January 23rd, 2010


Sarah Weddington: On the 37th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

The author, who learned in high school about the Supreme Court case that gave women reproductive choice and control over their lives, talks to the lawyer who won that victory.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to sit down with Sarah Weddington, the attorney who successfully represented Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade. I can remember learning about the landmark case in my high school American Government class and being mesmerized by the incredible impact of one Supreme Court decision—and the enormous power of one individual to incite change that affects us all. Today, we celebrate with her the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that made choice possible for women.—Stephanie Wolf

Q. Exactly what were you doing 37 years ago when the Supreme Court decision came in on Roe v. Wade?

A. I was a young lawyer, and I didn’t know if I was winning or losing the case. I was at the Texas capital and the phone rang, and a reporter from The New York Times asked the person who answered the phone, “Does Ms. Weddington have a comment today about Roe v. Wade?” My assistant said, “Should she?” The reporter said, “It was decided today.” My assistant said, “How was it decided?” And the reporter said, “She won it, 7-2.” So, it was a huge, unexpected victory.

It was handed down on the same day that former President Lyndon Johnson died. He got the very top part of the front pages, but I got under the fold. It was a very exciting day.

Q. What was most exciting about hearing the news?

A. There were so many problems for women, but one of them, certainly, was the fact that they didn’t have their own decision-making ability in terms of reproduction. We thought we had won forever—that women were the ones who got to make their basic decisions, not the government. If you had said to me that 37 years later this will be a huge issue and access will be very much under attack, I would never have believed it.

Q. Some people have commented on a surge of anti-choice feeling in the country among younger generations. Do you think younger women take Roe v. Wade and abortion rights for granted?


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One of the 12 Signs of the Apocalypse: Agreeing with Newt Gingrich!

Opinion: Mr. President, Govern as You Promised
By Newt Gingrich

Last November, at the one-year anniversary of his election victory, Obama saw decisive Republican gubernatorial victories in two states he had carried.

On Tuesday, the anniversary of his inauguration, he saw a Republican election victory in Massachusetts effectively derail his health care plans, the initiative on which the president has spent the most time, energy and political capital.

As Obama looks out to the two-year anniversary of his election in 2010, the landscape looks bleak.

Analysts like Charlie Cook are warning that 2010 could become a catastrophic year for Democrats. At best, it is going to be a bad year. Cook's recent National Journal article made the stunning point that since World War II there have been only 12 months in even-numbered (election) years in which unemployment was above 8 percent. All 12 months were in 1982. I was in Congress then, and we lost 26 seats. This year, America will almost certainly have 9 percent-plus unemployment for the entire year. That alone bodes badly for the Democrats.

Next week, Obama will give his first State of the Union address. Between now and then, he needs to stop, rethink, recalibrate, and learn some painful lessons.

He needs to accept that the country was not voting for a left-wing agenda in 2008. Instead, it was voting out a Republican leadership it deemed unable to govern effectively.

The person the American people thought they were voting for in 2008 was a moderate who wanted to bring transparency to government and work with leaders of both parties on common-sense reform.

However, upon taking office, the president turned over massive power to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who wrote legislation in such a stunningly partisan way that they received almost no Republican votes on any major piece of legislation.

Furthermore, the bills were often written in secret, passed without giving the American people or even Congress a chance to read them, and included special deals for big-business interests, political supporters and key senators as a way to get their support.

This clearly was not change America could believe in.

It is a mystery why Obama thought he could govern as a different person from the one he campaigned as, but he now has a chance to reset his presidency around the principles he espoused during the campaign.

No more secret deals.

No more Pelosi-Reid machine votes.

No more left-wing, Democrats-only strategies.

Republicans would be very smart to approach Obama with a series of reform proposals in health care, national security, deficit reduction and economic growth. Obama would be even smarter to figure out which of these he and the moderates in the Democratic caucus can get behind, and score an easy series of legislative victories that would help both his political fortunes and the country.

They should be small, narrowly focused bills and written in a transparent way. A good starting point would be aggressive steps to fight fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, which Jim Frogue at the Center for Health Transformation estimates costs taxpayers as much as $120 billion a year.

The left-wing leadership in the House and Senate would hate and fight such a change in course. However, moderate Democrats (and most Americans) would breathe a sigh of relief.

A year of President Obama that was more like candidate Obama could make the two-year anniversary of his election much more pleasant than his first.

Well this is a terrifying prospect. I think I might actually AGREE with Newt Gingrich here for the most part (I obviously disagree with the idea that Pelosi/Reid have not tried to work with Republicans, but Obama has done little to keep them in check IMHO). HOLY HELL! What is the world coming to. The apocalypse is obviously getting closer!

South Carolina democrat

Bauer compares giving people government assistance to "feeding stray animals."

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has compared giving people government assistance to "feeding stray animals."

Bauer, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, made his remarks during a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn that included state lawmakers and about 115 residents.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better," Bauer said.

SOURCE says don't read the comments if you want to live

Dolly Parton's Words of Gay Rights Wisdom

Funny that a legendary country singer understands a principle about gay rights that at least half (if not more) of the politicians in Washington don't get. Leave it to Dolly Parton to school a bunch of weak-kneed or fire and brimstone politicos.

Parton generally isn't a hotbed of political activism herself. She's no Dixie Chicks. No Bruce Springsteen. Certainly no Rage Against the Machine. But there is one political issue she's willing to speak out on, and for someone who is immersed in some of the deepest red parts of the United States, her involvement is not insignificant.

That would be gay rights. And when it comes to supporting gay rights, she comes down with a pretty simple yet universal message: gay rights are human rights.


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panda bear

(no subject)

US Marines End Role In Iraq

The U.S. Marine Corps wrapped up nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden held talks with Iraqi leaders amid rising tensions over plans to ban election candidates because of suspected links to Saddam Hussein's regime.

The White House worries the bans could raise questions over the fairness of the March 7 parliamentary elections, which are seen as an important step in the American pullout timetable and breaking political stalemates over key issues such as dividing Iraq's oil revenue.

The Marines formally handed over control of Sunni-dominated Anbar, Iraq's largest province, to the Army during a ceremony at a base in Ramadi – where some of the fiercest fighting of the war took place.

Iraqi and American color guards stood together at attention as both countries' national anthems were played by a U.S. military band.

Sharing the front row at the handover ceremony with American Army and Marine generals were some of Anbar's influential tribal sheiks in traditional checkered headdresses and gold-embellished robes. Their decision to shift support to the Americans is credited with sapping the insurgency of much of its strength.

Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff, the Army commander who assumed responsibility for the province, said he hoped security gains cemented by U.S. troops and their Iraqi counterparts should ensure a smooth transfer despite the overall drawdown in American forces.

"The goal that we all seek is the Iraqis securing their own election, and that the election is fair and the election is free," he told reporters after the handover. "It's all based on the fact that the Iraqis, and particularly the Anbaris, can secure themselves. And that's the encouraging aspect."

If all goes as planned, the last remaining Marines will be followed out by tens of thousands of soldiers in the coming months. President Barack Obama has ordered all but 50,000 troops out of the country by Aug. 31, 2010, with most to depart after the March 7 parliamentary election.

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The Hawaii Senate approved same-sex civil unions Friday, potentially setting up the measure for final passage as soon as next week.

The Senate passed the bill on an 18-7 vote, moving it to the House and signaling that the Senate's Democratic majority has enough votes to override a possible veto from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

The House has yet to decide if it will vote on the bill. House leaders say they will take up the bill if they have a veto-proof two-thirds majority but may let it die if they have only a small majority.

"It's very close," said Democratic Speaker of the House Calvin Say. "During an election year, this issue is so divisive that it may hurt many of our members."

The bill would grant gay and straight couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

Five other states - Colorado, Wisconsin, Maryland, Maine and New Jersey - allow civil unions. Five states - Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut - permit same-sex marriage.

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(no subject)

Can a film stop homophobic bullying?

The statistics on homophobic bullying in schools make for a disturbing read. According to a study last year by Stonewall, teachers reported anti-gay incidents to be even more prevalent than racist ones, with 41 per cent of gay children having been beaten up. Ninety per cent of secondary school teachers said that they had heard anti-gay taunts among pupils, and the same proportion said that they have never received any training in how to respond to it. A recent Ofsted report described homophobia in British schools as “endemic”. Many blame the residue of Section 28, arguing that it confused and muzzled teachers in its banning of the “promotion” of homosexuality.

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a softer world: adventure

Marina Hyde on gaffe culture in politics

A Gaffe-o-Vision election is not my idea of progress
The obsession with slip-ups betrays not just the smallness of our politics, but of many of those who cover and consume it

Marina Hyde, The Guardian

General election spoiler alert: at some point, somewhere on the campaign trail, some senior politician will accidentally say "cut" when they meant to say "increase spending on", or "David Cameron" when they meant "Gordon Brown". This will be a big deal. In fact, it will be a huge deal. I can tell you now that your scepticism about how big a deal it actually has to be does not become you in the slightest.

But back to our gaffe. By nightfall, there will scarcely be anyone in the 18-65 age group who hasn't seen the clip of the incident and doesn't have a view about it, even if that view is "ROFL", or "Our politics is now so witless that it is as if we are actively courting an invasion by more intelligent life forms". Through the night, mischievous geeks will mash up the clip with a scene from Downfall or Glee. Within 24 hours, the slip of the tongue should have full ­spectrum dominance, allowing a wag on any number of our 37 topical panel shows to grin smugly and wheel out the old line about a Freudian slip being when you mean one thing but say your mother. Meanwhile, rolling news channels will be staging studio discussions about the howler, staffed by those who make a ­living out of retroactively detecting order in the formless tide of disappointment that passes for the British ­political experience. Phrases like "turning point", "fightback" or "nail in the coffin" will be used.

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Obviously UK-centric but I think it's pertinent to us all. Also, pretty interesting that the Guardian's showbiz columnist is producing some of their best political commentary right now. Sign of the times?

Fake bomb detectors banned; maker arrested

The UK government has announced a ban on the export to Iraq and Afghanistan of some so-called "bomb detectors".

It follows an investigation by the BBC's Newsnight programme which found that one type of "detector" made by a British company cannot work.

The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651 and there are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks that have killed hundreds of people.

The ban on the ADE-651 and other similar devices starts next week.

read it here

[governmental and institutional perfidy doesn't surprise me any more, but I'm still shocked and disheartened that some people are still all too ready to sink to such despicable depths]

Himalayan glacier report not backed up ( whoops, more bad science )

GENEVA - A United Nations warning that Himalayan glaciers are melting faster than any other place in the world and may be gone by 2035 was not backed up by science, UN climate specialists said yesterday - an admission that could energize climate change critics.

In a 2007 report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the Himalayan glaciers are likely to disappear within three decades if the present melting rate continues. But a statement from the panel now says there is not enough scientific evidence to back up those claims. The warning in the report “refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers,’’ the panel said. “In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.’’

The Himalayan glacier claim, made in the group’s voluminous Nobel-receiving report, was little noticed until The Sunday Times said the projection seemed to be based on a news report.

The leaders of the UN panel are investigating how the forecast got into the report, Chris Field, director of the ecology department at the Washington-based Carnegie Institution for Science, said.

The UN panel did not give a new estimate of when Himalayan glaciers might melt away, but said “widespread mass losses from glaciers and reductions in snow cover over recent decades are projected to accelerate throughout the 21st century.’’


DS Xmas

Haiti Donation Roll Call!

Our total so far...(I'm counting every page)

approximately $7,858.94!!

(That's about 316,888.02 Haitian Gourdes!!!!)

which according to unicef, we have provided about:
1,159,306 water purifying tablets, so the people have clean water
97,373 packets of oral rehydration salts to help save the lives of people suffering from diarrheal dehydration due to drinking contaminated water
16 handpumps to provide an entire community with safe drinking water
13 tons of high-protein porridge like mix to provide crucial nutrition in this time of emergency

That's so awesome you guys!

I thought this was really cool, so I decided to bring this over to ONTD_P, if the mods are cool with it.

As we all know, Haiti needs all of the support it can get, and I think all of the outpouring of support from the various people in this community (and in other places all over) has been nothing short of amazing.

lj user rockinrachell has posted an LJ entry here where she is adding up everyone's donations who are affiliated with ONTD (previously the original ONTD community, but now ontd_ai and ontd_startrek have joined in)

So far, ONTD members have reportedly donated over 85,00093,000 dollars!!

It's really fantastic what we, the members of livejournal communities, are capable of.

While no one is obligated to report how much they have donated, if you have not commented in that post (or the original thread that appeared in a different ONTD entry), feel free to comment either in this post (so we can see how much we donated as a community!) or comment in the original post, linked above.
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Murasaki Shikibu

$80,000 per song PSP award slashed 97%

Judge slashes "monstrous" P2P award by 97% to $54,000

Judge Michael Davis is the senior federal jurist in Minnesota. He presides over the gleaming 15th floor courtroom where, earlier this year, P2P user Jammie Thomas-Rasset was slapped with $1.92 million in damages for sharing 24 songs. Davis made no comment on the amount of the award and showed no emotion as it was read out.

But now we know how he rely [sic] feels about the jury's work in that case: it led to a "monstrous and shocking" damage award that veered into "the realm of gross injustice."

Davis used his power of remittitur today to slash the damage award by 97.2 percent, from $1.92 million down to $54,000—and he suggested that even this lower amount was too high.

Justice isn't only for the sympathetic

Thomas-Rasset, the first defendant to take an RIAA-backed P2P lawsuit all the way to trial, turned out not to be an especially sympathetic defendant.

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$80,000 per song was just insane, and I'm glad the judge changed it.
stock | Teddy and Puppy

ontd_political Photo of the Day: Jan 23, 2010.

Phara Thes, 21, holds her newborn baby Jims Silvera at the US 82nd Airborne Division's forward operating base in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. International aid flowing into Haiti after last week's earthquake has been struggling with logistical problems, and many people are still desperate for food and water.

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Jae C. Hong | AP Photo
Murasaki Shikibu

Cops beat up a kid for walking while black, make shit up.

Teen violist alleges Pittsburgh police brutality

PITTSBURGH – The photos taken by Jordan Miles' mother show his face covered with raw, red bruises, his cheek and lip swollen, his right eye swollen shut. A bald spot mars the long black dreadlocks where the 18-year-old violist says police tore them from his head.

Now, 10 days after plainclothes officers stopped him on a street and arrested him after a struggle that they say revealed a soda bottle under his coat, not the gun they suspected, his right eye is still slightly swollen and bloodshot. His head is shaved. The three white officers who arrested him have been reassigned. And his mother says she is considering a lawsuit.

"I feel that my son was racially profiled," Terez Miles said. "It's a rough neighborhood; it was after dark. ... They assumed he was up to no good because he's black. My son, he knows nothing about the streets at all. He's had a very sheltered life, he's very quiet, he doesn't know police officers sit in cars and stalk people like that."

A judge continued the case until Feb. 18 after the officers failed to appear at a hearing Thursday, Miles' attorney, Kerrington Lewis, said.

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There's a picture of the kid at the source, and OMFG. D:

And yeah, forgive me if I don't think a damn thing will happen to the cops who beat up that poor kid.
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a softer world: adventure

Terror level threat in the UK upgraded to severe

UK terror threat level rated severe

The threat to the UK from international terrorism has been raised from substantial to severe - meaning an attack is "highly likely".

Announcing the move, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said although the threat had increased there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was imminent. But he urged people to be vigilant.

He added that it was not specifically linked to the Christmas Day plane bomb plot or any other incident, although it comes ahead of a major counter-terrorism conference in London next week.

Mr Johnson said: "The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has... raised the threat to the UK from international terrorism from substantial to severe. This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but I should stress that there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent.

"JTAC keeps the threat level under constant review and makes its judgments based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas."

He added: "The highest security alert is critical and that means an attack is imminent, and we are not at that level."

The minister said more measures had been taken to protect aviation since the alleged failed bomb attack on a plane at Detroit at Christmas. "We have a very adept and very focused counter-terrorism facility in this country and people should be reassured by that."

The Christmas Day bomb plot has moved the focus of the fight against terror onto the Yemen, where suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has reportedly claimed he was supplied with explosives.

The Home Office said that the change in threat level would not cause "any discernable difference" for members of the public taking flights or going about their normal business.

Rather than triggering additional security checks at airports or putting more police onto the streets, the new assessment will send a signal to police and security officials to step up their activities behind the scenes.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Source: PA via The Guardian
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    bearsuit - stephen f*cking spielberg

Saudi Prince Appoints New Successor for Fox Media Empire. Murdoch to Be Buried Soon...

Right-wing Saudi dynasty endorses right-wing Fox News dynasty.

This week, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia — the largest shareholder of News Corp outside the Murdoch family — endorsed Rupert Murdoch’s son James to succeed the elder Murdoch when he retires. Alwaleed, King Abdullah’s nephew, is Saudi Arabia’s richest person and the world’s 22nd wealthiest (Murdoch is number 132). He holds large stakes in many American companies, including Citi. The prince met with Murdoch last week to discuss a “future potential alliance with News Corp,” and he told Charlie Rose Wednesday about his respect for the Murdoch dynasty:
ALWALEED: I met with Mr. Rupert Murdoch and Mr. James Murdoch. We are always in tough. I’m second biggest shareholder there. And no doubt that News Corp is moving on all the fronts. You’ve seen how FOX rating is skyrocketing. … James is now managing Europe and Asia. … I’ll be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr. Rupert Murdoch, god forbid if something happens to him. … I have full confidence in [James], full trust in him, and he’s capable. He’s really Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he’s almost there now.
Alwaleed came to most Americans’ attention following the 9/11 terror attacks when New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani turned down a $10 million donation from Alwaleed over a controversial comment he had made about U.S. foreign policy. As Media Matters noted, several Fox News personalities criticized Alwaleed at the time. Fox News host Sean Hannity called Alwaleed’s comment an “egregious, outrageous, unfair offense.” That was before Alwaleed purchased a seven percent stake in its parent company.
by alexia_drake

Bristol Palin vows no more pre-marital sex - and says other women should follow her lead

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Bristol Palin's goal? No more pre-marital sex.

The 19-year-old mom told Oprah Winfrey on Friday she's been depressed since the birth of her 13-month-old son, Tripp, and she won't make the same mistake twice.

"I just think it's a goal to have, and other women should have that goal,"
Palin said of her chastity oath.

Oprah said she "bristled" when she heard Palin would go without sex until marriage.

"Don't you think you are setting yourself up?," Oprah asked. "No, I don't," she responded.

Palin has been on her own with Tripp since his birth.

TMZ.com reported Palin is after $1,750 a month in child support from her hunky high school sweetheart Levi Johnston, who recently scored a huge payday with a photo spread in Playgirl magazine.

"I have a kid in my life, and it's my full-time job now," the born-again virgin told Oprah.

"I have this big, supportive family and stuff, but I just felt so alone," she said.

Her mom, vice presidential candidate-turned-conservative TV pundit Sarah Palin, said Friday "it was a shock" to find out her daughter was pregnant.

"Like so many other parents, I thought, 'not my kid,'" Palin said.