted on. Once in a while, a 60-vote cloture motion is needed to end debate on an amendment. What McConnell agreed to was an implicit cloture motion in every vote on every amendment, thereby completely surrendering the minority's real power. In all my years in the Senate, I never saw a leader make such a mistake. If it was a mistake.

There are no real filibusters in the Senate anymore. The way you "filibuster" a bill that you want to kill is offer an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments that have to be debated and voted on. It's easy to come up with one amendment per page of legislation. That's why the Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the Senate committees' debates on the bill. When the majority leader brings up a two thousand page bill, the minority would normally come up with at least five hundred amendments that could drag out the debate for several months. That's what the Republicans did in 1994 when they killed the Clinton health care reform bill on the Senate floor. No filibuster, no forcing the Democrats to clear 60-vote procedural hurdles, no forcing a reading to the bill, just an endless stream of reasonable sounding amendments -- so reasonable that some of them passed with votes of 100 to 0. And the Democrats, seeing this could go on forever, surrendered. Fifty-seven Democrats were defeated by forty-three determined Republicans.

This time, Republicans tried to look obstructionist. To the media, the Tea Partiers, and Sarah Palin, it sure looked like Republicans were pulling out all the stops -- forcing a reading of the bill, forcing a frail elderly senator to vote in the middle of the night. But the Republicans only offered four substantive amendments along with five hopeless motions to send the bill back to the Finance Committee. One Republican amendment actually got 51 votes, but didn't pass because McConnell's 60-vote agreement with Reid sabotaged it. A Democratic amendment on re-importation of prescription drugs got more than 50 votes but did not pass. It would have shot a hole through Harry Reid's bill, as would other Democratic amendments that got more than 50 votes and failed. McConnell's unanimous consent agreement with Reid made Reid's bill impenetrable on the floor.

There are no columnists or pundits who understand Senate parliamentary procedure. There are actually very few senators who do. McConnell knows that. He knew everyone would fall for the silly stunts that looked obstructionist while he was surrendering all his power to Reid.

And now the strategy becomes clear: Repeal it! That is the Republican Party battle cry for the 2010 election. Repealing Obamacare is going to be the centerpiece of their campaign to take back the House and Senate. But how can you repeal it if they don't pass it. Hence, Mitch McConnell's enabling.

President Obama threatening to violate a campaign pledge by taxing workers' health care plans is one thing, but actually doing it is a dream come true for Republicans. They know the health care reform bill has a handful of taxes like that, none of which were mentioned by any Democrat in the last campaign. They can't wait to campaign to repeal those taxes. The internal Republican strategy debate now is should we repeal the whole bill or maybe leave some of the more popular sounding bits alone? But how can they run on any kind of repeal if Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts and steps into the Senate just in time to kill Obamacare?

If that happens, and the Democrats then scale back their dreams on cap and trade and other liberal ideas, then maybe moderate independents -- including some of Scott Brown's voters -- might think Mitch McConnell has all the Republicans he needs to keep the Democrats on the moderate course those voters prefer. So who is Mitch McConnell really rooting for in Massachusetts?

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/will-scott-brown-ruin-rep_b_426604.html


Questions raised about anti-abortion groups getting Va. license plate fee

When a Virginia driver purchases a specialty "Choose Life" anti-abortion license plate, $15 of the $25 processing fee goes to Heartbeat International, a Christian group that distributes the money to pregnancy resource centers located across the state.

Critics say the license plate program doesn't do enough to determine whether a clinic is qualified for the money. One pregnancy center listed by several anti-abortion groups as a certified clinic -- the Mattingly Test Center in Loudoun County -- is a two-story brick house owned by Linda Mattingly, a former director at Care Net, a Leesburg-based pregnancy network. There are no signs in front indicating it is a clinic, the Internal Revenue Service has no record of it as a 503(c) nonprofit, and it is not registered as a corporation with the Virginia secretary of state.

A woman who answered the door of the Ashburn house last week said pregnancy services had been, but no longer were, provided there. She did not give her name before closing the door. The Washington Post tried to reach Mattingly by phone, but messages were not returned.

Mattingly is listed on Heartbeat's Web site as among the anti-abortion clinics in Virginia in good standing and, according to the Richmond Coalition for Life, is eligible for funding.

Kristin Hansen, a Care Net spokeswoman, said that the Mattingly Test Center is "not an entity we are aware of" and that its listing might have been an "inadvertent mistake" by Care Net. Peggy Hartshorn, president of Ohio-based Heartbeat International, said the emphasis should be on "the incredible work" that pregnancy centers provide. She said Heartbeat officials will, nevertheless, be vetting pregnancy centers in Virginia as the state money begins to come in.

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Source is SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED. Incidentally, if you're also in VA, check out the other plate.
# what is that?
  • schmiss

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum that's inappropriate.

Glenn Beck welcomes Scott Brown to Washington: ‘This one could end with a dead intern.’

On his radio show today, Fox News host Glenn Beck praised the victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-MA), complaining that the media called the race too early because he wanted to better “savor” the moment. But Beck quickly pivoted to attacking Brown for an awkward joke he made during his acceptance speech last night. After introducing his daughters to the crowd, Brown said “just in case anybody throughout the country” was wondering, “yes, they’re both available.” Beck was outraged by Brown’s comments, implying that the new Republican senator may be a sexual predator capable of killing young women:
BECK: I want a chastity belt on this man, I want his every move watched in Washington. I don’t trust this guy. No, I’m just telling you. … This one could end with a dead intern. This one could end with a dead intern.

COHOST: Dead intern? I’m not sure I’d go that far.

BECK: I’m just saying it could end with a dead intern. … I’m just saying: Congratulations, now let’s monitor him. Let’s put an ankle bracelet on him. Let’s just know where he is at all times.

COHOST: You’re raining on the parade. We needed 10 minutes of celebration and you are a non-stop rain cloud.

BECK: Okay, we’ll get to the celebration now — if that’s what you think is appropriate.
Listen here:

Yesterday on his TV show, Beck conceded, “I don’t trust Scott Brown.” He explained his wariness: “[Brown] posed naked in Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1982. I mean — really? I question the judgment of man who thinks anyone wants to see the male body naked: 100 percent of Americans agree naked males should never, ever be seen — ever.


I know he was joking (at least I think so, he does go on about it for a while in the actual clip) but can you imagine if Olbermann said that? wtf

(no subject)

University can reject Christian courses, Calif. court rules

(RNS) The University of California has the right to reject courses taught at Christian high schools, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday (Jan. 12).

Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, Calif., and the Association of Christian Schools International claimed the university's review policy was unconstitutional because it refused to certify courses that taught creationism and other beliefs.

"The district court correctly determined that UC's rejections of the Calvary courses were reasonable and did not constitute viewpoint discrimination," the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Students from private schools must meet certain high-school requirements before they are eligible to apply to an undergraduate campus of the University of California.

The court ruled that evidence in the case failed to show that the university was discriminating on the basis of religion.

"UC's policy and its individual course decisions are not based on religion, but on whether a high school course is college preparatory,"
the three-judge panel ruled.


Hate crimes in South Beach soar; gays flee

The makeup artist does not look happy. A bloody gash on his forehead is fastened with black stitches, scrapes cover his cheeks, and his eyes — once lined with mascara — are badly swollen. Tony Lopez hides behind a pair of sunglasses and explains why he looks so rough: "I got jumped for being gay."

Three days earlier, everything had been fine. Lopez, a 29-year-old employee of MAC Cosmetics, was celebrating the White Party — the world's largest fundraiser for AIDS — in South Beach. He dressed up, watched a drag show with two friends, and ordered a vodka cranberry cocktail at Twist nightclub.

It was 4 a.m. November 29 when he wandered by himself to the take-out window of David's Cuban Café on Meridian Avenue near Lincoln Road. As he approached the line for food, an aggressive 20-something staggered up to him.

"Got a cigarette?" he asked. Tony shook a Marlboro Mild from the pack and handed him one.

Right then, a gang — Tony remembers four men — "appeared out of the woodwork." They shoved him into the alley behind the restaurant, yelled "Fucking faggot!" and began to punch him. He fell to the ground and tried to shield his head as they kicked him in the face.

"It crossed my mind to play dead," Tony recalls. "I felt completely helpless and degraded." Afterward, he stumbled a couple of blocks and passed out on the sidewalk.

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Sorry, gerls. I know it's incredibly long.
Akuma River

The Net Neutrality Wars continue

Skype, Wireless Companies Fight to Shape Net-Neutrality Regs
By Ryan Singel January 15, 2010 | 4:24 pm | Categories: Telecommunications

The tech industry inundated federal regulators Thursday with pleas for and against new rules limiting what ISPs can do with internet traffic.

The pleadings were a final attempt to shape upcoming net-neutrality regulations, whose broad outlines were announced by the FCC in October. Advocates say that without the rules ISPs will start monkeying with net traffic, stifling innovation. Wireless carriers and regulation foes say the market will prevent such abuses and new rules will dry up capital investment.
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Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Why the Gay Marriage Trial Should be Public

There are many ways to frame the gay-marriage trial taking place this week in San Francisco: it's either a piece of Vegas-style showboating by former Bush v. Gore adversaries David Boies and Theodore Olson, or a noble quest for marital equality in America. But perhaps the most potent framing casts it as a grand battle between elitist, antidemocratic courts on the one hand and ordinary Americans on the other. That storyline suffered a major hit when the anti-gay-marriage team waged an epic fight to prevent the trial from being broadcast.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger promises to be a sprawling exploration into every aspect of the fight over gay marriage. But beneath all the social science there lies a deep institutional anxiety about whether California voters or the federal courts should be the arbiters of what marriage means. Opponents of gay rights have argued against allowing unelected judges to substitute their values for those of the American people. As an argument, it has legs. It's populist. It's catchy. But it's awfully hard to be a populist when you've come out against broadcasting the trial.

The question for the federal court is whether Proposition 8—the California ballot initiative in November 2008 that limited marriage to one man and one woman (overturning the state Supreme Court in the process)—is unconstitutional. The inquiry is not a narrow or technical one. That's why Judge Vaughn Walker (a George H.W. Bush appointee, if you're apt to keep score) decided to broadcast the trial on a delayed basis on YouTube. Last week, minutes before the trial opened, the U.S. Supreme Court responded to an emergency request from proponents of the gay-marriage ban and blocked YouTube coverage for at least several days. On Wednesday, by a 5–4 vote, it extended the ban indefinitely. Asking the Supreme Court—which bans cameras in its own courtroom—to decide whether a federal court can broadcast the most important gay-rights trial of the decade is a bit like asking Tiger Woods to rule on whether adultery is bad. But the Supreme Court's fear of the public notwithstanding, it's now clear that Prop 8's supporters' anxiety about allowing the masses into their lawsuit betrays a deep ambivalence about the same American voter they purport to be defending.

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Akuma River

Another reason to lay down more Undersea Cables for the Internet...it can save lives!

Undersea Internet Cables Could Detect Electromagnetic Tsunami Signals

•By Alexis Madrigal
•January 19, 2010 |
•5:54 pm |
•Categories: Earth Science


Tsunamis may be detectable with underwater fiber-optic cables, according to a new detailed model of the electrical fields the moving water generates.

The charged particles in the ocean water interact with Earth’s magnetic field to induce voltage of up to 500 millivolts in the cables that ferry internet traffic around. With relatively simple technology, those voltage spikes could serve as a tsunami-warning system for nations that can’t afford large arrays of other types of sensors.

“What we argue is that this is such a simple system to set up and start measuring,” said Manoj Nair, a geomagnetist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the research. “We have a system of submarine cables already existing. The only thing we probably need is a voltmeter, in theory.”

The salt in ocean water makes it a good electrical conductor. Positively charged sodium and negatively charged chlorine ions in the solution are free to move. In a large movement of ocean water, these ions are carried across the Earth’s magnetic field creating an electrical field.

Decades ago, Bell Labs researchers revealed that the movement of ocean water after the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake created “a large-scale motional electric field” that was detectable by an underwater cable. But the work wasn’t followed up because alternative technologies were available that could take better measurements.

Rich countries like the United States can install sea bottom pressure arrays like those used by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. These directly detect the motion of large amounts of water.

But some countries can’t afford to install and maintain those arrays, so it could be critical to have a lower-cost alternative.

Nair’s work, which will be published in February’s Earth, Planets and Space, quantified the physics of this lower-cost alternative by building a model of the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. He and his team showed that the voltages induced in the submarine cables would be large enough to measure.

It’s a major step towards turning this speculative idea into a real system, and he stressed that other groups would have to confirm the results of their model through observations.

“We treat this as a novel idea that we’re putting forth, but it still needs to be taken seriously and verified by other groups,” Nair cautioned.

Akuma River

Google continues to use its power for good

Googlers Create Haitian Victim Information Portal
•By David Pierce
•January 17, 2010 |
•6:17 pm |
•Categories: Crowdsourcing, Media, Search


Google engineers have created a portal to collect and disseminate whatever may be known about the fate of people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, an attempt to create a single clearinghouse for information that is being culled by plenty of sites but remains overall a dispersed and disorganized mess.

The idea is to get the world’s media and NGOs to coalesce around what would amount to a single, authoritative Haiti victim Wiki for anything that might be known about the hundreds of thousands of people killed, wounded and left homeless by last Tuesday’s quake, which leveled major portions of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and left some 200,000 and counting dead.
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FBI charges 22 over alleged foreign bribery

The US has charged 22 executives or employees of security-related firms with conspiring to bribe an African country over a $15m (£9m) arms sale.

Some 150 FBI agents took part in an operation involving a sting, which led to the arrest of 21 suspects in Las Vegas and one in Miami.

Five of those charged are UK nationals and City of London Police were also involved in the operation.

The inquiry involves firms trading in arms and law enforcement equipment.

US justice officials said the charges represented the largest single investigation and prosecution carried out so far under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The law bars US citizens and companies, as well as foreign people and companies acting in the US, from bribing foreign government officials in order to get or keep business.

According to court documents, the accused engaged in a scheme to pay bribes to the minister of defence for an African country in order to win a portion of a $15m deal to outfit its presidential guard.

But the scheme was part of an undercover operation by the FBI and no minister of defence was actually involved.

As part of the sting, the accused allegedly agreed to pay a 20% "commission" to a sales agent who they believed represented the minister of defence, having been told half of that money would go to the minister.

They then allegedly agreed to create two price quotations in connection with the deal, court documents say, with one representing the true cost of the goods and the other adding the 20% "commission" to it.

The sales agent was in fact an undercover FBI agent.

Dragon Age: Andraste's Flaming Sword

Israel deports American employed by Palestinian news outlet

JERUSALEM -- The American editor of a Palestinian news agency was removed from Israel on Wednesday after being questioned by authorities about his "anti-Israeli" views.

The case highlights what some nonprofit organizations say is a tightened Israeli policy toward foreign nationals who live or work in the occupied West Bank. It comes during an intensifying feud, as well, over foreign government funding for organizations seen to promote Palestinian interests -- including efforts by Israeli politicians and non-governmental organizations to curb the flow of money from outside.

Jared Malsin, chief English editor of the Maan News Agency, based in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, was detained a week ago at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport and denied entry to the country.

Malsin has worked for the news agency -- a nonprofit organization supported by grants from the U.S. and European governments and the United Nations -- for two and a half years, relying on a series of three-month tourist visas to extend his stay without a work permit.Collapse )

Sauce has no comments to rage about this time.

Palestinians in Gaza donate to Haiti

It might be one of the world’s poorest areas, besieged by its neighbour Israel, but Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been donating what little they have to help those struck by the earthquake in Haiti.

Among the donations collected by a Red Cross representative: toys, toiletries and sweets – small luxuries that Gazans know only too well can brighten spirits in the face of devastation. Some also gave money.

Dr Jamal Khudari, from the Palestinian Committee against the Siege said: “It’s a symbolic donation for the people of Haiti, for the children of Haiti, to tell them that we feel the suffering.”

There are ruins in the Gaza Strip reminiscent of the scenes in Haiti. These were not caused by a natural disaster, but by bombs and shells in Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza, which drew to a close a year ago. Israel blamed attacks by militants for sparking the offensive.

The reason for the destruction might be different, but Palestinians say they understand Haiti’s pain.


Reid Confirms That There Will Be No Work On Health Care Until Brown Arrives

By Sofia Sanchez University of New Mexico/Talk Radio News Service

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) confirmed Wednesday that the Senate will abstain from health care reform negotiations until newly elected Republican Senator Scott Brown (Mass.) comes to Washington.

“We are going to wait until the new Senator arrives to do anything more on health care,” said Reid. “We need to work with [Republicans] as partners and not partisans to improve the individual lives of Americans.”

Referring to the Republican party as the party of ‘no,’ Reid offered his hope that 2010 will be more productive and unified.

“As we have worked to relieve the suffering of the American people, Republicans have made a political calculation not to participate, and that was evident to what took place last year,” Reid stated. “Their answer to everything has been no. Hard to comprehend, even with funding the troops.”

Reid’s message to Republicans is that the people of Massachusetts gave them a new opportunity to govern, and he hopes that the minority party will take that opportunity to govern fairly.

“The election in Massachusetts changes the math in the Senate,” said Reid. “But it does not change the fact that people are hurting, it does does not change our commitment to help those who are hurting.”


The president already said the same thing (@Huffpo). So what comes after "watered-down"?
panda bear

(no subject)

Cindy McCain Joins Campaign For Gay Marriage

On Wednesday, the NOH8 campaign protesting California's Proposition 8 announced a new high-profile Republican supporter: John McCain's wife, Cindy McCain. NOH8 is a photo project in which subjects are photographed wearing white, against a white background, with their mouths taped shut and "NOH8" painted on their faces.

McCain's daughter Meghan McCain -- a vocal proponent of marriage equality -- posed for NOH8 last summer. (Her Daily Beast piece explaining why she posed can be found here.)

The NOH8 website posted the following note, along with McCain's photo, expressing the campaign's surprise and appreciation that she decided to join the cause.

In the year since we've started the NOH8 Campaign, we've been surprised at some of the different individuals who have approached us showing their support. Few, though, have surprised us more than Cindy McCain--the wife of Senator John McCain and mother to vocal marriage equality advocate Meghan McCain. The McCains are one of the most well-known Republican families in recent history, and for Mrs. McCain to have reached out to us to offer her support truly means a lot. Although we had worked with Meghan McCain before and we were aware of her own position, we'd never really thought the cause might be something her mother could get behind.

Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn't matter - marriage equality isn't a Republican issue any more than it is a Democratic issue. It's about human rights, and everybody being treated equally in the eyes of the law that runs and protects this country.


~i see your true colors la derecha chilena

Ivan Moreira proposes "curfew" for September 11

"Do not fear the curfew, it is a way of protecting citizens and does not signal a return to military rule," said the UDI Rep.

The UDI Deputy Ivan Moreira, proposed the government to evaluate the option of imposing a curfew, to prevent possible violence on the commemoration of Sept. 11.

"It is not fanciful to argue that the tenor of the violence which could occur that day, the government (...) is required to assess, depending on the acts on that day, the possibility of a curfew," said the parliamentarian.

On his proposal, Moreira affirmed that, "We must not fear the curfew, it is a way of protecting citizens and that does not signify a return to military rule. In addition, the deputy criticized La Concertacion, which in his view, for 20 years has been "unable to suppress (the acts of violence) and protect those sectors which are most vulnerable" during such activities.

Regarding the particular date, Moreira insisted that "would not surprise me that the government has to evaluate a curfew," because in its view this commemoration is "The Fiestas Patrias [Chilean indepence celebration on the 18 of September] of murderers, criminals, extremists and violent sectors of the left."

SOURCE Another translation by me from Spanish.

I thought this was relevent with Pinera's election. Ahh, so much fail here I don't even know where to start. Ivan Moreira = the guy who wanted a Pinochet statue at La Moneda right across from the one of Allende. So yeah, he's already a pretty classy dude :/ And the UDI = the Teabaggers of Chile. But scarier.
Akuma River

Photobook of Haiti pre-Earthquake to raise money for Haiti post-Earthquake

Photographers Unite for Haiti Fundraising
•By Brendan Seibel
•January 19, 2010 |
•2:34 pm |
•Categories: Photojournalism


As people around the world are bombarded by the striking aftermath photos from the Haiti earthquake, a group of photographers have quickly collaborated on a fundraising magazine for Haitian relief. Proceeds from the publication are being donated to the Red Cross.

Spearheaded by Bay Area photographer Lane Hartwell, Oné Respe collects images from pre-earthquake Haiti combined with essays. Contributions have been donated by photographers such as Peter Pereira, Mary Ellen Mark and Chet Gordon.

“I kept thinking, how can I do something with photography,” said Hartwell. “That’s the only thing I have to do anything with.”

The morning after Haiti suffered a 7.0 earthquake, Hartwell contacted Pereira who had been working in Haiti two months prior. Intent on a quick turnaround, Hartwell selected photographers instead of soliciting submissions. “We wanted to get it out and on the shelves as quickly as possible, and that was what we did,” she said.

Hartwell hopes the photographs selected offset the grim images pouring in from Haiti. “It’s a really hopeful issue,” she said, “These are really hopeful photos, and they show the beauty of Haiti and the beauty of the people there.” Hartwell and Pereira are discussing ways to revisit Haiti when rebuilding begins.

The magazine is being produced by MagCloud, an HP web service that prints on demand. Derek Powazek, an associate of Hartwell and employee of MagCloud, offered to design the magazine. Powazek also arranged the production with HP and MagCloud. Other friends stepped in to write press releases or arrange the magazine’s layout. “It was a combined effort of a lot of people,” said Hartwell. She estimates the magazine was available within 30 hours of conception.

Word is spreading through Twitter, blogs and other social media. Photographers have begun offering ad space for Oné Respe on their websites. The magazine is featured on MagCloud’s front page and the company is donating their printing costs so that proceeds can go directly to the Red Cross.

Cover image of Oné Respe by Peter Pereira

This article has been updated to reflect MagCloud’s decision to donate their printing costs.

Oné Respe
Buy Oné Respe for $12 All proceeds go to the Red Cross for Haiti
Oné Respe Twitter

Mods: Do we have a tag for Charity, Humanitarian Aid, or something similar? What about disaster?
Akuma River

Verizon ends internet service to copy-right infringers & Obama admin supports 675K in fees to RIAA

Verizon Terminating Copyright Infringers’ Internet Access
•By David Kravets
•January 20, 2010 |
•3:33 pm |
•Categories: Digital Millennium Copyright Act, RIAA Litigation, intellectual property


Verizon is terminating internet service to an unknown number of repeat copyright scofflaws, a year after suggesting it was not adopting a so-called graduated-response policy.

While it was not immediately clear whether other internet service providers were following suit, the move comes as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are lobbying ISPs and Congress to support terminating internet access for repeat, online copyright offenders.
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Obama Supports $675K File Sharing Verdict
•By David Kravets
•January 20, 2010 |
•1:22 pm |
•Categories: RIAA Litigation, intellectual property


The Obama administration is backing $675,000 in damages a Massachusetts student must pay the Recording Industry Association of America for file sharing 30 songs.

The Justice Department, where President Barack Obama has tapped five former RIAA lawyers to serve, said copyright infringement “creates a public harm that Congress determined must be deterred.”

The administration’s court filing Tuesday is the latest in the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student who was the nation’s second defendant to go to trial against the RIAA on file sharing charges. Most of the 30,000 civil cases the music industry has brought have settled out of court.
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Akuma River

FBI head honchos knowingly broke the law on wiretaps for two years!

FBI Broke Law Spying on Americans’ Phone Records, Post Reports

•By Ryan Singel
•January 19, 2010 |
•5:03 pm |
•Categories: Spooks Gone Wild


An internal audit found the FBI broke the law thousands of times when requesting Americans’ phone records using fake emergency letters that were never followed up on with true subpoenas — even though top officials knew the practice was illegal, according to The Washington Post.

The inspector general’s follow-up report on the so-called “exigent” letters — an investigation that started in 2007 — is due in a few months. E-mails obtained by the Post showed that responsible agency officials informed superiors in 2005, but the practice continued for two more years.

While it looks as if the nation’s top law enforcement agency routinely violated the nation’s wiretapping laws for years, it seems no one will actually be prosecuted since the violations are being judged as merely “technical.”
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Twitter Joke Led To Terror Arrest! (United Kingdom)

Twitter joke led to Terror Act arrest and airport life ban
Man bailed but suspended by his employer after ordeal by interrogation

By Mark Hughes and Jason Walsh
Monday, 18 January 2010

“When heavy snowfall threatened to scupper Paul Chambers’s travel plans, he decided to vent his frustrations on Twitter by tapping out a comment to amuse his friends. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

Unfortunately for Mr Chambers, the police didn’t see the funny side. A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat. After he was released on bail, he was suspended from work pending an internal investigation, and has, he says, been banned from the Doncaster airport for life. “I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post,” said Mr Chambers, 26. “I’m the most mild-mannered guy you could imagine.”

While it has happened in the United States, Mr Chambers is thought to be the first person in the United Kingdom to be arrested for comments posted on Twitter. His ordeal began on 6 January when, after hearing that extreme weather had forced the closure of Robin Hood airport, he posted the ill-advised message – frustrated because he was to fly to Ireland from that airport on Friday 15 January.

After the interview, Mr Hale was returned to a cell for an hour then released. But, he said, not before the police deleted the post from his Twitter page. He has been bailed until 11 February, when he will be told whether or not he will be charged with conspiring to create a bomb hoax. In the interim, detectives have confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer. ”


(Via Derren Brown Blog)
(Another Couple Of Souces)

Paul Chambers' own Twitter now, rather sensibly, says "This Person Has Protected Their Tweets".

Women's movement mourns death of 3 Haitian leaders

One returned to her Haitian roots, to give voice to women, honor their stories and shape their futures.

Another urged women to pack a courtroom in Haiti, where she succeeded in getting a guilty verdict against a man who battered his wife.

A third joined the others and helped change the law to make rape, long a political weapon in Haiti, a punishable crime.

Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Anne Marie Coriolan, founders of three of the country's most important advocacy organizations working on behalf of women and girls, are confirmed dead -- victims of last week's 7.0 earthquake.

And their deaths have left members of the women's movement, Haitian and otherwise, reeling.

"Words are missing for me. I lost a large chunk of my personal, political and social life," Carolle Charles wrote in an e-mail to colleagues. The Haitian-born sociology professor at Baruch College in New York is chair of Dwa Fanm (meaning "Women's Rights" in Creole), a Brooklyn-based advocacy group. These women "were my friends, my colleagues and my associates. I cannot envision going to Haiti without seeing them."

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New Hampshire House Takes Up Repeal of Marriage Equality

And, they're back...the bigots, that is...

"Three weeks after New Hampshire legalized gay marriage, opponents will ask a House committee Wednesday to repeal the law and let voters amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the two measures that many expect the House to reject when they are brought to the floor in the next few weeks. Opponents know their chances of success are slim at this point, but they are looking to the November election in hopes Republicans will regain control of the Statehouse and succeed then in repealing the law.

Opponents of marriage equality are planning town meetings this spring to engage the public and pass nonbinding resolutions against equality.

"State Rep. David Bates, a Republican from Windham, is organizing the petition effort to put gay marriage before town voters. He said Tuesday that petitions have been certified in 108 towns. He expects petitions to be completed by a Feb. 2 deadline in about 150 of New Hampshire's more than 200 towns that hold meetings each spring. Petitions must be signed by 25 registered voters in the town to be put on the agenda."


Man Buried in Haiti Rubble Uses iPhone to Treat Wounds and Survive

U.S. filmmaker Dan Woolley was shooting a documentary about the impact of poverty in Haiti when the earthquake struck. He could have died, but he ultimately survived with the help of an iPhone first-aid app that taught him to treat his wounds.

After being crushed by a pile of rubble, Woolley used his digital SLR to illuminate his surroundings and snap photos of the wreckage in search of a safe place to dwell. He took refuge in an elevator shaft, where he followed instructions from an iPhone first-aid app to fashion a bandage and tourniquet for his leg and to stop the bleeding from his head wound, according to an MSNBC story.

The app even warned Woolley not to fall asleep if he felt he was going into shock, so he set his cellphone’s alarm clock to go off every 20 minutes. Sixty-five hours later, a French rescue team saved him.

“I just saw the walls rippling and just explosive sounds all around me,” said Woolley, recounting the earthquake to MSNBC. “It all happened incredibly fast. David yelled out, ‘It’s an earthquake,’ and we both lunged and everything turned dark.”

Woolley’s incident highlights a large social implication of the iPhone and other similar smartphones. A constant internet connection, coupled with a device supporting a wealth of apps, can potentially transform a person into an all-knowing, always-on being. In Woolley’s case, an iPhone app turned him into an amateur medic to help him survive natural disaster.

Say what you will about the iPhone. This story is incredible.



(no subject)

First off, I want to thank
kseda for copy/commenting on  the Prop8 trial for ONTP today. For those of you who haven't read it yet,  I added some of the later testimony from this afternoon (with bolding and snarky comments.)
The effort the churches put into this was immense and when reading about it, I am struck by how much they were able to get done with fear and bigotry. But it is something we all need to read and learn, THIS  is how you get things done- or done to you.  

Of note in particular is the excellent job by The Plaintiffs' atty Boutrous  of outlining the connection between the Catholic Church and the Mormon church to get prop 8 passed.  The Defense fought tooth and nail to have every document and witness testimony suppressed. Claiming everything from 1st amendment, to client/atty privledge, to "Hey we didn't see this deposition!! (Judge: yes you did it was your witness, dumbass.)"
When i told my GF that  kind of  Sh*t makes me almost kind of think about in the back of my mind- some glint of respect-arg-wtf-something for Fred Phelps. At least he shows his hate in the daylight. She made the point just made the point that the most Powerful institutions are often the most hidden.
Now I offer this article from the awesomeness that is Prop8trialtracker.com about what the Prop8 side is trying to hide and why. (Warning: Much arrrgggghh to ensue)


An Explosive Afternoon: LDS Church

(click title for source) January 20, 2010 couragecampaign By Julia Rosen

The transcripts from this afternoon read like an episode of Law and Order, with the attorneys arguing with the judge over what documents ought to be introduced as evidence. These aren’t just any old documents, they are emails and letters sent back and forth between the Prop 8 campaign and Catholic, LDS, and Evangelical churches.
For example, one letter indicated that the LDS {Aka Latter Day Saints: Mormon Church} church had identified a volunteer for the campaign in every single zip code. This was a church document that was in the hands of a Prop 8 campaign official, and thus was discoverable. Andy Pugno, the general council for ProtectMarriage.com tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. From Rick’s liveblog:
Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.
Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.
Boutrous: It’s from an outsider to the core group. We are attempting to show the level of coordination with groups that Protect Marriage says were not even affiliated with the campaign.
This is perhaps the most explosive bit of all, from a document between the LDS Church and the campaign:
With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.
{{ARRRGHHH! My own ETA: This is what pisses me off the most, they don't want to show the church's involvement so they can claim 'it was the people's vote- their wishes' NOT that it was the people being misled by a religious entity about a government matter!!}
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Shocking News: Theory That All Brown People Are Terrorists to Be Challenged!

'Blond-Haired, Blue-Eyed' Terrorists: Warning In Upcoming Senate Report On Yemeni Terror Threat

Via Spencer Ackerman, watch as I officially put to bed the notion that we can racially profile our way to peace and security.

Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe today report in the Washington Post on a forthcoming report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that assesses the threat posed by "as many as three dozen American citizens who converted to Islam in prison and moved to Yemen after their release in the past year." The report contains this little tidbit:
An additional concern, it says, "is a group of nearly 10 non-Yemeni Americans who traveled to Yemen, converted to Islam, became fundamentalists, and married Yemeni women so they could remain in the country." One U.S. official, it reports, described them as "blond-haired, blue-eyed types" who "fit a profile of Americans whom al-Qaeda has sought to recruit over the past several years."
Intelligence specialists have long cautioned that racial profiling "draws an investigator's attention toward too many innocent people, and away from too many dangerous ones." This report basically moots all counter-arguments.

Drunk Cop Kills Victim, Ghost of Dead Victim To Be Taken to Jail.

DWI Cop Defense: Vionique Valnord, Victim, Was Drunk

The attorney for a New York City police officer accused of killing a preacher's daughter while driving drunk has taken up a "blame the victim" defense.

Officer Andrew Kelly was allegedly intoxicated and "reeked" of alcohol when he hit Vionique Valnord in the early hours of September 27th.

Despite refusing to take a Breathalyzer test at the scene of the crime, police did not conduct a blood alcohol level test on Kelly until seven hours later, at which point results showed no booze in his system.

Now toxicology reports show that Valnord had a BAC of .22, almost three times the legal limit if she were driving.

Kelly's lawyer has seized on this information, saying, "It appears that she was drunk and she wandered into traffic" and that it was "probably her judgment" that "contributed to this accident."

Sanford Rubenstein, lawyer for the victim's family, responded that Valnord was a victim "irrespective of what her blood-alcohol level was" and again questioned why the officer wasn't given his own blood test.

Raped OFW may get 100 lashes after miscarriage

An overseas Filipino worker launguishing in a Saudi Arabian jail suffered miscarriage and now fears getting a hundred lashes before finally being freed.

Camille (not her real name) has been in prison since August last year after her employer turned her over to authorities because she got pregnant out of wedlock by a co-worker who raped her.

Camille, who lived with her in Quezon City, went to Dammam on May last year to work as a janitor in a dental clinic on a two-year contract, the victim’s mother told GMANews.TV in an interview.

Three months into the job, a co-worker – a Bangladeshi national – raped her.

But Camille chose to keep quiet, fearing her rapist would kill her if she reports the incident.

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We must all forgive... and forget.

Honduras ex-leader Zelaya offered safe passage

Honduras' President-elect Porfirio Lobo has offered the country's ousted leader Manuel Zelaya safe passage to the Dominican Republic.

The deal was agreed by Mr Lobo and Dominican President Leonel Fernandez in Santo Domingo, officials say.

Under the agreement, Mr Zelaya would go to the Dominican Republic after Mr Lobo took office on 27 January.

Mr Zelaya was ousted and forced into exile in June. He later returned and took refuge in Brazil's embassy.

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Amnesty for all? Sounds familiar. But yeah, one week before Lobo takes office.
Chibis- ChibiMermaidRachel is awesome

I want to create a symbol denoting stupidity in a statement.

US company invents, sells sarcasm emoticon symbol SarcMark

EVER wanted to send an email or document with a little sarcasm, but didn't want to risk being misunderstood?

Enter the sarcasm mark or "SarcMark," an emoticon symbol being sold online, MyFox reports.

Sarcasm Inc. of Michigan has released software for computer systems and BlackBerry devices that can be downloaded for around $2.

The software provides a mark that looks like an open circle with a dot in the center; similar to an upside down "@" symbol.

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I needed some silly after this past week. Silly stupidity works too.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

This will be well-received by Pyongyang. oh yes.

SKorean defense chief: Hit North 1st if threatened

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea's defense chief called Wednesday for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if there is a clear indication the country is preparing a nuclear attack.

Meanwhile, a state-run think tank predicted a military coup, popular uprising, a massacre or mass defections after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies.
Kim, who turns 68 next month, is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008.

The comments and speculation — made even as officials from the two Koreas discussed further developing a joint industrial complex in the North — were likely to anger Pyongyang, which recently threatened to break off dialogue and to attack Seoul.

North and South Korea have remained locked in a state of war and divided by a heavily fortified border since their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

The United States, which backed South Korea during the war, has 28,500 troops stationed in the South to protect the ally against any threat from the communist North.

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OK, when isn't North Korea threatening to break off dialogues? I'm just headdesking at openly giving them reason to launch more missiles into the Sea of Japan as "tests" to show they're big touch guys, especially when a good way for Kim Jong Il's son to seem a legitimate leader is for them to give him some kind of military victory as cred. Also, I see why no talks about sanctions, but why is the US blocking peace-treaty talks?