January 28th, 2010

parody | EAT HEARTY

ontd_political Photo(s) of the Day: Jan 27, 2010.

Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian vikings in the Shetland Islands, marking the end of the yule season, and has employed this theme in the festival since 1870. The event culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into a Viking longship. The event happens all over Shetland, but it is only the Lerwick galley which is not sent seaward. Everywhere else, the flaming galley is sent into the sea, in an echo of actual Viking sea burials.
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Carl De Souza | AFP/Getty Images

Derek Blair | Telegraph.co.uk

Iran 'executes two over post-election unrest'

Iran has executed two men arrested during the period of widespread unrest that erupted after June's disputed presidential election, reports say.

They had been convicted of being "enemies of God", members of armed groups and trying to topple the Islamic establishment, Isna news agency said.

The executions are believed to be the first related to last year's protests.

Millions demanded a re-run of June's poll at the largest demonstrations in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Opposition groups said it had been rigged to ensure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a charge the government denied.

At least 30 protesters have been killed in clashes since the elections. Thousands were detained and some 200 activists remain behind bars.

Isna quoted a statement from the Tehran prosecutor's office naming the two men, who were reportedly hanged at dawn on Thursday, as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.

There has been no independent confirmation of the executions or the names, but opposition groups had previously said Mr Zamani was sentenced to death in October.

He and one other person were believed to have been convicted for ties with the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, a banned monarchist group.

Magneto puppet
  • drbat

For religious gays in Israel, new initiatives are providing hope

Gidi Grunberg says he may have come out before age 21 had there been more opportunities then for religious gays and lesbians.

TEL AVIV (JTA) -- When Gidi Grunberg was 16, he fell in love with a boy at his Orthodox high school near Tel Aviv.

Consumed by guilt, he transferred to a high school that was more strictly religious, hopeful that with more rigorous Torah study his attraction to men would pass.

A product of Orthodox institutions, Grunberg eventually came to accept his homosexuality during his years of mandatory service in the Israeli army. But in his private life, he found himself faced with a choice between his sexual identity and his religious community.

"I prefer to be true to myself, and to accept myself, than being part of the community and living in a lie," Grunberg told JTA. "I lost everything. I lost my friends from the yeshiva. I lost the youth movement. There was a lot of things at stake."

With non-Orthodox religious options still a rarity in Israel, young gays and lesbians like Grunberg who grow up in traditional, highly insular surroundings typically have found that they must choose between their Orthodoxy and their sexual orientation.

But that is starting to change with a number of recent initiatives that are creating a community for religious gays while gradually opening up a space in the Orthodox community to address what remains a highly polarizing issue.

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  • turi

I sure hope I'm not raped by any sexy guys in the military.

"Last night in his State of the Union Address, President Obama repeated his call for Congress to repeal the military eligibility law that was passed in 1993, and to allow homosexual conduct within the ranks of the armed forces.

"This would put our military in the strange position of actively recruiting personnel who have an expressed intention to violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (which still prohibits certain forms of sexual conduct, including homosexuality). Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. America's military exists to fight and win wars --not to engage in radical social engineering." - Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who asks that you fill out the petition he's sending to every member of Congress.


Prop8trial final witness: "Yes! Marriage is good for Gays, & America & CA but... it's bad, mkay?

"Amicus briefs are due on February 3rd. Judge Walker is bringing the lawyers in to go over these briefs on Feburary 26th. He indicated as they were wrapping up today that at that time (the 26th) he will schedule the closing arguments. That likely means we will not have closing arguments until early March, with the ruling several weeks after that, depending on how long Judge Walker takes (p8tt.)" 
It is good that he takes his time because well - it's a big deal right? I didn't have time to post yesterday and I wanted to let the President have his night.  Here is the wrap up with some fun loving final testimony from the defense "expert" David Blankenhorn. All the fun stuff is over, now we have a month before the Closing arguments.  
David Blakenhorn for Prop8 was something else. I think if I would have seen video of this man I would have been very very infuriated. Intellectual dishonesty is the Devil as far as I'm concerned. This guy reads like a slick scaly car salesman. Here we have the 'open-minded' bigot you see, he probably 'has gay friends...' but doesn't want them to marry because, becuase, becau.  Here's p8tt's  summary of how thing went down on the last day.

This is a Witness for the Defense?

( Click title for source ) January 27, 2010 by Brian Leubitz

Well, it looks like testimony has been all wrapped up. But David Boies’ demolition of David Blankenhorn — the defense’s second, and final, “expert” witness — will continue to reverberate through the record as this case proceeds forward. Was Blankenhorn an actual expert, well, let’s let him answer that:

DB: “I’m simply repeating things that they say.”
DB: “These are not my own conclusions.”
DB: “I’m a transmitter here of findings of these eminent scholars.”

And even those conclusions don’t actually support what the defense was going for with this witness. I’m pretty certain they weren’t looking for these choice nuggets:

“Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably reduce the proportion of homosexuals who marry persons of the opposite sex, and thus would likely reduce instances of marital unhappiness and divorce.” {duh?}

Gay marriage would be a victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion. It would likely decrease the number of those in society who tend to be viewed warily as ‘other’ and increase the number who are accepted as part of ‘us.’ In that respect, gay marriage would be a victory for, and another key expansion of, the American idea.
“Because marriage is a wealth-creating institution, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably increase wealth accumulation and lead to higher living standards for these couples as well as help reduce welfare costs (by promoting family economic self-sufficiency) and decrease economic inequality.”
Keep in mind, these were the words of the defense expert. Honestly, I can’t wait to see how Andy Pugno  (for prop8 ) tries to tie together the mess that was the defense’s two expert witnesses. Honestly, I figured that after Boies got through with Prof. Miller, that he couldn’t top that performance. I was wrong. Blankenhorn was an absolute disaster for the defense. He had no credibility with the Judge, and his continued failure to answer questions won’t look good on a written record either.

Also, if you missed this link in the comments, one of our amazing Trial Trackers spotted this video of a gay marriage debate between Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, and Mr. Blankenhorn. If you’d like to see what Rick was talking about with Blankenhorn’s demeanor, check it out. But keep in mind, Wolfson wasn’t cross examining him, and Boies was nowhere in site.

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John McCain: Stay the Course With "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by Michael A. Jones

President Barack Obama made history in speaking about a repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during his annual State of the Union address. Sen. John McCain? He made history, too, by becoming the first politician out of the gate after Obama's remarks to say that discharging soldiers from the military due to their sexual orientation is a perfectly reasonable policy.

McCain's statement on keeping "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" alive and well appears on his U.S. Senate campaign Web site. For Sen. McCain, even though our soldiers can handle bullets, terrorism, and the threat of al Qaeda, serving beside gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers would be a bit too much.


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In Maryland, a Moratorium on Fast Food

Stephen Stromberg reports in the Washington Post's PostPartisan column, that Maryland State Senator David C. Harrington is proposing to limit the number of new fast food restaurants in Prince George’s County. The county, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., is an area where almost 40 percent of children are overweight.

Harrington has introduced a bill in the General Assembly to arrest the issuance of new fast-food business licenses in hopes of encouraging the proliferation of healthier food options, reports the Post. Those options might include eateries such as Panera Bread and Chipotle, which, though not exactly salad bars, are better than your average French-fry-and-burger joint.

"You don't see any deep fryers in Panera," community activist Arthur Turner told the Post.

Opponents of the move might argue that this type of meddling defines a "nanny-state," but arguments about public health beg the question of where to draw the line when regulating eating patterns.

"We're saying where there is health data that suggests that there should be interventions that we should put a stop to permits," Harrington said.

Do you think this is a legitimate way of improving people's health?



Utah congressman seeks to block D.C. same-sex marriages

U.S. Rep Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced a disapproval resolution today in Congress to block the city's attempt to legalize same-sex marriage.

If approved by the House and Senate, as well as signed by President Obama, the resolution would override the same-sex marriage bill signed by Mayor Adrian M Fenty (D) last month.

But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) issued a statement Wednesday evening saying she has received assurance from House Democratic leaders that the House will not even vote on Chaffetz's resolution.

"I am pleased it will not be taken up by committee," said Norton, adding her Democratic colleagues believe District officials should make their own laws.

Without Congressional intervention, same-sex marriages could begin in early March in the city.


(no subject)

Does a Parent's Gender Impact a Child's Success?

In a finding that confronts deeply rooted beliefs about parenting, a new study concludes that same-sex couples are as effective at raising children as heterosexual couples.

On average, children succeed most when raised by two parents rather than one. The parents' genders, however, have little impact on the outcomes, according to a landmark study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

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This would seem like common sense, but I guess people refuse to let go of tired gender roles.
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Alito Appears To Mouth 'Definitely Not True' After Obama Criticizes Court Decision

President Barack Obama had some harsh words for the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down a key campaign-finance provision during his State of the Union address tonight, and Justice Samuel Alito looked none too pleased.

"With all due deference to separation of powers," the president said, "last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."

While Obama finished that line, the camera panned to the Supreme Court justices who were sitting in the front row of the chamber. Alito cringed, pursed his lips, shook his head from side to side in apparent disagreement and mouthed words that sure looked a lot like "definitely not true." He kept shaking his head from side to side and made a somewhat sour face while many around him stood and applauded.


Lord, please pray for the soul of Judge Alito and guide my pimp hand and make it strong lord, so that he can STFU. AMEN

Mr. Noun Verb 9/11 is going senile.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani charted this morning on CNN that President "ignored national security" in his State of the Union address last night.

Giuliani (R) said Obama "didn't talk about the Christmas almost-bomber," even though Obama did. He said the president didn't use the word "Islamic terrorism," though Obama used the word "terrorist" twice and "terrorism" once.

Giuliani's interpretation of the amount of time devoted to national security may be accurate - the economy took up two-thirds of the speech - but Obama definitely mentioned it. (Here's a flashback to Giuliani saying earlier this month that the nation had no terrorist attacking during the George W. Bush presidency.)

Today Giuliani said Obama's lack of security talk was comparable to Franklin Roosevelt giving a State of the Union during World War II "not mentioning Nazism and not mentioning the war."

Watch our highlight reel:


Mad Hatter Cancels Afternoon Tea Party.

Bachmann cancels Tea Party appearance

Rep. Michele Bachmann has become the latest high-profile conservative to bag the rapidly unraveling Tea Party Convention in Nashville next week.

The Minnesota Republican, who has become something of a heroine of the Tea Party movement, decided Thursday morning that she is cancelling her appearance at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel next Friday, where she was scheduled to be a breakfast speaker.

Bachmann’s office cited the same concerns that other Tea Party activists have voiced about the first-of-its-kind national gathering: namely, the for-profit model of organizer Judson Phillips, a self-described “small town lawyer” with a history of financial problems.

Phillips has announced that the $549-a-head convention featuring Sarah Palin is sold out. But Tea Party critics and allies alike have been asking questions about what Phillips plans to do with the money. Concrete answers have been in short supply, and in the end it looked like too big a risk for any public office holder.

“We’re out,” said Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok. “It comes down to conflicting advice as to how these profits are going to be used after the fact. We’d rather err on the side of caution than do it and find out it’s improper... with somebody saying ‘they’re using the money from an event you were at to support this and this,’ which comes as a direct conflict with what you’re doing as a member of Congress.”
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GOP to Save Bankers from Communist Bullies.

Beware Wall Street: Americans Love Obama’s TARP Tax

President Obama has had a rough few weeks. His proposed health care overhaul is in trouble and voters are saying he’s not doing enough to improve the economy, according to a new poll conducted by Republican researcher Glen Bolger and Democrat Stan Greenberg.

The one bright spot for Obama is his proposed “TARP tax.”

Bolger’s and Greenberg’s results showed that the fee on banks to pay for the financial bail out has solid popular support. The poll of 800 likely voters showed that 57% of respondents supported the tax when the pollster described it as a “responsibility fee” that will “discourage big bonus payouts and ensure the big banks that caused the crisis pay for the bailout.”
But 39% of respondents oppose the tax when pollsters said it would cause the banks to pass along the costs to consumers and reduce lending to small businesses.

Bolger told National Public Radio he thinks his fellow Republicans could be hurt if they take up the bankers’ cause in the 2010 midterm elections.
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Wall Street Pay: Banks Devise Ways To Skirt Compensation Cuts

Don't shed a tear for seemingly cash-strapped Wall Street workers this year. This year's bonus season may, in fact, be surprisingly rewarding. Banks have been working to devise ways to boost overall employee compensation while maintaining the appearance of pay cuts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Goldman Sachs, which posted a $13 billion profit for 2009 and has been under intense scrutiny all year, has reportedly already announced bonus amounts to partners, directors, analysts and vice presidents. Many Goldman employees, according to the Business Insider, are actually quite thrilled about their compensation structure, which includes larger stock awards, smaller cash payouts -- and, for some, more take-home pay. Here's John Carney:

Partners this week were told that their 2009 bonus will be paid 60% in stock that will vest over 3 years. Several partners we spoke to seemed happy to get Goldman stock instead of cash.

"Cash loses value over time, while Goldman stock gains," one partner said.

Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS AG have also offered some employees loans on the company dime. At other banks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, some workers are reportedly set to receive stock grants that can be sold "within months," the WSJ notes. These fast-track stock options run counter to much of the underlying principles behind reforming Wall Street pay. A host of critics and economists have called for tying bank pay to long-term performance, rather than short-term gains.
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death / sfu

J.D. Salinger dies at 91

J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose "The Catcher in the Rye" shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.

Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author's son said in a statement from Salinger's literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

"The Catcher in the Rye," with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made "Catcher" a featured selection, advised that for "anyone who has ever brought up a son" the novel will be "a source of wonder and delight — and concern."

Enraged by all the "phonies" who make "me so depressed I go crazy," Holden soon became American literature's most famous anti-hero since Huckleberry Finn. The novel's sales are astonishing — more than 60 million copies worldwide — and its impact incalculable. Decades after publication, the book remains a defining expression of that most American of dreams — to never grow up.


Organ Harvesting: Haitian Edition

Haitian PM: Human Organs Are Being Trafficked In Aftermath Of Quake (VIDEO)

On CNN last night Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive talked to the network's Christiane Amanpour about the unsettling reality of trafficking of human organs from victims in the wake of the earthquake that struck a few weeks ago.

"A lot of organizations - they come and they say there were children on the streets," Bellerive said. "They are going to bring them to the States -- we have already reports of trafficking, even of organ trafficking."

AMANPOUR: And do you know for sure that children are being trafficked now?

BELLERIVE: There are children trafficking for children and adult persons, also. Because they need
all types of organs.

AMANPOUR: No, but I mean live children. Are they being trafficked now?

BELLERIVE: The reports I receive; yes.


Fact Check: The State Of The Union

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.

Obama confronted some tough realities in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, chief among them that Americans are continuing to lose their health insurance as Congress struggles to pass an overhaul.

Yet some of his ideas for moving ahead skirted the complex political circumstances standing in his way.

A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:


OBAMA: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't."

THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than 1 percent of the deficit — and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.

Obama is a convert to the cause of broad spending freezes. In the presidential campaign, he criticized Republican opponent John McCain for suggesting one. "The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel," he said a month before the election. Now, Obama wants domestic spending held steady in most areas where the government can control year-to-year costs. The proposal is similar to McCain's.

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The AP did a much better job poking holes in the speech than I could. I also liked Hot Air's debunking of the debt myth as well.


Judge Imposes Harshest Penalty On America's Hero: "Inhumane, Cruel, and Unusual!"

Judge Orders 25-Year-Old O'Keefe To Live With His Parents

As if James O'Keefe hasn't suffered enough indignity after botching an alleged phone tampering operation at a U.S. senator's office, getting arrested, and being photographed leaving jail, the judge in the case has now ordered that he reside with his parents until the next hearing.

Magistrate Judge Louis Moore made the order Tuesday as part of the conditions of release for O'Keefe, 25. (Read them here)

The young conservative filmmaker is free on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for February 13.

It's not clear where O'Keefe, who hasn't said much publicly since getting out jail, is right now. But his father, the elder James O'Keefe, told the AP "I'm confident this was poor judgment ... but not much more." James and Deborah O'Keefe live in New Jersey, the state where Moore ordered the younger O'Keefe to remain while out on bond.

It's also unclear where O'Keefe lived before the arrest.

Scott Brown Fails Purity Test. Already a Sell Out.

Scott Brown Warns GOP He Won't Always Vote With Them

Scott Brown says he has already told Senate Republican leaders they won't always be able to count on his vote.

The man who staged an upset in last week's Massachusetts Senate special election, in part by pledging to be the 41st GOP vote against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he staked his claim in early conversations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip Jon Kyl.

"I already told them, you know, `I got here with the help of a close group of friends and very little help from anyone down there, so there'll be issues when I'll be with you and there are issues when I won't be with you,'" Brown said Thursday during the half-hour interview. "So, I just need to look at each vote and then make a proper analysis and then decide."

Asked how McConnell and Kyl responded, Brown said, "They understood. They said, `You can probably do whatever you want, Scott. And, so, just let us know where your head's at, and we'll talk it through, and just keep us posted.'" TRAITOR!!

The senator-elect did not elaborate on possible breaking points, though the Washington newcomer dismissed any suggestion he will relent once he starts working in the highly partisan capital.

"That's not pressure; pressure is what I'm going through right now," said Brown. He cited his efforts to complete a transition in 2 1/2 weeks, compared with the normal 2 1/2 months for regularly elected senators, while preparing to surrender his responsibilities as a state senator, become a Beltway commuter and resume his triathlon training.

He started Thursday with a one-hour bike ride and 1,500-meter swim.

"I'm trying to do it very well and be balanced and still get my workouts in," said Brown. "There's nothing wrong with having good conversation and debating. We do it here in our own caucus, at a smaller level. ... It's just a different building, really."
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And today's "No shit, Sherlock" award goes to . . .

MMR scare doctor 'acted unethically', panel finds

The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism acted unethically, the official medical regulator has found.

Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet study caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles - but the findings were later discredited.

The General Medical Council ruled he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in doing his research.

Afterwards, Dr Wakefield said the claims were "unfounded and unjust".

The GMC case did not investigate whether Dr Wakefield's findings were right or wrong, instead it was focused on the methods of research.

During the two-and-a-half years of hearings - one of the longest in the regulator's history - he was accused of a series of charges.

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Not like this will make a difference, since the anti-vax crowd doesn't care about reality at all, but hopefully this will be helpful to the uninformed.


Edit: Oh, and oblig: http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/ because this should be spread around like the diseases that vaccinations prevent.
  • xerox78

RIP Jasmina Anema

Posted 04 DEC 2009: Jasmina meets President Obama

Jasmina Anema, brave six-year-old who captured New Yorkers' hearts, loses battle with leukemia

Jasmina Anema, the Manhattan girl whose brave battle against leukemia captivated the city and inspired thousands to become bone marrow donors, has died. She was just six years old.

Jasmina's year-long fight against an especially fatal form of the disease ended at 10:55 p.m. Tuesday night at NYU Langone Medical Center, her mother, Thea Anema, said.

"She was an incredible fighter to the end," said Jasmina's godmother, Mariana Verkerk.
"Her attitude was always incredibly positive. She fought her battle so hard, and unfortunately she didn't win it."

Thea Anema was too devastated to speak, but she sent a message through Jasmina's godmother.

"Thea wants everyone to know that Jasmina had a wonderful life...and she died peacefully," Verkerk said.

President Obama, whom Jasmina met in December, also extolled the resilient cancer victim's courage.

"Jasmina showed tremendous bravery in the face of adversity, and her ability to stay positive throughout her battle was an inspiration to me and to all those she touched," Obama added in a statement.

"As the parents of two young girls, our hearts particularly go out to Jasmina's devoted mother Thea. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and with all who knew and loved Jasmina."

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With Michael McAuliff

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Raider of the Lost Ark: Part Duex

Boulder crashes through house, barely misses woman

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. – Emergency officials say a boulder about the size of a compact car crashed into an apartment in eastern Tennessee, barely missing a woman sleeping in her bedroom.

Fire Chief David Jackson in Rogersville says 75-year-old Elizabeth Allred was lucky that the 10-foot-wide boulder didn't hit her bed straight on. Instead, it crashed nearby and the imploding wall sent her hospital bed rolling across the room. She was at home recovering from a broken hip when it happened Monday morning. Allred told Jackson it felt like a train crashed into her room.

Jackson said the boulder broke loose from a bank above the dwelling during recent rains.

The Kingsport Times-News reported that Allred was listed in good condition at a hospital on Tuesday.

OMG. Both frightening and sorta lol worthy.
asoneill - Yahoo Me

Anti-abortion activist takes stand in murder trial

(CNN) -- An anti-abortion activist charged with gunning down a Wichita, Kansas, doctor took the stand in his own defense Thursday, testifying calmly over prosecutors' vigorous and frequent objections.

Scott Roeder, 51, is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Dr. George Tiller, who was shot to death at his church on May 31. Tiller ran a women's clinic where he performed abortions.

Roeder testified that his anti-abortion beliefs "go hand in hand" with his religious beliefs. He said he became born again in 1992 after watching an episode of "The 700 Club."

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Dems working with LOU DOBBS on Immigration Reform

I almost spit juice all over my laptop when I saw this on Twitter. WHAT THE HELL? I agree that we need serious reform, but do we really need to take pointers from an anti-immigration advocate like Lou Dobbs?

Senate Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally for help in their push for bipartisan immigration reform: former CNN anchor and noted anti-illegal immigration spokesman Lou Dobbs.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of a Senate subcommittee on immigration and leader of the Democratic effort to forge a comprehensive immigration bill, met with Dobbs on Wednesday to discuss future immigration reform, The Hill reports.


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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/lou-dobbs-and-democrats-w_n_440887.html
Carrie fan

Storm Takes Steep Toll on Destitute Tribe

A tiny tribe of Lakota Sioux has been battling wind, rain and subzero temperatures this week as ice storms lash one of the U.S.'s poorest communities and leave thousands without electricity, heat or drinking water.

"There's been winters this bad before, but not with rain so bad it freezes the power lines and snaps the poles," said Joseph Brings Plenty, the 38-year old chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies about 200 miles northeast of Rapid City, S.D. The tribal chairman said 500 power lines were brought down in a blizzard in November, and that between 2,000 and 3,000 more have been lost since Friday from ice storms.

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The Cheyenne River tribe is made up of four of the seven bands of Lakota Sioux Indians in the Dakotas, whose reservations also include the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Rosebud bands. Power-line damage across all reservations may exceed 5,000 downed poles, which tribal authorities said may take weeks or months for utility companies to repair. Collapse )

ETA: background info on the Lakota Sioux and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

O RLY To Run For Office So She Can Sue Obama. Please, Send Moneyz!

Birther Queen Files 'Orly Taitz v. Barack Hussein Obama,' Says She's Mulling Run For Office

Orly Taitz, the dentist and lawyer whose birther lawsuits we've been following, filed a new suit in D.C. District Court Wednesday: Dr. Orly Taitz v. Barack Hussein Obama.

The suit, like Taitz's others, claims President Obama is not a U.S. citizen and demands his birth certificate.

It also alleges that Attorney General Eric Holder has ignored her allegations and calls to the Justice Department -- a "game of hide and seek," she says, that's "infantile at best and treasonous at worst."

Taitz also said on her blog this week that she is considering running for state office in California, either for attorney general or secretary of state, so she could sue Obama for his records.

"We don't need 50 secretaries of state or 50 Attorney Generals suing Obama. If only one sues and gets discovery, we are done," she wrote.

She also said she'd need $3,000 to $4,000 to start her campaign, and estimated a run would cost $100,000 in all. Taitz also said she'd need a campaign manager and volunteers.

McDonalds/Burger King for 2012!!

Murray Hill PR Firm Plans (Satirical) Run For Maryland Congressional Seat

Corporations are taking note of the impact that the Supreme Court decision to remove limits on corporate campaign spending will have on federal elections. One is even taking matters a step further -- with tongue firmly in cheek.

On its website, the progressive PR firm Murray Hill has announced its satirical plan to run for Congress, in what it calls the "First Test of 'Corporate Personhood' In Politics."

From their press release:

"Until now...corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves."

Murray Hill Inc. is believed to be the first "corporate person" to exercise its constitutional right to run for office. As Supreme Court observer Lyle Denniston wrote on SCOTUSblog, "If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate "persons," treating them -- under the First Amendment free-speech clause -- as the equal of human beings."

Murray Hill agrees. "The strength of America," according to the firm's release, "is in the boardrooms, country clubs and Lear jets of America's great corporations. We're saying to Wal-Mart, AIG and Pfizer, if not you, who? If not now, when?"

Murray Hill's campaign announcement even comes complete with their first official campaign commercial.

fuck the mcu

Ireland accused of exposing women to anti-abortion lies

Human rights group says women seeking information about terminations are told they will often cause irreparable damage

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The Irish government came under increasing pressure to overhaul its ban on abortion today, after it was accused of exposing women to "grossly misleading" information about the procedure.

According to Human Rights Watch, Irish legislation – under which women who have an abortion in Ireland face a life sentence in prison if prosecuted – is putting women's health at risk and exposing them to deliberate misinformation from rogue pro-life agencies.

Women have been told they may become infertile, require a hysterectomy or possibly need a colostomy bag after an abortion by agencies that target women seeking advice about unwanted pregnancies, says the report.

It comes as Ireland waits for a landmark ruling from the European court of human rights on the case of three women who accuse the government of putting their health at risk by forcing them to travel abroad for terminations.

"Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation," said Marianne Mollmann, the women's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatised, and written out."

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Time to end pelvic exams done without consent

Imagine that you are undergoing a fairly routine surgery – say, removal of uterine fibroids or hysterectomy. During or right after the procedure, while you are still under anesthesia, a group of medical students parades into the operating room and they perform gynecological exams (unrelated to the surgery) without your knowledge.

Do you consider this okay, or an outrageous violation of your rights?

Regardless of your feelings, you should be aware that this is standard procedure in many Canadian teaching hospitals.

Medical students routinely practice doing internal pelvic examinations while surgery patients are unconscious, and without getting specific consent, at least in Canada.

Guidelines in the United States and Britain say specific consent is required but, by contrast, Canadian guidelines state that pelvic examination by trainees is “implicit.”

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Brazilians, those damn freedom haters!

The almost-lost cause of freedom
Why is economic liberalism so taboo in socially liberal Brazil?

“ADMITTING to liberalism explicitly,” wrote Roberto Campos, a Brazilian politician, diplomat and swimmer against the tide who died in 2001, “is as outlandish in a country with a dirigiste culture as having sex in public.” His observation still holds for Brazil, where economic liberals (in the British, free-market sense, not the socialistic American one) are as scarce as snowflakes. Government revenue as a share of GDP has risen steadily in the past decade, and is now closer to the level in rich European countries than that of Brazil’s middle-income peers. Despite this, none of the likely candidates in the presidential election due in October talks about cutting taxes. The two leading candidates are both on the tax-and-spend centre-left.

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LMAO, I don't even know what to bold, I was just wondering how ontd_p members would see this article (which is not even that informative wtf?). The Economist has been taking Brazilian conservatives  too seriously. Loving FHC is enough, leave DEM out of this.

On a side note, too bad Lula had to cancel his trip to Davos. From his speech at the World Social Forum
it sounded like it would be a lot of fun =(.
  • jbfalek

Darwin's Pikachu evolved into a Raichu!!!

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur'an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.

Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin's theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.

In the United States there is growing pressure to teach creationism or "intelligent design" in science classes, despite legal rulings against it. Now similar trends in this country have prompted the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific academy, to confront the issue head on with a talk entitled Why Creationism is Wrong. The award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally at the society's event in April.

"There is an insidious and growing problem," said Professor Jones, of University College London. "It's a step back from rationality. They (the creationists) don't have a problem with science, they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease as we see from the United States."

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panda bear

(no subject)

Pentagon To Deliver 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Plan Next Week

The Pentagon will unveil steps next week that the military will take to lay the ground for a repeal of its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which permits gays to serve in uniform as long they hide their sexual orientation, officials said on Thursday.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, will present an "implementation plan" to U.S. lawmakers next Tuesday, spelling out measures that the Pentagon will take internally before the White House and the Congress move to change the law.

In his first State of the Union speech on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called for ending the policy, saying: "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."

Gates has voiced caution in the past against moving too quickly to repeal the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which began in the early 1990s.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell declined to comment on what steps the military would take, telling reporters: "The secretary and the chairman have been and continue to work on an implementation plan and will be able to share it with you early next week."

Existing policy bans openly gay people from serving in the military but prohibits military officials from initiating inquiries on sexual orientation when soldiers are abiding by the rules.

Obama's call drew fire from Senator John McCain, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy," McCain said. "This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels."

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. gay rights group, welcomed Obama's move.

"Our country simply cannot afford this discriminatory law that hurts military readiness by denying patriotic men and women the opportunity to serve," said the group's president, Joe Solmonese.

The policy was signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, as a compromise after the military objected to his calls to open its doors to gays.

The policy stopped the government from asking recruits or anyone in the military if they were homosexual, provided they did not disclose their sexual orientation.

Critics charge that having gays openly serve in the military would undermine morale and discipline. Others reject such complaints and call the current policy unfair and unwise.


" who me ?"

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told Katie Couric of "CBS Evening News" that Democrats could have won the special election in Massachusetts earlier this month. But he denied that the Obama administration could have done more.

"You could say that I'm responsible for not having done more at the White House, but I think that, in this period of time between [Martha Coakley] winning the primary and us getting a phone call to get involved, we were immediately up there with whatever resources they asked for and more," Emanuel said Wednesday. He added that "it is no doubt in my mind we could have won that race" -- but did not get into specifics.

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Akuma River

15 days after the earthquake and found ALIVE!

I heard this on the news and picked this up from Andrew Sullivan:

Updated: found news article about it.
Girl found alive 15 days after Haiti quake
Darlene Etienne, believed to be 16 or 17, was dehydrated and had a broken left leg but was conscious

A teenage girl was rescued alive from under a house in Port-au-Prince yesterday, 15 days after the devastating earthquake that killed as many as 200,000 people.

Darlene Etienne, believed to be 16 or 17, was dehydrated and had a broken left leg but was conscious when she was dragged out of the rubble by rescuers. A rescue worker, JP Malaganne, described her as happy, shocked and crying.

"I don't know how she happened to resist that long. It's a miracle," he said.
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Women's rights under attack in Afghanistan

"I don’t trust the justice system in Afghanistan, I tried many times to get help from them but now I am in hiding from the authorities as well."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Women were promised greater protection after the invasion of Afghanistan, but Nima Elbagir finds an increasing number have forced to self-inflict injuries to escape abuse.

When the Taliban were still in power the liberation of Afghanistan's women was a cause celebre in the west - a moral justification for the invasion. Collapse )
Akuma River

Another horrible story from Iran

Iran executes two over election unrest
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran executed two people on Thursday over widespread street unrest that erupted after the Islamic Republic's disputed presidential election in June, an Iranian news agency reported.

The two were among 11 people sentenced to death on charges including moharebeh (waging war against God), trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment and membership of armed groups, the ISNA students agency said.

The executions were the first carried out for election-related incidents and may further increase tension in Iran ahead of possible new anti-government protests next month.
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Tea Party: Now With a 100% More Aryan! (White Power Now Included!)

Neo-Nazis, Militants Eye Tea Party for Recruitment (VIDEO)

Tea parties are proving very attractive to both white supremacists and the militia movement.
At 11:15 on Friday, in an online Patriot Caucus discussion forum, David E. Parsons wrote a post called "Militia Training Videos," with links to videos by Mark Koernke, a leading figure in the American militia movement, and his followers.

One video linked to from the Patriot Caucus forum (embedded below) features militiamen emerging from a smoke-screened forest, armed with assault rifles, with the instructions: "Train as you will fight... So that you will fight as you have trained!!!"

Militants such as Koernke have referred to their cause as the Patriot Movement for years. Meanwhile, multiple tea party groups are springing up which refer to themselves as "militias." Eric Odom, executive director of American Liberty Alliance, created the Patriot Caucus website on which the militia recruitment post was made. He has yet to respond to a January 22 email informing him of the post. At time of publication, the post was still up.

But militants are not the only ones infiltrating the Tea Party movement. The white power movement views Tea Parties as opportunities to recruit as well as incite violence, as is evidenced by postings on the white power website Stormfront:
Whites Forward: "Go where our people are starting to stand up around symptoms of the problem, and INTERVENE to guide them. Just because these started as an anti-tax protest doesn't mean that they must be limited and can't be developed upward toward an explicitly racial mass struggle."
Scottish: "I think the "tea party" is a good way to meet people with potential. Most people at this event will be white people who are fed up with the direction of things and they are ready to hear how we got into this mess."
On Jan. 22 the Council of Conservative Citizens attended a Florida Tea Party, where members distributed two boxes of their newsletter and 250 Council business cards. The CofCC is the political face of the white power movement. Their mission statement declares that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people."

Last November, neo-Nazi J.T. Ready started a fight by unfurling a Hitler flag at an Arizona Tea Party. In the recent documentary, "White Power USA", Ready describes the Tea Party movement as "the beginning of a really good awakening." White supremacists believe that they are only the tip of an iceberg, the visible aspect of a more universal hatred. The documentary suggests that white supremacists sees Tea Parties as "the best chance in decades to cross over into mainstream American politics."
Akuma River

66,000 men and women will soon be free of the fear of losing their jobs

66,000 Patriots


The Williams Institute released a study (pdf) on DADT yesterday. The key findings from the press release (pdf):

An estimated 66,000 lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals are serving in the US military, accounting for approximately 2.2% of military personnel.

Approximately 13,000 LGB people are serving on active duty (comprising 0.9% of all active duty personnel) while nearly 53,000 are serving in the guard and reserve forces (3.4%).

While women comprise only about 14% of active duty personnel, they comprise more than 43% of LGB men and women serving on active duty.

Lifting DADT restrictions could attract an estimated 36,700 men and women to active duty service and 12,000 more individuals to the guard and reserve.

Since its inception in 1994, the “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy has cost the military between $290 million and more than a half a billion dollars.

The military spends an estimated $22,000 to $43,000 per person to replace those discharged under DADT.