By Warren P. Strobel
WASHINGTON -- At first blush, it seems like a godsend for U.S. foreign policy: a tenacious Iranian opposition, democratic in name at least, is challenging a regime that has caused the U.S. no end of headaches over the last 30 years.
However, as huge new street protests loom in Tehran on Thursday, the 31st anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution, the Obama administration is keeping its distance from the "green movement" that sprouted during last June's disputed presidential elections.
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SAFE SCHOOL PROPOSAL: Two lawmakers want to exclude gay and lesbian studentsBASTARDS.
Gay rights groups say the bill singles out gay students for harassment
Emily Carlson | Reporter
11:13 PM CST, February 7, 2010
Two Iowa legislators are getting heat from the gay community. The lawmakers want to remove protection to lesbians, gay and transgender students from the Safe Schools Law, in an effort to reverse the Iowa Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
Rep. Jason Schultz says he's not doing this to hurt gay, lesbian and transgender students, he's just trying to forward his agenda to make same-sex marriage illegal here in Iowa.
"The Bully Bill or Safe School Act doesn't protect anyone anyway. Schools are already doing this, so to remove a few words doesn't change the intent or effect of the law," says Rep. Jason Schultz.
Last April, one of the reasons the Iowa Supreme Court pointed to for legalizing same-sex marriage were bills like the Safe Schools Act, which protects gay and lesbian students. He wants to take out the wording in the Safe Schools Act, and all Iowa legislation, so lawmakers can debate same-sex marriage on the floor.
However, the Iowa Pride Network says the bill singles out gay, lesbian and transgender students, and makes them a target for harassment.
They accuse the bill's authors of playing politics with students' lives, and gay students fear the harassment will only get worse.
"People smeared paint on my locker and pushed me in the hallway and I've been made fun of for who I am. Why would lawmakers want that to continue? Why wouldn't they want to protect me and better my education and time in my community?" says gay Stephen Boatwright.
Rep. Schultz admits the bill won't go anywhere, but that's not the point. He hopes it will renew the efforts to make same-sex marriage illegal here in Iowa, and start a debate on the house floor sometime this session.
Even the fucking MAFIA isn't low enough to go after CHILDREN.
E-mail addresses for the two legislators in question:
Let them know what you think of THEIR bullying.
I would just like to report that Obama, meaning his staff, inserted a re-authorization of the Patriot Act in the new jobs bill he is pushing through Congress.
I am disappointed that he does not have the courage to have a vote on the re-authorization in a stand alone bill. I thought we put this stand up guy (he is a stand up guy) in office because we were over this sort of BS the last administration did with almost every bill. The Bush admin just threw shit like this in tax cut bills, now Obama is sneaking it into the jobs bill. Come on man!
And here we go again...
* iliketodrum's diary :: ::
In any event, you be the judge. here is the link to the PDF, you must select page 125 and scroll down and read it for yourself.
Here is a the text.
SEC. 645. EXTENSION OF INTELLIGENCE AUTHORITY SUNSETS. (a) USA PATRIOT IMPROVEMENT AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005.—Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
(Public Law 109–177; 50 U.S.C. 1805 note, 50 U.S.C. 1861 note, and 50 U.S.C. 1862 note) is amended by striking ‘‘February 28, 2010’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2010’’.
(b) INTELLIGENCE REFORM AND TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT OF 2004.—Section 6001(b)(1) of the Intel ligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–458; 118 Stat. 3742; 50 U.S.C. 1801 note) is amended by striking ‘‘February 28, 2010’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2010’’.
I heard this quote on PBS News Hour, forget the guy who said it, but I think sums up President Obama's 13 months so far in office:
"The candidate of change has become the president of continuity."
By Matthew Rothschild, February 10, 2010
Nicholas George was just trying to get to college for his senior year. It was August 29, 2009, and he was attempting to fly from Philadelphia to Southern California to start up his senior year at Pomona College.
While he was going through the security line at Philadelphia International Airport, TSA agents put him through extra screening, according to his lawsuit, filed by the ACLU.
They asked him to empty his pockets, and he had some English-Arabic flashcards in them, as he’d been learning Arabic for three years and was a Middle-Eastern Studies major. After discovering the flashcards, the TSA agents kept him in the screening area for a half hour.
Then a TSA supervisor arrived and “immediately began questioning Mr. George in a hostile and aggressive manner.”
She asked about how he felt about 9/11.
“Mr. George responded that he though 9/11 was a terrible event,” says the suit, filed by the ACLU.( Collapse )
Police forces all over the UK will soon be able to draw on unmanned aircraft from a national fleet, according to Home Office plans. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers, and will be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics.
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A woman walks on the National Mall by the Reflecting Pool. (Getty Images)
Snowstorm: East Coast Blizzard Tied to Climate Change
By Bryan Walsh, TIME magazine, February 10, 2010
As the blizzard-bound residents of the mid-Atlantic region get ready to dig themselves out of the third major storm of the season, they may stop to wonder two things: Why haven't we bothered to invest in a snow blower, and what happened to climate change? After all, it stands to reason that if the world is getting warmer - and the past decade was the hottest on record - major snowstorms should become a thing of the past, like PalmPilots and majority rule in the Senate. Certainly that's what the Virginia state Republican Party thinks: the GOP aired an ad last weekend that attacked two Democratic members of Congress for supporting the 2009 carbon-cap-and-trade bill, using the recent storms to cast doubt on global warming.
Brace yourselves now - this may be a case of politicians twisting the facts. There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm. As the meteorologist Jeff Masters points out in his excellent blog at Weather Underground, the two major storms that hit Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this winter - in December and during the first weekend of February - are already among the 10 heaviest snowfalls those cities have ever recorded. The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.
But there have been hints that it was coming. The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years. While the frequency of storms in the middle latitudes has decreased as the climate has warmed, the intensity of those storms has increased. That's in part because of global warming - hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall.
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A South Shore mother was found guilty yesterday of second-degree murder in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who went to sleep one night after being given toxic levels of psychotropic drugs and never woke up.
Carolyn Riley, 35, showed no visible emotion when the 12-member jury returned the verdict after 19 hours of deliberations in Plymouth Superior Court. Riley, her upper chest displaying a “Rebecca 12-13-06’’ tattoo that reflected her daughter’s date of death, was handcuffed as soon as the word guilty was uttered by the jury forewoman.
Before sentencing, Judge Charles Hely permitted the reading of a letter from Ashley Davidson, 17, Riley’s first biological daughter, who as a toddler was removed from her mother’s care, placed in a foster home, and eventually adopted. The teenager condemned her mother for the cruel fate she delivered Rebecca, as well as the tormenting memories left for her and Rebecca’s two other siblings, ages 14 and 9, now both in foster homes.
“When I think that you are my biological mother, I sometimes wonder if it is in my blood. Will I grow up to be a mother like you?’’ said the letter, read by her adoptive father, Bob Davidson..
-It gets worse, read this piece about the psychiatrist "treating" the children. She testified against the mother in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Beyond that, how does this woman still have her license ????
"Prosecutors portray her as operating on the fringe of the medical profession, quick to prescribe
potent drugs for toddlers, and shockingly gullible to what the government says were the schemes of troubled, mercenary parents."
More info at the links.
Google says it will not "voluntarily" comply with the government's request that it censor YouTube videos in accordance with broad "refused classification" (RC) content rules.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google's censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally.
Google warns this would lead to the removal of many politically controversial, but harmless, YouTube clips.
University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, one of Australia's top communications experts, said that to comply with Conroy's request Google "would have to install a filter along the lines of what they actually have in China".
As it prepares to introduce legislation within weeks forcing ISPs to block a blacklist of RC websites, the government says it is in talks with Google over blocking the same type of material from YouTube.
YouTube's rules already forbid certain videos that would be classified RC, such as sex, violence, bestiality and child pornography. But the RC classification extends further to more controversial content such as information on euthanasia, material about safer drug use and material on how to commit more minor crimes such as painting graffiti.
Google said all of these topics were featured in videos on YouTube and it refused to censor these voluntarily. It said exposing these topics to public debate was vital for democracy.
In an interview with the ABC's Hungry Beast, which aired last night, Conroy said applying ISP filters to high-traffic sites such as YouTube would slow down the internet, "so we're currently in discussions with Google about ... how we can work this through".
"What we're saying is, well in Australia, these are our laws and we'd like you to apply our laws," Conroy said.
"Google at the moment filters an enormous amount of material on behalf of the Chinese government; they filter an enormous amount of material on behalf of the Thai government."
I'm not making this up. he actually said that.
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Google shuts down music blogs without warning
Bloggers told they have violated terms without further explanation, as years of archives are wiped off the internet
In what critics are calling "musicblogocide 2010", Google has deleted at least six popular music blogs that it claims violated copyright law. These sites, hosted by Google's Blogger and Blogspot services, received notices only after their sites – and years of archives – were wiped from the internet.
"We'd like to inform you that we've received another complaint regarding your blog," begins the cheerful letter received by each of the owners of Pop Tarts, Masala, I Rock Cleveland, To Die By Your Side, It's a Rap and Living Ears. All of these are music-blogs – sites that write about music and post MP3s of what they are discussing. "Upon review of your account, we've noted that your blog has repeatedly violated Blogger's Terms of Service ... [and] we've been forced to remove your blog. Thank you for your understanding."
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video at link
more on Philip Chiyangwa
There is no money in politics: Philip Chiyangwa
"“I Left politics because I realized that there was no money in that field,” he said even though his departure from politics was at a time that he was arrested and detained for several months by Mugabe’s notorious CIO after being accused of passing state secrets to South Africa agents. He allegedly received severe beatings and torture and suffered a mild stroke, and has subsequently kept a low profile."
ETA: The case has been distraction MSNBC thinks.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – About 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year and about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs, a new report on human trafficking in the state said Wednesday.
Ohio's weak laws on human trafficking, its growing demand for cheap labor and its proximity to the Canadian border are key contributors to the illegal activity, according to a report by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission.
"Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it's also a recruitment place," said Celia Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who led the research.
Formed last year by Ohio Attorney General Richard Condray, the commission also found that hundreds more in the state are at risk of being forced into sex trafficking or to work against their will in fields, restaurants, sweatshops or constructions sites.
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I seriously would not have expected Ohio.
WASHINGTON — Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide have accused the private security company of defrauding the government for years by filing bogus receipts, double billing for the same services and charging government agencies for strippers and prostitutes, according to court documents unsealed this week.
In a December 2008 lawsuit, the former employees said top Blackwater officials had engaged in a pattern of deception as they carried out government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The lawsuit, filed under the False Claims Act, also asserts that Blackwater officials turned a blind eye to “excessive and unjustified” force against Iraqi civilians by several Blackwater guards.
Blackwater has earned billions of dollars from government agencies in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, when the company won contracts to protect American diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan. The former employees who filed the lawsuit, a married couple named Brad and Melan Davis, said there was little financial oversight of the money.
Last year, an audit by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction and the State Department’s inspector general found that the State Department had overpaid Blackwater $55 million because the company had failed to adequately staff its teams assigned to protect American diplomats in Iraq.
The documents detailing the Davises’ accusations were unsealed after the Justice Department declined to join in the case against Blackwater, which last year changed its name to Xe Services. A Xe spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment about the case.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Davis said that she and her husband had decided to proceed with the case because “it’s the right thing to do,” and that it was time for “the truth from inside the company” to be made public. If the government is able to recover money from Blackwater as a result of the lawsuit, the Davises could claim a percentage as whistleblowers.
Mr. Davis, a former Marine, performed a number of jobs for the company, including working as a private security guard in Iraq.
Ms. Davis was fired from the company, and she is challenging the legality of her dismissal. Mr. Davis voluntarily resigned from the company.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Davis raised concerns about the company’s bookkeeping with her bosses in March 2006, when she was handling accounts for the company’s contracts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The lawsuit claims she was told to “back off,” and that she “would never win a medal for saving the government money.”
Ms. Davis also asserts that a Filipino prostitute in Afghanistan was put on the Blackwater payroll under the “Morale Welfare Recreation” category, and that the company had billed the prostitute’s plane tickets and monthly salary to the government.
She also said Blackwater management used a subsidiary company, Greystone Ltd., to double bill the government for plane tickets between the United States and Amman, Jordan, which served as a transit point for the company’s employees in Iraq.source
I'm not really all that surprised, since I know this kind of behavior happens (with the exception of like, shooting people in the streets) in corporations all the time. My current company is small enough that they police expenses really well, and our accounting department oversees billing very closely, but the larger corporations I've worked for had all sorts of tom-foolery going on with some rather dubious expenses of a similar nature.
At what point do they finally cut these guys loose from being a government contractor, for crying out loud!
She wanted to be a pilot as a child, but has now been recognised as a leading campaigner for the rights of Afghan women.
"It is difficult for a woman to be a pilot in Afghanistan. My father said it does not fit in with this country's culture," Dr Anarkali Kaur Honaryar tells me, sitting in her office at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
In some ways the high flyer has taken on a challenge much tougher than piloting planes.
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Parents and politicians in Italy are up in arms over US horror movie Paranormal Activity after several cinema-goers suffered from panic attacks.
It opened in Italy at the weekend with no restrictions - despite being rated 15 in the UK and R-rated in the US.
An emergency services spokesman told news agency Ansa the most serious case was a 14-year-old girl "brought to the hospital in a state of paralysis".
The Italian parents' association wants an age limit of 18 to be brought in.
The spokesman said emergency services had received dozens of calls, especially in southern Naples "where several panic attacks lasting more than half an hour took place on Saturday".
Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said he was concerned about a trailer for the film shown on Italian TV.
"For the past two weeks a trailer has been shown obsessively on TV and is terrifying thousands of children," he said. "It's a terrible thing. I took notice because my seven-year-old son told me, 'Daddy, I'm scared'."
Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said the committee that decided on age restrictions had given the film the go-ahead, but he was now considering possible measures to protect children.
Director Oren Peli filmed the movie on a video camera in his own house for just $15,000 (£9,000).
The fictional movie, shot like a homemade documentary, follows a young couple coping with supernatural phenomena in their home.
The movie took $22m (£13.5m) in its first weekend on nationwide release in the US at the end of October.
The Health Professions Council will consider complaints against Malcolm Griffiths relating to his time at Edinburgh's Astley Ainslie Hospital.
One of the claims is that he fitted a left foot to Patrick Morrison, 76, whose right foot had been removed.
It is alleged Mr Griffiths failed to spot his error at two later check-ups.
Mr Morrison, from Bathgate, should have been given an artificial limb and right foot.
Mr Griffiths, an expert in prosthetic limbs, is due to appear before the conduct and competence committee of the Health Professions Council at a hearing in Edinburgh, where he could be struck off.
These include fitting a lower limb with the wrong foot and and failing to provide adequate prosthetic care, which meant the socket required remaking.
Mr Morrison said he had been forced to have the amputation after an amputated toe became infected with MRSA following hospital treatment.
He said the wrongly fitted limb had a shoe on it which may have made the error harder to spot and that he bore "no malice" towards Mr Griffiths.
Mr Griffiths will face several other claims relating to his time at the Astley Ainslie's rehabilitation centre.
These include failing to keep adequate notes, failing to carry out repairs and leaving a patient in pain.
Even with a shoe on it, you'd think he'd have noticed it was a left-foot shoe, or that the right-footed one didn't fit properly...
Anonymous Unfurls ‘Operation Titstorm’
* By David Kravets Email Author
* February 10, 2010 |
* 3:32 pm |
* Categories: Hacks and Cracks, Threats
Several Australian government websites were slowly recovering Wednesday hours after the online prankster group Anonymous unleashed a massive distributed denial-of-service attack to protest the country’s evolution toward internet censorship.
The group, which previously brought down Scientology’s websites has also undertaken a host of other online pranks. It dubbed the new attack “Operation Titstorm” to protest the government’s move to require the filtering of pornography that uses adult actors if they appear underage. Violent material targeting children is also to be censored.
Anonymous’ past targets include uncool virtual worlds, an epilepsy message board and a Neo-Nazi webcaster. The group sent Australian media e-mail messages warning of the attack, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
“No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be unwanted,” the e-mail said. “The Australian government will learn that one does not mess with our porn. No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason.”
At one point Thursday, parliament’s website was felled after getting 7.5 million hits a second. Usually, it receives a few hundred a second.
Flyers seeking recruits for Wednesday’s barrage said the group would follow the service attack with “a shitstorm of porn e-mail, fax spam, black faxes and prank phone calls to government offices.”
I do find the comment interesting where they talk about why Anonymous isn't in China, North Korea, or Vietnam since they are so against censorship.
Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers known as the "Scarecrow Bandits" that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.
FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies corresponding to what their cellular towers had recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area. The voluminous records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists, and that those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges.
Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments (PDF) in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.
In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.
Those claims have alarmed the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, which have opposed the Justice Department's request and plan to tell the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that Americans' privacy deserves more protection and judicial oversight than what the administration has proposed.
"This is a critical question for privacy in the 21st century," says Kevin Bankston, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who will be arguing on Friday. "If the courts do side with the government, that means that everywhere we go, in the real world and online, will be an open book to the government unprotected by the Fourth Amendment."
Not long ago, the concept of tracking cell phones would have been the stuff of spy movies. In 1998's "Enemy of the State," Gene Hackman warned that the National Security Agency has "been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the '40s--they've infected everything." After a decade of appearances in "24" and "Live Free or Die Hard," location-tracking has become such a trope that it was satirized in a scene with Seth Rogen from "Pineapple Express" (2008).
TONS MORE TEXT HERE: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10451518-38.html
By Michael O'Brien - 02/11/10 01:22 PM ET
New legislation imposing sanctions on Iran will take aim at individuals accused of human rights violations, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Thursday.
Lieberman said that the bill he's set to unveil this afternoon with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would be the first of its time, singling out individuals for sanctions instead of whole governments.
"This would authorize the president to deny visas and freeze economic assets for people in Iran who are responsible for the kind of brutality that we're seeing on these videos," Lieberman said during an appearance on MSNBC.
The Connecticut senator was careful to distinguish the sanctions in this bill with penalties the global community has slapped on the Islamic Republic for its nuclear weapons development.
"I think the significant message we hope we're sending...is that while we've been understandably focused on the nuclear weapons program in Iran, and will continue to be with sanctions, it's time to start targeting the Iranian human rights abusers of its own people," he said.
Iran is marking the 31st anniversary of its Islamic revolution this week, and protesters against the current government have taken to the street, only to be met with violent crackdowns by the government.
Lieberman said that the sanctions being proposed would have the benefit of not having to go through the United Nations Security Council, where China has been reluctant to go along with tougher rules for Iran.
More broadly, Lieberman said that he believed that, with international assistance, the protesters in the streets of Tehran would ultimately succeed over the government.
"I would say that the opposition to this fanatical government, regime in Tehran is not going to go away," Lieberman asserted. "It's just a matter of time until the people triumph over this government that does not really represent them."
My concern: how are they going to "sort out" the individuals that are responsible for the brutality? Other than that, I hate Lieberman, but I like how they are not just focusing on Iran's nuclear threat and they're going back to caring about the protesters and the movement.
Clinton, 63, was transported to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan for a condition related to his heart.
ABC News' chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos reported that sources said he was taken to the hospital "likely for a stent procedure."
Sources on Capitol Hill tell ABC News that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was seen leaving the Oval Office a short time ago and did not seem "too concerned" or "in a rush."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Sec. Clinton is supposed to leave for an overseas trip to Qatar and Saudi Arabia Friday.
An official told ABC News that Clinton's ailment seems more like "discomfort…something wasn't right" rather than a health "crisis."
A friend of the former president's said that he had been suffering from a cold and had been warn out from his recent trip to Haiti.
Clinton underwent quadruple bypass surgery at the same hospital where he is now a patient four and a half years ago.
ETA: CNN's John King reporting hospitalization due to chest pains.
Clinon's office has confirmed two stents in coronary arteries. - source: TV
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* By Nathan Hodge Email Author
* February 11, 2010 |
* 9:02 am |
* Categories: Haiti
The Haitian government now estimates the death toll from the January 12th earthquake to be about 230,000, a number that does not include bodies buried by families. If the figure is anywhere near accurate, it puts this disaster on par with the 2004 Asian tsunami. And the immediate emergency is not over: Relief groups now warn that disease and starvation may claim many more lives.
Over the past week, I traveled to Haiti to take a firsthand look at the devastation left by the quake — and to report on the first steps toward rebuilding. The scale of the suffering would be hard to overstate: At every turn, I met Haitians whose lives had been profoundly, irreversibly changed by the disaster. Here, a girl at an improvised tent camp in Port-au-Prince, near the government’s mines and energy ministry headquarters, which was completely leveled by the quake.
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At least comment on the pictures. We need to keep Haiti in the minds of ourselves and our governments. Nearly a quarter million people died during the earthquake and thousands more are dying of starvation, thirst, disease, and injuries.
I've added some other Haiti articles that for some reason were denied. I feel that they are very important articles.
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Within minutes of this audio, Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters -- followed quickly by the press -- pronounced her campaign over. My understanding is that she has many supporters who are "Truthers" and she would not disavow any of them publicly -- hence her refusal to give a straight answer. An idiotic campaign move? Yes, absolutely.
(Update: Medina now insists she is not a Truther. Too late -- you need to answer that right the first time.)
But what's the difference between Medina having supporters who think the government was involved in September 11, and Rick Perry having supporters with signs that say this?
OH MAN THIS IS LIKE CHRISTMAS
About the video: When people who love politics, pop culture and filmmaking are asked to humanize the sentiment of the founders in writing the declaration, we sometimes get carried away. And every now and then, they let us run with it. The following video is an anachronistic daydream asking the question, "If pop producer Timbaland had sought to build consensus around declaring independence, what might he have produced?"
source and download link
CALGARY — The Chinese government has removed the University of Calgary from its list of accredited institutions — a move school officials are concerned is connected to the Dalai Lama's visit last fall
The university hosted the Tibetan spiritual leader and awarded him an honourary degree when he visited the city in September.
In December, officials were made aware the Chinese government had removed the university from a list posted on the Ministry of Education's website.
Now the university is trying to see what impact that will have on Chinese nationals who have already obtained a degree or are working toward one at the institution.
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My prof brought this up in class so I thought I would share some of the background politics between Canadian universities and political regimes like China. University of Calgary was in an especially bad political position because 1) it's the alma mater of China's least favorite Canadian Stephen Harper, 2) University of Calgary isn't a high ranking university to get away with a lot of stuff purely on reputation alone, and 3) they held this event at the Saddledome which made the event a Big Deal.
Contrasting to an institution like University of Toronto who also will be hosting the Dalai Lama, has given honorary degree, and has Citizen Lab which pisses off China a lot, UofT has political cachet because of reputation, the Dalai Lama event will be more discreet (up in Scarborough for the interested), and they have understanding with the Consulate General over issues. Also alma mater of China's favorite Canadian, Da Shan or Mark Rowswell.
But China is definitely sending a clear message and making an example out of UofCalgary due to its connection with Harper and the fact that they can afford to do it to UofC, imo. I'm dealing with an event with the Toronto Consulate General and the research institute that Citizen Lab is a part of so I got a glimpse of the drama behind the scenes. @_@
Over at Penna Dexter's "Point of View" radio program, Mrs. Srivastav had this to say.
“I think gay marriage is more like bans on interracial marriage, in that it’s an effort to misuse this institution to impose a new political ideal on an existing natural institution. In one case, yknow, less charitable, and in one case more charitable.
But the, uh. Here’s the big difference, OK? Bans on interracial marriage were about keeping two races separate so that one race could oppress the other, and that was bad.
Marriage is about bringing together the two great halves of humanity, male and female, in part so that children can know and be known by and love and be loved by their own mother and father, and that’s good.
I mean, basically, racism is bad, but our ideals of marriage are good, and they are not based in how we feel about gay people fundamentally, in my view. I think, uh, yknow, it’s not discrimination to treat different things differently.”
Legal defeat plunges Security Service into crisis over torture evidence, and it is revealed that judge removed damning verdict after Foreign Office QC's plea
MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.
The condemnation, by Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven-paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.
Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, three of the country's most senior judges – Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Lord Neuberger – disclosed evidence of MI5's complicity in Mohamed's torture and unlawful interrogation by the US.
So severe were Neuberger's criticisms of MI5 that the government's leading lawyer in the case, Jonathan Sumption QC, privately wrote to the court asking him to reconsider his draft judgment before it was handed down.
The judges agreed but Sumption's letter, which refers to Neuberger's original comments, was made public after lawyers for Mohamed and media organisations, including the Guardian, intervened.
They argued that Neuberger had privately agreed with Sumption to remove his fierce criticisms without giving then the chance to contest the move.
In his letter, Sumption warned the judges that the criticism of MI5 would be seen by the public as statements by the court that the agency:
• Did not respect human rights.
• Had not renounced participation in "coercive interrogation" techniques.
• Deliberately misled MPs and peers on the intelligence and security committee, who are supposed to scrutinise its work.
• Had a "culture of suppression" in its dealings with Miliband and the court.
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* By admin Email Author
* February 11, 2010 |
* 2:54 pm |
* Categories: Rogue States
The Tehran regime has new gear to help squash today’s pro-democracy protests: high-tech anti-riot vehicles, imported from China.
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Iran to Pull the Plug on Gmail?
* By John C Abell Email Author
* February 10, 2010 |
* 4:37 pm |
* Categories: Internet Culture & Etiquette, Mobile Internet, Social Media
Iran’s telecommunications agency plans to block Gmail in favor of an upcoming domestic e-mail service, according to The Wall Street Journal. The assertion merits just a brief mention in a lengthy article about the Iranian government’s preparations to stifle opposition protests Thursday.
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Tennessee Mosque Vandalized After Local TV Station Airs Irresponsible Report On ‘Homegrown Jihad’
Last year, the right-wing Christian Action Network and PRB films produced a “documentary” called “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around U.S.” It claims to expose 35 “Islamic terrorist training compounds” devoted to “radical Pakistani cleric, Sheikh Mubarak Gilani.” (Watch the trailer here.) In February 2009, CBS News reviewed the film and dismissed it as nothing more than “sensationalistic” fear-mongering:
Officials describe the film to CBS News as “sensationalistic” and without any real foundation. According to one official, it is strictly designed to upset and inflame people and does not present a true picture of any so-called “homegrown Jihad” danger. No current intelligence exists to suggest any threat connected with this group, which officials describe as “wannabes” and not terrorists.
Nevertheless, a year later, the Nashville CBS affiliate (Channel 5) decided to give the film legitimacy by conducting an “EXCLUSIVE” investigation into a Muslim community in rural Tennessee called Islamville, which is featured in the movie. “Some believe it is a secret Islamic terrorist training camp,” reads the Channel 5 article. “Others have said that’s simply not true. In a NewsChannel 5 Exclusive Special Report, Nick Beres went looking for the truth.”
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Abe's latest author: Bill O'ReillyMeet the latest Abraham Lincoln biographer: Bill O'Reilly.
The Fox News host and best-selling author is working on "Killing Lincoln," a history book that will take readers "into Ford's Theater and into the mind of Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and on the manhunt to find and bring to justice the killer of one our greatest presidents," according to a statement issued Thursday by Henry Holt and Company.
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I guess I know what will be on my dad's Christmas list next year.
"The idea of there being a massive attack in the United States like 9/11 is unlikely, in my opinion," Biden said in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live."
Instead, groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula "have decided to move in the direction of much more small-bore but devastatingly frightening attacks," such as the failed bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, a Nigerian, has been accused of trying to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it prepared to land in Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day.
"I think there are going to be attempts," Biden said, but he praised the successes of the U.S. security and intelligence apparatus in dealing with the threats.
On other issues, Biden said he expected Congress to pass a jobs bill to stimulate employment growth, though it "will be probably less than is needed initially, but it will be very helpful."
Biden took part in talks Tuesday with President Obama and congressional leaders from both parties to discuss how to overcome partisan divisions over the size and focus of a jobs bill.
"I think you're going to see net creation of jobs every month" starting in the spring, Biden said, acknowledging the growth would begin slowly.
He also said he expected to see some form of health care legislation to eventually win congressional approval, despite unanimous Republican opposition to Democratic proposals so far.
WBC’s hate-promoting signs were answered by multiple signs of randomness, nonsensical yelling, and even a unicorn. A portable stereo blared Lady GaGa, while press and people passing by ignored the WBC signs and took pictures and videos of the more entertaining signs. I was also there and turned on the video camera while holding my sign.
Read the rest here.
Just a happy story for your Thursday afternoon
The Senate confirmed a huge group of administration nominees on Thursday, following a tense exchange between President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
At a White House meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders on Tuesday, Obama warned that he would make recess appointments if the logjam over nominees wasn’t broken before the Senate left for the Presidents’ Day break.
“Mitch, this is unprecedented,” the president said, gesturing forcefully on the Cabinet Room table, according to aides. “If you don’t move any,
The 27 confirmations mean no recess appointments will be needed during this break, top administration officials said. Recess appointments, which a president can make when Congress is not in session, are temporary and generally last to the end of the year.
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A Democratic official says Rep. Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election for his seat representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Congress.
The official spoke to The Associated Press only on the condition that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak ahead of the official announcement.
The decision by the eight-term congressman comes less than a month after a stunning Republican upset in the race for the Massachusetts Senate seat his late father, Edward Kennedy, held for almost half a century.
Patrick Kennedy has been in and out of treatment for substance abuse since crashing his car outside the U.S Capitol in 2006. Still, he has been comfortably re-elected twice since then, after making mental health care his signature issue in Washington.
ANN ARBOR, MI (MICHIGAN RADIO) -
President Barack Obama will deliver this Spring's commencement address at the University of Michigan. The university made the announcement today.
Barack Obama will be the 3rd sitting U.S. president to give a commencement address at the U of M. President Lyndon Johnson used his 1964 commencement speech at the University of Michigan to unveil his 'Great Society' program. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush talked against 'Politically Correct' speech in his U of M commencement address. Former president, and U of M grad, Gerald R. Ford delivered the commencement address in 1974, three months before he succeeded Richard Nixon. President Obama will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree.
"President Obama has captured the imagination and enthusiasm of many students with his inspiring words of hope and change. We are honored to welcome a leader of his distinction and look forward to his message," U of M President Mary Sue Coleman said. "We could not be happier for the graduates who will celebrate their academic achievements with the president of the United States."
I don't even go to UofM, but I am SO jealous. Lucky bastards.
For those who graduated college, did you have any exciting commencement speakers?
For Mary Calhoun Brown, the term "Asperger's" is crucial to conveying to schools that although her 15-year-old son has had social difficulties, he has a near-genius IQ and great speaking ability.
"If I call it 'autism,' that's going to raise a lot of red flags for people who don't know him," said Brown, author of the novel about autism "There Are No Words."
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By Ruthie Ackerman
First elected after a powerful women’s peace movement forced the end of years of brutal civil war in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is asking for a second term to continue with the enormous challenge of rebuilding her country.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf surprised and even angered some Liberians recently when she announced that she would run for a second term in office in 2011, after saying she wouldn’t during her campaign in 2005. Yet with so much left to do to repair Liberia after a devastating 14-year civil war, her choice to try to fulfill her myriad campaign promises—rather than leave office and risk the country falling backwards—makes sense.
Opposition candidates are using her announcement as an opportunity to ramp up their attacks. They ignore such accomplishments as her work tackling rape and gender inequalities, deeply entrenched in Liberian society, which have won her international backing. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield have come out in support of her bid for re-election.
In the last four years, Sirleaf established a special rape court for victims of gender-based violence, passed the 2006 Rape Amendment Act imposing stricter penalties and denying bail for the worst violations, and created special women and children protection units within communities. To implement the UN’s call to include women in post conflict reconstruction (Security Council Resolution 1325), she created a national action plan to strengthen local women’s groups and train women to detect outbreaks of violence before they happen.
Speculation over Sirleaf’s re-election plans had been heating up for months, fueled by the July release of a draft final report from the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It recommended that the “Iron Lady” be banned from office for 30 years for her support of former-president and warlord Charles Taylor. Sirleaf admitted giving Taylor contributions but has said she didn’t realize his intentions when she supported him.
While the international community has showered Sirleaf with awards and aid since she was inaugurated in January of 2006, many young unemployed Liberians and those living in rural areas demand more immediate and widespread change. Some suggest that she emulate the leadership and dignity of South African President Nelson Mandela, who did not seek a second term.
Well, that didn't take long, at least not once the trial ended.
It's good to see the jury act with such alacrity to find Anne Mitchell not guilty and send a strong message to the hapless Dr. Rolando Arafiles and his errand boy Sheriff Robert L. Roberts, who spent more effort tracking down a nurse doing her duty than I bet he spends tracking down thieves and murderers, as well as the equally clueless County Attorney Scott Tidwell. It's good to see that justice was finally done in the end, but it's absolutely horrifying that it took so many months for it to happen. This is a prosecution that never should have happened, clearly the result of incestuous relationships among some good ol' boys in business together coupled with the utter lack of oversight and spinelessness of the administration of Winkler County Hospital.
I'm guessing that it was pretty clear that Mitchell would be acquitted after this:
On Wednesday, Anne's attorneys began her defense and called several witnesses to testify. The first was a nurse practitioner who had worked at the Winkler County Rural Health Clinic and left because of her concerns that issues relating to the care provided by Dr. Arafiles had not been addressed. She had also filed a complaint against Dr. Arafiles with the TMB at the same time as Anne and Vicki (all worked together). The NP testified that she has subsequently filed a second complaint. She testified that Anne was motivated only by her concern for patients. The second witness was an LVN, who testified about her concerns regarding Dr. Arafiles' work at the clinic. She also left because of those concerns and the stress they were causing her. The Defense called the Winkler County judge (not the trial judge) testified that she knew Anne and Anne had discussed her concerns about Dr. Arafiles. The judge said Anne's motive was patient concern. Lolly Lockhart, RN, testified as an expert witness on a nurse's duty. Dr. Pham, Chief of Staff at Winkler County Memorial Hospital, testified about concerns about Dr. Arafiles' care. He also testified that Anne was concerned about patient care and that Anne is a good nurse.
Thursday morning, the defense called a medical expert, who testified that he had reviewed the five cases cited in the complaint to TMB and found substandard care. The Defense has rested. Next, the charge will be read to the jury, the Prosecution and Defense will give their closing arguments, and the jury will begin deliberation.
As I said, this was an open-and-shut case that should never have made it to a jury, and the rapidity with which the jury ruled only serves to emphasize that point. I can only hope that the civil lawsuit brought against Winkler County Hospital, Sheriff Roberts, Dr. Arafiles, and County Attorney Tidwell goes forward and teaches these good ol' boys a lesson about abuse of public trust, failure to discipline bad doctors, and trying to punish a nurse for doing her duty in reporting questionable care delivered by the doctors that oversee her. Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle lost their jobs, their livelihood, a whole lot of money, and Mitchell lived for months in fear of going to jail for up to ten years because of Tidwell's malicious, unethical, and possibly illegal prosecution. The hospital and the public officials who so egregiously abused their public trust need to pay.
Scienceblog source. Links as they were in the article.
I'm posting this because I remember the original article of the charges being posted here a few months ago, so thought I'd share the happy news with you guys when it popped up in googlereader :)
With only [a day] left until the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 106-day, 26,000 km overland Olympic Torch Relay through Canada has nearly come to a close.( Collapse )
Over 12,000 torch-bearers [carried] the flame along a winding path covering all of Canada, passing through over 1,000 communities total - from Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary to smaller communities such as Gwa'Sala-Nakwaxda'xw, Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Moose Jaw and Sheshatshiu.
The final destination: Vancouver's BC Place on February 12, 2010, where it will light the Olympic Cauldron and signal the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
NEW YORK - Newly released aerial photos of the World Trade Center terror attack capture the towers' dramatic collapse, from just after the first fiery plane strike to the apocalyptic dust clouds that spread over lower Manhattan and its harbor.
The images were taken from a police helicopter - the only photographers allowed in the air space near the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
They were obtained by ABC News after it filed a Freedom of Information Act request last year with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which investigated the collapse.
The chief curator of the planned Sept. 11 museum, which is compiling a digital archive of attack coverage, said the still images are "a phenomenal body of work" that show a new, wide-angle look at the towers' collapse and the gray dust clouds that shrouded the city afterward.
The photos are "absolutely core to understanding the visual phenomena of what was happening," said Jan Ramirez, chief curator at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The images of the dust clouds rising as high as some downtown skyscrapers "are some of the most exceptional images in the world, I think, of this event," Ramirez said.
ABC said the NIST gave the network 2,779 pictures on nine CDs, saying some of the photographs had never been released before.
The network posted 12 photos this week on its Web site, all taken by ex-NYPD Aviation Unit Detective Greg Semendinger, who was first in the air in a search for survivors on the rooftop.
He said he and his pilot watched the second plane hit the south tower from the helicopter.
"We didn't find one single person. It was surreal," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
"There was no sound. No sound whatsoever, but the noise of the radio and the helicopter. I just kept taking pictures."
He took three rolls of film with his Minolta camera, plus 245 digital shots. Semendinger said he gave the digital images to the 9/11 Commission and believes those images were released by the NSIT.
In the days after the attack, he e-mailed some of the photos to friends and several were posted on the Internet.
Later, nine of the images were published in a book called "Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of Sept. 11" without his consent.
The book was a tribute to the officers who were killed that day.
The photos capture the enormous scope of the dust that enveloped the area. In some images, the tops of the nearby Woolworth Building and other skyscrapers can be seen rising above the billowing dark plume against a clear blue sky.
Buildings can hardly be seen at all in one image - just a burst of dust clouds hanging over the serene Hudson River at the southern tip of Manhattan.
A close-up image from earlier in the morning shows orange flames and black smoke rising past the antenna on top of the north tower, the first hit by a hijacked plane. Ramirez said the museum, which is slated to open in 2012, saw a selection of the photos at police headquarters several years ago.
They are extremely important because the NYPD aviation unit had the clearance to be up in the air in lower Manhattan only "moments after the first tower was hit," and stayed in the area for the remainder of the day, she said.
Sometime after 10 a.m., she said they were able to "predict that the north tower was going to fall." It did just before 10:30 a.m.
The museum hopes to get a complete set of the photos.
"We've had our sights set on this body of visual evidence for several years," Ramirez said.
Semendinger retired from the NYPD in 2002 after 35 years, 20 of them in aviation. He said he has thought about publishing his work from those days.
"I almost didn't realize what I was seeing that day," he said. "Looking at it now it's amazing I took those pictures. The images are ... stunning."
An Arab ambassador escaped married life by a whisker.
The diplomat had his marriage instantly annulled after he tried to kiss his veiled bride and discovered she had a beard and was cross-eyed.
The unnamed groom had never seen the woman's face because she wore a niqab throughout their entire courtship, according to reports.
He freaked out after they signed the marriage contract in Dubai, canceled the reception and went right to an Islamic Sharia court.
He demanded the union be annulled, that $137,000 he'd spent on wedding gifts and expenses be returned, and the bride be examined for "hormonal deficiencies."
"He was absolutely horrified," said a wedding guest, according to London's Daily Mail.
"The bride had a nice personality, but there was a good reason why she was hiding her looks behind a veil.
"A divorce was inevitable, and the groom went straight to court, leaving his new bride in floods of tears."
The ambassador alleged that that his would-be mother-in-law had shown him pictures of his intended's sister to trick him into marrying the homelier woman.
"Every time the couple met, the bride would do her best not to reveal her entire face," a source close to the case told the local Gulf News this week.
The court granted the annulment but did not approve compensation.
A doctor who examined the jilted bride, who is also a doctor, did not find any medical reason for her facial hair.
The report did not identify the ambassador nor give any further details
They had a DOCTOR exam her (ETA: on the ex-husband's demands during the divorce, mind) for hormonal issues?! >.< Poor woman...