February 3rd, 2010


GOP To Welcome Their Tea Bagging Overlords. Free Tea Bagging for Republicans!

Cornyn: Teabaggers Forming Third Party A Danger To GOP

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the head of the Republican Senate campaign operation, said Tuesday that the GOP is working to head off the danger of the Tea Party movement forming a third party by getting its activists involved in the primary process.

"I think it's important that we try to channel these relative newcomers to the political process through our primaries so that they can have an impact on who's nominated. And hopefully they'll unite behind that nominee after the primary," he told reporters in the Capitol.

Cornyn was asked if he saw a danger that the anger that energizes the movement would overwhelm the party. "I don't think so. I think the greater danger is if they don't feel like they have a voice within the political parties that they choose to go the third parties route. I think that would be less desirable for all sorts of reasons," he said.
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Akuma River

Does the GOP realise they are using European parliamentary party control methods? OMG THE SOCIALISM!

Why bipartisanship can't work: the expert view

I got this note from someone with many decades' experience in national politics, about a discussion between two Congressmen over details of the stimulus bill:

"GOP member: 'I'd like this in the bill.'

"Dem member response: 'If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?'

"GOP member: 'You know I can't vote for the bill.'

"Dem member: 'Then why should we put it in the bill?'

"I witnessed this myself."

I wrote back saying, "Great story!" and got the response I quote below and after the jump. It is worth reading because its argument has the valuable quality of being obvious -- once it is pointed out. The emphasis is mine rather than in the original; it is to highlight a basic structural reality that has escaped most recent analysis of the "bipartisanship" challenge.

"BTW, that exchange I quoted is not really a great story. It is a basic story, fundamental to legislation -- a sort of 'duh!' moment -- and to the US Congressional system, and to the key difference between our system and a parliamentary system when it comes to bipartisanship. I'm astonished every pundit doesn't already get it, but many either don't or seem willfully to ignore it.
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Do the Republicans get that their party-line "No" voting is making them exactly what they are accusing the Democrats, facist tyrants.
Akuma River

Iran says Green Party are giving up...rumors of the reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.


Green Energy
Abbas Milani February 2, 2010 | 11:50 pm
Have the leaders of the Green Movement really sold out?

Is the Green Movement finished? That is what the Iranian government wants the world to believe. And it has recently been trumpeting a few pieces of evidence to make its case.

First came a statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi on New Year’s Eve, which offered five conditions for ending the current impasse. But because it did not directly repeat Mousavi’s oft-quoted notion that the June elections were rigged, Kayhan and Rajanews—the two news outlets closest to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad—tried to claim the statement as a major victory for the regime.

Then in late January came reports of a “confidential” letter of repentance written by former Iranian president (and leading reformer) Mohammad Khatami, addressed to Khamenei. The letter supposedly recognizes the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Again, Kayhan and Rajanews reported on the letter, construing it as a sure sign of the Green Movement’s defeat.

Finally, there was the alleged coup de grace: a statement reported by Fars News Agency, the government-run Iranian news service, from Mehdi Karroubi—known as an uncompromising and defiant leader of the reform movement. In the statement, Karroubi seemed to accept Ahmadinejad’s presidency. “Karroubi: I recognize the president-elect of the Iranian people,” the Fars article was headlined.
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I guess next week we should be on the look out for more protests and more videos. Is anyone else thinking that the recent accolades to the UN over the enrichment program has anything to do with what's going on now?
Magneto puppet
  • drbat

In Israeli Army, Gays Are 'No Big Deal'

An Israeli air force soldier walks past a gay pride flag before the start of the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, Thursday, June 26, 2008

JERUSALEM (Feb. 2) – When Eli Kaplan had his initial psychological assessment when being inducted into the Israeli military eight years ago, he wasn't asked about his sexual orientation, but he told the interviewer anyway that he was openly gay. In Israel, it wasn't a problem then nor is it now.

"The army practices an inclusionary policy," said Yagil Levy, an expert on the army and society and a professor at the Open University. "It doesn't have any options to exclude any Jewish group that wishes to join."

Once Kaplan was accepted into the Israeli navy, he faced a further interview to determine his security clearance level. "The interviewer started asking me a lot of questions about whether I had come out to my family and friends," he said. "He basically wanted to know if my being gay was something that could be used to blackmail me. But it really wasn't such a big deal."

Kaplan ended up in one of the navy's most elite units, where he served as a drill sergeant for incoming mechanics. He said that while he was a little less open about his sexual orientation with recruits than he was with his commanders, he never encountered homophobia during his three years in the Israeli military .

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(no subject)

PETA show how NOT to gain publicity for your cause. Again.

A poster on animal cruelty showing the killer of Baby Peter has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) poster featured an image of Steven Barker and said animal abusers were also violent to people.

The poster appeared on a billboard in Haringey, north London, where 17-month-old Peter lived and died in 2007.

The watchdog ruled that Barker's picture was used in a "shocking way merely to attract attention".

The text below the image of Barker read: "Steven Barker: Animal Abuser, Baby Abuser, Rapist. People who are violent towards animals rarely stop there."

PETA acting in a "shocking way merely to attract attention"? Shurely not?

(Note to non-Brits: Baby Peter was a notorious case of a 17-month old baby who was tortured and murdered in London)

Burned Indian faked attack to claim car insurance: police

This is the follow-up to the case in Melbourne, Australia, where an Indian man was said to have been set alight by a 'gang'.

And no, in before the comments, this doesn't mean there isn't racism in Australia, there is always racism. But it seems with this case, it was something else.

An Indian man who said he was set alight by assailants near his Melbourne home last month accidentally burned himself while torching his car for an insurance claim, police allege.

Jaspreet Singh, 29, of Grice Crescent, Essendon, in the city's north, faced an out-of-sessions hearing early this morning before a bail justice at St Kilda Road police complex charged with making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage.

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C&H Dance

More on the DADT Front

Littwin: Don't keep "don't ask, don't tell"

By Mike Littwin
Denver Post Columnist

Let's begin with the obvious: There's no good reason why gays and lesbians shouldn't serve openly in the military.

It's so obvious that you'd think nobody would bother to even argue the point anymore — except for the just-as-obvious fact that, in 2010, gays and lesbians still aren't allowed to serve openly in the military.

And so, days after President Barack Obama said "don't ask, don't tell" should end, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates went before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Tuesday to testify that don't ask, don't tell should end — after a one-year study, of course.

It was a remarkable day — and not just because Mullen set the terms so dramatically and so clearly.

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franklin sherman

Obama grows the drug war, with enforcement a clear priority

It was not long ago when President Barack Obama's new drug czar, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, swept into Washington, D.C. and declared the "drug war" a public policy relic.

The Obama administration, he said, would move toward handling drug addiction as a medical problem, moving away from the brash enforcement tactics that hallmarked prior administrations.

"We're not at war with people in this country," Kerlikowske told The Wall Street Journal in May.

However, if the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) budget for fiscal year 2011 is to be believed, Kerlikowske was full of hot air.

According to 2011 funding "highlights" released by the ONDCP (PDF link), the Obama administration is growing the drug war and tilting its funds heavily toward law enforcement over treatment.

The president's National Drug Control Budget also continues the Bush administration's public relations tactic of obscuring the costs of prosecuting and imprisoning drug offenders. "Enron style accounting," is how drug policy reform advocate Kevin Zeese described it, writing for Alternet in 2002.

The budget places America's drug war spending at $15.5 billion for fiscal year 2011; an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 2010. That figure reflects a 5.2 percent increase in overall enforcement funding, growing from $9.7 billion in FY 2010 to $9.9 billion in FY 2011. Addiction treatment and preventative measures, however, are budgeted at $5.6 billion for FY 2011, an increase from $5.2 billion in FY 2010.

In short, the Obama administration's appropriations for treating drug addiction are just short of half that dedicated to prosecuting the war.

A ONDCP press release describes these figures as "balanced."

"The new budget proposal demonstrates the Obama Administration's commitment to a balanced and comprehensive drug strategy," Kerlikowske added, in the advisory. "In a time of tight budgets and fiscal restraint, these new investments are targeted at reducing Americans' drug use and the substantial costs associated with the health and social consequences of drug abuse."

"It sure was an encouraging signal when Drug Czar Kerlikowske declared that the 'war on drugs' was over shortly after he took the job last year," commented Tom Angel, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "But until the budget numbers match up with rhetoric, it looks like the war is still being waged."

mrs. landingham

The dumbest f@*#ing thing I've ever heard

Obama responds to ire over 2nd anti-Vegas remark

LAS VEGAS – President Barack Obama is known for having a way with words, but some lawmakers from Nevada wish he would pipe down about trips to Sin City.

After sparking a firestorm of criticism from Nevada's elected officials for suggesting that people saving money for college shouldn't blow it in Las Vegas, Obama told U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a letter that he wasn't saying anything negative about Las Vegas.

It was the second time since taking office that Obama singled out Las Vegas as a potential example of spending excessively.

"I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun," Obama said, according to the letter released by Reid's office. "There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country's great destinations."

Obama said he always enjoys his visits to Las Vegas.

A White House spokesman referred to Obama's letter to Reid and said the administration had no further comment.

Perception and reputation are sensitive issues for Sin City as it struggles to find footing amid a two-year meltdown of foreclosures, bankruptcies and unemployment. Tourism is the Silver State's backbone, and several lawmakers said they were shocked that Obama singled out Las Vegas again after commenting last February that bailed-out banks shouldn't go to Las Vegas using taxpayer money.

"When times are tough, you tighten your belts," Obama said, according to a White House transcript of his appearance Tuesday at a high school in North Nashua, N.H.

"You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said. "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices."


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Source that is not The Onion, but is, in fact, the AP via Yahoo! News.  I checked twice.

Mods, I hope this wasn't already posted.  I haven't been keeping up lately.

Sun Tzu to Publish a New Book: "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later. Civilians are Overrated"

Israeli commander: 'We rewrote the rules of war for Gaza'
Civilians 'put at greater risk to save military lives' in winter attack - revelations that will pile pressure on Netanyahu to set up full inquiry

A high-ranking officer has acknowledged for the first time that the Israeli army went beyond its previous rules of engagement on the protection of civilian lives in order to minimise military casualties during last year's Gaza war, The Independent can reveal.

The officer, who served as a commander during Operation Cast Lead, made it clear that he did not regard the longstanding principle of military conduct known as "means and intentions" – whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon – as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter
. A more junior officer who served at a brigade headquarters during the operation described the new policy – devised in part to avoid the heavy military casualties of the 2006 Lebanon war – as one of "literally zero risk to the soldiers".

The officers' revelations will pile more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to set up an independent inquiry into the war, as demanded in the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, which harshly criticised the conduct of both Israel and Hamas. One of Israel's most prominent human rights lawyers, Michael Sfard, said last night that the senior commander's acknowledgement – if accurate – was "a smoking gun".

Until now, the testimony has been kept out of the public domain. The senior commander told a journalist compiling a lengthy report for Yedhiot Ahronot, Israel's biggest daily newspaper, about the rules of engagement in the three-week military offensive in Gaza. But although the article was completed and ready for publication five months ago, it has still not appeared. The senior commander told Yedhiot: "Means and intentions is a definition that suits an arrest operation in the Judaea and Samaria [West Bank] area... We need to be very careful because the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] was already burnt in the second Lebanon war from the wrong terminology. The concept of means and intentions is taken from different circumstances. Here [in Cast Lead] we were not talking about another regular counter-terrorist operation. There is a clear difference."

His remarks reinforce testimonies from soldiers who served in the Gaza operation, made to the veterans' group Breaking the Silence and reported exclusively by this newspaper last July. They also appear to cut across the military doctrine – enunciated most recently in public by one of the authors of the IDF's own code of ethics – that it is the duty of soldiers to run risks to themselves in order to preserve civilian lives.
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another planet's hell by me
  • gmth

Poll shows peril for Republicans

A follow up to the results of this poll posted yesterday.

If Republicans want to leverage Scott Brown’s Massachusetts victory into a November electoral avalanche, they’ll need to keep their base riled up — but not too riled up.

The party’s greatest challenge, operatives and elected officials in both parties say, is keeping the conservative base energized without overshooting the mainstream and driving away the moderate “Brown independents” they’ll need to take back Congress.

And a new poll from Daily Kos shows how hard that’s going to be.

The poll of 2,000 Republicans — sponsored by the liberal website but conducted by independent pollster Research2000 — paints a picture of a Republican base that’s angry, disaffected and acutely hostile to President Barack Obama. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans polled think Obama should be impeached, 36 percent say he wasn’t born in the United States and one in four say they aren’t even sure he’s a U.S. citizen. Another 63 percent labeled the president a “socialist.”

Those numbers are far higher than similar polls of Democrats and independents — polls that reveal dissatisfaction with many of Obama’s programs but not with the president personally.

“It was the first time we ever asked the impeachment question, ... but ask independents if Obama was born in the U.S., and about 85 percent say yes,” said Research2000 President Del Ali.

“This shows a huge vulnerability for Republicans,” says Jef Pollock, a veteran pollster and Democratic strategist working for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — who was forced to bolt from the GOP after conservative Pat Toomey attacked him from the right.

“Independents, who are particularly disinclined toward any kind of partisan rhetoric, are going to be turned off when they hear Republicans say stuff like this, which is patently crazy,” Pollock said.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who urged party leaders to abandon ideological purity tests on abortion and gay rights earlier this year, thinks Brown’s victory was a cue for both parties to shift to the center.

“We need to appeal to independents,” Snowe told POLITICO on Tuesday.

“I think every candidate really needs to assess that capability. I think it’s important. I do in Maine, and I would assume that all candidates, in how they position themselves in their respective elections, would be.”

Not so.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has questioned the validity of Obama’s citizenship, says the GOP needs to harness the energy of the tea party movement — and that means pushing deeper into anti-Obama territory.


I like to think this is true, because the results of that poll show the Republicans really are batshit these days. However, it depends on two things: 1) that enough people will become aware of this craziness to make a difference, which is not very likely given the overall apathy of the American people toward our political process, and 2) that the Democrats will be able to make some political hay out of this, which after seeing the way they've floundered around in Congress lately would take a miracle, IMO. Also, I really hate all the concern about coddling to the damn right-wing base when all the left-wing base ever gets is an order to bend over.


Sarah Palin Denies Addiction to Tea and Dollars. The USS Tea Bagging to Seek New Profits!

Sarah Palin Defends Her Role As A Tea Party Profiteer, Announces Her Involvement In Another Scam

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported on the rise of “Tea Party Profiteers” — Republican operatives who are exploiting the tea party movement to make money and funnel volunteers to Republican campaigns. The profiteers tap into legitimate feelings of anger and distrust among many struggling Americans, but then steer people into organizations set up to make money off of them.

Sarah Palin has been under fire for demanding fees of at least $100,000 for her speeches to tea party groups. Defending her role as a profiteer, Palin wrote in USA Today yesterday afternoon that she would continue to participate in the scandal-plagued Tea Party Convention — a for-profit venture demanding a $550 ticket price and featuring a Madison Avenue fashion firm selling tea party jewelry — this weekend. Palin said her $120,000 payment for speaking at the convention will “go right back to the cause.” But just as she promised not to profit off her appearance this weekend, she announced her participation in another Republican tea party scam:
But participation won’t be limited to those in Nashville who have a ticket. It’s much bigger than that. [...] I will not benefit financially from speaking at this event. My only goal is to support the grassroots activists who are fighting for responsible, limited government — and our Constitution. In that spirit, any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause. [...] This weekend, it’s Nashville, but in March, I’ll head to Searchlight, Nev., for the kickoff rally at the Tea Party Express III.
The “Tea Party Express III” is a gimmick of the Republican public relations firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers (RMR). RMR has worked on several stealth campaigns for Republican clients, including the underhanded push to recall Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA). The Tea Party Express, which RMR staffers operate, has proved to be a cash cow for RMR — in 2009 alone, it plunged at least $1,025,559 of money it raised back into RMR’s coffers. Last summer, Alex Brant-Zawadzki reported that consultants for RMR conspired to plan a tea party Caribbean cruise. According to e-mails obtained by Brant-Zawadzki, the consultants planned to raise $200,000 for the cruise, then “pocket the [remaining] $150,000 in profit.”

Palin is the epitome of a Tea Party Profiteer. After abruptly resigning as Governor of Alaska, Palin has aggressively sold her ghost-written book, signed up as a paid pundit on Fox News, and made hundreds of thousands through paid speeches. Although the original Boston tea party protested the hegemony of the London-based East India Trading over the colonies, Palin has spent most of her political career defending multinational corporations and was dumbfounded when asked a simple question about the founding fathers. Palin portrays herself as a humble public servant and an admirer of the American revolution, but it appears she is simply out to make money and amass personal power.

Prop 8 + DADT : teh gays will marry then draft your children and... what?

Decorated gay military officer Choi faces off with Tony Perkins—  Personally, I can't get past the irony that the head of this "family research council"  spokesidiot shares the same name with one of my all time favorite actors (and a deeply closeted + married gay actor  btw RIP.)   I twitch every time I have to read his name. Why do people insist on putting a microphone in front of this person?

Also of note, over at http://marriagetrial.com/ They have now uploaded 3 chapters of the Prop 8 Trial re-enactment which I'm including under the cut.

story from the usual  source...

Prop 8 trial + DADT debate = Death rattle of the Right Wing

By Rick Jacobs
Last night, I watched Lt. Dan Choi and Gen. Wesley Clark face off against Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis on Larry King Live. 

The topic was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), but the subject at hand was how America deals with minorities. Just as I saw during the Prop. 8 trial, Mr. Perkins raised the shibboleths of fear and division in an America that he apparently no longer loves.
What has DADT to do with same-sex marriage? In effect, everything. For nearly a year, Lt. Choi has been the picture of the American patriot, a West Point graduate who is fluent in Arabic and who served our nation in Iraq. Dan is not a political animal; he is passionate, determined and simply desires to honor the nation that gave his parents and him the opportunity to live freely. When Dan “came out” on the Rachel Maddow show last March, the military machinery slowly, inexorably came after him, determined to remove this highly trained, valued soldier from their midst for being himself.

Last June, 162,741 Courage Campaign members signed letters of support that Dan presented at his Army discharge hearing and that are now part of Dan’s official record. Fortunately, Dan has not yet been dismissed, though his discharge is under review.
While yesterday’s congressional hearing was remarkable and welcome in many ways, we do not need to wait to save his job. Will Dan still be fired? How many other Dans will be fired while the military studies this issue again?

We saw Tony Perkins taking talking points from the Prop. 8 campaign that were revealed at the trial. Mr. Perkins threatened on the Larry King show that “we might have to return to the draft” if we allow gays and lesbians to serve openly because so many soldiers would either quit the military or not enlist. Mr. Perkins went further, saying that President Obama is putting the country at risk because the Joint Chiefs have been asked to review the DADT policy in a time of war. Finally, Mr. Perkins recalled having showered together with 80 men while he was in the military and said he’d feel threatened by a gay man showering there with him.

Okay, got that? If we let those 66,000 or so gays and lesbians who now serve in the armed forces (
according to UCLA’s Williams Institute) stop lying and be open, we’ll have to reinstate the draft, we’ll lose wars and Mr. Perkins’ own heterosexual identity — which is apparently quite weak — will be threatened. In other words, the gays will eat you and destroy our country.

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This post brought to you, of course  by the ultimate OTP.
What ho, America! 

The Making of CBS's Pro-Life Ad

CBS's decision to air an anti-abortion ad during Sunday's Super Bowl has kicked off a contentious debate about the process through which the network vets advocacy advertisements, and has left pro-choice activists disagreeing on the best way to respond to this latest high-profile parry in the culture war, which reportedly cost Focus on the Family between $2.4 million and $2.8 million.

The spot has not been made public, but is expected to feature college football star Tim Tebow, winner of the Heisman Trophy, and his mother, Pam. In the ad, Pam will speak about her decision to go through with her 1987 pregnancy with Tim after contracting dysentery in the Philippines, despite advice from a doctor to end her pregnancy in order to protect her own health. According to Focus on the Family, the ad will not feature any explicit political message. Its tagline will be, "Celebrate family, celebrate life."

The major broadcast networks have avoided political advocacy ads for years, so CBS's decision to air the Tebow ad caught abortion rights advocates off guard. But Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs-based conservative Christian group founded by Dr. James Dobson, says that it has actually been working closely with CBS executives for months on the ad's script.

"There were discussions about the specific wording of the spot," said Gary Schneeberger, spokesperson for Focus on the Family. "And we came to a compromise. To an agreement." Schneeberger declined to comment on exactly how CBS changed the ad's message.

CBS has said that in the last year, in an acknowledgment of "industry norms," it loosened previous restrictions on advocacy advertisements, accepting ads that pushed for health reform and environmental activism.

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EDIT: Planned Parenthood's response.
Pride & Prejudice

Vietnam war affected US planning for Iraq - John Reid

The "failures of Vietnam" hampered the US in planning for the post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq, the UK inquiry to the war has heard.

Former Defence Secretary John Reid said this "terrible mistake" meant that military chiefs "weren't thinking of detailed nation-building".

But, he added, the US forces quickly learned their lesson and were now "ahead of" the UK in this respect.

Mr Reid became defence secretary in May 2005, two years after the invasion.

The insurgency was growing at the time, although Mr Reid said the danger of "civil war" had been exaggerated, and the British press had been "salivating at the prospect".

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shock-me-gray, bored, apathy

Early draft of the Constitution found in Phila.

((If this doesn't belong here, let me know and I'll delete it.))

Early draft of the Constitution found in Phila.
By Edward Colimore

Inquirer Staff Writer

Researcher Lorianne Updike Toler was intrigued by the centuries-old document at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

On the back of a treasured draft of the U.S. Constitution was a truncated version of the same document, starting with the familiar words: "We The People. . . ."

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Pride & Prejudice

France refuses a citizenship over full Islamic veil

The French government has refused to grant citizenship to a foreign national on the grounds that he forced his wife to wear the full Islamic veil.

The man, whose current nationality was not given, needed citizenship to settle in the country with his French wife.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said this was being refused because he was depriving his wife of the liberty to come and go with her face uncovered.

Last week, a parliamentary committee proposed a partial ban on full veils.

It also recommended that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" be refused residence permits and citizenship.

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Pride & Prejudice

Viewpoint: Gay US airman

After the top US military commander, Adm Mike Mullen, tells senators it is right to lift a ban on openly gay personnel, Air Force pilot Lt Col Victor Fehrenbach - who is currently in the process of being discharged for being gay - tells BBC News what reversing the ban would mean to him.

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This makes me ridiculously happy, no kidding.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Defense officials say lift military ban on gays

Defense officials say lift military ban on gays

WASHINGTON – It's time to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and allow gay troops to serve openly for the first time in history, the nation's top defense officials declared Tuesday, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff proclaiming that service members should not be forced to "lie about who they are."

However, both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen asked for a year to study the impact before Congress would lift the controversial policy.

Reversing the Pentagon's 17-year-old policy toward gays "comes down to integrity," for the military as an institution as well as the service members themselves, Mullen told a Senate hearing. Unpersuaded, several Republican senators said they would oppose any congressional effort to repeal the policy.

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I'm glad to see something is getting done, at least.

Oh, and Scott Fair? Oh, pookie. I'm so sorry you got a taste of what it's like every day for women in the military. Sexual harassment sucks. So tell me, did the experience open your eyes for what it's like for women, and so have you started working to clean up the ignore-ignore attitude in the military for everyone who has to deal with sexual harassment or assault? No? Oh. I see.

Wildest attack ad ever, complete with devil sheep -- and all for Tom Campbell

You really have to see this video to believe it. I almost fell out of my chair with laughter.


California politics is starting to take one crazy turn -- and we bring you the evidence: the wildest political attack video we've seen in a long time.

We won't give the plot away, just suffice it to say that it features a devil-like red-eyed sheep, a lot of scary chanting music, a farm, a guy in a fuzzy suit and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell.

We're still trying to find out who played the sheep.

The 3-plus minute spot is found on a website called Fiscal Conservative In Name Only, which is really a production of Carly for California, aka Carly Fiorina, the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate candidate.

Fred Davis, the Fiorina team creative director -- a guy known for busting the rules in political ads -- gets the credit on this one. Whoa.


Ex-POW in Iraq war recalls nightmares, depression

Shoshana Johnson survived gunshot wounds to both legs and 22 days as a prisoner of war in Iraq. Life wasn't so easy when she came home, either.

In a new book out this week, the 37-year-old single mother describes mental health problems related to her captivity and tells how it felt to play second fiddle in the media to fellow POW Jessica Lynch, who was captured in the same ambush.

"It was kind of hurtful," the former Army cook said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "If I'd been a petite, cutesy thing, it would've been different."

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    Kylie Minogue - Come Into My World (Steve Anderson Studio Version)
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'Lady Al Qaeda' Aafia Siddiqui convicted of attempted murder

The woman dubbed "Lady Al Qaeda" was convicted Wednesday of attempted murder for shooting at Americans in Afghanistan - and she reacted in typical fashion.

"This is a verdict coming from Israel not America," Aafia Siddiqui exclaimed, raising one hand and pointing up before being led out of the Manhattan courtroom.

"That's where the anger belongs. I can testify to this. And I have proof."

The outburst was hardly shocking; Siddiqui disrupted her own trial several times with bizarre statement and demands to take the stand in her own defense.

Despite her insistence she never grabbed an Army rifle and opened fire on her U.S. interrogators, a federal jury found her guilty of attempted murder and six other counts.

The 37-year-old MIT-trained neuroscientist faces life in prison when she's sentenced May 6. "Juries do make mistakes. Juries do go wrong" said Elaine Sharp, one of Siddiqui's lawyers.

"In my opinion this verdict is based on fear, not on fact."

Sharp said when she told Siddiqui the verdict, she asked that a message be sent to her supporters at home in Pakistan that she did not want any violent demonstrations.

The lawyer claimed Siddiqui's anti-Israeli comments were the paranoid rantings of a women who had been held in solitary confinement for 18 months.

Siddiqui was arrested in 2008 in Afghanistan after being caught with poisonous chemicals, bomb-making instructions and a list of New York landmarks.

She grabbed an unguarded rifle at an Afghan police station and started shooting at the Americans sent to grill her.

She was not charged with terrorism.



O'Keefe To Pave a New Era of Racism for The GOP... Isnt That Redundant?

James O'Keefe's race problem
A photo of the righty stuntman at a white-nationalist confab illustrates a career marked by racial resentment

James O'Keefe, photographed at a white nationalist conference by One People's Project.

Many of the conservatives who gleefully promoted James O’Keefe’s past political stunts are feigning shock at his arrest on charges that he and three associates planned to tamper with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone lines. Once upon a time, right-wing pundits hailed the 25-year-old O’Keefe as a creative genius and model of journalistic ethics. Andrew Breitbart, who has paid O’Keefe, called him one of the all-time “great journalists” and said he deserved a Pulitzer for his undercover ACORN video. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly declared he should have earned a “congressional medal.”

His right-wing admirers don't seem to mind that O’Keefe's short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment. Now an activist organization that monitors hate groups has produced a photo of O'Keefe at a 2006 conference on "Race and Conservatism" that featured leading white nationalists. The photo, first published Jan. 30 on the Web site of the anti-racism group One People's Project, shows O’Keefe at the gathering, which was so controversial even the ultra-right Leadership Institute, which employed O'Keefe at the time, withdrew its backing. But O'Keefe and fellow young conservative provocateur Marcus Epstein soldiered on to give anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism an opportunity to share their grievances and plans to make inroads in the GOP.

According to One People's Project founder Daryle Jenkins, O'Keefe was manning the literature table at the gathering that brought together anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism. OPP covered the event at the time, sending a freelance photographer to document the gathering. Jenkins told me the table was filled with tracts from the white supremacist right, including two pseudo-academic publications that have called blacks and Latinos genetically inferior to whites: American Renaissance and the Occidental Quarterly. The leading speaker was Jared Taylor, founder of the white nationalist group American Renaissance. "We can say for certain that James O'Keefe was at the 2006 meeting with Jared Taylor. He has absolutely no way of denying that," Jenkins said. O'Keefe's attorney did not respond to a request for comment on his client's role in the conference.

O'Keefe's racial issues can be seen in many of his prior stunts, of course. The notorious ACORN videos highlighted images of himself dressed as a pimp, deceptively edited through hidden camera footage as he baited African-American office workers into making statements that could be perceived as incriminating. There were also lesser-known but equally inflammatory spectacles like the “affirmative action bake sale” O’Keefe and his conservative comrades held when they were students at Rutgers University. During the event, O’Keefe stood at a table in the center of campus offering baked goods at reduced prices to Latinos and African-Americans while whites were forced to pay exorbitant amounts. (Native Americans, he announced, would eat free.)
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Wife: SC gov didn't want fidelity in marriage vows

South Carolina's first lady says her wedding was a "leap of faith" because Gov. Mark Sanford, who famously cheated on her with a woman he described as his soul mate, did not want to include a vow of fidelity in their marriage ceremony.

Jenny Sanford also tells ABC's Barbara Walters in an interview airing Friday on "20/20" that the final blow to the marriage was the publication of racy e-mails between Sanford and his Argentine mistress.

The show released excerpts of Sanford's interview with Walters, which coincides with publication Friday of her memoir, "Staying True."

Not having a vow of faithfulness "bothered me to some extent, but ... we were very young, we were in love," Jenny Sanford tells Walters. "I questioned it, but I got past it."

In her memoir, a copy of which The Associated Press obtained Tuesday, Sanford writes that her groom was worried "in some nagging way" that he might not be able to remain true.


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Duncan Hunter Insinuates That Mullen's Advocacy Of DADT Repeal Isn't Genuine, Warns Of 'Hermaphrodit

In testimony proffered at yesterday's hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke in forthright, plainspoken terms about why the current "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy should be repealed.

"No matter how I look at the issue," Mullen said, "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." Noting that he was speaking for himself and not for the other service chiefs, Mullen added: "For me, it comes down to integrity - theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."
Late yesterday, Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) went on CNN's "The Situation Room" with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and insinuated that Mullen was not being authentic when he spoke out in favor of repealing DADT, that he was merely acceding to the administration's demands.

HUNTER: Admiral Mullen and -- and Secretary Gates are both political appointees. They're going to be biased. They're going to say what the administration wants them to say. What I want to talk to is the Marines Corps commandant. I want to talk to -- to -- to General Casey in -- in the Army. I want to see what the military leaders -- the actual service leaders have to say on this, because I think they'll have a much different take than the political appointees.

BLITZER: All right. Let me just hesitate for a second, Congressman Hunter. Secretary Gates is certainly a political appointee named by the president, confirmed by the Senate. But Admiral Mullen is a four star Navy admiral, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a career military officer. You're saying he's a political appointee?

HUNTER: What I'm saying is his -- his -- his point of view -- and he stressed this today -- was his and his alone. It is not his -- his actual Joint Chiefs' point of view.

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It is the most appalling height of hypocrasy that Republicans seemed to take the military commanders' word for gospel up until the point those commanders took an opinion that didn't meet with their bigoted and narrow-minded point of view.  I think it's also the most insulting thing imaginable to call the Admiral's integrity into question when he was obviously giving as honest and sincere a testimony as I've ever heard.

This seems familiar to me, this flip-flopping of the Republican establishment.  Seems it wasn't all that long ago that anyone who didn't fully support the troops and our President was to be deemed to be "unpatriotic" or "Unamerican".   Funny how that changed so dramatically once our new President was sworn in.

Oh goody...

POLICE could be called in to maintain order at a student debate after anti-fascists vowed to stop two BNP politicians joining it.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said Durham Union Society’s decision to invite the BNP to a multiculturalism debate was disgraceful.

The group wants the meeting cancelled or the invitations withdrawn, and is planning demonstrations outside the Debating Chamber, on the Palace Green, Durham City.

Simon Assas, from UAF, said: “It defies belief. It is a huge error of judgement and they should think about their university’s reputation. It is outrageous.”

Inspector Paul Anderson said Durham Police would speak to event organisers before deciding whether officers were needed outside the debate or whether they would advise it be abandoned.

The Durham Union Society, one of the world’s oldest student debating societies, will discuss the motion: “This house believes in a multicultural Britain”.

For the proposal will be Kulveer Ranger, an advisor to Boris Johnson, and Conservative MP Edward Leigh.

Arguing against will be Andrew Brons, the British National Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, and Chris Beverley, a BNP councillor in Leeds.

Mr Brons said: “If the UAF want to defeat us, why don’t they defeat us with reasoned argument? I look forward to the debate.”
Anna Birley, the president of Durham Union Society, said: “While personally I disagree with the views of the BNP, I respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech.

“As president, I am responsible for promoting open debate, which means inviting people with opposing points of view – the best way to expose them to public scrutiny.”

Professor Chris Higgins, the vice-chancellor of Durham University, said: “I, personally, abhor the views of the BNP which I consider inappropriate, shallow and offensive.

“However, because the university is a strong advocate of freedom of speech, we did not oppose the right of the Durham Union Society to invite BNP members as long as they spoke as part of an open debate in which their views could be challenged.”

The debate, open to society members only, will be held from 8.30pm on Friday, February 12.

Northern Echo
Facebook group with more info.
draco gif.

(no subject)

The Great Tim Tebow Fallacy
by Richard Dawkins

Q: The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is sponsoring a pro-life ad, featuring football star Tim Tebow, during Sunday's Super Bowl. Should CBS show the ad? Should CBS allow other faith-based groups to buy Super Bowl ads promoting their beliefs on social issues? Is a major sporting event, or a TV ad campaign, an appropriate venue for discussing such vital and divisive culture-war issues like abortion?

I gather that Tim Tebow is extremely good at football. That's just as well, for he certainly isn't very good at thinking. Perhaps the fact that he was home schooled by missionary parents is to blame.

The following is what passes for logic in the Tebow mind. His mother was advised by doctors to abort him, but she refused, which is why Tim is here. So abortion is a bad thing. Masterful conclusion.

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nevada politics, josh is working on it

Newsflash: The Nevada Economy Sucks Ass.

State budget comes up $800 million short

Forecasters say locals gaming market to take hit in 2010

The Economic Forum has completed its revenue outlook, setting the table for the governor and Legislature to attempt to cut more than $800 million from the state's current budget.

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Basically, Nevada is looking at a shitty year for residents because now that all the big projects started before the recession are completed, there won't be any hiring. And those new casinos are going to start cutting jobs pretty soon, which means we're going to see a new spike in unemployment/foreclosure.

Governor’s staff proposes $328 million in budget cuts

Plan would cut funding for school districts and higher education by 10 percent each

CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons’ senior staff released recommendations Wednesday evening to eliminate 235 jobs, close Nevada State Prison, and cut funding for school districts and higher education by 10 percent each.

The recommended budget cuts would also impact services to the poor, elderly and mentally disabled.

In total, the cuts would save about $328 million, according to a spread sheet. When other cuts are included, the plan results in about $418 million in reductions, according to Gibbons’ chief of staff, Robin Reedy.

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Context is the 800$ billion dollars Nevada doesn't have to balance the budget.

So yo, ONTD_P, I get you think Las Vegans are butthurt - and we so are, but we got a lot of money issues. Obama can save his lecture for some time when we're not struggling to keep hospitals, schools and prisons open.
  • j_k_m

Goa's tourism boss links sexual assaults to bikinis

NEW DELHI, India — Once upon a time, the beaches of Goa were known for free love. But as a string of high-profile sexual assaults on tourists culminated in the alleged rape of a 9-year-old Russian girl last week, the idyllic strip of sand along the Arabian Sea is fast gaining a fearful reputation.

The answer? According to the state's ministry of tourism, those cute pre-teens in two-pieces are asking for it.

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Chibis- Good Omens MSNBC style

Powell Favors Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Powell Favors Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Gen. Colin L. Powell, who as the nation’s top military officer in the 1990s opposed allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military, switched gears today and threw his support behind efforts to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law he helped shepherd in.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers on Tuesday that they supported President Obama’s proposal to repeal the 1993 law forbidding gay men and lesbians to be open about their sexuality while serving in uniform.

Admiral Mullen was the first Joint Chiefs chairman ever to take that position, signaling the evolution in attitudes both inside the military and in the broader society since the debate under President Bill Clinton.

When Mr. Clinton tried to end the ban on gay soldiers, General Powell was the Joint Chiefs chairman and opposed the move on the grounds that it would undermine discipline and order in the military but he supported the “don’t ask” compromise. In his statement on Wednesday, General Powell said “the principal issue has always been the effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the ranks.”

He noted that he had said for the past two years that it was “time for the law to be reviewed,” but his new statement of unequivocal support for the effort by Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen could be an important factor as the debate moves forward this year.

After retiring from the military, General Powell went on to become an active Republican and joined the cabinet of President George W. Bush as secretary of state. But he bolted from the party and endorsed Mr. Obama in 2008.

Rachel Maddow explained on her show tonight why Powell's support of the repeal is so important- tl;dw? Most Republicans, including McCain, have used Powell as their crutch for supporting DADT.
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Rich Canadian Proves That America Has The Best Health Care Money Can Buy! Solution: Stop Being Poor!

Conservatives Use Rich Canadian Politician’s Trip To Deny High Quality Care For Millions Of Americans

Danny Williams, the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced this morning that he is heading to the U.S. for heart surgery. The right wing, which often claims that Democrats wish to secretly transform America’s health care into a Canadian single-payer system, pounced on the news as proof that Canada’s system does not work. “Where will all our elitist overlords go,” American Thinkers’ Wesley Clark wrote about William’s trip to the U.S., when we “replace our best-in-the-world medical care system with a technologically second-rate and rationed system like Canada’s[?].”

Anti-health reform group Patients First — a project of Americans For Prosperity — cited Williams’ trip as a reason to oppose health care reform:

For the last nine months, we’ve fought against a government takeover of our health care not only because of its high cost but also its debilitating effect on the quality and accessibility of care to patients. Yesterday, we were given a reminder from fifty-nine-year-old Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams that this is the case in Canada where they have a single payer, government-run health care system…. The Premier’s upcoming trip underscores the brilliance of our system—something that hasn’t been emphasized enough lately. We have state-of-the-art facilities run by trained and caring professionals who quickly diagnose and treat health problems.
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