February 22nd, 2010

Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Santorum Suggests Military Was 'Indoctrinated' Into Supporting DADT Repeal

Former Republican senator Rick Santorum accused military leaders on Saturday of having become so "indoctrinated" with political correctness that they can no longer "see straight."

The Pennsylvania arch-conservative was specifically referring to the brass's support of a repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. A long-time opponent of gay rights, Santorum expressed concern that changing the law would sap the readiness and effectiveness of the armed forces.

"My thoughts are this," he said, in a morning speech before Conservative Political Action Conference. "The military is there for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to protect and defend the United States of America.

"We have a volunteer army," he added. "They can un-volunteer too."

Addressing how the military leadership, led by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, could now favor a repeal of the law, Santorum raised the specter of brainwashing.

"Political correctness is reigning in the military right now," he said. "Some people say: [Do] whatever the generals say [on DADT]. I'm not too sure that we haven't so indoctrinated the officer corps in this country that they can actually see straight to make the right decision."

The line went over well with the CPAC crowd. And while it wasn't quite as strange as, say, then-Republican presidential candidate George Romney declaring in 1967 that the military brass had "brainwashed" him into supporting the Vietnam War, it also wasn't the most outrageous remark Santorum has made on the issue of gay rights. That honor goes to the infamous "man on dog" analogy he drew with respect to gay marriage. "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality," Santorum said back in 2003. "That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."

kentucky route zero

Shockingly, it is discovered that Reagan wasn't God after all. News at 11.

Tear Down This Myth: Six Questions for Will Bunch

By Scott Horton

Will Bunch is an award-winning senior writer for the
Philadelphia Daily News and a senior fellow with Media Matters for America. His latest book, Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy, just out in paperback, examines the process by which Ronald Reagan was subjected to a makeover after his death. I put six questions to Will Bunch about the book.


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asoneill - Yahoo Me

Va. Episcopalians backpedal on gay unions

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has backed away from recognizing same-sex unions, instead voting over the weekend to form a panel of laity and clergy that will set standards for church-sanctioned blessings of such unions should they be approved by the entire 2-million-member Episcopal Church.

About 346 delegates to the diocese's annual council meeting at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria narrowly voted — by a show of hands — to form the panel, which will also include lawyers who specialize in church law.

A substitute amendment suggesting the diocese allow openly gay clergy and same-sex blessings failed after a lengthy debate.

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My state is seriously making me *headdesk* lately. UGH.

Powell to Cheney: STFD and STFU

Colin Powell Rejects Dick Cheney's Claims, Says U.S. Is Not Less Safe Under Obama (VIDEO)

Dick Cheney's charges that the country is less safe because of the way Barack Obama has handled national security matters don't hold water, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday. "To suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don't think that's borne out by the facts," Powell said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Powell pointed out that Obama has kept in place most of the programs enacted by the Bush administration. "The Transportation Security Administration created by George Bush is still in action working in our airports," Powell told host Bob Schieffer. "They take care of me every day that I go to an airport."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence was also created under President Bush, "and it is still under President Obama, working hard," Powell continued. "Our counterterrorism authorities and forces are hard at work. Our law enforcement officials are hard at work. We have gone after the enemy in Afghanistan with 50,000 more troops, more predators are striking al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in Pakistan. We have continued the policies that President Bush put in place with respect to Iraq. And so I don't know where the claim comes that we are less safe."

WATCH (Discussion of national security begins around the 10:00 minute mark):


Watch CBS News Videos Online


Watching him speak again, I am vividly reminded that, Republican though he is, I LOVE THIS MAN.  He is the best possible example of sanity that the Republican party has left to it, and they are idiots for not realizing this fact.  Then again, I'm torn, since as long as the wingnut assclowns keep spewing their insanity everywhere, making themselves the de facto face of the GOP, there's no way they are winning control back of Congress or the White House.
keep right
  • gmth

Who Broke America's Job Machine?

Why creeping consolidation is crushing American livelihoods.
By Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman

If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.

Many people blame the great real estate bubble of recent years. The idea here is that once a bubble pops it can destroy more real-world business activity—and jobs—than it creates as it expands. There is some truth to this. But it doesn’t explain why, even when the real estate bubble was at its most inflated, so few jobs were created compared to the tech-stock bubble of the late ’90s. Between 2000 and 2007 American businesses created only seven million jobs, before the great recession destroyed more than that. In the ’90s prior to the dot-com bust, they created more than twenty-two million jobs.

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Long article is long, but very interesting. Perhaps another reason to "thank" St. Ronald Reagan?

Stack's Daughter: My Dad Was A Hero For Standing Up To The Man

Stack's Daughter: My Dad Was A Hero For Standing Up To The Man

The daughter of the man who allegedly flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin, killing one person and injuring a dozen others, says her father is a hero because he stood up to the system.

"I think too many people lay around and wait for things to happen. But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished," Samantha Bell told Good Morning America.

Bell also called her father Joe Stack's alleged attack in Austin Friday "inappropriate," saying that "freedom of speech" would have been a more effective. Bell, 38, lives in Norway.

She believes the reason Stack allegedly set his house on fire the morning of the attack is that "We pay taxes on our home as well. My belief is that the house was part of the government. And I think he wanted to get rid of what was left."

"He stood up to the system," she added.

In the days following the Friday attack, several Facebook groups popped up in support of Stack.

Video at source


"Inappropriate" is an inappropriate description of what this asshole did. And she moved to Norway to get socialized medicine but her dad is a hero for not wanting to pay taxes?

ETA: article about the real hero, Vernon Hunter, the man her father killed. Thanks, elektra_lyte.

ETA 2: I found a source with info about Stack's dispute with the IRS. He tried to use an idiot tax dodge and got caught, then blamed the government for the consequences of his cheating. It then appears he failed to pay the proper employment taxes. In the Web site note, Stack said he lost “$40,000 and 10 years of my life” participating in what tax experts describe as an attempt to avoid taxes by claiming his home was a church. He said he later clashed with the IRS over a law targeting computer consultants suspected of abusing employment tax rules.

Obama's Health Care Proposal Lays Blueprint For Democratic Action

The Obama administration officially released its own proposal for comprehensive health care reform on Monday, in what constitutes a last-ditch effort to unite the Democratic Party around the legislation's passage.

Coming days before the much anticipated bipartisan health care reform summit this Thursday, the 11-page White House proposal is being pitched as a foundation for lawmakers to consider. Presidential aides stressed repeatedly on a call with reporters Monday that Republicans will have opportunities to amend the legislation.

"This is the opening bid for the health meeting," said communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "We took our best shot at bridging the differences. We think this makes some strong steps towards improving the final product. It is our hopes the Republicans will come together around their plan and post that online prior to the meeting."

But it clearly remains a Democratic effort. Working off the Senate's bill but melding in key provisions from the House's versions of reform, White House officials said that their proposal adds another $75 billion in costs to the legislation, bringing the total up to $950 billion over the next decade. All of which will be deficit neutral.

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Finally, despite a late-stage push for the White House to include a public option for insurance coverage in the final bill, the president's proposal does not have an additional element of government-run insurance.

"There is not a public option in here," said Pfeiffer, before insisting that the president does support the provision.

While I'm glad the White House is finally taking some honest-to-God initiative and most of it seems pretty decent, the omission of a Public Option is most certainly NOT ACCEPTABLE.

I will be watching the summit this week, btw, with avid interest and a big-ass container of popcorn.

ETA:  Here's the whole plan. (Thx to thebigbadbutch )

ETA2:  I hadn't had a chance to read the whole plan yet, but as cookie_nut  appropriately pointed out, there is a mention of the Public Option down under the section dealing with how the President's plan will help those who don't have health insurance:

"Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice.   The President believes this option will promote competition, hold insurance companies accountable and assure affordable choices. It is completely voluntary.  The President believes the public option must operate like any private insurance company – it must be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. "

Okay, so maybe Dan Pfeiffer didn't read the thing before talking about it?  The hell?


Cops in Arizona are crediting a family dog with saving the life of a lost little girl.

Three-year-old Victoria Bensch wandered away from her family home in Cordes Lakes, Ariz. on Thursday and got lost in the mountains surrounding the valley.

Search parties spent the night looking for the girl as temperatures dipped below 30 degrees.

She was finally spotted 15 hours after she vanished by a helicopter pilot on Friday.

Next to her was Blue, the family's Queensland heeler.

"The dog kept her alert, warm and gave her companionship throughout a very cold night," Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, told The Arizona Republic.

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Starving Republican Denied Invitation to Party to Get Free Food. Someone Think of Her Constituents!

Stimulus Hypocrite Rep. McMorris Rodgers Not Invited To Ceremony In Her District Heralding Stimulus Project

The official website of the House Republican Caucus — GOP.gov — features a slew of anti-stimulus criticisms.
But as ThinkProgress noted last week, buried amidst these rants is a press release from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) taking credit for $35 million in stimulus money. The release is still currently featured on GOP.gov:
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New Free Market Science: Anthem Blue Cross Declares The Liver An Useless Organ! Free At Last!

You Too Can Be Liberated From The Clutches of Your Clinging Organs

Ephram Nehme Sues Anthem Blue Cross For Automatically Denying 'Medically Necessary Liver Transplant'

Ephram Nehme wanted to visit a doctor. Turns out he also needed to hire a lawyer.

His trial begins today in a Los Angeles courtroom, where Nehme is alleging that the nation's largest health insurer, WellPoint Inc., and its California subsidiary, Anthem Blue Cross, automatically denied coverage for a liver transplant that his doctor said was medically necessary.

According to a statement issued on Nehme's behalf, Anthem never spoke to any of the doctors nor reviewed all of the medical files related to the case. It also states that a Blue Cross transplant nurse recommended the procedure before the claim was denied. As a result of the insurer's decision, Nehme paid over $205,000 out-of-pocket. "The transplant was necessary to save his life," says the release from Consumer Watchdog.

The case hinges not only on when Nehme needed the surgery, but where he got it. According to a report the Los Angeles Times ran in October, "Nehme's doctor told him he could die waiting for an organ in California and urged him to go to Indiana, where the waiting list was shorter. But Anthem Blue Cross said no. It would not pay for a transplant in Indiana."

In the court of public opinion, the timing of the lawsuit couldn't be much worse for the defendant. As the state's largest for-profit insurer, WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross unit came under fire earlier this month for proposing premium increases of up to 39 percent. The announcement drew public ire in California, as well as attention in Washington. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanded "a detailed justification," and President Barack Obama mentioned the large increase while stumping for health care reform.

Anthem quickly decided to push back the rate hike from March 1 to May 1. The company was back in the headlines just days later, when three of WellPoint's directors cashed in stock options worth a combined $625,517.

Even if they aren't winning any popularity contests, Anthem hopes to win the Nehme case on legal grounds. The company told the LA Times that they did nothing wrong:
"Mr. Nehme was placed on a waiting list by his treating physicians for organ donation at UCLA but sought approval for transplant services at a different facility that was not within our transplant network," WellPoint Inc., Anthem's Indianapolis-based parent company, said in a statement.

"Upon additional third party review," the company said, "it was determined that Mr. Nehme's condition did not present medical urgency to require an emergency [out-of-network] transplant."

Mad about Maddow: The MSNBC host seeks influence, but she wants it on her own terms

Few of a particular political persuasion are as entertaining or insightful as Rachel Maddow, who is willing to describe herself as a liberal on the left. Clearly, Maddow is terribly allergic to conservatives.

She is disturbed by what conservatives think, how they assess what is happening to us all out here, and what the wildest or most cynical of them present as facts, which they often see as nothing more than opposing opinions, even if they come from the scientific world.

Her allergy rises to bumps that do not ache or itch as much as they inspire Maddow to what is easily some of the finest commentary available on cable television. She is largely eloquent and in command of the English language on a level one is not accustomed to in television commentary.

Her statements almost always come from the same place - somewhere between the respectable left and those who intellectually live on the left side of the moon, but the depth of her wit is what makes Maddow special. It can slide from the intelligent dig to the devastating sendup.

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He does a great job of articulating why I adore Rachel.  She manages to actually be entertaining, but also provide meaningful discourse without distorting the facts for her own purposes.

Climate scientists 'under cyber attack'

An organised cyber-bullying campaign, including abusive emails, is targeting Australian climate scientists who speak out on climate change, according to author Clive Hamilton.

The 2009 Greens candidate says the attacks are arranged by "denialist organisations" and are aimed at driving climate scientists from the public debate.

Professor Hamilton says aggressive, abusive and sometimes threatening emails are being sent to distinguished scientists each time they speak out on the subject.

"Apart from the volume and viciousness of the emails, the campaign has two features - it is mostly anonymous and it appears to be orchestrated," he wrote in ABC's The Drum.

Professor Hamilton quotes an email received by University of Melbourne Professor David Karoly which compares the scientist's actions to those of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

"It is called treason and genocide," the email says.

"Oh, as a scientist, you have destroyed people's trust in my profession. You are a criminal. Lest we forget."

But some attacks are more personal.

Professor Hamilton says a young woman opened her email to receive threats against her children.

"Did you want to offer your children to be brutally gang-raped and then horribly tortured before being reminded of their parents' socialist beliefs and actions?" the email reportedly says.

"Burn in hell. Or in the main street, when the Australian public finally lynches you."

Journalists have also reportedly become targets of the cyber-bullying campaign.

"I have spoken to several, off the record, who have told of torrents of abusive emails when they report on climate change, including some sufficiently threatening for them to consult their supervisors and consider police action," he says.

"One or two of the cyber-bullies have hinted at the level of organisation, with one following an abusive rant with the comment, 'Copies of my e-mails to you are also being passed out to a huge network for future reference'."

Professor Hamilton's article is the first in a five-part series. Tomorrow he will explore who is behind the cyber-bullying campaign.


I hate people so much sometimes. /rage

There's a Lama, Little Lama, Fuzzy Lama, Lama Lama Duck...

On CNN on Monday, the Dalai Lama goes one-on-one with Larry King in his first interview after his controversial meeting with President Obama. Hear his thoughts about China, human rights and the situation in Haiti. Monday night, 9 EST on "Larry King Live."

He's been decorated with awards and called one of the world's most influential people. He's addressed packed auditoriums and waved to crowds who line streets just to catch a passing glimpse of him. He's shaken the hands of countless global dignitaries and earned a fan base following on Facebook that might rival that of Hollywood stars.

He is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the 74-year-old spiritual leader of Tibet and the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India. And though he describes himself, according to his Web site, as "a simple Buddhist monk," the love so many Americans and others have for him has, no doubt, bestowed on him iconic status -- whether he sees it that way or not.

"I'd love to be in his presence. I'd love to be in an audience where he speaks," said Jerilee Auclair, 55, of Vancouver, Washington, who has yet to have that pleasure. "I yearn for it. I watch his schedule to see if/when he'll be in my area. ... I love what he stands for. His inner peace inspires me to find mine, daily."

She's far from alone in her admiration.

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kiddies, insanity, bloody, mayhem, murder

1965 : Malcolm X assassinated

((A day late, I know. I'm sorry.))

February 21:
1965 : Malcolm X assassinated

In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm's father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities.

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Pride & Prejudice

Drilling for oil set to start off the Falkland Islands

A British rig is due to begin drilling for oil in the territorial waters of the Falkland Islands, despite strong opposition from Argentina.

The platform has been towed to a point 100km (62 miles) north of the islands in the South Atlantic.

Argentina says the move violates its sovereignty and has imposed shipping restrictions around the islands.

It is estimated the Falklands have the equivalent of 60 billion barrels of oil in total.

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[Insert popcorn gif here]
Pride & Prejudice

Gordon Brown staff 'contacted bullying helpline'

Several people in Gordon Brown's office have contacted an anti-bullying charity, its boss has told the BBC.

Christine Pratt said "three or four" calls had been made to the National Bullying Helpline in recent years.

Earlier Lord Mandelson denied claims Mr Brown had been warned about his temper, saying he "doesn't bully people".

Downing Street said it had not been contacted by the helpline, and had "rigorous", well established procedures in place for staff to address concerns.

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I'm not concerned by the fact that there is bullying going on so much as it seems to be mainly targeted at lower-ranked employees- secretaries and the like. Heck, I wouldn't mind if the chief politicians were at each others' necks, but that just smacks of arrogance.

'Anal Assault' Officers Acquitted: Officers Richard Kern, Andrew Morales, Alex Cruz Found Not Guilty

COLLEEN LONG | 02/22/10 11:46 AM | AP Source

NEW YORK — A New York City police officer accused of a sodomy attack on a drug suspect in a subway station was acquitted Monday along with two other officers who had been accused of covering it up.

Officer Richard Kern had faced as many as 25 years in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual abuse. Officers Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz could have faced up to four years in prison on charges of hindering prosecution.

"I feel great. I'm glad the system works," Kern said outside court. "It's been a long road and it's finally over, thank God."

"It was very hard sitting there listening to all the lies," Morales said. Cruz did not speak to reporters.

Michael Mineo claimed Kern violated him with a police baton after he ran from officers inside the Brooklyn subway station Oct. 15, 2008. Mineo filed a $440 million lawsuit against the city.

"I kind of had a feeling it was going to turn out this way," Mineo said. "If you want to commit a murder, join the NYPD."

The jurors said in a handwritten statement delivered to reporters by a court officers that they found reasonable doubt.
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AZ panel OKs lowering minimum wage for the under 22 set

Panel OKs lower pay for young workers

PHOENIX -- Saying younger workers need jobs, a House panel voted Wednesday to allow Arizona companies to pay them less. 
A lot less.
Legislation approved by the House Commerce Committee would set the minimum wage for anyone younger than 22 at 75 percent of what adults are required to be paid. With the state minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, that translates out to $5.44.

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I hate Arizona. I'm moving after I graduate, but these are my friends who will end up being screwed over (and me as well...I'm starting to think I should work as a babysitter instead of picking up a regular part time job. And I'm selling all my stuff/books for college money.) Anyways, posted because I can't possibly let the "Dog saves the day" story hog up all the Arizona news.

ETA: Guys this is coming at the EXACT same time they're rising (or going to rise) State College Tuition costs.

Proposed annual undergraduate tuition and fees for Arizona residents:

• UA: $8,972, a 31 percent increase

• ASU: $6,940, a 13 percent increase*

• NAU: $6,517, a 6 percent increase**

Proposed annual undergraduate tuition and fees for out-of-state residents:

• UA: $24,931, a 12 percent increase

• ASU: $20,590, a 5 percent increase

• NAU: $17,228, a 4 percent increase**


Other Source.

For the Sake of the Children by Cristian Asher

“It’s for the sake of the children!”

Eventually, in every LGBT rights battle, we seem to hear that plaintive cry. Whether it’s gays marrying, gays adopting, gays teaching, or gays pursuing almost any other normal lifestyle, the well-being of America’s young people seems somehow to be threatened (Google the phrase and you’ll find any number of examples.)

The assumption here is that the healthiest, happiest situation for any child is one which hews as close as possible to the conservative vision of a nuclear family — one father, one mother, and one or more siblings all living together in a suburban house on a cul-de-sac.

All right, that last part isn’t fair. Even the most conservative of our opponents never mention cul-de-sacs. But the nuclear family idea itself is flawed — first, it’s simply never been the norm, no matter what James Dobson claims and countless TV series tell us. Second, it’s only one of any number of ways of raising children successfully, and all of those can have value if some fundamental requirements are met.


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When Glenn Beck Fans Issue Death Threats to Gay People

Uganda isn't the only place where whipping up fear and prejudice is creating a toxic situation. Sure, the scenario is completely different, but as Rachel Maddow described on her show the other night, Glenn Beck fans are sending her hate mail. And not just any type of hate mail. It's hate mail rooted in death threats and threats of violence. Is Beck to blame for the flurry of fear and hate his fans now feel?

The issue played out in a bit of cable television drama. Beck said that the snowpocalypse in the mid-Atlantic disproved global warming, Rachel Maddow called him on that, Beck said that Maddow was a liar, Maddow called him on that, and then Beck said Maddow was a liar and a propagandist. Yes, Beck said someone else was a liar and propagandist. Somewhere a pot just called a kettle black.

Maddow didn't take Beck's criticism lightly, nor should she, since pointing out a talking head's hypocrisy is what good journalists should do. But not only did she issue a stern warning to Beck -- ending her segment with two brutal words, "Back off" -- she drew the connections between the hate mail she receives from people who want her dead, and the hatred and fear that Beck regularly mixes in his audience.


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A: I love Rachel, and am scared for her.
B: Beck needs to be taken off the air ASAP!
Jon and Gitmo

Ski Jumping’s Weight “Problem”

The common sense assumption about success in sport often involves the belief that success is a result of innate talent and intensive practice. The more of both you have, the better you are. However, who is good at a particular sport is also the result of how that sport is organized. Sports have rules and those rules are made by the people who have the power to enforce their own ideas about what the rules should be over and against less powerful people with other ideas.

Long distance ski jumpers benefit from maximizing their surface area while simultaneously decreasing their weight. The less they weigh and the more drag they can produce, the farther they go.


Their bodies are the primary source of weight and, as a result, there is incredible pressure for competing ski jumpers to be as thin as possible. After criticism that the sport was creating an incentive for disordered eating (source), the International Ski Federation began penalizing jumpers who had a body mass index below 20. These skiers were required to jump with shorter skis, the primary source of drag. The hope was that the shorter skis would balance out the incentive for thinness, allowing jumpers to be competitive without starving themselves (source).

So, who wins at this year’s Olympics won’t only be related to talent and practice. It will also be a consequence of rules that no longer make the ability to train while starving oneself an advantage. I’m not saying that this is good or bad, only that this is a great example of the way that we write rules that shape the context for success in a sport.


In light of this, it’s really interesting to consider the fact that there is still not a woman’s ski jumping competition at the Olympics. In fact, ski jumping is the only sport at the Olympics that does not allow women to compete (source). The International Olympics Committee and the International Ski Federation list a myriad of reasons for this, ranging from claims that the sport is not yet developed enough, to the idea that adding women would crowd an already overwhelmed Olympic schedule, to the assertion that the sport is not “…appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view.”

The rationales seem transparently thin, leading to the suggestion that the real reason that women aren’t allowed to compete is because they might kick ass. If being lighter is an advantage, then women might beat men at the sport. In fact, the world record holder on the ski jump track at this year’s Olympics is held by a woman: Lindsey Van.

Sociologists recognize sport as a terrain on which social claims about gender are demonstrated. Not letting women play is one way that the mythology of men’s physical dominance has been maintained. Football is an excellent example. Women aren’t allowed to play football, it is asserted, because they are not big enough and would get hurt. Of course, rules that make size so critical to success in football also exclude the majority of men (who aren’t big enough to play either). If we organized football by weight classes, instead of gender, women could play football, and so could all of the men who are excluded as well. But, if we organized football by weight classes, we couldn’t claim that women were too small, weak, and fragile to play it.

I suspect something very much like this is going on with ski jumping.

In any case, the two controversies over ski jumping this season are great examples of the ways that sports are socially organized.

Lucy  - Durnk n Pitsy

Toddler Abandoned At Newark Gas Station


Police in Delaware are trying to identify a toddler who was found in a locked restroom at a gas station in Newark.

The child, a girl about 2, has not been able to help police and kept asking for her mother, police said.

She was found about 2:45 p.m. yesterday by a patron who heard the child crying in the restroom of the shell station on College Avenue, officials say.

Police are trying to find the child's mother and ascertain the circumstances that resulted in the girl's abandonment at the gas station.

The girl has been placed in a foster home by Delaware child welfare officials and a doctor has determined she is in good health, police said today.

The child was wearing a puffy tan winter coat over a purple shirt with a small flower print on it when she was found.

She also was wearing a diaper and blue jeans with a pink-and-white design stitched onto the left leg. Her ears are pierced, but she was not wearing earrings.

Police said this morning that a video camera at the gas station was not working.

Anyone with information is asked to Newark police at 302-366-7111.


Sufjan Smile

Texas Suicide Flyer Had Real Populist Grievances

CAUTION: Potentially inflammatory headline. Please, please, please, read before you wank. There are some good points made.

Joseph Stack's suicide screed chafes and exposes a raw wound this country does not know what to do with.

Liberals are dismissing Joseph Stack's rant as a brutal anti-government battle cry -- "Tea Party on steroids." Conservatives are dismissing it as the petulant whine of a "victim" who couldn't hack capitalism.

The tortured manifesto cannot be credibly labeled as left- or right-wing. Rather, it's a non-partisan screed against problems roiling the Republic -- and Stack's head -- for years. A crippled economy dominated by political and corporate potentates. A campaign and election system rotted by special interests and money. Byzantine tax laws that baffle small business owners and individuals.

History haunts Stack's crime and screed. His crime consciously mimics 9/11. And his suicide note recalls the Great Depression.
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Source: AlterNet

I've bolded the important parts, and left the most of the text behind an LJ-cut because I did not want to emphasize one section -- all of it's pretty cognizant.

The tl;dr here -- Stack's crime is inexcusable nobody is denying that, but parts of it rose from an undercurrent of genuine populist anger, the sort of disastisfaction with the government (by large, note that most of Stack's screed is railing against actions during the Reagan administration as much as Clinton or Obama, and criticizes both parties) being tied with corporate interests, the irrevocable brokeness of the system. It echoes of Timothy McVeigh. The problem with that anger is that it is misdirected, either by misconceptions of who the oppressor actually is, or through purposeful misdirection and confusion by elected officials seeking to repurpose anger into political capitol through ignorance and other hateful undercurrents. It speaks largely of a number of things broken in our nation, discourses and concepts that are more primal and abstract than just political affiliation.

(no subject)

Justice OPR Report Damages Cheney's Claims On Torture, Reports Newsweek's Isikoff

For some time, former Vice President Dick Cheney has insisted that the declassification of various CIA memos will prove once and for all that the Bush administration's torture regime was successful at keeping America safe. But as Michael Isikoff reported over the weekend, the recently-released report from the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility contains disclosures that "could prove awkward for Cheney and his supporters."

The report provides new information about the contents of one of the never released agency memos, concluding that it significantly misstated the timing of the capture of one Al Qaeda suspect in order to make a claim that seems to have been patently false.

In essence, the CIA insisted that the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah "provided significant information on two operatives, Jose Padilla and Binyam Mohammed, who planned to build and detonate a 'dirty bomb' in the Washington DC area." As anyone who's followed the case knows, charges against Mohamed were dropped, he was released from detention and returned to the United Kingdom, where the Court of Appeal found that he had been treated to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities."

As for Padilla, the problem for Cheney and supporters is one of timing:

But as the Justice report points out, this was wrong. "In fact, Padilla was arrested in May 2002, not 2003 ... The information '[leading] to the arrest of Padilla' could not have been obtained through the authorized use of EITs."

Over at the Plum Line, Greg Sargent says, "This also appears to vindicate claims by former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan, who said he obtained all the crucial info from Zubaydah through non-enhanced methods." It also appears to be bad news for Marc Thiessen, as well.

But there are complications: what if the information was obtained through the unauthorized use of torture? Let's recall that in my conversation with Abu Zubaydah attorney Brent Mickum, he contended that his client was subjected to torture in the period between his original capture and the CIA receiving guidance from Jay Bybee.

UPDATE: As a reminder, the International Committee of the Red Cross reports that a wide variety of torture techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah, and others. In that report, Zubaydah told interviewers that he was subjected to waterboarding, and that it caused "considerable pain" because he had "undergone surgery three months earlier." It's frustratingly inspecific, but Abu Zubaydah is known to have been operated on soon after his capture on March 28, 2002, and Bybee didn't advise C.I.A. interrogators until July 24th of the same year.

Justice Report: CIA Memo Used by Cheney to Justify Waterboarding Was Inaccurate [Newsweek]


ONTD_P - Losers~


This is a follow up to this post, because we don't get enough happy news.

Rescued Romanian lions fly to new Yorkshire home

A pride of 13 lions which were being kept in cramped conditions in a dilapidated Romanian zoo have flown to a new home in South Yorkshire. The lions, whose ages range from 15 months to 27 years old, had been living in concrete enclosures at Oradea Zoo. An appeal by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster to raise £150,000 to rescue the lions began last summer.

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I first learned about this here, and I've been following this and checking up on the status at least once a week since then. ngl, I cried when I found out they were being bought to Yorkshire, and I'm going to try to go see them in June. If you'd like to give a bit to help finish raising the money they need to take care of them, you can do so here.

Fluffy happy BBC video at the source.
Jon and Gitmo

The Case For An Older Woman

The above comment is typical. As it is, men between 22 and 30—nearly two-thirds of the male dating pool—focus almost exclusively on women younger than themselves. I'll be investigating this phenomenon today, with gusto and charts. Ultimately, I'll argue that they would be well-served to expand their search upwards, to women in their thirties and forties.

Because it has been a successful way to introduce previous posts, I wanted to put real faces on this demographic before I delve into a bunch of numbers. Pictured below are some single users in their mid-thirties or early forties, taken from the first couple pages of my own local match search. Nothing I'll talk about today pertains necessarily to any one of them, but I wanted to put forward some people to go with the statistical discussion.

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Uncle V wants you

Newsweek: The Tea Party movement is full of conspiracies

I checked under the tag "tea bagging" yet didn't find this. It may be a bit old, but it's not dated.

Newsweek: Black Helicopters Over Nashville
Never mind Sarah Palin and the tricornered hats. The tea-party movement is dominated by conspiracist kooks.
By Jonathan Kay | Newsweek Web Exclusive

The tea-party movement has no leader. But it does have a face: William Temple of Brunswick, Ga. For months, the amiable middle-aged activist has been criss-crossing America, appearing at tea-party events dressed in his trademark three-cornered hat and Revolutionary garb. When journalists interview him (which is often—his outfit draws them in like a magnet), he presents himself as a human bridge between the founders' era and our own. "We fought the British over a 3 percent tea tax. We might as well bring the British back," he told NPR during a recent protest outside the Capitol.

It's a charming act, which makes the tea-party movement seem no more unnerving than the people who spend their weekends reenacting the Civil War. But the 18th-century getups mask something disturbing. After I spent the weekend at the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., it has become clear to me that the movement is dominated by people whose vision of the government is conspiratorial and dangerously detached from reality. It's more John Birch than John Adams.

Like all populists, tea partiers are suspicious of power and influence, and anyone who wields them. Their villain list includes the big banks; bailed-out corporations; James Cameron, whose Avatar is seen as a veiled denunciation of the U.S. military; Republican Party institutional figures they feel ignored by, such as chairman Michael Steele; colleges and universities (the more prestigious, the more evil); TheWashington Post; Anderson Cooper; and even FOX News pundits, such as Bill O'Reilly, who have heaped scorn on the tea-party movement's more militant oddballs.

One of the most bizarre moments of the recent tea-party convention came when blogger Andrew Breitbart delivered a particularly vicious fulmination against the mainstream media, prompting everyone to get up, turn toward the media section at the back of the conference room, and scream, "USA! USA! USA!" But the tea partiers' well-documented obsession with President Obama has hardly been diffused by their knack for finding new enemies.

Many more examples at the link to the source, which is embedded in the title. The piece concludes with the following.

Many of the tea-party organizers I spoke with at this conference described the event as a critical step in their ascendancy to the status of mainstream political movement. Yet with rare exceptions, such as blogger Breitbart, who was reportedly overheard protesting Farah's birther propaganda, none of them seems to realize how off-putting the toxic fantasies being spewed from the podium were.

Perhaps the most distressing part of all is that few media observers bothered to catalog these bizarre, conspiracist outbursts, and instead fixated on Sarah Palin's Saturday night keynote address. It is as if, in the current overheated political atmosphere, we all simply have come to expect that radicalized conservatives will behave like unhinged paranoiacs when they collect in the same room.

That doesn't say much for the state of the right in America. The tea partiers' tricornered hat is supposed to be a symbol of patriotism and constitutional first principles. But when you take a closer look, all you find is a helmet made of tin foil.

I appreciate a bunch of good eccentrics more than most people (I list kookology as one of my LJ interests), but I have no use for kooks with political power. The lunatics should not be running the asylum!

Obama You Two-Timing Bastard! You Broke China's Heart!

Chairman Mao Threatens To Go Back To Their Ex, Nixon

China: Obama's Dalai Lama Meeting Hurt Our 'Feelings'

China on Friday protested President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying Washington had interfered in Chinese domestic affairs and demanding that the U.S. take steps to improve ties.

Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai summoned U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman to lodge a "solemn representation" over Thursday's meeting at the White House, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

"The behavior of the U.S. side seriously interferes in China's internal politics and seriously hurts the national feelings of the Chinese people," the statement said, quoting spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.

The meeting was seen as another test of rocky ties between Beijing and Washington, strained in recent weeks by issues from Taiwan arms sales to cyber spying allegations.

However, the language of the protest issued by the Foreign Ministry was relatively constrained, a reflection of the White House's low-key treatment of the meeting with the exiled Tibetan leader and Beijing's own desire to maintain healthy China-U.S. relations. The meeting was in the White House's Map Room, a lower-profile venue than the Oval Office.

In his statement, Ma expressed "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to the meeting.

"The Chinese side demands that the U.S. side seriously consider China's stance, immediately adopt measures to wipe out the baneful impact and stop conniving and supporting anti-China separatist forces that seek Tibet independence,"
said the statement, posted on the ministry's Web site.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to remove Tibet from Chinese rule and objects strongly to all contact between him and overseas leaders.

The White House said Obama told the Dalai Lama that he backs the preservation of Tibet's culture and supports human rights for its people. He also gave encouragement to the Dalai Lama's request for talks with the Chinese government.
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Darth Cheney in the hospital with chest pains

Dick Cheney has been hospitalized with chest pains. A spokesperson has confirmed the report to multiple news outlets.

This is a breaking news update. More information to follow shortly.



WASHINGTON - An aide to Dick Cheney says the former vice president is in George Washington Hospital after experiencing chest pains.

Cheney's assistant, Peter Long, said in a statement late Monday that the 69-year-old Cheney was resting comfortably and his doctors were evaluating the situation.

Cheney has a history of heart problems and has a pacemaker.

In 2008, doctors restored a normal rhythm to his heart with an electric shock. It was the second time in less than a year that Cheney had experienced and been treated for an atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart.

Cheney has had four heart attacks, starting when he was 37. He has had quadruple bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties.



Steve King Calls Real Americans To Overthrow Marxist Redistribution of Wealth Agency

Still No Evidence of "Extreme Rightwing Terrorism", Declared to Be a Libural Fable Fabricated By The Obama Administration "Usurper" to Scare Real America

Rep. King Justifies Suicide Attack On IRS: Sympathizes With Hatred Of IRS, Hopes For Its Destruction

On Thursday, a man flew a plane into a Texas federal building in an apparent domestic terrorist attack. The suicide bomber, identified as Joseph Andrew Stack, was allegedly a right wing extremist who wrote on a website that violence “is the only answer” and expressed anger at the IRS, the federal government, and health care reform. Some on the fringe right have declared Stack a hero.

ThinkProgress caught up with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at CPAC to talk about the attack in Texas. Asked if the right-wing anti-tax rhetoric might have motivated the attack, King implicitly agreed, noting that he had been a leading opponent of the IRS for some time. He noted that although the attack was “sad,” “by the same token,” it was justified because once the the right succeeds at abolishing the IRS, “it’s going to be a happy day for America.” He sidestepped the question of the legitimacy of the terrorists’ grievances, but sympathized by saying that “I’ve had a sense of ‘why is the IRS in my kitchen.’ Why do they have their thumb in the middle of my back”:

TP: Do you think this attack, this terrorist attack, was motivated at all by a lot of the anti-tax rhetoric that’s popular in America right now?

KING: I think if we’d abolished the IRS back when I first advocated it, he wouldn’t have a target for his airplane. And I’m still for abolishing the IRS, I’ve been for it for thirty years and I’m for a national sales tax. [...] It’s sad the incident in Texas happened, but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary and when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the IRS, it’s going to be a happy day for America.

TP: So some of his grievances were legitimate?

KING: I don’t know if his grievances were legitimate, I’ve read part of the material. I can tell you I’ve been audited by the IRS and I’ve had the sense of ‘why is the IRS in my kitchen.’ Why do they have their thumb in the middle of my back.It is intrusive and we can do a better job without them entirely.
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Steve King To Conservatives: 'Implode' IRS Offices

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told a crowd at CPAC on Saturday that he could "empathize" with the suicide bomber who last week attacked an IRS office in Austin, and encouraged his listeners to "implode" other IRS offices, according to a witness.

King's comments weren't recorded, but a staffer for Media Matters, who heard the comments, provided TPMmuckraker with an account.

The staffer, who requested anonymity because she's not a communications specialist, said that King, an extreme right-winger with a reputation for eyebrow-raising rhetoric, appeared as a surprise guest speaker on an immigration panel at the conservative conference. During his closing remarks, King veered into a complaint about high taxes, and said he could "empathize" with the man who flew a plane into an IRS building last week.
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Why Minority Students don't graduate from College

Why Minority Students don't graduate from College via Collegeconfidential.com
By Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert | NEWSWEEK

Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, was justifiably proud of Bowdoin's efforts to recruit minority students. Since 2003 the small, elite liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, has boosted the proportion of so-called underrepresented minority students (blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans, about 30 percent of the U.S. population) in entering freshman classes from 8 percent to 13 percent. "It is our responsibility, given our place in the world, to reach out and attract students to come to our kinds of places," he told a NEWSWEEK reporter. But Bowdoin has not done quite as well when it comes to actually graduating minorities. While nine out of 10 white students routinely get their diplomas within six years, only seven out of 10 black students made it to graduation day in several recent classes.

The picture of diversity—black, white, and brown students cavorting or studying together out on the quad—is a stock shot in college catalogs. The picture on graduation day is a good deal more monochromatic. "If you look at who enters college, it now looks like America," says Hilary Pennington, director of postsecondary programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has closely studied enrollment patterns in higher education. "But if you look at who walks across the stage for a diploma, it's still largely the white, upper-income population."

The United States once had the highest graduation rate of any nation. Now it stands 10th. For the first time in American history, there is the risk that the rising generation will be less well educated than the previous one. The graduation rate among 25- to 34-year-olds is no better than the rate for the 55- to 64-year-olds who were going to college more than 30 years ago. Studies show that more and more poor and nonwhite students aspire to graduate from -college—but their graduation rates fall far short of their dreams. The graduation rates for blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans lag far be-hind the graduation rates for whites and Asians. As the minority population grows in the United States, low college--graduation rates become a threat to national -prosperity.

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Forget Iran! OBAMA HAS THE NUKES!!! Libural Congress Refuses to Stop Nucular Holocaust in America!

Crisis in America: Democratic White House to Use Nukes to Hold Real Americans as Hostages.

Yoo: Congress Cannot Stop the President From Using Nukes

One of the most shocking revelations in the DOJ’s recently-released report on its lawyers who supported Bush-era torture policy is John Yoo’s admission that he believes the President of the United States could unilaterally order “a village…to be massacred.”

Today, Yoo doubled-down on this statement in an interview with San Francisco radio station KQED. After the host asked him if he stands by his prior support of Presidential massacres, Yoo raised the stakes to endorse the President’s unilateral authority to use nuclear weapons:

Look at the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. … Could Congress tell President Truman that he couldn’t use a nuclear bomb in Japan, even though Truman thought in good faith he was saving millions of Americans and Japanese lives? … My only point is that the government places those decisions in the President, and if the Congress doesn’t like it they can cut off funds for it or they can impeach him.
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