February 24th, 2010

dorky jay
  • homasse

And the China-Google thing rages on.

Chinese programmer fingered in Google attacks

A Chinese programmer with ties to the government has been fingered as the author of the program used to carry out the high-profile cyber attacks against Google and other companies earlier this year. According to researchers for the US government speaking anonymously to the Financial Times, a Chinese security consultant had posted code online ahead of the attack, saying that the project was one that he was "working on" and that Chinese government had "special access."

The programmer in question was just a freelancer and was not responsible for carrying out the attacks, claim the researchers who apparently have spoken with the programmer. Apparently, the programmer would prefer his work not be used in such "offensive efforts" as carrying out attacks against major companies, but that he "has to toe the line now and again" if he wants to do the kind of research he's good at doing.

"He would rather not have uniformed guys looking over his shoulder, but there is no way anyone of his skill level can get away from that kind of thing. The state has privileged access to these researchers’ work," the researchers told FT.

The discovery comes just days after another team of US researchers traced the origins of the attack back to Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) and Lanxiang Vocational School in China, according to the New York Times. The universities in question, however, have denied involvement.

"We were shocked and indignant to hear these baseless allegations which may harm the university's reputation," one SJTU spokesperson told the state-run Xinhua news agency. (Xinhua also ran another story about how incredibly "bored" Lanxiang Vocational School is with these accusations, with officials claiming that they are politically oriented and unfounded.)

As Cyber Defense Agency founder Sami Saydjari told the Times, however, it won't be possible for US researchers to truly look into those details without the help of the mostly-uncooperative Chinese government. "We cannot trace it beyond borders. We need the cooperation of the Chinese," he said.
  • Current Music
    S.H.E - Boom
Me in Hawaii.

No puppet cleavage for Colorado Springs

This image provided by NewSpace Entertainment on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 shows a promotional poster for the play "Avenue Q."

Puppet cleavage has been ruled out for advertising posters in Colorado Springs, Colo. bus shelters.

Lamar Advertising rejected posters for a touring production of the Broadway show because they show the cleavage of a fuzzy pink puppet.

Lamar account executive Jeff Moore says the company takes a conservative approach in Colorado Springs.

The city is known for its political conservatism, and some conservative Christian groups have headquarters in the city.

The poster has been replaced by one showing the face of another puppet.

"Avenue Q" is a Tony-winning musical about twentysomething New Yorkers, both human and puppets, searching for life and love.

(AP Photo/NewSpace Entertainment)


Posted via LiveJournal.app.

  • homasse

Pa. abortion doctor's license suspended after raid

Pa. abortion doctor's license suspended after raid

PHILADELPHIA – Federal agents raided a clinic where abortions are performed and found "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions, including blood on the floor and parts of aborted fetuses in jars, according to the state agency that shut it down and suspended the license of the doctor in charge.

In the order suspending Dr. Kermit Gosnell's license, the Pennsylvania Department of State's Board of Medicine said investigators found numerous health and safety risks at Gosnell's abortion and pain-management clinic, including a preoperative and recovery area that consisted of several recliners grouped together.

The Women's Medical Society clinic is open during the day, but Gosnell does not arrive until somewhere between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and is the only person with a medical license working there, according to the order.

A clinic employee told investigators that Gosnell directed her in his absence to conduct gynecological examinations and administer painkillers to patients, the document states.

Collapse )




...really, that's all I can say. D:

That, and I hope the anti-abortion nutballs won't take this and run. D:
  • Current Music
    Jay Chou - 聽媽媽的話 [tīng māma de huà]
ed and eine

(no subject)

The diplomatic row over the Falkland Islands deepened dramatically after Argentina announced that it would take its protests over British oil exploration to the United Nations today.

At the Rio Group summit in Mexico yesterday, Buenos Aires won unprecedented support from other Latin American states for its demand that the UK stop drilling in waters near the islands.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister is to meet the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon. A resolution is also set to be tabled in the UN General Assembly condemning Britain for allowing Ocean Guardian to begin drilling 60 miles north of the islands after Argentina annouced new shipping controls. Desire Petroleum, which is operating the rig, has said that the drilling will take about a month. Further exploration is likely by other companies.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, insisted that the exploration was fully within international law. But ministers admit privately that the UK has been preparing for a diplomatic confrontation with Argentina for months.

Although both sides played down the prospect of renewed military conflict, a government source told The Times that a submarine had been made available to supplement the routine military presence, although it is not yet in waters off the Falklands. The Ministry of Defence said that HMS York, a frigate, was expected to remain there for the foreseeable future. The Falklands air defences were quietly upgraded late last year with the arrival of four Typhoon jets.

At the Rio Group summit, Argentina scored a coup in the war of words when 32 heads of state backed its “legitimate rights . . . in the sovereignty dispute with Great Britain”. Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan President, used a television address to reiterate his support, bellowing: “Give the Falkland Islands back to Argentina, Queen of England.” But it was the backing of countries such as Chile and Brazil that has concerned British diplomats.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina’s President, said that Britain had broken a UN resolution forbidding unilateral development in disputed waters. She accused Britain of double standards in its pursuit of the islands’ natural resources but ruled out any military engagement or attempt to block shipping.

British officials said that Gordon Brown and Mr Miliband would wait for the outcome of events at the UN before deciding how to respond. Diplomats in Latin America believe that President Kirchner is using the issue for domestic purposes. “This is principally a PR campaign, not a serious legal or diplomatic effort,” said one.

The US offered Britain only tepid support. The State Department said that it took no position on the sovereignty claims of either country.

White House officials contacted by The Times would not be quoted on the dispute — not for fear of being drawn into a diplomatic showdown but because, as one admitted, it had barely registered as a concern for the Administration. A generation ago President Reagan was slow to back publicly Britain’s efforts to recapture the islands, but US intelligence proved critical to British military success.

  • Current Music
    active heart - gunbuster
ash WHAT?!

europe's winter of discontent

Europe's winter of discontent

Strikes threaten to cause paralysis as workers reject government attempts to cut spending and wages

By Sean O'Grady, Economics Editor

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A wave of industrial and social unrest is building across Europe as workers resist attempts by governments and private companies to impose austerity policies, drive down wages and rescue some nations from near-bankruptcy.

Collapse )

  • Current Music
    you get to burning - martian successor nadesco
rouge movie 1

news internatinal throw mini tantrum at accustions of dickishness - claim water isn't wet

MPs' attack provokes the wrath of Murdoch

Seminal report by Culture Select Committee outlines major changes to press regulation and libel laws. News International accused of doing 'substantial damage' to newspaper industry over phone hacking

By Ian Burrell, Media Editor

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rupert Murdoch's News International media organisation has accused a powerful House of Commons committee of bias after it issued a damning report on the company, which it said had caused "substantial damage to the newspaper industry as a whole".

In its report Press Standards, Privacy and Libel, the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee accused News International executives of having "collective amnesia" when asked by MPs about the extent of phone hacking by reporters from the News of the World, its biggest-selling newspaper.

News International said the report would undermine the credibility of Parliament. "News International believes that the select committee system has been damaged and materially diminished by this inquiry, and that certain members of this CMS Committee have repeatedly violated the public trust." (lol merdock, getting desprate)

The MPs said News International "did not carry out a full and rigorous inquiry" into the extent of phone hacking after its royal editor Clive Goodman and the private detective Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for such activities five years ago.

"It is inconceivable that no one else at the News of the World knew," said John Whittingdale MP, the chairman of the committee. "This episode has done substantial damage to the newspaper industry as a whole. We were also concerned at the reluctance of witnesses from News International to provide the detailed information that we sought, and the collective amnesia that afflicted them in relation to these matters."

The report was critical of the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who is now the director of communications for David Cameron at the Conservative party. Although the committee said it had "seen no evidence" that Coulson, who was questioned by the MPs, knew that phone hacking was taking place, it still found him culpable.

"That such hacking took place reveals a serious management failure for which as editor he bore ultimate responsibility, and we believe that he was correct to accept this and resign."

News International, which also publishes The Times, Sunday Times and Sun, responded with a furious statement accusing some of the MPs of pursuing a "party-political agenda". It said the committee's report was biased and had been distorted by external influences, particularly The Guardian newspaper which has alleged that the culture of phone hacking at the News of the World was widespread.

"The credibility of the select committee system relies on committee members exercising their powers with responsibility and fairness, and without bias or external influence. Against these standards this CMS committee has consistently failed," News International said. "Rather than work in the public interest, certain members of the committee appear to have pursued a party-political agenda. They have worked in collusion with The Guardian, consistently leaking details of the committee's intentions and deliberations to that newspaper."

The company claimed that MPs, who were undertaking a far-reaching inquiry into press standards and the laws on libel and privacy, had become obsessed with the phone-hacking issue.

"The committee has spent seven months – close to half of its time on the inquiry – on allegations made by The Guardian, despite its wide-ranging remit to examine issues of vital importance to the newspaper industry. In all this time, the committee has failed to come up with any new evidence to support The Guardian's allegations. Sadly, this has not stopped members of the committee from resorting to innuendo, unwarranted inference and exaggeration."

News International said it "strongly rejects" the committee's claims that its executives had suffered "collective amnesia" or been involved in "deliberate obfuscation and concealment of the truth". Among those who gave evidence to the MPs was Rupert Murdoch's close aide Les Hinton, the former executive chairman of News International.

In response to the accusations by News International, Mr Whittingdale, a Tory MP, defended the committee's report. "I was certainly not subject to external political pressure at all, and we stand by our report," he said.

The report was unanimously agreed by the committee, except for one paragraph referring to Mr Coulson's involvement in an industrial tribunal hearing in which a former News of the World reporter was awarded £800,000 after being bullied. Tory MPs on the committee argued that the matter was not relevant to their inquiry.

The criticisms, Mr Whittingdale believed, were aimed at two Labour members of the committee, Tom Watson and Paul Farrelly, who is a former journalist at The Guardian and still writes regularly for its website.

Libel reform: 'The libel laws need a massive overhaul'

Investigative journalism in Britain is being "deterred by the threat and cost of having to defend libel actions", a Commons committee has warned in a historic report that called for a root-and-branch overhaul of the regulation of the press.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee warned that the balance in libel cases had "tipped too far" in favour of those who bring actions. The law should be changed in respect of large corporations reversing the burden of proof so that organisations which sue the media have to prove that accusations are false.

Lawyers taking libel cases under conditional fee agreements should no longer be able to charge 100 per cent of their costs to the losing party but "should be limited to no more than 10 per cent", with the remaining costs covered by the clients or the lawyers themselves, the committee argued.

The chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale MP, said that the threat to investigative journalism was "a matter of serious concern to all those who believe that a free press is an essential component of a free society".

He said it was a source of "humiliation" that a country which prided itself on protecting freedom of speech should be seen as a destination for libel tourism. "It should be a matter of profound concern that the UK is now regarded as the jurisdiction of choice for litigants to bring libel actions," he said. "It is a humiliation that US legislators have felt it necessary to take steps to protect freedom of speech from what are seen as unreasonable incursions by our courts."

The committee called on the Lord Chancellor to raise the issue of libel tourism with his US counterparts, saying that "discussions should take place as soon as possible".

The MPs said a modern statute should be enacted to protect the right to report proceedings in Parliament, following attempts by the legal firm Carter Ruck to impose a super-injunction on the media to ban coverage of parliamentary questions regarding its client Trafigura, a company accused of dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast.

"The free and fair reporting of proceedings in Parliament is a cornerstone of our democracy and the Government should introduce a clear and comprehensive statute to put this freedom beyond doubt," said Mr Whittingdale.

Ian Burrell

  • Current Music
    knights of cydonia - muse

Exclusive: Navy to Lift Ban on Women Serving Aboard Submarines

Women are a big step closer to serving on U.S. Navy submarines. ABC News has learned that the Navy has decided to lift the ban on female submarine crew members. Subs are one of the last places in the military from which women are excluded.

The only potential roadblock remaining is for both house of Congress to pass legislation specifically barring the policy change during the 30 working day window for congressional comment that began Monday.

A Defense Department official tells ABC News that the civilian Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, support lifting the ban. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a letter last Friday notifying Congress of the Navy's policy change. The 30-day window for congressional comment began when Gates' letter was delivered to Capitol Hill.

Pride & Prejudice

Rape 'now gang weapon of choice'

Young women are being exploited and subjected to sexual violence as a result of gang reprisals, according to a report.

Interviews with more than 350 women and girls by the charity Race on the Agenda revealed the use of rape to punish girl gang members and relatives of rivals.

The women and girls interviewed were all associated with gangs in London.

Collapse )
Balthier - Not impressed

Police use tear gas, batons to break up protests in Greece

Police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators in Athens after some 50,000 people finished a peaceful march against cutbacks intended to fix the country's debt crisis.

The violence lasted about 30 minutes, when scores of youths hurled rocks, red paint and plastic bottles near parliament. Police said at least two people were detained, while several storefronts were vandalized.

The day's protests were otherwise peaceful. Labor unions organized the march amid a 24-hour general strike that grounded flights, shut schools and crippled public services, in a show of strength against the government.

SOURCE knows this is a very complex problem with no easy solutions
Pride & Prejudice

Greece paralysed by strike against austerity plan

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks are on strike to protest at the imposition of austerity measures to save the economy.

Greece's airspace will be closed to all flights, trains and ferries will stand idle, and archaeological sites shut.

It is the second general strike in two weeks and coincides with growing anger at the EU's response to the crisis.

Collapse )
Pride & Prejudice

Child migrant recalls his 'stolen life'

It is a cold, snowy morning when I meet Rex Wade at his house in Cornwall. He is padding about in his flip-flops. He puts it down to the years spent growing up in Australia.

He is probably one of the last children sent half way round the world from Britain to Australia.

There are no exact numbers. The Child Migrants Trust estimates about 7,000 made that journey after World War II; academics put the figure at just over 3,000.

Rex was in care and thought he would find a family who would adopt him Down Under.

He was 11 when he left. He is now 51 and has no doubt his experiences there ruined his life, leading to years spent in and out of trouble as he tried to find somewhere he belonged.

Collapse )
Pride & Prejudice

Rachel Corrie's family bring civil suit over human shield's death in Gaza


The family of the American activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza seven years ago, is to bring a civil suit over her death against the Israeli defence ministry.

The case, which begins on 10 March in Haifa, northern Israel, is seen by her parents as an opportunity to put on public record the events that led to their daughter's death in March 2003. Four key witnesses – three Britons and an American – who were at the scene in Rafah when Corrie was killed will give evidence, according the family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein.

The four were all with the International Solidarity Movement, the activist group to which Corrie belonged. They have since been denied entry to Israel, and the group's offices in Ramallah have been raided several times in recent weeks by the Israeli military.

Collapse )

So. Much. Rage.
:(, boyd, teen wolf

Teacher tackles gunman supected in school shooting

LITTLETON, Colo. – The gunman was walking through a middle school parking lot and taking shots at students with a hunting rifle as terrified teenagers ran for their lives. He had just wounded two students and seemed ready to unleash more violence when a math teacher named David Benke sprung into action.

Benke confronted the 32-year-old gunman, tackled him and pinned him to the ground with the help of another teacher, stopping what could have been a much more violent encounter in a city all too familiar with tragic school shootings. The shooting occurred less than three miles from where the Columbine High School massacre happened nearly 11 years ago.

Collapse )


I'm so glad that this was stopped and that no one was killed. Terrifying news, nonetheless. :(

The girl's condition has really improved, she talked to the local news. But the boy got bumped up to serious condition and he has a broken rib and lung injury.
Thank you, gaulish

why do children get their father's surname?

I think this is true for most of the Western World, children ending up with their fahter's surname by default.

Named and Shamed

Why do (don't go there) most children(don't go there) still end up with (don't go there, don't go there, don't go there!) their father's surname?

Let's first acknowledge the existence of and look past the invisible electric fences, rumble strips of social convention and cattle prods of ''please don't question our convenient answers because behind them is a scary place we don't want to see'', and ask why, in 2010, most children in Australia (it's impossible to find the figures but let's have a conservative stab and say 95 per cent) are still given their father's surname?

Collapse )

Sufjan Smile

Clashes over Israel heritage sites

A photo of the Cave of Machpelah, or the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Israeli soldiers have used tear gas and stun grenades against stone-throwing Palestinian protesters in the West bank town of Hebron.

The unrest on Monday followed a decision by the Israeli prime minister to include a shrine in the city, and another in Bethlehem, on a list of Israeli heritage sites.

"We understand that the situation has calmed down, but a general strike is still in effect in Hebron," Al Jazeera's Nour Odeh, reporting from Bethlehem, said.

"The Palestinians are outraged because they consider this a statement of Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian land."

Shopkeepers in Hebron had closed their stores for the day in protest at the decision Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to include the Cave of the Patriarchs on the list of about 150 sites that the government protects.

The city has long been a flashpoint between Palestinians and Israelis, with several hundred Jewish settlers living in heavily guarded enclaves among approximately 160,000 Palestinians.
Collapse )

Source: Al-Jazeera

The Ibrahimi Mosque has held under waqf (public religious endowment) since Salah ad-Din recaptured it from Crusaders in 1188. It's been a really contentious point for a long while, almost on the level of the Temple Mount. In 1994, an Israeli Settler entered the Mosque during prayer and opened fire. Massacred 29 people, causing riots and protests that lead to the deaths of 19 more by IDF troops. Both Jews and Muslims currently have access to the Mosque, though it's a... Mosque in structure and use, and has minbar for sermons, and minarets. There's been a big movement from the right-wing and orthodox Jewish community, one of the most vocal voices having been the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that the Mosque should be exclusively under Jewish control. More than anything, I'm concerned about the fallout from this power grab by the Israeli government -- there's full reason to be worried it might lead to another Intifada.
Rorschach - Watchmen

Obama + Islamic symbols = New MDA logo!

Direct from the current front page of Drudge Report: the new logo for the Missile Defense Agency is a terrorist plot!

The links shown in the image only go to www.mda.mil and the wiki page about Islamic symbols. There is no actual written article about this horrible conspiracy (yet). Perhaps Glenn Beck later today?
Ludicrous speed by teh_indy
  • lidane

Son of Hamas founder spied for Israel for more than a decade

Well, this is interesting:

The son of one of Hamas’s founding members was a spy in the service of Israel for more than a decade, helping prevent dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from finding their targets, it emerged today.

Codenamed the Green Prince by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, supplied key intelligence on an almost daily basis from 1996 onwards and tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organization, the daily Haaretz said.

Information he supplied led to the arrests of some of the most wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader often tipped as a potential president who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, and one of Hamas’ top bomb-makers Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

Mr Yousef, a 32-year-old convert to Christianity who now lives in California, has revealed the intrigues of his years as a spy in a new book called Son of Hamas, much to the concern of Shin Bet, whose operations will be revealed in detail. While the revelations may give a boost to Israel’s intelligence service, whose external counterpart Mossad is still grappling with the diplomatic fall-out of last month’s Hamas assassination in Dubai, there will be concern that the account may give too many insights into the murky world of espionage.

However, Mr Yousef’s work will be far more damaging to Hamas, whose brutality he denounced. Dubai police have suggested that Mahmoud al-Mabhuh, the top Hamas militant found dead in a hotel room in the emirate on January 20, may have been betrayed by an insider from the Islamist movement itself.

And Mr Yousef had harsh words for the movement that his father helped form, and which now rules the Gaza Strip after a bloody takeover in summer 2007. “Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis,” he told the daily. “That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis."


Greece Clashes With EU

General Strike Shuts Down Greece

As the Greek government imposes tough austerity measures at the behest of the European Union, unions have called a 24-hour strike to protest the cuts. Transportation came to a standstill and ministries and schools were shut on Wednesday as protesters prepared to march on parliament.

Greece faced paralysis on Wednesday as private and public sector labor unions stage a 24-hour strike. The action, likely to involve half of the Greek workforce, comes as teams of international experts are in the country to asses its ability to deal with its severe financial crisis.

The general strike shut down airports and closed schools and ministries on Wednesday as unions protested the government's EU-backed austerity measures. Many shops were shuttered, traffic was quieter than usual and Greeks faced a news blackout as the country's journalists also held a 24-hour strike. A number of demonstrations, including a march to the parliament in Athens, were planned. The city was covered in posters and flyers calling for Greeks to strike, with the slogan "People and their needs above markets!"

The strike will be a crucial test of support for the unions, with opinion polls showing that around 60 percent of Greeks support the government's austerity measures. However, the unions say the plans will only burden the poor and push up unemployment.

'Massive Recession'

Greece is under mounting pressure from markets and EU policymakers to cut the public debt. Athens is hoping to persuade Brussels that the public-sector pay freeze, tax increases and raising of the retirement age will be enough to cut the budget shortfall by 4 percentage points to 8.7 percent of gross domestic product.

Collapse )

A lot of people in Germany for example are pissed that their government might help out Greece financially because they fear that they have to help out every other struggling country as well.
Greece apparently has a ton of corrupt/unnecessary bureaucracy because during each election, politicians promise their followers to hire them as public servants; then those end up doing nothing or not what they're supposed to do because of lacking qualification.
While I think it might be really bothersome in the little cases (such as selling pretzels on the street or something), making businesses give out receipts for everything is an effective way to tackle the tax evasion problem.
  • omniguy

Less sex? Or just less stupid sex?

Teenage pregnancy rate falls


The number of teenage pregnancies in England and Wales has fallen by 4%, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A total of 41,325 women under 18 fell pregnant in 2008, down 3.9% from 42,988 in 2007, the figures show.

Of these young women 49% had an abortion, compared with 50% in 2007.

The government had pledged in 1999 to halve teenage pregnancy rates among under-18s in England by this year but is widely expected to miss that target.

The ONS data shows for every 1,000 girls aged between 15 and 17 in England and Wales, there were just over 40 pregnancies.

The North East had the highest under-18 conception rate in 2008, with 49 per 1,000 women age 15-17 falling pregnant.

The East of England had the lowest rate with 31.4 per 1,000 young women getting pregnant.

The number of girls aged 13 to 15 getting pregnant fell by 6% in 2008, with 7.8 conceptions per 1,000 girls compared with 8.3 in 2007.

Collapse )


Hmmmmmm, how long until the right-wing press jump on this and play it down massively so they can keep on their war of hatred against single Moms and teenagers having sex.

This of course is good news AND shows that the government's campaign of a informative, all-encompassing, modern sex-ed scheme is actually working. Of course with faith schools now allowed exempt from having to follow that curriculum, I will place MASSIVE bets we see the rate start to rise again.
I love Lucy

48 Hours airing episode on the West Memphis 3, features Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp... is appearing on "48 Hours" to talk about one of the most horrifying crimes of the last several years -- and a controversial investigation that may have put innocent young men behind bars.

On May 5, 1993, three little boys were mutilated and murdered in the West Memphis, Ark., woods, a crime that had the hallmarks not just of unspeakable brutality but also the guise of ritual.

Soon after, three teenage boys were arrested for the killings. The young suspects, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, had the misfortune of being black-clad, Stephen King reading, heavy metal fans. They were convicted, and have now spent almost half their lives behind bars. Echols is currently on death row.

But the case against the West Memphis Three, as they've become known, has always left considerable room for doubt. The boys had alibis for the times of the murders. There was almost no physical evidence to tie the suspects to the victims. Jessie Misskelley, who is mentally disabled and was a minor at the time, confessed to participating in the crime, but then recanted and said he had been coerced.

The story became a cause célèbre, and the basis of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's haunting 1996 documentary "Paradise Lost," which persuasively argued for a reopening of the murder case.

Collapse )

(no subject)

The GOP's Health Care Summit Trap

On Meet The Press this past Sunday, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence offered his take on what tomorrow's televised health-care summit means for his fellow congressional Republicans:

Republicans are ready to work. But what we can't help but feel like here is the Democrats spell summit, S-E-T-U-P. And all this is gonna be is some media event, used as a preamble to shove through Obamacare 2.0.

Lord knows the universe doesn't provide us with the opportunity to say this too often, but Mike Pence is right! The health care summit tomorrow is, basically, a trap. But the GOP has contributed heavily to its mechanics. For some time, they've been calling for bipartisan relief and televised transparency, and now they're getting it. House Minority Leader John Boehner is putting the best face on the fact that the GOP can hardly refuse to play along now, telling reporters that the invited Republicans are actually "crashing the party." But that party has the GOP concerned because it plays to President Obama's newly rediscovered strengths.

Collapse )

"The only problem, of course, with that option, is that they might just accidentally pass a health care reform bill!"

Heavens to mergatroid! *clutches pearls*

I don't know about you all, but I'm really looking forward to this summit tomorrow, and I'm preparing the pocorn even now.  I'm not sure if it says something about the sad state of television today that the most riveting stuff to watch is what's on Cspan......of course, it could just be that there's something very very wrong with me.  ;p

I'm thinking maybe an ongoing live-blog post might be in order....what say you fellow com-critters?


Arizona Birthers to Overthrow Un-American Mooslim Arab Tyrant Usurper for Identity Theft

Arizona Demands a Home Video of the Birth with Baby Obama swearing "The Pledge of Allegiance" and holding two forms of government ID (his Birth Certificate and Drivers License/Passport), a Government officer there to verify the whole thing, four or five White Witnesses, and EvilDevil taking notes, and Obama's grandma to confirm his identity.

Arizona Goes 'Birther'? Nearly Half Of State Legislators Want To See Obama's Birth Certificate Before 2012 Run

Nearly half of the Arizona Legislature wants to force President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to state officials if he runs for re-election.

A state House committee on Tuesday approved the measure sponsored by 40 of the state's 90 legislators.
It would require presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the requirements to be president.

All 40 co-sponsors are Republicans, comprising 75 percent of the GOP caucus. Two of them have since resigned to run for Congress.

The idea was proposed by Skull Valley Republican Rep. Judy Burges. She says if people have to prove their citizenship to apply for a job or get a passport, they should have to prove it to run for president.

McCain Ties Opponent To Birther Queen Orly Taitz (VIDEO)

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) seems to believe that while Arizona Republicans want a die-hard conservative as their Senate candidate in 2010, there is a limit to the craziness they will tolerate.

The senator's re-election campaign put out a new web video on Wednesday, tying his primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, to birther queen and king Orly Taitz and Phil Berg -- each of whom have been featured (either in person or in audio clip) on Hayworth's radio show.

"These are serious economic times. Yet some are consumed by conspiracies," the ad flashes, before showing clips of Taitz and Berg each questioning Obama's American citizenship. "The only difference between these people? Only one is running for the U.S. Senate."


Hayworth has himself meddled in the birther movement, raising questions about Obama's birth certificate and justifying them by insisting that the country is in an "age of identity theft." But it is not something that he champions prominently -- in fact, he's practically begged those who have interviewed him recently to move on from the issue.

McCain isn't willing to cut him any slack, clearly sensing that even the conservative base in his state is troubled by the conspiracy theory crowd. And yet, it could be a risky gamble. On Wednesday, nearly half the Arizona state House approved a measure that would require presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to show their birth certificate to state officials before running.

Glenn Beck Vision of The Future Comes True! Demands To See Brown's Dead Intern!

Glenn Beck Assails Scott Brown As A 'Progressive Republican'

As you know by now, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) decided to lend his vote to the Senate jobs bill and ever since the bloom is off Brown's rose like so much of his clothing.

Brown's Facebook page was assaulted overnight by angry supporters who expressed their displeasure with weird photoshops and all the exclamation points that the Internet could muster. But while outraged betrayal was the order of the day, Fox News infotainer Glenn Beck took a different tack, essentially telling his viewers, "I told you so!"

Collapse )
Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Top-level informer affair embarrasses Hamas

Mosab Hassan Yousef

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Claims by the son of a Hamas founder Wednesday that he was a long-term spy for Israel exposed a new side of the Islamic militant group's vulnerability and punched a hole in its meticulously groomed image of secrecy and discipline.

The spy affair comes at a time when Hamas is still reeling from suspicions that Hamas informants helped Israel assassinate a top Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel. The back-to-back scandals were sure to leave Hamas leaders fearful of their own and ever more painfully aware of how capable Israel is of reaching the inner circles of their organization.

At the center of the latest affair is 32-year-old Mosab Yousef, a son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder serving a six-year term in an Israeli prison.

Hamas, which overran the Gaza Strip in 2007, dismissed the younger Yousef's claims as a lie and said they were part of an Israeli attempt to weaken the movement. However, the man's father did not rule out that his son was an informer, contending he was blackmailed by Israeli agents as a teen.

Analysts said the disclosures hurt Hamas' image and were sure to trigger new security concerns in the movement.

The Israeli Haaretz daily reported Wednesday that Mosab Yousef provided intelligence to Israel's Shin Bet security service for more than a decade, preventing dozens of Hamas attacks against Israelis, including suicide bombings, saving hundreds of lives. The paper said he also helped put several senior Palestinian operatives behind bars.

Collapse )


EDIT: Another article about Mosab Yousef was already posted, but this is more about the effect on Hamas and their reaction.

Another Stolen Child Reunites with Family :')

Argentine Stolen at Birth, Now 32, Learns Identity

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The search is finally over for Abel Madariaga, whose pregnant wife was kidnapped by Argentine security forces 33 years ago.

After decades of doubt and loneliness, of searching faces in the street in hopes they might be related, Madariaga has found his son.

''I never stopped thinking I would find him,'' the 59-year-old father said, squeezing his son's arm during a packed news conference Tuesday.

''For the first time, I know who I was. Who I am,'' the young man said, still marveling at his new identity: Francisco Madariaga Quintela, a name he only learned last week.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo rights group believes about 400 children were stolen at birth from women who were kidnapped and killed as part of the 1976-1983 dictatorship's ''dirty war'' against political dissidents, which killed as many as 30,000 people.

Madariaga and his wife, Silvia Quintela, were members of the Montoneros, a leftist group targeted for elimination by government death squads. He last saw his wife -- a 28-year-old surgeon who treated the poor in a Buenos Aires suburb -- being pushed into a Ford Falcon by army officers dressed as civilians as she walked to a train on Jan. 17, 1977.

Madariaga managed to flee into exile to avoid the same fate. Ever since, he has made finding the children of those who disappeared his life's cause.

Returning to a democratic Argentina in 1983, he became the grandmothers group's secretary and first male member. He lobbied the government to create a DNA database and dedicate judicial resources to the effort, and developed strategies for persuading young people with doubts about their identities to come forward and get DNA tests.

All the while, his own son's fate remained a mystery.
Collapse ) 
Get it, Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo! And ugh, I'm sooo glad this man is enthusiastic about discovering his true identity and re-uniting with his real family, because sometimes, the kids/young adults now are uber defensive toward their appropriators (adoptive parents) despite all evidence to the contrary and can't accept that their real parents were "subversives" :(
the stone
  • gmth

RIP, Rickrolling: YouTube Kills Original Video

Are you sitting down? I have some horrible news for you. YouTube has removed the original "Rickrolling" video from its site due to a terms-of-use violation. Though there are other avenues in which to get a Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up" fix, the original, the one that captured the nation's attention, the video that spurned over 30 million hits, is dead.

In case you weren't one of the lucky many to experience it, to be "Rickrolled" is to be baited by a contextually relevant Web link and then get smacked with Astley's official YouTube music video. "Rickrolling" started in early 2007 on the 4chan imageboard, and a year later spread like wildfire, becoming an unavoidable meme. The use of "Never Gonna Give You Up" stemmed from a 4chan prank called "duckrolling," in which people would be sent to an image of a duck on wheels. SurveyUSA estimated that at least 18 million Americans were "Rickrolled."

It's hard to believe, but "Rickrolling" extended way beyond simple Internet pranks. It was used during protests against the Church of Scientology, touched upon the First Lady, and even gave name to an iPhone virus that changed jailbroken iPhone backgrounds into images of Astley.

As it is wont to do, the Internet leapt upon the meme and tried turning it into something more expansive than it ought to be. Many Geocities-esque sites were born devoted to the cause, including a database and a dubious phone service.

But it's all over now, baby blue. Time to dust off the Keyboard Cat videos.



ETA: Aha, turns out it was a mistake. Carry on!

Utah Criminalizes Certain Miscarriages

Recently, the Utah House and Senate passed a bill that would criminalize miscarriages in certain situations for women.  The bill is an amendment to Utah's current criminal statute that provides for a criminal homicide charge when a woman obtains an illegal abortion.  The amendment adds that a woman can also be charged with criminal homicide if she causes a miscarriage with "reckless" behavior.

<lj-cut text="Click">The bill does not purport to affect legal abortions. What it does is criminalize actions that a woman may take to induce a miscarriage, or steps to procure an abortion outside the confines of the law.

The incident that spurred this change was one in which a pregnant 17-year-old paid a man $150 to beat her in order to cause a miscarriage.  The child was born later and given up for adoption, but the mother was charged with attempted murder. The charges had to be dropped because the Utah law at the time did not allow for prosecution under these circumstances. 

As usual, the state is busy writing ridiculous laws that will affect millions of people because of one bizarre incident. The state cannot seem to grasp the idea that isolated incidents do not represent the big picture, and that sweeping, broad laws, have negative effects that far outweigh the the negative effects of the original catalyst event.

This amendment can have broad and horrifying applications. Under the "reckless behavior" provision, a prosecutor need only show that the woman acted in a reckless manner that could have caused a miscarriage. Thus, it is possible that pregnant alcoholics could be charged with criminal homicide if they miscarry because of drinking. 

News articles have placed a lot of focus on the "reckless" language. However, a close reading of the bill seems to indicate that the law sweeps even more broadly - 

"1) (a) A person commits criminal homicide if the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, with criminal negligence, or acting with a mental state otherwise specified in the statute defining the offense, causes the death of another human being, including an unborn child at any stage of its development."

Thus, even criminal negligence, which is below the standard of "recklessness" could warrant a homicide charge.  A pregnant woman who miscarries because of drug problems, or even playing contact sports could arguably meet these requirements and be prosecuted from criminal homicide.

Common miscarriages could warrant criminal proceedings if accompanying circumstances are slightly suspicious. Indeed, a pregnant woman who is a victim of domestic violence or other violent attack could be found to have been "negligent" or "reckless," if there is the slightest suspicion that she did not want to carry the fetus to term.

Margaret Dayton, R-Orem claims the bill does not target victims of domestic violence, but only those that terminate their pregnancies illegally. However it is unclear how she defends this position. Ultimately, it is irrelevant what slimy politicians like Margaret Dayton think the bill targets; what is important is what the effects will be and what the bill actually has the potential to do.

There is no indication that there are any exceptions, specifications, or clarifications as to violent attacks or domestic violence written into the bill.  Margaret Dayton can think whatever she wants and argue all day about what the bill is "targeted" to do - but the reality is, intentions are irrelevant.

People's lives and civil rights are not, and should not be a matter of academic exercise, or an experimental political playground for oppressive politicians. </lj-cut>

What do you guys think ?? Obvs, the sentenced that I enlarged is kind of insane.

(no subject)

 IRS Bomber Joseph Stack's daughter considers him 'a hero'

The daughter of Joseph Stack, who flew a small plane into a federal building in Austin to protest the IRS on Thursday, answered "Yes" on "Good Morning America" when asked if her father was a hero, saying "now maybe people will listen."

Collapse )

For some things...there are no words. Yeah. All the injustice against...elderly white males who fly small planes. Life sure is hard, let me get you a tissue, Samantha. 
MISC - moustache

Newsweek: Should Joseph Stack Be Called a Terrorist?

A running NEWSWEEK debate about why and when we decide to call attacks on our country by the loaded word "terrorism."

Late last week, NEWSWEEK staffers debated over email about the "terrorist" label. The discourse went well over three days. Should Joseph Stack be labeled a terrorist? Who decides? Can we, as journalists, apply the label equally to the likes of Stack, the Unabomber, Al Qaeda, Timothy McVeigh or anyone who plans to kill, injure or plan some kind of destruction of government property for whatever reason?

This email thread was not intended for publication, but we wanted to open up the heated debate.

Devin Gordon, Editor, NEWSWEEK.com

We've been having a discussion over here about the aversion so far to calling the Austin Tax Wacko a terrorist-or as the Wall St Journal called him "the tax protester." And I'm wondering if anyone has read yet - or would tackle themselves—a thorough comparison between our ho-hum reaction to a guy who successfully crashed a plane into a government building versus the media's full-throated insanity over the underpants bomber, who didn't hurt anyone but himself.

Collapse )


This was a really fascinating read, I was sitting here mouth agape as I read it.

Md. attorney general: State to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) said Wednesday that effective immediately, and until challenged in court, the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and that Maryland agencies should begin affording out-of-state gay couples all the rights they have been awarded in other places.

"State agencies in Maryland will recognize out-of-state gay marriages as of right now," Gansler said at a news conference explaining the effect of a long-awaited opinion he released Wednesday morning.

Earlier in the day, most lawmakers in the state capital had interpreted Gansler's opinion as having not gone that far. But Gansler said that in his role as the chief legal adviser to all executive branch agencies, his opinion now dictates how state agencies should respond when same-sex couples from elsewhere request benefits and legal protections they would have been awarded in the four New England states and Iowa, where same-sex marriages are legal.

The issue will soon become far less abstract in Maryland, with the District expected to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this spring.

"It's not that foreign of a concept, I mean, it's just people, it's just like any other heterosexual couples," Gansler said. "However a heterosexual couple is treated that was validly married in Maryland or elsewhere, [a same-sex couple] will be treated like that here in Maryland, unless and until a court or the legislature decides differently."

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) responded to Gansler's opinion with a statement saying: "We will be guided by the Attorney General's thorough analysis and legal advice on this matter. . . . I expect all state agencies to work with the Attorney General's office to ensure compliance with the law."

Many in Annapolis on Wednesday afternoon were still struggling with both the political and policy implications of Gansler's decision, and even advocates said that they expected lengthy court battles and discussions with O'Malley's administration would be needed to further refine what Maryland may offer same-sex couples from elsewhere.

Several legal scholars said the opinion appeared designed to spur court action, and Gansler acknowledged that he expects his opinion will be challenged quickly. He said it will likely be up to the state's highest court to issue a final verdict, but he said he believes his opinion now provides a road map that didn't exist for same-sex couples to win in court.

"People have always had the ability to sue and say I was married in Iowa, I was married in Connecticut, I was married in Massachusetts and I'm being denied those rights here in Maryland," Gansler said. "They could have always sued. I assume this will give them a floor plan and a map on how to do it because I think the law is pretty clear."

Jana Singer, a University of Maryland law professor who was one of 60 lawyers across the state who filed briefs to Gansler as he drafted the opinion over the past year, said that the opinion should affect a large swath of legal, health and other benefits for same-sex couples who reside in or visit Maryland.

The opinion would likely mean same-sex spouses of Maryland employees would be eligible for the same health benefits as heterosexual couples, she said. Same-sex couples would also be given legal rights, such as the ability to sue for wrongful death of a same-sex spouse.

Gansler said his opinion would not affect same-sex couples' taxes, which are governed by federal law.

Under O'Malley's administration, Maryland has significantly expanded benefits to couples who register as domestic partners, but Singer said same-sex couples married elsewhere would no longer have to go through that step to get many of the same protections.

Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) said he was convinced Gansler's opinion would be overturned by courts and promised to bring articles of impeachment against the attorney general for trying to usurp Maryland law, which strictly defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
WTF? by tetsuki @ JournalFen
  • lidane

Ron Paul Unfurls Kook Flag in House

FYI-- The text below and the post title are both from the source. Don't blame me if your knickers get twisted by either of them.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) really lets his kook flag fly in this clip, accusing the Federal Reserve of helping Saddam Hussein buy weapons, helping fund the Watergate burglary, and planning a secret bailout of … Greece.

Fed Chief Ben Bernanke’s reply (as people laugh in the background): “These specific allegations you’ve made, I think are absolutely bizarre.”


CPAC's straw poll winner in action, ladies and gents. Enjoy!
  • Current Mood

(no subject)

Posted: February 24th, 2010 04:17 PM ET

Washington (CNN) - The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to repeal the antitrust exemption currently granted to health insurance companies.

The vote was 406-19 to repeal the exemption, which has been in place since the end of World War II. The 19 who voted against the repeal are all Republicans.

Liberal Democrats have said a repeal would help inject new competition into the health care industry while reducing consumer costs.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday that President Barack Obama strongly supports the repeal. "At its core, health reform is all about ensuring that American families and businesses have more choices, benefit from more competition and have greater control over their own health care," Gibbs said.

"Repealing this exemption is an important part of that effort.


Collapse )


"The Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry," he said, drawing the objections of Republicans, who asked that his words be stricken from the record.

Weiner then asked for unanimous consent to replace his words and said, "Every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry."

OMG, I love Anthony Weiner SFM.


Internal E-mails Show that Poor CEO Was Just Barely Scraping The Bottom of The Barrel

Huge Profits Not Enough To Pay Off Her Meagerly Lifestyle

Internal WellPoint e-mails reveal company increased premiums to maintain higher profits.

Today, during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) questioned WellPoint CEO Angela Braly about the company’s proposed rate increases in California’s individual health insurance market. The congressmen read from a series of internal company emails which revealed that WellPoint was rising premiums simply to increase its profits:

– “The average increase is 23 percent and is intended to return California to a target profits of 7 percent, versus 5 percent this year.” [WellPoint email, October 7, 2009]

– “We’re asking for premiums that would put us $40 million favorable…if we get the increases on time, we will see an opt gain upside of $30 million downgrades and rate cap.” [WellPoint email, November 2, 2009]

– “[W]e needed to reach agreement on filing strategy quickly — specifically in the area of do we file wth a cushion allowed for negotiations.” [WellPoint email, 10/24/2009]
Collapse )


GOP Already Has Seven Reasons Why Health Care Summit Isn't Legit

Well before a single word has been uttered at Thursday's much-anticipated bipartisan health care summit, Republicans have characterized the forum as something close to illegitimate. In the days leading up to the event, GOP lawmakers trotted out at least seven different complaints about the structure of summit. Their concerns touched on everything from the basis of negotiations to the list of invitees to the funding of the event.

Collapse )


NN2S - tru punx

Trying to Revitalize a Dying Small Town

Cairo, Ill., sits on a narrow peninsula at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, in the heart of a region called Little Egypt for the resemblance it bears to the flat, loamy landscape of the Nile River Delta. Charles Dickens, after a visit in 1842, dubbed Cairo a "dismal swamp ... uncheered by any gleam of promise," although Mark Twain rehabilitated its image 40 years later, making it the destination of Huck and Jim's river voyage in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. At its 1920s peak, Cairo was a boomtown of 15,000 people. But as river trade declined, so did Cairo. In the 1960s and '70s, the town was engulfed in racial turmoil: white residents formed vigilante groups, while Cairo's black population waged a three-year boycott of businesses that refused to integrate. What's left, after decades of white flight and economic stagnation, is an expanse of abandoned buildings, bulldozed lots and forgotten history. Around 3,000 people live in Cairo (pronounced Kay-ro), a third of them below the poverty line. "I describe this town in three words," says Preston Ewing Jr., Cairo's unofficial historian and former president of the local NAACP chapter: "poor, black and ugly."

Collapse )

Veronica Mars - V - white dress

Princeton Op-Ed Baits Entire College with Victim Blaming

The real 'Sex on a Saturday Night'

Published: Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Imagine the following scenario: A girl goes to a frat party, drinks too much and has sex with a guy she just et. The next day she does not remember anything. When she finally realizes what occurred, she wants her partner charged with rape.

Though she was conscious, yet drunk, during the act, everybody agrees that what happened is not her fault. But is this really the right way to approach this problem?

Collapse )


I saw this posted on IvyGate and the comments/responses to the article are quite interesting, though there are 270+ responses to wade through. A fair number of them are intelligent.

One good response to this is:

"I’m very disappointed the Prince staff allowed this to be published. They’re obviously just using a poor freshman as a sacrifice to the publicity gods. Now, everyone will talk about this tomorrow, read their Princes, and post here. It’s really not okay to publish something like this, and the only reason it would be is for readership."

ETA: Op-Ed Response to this disaster
Collapse )

So much for a female head of church... D:

Female Head Of Church Resigns Over DUI

Over the weekend, the head of the Protestant church in Germany was caught drunk driving. While German commentators condemned Margot Kässmann's actions, most did not feel that she should lose her job. Nevertheless on Wednesday it became clear that the bishop felt her position was untenable.

The head of the Protestant church in Germany, Bishop Margot Kässmann, has announced her resignation. Her decision to step down came after she was caught driving with three times the legal blood alcohol limit on Saturday night in Hanover.

Kässmann, the first woman to lead Germany's 25 million Protestants, addressed reporters on Wednesday afternoon. Just six minutes into the press conference she made it clear that she felt her position was untenable following the news that she had been stopped by police after driving through a red light.

She said she "could not stay in office with the necessary authority." She said that she was sorry that she was disappointing the many people who had urged her to stay on as head of the church. Kässmann thanked her staff who had stuck with her and her children. "I thank my four daughters who have shared in this decision," she said.

She said she knew from the past that "you cannot fall deeper than into God's hand."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Council of the Protestant church released a statement on the matter. The 14 members of the council said that, after a hastily organized conference call on Tuesday, they were unified in their desire to stand behind their bishop's ability to make the right decision on the affair. The press statement said that, "the council places its undivided trust in its head, to make decisions about how to move forward together."

Since her appointment last October, Kässmann had made headlines with several controversial political statements, concerning Germany's engagement in Afghanistan -- she called for a withdrawal of troops -- as well as on social welfare issues.

On Wednesday German commentators appeared to be supportive of her. While all of them condemned the act of drunk driving, none of them felt that Kässmann necessarily deserved to lose her job.

Collapse )

Goddamn it. }8/ What a thing to happen, I don't even. DUI is awful, especially when you're supposed to be a good example, but I don't think she necessarily had to quit. Maybe the pressure was too high and she wouldn't have had respect anymore within the church, idk. Some people argue that there wouldn't have been as much media attention if she were a man, I wonder...
iamamiwhoami idle talk
  • danibel

All Teachers Given Pink Slips at RI High School

"Every Central Falls teacher fired, labor outraged"

The state’s tiniest, poorest city has become the center of a national battle over dramatic school reform. On the one side, federal and state education officials say they must take painful and dramatic steps to transform the nation’s lowest-performing schools. On the other side, teachers unions say such efforts undermine hard-won protections in their contracts.

“This is hard work and these are tough decisions, but students only have one chance for an education,” Education Secretary Duncan said, “and when schools continue to struggle we have a collective obligation to take action.”

Duncan is requiring states, for the first time, to identify their lowest 5 percent of schools — those that have chronically poor performance and low graduation rates — and fix them using one of four methods: school closure; takeover by a charter or school-management organization; transformation which requires a longer school day, among other changes; and “turnaround” which requires the entire teaching staff be fired and no more than 50 percent rehired in the fall.

State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist moved swiftly on this new requirement, identifying on Jan. 11 six of the “persistently lowest-performing” schools: Central Falls High School, which has very low test scores and a graduation rate of 48 percent, and five schools in Providence. Gist also started the clock on the changes, telling the districts they had until March 17 to decide which of the models they wanted to use. Her actions make Rhode Island one of the first states to publicly release a list of affected schools and put into motion the new federal mandate.

[Superintendent] Gallo and the teachers initially agreed they wanted the transformation model, which would protect the teachers’ jobs.

But talks broke down when the two sides could not agree on what transformation entailed.

Gallo wanted teachers to agree to a set of six conditions she said were crucial to improving the school. Teachers would have to spend more time with students in and out of the classroom and commit to training sessions after school with other teachers.

But Gallo said she could pay teachers for only some of the extra duties. Union leaders said they wanted teachers to be paid for more of the additional work and at a higher pay rate — $90 per hour rather than the $30 per hour offered by Gallo.

After negotiations broke down, Gallo said she no longer had confidence the high school could be transformed and instead recommended the turnaround model. Gist approved Gallo’s proposal Tuesday morning and gave the district 120 days to develop a detailed plan.

(More at the source.)

(Also at CNN.)


Shocking News: Tea Party Leader Claims Obama's White-Half is Racist!! Black-Half Refuses to Comment!

Patriots to Rescue Obama's White-Half from His Mooslim Half!

Tea Party Leader Calls Obama "Half-White Racist"

Last September Mark Williams, a tour partner with the Tea Party Express, referred to President Obama as "our half white, racist president."

In a September email obtained by Talking Points Memo, Williams angrily responded to what he calls a "false allegation" by CNN that he called President Obama a Nazi. In an apparent attempt to demonstrate he is not racist, Williams claimed to have a strong record on civil rights. He spoke of "marching for civil rights while asshole southern sheriffs were swinging nail-studded bats as blacks's heads..."

On September 14, 2009, Mark Williams admitted to CNN's Anderson Cooper that he referred to "Mubarak Hussein Obama" as a Nazi:
COOPER: But wait Mark, you're actually the one who called President Obama Nazi.

WILLIAMS: I didn't call Barack Obama a Nazi.

COOPER: Yes, he's on your list, on your Web site of like 21st century Nazis. You have his name.

WILLIAMS: We've got the philosophy of fascism and national socialism at work here. Of course we do.
COOPER: No, no but you have the president's name, although it's a derivation that's not his actually name, it's a name it's kind of a negative.

WILLIAMS: Mubarak Hussein Obama.

COOPER: Right, that's what's you call him on your Website. You're the one who's using the term Nazi.

Tea Party Express, a series of nationwide anti-Obama bus tours, is frequently decried as "astroturf", or fake grassroots, by other aspects of the Tea Party movement, notably the Tea Party Patriots, due to its associations with Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which is run out of the Republican strategy firm Russo Marsh.

Williams acts as a spokesman for Tea Party Express.

Robin Stublen, a leader of the Tea Party Patriots, told HuffPost in an email, "Mark Williams is not someone I would want being my spokesman. He comes off as an arrogant, self promoting, egotistical jerk. In politics, people like Mark Williams are a dime a dozen, even when you factor in inflation."

Williams concluded his September email by inexplicably refusing to defend himself:
I will defend my record on race to no one (sic), under any circumstances and, I will call out any racist, any time without regard to who they are ... and that includes our half white, racist president.
David Thewlis - Head in Hand

Bill proposes Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to play lottery to fix budget

Gov. Jay Nixon would be forced to gamble for funds to bolster the state's declining budget under legislation proposed by a few Republican lawmakers.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles County, would deduct $2 from Nixon's paycheck twice a month to buy Powerball lottery tickets and place any potential winnings in a fund called "Governor Nixon's Scratch-off, Match-off Fund."

Collapse )


Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws

When President Obama took office, gun rights advocates sounded the alarm, warning that he intended to strip them of their arms and ammunition.

And yet the opposite is happening. Mr. Obama has been largely silent on the issue while states are engaged in a new and largely successful push for expanded gun rights, even passing measures that have been rejected in the past.

In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a bill last week that allows people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, and the House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month. The actions came less than three years after the shootings at Virginia Tech that claimed 33 lives and prompted a major national push for increased gun control.

Arizona and Wyoming lawmakers are considering nearly a half dozen pro-gun measures, including one that would allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. And lawmakers in Montana and Tennessee passed measures last year — the first of their kind — to exempt their states from federal regulation of firearms and ammunition that are made, sold and used in state. Similar bills have been proposed in at least three other states.

Collapse )

cue FFFFUUUUU- macro