February 2nd, 2010

movies | HBIC

ontd_political Photo of the Day: February 1, 2010.

In this publicity image released by The Wendy Williams Show, host Wendy Williams, left, poses with a wax figure of first lady Michelle Obama wearing an inaugural gown during The Wendy Williams Show, Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 in New York. The wax figure of Obama was unveiled at Madame Tussauds New York the following day.
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Anders KrusbergAlexander, The Wendy Williams Show  | AP Photo
Zorak in a Wig

"Christianity is stupid! Environmentalism is good!"

This op-ed is a bit meandering at times, but I thought the general point he made was interesting.

Environmentalism as a substitute for religion

Stephen Asma, Dallas News

Recently while I was brushing my teeth, my 6-year-old son scolded me for running the water too long. He severely reprimanded me, and at the end of his censure asked me, with real outrage, "Don't you love the earth?" And lately he has taken up the energy cause, scampering virtuously around the house turning off lights, even while I'm using them. He seems as stressed and anxious about the sins of environmentalism as I was about masturbation in the days of my Roman Catholic childhood.

Not too long ago, at a party, a friend confessed in a group conversation that he didn't really recycle. It was as if his casual comment had sucked the air out of the room – I think the CD player even skipped. He suddenly became a pariah. A heretic had been detected among the orthodox flock. During the indignant tongue-lashing that followed, people's faces twisted with moral outrage.

Many people who feel passionate about saving the planet justify their intense feelings by pointing to the seriousness of the problem and the high stakes involved. No doubt they are right about the seriousness. There are indeed environmental challenges, and steps must be taken to ameliorate them. But there is another way to understand the unique passion surrounding our need to go green.

Friedrich Nietzsche was the first to notice that religious emotions, like guilt and indignation, are still with us, even if we're not religious. He claimed that we were living in a post-Christian world – the church no longer dominates political and economic life – but we, as a culture, are still dominated by Judeo-Christian values. And those values are not obvious – they are not the Ten Commandments or any particular doctrine, but a general moral outlook.

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Hamilton the Honorable

British couple held by Somali pirates for 100 days appeal for help

British Couple Held by Somali Pirates for 100 Days Appeal for Help:

Alone, frightened and increasingly desperate, a gaunt Rachel Chandler spoke of her "cruel" treatment at the hands of her Somali kidnappers in a video released today appealing for help.

It has been 100 days since she was seized by pirates along with her husband, Paul, as they sailed their yacht, the Lynn Rival, on a tour of the Indian ocean, part of a round-the-world dream voyage.

Today, in a film shot by a news agency, her accelerating sickness and distress at being separated from her husband is clear.

"It's very hard to know what to do to stay sane," she told a surgeon who was allowed to briefly examine the pair, now being held in different locations in rugged areas between the coastal village of Elhur and the small town of Amara inland.

"If I was with my husband then I would feel a lot better. It's because I'm not with my husband that I'm feeling lonely and desperate and I'm finding it difficult to sleep and carry on through the day."

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Akuma River

HRC's Voices of Honor campaign to kill DADT


HRC Plans Campaign Against Military Ban

In response to President Obama’s call in the State of the Union address to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Human Rights Campaign Wednesday night announced a campaign targeting the antigay policy. The Voices of Honor campaign “will organize veterans across the country, generate media coverage, and build focused campaigns in key states that will be critical to the final votes in the House and Senate,” the group announced in a release.

Said HRC president Joe Solmonese: “The commander in chief sent a clear message tonight that in a time of war, what matters is that our men and women get the job done — not whether they’re gay or straight. Our Voices of Honor campaign will bring about much needed action to end this law that the vast majority of Americans oppose. Our country simply cannot afford this discriminatory law that hurts military readiness by denying patriotic men and women the opportunity to serve. Ridding our laws of discrimination that weakens our national security will require continued leadership from the president as well as congressional allies.”

Find our more about the HRC Voices of Honor campaign here.

Sign the Petition to Congress here
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So what message did you add to the petition?
Pride & Prejudice

The ex-gay files: The bizarre world of gay-to-straight conversion

In Britain today therapists are trying to convert gay men and women to heterosexuality. I know this, because for several months I infiltrated this network of therapists and put myself – a happy, "out" gay man – through treatment.

According to a report by Professor Michael King of University College London, one in six UK psychiatrists and psychotherapists have sought to reduce or change a patient's sexual orientation. And with the help of the American conversion therapy movement, practitioners here, along with a clutch of international "conversion" organisations, are becoming co-ordinated and unified. They plan to gain credibility, university backing and government funding. In some cases, the NHS is even paying for the treatment.

This is despite the fact that homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – psychiatry's glossary of conditions – 36 years ago. And despite much evidence that such practices are damaging and ineffective. 
My investigation began last spring, shortly after King's report was published, when an evangelical group held a conference in a central London church for therapists wanting to learn how to "reorient" their patients.

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It's a long article, but worth the read, I think. Very rage-inducing though- as a Christian, I'm horrified to the point where I almost want to apologise for the others in my religon.
high / jesse

After Obama Controversy, Weatherproof Picks Lincoln

Remember the Obama billboard controversy?

As it scrambles for a last-minute, New York metropolitan area commercial during Super Bowl XLIV, on WCBS-TV Feb. 7, publicity stunt artist Weatherproof has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

For one, Weatherproof Garment Co. is set to reprise its five-second, animated black-and-white TV commercial Sunday during the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on CBS. “I’m only interested in marketing the name Weatherproof,” Freddie Stollmack, president of Weatherproof, said of the decision to trot out the supershort spot for a fourth time.

Or the name in association with the likeness of a U.S. president. Weatherproof is planning to mount a billboard in Las Vegas with a doctored portrait of President Abraham Lincoln “wearing” Weatherproof jacket style 2821 (and a stovepipe hat) while strolling past the White House, paired with the slogan: “Fit for a President.” The billboard is slated to go up on Las Vegas Boulevard near Mandalay Bay between Feb. 1 and 6 and to appear for 28 days, timed to coincide with the MAGIC fashion trade show.

This plan comes shortly after Weatherproof took down its Time Square billboard showing President Obama sporting a Weatherproof jacket, following a White House complaint that the image suggested Obama was hawking the jacket. Now there’s an image of Mount Rushmore up at 5 Times Square — with a Weatherproof logo imposed on it — paired with the brand’s “Fit for a President” claim.

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Pop Benedict attacks Government over equality bill

The Pope has urged Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the UK's Equality Bill with "missionary zeal".

Pope Benedict XVI said the legislation "violates natural law" and could end the right of the Catholic Church to ban gay people from senior positions.

The Pope has confirmed he will come to the UK this year, the first papal visit since John Paul II in 1982.

The full article is here

:(, boyd, teen wolf

(no subject)

Less than a pretty face: Brain scans show how a disorder leads individuals to perceive themselves as ugly

Despite living in a culture obsessed with physical flawlessness, most people in the U.S. have a relatively realistic perception of their own form and face—blemishes, bulges and all. About one to two percent of the population, however, suffers from a recognized psychological illness, known as body dysmorphic disorder (or BDD), which causes them to be preoccupied with physical defects that they think make them look repugnant. Such tendencies can lead some people to extreme and frequent plastic surgeries and even suicide.

A new study used brain scans to see how patients' minds worked when looking at faces—both of others and themselves. The results, published online February 1 in Archives of General Psychiatry, show that people with BDD seem to get hung up on details and hint at a link with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The new case-control study used functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activity among 33 people (17 control subjects and 16 with BDD) as the subjects looked at photos of their face and that of a familiar celebrity. Previous research and clinical observation had found that people with BDD tend to "focus primarily on details of their appearance at the expense of global or configural aspects," the researchers wrote.

So following this lead, the researchers (led by Jamie Feusner, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles) showed subjects standard photos as well as altered versions: one in which only the details remained and another in which only basic, blurred information remained.

Although the study was small, the researchers found a distinct difference between how the brains of the people with BDD and the control individuals reacted upon seeing the images. Analysis of the scans showed that "individuals with BDD have abnormal brain activation patterns when viewing their own face, showing hyperactivity in primary and secondary visual processing regions for [blurred] faces and hyperactivity in frontostriatal systems for [normal] faces," noted the researchers. This tendency to focus in on the details at the expense of an "ability to contextualize them configurally or holistically" might be at the root of the disorder and "suggests aberrant activity patterns for faces in general," the researchers wrote.

The severity of these effects appeared to correlate with the level of BBD symptoms in people who had the disorder.

These cognitive patterns, the scientists report, represent "preliminary evidence of a possible similarity in functional neuroanatomy between BDD and obsessive-compulsive disorder."


Sounds fascinating! I would definitely like repeat results on a larger scale :)
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Haiti PM: US Baptists knew removing kids was wrong

Haiti PM: US Baptists knew removing kids was wrong

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti's prime minister said Monday that 10 Americans who tried to take a busload of undocumented Haitian children out of the country knew that "what they were doing was wrong," and could be prosecuted in the United States.

Prime Minister Max Bellerive also told The Associated Press that his country is open to having the Americans face U.S. justice, since most government buildings — including Haiti's courts — were crippled by the monster earthquake.

"It is clear now that they were trying to cross the border without papers. It is clear now that some of the children have live parents," Bellerive said. "And it is clear now that they knew what they were doing was wrong."

If they were acting in good faith — as the Americans claim — "perhaps the courts will try to be more lenient with them," he said.

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The thing that kills me are that they know some of the kids still had living parents. And the "There is no air conditioning, no electricity. It is very disturbing" bit--oh, I'm sorry you're in the exact same position as the Haitians.
franklin sherman

YouTube Censors Marijuana Question In Obama Interview

Yes, questions about marijuana were the most popular in the CitizenTube voting Monday afternoon.

But YouTube, in a gutless move, decided at the last minute not to present the highest ranked questions to the President.

Initial reports that the President had ignored the marijuana questions were inaccurate; YouTube took pot, the top vote getter, out of the running.

President Obama never even got an opportunity to answer the most popular question of all.

Wait, what?

If they were going to ignore the questions that got the most votes, then why, exactly, did YouTube ask viewers to go to the trouble of voting? And why did they go through the motions of counting those votes, if they were good for bupkis, nada, zilch?

Here's a more likely scenario:

YouTube blanched when they saw marijuana had once again proved itself to be a popular, mainstream issue by topping the vote.

So they chunked all the votes, and just picked the questions they would have asked anyway.

It seems obvious now that when YouTube said "We've collected the top questions," they didn't mean the questions viewers thought were tops. They mean the questions they picked to be tops.

"It's unfortunate that YouTube would shelter the President from something that's obviously on a lot of people's minds," said Ben Morris of the Marijuana Policy Project.

As pointed out by Morris, marijuana can no longer be safely regarded as a "fringe issue."

With recent national polls showing legalization approaching majority support, the time when politicians could afford laugh off the marijuana issue is coming to a close.

Last year, when marijuana reform questions topped the "Open For Questions" forum sponsored by the White House, the President did answer them.

Unfortunately, he chose to answer them in a dismissive and condescending manner, as in "what that says about the online audience," and never addressed the substance of the questions.


Obama to visit Australia next month

Obama to Visit Australia for 70th year alliance Anniversary.

US President Barack Obama and his family will visit Australia in late March, the White House has confirmed.

Mr Obama, who has referred to himself as "America's first Pacific president" because of his birth in Hawaii and his years in Indonesia, will also visit Indonesia during the trip, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

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Medical Journal Retracts Autism Paper 12 Years On

The Lancet medical journal formally retracted a paper on Tuesday that caused a 12-year international battle over links between the three-in-one childhood MMR vaccine and autism.

The paper, published in 1998 and written by British doctor Andrew Wakefield, suggested the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot might be linked to autism and bowel disease.

His assertion, since widely discredited, caused one of the biggest medical rows in a generation and led to a steep drop in the number of vaccinations in the United States, Britain and other parts of Europe, prompting a rise in cases of measles.

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Pride & Prejudice

Bright children 'being held back' at school

Schools are often more focused on “holding back” the most able pupils to allow others to catch-up, said Prof Deborah Eyre, former head of the Government’s National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth.

She said the Government’s 13-year policy towards bright children had been “inconsistent and incoherent”.

The comments came as it emerged a raft of initiatives designed to identify and help the most gifted pupils were being abandoned. An academy – set up to stage specialist courses for pupils from state schools – is being scrapped and the £20m funding targeted elsewhere. Separate cash for out-of-school master classes, workshops and summer schools will also be withdrawn and a national register of bright children is being abolished.

Labour said the money would instead go directly to schools, giving individual head teachers more power to promote the needs of gifted pupils. Schools will be told to prioritise bright children from the poorest backgrounds.
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The one thing I'm thinking about this is 'why has it taken them this long to realise it?' Seriously, as a G&T kid, the utter lack of any kind of provision for kids who weren't average or below at my primary school was appalling, especially combined with the bullying I faced on a daily basis. The only reason it's stopped is because I go to a grammar school now, and everyone's been through that so nobody wants to see it happen again. Ugh. 
Pride & Prejudice

Teacher filmed student having sex on school trip

Michael Clarkson was in charge of 29 pupils from one of the largest public schools in the country during a tennis trip to Portugal.

Following the incident, Clarkson, who is in his 30's, was sacked from his job at The Shrewsbury School, which was attended by Charles Darwin and famous Radio One DJ John Peel.

Yesterday he was banned from teaching for four years.

A General Teaching Council hearing heard how Clarkson organised the trip, in April 2006, and was the senior teacher among five other members of staff.

He failed to impose curfews on the pupils and allowed them to drink alcohol and stay out at a nightclub until after 4.30am.

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The. Hell.
Pride & Prejudice

China warns of 'serious damage' if Barack Obama meets Dalai Lama

China has warned that ties with the US would be undermined if US President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama.

The US has indicated that Mr Obama intends to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader in Washington later this month, but no date has been confirmed.

Communist Party official Zhu Weiqun said such a meeting would "threaten trust and co-operation" between Beijing and Washington.

The dispute is the latest of several strains on the countries' relations.

"If the US leader chooses to meet with the Dalai Lama at this time, it will certainly threaten trust and co-operation between China and the United States," said Mr Zhu, executive deputy minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department.

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Still More Bad science in IPCC report...

The credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received a fresh blow yesterday when it was revealed that another of its reports warning of the effects of “man-made climate change” was based on nothing more than a magazine article.

The IPCC said there had been “observable” decreases in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa.

But yesterday it emerged that the source for the report was not peer-reviewed science — but an article in a magazine popular among climbers. Even one of the report’s authors, professor Richard Tol — who is based in Dublin — told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper: “These are essentially a collection of anecdotes. It is quite astounding.”

Another IPCC report, which said that 40 percent of the Amazon rain forest would disappear, was found not to have been based on independent research, but on an article from a climate change advocacy group.

"Also, researchers said they had warned the IPCC constantly that the notion of the glaciers, which can reach 350 yards deep, disappearing within 25 years was absurd"

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Bollywood director confident gay kiss will pass censors

The director of a Bollywood film featuring the first male gay kiss in mainstream Indian cinema expects censors to pass the film for release.

Sanjay Sharma made Dunno Y ... Na Jaane Kyun (Don't Know Why) after a High Court ruling overturned a law against homosexuality in India last year.

"At the moment I'm not thinking about any political or censor problems," Sharma told BBC Asian Network.

The release of Bollywood's answer to Brokeback Mountain is planned for May.

The subject of gay relationships is still a taboo issue in India and Dunno Y is expected to stir plenty of controversy as it promises to be the country's boldest portrayal of a serious and explicit sexual relationship between two men.

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' jules
  • schmiss

imma go ahead and let this one simmer for a while...

Palin goes after Emanuel on 'retarded' slur

On Facebook, Sarah Palin launched today an unusual, personal attack on the chief of staff in response to a report that he'd dismissed progressives' attempts to pressure Senate centrists as "retarded."

Her heading: "Are You Capable of Decency, Rahm Emanuel?"
I would ask the president to show decency in this process by eliminating one member of that inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, and not allow Rahm’s continued indecent tactics to cloud efforts. Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic.

The Obama Administration’s Chief of Staff scolded participants, calling them, “F---ing retarded,” according to several participants, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.

A patriot in North Andover, Massachusetts, notified me of Rahm’s “retarded” slam. I join this gentleman, who is the father of a beautiful child born with Down Syndrome, in asking why the Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society and other groups condemning Rahm’s degrading scolding have been completely ignored by the White House. No comment from his boss, the president?
UPDATE: Emanuel has acknowledges calling liberal Democrats "retarded" and apologized for the remark, a White House official said.

"Rahm called Tim Shriver Wednesday to apologize and the apology was accepted," the official said. “The White House remains committed to addressing the concerns and needs of Americans living with disabilities and recognizes that derogatory remarks demean us all.”


Randy rare parrot gets a government job : (Sigh, another boy shags his way to the top)

Bird achieves power: This is political right? It is an excuse to post one the best Nature mpreg slash videos evar.

(I think Fry can handle randy birds just fine, mind you.)

A rare parrot, which tried to mate with the head of a wildlife presenter on a Stephen Fry TV show, has been given a government job in New Zealand.

Sirocco, a fat, flightless Kakapo shot to fame last year when - during the BBC show Last Chance To See - it hopped onto the head of a zoologist.

As host Stephen Fry watched on, the bird then proceed to bonk the back of Mark Carwadine's head. Prompting Fry to say: "This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen."

But now New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has named Sirocco - one of just 124 kakapo still alive - a national conservation ambassador.

His role will be to help draw attention to the wildlife of New Zealand… hopefully not by trying to shag it all. After all, he hasn't got the job as Russell Brand

(ETA: oopsy sourcey source)

International Adoption: "The Lie We Love"

The Lie We Love
Foreign adoption seems like the perfect solution to a heartbreaking imbalance: Poor countries have babies in need of homes, and rich countries have homes in need of babies. Unfortunately, those little orphaned bundles of joy may not be orphans at all.

We all know the story of international adoption: Millions of infants and toddlers have been abandoned or orphaned -- placed on the side of a road or on the doorstep of a church, or left parentless due to AIDS, destitution, or war. These little ones find themselves forgotten, living in crowded orphanages or ending up on the streets, facing an uncertain future of misery and neglect. But, if they are lucky, adoring new moms and dads from faraway lands whisk them away for a chance at a better life.

Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction.

Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis
. We are told that millions of children are waiting for their "forever families" to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of the infants and toddlers being adopted by Western parents today are not orphans at all. Yes, hundreds of thousands of children around the world do need loving homes. But more often than not, the neediest children are sick, disabled, traumatized, or older than 5. They are not the healthy babies that, quite understandably, most Westerners hope to adopt. There are simply not enough healthy, adoptable infants to meet Western demand -- and there's too much Western money in search of children. As a result, many international adoption agencies work not to find homes for needy children but to find children for Western homes.

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The article is from 2008, but I figured it was appropriate because of all the Haiti adoption stuff in the news lately.
Aubrey Beardsley

The Quiet Revolution

These days, liberals don’t know whether to feel betrayed by or merely disappointed with Barack Obama. They have gone from decrying his willingness to remove the public option from his health care plan to worrying that, in the wake of Democrat Martha Coakley’s defeat in Massachusetts, he won’t get any plan through Congress. On other subjects, too, from Afghanistan to Wall Street, Obama has thoroughly let down his party’s left flank.

Yet there is one extremely consequential area where Obama has done just about everything a liberal could ask for--but done it so quietly that almost no one, including most liberals, has noticed. Obama’s three Republican predecessors were all committed to weakening or even destroying the country’s regulatory apparatus: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the other agencies that are supposed to protect workers and consumers by regulating business practices. Now Obama is seeking to rebuild these battered institutions. In doing so, he isn’t simply improving the effectiveness of various government offices or making scattered progress on a few issues; he is resuscitating an entire philosophy of government with roots in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century. Taken as a whole, Obama’s revival of these agencies is arguably the most significant accomplishment of his first year in office.

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Either Rightwingers Are Just Stupid or They Actually Want to Help Obama...

Pipes: Obama Can ‘Save’ His Presidency By Bombing Iran

Neoconservative scholar-activist Daniel Pipes has a new article on the leading conservative website National Review Online, in which he suggests that President Obama can “save” his presidency…by bombing Iran.

Writing that “Obama’s attempts to ‘reset’ his presidency will likely fail if he focuses on economics, where he is just one of many players,” Pipes claims that the president “needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him… preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations”:

Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapon capacity. [...]

Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.
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Sarah Palin Loves Her Book So Much That She Used Other's Peoples Moneyz To Buy More!

Sarah Palin Uses PAC to Buy Her Own Book

Published in November, "Going Rogue: An American Life," is described by Harper Collins as "an intimate portrait" in which Palin "opens up for the first time about the 2008 presidential race, providing a rare, mom's-eye view of high-stakes national politics." On the web site of her PAC, Palin posted a special letter to supporters upon the release of her book. "My book, 'Going Rogue,' is dedicated to you -- to Patriots -- who fight for freedom!" she wrote in the note, which concludes with the opportunity to donate.

Palin would not be the first politician to use a PAC to underwrite the purchase of a memoir. The Federal Election Commission has heard a number of cases on the question of whether it is an appropriate expense. The rules are somewhat complex, but because Palin is neither a candidate for office, nor a sitting member of congress, her PAC is free to purchase the book under current law, according to Jan Baran, a campaign legal expert.

When former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman sought in 2004 to give away copies of his memoir, "In Praise of Public Life," he declined to take royalties off the books purchased by his campaign committee. It is not known whether Palin entered into a similar arrangement.

Republicans Show Patriotism By Making Our Troops Lives a Living Hell...

Despite Voting Against Troops, Pence Falsely Claims GOP Has ‘Stood Strongly’ For Defense Funding

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the House Republican Conference, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to play down Obama’s strong defense of his administration’s policies at Friday’s House GOP retreat in Baltimore. Trying to refute the claim that Republicans have become a “party of no,” Pence replied:

PENCE: Well, look, in the last year, you know, frankly Steve, there were a number of bills that we did support the administration on, most especially regarding our troops and regarding our veterans. We kept our word. We set politics aside and stood strongly with the president in his call for reinforcement and for funding.
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intellectuals are stupid by me
  • gmth

Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll of Self-Identified Republicans

The 2010 Comprehensive Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll of Self-Identified Republicans
by kos
Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 08:58:03 AM PST

As I've mentioned before, I'm putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world. But I found myself making certain claims about Republicans that I didn't know if they could be backed up. So I thought, "why don't we ask them directly?" And so, this massive poll, by non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000 of over 2,000 self-identified Republicans, was born.

The results are nothing short of startling.

It's a long poll, so the results are summarized below the fold. For a direct link to the poll's crosstabs, click here.

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The write-up is quite biased (a given, considering it's Markos), but the crosstabs are interesting on their own.

Cyberlove and religion behind slaying, court hears

This is certainly a boggle worthy case from Australia


An internet love affair and a desire for freedom from a strict upbringing were the motives behind a teenager's knife attack on her parents three-and-a-half years ago, a Supreme Court jury heard today.

Bangladesh-born Kaihana Tahseen Hussain, 20, faced the first day of her Brisbane trial this morning, accused of the murder of her mother, Shaheda Yasmeen Hussain, and the attempted murder of her father, Dr Muhammad Nurual Hussain, in the family's Gold Coast apartment on October 9, 2006.

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i like CHOcolate milk.

Parents 'reclaim' children in Haiti abduction-adoption row


Haitian children Gesner, 13, (L) carries his sister Gloria, 1, next to his brother Gabriel, 3, (R), three of thirty three being involved in an illicit adoption scheme, as they sit next other children inside the NGO "SOS Children's village" in Port-au-Prince February 2, 2010. Haitian police have arrested 10 U.S. citizens caught trying to take 33 children out of the earthquake-stricken country in a suspected illicit adoption scheme. There are fears that traffickers could try to exploit the chaos and turmoil following Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake to engage in illegal adoptions.
REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

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NE Medicaid change endangers babies, raises weird questions

Showdown looms in Nebraska on immigrant prenatal care


A disagreement is brewing between Nebraska lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman's administration about whether pregnant illegal immigrants can keep receiving prenatal care without a significant change in state law.

Nebraska's Medicaid director said Tuesday that a law passed last year that bars illegal immigrants from getting public benefits would have to be changed to allow prenatal care to continue for about 1,000 illegal immigrants. Some lawmakers, however, argue that since any children born to illegal immigrants would be legal U.S. citizens, illegal immigrants won't actually be receiving state benefits under a program they are considering.

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tl;dr: Previously Nebraska allowed Medicaid to pay for prenatal care for illegal immigrants. That's off as of today. Approximately 1000 pregnant, undocumented women just lost coverage for prenatal care. Even more interesting?

"Nebraska officials are reviewing whether about 5,200 pregnant legal residents potentially affected by the federal order might still qualify for Medicaid themselves, because their yet-to-be-born children don't. The cases of 998 pregnant illegal immigrants are not being reviewed, however, because Medicaid does not cover services to illegal immigrants."

I just... where do you start? Almost a thousand pregnant women just lost access to care. And by denying Medicaid coverage to pregnant women who aren't citizens, they've possibly disqualified another 5,200 pregnant US citizens as well.

Think the Anti-Choicers are going to take to the streets demanding that all of these pregnant women get prenatal care? Maybe they'll flood clinics with donations so these babies can be born healthy. Ha, just kidding.

I should add that the Nurses Association here is FURIOUS about this.

magic, geeking, angel

And now for a small dose of Virginia FAIL

Same-sex partner benefits tossed out
Outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine proposed the policy change, but the state's new attorney general advised against it.

RICHMOND -- On the advice of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a proposed state regulatory change to allow government employees to add same-sex partners to their state health benefits has been withdrawn from consideration.

The suggested policy change from Democratic former Gov. Tim Kaine became public last month in the waning days of his term, eliciting support from gay groups and condemnation from social conservatives.

If adopted, it would have permitted insured state workers to include "other qualified adults" living in their households -- such as domestic partners, adult children and other relatives -- to the state's health coverage system.

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Source really does sometimes read their regional paper.

oh state, why do you hurt me when I like you so much? although in all honesty I have to respect Tim Kaine for even bringing it to the table here...

Aircraft Gets Personal With NASA's Puffin

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What takes off like a helicopter, flies like an airplane and makes about as much noise as an electric car?

Why that would be a Puffin, a prototype one-person aircraft that is part of a broader NASA initiative to develop technologies for personal air travel.

No one has ridden inside a Puffin as yet. Right now, it's a subscale model without a body or tails. But the electric-powered vehicle already has aced one of its most difficult goals: quiet flight.


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garf tired

Our Incredible Shrinking Democracy

Robert Reich: Our Incredible Shrinking Democracy

I wish conservatives would stop complaining about big government and start worrying about the real problem -- small democracy. I wish we'd all worry more about our incredible shrinking democracy.

It seems as if more and more decisions that should be made democratically are being shunted off somewhere to a few people who make them in back rooms. Which programs should be cut, which entitlements pared back, and what taxes raised in order to reduce the long-term budget deficit? Hmmm. Let's convene a commission and have them decide.

Commissions are a default mechanism when politicians want to hand off difficult issues to "experts." But reducing the long-term budget deficit has almost nothing to do with expertise. It's about our nations' values and priorities. Nothing could be more central to the democratic process.

Democracy requires at least three things: (1) Important decisions are made in the open. (2) The public and its representatives have an opportunity to debate them, so the decisions can be revised in light of what the public discovers and wants. And (3) those who make the big decisions are accountable to voters.

But these principles are in retreat, and I say this not just because of the proposed deficit commission.

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garf tired

We're heading towards 'Gangster Government' just like the Japanese haz!1

Bachmann: Health Care Reform Amounts to "Gangster Government"

Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) joined fellow controversy-prone Republican Congressional candidate, Allen Quist, at a health care forum on Monday, and suggested that health care reform would lead to a "gangster government" that would prevent those who criticized reform from receiving care.

To reach her conclusion, the Minnesota representative explained her understanding of the Japanese health care system (as told to her by someone who had lived in Japan):

In Japan...to wait in and get health care is almost impossible. You get on a list and you wait and you wait and you wait. But he said this is something people don't know: in Japan, people have stopped voicing their opinion on health care. There are things that are wrong with Japanese health care, but people [aren't] voicing. 'Well why is that,' I asked. He said it's 'Because they know that would get on a list and they wouldn't get health care. They wouldn't get in. They wouldn't get seen. And so people are afraid. They're afraid to speak back to government. They're afraid to say anything.' Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point! And absolute abject corruption.

(The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune subsequently fact-checked Bachmann's statements and was unable to find any evidence of such practices).

Nevertheless, Bachmann finished her speech by vowing not to give up her fight against the current health care reform bill, calling "government takeover of health care...the crown jewel of socialism."

Watch Bachmann's address, captured by the Rochester Post-Bulletin:


Family Research Council Calls For Ban On Homosexuality

Echoing the words of the American Family Association, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said tonight that the Supreme Court decision to overturn sodomy laws was "wrongly decided" and that homosexual behavior should be outlawed. Sprigg appeared on Chris Matthews' MSNBC show tonight to debate Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network about today's DADT hearings in the U.S. Senate. Sprigg also repeated FRC head Tony Perkins' claim that overturning DADT will lead to gay men raping straight soldiers.

Shut the fuck up!!!


This Vanderbilt Muslim Chaplain Says He Supports Executing Gays. Why Is the University Keeping Him?

Does believing that gays should be put to death qualify as a religious freedom? If you're not actually murdering these people, we'd say yes. Believe whatever the hell you want to believe, crazy persons; that's your right here in America. But it probably doesn't make students at Vanderbilt University feel any better about Awadh A. Binhazim, the Kenyan-born University Muslim Chaplain, who just told students he supported this Islamic belief.

Asked by student Devin Saucier
whether, as a practicing Muslim, he accepts this alleged Muslim requirement, Binhazim responded that he "doesn't have a choice" on which teachings to accept. But hey, there are still a long list of requirements to actually put the fag to death, like whether there are witnesses to his buggery. So it's, like, hard to kill them homos.

All of which has Vanderbilt racing to distance itself from Binhazim: "Vanderbilt University is dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race or sexuality," the school says in a statement. "Awadh A. Binhazim is not and has never been a Vanderbilt employee, and is not paid by the university. He is the university's Muslim chaplain under a working agreement that is similar to those signed with chaplains of other faiths at Vanderbilt. This working agreement requires Binhazim to observe Vanderbilt rules, including its non-discriminatory policies. Vanderbilt does not limit the free speech of its students, faculty, staff or its chaplains in any way."

Not limiting the free speech of its chaplains is a fantastic policy, and one we support at any school. But what would happen if a visiting chaplain came along and said his religion called for the extermination of Jews? Would Vanderbilt be letting him return to campus?


IPCC scientists turn on each other ,finger pointing starts.

So much for "pier review"...

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has presided over a series of damaging blunders, but how and why has so much gone wrong?

Governments around the world rely on its findings to support policies on climate change and it is meant to be the gold standard.

It admits that its findings that glaciers in the Himalayas could disappear by 2035 is wrong, but there has been a wave of criticism.

Video at source. Colorado scientist comes forward and confronts ass. IPPC director.


Still searching -- 9 years later Material from WTC site will be hand-sifted for remains at F

Source: SILive.com: Staten Island's local paper

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The city will soon transport six to seven truckloads of possible World Trade Center remains for hand sifting at the shuttered Fresh Kills landfill, Borough President James Molinaro said yesterday.

Molinaro said he was notified by city Sanitation officials last week of the transfer in the coming weeks of some 844 cubic yards of material from a sub-basement of one of the towers. He said he was not told which one.

In a memo obtained by the Advance yesterday, authored by Deputy Mayor of Operations Edward Skyler, Skyler said the material "was excavated over the past two years from the following areas in and around the WTC site: NY State Route 9A (West Street); the Haul Road; Cedar Street; Washington Street; Vesey Street; the rooftop of Fiterman Hall, and various subterranean structures."

The hand-sifting for human remains will begin in April and be completed in early July, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), which will oversee the operation at a cost of $1.4 million.

The Skyler memo says the OCME will "utilize its forensic mobile sifting platform" at Fresh Kills.

"Anthropologists and other trained professionals will carefully evaluate and search the estimated 844 cubic yards of material gathered since December 2007 for any potential remains," the memo says. "Any potential remains recovered will proceed to OCME laboratories for further testing."

An estimated 1,123 victims who were slaughtered by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001 have not had their remains identified.

"I am sure they have located some remains for them to want to continue to hand-screen," said Molinaro.

Molinaro said he thought the examination of the material, which he said has been stored under two secured tents at Ground Zero and will be transferred in sealed containers, could help bring closure to some families.

But Lydia Mozzillo of Oakwood, who lost her firefighter son Christopher, said, "There is no closure for us. We never got Christopher back. But I know for some families there would be closure, and it would be nice if there was."

Molinaro said he believes he was notified about the decision to sift for additional remains by the Sanitation Department because "they have jurisdiction" over the landfill site.

But Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island) and Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore) said they were not notified by the city, and aren't happy about it.

"No one gave me the head's up," said Oddo. "I would have appreciated it. I thought that phase of the process was over. I went to more funerals where families literally buried an empty casket. I think if a family gets something, that would help put a loved one at a final resting place."

"I was not notified," said Ignizio. "That's inappropriate. "They should have advised us and advised the Community Boards."

Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) did not return a call seeking comment on whether she was notified.

Said Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor's office, regarding the method of notification of the borough's elected officials: "We focused on notifying the family members of 9/11 victims."


Just thought I'd add this tidbit about the name of the place, since I believe I'm the only Islander in the comm. It is not the most fortunate of names, and doesn't mean LITERALLY.

From the Wikipedia: Fresh Kills (from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning "riverbed" or "water channel") is a stream and freshwater estuary in the western portion of the New York City borough of Staten Island. It is the site of the Fresh Kills Landfill, formerly New York City's principal landfill.
the crow: eric
  • ponyboy

12 year old girl gives up fight to divorce 80 year old man.

RIYADH (AFP) – A 12-year-old Saudi girl unexpectedly gave up her petition for divorce from an 80-year-old man her father forced her to marry in exchange for a dowry, Saudi media reported Tuesday.

Despite support from human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, the girl and her mother, who originally sought the divorce, withdrew the case Monday in a court in Buraidah, in Al-Qasim province, newspapers said.

The girl told the court that her marriage to the man was done with her agreement, according to Okaz newspaper.

"I agree to the marriage. I have no objection. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish," she said.

Saleh al-Dabibi, a lawyer supplied by a charity group to help the girl, said her mother did not inform him of the change of heart, Okaz said.

An unnamed official of the government's Human Rights Commission, which was originally asked by the mother to help in getting the marriage annulled, told Arab News they too were surprised by the mother and daughter dropping the case.

The influential daughter of King Abdullah, Princess Adela bint Abdullah, expressed concern over the girl's marriage.

"I, personally, and many specialists in social and education fields, share the opinion" that it is in violation of children's rights, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

"A child has the right to live her childhood and not be forced to get married. Even an adult would not accept that," she said.

According to reports, the girl's father, who is separated from her mother, arranged her marriage to the 80-year-old last September in exchange for a dowry payment of 85,000 riyals (22,667 dollars).

The case caused an uproar after Al-Riyadh newspaper first reported it in early January, saying the marriage had been consummated and quoting the girl as pleading to the journalist to "save me."

Her mother, who is unidentified in local reports, petitioned the court to annul the marriage and charged that the girl had been raped.

The case was to be heard Monday, but reports said the mother dropped the complaint ahead of the hearing.

Saudi Arabia has no law against child marriage, and clerics and religious judges justify the practice based on Islamic and Saudi tradition.

But human rights officials have been pushing for a law that would set a minimum marriage age of 16 or higher.

In January, senior cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Manie told Okaz that the Prophet Mohammed's marriage to a nine-year-old girl some 14 centuries ago cannot be used to justify child marriages today.

Manie, a member of the Council of Senior Ulema (scholars), said that circumstances are different today from when the Prophet Mohammed married young Aisha.

Aisha's marriage "cannot be equated with child marriages today because the conditions and circumstances are not the same," he said.

She was clearly pressured or coerced into this.