February 15th, 2010


The first 9/11

Clip from The War on Democracy  this is an interview with Duane Clarridge (the head of CIA's Latin America division from 1981 to 1984) in which he defends USA's role in overthrowing Chile's democratically elected President Salvador Allende.

“We’ll intervene when we decide it’s in our national security interest to intervene, and if you don’t like it, lump it. Get used to it, world.”

I recommend watching the whole documentary, here's a review.
laurie, jeeves, fry, wooster

Women say some rape victims deserve it.

A majority of women believe some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened, a survey suggests.

Almost three-quarters of women said if a rape victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack they should accept some responsibility.

One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker's house for a drink.

The survey of more than 1,000 people in London marked the 10th anniversary of the Haven service for rape victims.

More than half of those of both sexes questioned said there were some circumstances when a rape victim should accept responsibility for an attack.

Less forgiving

The study found that women were less forgiving of the victim than men.

Some 71% of women thought a person should accept responsibility when getting into bed with someone, compared with 57% of men.

The survey also found more than one in 10 people were unsure whether they would report being raped to the police, and 2% said they would definitely not do so.

The main reasons were being too embarrassed or ashamed (55%), wanting to forget it had happened (41%) and not wanting to go to court (38%).

Meanwhile, the survey suggested that many people are relaxed about their safety. Almost half of people have walked home via side streets on their own.

One in five has been so drunk they have lost their memory, while one in five has got into a taxi without checking whether it is licensed.

Hardening attitudes

When asked about their own experiences, more than a third of those polled said they had been in a situation where they could have been made to have sex against their will.

Women are more likely to have been in this situation - 40% compared to 20%.

And one in five adults had been in a situation where they were made to have sex when they did not want to. This had happened to more women (23%) than men (20%).

The online survey, titled Wake Up To Rape, polled 1,061 people aged 18 to 50, comprising 712 women and 349 men.

An Amnesty International report five years ago found that a significant minority of British people laid the blame for rape at victims themselves.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says this latest study suggests attitudes may have hardened.

And the findings may help explain why juries are reluctant to convict in some rape trials.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8515592.stm

Hmmm, thoughts? I wouldn't be surprised if the study said men thought the headline opinion - but women?
&#39; jules
  • schmiss


Evan Bayh to retire

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh will not seek re-election this year, a decision that hands Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in the middle of the country.

"After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned," Bayh will say.

Bayh will announce the decision at a press conference later today. He was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and was re-elected easily in 2004. National Republicans had recruited former Sen. Dan Coats to challenge Bayh in 2010 although polling suggested Bayh began the race with a 20-point edge. He also had $13 million in the bank at the end of the year.

Prior to being in the Senate, Bayh served two terms as governor of the Hoosier State. He also served briefly as Secretary of State.


franklin sherman

DEA still raiding medical marijuana providers, even though obama said they arnt.

Federal drug-enforcement agents Friday raided the home of a Highlands Ranch man who a day earlier bragged in a 9News report about the large and profitable medical-marijuana-growing operation in his basement.

Along with the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration's special agent in charge of the Denver office, sent a message to anyone involved in Colorado's increasingly profitable medical-marijuana industry.

"It's still a violation of federal law," Sweetin said. "It's not medicine. We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people."

Agents at the scene Friday evening said the marijuana grower, Chris Bartkowicz, had been taken into custody. Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver, said the grower would be held over the long Presidents Day weekend before a decision on charges is made Tuesday.

"The U.S. attorney's office will review the evidence the DEA collected before we make a determination whether we will prosecute," Dorschner said.

DEA agents converged on the house Friday afternoon and, before leaving several hours later, removed dozens of marijuana plants in black plastic trash bags as well as numerous high-powered growing lights.

On Thursday night, 9News promoted a story about Bartkowicz's operation, and on Friday morning, Bartkowicz was featured in a 9News story posted to its website and published in The Denver Post. The story was to air on television Friday night. He told the station he serves as a caregiver to a number of medical-marijuana patients and hoped to turn a profit this year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I'm definitely living the dream now," Bartkowicz told 9News.

One block from school

That story — coupled with the proximity of Bartkowicz's home to Sand Creek Elementary School, a block away — drew the attention of DEA agents.

A memo in October from Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden said federal agents should not target people in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The memo led many in Colorado's medical-marijuana community to believe that federal agents would no longer raid medical-marijuana dispensaries or growers.

But Sweetin said the memo does nothing to change federal law, which makes marijuana illegal, and instead mostly addresses treatment of medical-marijuana patients and small-scale growers.

"Prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the department," the memo states.

Guidelines included in the memo to distinguish between lawful medical-marijuana operations and unlawful ones include whether the operations produce more plants or generate more money than state laws intend. Sweetin said those guidelines put much of Colorado's medical-marijuana industry in the crosshairs and that he has been gathering information on dispensary owners and their operations for months.

Risking arrest, jail time

"Technically, every dispensary in the state is in blatant violation of federal law," he said. "The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody. They're violating federal law; they're at risk of arrest and imprisonment."

Matt Brown, executive director of the pro-dispensary Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, said Sweetin's statements are troubling. Brown argued that the federal memo's hands-off order covers everyone in compliance with their state's medical-marijuana laws, a group Brown said includes dispensaries in Colorado. Brown said Friday's raid highlights the need for lawmakers to create clear rules for how dispensaries should operate.

"All we're trying to do is follow the rules," he said.

Bartkowicz had talked to 9News about his efforts to keep a low profile and said he didn't think his neighbors knew about what he was doing inside his house. But several neighbors said Friday that they had suspicions after seeing activity late at night at the house and other puzzling activities.

"I think it's awful," neighbor Linda Palmer said of the marijuana-growing operation. "There's an elementary school right there."

Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14393797#ixzz0fcFktcKe

So, does the Obama administration think they know better then people's doctors? Or do they just want cancer patients to live in pain?
:(, boyd, teen wolf

Presidents and Education!

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, once suggested that we "remember that our nation's first great leaders were also our first great scholars."

Case in point: Five of our first six U.S. presidents received a college degree, and the sixth, George Washington, received a surveyor's certificate from The College of William and Mary.

In honor of President's Day and the 43 men who have held the job, let's take a look at some certificate and degrees available today, and the presidents who earned them.


Lyndon B. Johnson earned his teaching certificate from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1930 (now Texas State University-San Marcos) and worked as a teacher before and after graduation.

Woodrow Wilson served as president of Princeton University and worked as a teacher prior to becoming President of the United States. John Adams taught before he went into politics, as did Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland (who landed an assistant teacher position through the help of his brother William).


Harry Truman attended Kansas City Law School (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City). Though he didn't complete his Juris Doctor (JD) degree, his two years of schooling would have been enough time to earn an associate's degree in paralegal studies or court reporting.

Barack Obama has been very vocal about the power of an associate's degree. "In an economy where jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience, " he says. "It's never been more essential to continue education and training after high school."


Most of our presidents - 34 to be exact - have earned a bachelor's degree.

Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover studied engineering in college and earned bachelor's of science degrees. They are the only two presidents to have found work as engineers.

Ronald Reagan studied sociology and economics at Eureka College in Illinois, becoming an actor and sportscaster before launching his career in politics.


When he was elected in 2000, George W. Bush became the first U.S. President to have earned his master's in business administration (MBA), though this fact isn't so surprising when you consider that the world's first MBA program wasn't established until 1908.

Today, online MBA programs are redefining the business school model, perhaps paving the way for the very first president with an online MBA degree.


More than half of our 44 presidents (23 total) have been lawyers,
including Obama, which is a trend that began with John Adams, our second president.

Obama earned his JD from Harvard, where he served as the first black president of the school's law review.

William Howard Taft is the only president who also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He received his bachelor of laws, a precursor to the JD, at the University of Cincinnati.

If our presidents have taught us anything, it's that many different degrees can lead to greatness.

So look into online degree and certificate programs today and who knows... We could be celebrating you on a future Presidents' Day.


Happy President's Day! :)

Malawi Villagers Forced To Move For A Madonna School

In a land dispute pitting Madonna against African villagers, Malawi's government has sided with the pop star who has pumped millions into this impoverished southern African country and adopted two of its children.

Villagers have been refusing to move from a plot of land near the capital, Lilongwe, where Madonna wants to build a $15 million school for girls. The government, however, says it had originally planned to develop the plot, and only allowed the villagers to live there until a project was identified.

Thursday, Lilongwe District Commissioner Charles Kalemba, accompanied by other government officials and representatives from Madonna's Raising Malawi charity, met with about 200 villagers and told them they would have to move. The villagers have been offered other government land.

"Government allowed you to occupy this land because there was no project yet. But now that Madonna wants to build you a school you have to give way," Kalemba told the villagers. "You are lucky that Madonna has compensated you for your houses, gardens and trees."

Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, who will be principal of Madonna's school, said the singer paid the villagers more than 16 million kwacha (about $115,000) to compensate them for their houses – mostly mud-and-thatch structures – and improvements such as gardens and trees.

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Magneto puppet
  • drbat

In Kenya, Wedding Derailed, Anti-Gay Mob Incited

This man was rescued by police after an angry mob attempted to attack him claiming he was gay.

Kenya has become the latest African nation to generate headlines with anti-gay actions. After last year’s proposal by a Ugandan lawmaker to put some gays to death, and the arrest of a same-sex couple in Malawi for allegedly celebrating their betrothal, Kenyan officials acted to prevent a planned celebration that reportedly would have marked the union of a gay couple.

The ceremony was to have been conducted at a private residence not far from Mombasa, a resort town, reported the BBC in a Feb. 11 article. However, local authorities stepped in following reports of the purported gay union. Said Chief Hussein Swaleh, "I was shocked." Added the chief, "I won’t allow it."

In a second incident, an anti-gay mob organized by politicians and religious leaders in the Kenyan district of Kilifi chased three men--a supposed gay couple and another individual--through the streets of the town of Mtwapa. Police had to intervene to save the men, reported Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation on Feb. 12.

The vigilante action, called Operation Gays Out, was spearheaded by Sheikh Hussein Ali and Bishop Laurence Chai, the article reported. "We thank God for saving this town from being turned to Sodom and Gomorra of this era as we may be on verge of being doomed had this criminals managed to conduct their evil exercise within our neighborhood," said Chai after the melee. Chai and Ali publicly called for the government to close any night spots catering to gays, and Ali swore further violence against gays, urging residents of Mtwapa to attack them.

The BBC article noted that in many African nations homosexuality is illegal; only South Africa has extended marriage equality to gay and lesbian families. The Malawi couple, who were arrested Dec. 27 and remain in jail, have been threatened with invasive medical examinations to determine whether they have engaged in certain sexual practices; meantime, Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati has refused, despite a request from his government, to withdraw a bill proposing death for gays who have multiple sexual experiences with same-sex partners, or have sex at all if they are HIV-positive.


Hikers' moms plead to Ahmadinejad in letter

In a heartfelt letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the mothers of three American hikers held in Iran said they have applied for visas to visit Iran and ask to meet with him in Tehran.

"We would be honored to tell you in person who our children are and why they do not deserve to continue to be held in detention without any contact with the outside world," said the letter released Monday from Cindy Hickey, Norah Shourd and Laura Fattal.

Their children, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, respectively, were detained in Iran on July 31 when they accidentally strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while on a hiking trip in Iraq, according to their families. They are being held on espionage charges.

"Shane, Sarah and Josh have now been detained for 200 days," the letter said. "During that time, they have not been allowed to make a single telephone call to us or write us one letter. For more than three months, we have had no independent information about our children's physical health or their state of mind."

The hikers' most recent consular visit from Swiss diplomats was October 29, according to the letter. The families said they have asked an Iranian attorney to represent the three, but the lawyer was refused access to them.

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Archer Is My Prison Bitch

LOL! Tories Out Of Touch With Reality And Also Mathematics.

Tories get their sums wrong in attack on teen pregnancy
An errant decimal point leads to Conservatives inflating pregnancy rates among the poor by a multiple of 10

The Tories were facing embarrassment last night over an errant decimal place, after a key statistic in a document issued to much fanfare turned out to be wrong by a multiple of 10.

The Conservatives launched the attack document, called Labour's Two Nations, to try to show the rise in inequalities under the current government. It claimed – three times – that women under 18 are "three times more likely to fall pregnant in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas. In the most deprived areas 54% are likely to fall pregnant before the age of 18, compared to just 19% in the least deprived areas."

Within hours, the Labour party had leapt on the accusation, showing that in the ten most deprived areas used by the Tories, the rate of conception is actually an average of 5.4%.

The figures said that 54.32 per 1000 women aged 15-17 years old fell pregnant, which becomes 5.4%, not the 54% the Tories had arrived at. To top it all, in the same 10 deprived areas Labour said that, since 1998, there had been a 10.5% decline in the under-18 conception rate reversing a previous upward trend.

The Schools secretary, Ed Balls, was not slow to arrive at a broader rebuttal. "They are so out of touch with family life in Britain," Balls said of the Tories, "that they believe over half of teenage girls in the poorest areas fall pregnant."

This particular butter-fingered operation of the calculator appears to be careless rather than malicious but comes just 10 days after the shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, was publically rebuked by the head of the UK Statistics Authority Sir Michael Scholar.

Then Grayling was reprimanded for using non-comparable crime statistics to suggest rises in violent crime which Scholar warned were likely to damage public trust in official statistics.


OMG. Seriously. I'm a Mathematician, so I know that mistakes happen. Decimal places in the wrong place, losing a minus sign etc. But how out of touch must you be to get a result that says over half of all teenagers in poor areas fall pregnant, and not double check your sums? I'm always calculating stuff, then going "WTF? That can't be right..." and redoing the calculation. Not only that, but none of the proofreaders noticed this?! 19% of teens in affluent areas getting pregnant? I'm not seeing that many prams gracing the streets of Surrey, I must tell you.

If the writers of this leaflet hadn't had their milk stolen by Thatcher, they might have had enough vitamins to pay attention when they were taught percentages... :P

Why Aren't Female Ski Jumpers Allowed in the Olympics?

There are two reasons why Alissa Johnson, a 22-year-old Park City, Utah, native, knows she should be in Vancouver today. First, to support her brother Anders, who is ski jumping for the US Olympic team. And second, to strap on her 8-foot-long skis and compete herself. She's one of the US's top five female ski jumpers. If there were a women's team, she'd be on it.

But there isn't. So, because ski jumping is the last remaining sport of the Olympics that bars women from competing, Johnson is going as a sister and a friend. And that's it.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says the women's exclusion isn't discrimination. President Jacques Rogge has insisted that the decision "was made strictly on a technical basis, and absolutely not on gender grounds." But female would-be Olympic competitors say they don't understand what that "technical basis" is. Their abilities? They point to American Lindsey Van, who holds the world record for the single longest jump by anyone, male or female. (Ironically, she broke the record flying from a jump built at Whistler for the Vancouver Olympics). Their numbers? When the IOC voted in 2006 not to add women's ski jumping, 83 competitors from 14 nations jumped at the top level, less universality than required to add a new event. But in the same year, women's skier cross claimed just 30 skiers from 11 nations. The committee added it. (There are also too few male ski jumpers to qualify, but as one of the original 16 Winter Olympic events, their event isn't subjected to the same rules.)

Meanwhile, as veteran jumper Jessica Jerome, 23, of Park City points out, without being in the Olympics, it's tough to develop to the level that the IOC seems to want of her sport. "People don't understand the seriousness of a World Cup title, or a World Championship medal; they just want to see people at the Olympics. So without the Olympics, you're not going to get the funding. You're not going to get the support," she says. "It's a catch-22."

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Sufjan Smile

Cuba's aid ignored by the media?

By Tom Fawthrop in Havana

Among the many donor nations helping Haiti, Cuba and its medical teams have played a major role in treating earthquake victims.

Public health experts say the Cubans were the first to set up medical facilities among the debris and to revamp hospitals immediately after the earthquake struck.

However, their pivotal work in the health sector has received scant media coverage.

"It is striking that there has been virtually no mention in the media of the fact that Cuba had several hundred health personnel on the ground before any other country," said David Sanders, a professor of public health from Western Cape University in South Africa.

The Cuban team coordinator in Haiti, Dr Carlos Alberto Garcia, says the Cuban doctors, nurses and other health personnel have been working non-stop, day and night, with operating rooms open 18 hours a day.

During a visit to La Paz hospital in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, Dr Mirta Roses, the director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) which is in charge of medical coordination between the Cuban doctors, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a host of health sector NGOs, described the aid provided by Cuban doctors as "excellent and marvellous".

La Paz is one of five hospitals in Haiti that is largely staffed by health professionals from Havana.
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Source : Al Jazeera English

I'm not surprised about the extent of Cuba's humanitarian aid or the Western media's eagerness to ignore the Cuban relief effort. After all, they're ~commies~. It's good to note too, as the article states, Cuba has been doing this for a long while, and not just for countries so close to them. They assisted in the 2005 Pakistani earthquake and the 2006 Indonesian earthquake, crisises in which the US largely failed to mobilize aid to the extent that we have with Haiti, in fact there wasn't even near a sliver of the awareness surrounding Haiti. Not to mention that Cuba, compared to the US, is a small island nation, and still languishes under the weight of our embargo.

From Abortion Rights to Reproductive Justice Conference 2010

This year, Feministing is partnering with Civil Liberties and Public Policy (CLPP), an organization housed at Hampshire College, on their 2010 Conference, From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom. This will be my fourth year attending the conference and it's one of my favorites.

We'll be featuring some content in advance of the conference, and then Jos and I will be there liveblogging as well as speaking on a few panels. Jos was actually a student organizer of the conference when she was at Hampshire!

One of the great things about the CLPP conference is that they really emphasize accessibility. The conference is free (although folks are asked to contribute if able), food is provided, and they even have travel and hotel stipends available by application. There is childcare provided, and it's also very youth focused, primarily attended by college students from around the country.

The folks who speak at the conference are some of the leaders on the forefront of the reproductive justice movement.

More about the conference:

On April 9-11, 2010, campus and community activists will gather at Hampshire College to unite for reproductive justice. We offer more than 40 workshops and trainings. Conference speakers address reproductive freedom as it relates to a broad range of social justice initiatives including economic justice, health care reform, racial equality, freedom from violence, immigrant rights, climate justice, and LGBTQ rights, just to name a few.

Over the weekend, you will deepen your understanding of issues you already know about, make new connections, and unite with others who are passionate about working for social justice.

You can check out the list of speakers here. So check it out and applications for travel/hotel assistance are due February 24th!

Source. Thought you guys might be interested, anyone gonna sign up to go?

BNP are thugs....and bears shit in the woods.

The day the BNP said it had changed its ways

Dominic Kennedy, Investigations Editor

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

One man grabbed my nose and tried to remove it from my face. I was seized and shoved out of the door towards a parked car. I threw my hands out to steady myself. A BNP thug snarled: “Don’t touch people’s cars mate.” Obviously, I offered no resistance.

I had gone to the Elm Park pub in Hornchurch to report on a press conference at which Nick Griffin, MEP for North West England and chairman of the British National Party, was to explain how his activists had just passed an historic membership reform.

Although I had been invited, one prominent BNP politician had taken exception to an article in Saturday’s edition of The Times. After he lost his temper with me I was quickly shoved and lifted out of the building, hit in the back and had my face squashed.

The BNP, the most successful hard-right party since Oswald Mosley’s 1930s neo-Nazi Blackshirts, had been forced by equality legislation to hold an extraordinary general meeting to let non-whites become members.


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comments at source may or may not be rage inducing: www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7027047.ece


Robin Hood: Proto-Socialist Or Pioneering Teabagger?!

(macro made by yours truly)

This lovely piece of analysis comes from the same people who claim that Torchwood was pro-American and The Dark Knight was pro-Bush:

The whole “Robin Hood theory” argument has been used by radical leftists (most commonly referred to as “college professors”) for decades across our great country. “Steal from the rich and give to the poor” is the rhetoric they’ll always undoubtedly regurgitate. There’s only one problem… It’s wrong. Dead wrong.

Every time I hear some dumb college know-it-all or stupid self-righteous celebrity use the story of Robin Hood as an argument for socialism, I want to punch them right in their perfectly zoom-whitened teeth. The truth, is that Robin Hood was the quintessential ANTI-Government revolutionary. He’d have more in common with our Founding Fathers or Ronald Reagan than the likes of Stalin, Marx, or Sean Penn.

See the one point that liberals miss when they read the story of Robin Hood was that the man never stole from “the rich.” Leftists like to vilify the wealthy, but the tale of Robin Hood vilifies a corrupt government. Robin Hood was stealing from an oppressive monarchy/administration and giving the wealth back to its rightful owners. He was essentially re-distributing wealth by removing it from the initial re-distributors. Confused? Let’s break down the story of Robin Hood for a second:

* Members of the monarchy are born into positions of power without having been elected.
* Peasants are born into a life of poverty; all of their acquisitions are taken from them by aforementioned monarchy.
* Robin Hood sees the injustice in hard-workers living in squalor while corrupt government officials “be livin’ likes pimps” (this is a quote from the original text, of course).
* Robin Hood says “enough” and takes on the government.
* Government loses control in an elaborate sword-fight (Errol Flynn wears tights).
* The people take back what they’d rightfully earned in the first place.

Hmmm… I’m still not seeing this as any sort of socialist crusade. Where in the story does Mr. Hood steal from small business owners or entrepreneurs? If there’s a sub-plot where Robin Hood professes the necessity of “equal outcomes,” I haven’t read it. Perhaps it’s my mere fourth-grade reading equivalency getting the best of me, but nowhere in the book do I see the Prince of Thieves even SUGGEST any sort of higher or additional taxes.

So again, I’d have to ask: Why do liberals so often use Robin Hood as a Marxist parable? Have they not read the story, or have they only watched the Disney version?

Come to think of it, I thought it was weird when Sean Penn started quoting “Robin Hood the Fox.”

2) Please feel free to argue which Robin Hood movie was the best ever. I'm stanning for Disney.
3) ETA: The post is now open!.

SOURCE inserts too many GOP talking points into pop culture.
panda bear

(no subject)

Clinton: 'Iran Is Moving Toward A Military Dictatorship'

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday Iran is sliding into a military dictatorship, a new assessment suggesting a rockier road ahead for U.S.-led efforts to stop Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

As the first high-level Obama administration official to make such an accusation, Clinton was reflecting an ever-dimming outlook for persuading Iran to negotiate limits on its nuclear program, which it has insisted is intended only for peaceful purposes. The U.S. and others – including the two Gulf countries Clinton visited Sunday and Monday – believe Iran is headed for a nuclear bomb capability.

Clinton also was revealing the logic of the administration's plan to target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with a new round of international sanctions intended to compel Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions before it increases the likelihood of a military clash.

Clinton flew to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where Saudi Arabia's foreign minister expressed doubts about the usefulness of imposing more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. In a joint appearance with Clinton, Prince Saud al-Faisal said that the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions demands a more immediate solution than sanctions. He described sanctions as a long-term solution, and he said the threat is more pressing. The Saudi foreign minister didn't identify a preferred short-term resolution.

Clinton was driven in King Abdullah's private bus about 65 miles northeast to Rawdat Khurayim, a secluded royal hunting retreat where the vacationing king hosted her for lunch – and where a large-screen TV was on. Afterward they met privately in his elaborately appointed tent, which includes five crystal chandeliers in the reception room. Clinton also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh and later was flying to Jeddah on the Red Sea coast.

Earlier in the day, in Doha, Qatar, Clinton spoke bluntly about Iranian behavior and what she called the Obama administration's view of Iran as increasingly dominated by the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Last week the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it was freezing the assets in U.S. jurisdictions of a Revolutionary Guard general and four subsidiaries of a previously penalized construction company he runs because of their alleged involvement in producing and spreading weapons of mass destruction.

The Revolutionary Guard has long been a pillar of Iran's regime as a force separate from the ordinary armed forces. The Guard now has a hand in every critical area, including missile development, oil resources, dam building, road construction, telecommunications and nuclear technology.

It also has absorbed the paramilitary Basij as a full-fledged part of its command structure – giving the militia greater funding and a stronger presence in Iran's internal politics.

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&#39; dreams they dreamed awake
  • schmiss

This is excellent news.... for you-know-who

Hayworth to McCain: If you bring up Abramoff, I will talk about Keating 5

J.D. Hayworth has a warning for John McCain: Bring up Jack Abramoff and I'll rehash the Keating Five scandal.

The former six-term congressman isn’t yet officially in the race but already the Arizona GOP Senate primary shows signs of turning into a bare-knuckle brawl.

"If John McCain really wants to make this a campaign about ties to lobbyists we will very forcefully respond to his outrageous conduct and Bahamian vacations with convicted banker Charlie Keating,” said Jason Rose, a spokesman for Hayworth.

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fuck the mcu

Stabbing sparks fresh anti-immigration calls in Italy

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ROME — The stabbing death of an Egyptian youth in Milan sparked fresh anti-immigration calls Sunday that were immediately slammed by the left-wing opposition ahead of regional elections in Italy.

Roberto Calderoli, a minister of the anti-immigration Northern League, said the incident "confirmed that we are paying for a mistaken ideology of the past... the policy of open doors for all."

Calderoli, calling for "zero tolerance" towards illegal immigrants, warned of a situation similar to unrest that has plagued French suburbs for years.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shot back to power for a third time in 2008 in coalition with the Northern League, campaigning heavily on an anti-immigration platform that frequently linked immigrants to crime.

The killing blamed on Peruvian and Ecuadorian youths, reportedly after an altercation on a bus, sparked a rampage by around 100 north Africans in a poor suburb of the northern city late Saturday.

The rioters damaged 17 cars including nine that were overturned, and they vandalised five shops, most of them owned by South Americans, the ANSA news agency reported.

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fuck the mcu

Bill Maher Celebrates Fashion Week, Muslim World With Disgusting "Dior" Show

Bill Maher's amusingly titled comedy show But I'm Not Wrong aired Saturday night on HBO. Unfortunately, Maher's encore performance - which featured a fashion show for "Muslim Dior" - was full of fail.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(watch video @ source)

Maher opens his bit by expressing shock over a newspaper article reporting that Saudi Arabia has had its first fashion show. He then bases the rest of his routine on lampooning the abaya, featuring white models in bare feet and shortened coverings who twirl around the stage as Maher lobs barbs at Islam in the style of a fashion announcer, conflating specific regions, Islam at large, and Saudi Arabia into one huge Orientalist mass of fail.

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Bill, I want to like you, but you make it so hard.
garf tired

A Letter from Behind Bars on President's Day

A Letter from Behind Bars on President's Day

As we celebrate President's Day, one prisoner asks President Obama to exercise his clemency power to commute the remaining 10 years of her 27-year sentence, which she received for a first time, non-violent drug offense. Hamedah Hasan, who is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a formal commutation petition today and included a letter addressed directly to President Obama. Below is a condensed version of her letter, adapted especially for Huffington Post. To read Hamedah's full letter and learn more about her story and the President's unique power to send her home, click here.

Dear Mr. President,

Today is President's Day. As the President of the United States, you have the unique and absolute power to commute the sentence of any federal prisoner. That means you could send me home today, and that is what I am asking you to do.

From everything I have observed, you are a compassionate and just man. I pray that if you learn of the story behind my sentence, you will be moved to exercise your clemency power to give me a second chance.

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garf tired

Moar Fat Airplane Wank

Director Kevin Smith 'too fat' to fly Southwest; 'Clerks' writer/director tweets rage at airline

He may like to make you laugh, but "Silent Bob" found nothing funny about being kicked off a plane for being fat.

Kevin Smith, director of the upcoming Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan laugher, "Cop Out," turned to Twitter to vent his frustrations Saturday after allegedly getting booted from a Southwest Airlines flight.

"I know I'm fat," the 39-year-old wrote via Twitter. "But was Captain Leysath [sic] really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?"

The writer and director of "Clerks" and "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" let loose in the tweet tirade after allegedly being told by a flight attendant he was a "safety risk" as he was about to fly from Oakland to Burbank.

"I'm way fat," Smith tweeted, "But I'm not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I'm seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who'd already I.d.ed me as 'Silent Bob'."

Southwest uses the armrests has a factor in determining whether a passenger must purchase an extra seat becauase of their size. According to their website, "It serves as the boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width," it states.

"Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seating should proactively book the number of seats needed prior to travel."

Smith wrote he was offered a $100 voucher by the airline, and noted he eventually flew on a Southwest flight despite the incident.

Southwest Airlines has not officially commented on Smith's claims. They did, however, tweet responses to the New Jersey-born director via their own Twitter account.

"I read every single tweet that comes into this account, and take every tweet seriously," a spokesperson for the airline wrote. "We'll handle @thatkevinsmith issue asap."

Another message was directed at Smith himself. "I'm so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right."

This isn't the first time Southwest Airlines has faced criticism for their treatment of overweight passengers.

Back in November, a 400-pound San Jose man missed a flight to his uncle's funeral because a Southwest ticket agent said he would need to buy an additional ticket. The flight was fully booked.

"I just wanted to be there for my family," Okamoni Fa told ABC-affiliate KGO-TV in San Francisco.

Smith has discussed his longtime battle with his weight many times in the past, once noting that he once broke a toilet.

"I cannot cognitively reframe it and be like, 'It wasn't me -- it was the toilet.' It was definitely me," he said in an interview for the Los Angeles Times in 2008. "And that's a wake-up call!"

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/02/14/2010-02-14_director_kevin_smith_too_fat_to_fly_southwest_clerks_writerdirector_tweets_rage_.html#ixzz0ff3XuvcX

garf tired


Evan Bayh For President? Senator May Be Eyeing White House Run

It took Evan Bayh, the son of a legendary Senator from Indiana, two terms of his own to learn that the conservative Democrat was living a lie as a legislator. "I'm an executive at heart," Bayh told a crowd gathered to hear the reasoning behind his abrupt resignation Monday.

It's not you, and it's not me, either, Bayh said. "I do not love Congress," he proclaimed, identifying the problem with his job. But it's not his friends in Congress, either, of which he has many on both sides of the aisle, he noted.

"My decision should not reflect adversely upon my colleagues who continue to serve in the Senate. While the institution is in need of significant reform, there are many wonderful people there," he said of the people he was leaving behind to do the actual job of reforming the institution. "The public would be surprised and pleased to know that those who serve them in the Senate, despite their policy and political differences, are unfailingly hard-working and devoted to the public good as they see it. I will miss them."

"There is too much partisanship and not enough progress," Bayh complained. It's much like a hip New York neighborhood -- it was way cooler a few years ago, before all the new people got here. (That analysis ignores the real history of the Senate, which prolonged slavery by half a century or more, blocked Civil Rights legislation for decades, held back the U.S. from supporting Britain under Nazi attack, broke the back of repeated efforts to make it easier for unions to freely organize, and now has the world's climate policy stuck in neutral.)

In other words, it's not the kind of place for an executive at heart. Bayh mentioned three perches that would be better suited to a doer of his temperament: running a business, a university or a charity.

But there's another executive job that Bayh, the former Indiana governor, has had his eye on for decades. Was his step down today a step toward the White House?

"When Bayh said, 'I'm an executive at heart,' might have been hinting at POTUS run in '16, not just an IN GOV bid in '12," tweeted University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, stirring the presidential rumor pot.
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Let's stir it even harder. Could Bayh, who backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, jump into a primary against Obama from a conservative direction? His resignation speech touched all the Clintonian bases, from welfare reform, to budget cutting to a strong national defense with a reference to 9/11 thrown in.

A primary would be the most difficult terrain for Bayh, who many in his own party consider barely a Democrat. The conventional wisdom would say no. Regardless of what chance he might have in a general election, the Democratic base sees Bayh as a symbol of what's wrong with the party in general: too cautious, too accommodationist, too friendly with K Street.

But a base driven crazy by Obama's refusal to push forward a progressive agenda could be driven right back into his arms confronted with a challenger like Bayh.

Attempts to reach a Bayh spokesman were unsuccessful. His voice mailbox was full.



Biden accuses predecessor Cheney of 'rewriting history/misrepresenting facts'.

Andrew Clark in NY | guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 Feb 2010

It was billed as the battle of the vice-presidents. Joe Biden accused his predecessor, Dick Cheney, of rewriting history, misrepresenting facts and making "factually, substantively wrong" assertions as the White House lost patience with the Bush administration's hawkish second-in-command.

In a stream of vitriolic assaults Cheney has become by far the most outspoken alumnus of the Bush era, repeatedly complaining that the US has gone soft on terror.

Appearing on rival Sunday morning television talkshows, Biden and Cheney traded unusually bitter personal barbs over the US government's handling of December's "underwear bomber" at Detroit airport, the planned closure of Guantánamo Bay prison and plans to try an alleged mastermind of the 11 September terror attacks at a criminal court in Manhattan Collapse )


Then Obama turns to Biden and goes: "Damn son, say word?"


Michael Moore for President

If Michael Moore Were to Run for President

Wednesday 10 February 2010

by: Robert Naiman, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

If Michael Moore were to run for president in 2012, it could be a game changer in American political life. For starters, it would likely shorten the war in Afghanistan by at least six months, and the American and Afghan lives that would be saved would alone justify the effort.

If Moore announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination now, and followed up that announcement with a vigorous campaign focused on the struggles of rank-and-file Democrats, it would remobilize rank-and-file Democratic activists. It's possible that he might even win; but win or lose, the campaign could arrest and reverse the current rightward, pro-corporate trajectory of our national politics, which is the predictable consequence of the failure of Team Obama to deliver on its promises from 2008, which in turn was the predictable consequence of the doomed effort to try to serve two masters: Wall Street and Main Street.

Like few people with his political views, Michael Moore needs no introduction to the Democratic primary electorate. To most rank-and-file Democrats, the name Michael Moore stands for a set of progressive populist ideas: health care for all, workers' rights, opposition to Wall Street's stranglehold on Washington, closing down the wars of empire and bringing our troops home.

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Of course, the progressive Jackson campaigns had a particular starting point: their base in the African-American community. But a Michael Moore campaign would also have a starting point: his status as an international, progressive, populist rock star. The moment that Michael Moore says, "I am a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2012," it's a live proposition. And Moore would have tools for getting out his message - videos and the Internet - that the Jackson campaign didn't have in 1988.

Like few American progressives of his prominence, Moore has the ability to connect with and mobilize working-class anger at Washington and Wall Street.

In the Jackson campaign, picket lines were campaign stops. That's the kind of campaigning that could be happening now. You get out the campaign message, but you also shine a spotlight on local struggles, nationalize them and magnify their power.

In Michael Moore's last movie, there was a long sequence about the struggle of the UE workers in Chicago. Those are the stories around the country that the Moore campaign for president would be telling to a national Democratic audience: Studs Terkel with a video camera and an RSS feed.

A Moore campaign for president announced today could be active in this Congressional election cycle: campaigning for progressive Democrats in the 2010 primaries, and thereby mobilizing the national progressive base in these contests, campaigning for progressive Democrats in the November election, building its national organization at the same time. A Moore campaign for president would compete for the endorsement of every organization of progressive Democrats, including Progressive Democrats of America, MoveOn and Democracy for America. A Moore campaign would compete for the support of labor unions, which would put the Employee Free Choice Act and fair trade right back at the top of the national agenda. And a Moore campaign would work to build the base of the endorsing organizations.

If Obama's advisers knew for certain that they would face an effective progressive challenge in the 2012 primaries and caucuses, it's likely that they would start making different political choices immediately, because everything they fail to accomplish by spring 2012 would be on the table in the primaries and caucuses: health care for all, putting America back to work, ending the war in Afghanistan. Most analysts seem to think that there was a strong correlation between Obama's announcement of July 2011 as the beginning of US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and the 2012 election cycle; but an effective primary challenge would bring that calculation forward by six months. It's likely that if Obama's advisers knew they faced a spring 2012 deadline for showing that the war was ending, they would stop undermining Afghan efforts to start peace talks. A Moore campaign could save thousands of American and Afghan lives. In contesting Democratic primaries and caucuses against Michael Moore, Obama's advisers wouldn't be able to prevail by deploying mere rhetoric, because now they're in power, and would have to answer for what they are actually doing.

In many ways, the stage is set perfectly. There will not be a crowded field; if career advancement is your goal, you generally don't run in a primary against a sitting president. When "the Democratic Party is in power" is the ideal time to mount a progressive Democratic challenge, because that's when the inability of Washington Democrats in thrall to Wall Street to deliver on progressive promises is thrown into sharp relief.

And for Michael Moore, I think it's a logical next step. He may be near the limit of what he can accomplish politically by only making movies. It's time to make a new documentary: the documentary of a campaign to rally rank-and-file Democrats to take back America from Wall Street, Wal-Mart and the military industry.


In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade

The proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars would chip away at Utah's $700-million shortfall. He's since offered a toned-down version: Just make senior year optional.

By DeeDee Correll
February 15, 2010

Reporting from Denver - At Utah's West Jordan High School, the halls have swirled lately with debate over the merits of 12th grade:

Is it a waste of time? Are students ready for the real world at 17?

For student body president J.D. Williams, 18, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. "I need this year," he said, adding that most of his classmates felt the same way.

The sudden buzz over the relative value of senior year stems from a recent proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars that Utah make a dent in its budget gap by eliminating the 12th grade.

The notion quickly gained some traction among supporters who agreed with the Republican's assessment that many seniors frittered away their final year of high school, but faced vehement opposition from other quarters, including in his hometown of West Jordan.

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I'd be worried that they'll start cutting the actual curriculum so they can throw people out as fast as they can. Besides the requirements there's a lot of advanced courses that may not be available till junior year or later.
movies | HBIC

White House Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement: vid clips.

The President and First Lady [hosted] the "In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" concert, featuring songs from the Civil Rights Movement with participants including Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, and more.

Yolanda Adams: 1 of 11
Gospel Music star Yolanda Adams performs the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come". (Link)

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