March 1st, 2010

movies | HBIC

ontd_political PotD: Feb 28, 2010.

Street performer Chayne Hultgren reenacts his 18-sword-swallowing attempt for a Guinness World Record in front of the Sydney Opera House. The Australian beat his own world record when he simultaneously swallowed 18 swords, each blade measuring 50.8cm by 1.3cm, ahead of this year's International Sword Swallowing Day on Feb. 28.
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Torsten Blackwood | AFP/Getty Images
' jules

Get it boy

Blanche Lincoln Gets A Democratic Challenger In Arkansas

After months of speculation, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter made it official this morning, announcing he'll challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln for the Democratic Senate nomination in Arkansas.

"Enough is enough," Halter said in a video announcing his candidacy posted this morning. "It's past time to put more Arkansas values in Washington."

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:D woo been waiting for him to enter the race for months!
Here is the video:

keep right
  • gmth

Cities Shortening Yellow Traffic Lights for Deadly Profit

Reeling through a 21st century addicted to technology and surveillance, citizens may be too overwhelmed to complain of increasing cameras popping up atop red lights at intersections across the nation, most of which are designed to catch them breaking traffic laws. That is, until they're caught in those intersections as the yellow lights unexpectedly change, and cars in front and back of them hit the brakes or punch the gas to avoid tickets. And when they find out those cameras and lights are being gamed, sometimes lethally, in the pursuit of quick profit? Then they get mad, and maybe even, for being used as motorized money pits.

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Pride & Prejudice

Radovan Karadzic defends 'just and holy' war at genocide trial

Karadzic Pictures, Images and Photos

Radovan Karadzic described the Serb cause in the Bosnian war as "just and holy" at the start of his defence against charges of genocide and other war crimes today.

The former Bosnian Serb leader has been accused of the biggest mass murder in Europe since the second world war. He denies two counts of genocide and nine other counts of murder, extermination, persecution, forced deportation and the seizing of 200 United Nations hostages.

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Source, I hate this guy.
Pride & Prejudice

David Cameron denies 'squeaky bum' claims as poll lead shrinks


David Cameron has denied it is ''squeaky bum time'' for the Conservatives following polls suggesting their lead over Labour has shrunk to as little as two points.

Mr Cameron acknowledged that the upcoming general election would be ''a tight contest'', but insisted a close race was a good thing as it would focus voters' minds on the choice between five more years of Gordon Brown or a change to a Tory administration.

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And this, my friends, is why I love British politics.

Obama Owes Harper Beer

VANCOUVER–U.S. President Barack Obama now owes Prime Minister Stephen Harper a case of beer.

Obama made the friendly wager with Harper before Sunday's U.S.-Canada gold medal game. Canada beat the United States 3-2 on Sidney Crosby's overtime goal.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama had a case of Yuengling, a Pennsylvania regional brew, riding on the game. Harper wagered a case of Molson Canadian.

The beer battle pitted Canada's oldest brewery against the oldest beer maker in the United States. Molson Canada is now a subsidiary of Molson Coors Brewing Co., a marriage of Molson and Denver-based Coors.

Harper was at the game but Obama did not made an appearance at the Olympics.

Team USA came out ahead in the first match-up between the two countries in the preliminary rounds, beating out Canada 5-3.

Fans lined up for hours outside every pub and restaurant in Vancouver, looking for a place to watch what could well be the most-watched sporting event in Canadian history.

Source: Here

First time posting here so I hope everything I did is correct. Also, I wanted to post something more cheerful after all the depressing posts I've been reading after coming back from vacation.

Anyways, I find this quite adorable! Congrats to Canada for winning the hockey match! And to USA for their effort, dedication and winning the most medals.
Pride & Prejudice

Germany and France dispute Lady Ashton's 'excessive' EU powers


Germany is planning to stop what it sees as a British campaign to dominate European foreign policy-making under Lady Catherine Ashton, according to a confidential German ministry document.

Amid growing criticism across the EU of the performance of Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU's new high representative for foreign and security policy, Berlin and Paris are alarmed at the prominence of British officials in the new EU diplomatic service being formed under Ashton. 

The document analysing the creation of the EU's new diplomatic service, seen by the Guardian, has concluded that Britain has grabbed an "excessive" and "over-proportionate" role.

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Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Perkins Invite Canceled Over Anti-Gay Remarks

Tony Perkins' invitation to speak at Andrews Air Force Base was revoked over controversial remarks he made concerning the repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,” the 1993 law that forbids gay troops from serving openly, POLITICO reported.

Perkins, the president of the Christian-based Family Research Council, is opposed to the president's plan to repeal the law. His group also played a prominent role in repealing a gay marriage law in Maine last year.

Perkins told the Christian News Service (CNS) that he was dis-invited to a prayer luncheon this past Thursday on the Maryland base after he wrote an op-ed critical of President Obama's call to end the policy in his first State of the Union address.

“At a time of enormous economic challenge, two on-going wars in which Americans are fighting and increased terrorist threats to Americans at home, President Obama seems untethered from that reality as he called on Congress to force the military to allow open homosexuality,” Perkins said in a statement published on his group's website January 27. “As a veteran of the Marine Corps, the timing of the President's call in the midst of two wars shows that he is willing to jeopardize our nation's security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby.”

“The sexual environment the President is seeking to impose upon the young men and women who serve this country is the antithesis of the successful warfighting culture and as such should be rejected,” he added.

Two days after posting his remarks, Perkins received a letter canceling the invitation.

“As a former Marine officer, I'm sure you understand the situation in which we find ourselves,” Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Gary Bertsch wrote. “As military members we are sworn to support our Commander in Chief, and are forbidden to make or support statements that run counter to our roles as members of the armed forces.”

In a statement released to CNS, the Andrews base public affairs office confirmed that Perkins was dis-invited due to his “public comments.”

Perkins called the incident an example of religious freedoms being trumped by political correctness.

“This is not about the chaplain,” Perkins told CNS, “it's not even about Andrews Air Force Base, it's about the chilling effect that this policy would have upon Christians who operate from an understanding of what's right and right according to Scripture.”


Secular groups are hate groups, say Christians, outraged by first White House meeting.

Atheists meet with White House officials

The White House has been known to confer with religious leaders on important political and social issues -- for instance, a meeting on torture with several religious denominations in June or Obama's meeting with Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama just last week. On Friday, however, White House officials met with 60 members of atheist advocacy group the Secular Coalition for America, to discuss problems that they believe are fueled by religion.

The coalition's press release notes that this is the first time an administration has met with a non-theist community.
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Some Christians, however, are outraged over this meeting like In God We Trust chairman Bishop Council Nedd, who told Christian Newswire:

It is one thing for the Administration to meet with groups of varying viewpoints, but it is quite another for a senior official to sit down with activists representing some of the most hate-filled, anti-religious groups in the nation.


Nuclear scientist goes missing

It's conspiracy theory time!! Anyone got any good theories?

A reclusive Australian nuclear scientist working at a high security research reactor in a remote Canadian town has disappeared without trace, baffling colleagues and local police.

Melbourne man Lachlan Cranswick, 41, went missing from the town of Deep River, Ontario, 190 kilometres north west of Canada's capital city, Ottawa, about five weeks ago.

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asoneill - Yahoo Me

More on Bunning: Now Federal Employees Out of Work, Projects Halted

WASHINGTON – Two thousand federal transportation workers were furloughed without pay on Monday, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

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Personal anecdata ahoy! I drive across the bridge on the GW parkway all the time and OMG they need to finish that shit. It's a pain in the ass (as is all the 495 work, UGH).
leave your turntable on

Online debate rages over white group's step win

ATLANTA — Visit any of the nation's more than 100 historically black colleges or universities and you'll see clusters of men and women engaged in the rhythmic clapping and foot stomping routines known in black Greek circles as "stepping."

Now a white Arkansas team's win in an Atlanta step competition has started a fiery debate over the African-inspired tradition and whether the integration of a once-ethnically exclusive activity constitutes a form of cultural theft.

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Jesus Would Let Gays Have Communion

If the Catholic Church denies Communion to LGBT people because it views homosexuality as sinful, shouldn't the Church deny Communion to everyone who sins?

That's the question being posed by a number of Dutch gay rights activists, who held a little direct action yesterday during Mass at a Church in the town of Den Bosch. The protest was held in response to an incident a few weeks ago, where a man in the Netherlands was denied Communion by a priest because of his sexual orientation. What did the protest look like?

Well, stylish, of course. Demonstrators numbered in the hundreds, and dressed in pink wigs and pink clothes. Somewhere, Lady Gaga is feeling a little jealous this morning.

But pomp and circumstance aside, the substance of their protest gets to the heart of a really interesting religious question. Is it theologically sound for the Catholic Church to deny gays Communion?


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'Letters to Jackie' captures a nation's anguish

The 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy was an act of violence that shocked the collective American conscience, sparking an outpouring of grief that transcended racial and economic lines.

That grief has now been cataloged by historian Ellen Fitzpatrick in a new book, "Letters to Jackie," a first-ever compilation of some of the 1.5 million condolence letters the first lady received after Kennedy's death.

Most of the letters were originally destroyed by the National Archives, which felt it would not have enough room to store them. Fitzpatrick combed through more than 15,000 of the remaining letters at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, to choose 250 for the book.

"The letters that were most compelling to me were ones that encapsulated some sense of Kennedy as a president, or it was someone who had something very powerful to say about the day of the assassination … or someone who talked about an experience with grief in their own life," said Fitzpatrick.

There was also great diversity among the letter writers.

"I am but a humble postman," wrote Henry Gonzales. "Please try to find it in your heart that we Texans of Mexican origin love all of you."

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JL: Annoyed J. Law

Sen. Coburn Lone Opposition for Uganda Funding Bill

Supporters pushing for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn to release his hold on a bill intended to stop violence in Uganda said Friday they will camp outside his downtown Oklahoma City office until Oklahoma’s junior senator relinquishes his grip.

About 75 people showed up Friday for a rally outside the state Capitol to urge Coburn, R-Muskogee, to let the bill advance. They then marched to Coburn’s office in the Chase Building, where they said they would stay outside the building until Coburn changes his position.

Most in the group were college age and many are involved with the Resolve Uganda or the Invisible Children groups.

"We are not going to quit,” said Melissa Fitzgerald, a supporter of Invisible Children and the actress who played Carol Fitzpatrick in "The West Wing” television series. "We are here to make a cry for peace. ... Please, Senator Coburn, hear us.”
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More info:
At this point they've been camped out for just under 71 hours.

Coburn Say Yes from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.


Blame the victim: Religious leaflet claims ‘ungodly’ dressed women provoke rape

Nineteen-year-old Keshia Canter handed three burgers, fries and milkshakes to a car-load of Tuesday afternoon customers at the Hi-Lo Burger’s drive-though window. A lady sitting in the backseat leaned forward, between the two men in front, and handed her a leaflet: “Women & Girls” it said across the top.

“Even though nothing is showing, you’re being ungodly,” Canter recalled the woman telling her. “You make men want to be sinful.”

Canter was wearing boots pulled up over jeans, a pink zebra-print shirt with a black jacket zipped up over it. She has blond hair, dark eye make-up and a little red lip ring. “I just asked if she needed any salt, pepper or ketchup,” Canter said. “I mean, how do I respond to that?”

Minutes later, Canter’s mother, Pam Yates, who owns the restaurant, returned from the bank. Canter handed her “Women & Girls” and Yates started reading.

“You may have been given this leaflet because of the way you are dressed,” it begins. “Have you thought about standing before the true and living God to be judged?”

It continues with one essential theme: The sins of men are, in part, the fault of women, specifically women in tight-fitting clothing. Yates was annoyed. Then she got to a section on page two:

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VPOTUS position actually DOES have serious responsibilities attached. No lie.

Biden Can Single-Handedly Run The Reconciliation Process: Parliamentarian Experts (VIDEO)

Should passing health care reform come down to the use of reconciliation -- and all signs point that way -- Vice President Joseph Biden could play a hugely influential role in determining not only what's in the bill but whether or not it passes.

Two experts in the arcane rules of the Senate said on Monday that, as president of the Senate, Biden has the capacity not just to overrule any ruling that the parliamentarian may make but also to cut off efforts by Republicans to offer unlimited amendments.

"Ultimately it's the Vice President of the United States [who has the power over the reconciliation process]," Robert Dove, who served as Senate parliamentarian on and off from 1981-2001, told MSNBC this morning. "It is the decision of the Vice President whether or not to play a role here... And I have seen Vice Presidents play that role in other very important situations... The parliamentarian can only advise. It is the vice president who rules."Collapse )


In the video, the near spit-take that the interviewers did was pretty LOL-tastic.  It also tells me that they really didn't do enough research into the rules of the Senate if this is something that they were that surprised about.

Also, I'm finding that this is becoming a very interesting treatise on how the reconciliation process works in the Senate, as well as who the Palimentarian is and what that person does.  God
knows I'd never heard of it before.  I imagine that Social Studies and Government teachers across the country are having an amazing uber-SQUEE over this whole thing.  :)



More Real Americans Join The Fight Against Marxist Redistribution of Wealth Agents!

Media Expects More Republicans To Praise Their Bravery and Sacrifice Against "The Tax Man".

Ogden IRS Building Evacuated: 'Suspicious Substance' Found, Hazmat Called To IRS Building In Utah

Hazardous materials crews were called Monday to an Internal Revenue Service building in Utah after a suspicious substance was found.

The FBI's Salt Lake City division says it responded to a possible hazardous material threat at the building in Ogden.

The FBI says parts of the building were evacuated. It says some people had medical emergencies but that they did not "appear to be related to this incident."

Video on the Web site of KSL-TV showed two people being taken out on stretchers.

Weber Fire District Deputy Chief Paul Sullivan told The Associated Press that the medical emergencies were coincidental to the discovery of the suspicious substance.

He said two people who already had medical issues happened to have episodes while authorities were on the scene and were treated. He said he couldn't release any additional information.

As of Monday afternoon, several emergency vehicles had left the scene. One hazardous materials response truck remained along with one fire engine.

The two- or three-story building is in an industrial area and is surrounded by a fence in Ogden, about 35 miles north of Salt Lake City. No signs on the building indicate it is an IRS facility.

The FBI says its investigation is ongoing and it couldn't release further details.

The IRS confirmed the incident in a statement Monday.

No details were available about the substance found or those taken from the building on stretchers.

Threats Against IRS Employees On The Rise, Increased 21 Percent From 2008 To 2009

This afternoon's incident at an Internal Revenue Service facility in Utah, in which several people were removed on stretchers after an "unknown substance" was found, appears to be the latest in an alarming rise in threats against the agency's employees.

According to the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, the number of threats against IRS employees increased 21.5% from FY 2008, when there were 834 threats to FY 2009, when there were 1,014 threats.

Over the past four years, there appears to be a "steady, upward trend" in threats against IRS staffers, a TIGTA official told Dow Jones Newswires last week. The most unnerving incident in recent memory occurred just two weeks ago, when Joseph Stack flew his plane into IRS offices in Austin, Texas, killing one employee nearing retirement.

Other notable attacks on the tax-collecting arm of the government in recent years include:

In March of 2009, Randy Nowak hired a hit man to kill an IRS worker auditing his tax return and to burn down IRS offices in Lakeland, Fla. He was sentenced to 30 years in jail.

In 2008, Earnest Milton Barnett rammed his Jeep Cherokee into the IRS's Birmingham, Ala., offices and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Row over talk of motherhood at 14

THE prize-winning author Hilary Mantel has opened up a public debate over teenage sex by saying that girls are ready to have babies at 14.

The 57-year-old novelist said society ran on a ''male timetable'' which dictated that women should have babies older.

''Having sex and having babies is what young women are about, and their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society's timetable,'' she said.

''I think it is that men's lives have set the timetable. Men reach a sort of sexual peak when you are 20, a social peak when you are 40. There is this breed of women for whom society's timetable is completely wrong.''

Mantel, who won the Man Booker Prize last year for Wolf Hall, said society was ''incredibly hypocritical'' about teenage sex and teenagers having babies.


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yes i do

Republican senator gives journalist the middle finger

An angry Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, refused to answer questions from CNN and ABC News Monday afternoon about his decision to block a bill that would extend unemployment benefits to millions of jobless Americans. An ABC News producer who was there says Bunning gave him the middle finger in response to a question.

CNN's Dana Bash and a CNN camera crew tried to get Bunning to comment more extensively on the controversy on Monday. But the senator "got very angry," she said.

"Excuse me," the agitated senator told Bash while entering a Senate elevator. "I need to get to the (Senate) floor."

Moments earlier, and ABC News reporter and crew also attempted to question Bunning as he was getting on the Senate elevator.

A posting on the ABC News website details the exchange: "Excuse me! This is a Senator's only elevator!" Bunning responded as he was asked a question by ABC's Jonathan Karl.

"Excuse me!" Bunning yelled. "I've got to go to the floor!"


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panda bear

(no subject)

Dubai Bans Israelis, Even Those With Alternate Passports

Following the assassination of a Hamas operative, Dubai police will use voice and face profiling to detect Israelis arriving on foreign passports, the police chief said Monday.

Israelis have always been forbidden from traveling to the United Arab Emirates on their passports, but dual-nationals could use their alternative passport to enter the country.

Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said that now travelers suspected of being Israeli will not be allowed into the Gulf country even if they arrive on another passport. The Emirates will "deny entry to anyone suspected of having Israeli citizenship," Tamim said. Dual nationality is fairly common in Israel.

The move follows the killing of a senior Hamas operative in Dubai, blamed by the Emirates authorities on Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in a Dubai hotel room Jan. 20. The authorities have identified at least 26 suspects of the alleged hit squad that traveled to Dubai on fake identities and forged European and Australian passports to kill al-Mabhouh.

At least 15 of the suspected killers share names with Israeli citizens, further fueling suspicions the Mossad was behind the hit.

"It is disgraceful how the killers abused European (and other) passports and UAE soil to assassinate," Tamim told reporters at the sidelines of a security conference in Abu Dhabi.

"We will not allow those who hold Israeli passports into the UAE no matter what other passport they have," Tamim said.

He did not explain what procedures would be used to identify the Israeli visitors, except that the police will "develop skills" to recognize Israelis by "physical features and the way they speak."

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Girls Gone Antifeminist

Yet another wanky post stolen from the Mothership:

Spring 1997.

This was the Spice Girls moment, and debate: Were these frosted cupcakes really a vehicle for feminism? And how much reversion back to the glory days of prefeminism should girls and women accept—even celebrate—given that we now allegedly had it all? Despite their Wonderbras and bare thighs, the Spice Girls advocated “girl power.” They demanded, in their colossal, intercontinental hit “Wannabe,” that boys treat them with respect or take a hike. Their boldfaced liner notes claimed that “The Future Is Female” and suggested that they and their fans were “Freedom Fighters.” They made Margaret Thatcher an honorary Spice Girl. “We’re freshening up feminism for the nineties,” they told the Guardian. “Feminism has become a dirty word. Girl Power is just a ’90s way of saying it.”

Fast-forward to 2008. Talk about girl power! One woman ran for president and another for vice president. Millions of women and men voted for each of them. The one who ran for vice president had five children, one of them an infant, yet it was verboten to even ask whether she could handle the job while tending to a baby. At the same time we had a female secretary of state, and the woman who had run for president became her high-profile successor. And we have Lady Gaga, power girl of the new millennium. Feminism? Who needs feminism anymore? Aren’t we, like, so done here? Okay, so some women moaned about the sexist coverage of Hillary Clinton, but picky, picky, picky.

Indeed, eight years earlier, career antifeminist Christina Hoff Sommers huffed in her book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, that girls were getting way too much attention and, as a result, were going to college in greater numbers and much more likely to succeed while boys were getting sent to detention, dropping out of high school, destined for careers behind fast-food counters, and so beaten down they were about to become the nation’s new “second sex.” Other books like The Myth of Male Power and The Decline of Males followed suit, with annual panics about the new “crisis” for boys. Girl power? Gone way too far.

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Personally, the use of antifeminist in this article threw me off. I feel like there's more wrong but I can't place my finger on it. What do you guys think?

White House announces resignation of social secretary Desirée Rogers

White House social secretary Desirée Rogers, whose tenure was marred in November by a highly embarrassing gate-crashing of the administration's first state dinner, will leave her job to return to the private sector, the White House said Friday. Her resignation marks the first fraying of the tight circle of friends and advisers President Obama brought with him from Chicago.

The president and the first lady, Michelle Obama, issued a joint statement confirming the resignation of their longtime friend. "When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House," said the Obamas' statement. "And she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers."

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Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Sheikh Yousef Disowns His Son

Hamas leader, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, imprisoned by Israel at the Negev detention camp, has officially disowned his son who converted to Christianity and also collaborated with the Israeli security, Shabak, several years ago.

Sheikh Yousef sent a letter from his prison tent stating that he, his wife and children, hereby disown Mosab, his first born son, who is currently living in the United States after converting to Christianity and collaborating with Israel.

Yousef stated that “by collaborating with the enemy, by doubting the book of God, by betraying the Muslims, Mosab became an atheist”.

Israel said that Mosab was a “very good inside source of information” as he is the son of a senior Hamas leader in the West Bank, he was also shortly involved with the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the movement.

soap&skin 2012

Seven-month-old baby survives shot to chest in parents' murder-suicide pact blamed on global warming

A seven-month-old girl miraculously survived alone for three days after one of her parents shot her in the chest - apparently as part of a bizarre murder-suicide pact blamed on global warming.

The baby was discovered with a bullet casing in her chest and covered with blood by police in the Argentinean city of Goya, near the bodies of her parents and 2-year-old brother, the Latin American Herald reported Saturday.

Police broke into the home after neighbors complained of a stench coming from the house. The boy was found with a gunshot wound in his back, while his parents died from gunshot wounds to the chest.

The parents, 56-year-old Francisco Lotero and 23-year-old Miriam Coletti, are believed to have been spurred by their fears about global climate change, London's Telegraph reported.

A letter was found on a table expressing the couple's anger at the government for not responding to the environmental crisis.

Doctors said the baby's condition has been improving every day, the Herald Tribune reported.

x || wink
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day one

Let's see if we can handle sixty-one posts on Women's History Month. :)

Korean Women Flock to Government

SEOUL — When Kim Hyo-eun joined the South Korean Foreign Ministry in 1992, its personal data form listed “wife,” but not “husband,” in the section where new diplomats provided information about their spouses. That was hardly surprising: at the time, few women had ever taken, let alone passed, the foreign service examination

“The year I took the exam, an unprecedentedly large number of women passed it — three — so it made news,” said Ms. Kim, who is now director of the ministry’s climate change team.

Fast forward to 2010. Kim Sang-jin, head of the ministry’s personnel management team, sees a literal change in the face of South Korean diplomacy. Over the past five years, 55 percent of the 151 people who passed the highly competitive test — the main passageway into the country’s diplomatic corps — were women.
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Poor CEOs Having a Hard Time Making a Living With Old Bootstraps. Needs Money for Golden Bootstraps!

Goldman Sachs Tells Shareholders Marxists To Go F@#CK Themselves!

Goldman Sachs's Board Rejects Shareholder Demands To Cut Excessive Pay, Bonuses

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Monday it has rejected demands by shareholders to investigate the Wall Street bank's compensation practices.

Shareholder lawsuits filed recently in New York and Delaware charge that Goldman's compensation levels in 2009 were too high, Goldman said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The lawsuits seek to recover some of the pay and force the bank to adopt pay reforms. Goldman said shareholders have made similar demands in letters to its board.

Lawmakers and shareholders sharply criticized Wall Street pay after the biggest banks lost billions of dollars on bad mortgage bets, helped cause the recession and then had to be bailed out by the government.

In its filing, Goldman said government agencies and regulators have sought information about its pay practices. The bank said it was cooperating with those inquires but won't grant shareholders' demand for an internal probe or wider pay reforms.

"The board believes that the firm's compensation policies and practices, which directly align pay with the performance of the company, are appropriate and in the best interests of shareholders broadly,"
Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday said in a statement. "When the firm does well, our people do well and when the firm does less well, our people do less well." (fixed)

Goldman employees received $16.2 billion in salaries and bonuses for 2009, up 47 percent from the previous year but lower than expected. That's about $500,000 for each of the bank's 31,700 employees. Many employees, however, earned millions.

Canaday noted that the bank set aside 36 percent of net revenue for compensation last year, down from an average of 46 percent since the company went public in 1999.

Goldman, which earned a record $4.79 billion profit in the last quarter, has been the strongest bank throughout the financial crisis. It had less exposure to toxic mortgage-backed securities than other banks and also has been more aggressive in its trading.

Mindful of criticism over its pay practices, Goldman shrank its bonus pool by $500 million in the fourth quarter and put the money into the bank's two-year-old charity, Goldman Sachs Gives.

The company is also paying more in restricted stock instead of cash. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein received $9 million bonus last year. All the money was in restricted stock that can't be cashed out for five years. In 2007, Blankfein received a record $68 million bonus.

ontd_political Poll!

Poll #1532449 Theme Months/Weeks

Would you be interested in ONTD_Political theme weeks/months hosted by members.

I don't really care

What duration would you prefer?

Either or, don't really care.

Do you care if more than one member 'hosts' the month/week?

Yes - it should be limited to one designated member per theme
No - Anyone can join in on the theme week
Don't care

If there is anything I forgot to ask that you thought should have been asked, make a comment about it.

Situation in Chile Getting Kinda Katrina-esque...

Erroneous warning on Chile's tsunami may have increased coastal deaths

The greatest damage and loss of life is not from the quake itself, but from the powerful tsunamis that hit dozens of fishing towns and port cities along the Chilean coast and off-shore islands in the hours right after the quake.

Erroneous information from the Chilean Navy may have made the situation worse along the coast, according to Chilean officils.

There are dozens of small towns that haven't been reached yet on the coast. The waves, belatedly described as tsunamis, hit while it was still dark in the first hours after the quake.

This phenomenon was not reported on until late Saturday and its extent is still not known. What is known is that the tsunamis caused the vast majority of the deaths and destruction. There are dozens of villages and fishing towns on a 100- mile stretch of steep, rocky coast and inlets north and south of the epicenter.

The ones that have been visited show horrendous destruction. National TV journalists showed film from Cobquecura, a town directly east of the epicenter, just off the coast. They found 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed. It was deserted, apparently because everyone had fled to the hills. There are an unknown number of deaths in the muck and rubble.

Half of the reported deaths so far (350 of the total of 708, according to the official count) are in the coastal city of Constitucion, where the tidal wave reached the center plaza of the city. 350 people are reported dead there.

The focus, understandably, has been on Concepcion, which is Chile's second largest city. But Concepcion is 60 miles from the epicenter. The tsunami hit the adjoining harbor, called Talcahuano, flooding a good part of the city.

The government has quietly acknowledged that the Chilean Navy committed "an error" in failing to warn the coastal areas about the tsunami danger immediately following the earthquake. The Navy office in charge of monitoring coastal conditions, known by the acronym SHOA, finally sent out warnings to port authorities, but they arrived almost an hour after the tsunamis hit. Emergency management director Carmen Fernandez described the SHOA warnings as "tremendously ambiguous" and misleading, because they erroneously placed the epicenter in the interior of the country instead in the ocean.

The erroneous information led President Michele Bachelet to say at one point early Saturday that there were high waves but no tsunami on the Chilean coast.

Wow...this is pretty bad, with the Navy not knowing these things. D:
This plus all of the reports about the looting is really reminding me of Katrina
Also, with the whole discussion of Theme weeks/months up, I kindasortareally wanna do a Chilean (recent, like 1970-now) history theme week cause it'll provide a lot of good context and whatnot
birth machine

Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension, Tells Dem 'Tough Shit'

Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, single-handedly blocked Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits this month.

As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.

And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Bunning replied: "Tough shit."

Bunning says he doesn't oppose extending benefits -- he just doesn't want the money that's required added to the deficit. He proposes paying for the 30-day extension with stimulus funds. The Senate's GOP leadership did not support him in his objections.

And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.

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Prop 8 exposed! Gays Gone, um, live...maybe... or something

Two articles of note over on Prop8trialtracker. One is the announcement that the closing arguments are coming up and they might be televised. No date has been set for closing arguments yet; The Defense can't argue against this really cause they don't have any witnesses in the courtroom for Teh Gays to attack. But they may not argue this anyway because they won't have any one questioning their um, "experts" and those pesky "facts" so it's not as embarrassing. They can -and probably will - get up there and spout whatever bile they want (like Rodrick Spode on his soapbox.) The other article is about the 294 page summary of how the Plaintiffs see their case. "Findings of Fact...." and what not. It's worth a peek.  I suppose if you're a real law nerd you can google the pdf. It's out there.
Oh and p.s. if anyone is interested in reviewing the trial, I went back and added tags to all the preivious posts o this subject. : ) Just look for "gay marriage"
  Judge Vaughn Walker had postponed the closing argument until after he received a final round of briefs, due Last Friday. I can't find any word on the date yet.

Closing Arguments May Be Televised

February 26, 2010

By Julia Rosen
Judge Walker is proceeding forward to get the closing arguments televised. This is great news for accountability and transparency in the trial. And I’m sure welcome news for our Trial Trackers, for while you all loved all of the liveblogging, it’s just not the same as watching it live on TV.
Despite a rebuff from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bay Area’s federal judges are again proposing to allow cameras in their courtrooms, a plan that could lead to telecasting of closing arguments in a suit challenging California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Given the likelihood that Judge Walker will be active from the bench, peppering the lawyers with questions, the closing arguments are likely to be very interesting and not just a couple lawyers standing and talking for hours on end.
If his court approves the new rule next week, Walker could allow camera coverage of the arguments along the lines of his previous order, subject to approval by Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Telecasting lawyers’ arguments, without witness testimony, might pass muster with the Supreme Court, which hasn’t objected to televised hearings of arguments before the Ninth Circuit.
No witnesses, no real argument against this one and Prop 8’s defenders aren’t saying yet if they will still try and fight it.
Prop. 8’s sponsors, who opposed telecasting the trial, won’t say whether they would challenge the airing of final arguments.
With no specific broadcast plan on the table, “we’re not going to speculate on how we would feel about that,” said Andrew Pugno, lawyer for Protect Marriage, the Prop. 8 campaign committee.
Oh Pugno, we know you have no reason to oppose it now, but you will invent something to try and keep this trial behind closed doors. The question is…will the courts rule in your favor this time?

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Brought to you by those whom forever seek "the tie that binds," sir.
ETA: Here is an  excellent Interview with Ted Olsen and David Boise about the the whole process. on PBS ORG 

TED OLSON: We're not advocating any recognition of a new right. The right to marry is in the Constitution. The Supreme Court's recognized that over and over again. We're talking about whether two individuals who will be -- should be treated equally, under the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The same thing that the Supreme Court did in 1967, which recognized the Constitutional rights of people of different races to marry.

Akuma River

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

Found this pic had to put it here.

Candidates make last sweep before Texas primary
By KELLEY SHANNON, AP Political Writer Kelley Shannon, Ap Political Writer – 36 mins ago

AUSTIN, Texas – With the clock ticking in a rough Republican primary, Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison swept through the urban areas of Texas on Monday seeking votes in their gubernatorial showdown.

GOP activist Debra Medina, a favorite of many tea party voters, is also in Tuesday's contest — a race that could result in a runoff if no one wins a majority. Perry wants an unprecedented third full four-year term; Hutchison argues that he's trying to stay too long; and Medina says she's the best alternative to the establishment candidates.

Perry, the state's longest-running governor, visited Harris County Republican Party headquarters on Monday and told supporters packed into a small room to get themselves and their friends to the polls Tuesday and help him "get this behind us."
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Yes I did make this post solely for that corney statement. So what.
So how many of that 62% is Dems voting in the Repugs to screw with the repugs and how many is Tea Party trying to get Medina in?
Tomorrow is going to be GOOOD.
Akuma River

Discrimination against those with bad credit is possibly about to end

States may ban credit checks on job applicants
By KATHLEEN MILLER, Associated Press Writer Kathleen Miller, Associated Press Writer – Mon Mar 1, 1:42 pm ET

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – It's hard enough to find a job in this economy, and now some people are facing another hurdle: Potential employers are holding their credit histories against them.

Sixty percent of employers recently surveyed by the Society for Human Resources Management said they run credit checks on at least some job applicants, compared with 42 percent in a somewhat similar survey in 2006.

Employers say such checks give them valuable information about an applicant's honesty and sense of responsibility. But lawmakers in at least 16 states from South Carolina to Oregon have proposed outlawing most credit checks, saying the practice traps people in debt because their past financial problems prevent them from finding work.

Wisconsin state Rep. Kim Hixson drafted a bill in his state shortly after hearing from Terry Becker, an auto mechanic who struggled to find work.
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Now I know a lot of us are out of work. And these credit checks MUST be affecting people from getting hired. And in this climate, with people getting hit with medical bills, credit cards racking up the apr and fees, and so forth...this isn't just discrimination this can cost people getting jobs that can save their livelihood and lives.

Btw, Car Insurance now checks your credit history as well. If you have identity theft, credit debt, etc you will pay higher insurance.

I know this is a ridiculous question, but how many of you support the ban?

The District is back!

Newsweek's "The District" is back with Episode 10!

This "series" is my guilty pleasure. I liked the last season better though, the theme song was catchy and it just flowed better. Too much Jersey Shore in this episode.
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