March 2nd, 2010

Murasaki Shikibu

Since everyone's PS3s all over the world are crapping out today...

Videogames & Violence Go Together Like Cigarettes & Lung Cancer

An Australian TV report on violent games and their impact on the country’s youth uses a quote from a psychologist to claim that the link between violent videogames and youth crime is greater than the connection between smoking and lung cancer.

The Ten News report details recent violent crimes—the slashing of a “young customers” throat at a Kings Cross, Sydney chicken shack and a bouncer who had his face slashed in Melbourne in one “of a string of weapon attacks,” and then attempts to link a perceived rise in violence in violence to games, stating that, “Psychologist say the explosion in youth crime is inextricably linked to violent videogames and other media.

Next to appear, Dr. Wayne Warburton from the Council on Children and the Media, who apparently came up with the lung cancer comparison, as he stated, “It’s much greater than the effect of smoking and lung cancer. There’s a study showing that the average child sees in a childhood, 16,000 murders and 200,000 act of violence."

The Council is calling for an information packet to be mailed to every household in Australia.

Reporter Matt Doran then cites unknown “experts” as saying that the game industry has much to account for, then attempts to lay some of the blame on “Modern Warfare: Call of Duty 2,” a title in which “gamers plot terror attacks against civilians.”

Wrapping up, Doran quotes “psychologists” as saying that “regular exposure to games like these actually rewires a child’s brain, making them more amenable to violence.” He then alludes to a conference on youth violence taking place in Sydney “later this month,” which will feature “the world’s leading researchers.” He added, “Tougher classifications for violent media will be top of the agenda.”

The Council on Children and Media has a section on its website dealing with the R18 Discussion Paper, which it claims came about as “a relentless push by gamers and the industry.” They are against the addition of an R18+ rating category for games and run down their opposition here.

Among their points:

The gaming industry and gamers make much of the supposedly maturing and gender-balanced population who play video games. So what? One can say the same thing about many populations, such as car drivers and alcohol users, without this being an argument for, in effect, making drinking or car driving more easily available to minors.


Happy PS3-Failday, everybody, and remember: Won't somebody think of the children?
Discworld- Teach the Controversy

England changes the prosecution procedure of mercy killings.

Assisted suicide guidelines: family can still face prosecution

Top prosecutor removes exemption for family members from guidelines that give six mitigating factors against prosecution

Family members involved in "mercy killings" will still face criminal charges despite the publication today of new guidelines to clarify the rules on assisted suicide.

After one of the most widespread public consultations ever carried out, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has created six mitigating factors against an individual being prosecuted for assisting the suicide of another.

One of the other key changes is the removal of any reference to the condition of the victim – whether they are terminally ill or near death – as a mitigating factor. Instead, the focus has switched to examine the motivation of a suspect when considering whether to prosecute anyone for assisted suicide.

Starmer made it clear that relatives who actively help a terminally ill individual to die are not covered by the guidelines and individuals could be expected to be charged with murder or manslaughter.

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The fight for assisted suicide has gotten... interesting since Terry Pratchett spoke about his wishes for the Richard Dimbleby lecture- some praising him and the ability to 'die with dignity', others accusing the BBC of 'promoting euthanasia by ignoring rights of disabled'.
Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Israelis prove that size doesn't matter

If sex truly sells, then the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy just boosted tourism in Israel. In conjunction with the Israeli consulate in Canada, CIJA recently released a 54-second spot as part of the "Size Doesn’t Matter" campaign, which aims to entice Canadian university students to visit the Middle Eastern country.

The ad depicts a couple in bed, with the woman looking at the man’s crotch saying she can’t go there because “it’s too small.” The man replies, “I consider this a spot of worship. It may be small, but it’s brought the driest places to life. Baby, this is paradise.” The camera then pans to Israel maps and pocket guides placed strategically on the man’s lower body parts.

The video attempts to promote the more attractive side of Israel, but not everyone seems to be pleased. Jewish blogger Richard Silverstein thinks the ad was made in “bad taste” and says it ignores the cultural complexities any tourist will discover while visiting Israel. He says, “I’m simply flabbergasted that Israel would use the promise of fellatio and cunnilingus to promote itself.”

Writer Neal Ungerleider, who is based in New York but spent a good amount of time in Israel, believes the ad was humorous but completely missed the mark in promoting the country itself. He says, “It is hard to believe even a single viewer will show interest in visiting Israel or have a higher opinion of Israel because of the ad. As even a first year employee at an advertising agency will tell you, associating your country with small genitalia isn’t the smartest move to attract tourism.”

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No death penalty, no shades of grey

Getting rid of the Death Penalty in Australia, for good. The last person to be executed in Australia was in 1967, Ronald Ryan who shot a prison officer.


The Death Penalty Abolition Bill debated in Federal Parliament last week is the most important initiative on the death penalty for decades. If passed, it will block any state attempt to bring back capital punishment. In so doing, the law would be a clear and principled statement that Australia renounces the death penalty now and into the future.

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Church: God grant you health, 'cause we sure ain't paying for teh gay.

Yet another decision by the Catholic Church that demonstrates their all loving faith as inspired by Jesus Christ who said, "treat others as you want those gays to be treated, like they don't exist,"... or something along the lines.

Same-sex marriage leads Catholic Charities to adjust benefits

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 2, 2010; A01

SOURCE Washington Post

Employees at Catholic Charities were told Monday that the social services organization is changing its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of its workers -- the latest fallout from a bitter debate between District officials trying to legalize same-sex marriage and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
Starting Tuesday, Catholic Charities will not offer benefits to spouses of new employees or to spouses of current employees who are not already enrolled in the plan. A letter describing the change in health benefits was e-mailed to employees Monday, two days before same-sex marriage will become legal in the District.
"We looked at all the options and implications," said the charity's president, Edward J. Orzechowski. "This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city's new requirements and remain faithful to the church's teaching."
Catholic Charities, which receives $22 million from the city for social service programs, protested in the run-up to the council's December vote to allow same-sex marriage, saying that it might not be able to continue its contracts with the city, including operating homeless shelters and facilitating city-sponsored adoptions. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes such unions.
After the council voted to legalize gay marriage, Catholic Charities last month transferred its foster-care program -- 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members -- to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families.Collapse )
Lesbian kisses

An anti-terror fatwa goes live

Pakistan-born Muslim leader issues 600-page anti-terror fatwa in London

LONDON - The leader of a global Muslim movement has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, that he calls an absolute condemnation of terrorism.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former Pakistani lawmaker, says the 600-page fatwa bans suicide bombing "without any excuses, any pretexts, or exceptions."

Tahir-ul-Qadri has issued similar, shorter decrees, but Tuesday's event in London was publicized by the Quilliam Foundation, a government-funded anti-extremism think tank and drew strong media attention.

The religious scholar is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran, a worldwide movement that promotes a nonpolitical, tolerant Islam. The group has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, most of them in Pakistan or Pakistanis living in other countries.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


[this is fairly interesting - I know there have been fatwas issues against, say, honor killings, but a 600pg edict against bombings?]
  • Current Mood

US Army-made first-person shooter game is #1 recruiting tool.

'America's Army' Blurs Virtual War, 'Militainment'

America's Army, an online combat game developed by the Pentagon, has helped boost military recruitment. The game's technology is not all that different from the tools used in today's war zones to guide unmanned drones and perform other tasks.

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"One study found that the game had more impact on actual recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined," he says.

With its graphics and compelling storylines, America's Army is just the start of a broader spectrum of something Singer calls "'militainment' — where the military is drawing from entertainment for its tools."

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MSNBC- Does Rachel have to choke


Breitbart confirms he was duped by O'Keefe and the ACORN pimp hoax

It turns out that Andrew Breitbart didn't actually know what was on the ACORN tapes when he helped launch them on his website last year, and used the videos to fuel his oddly personal crusade against the low-income advocacy organization.

That's right -- Breitbart didn't know what was on the tapes. Take a few seconds to let the implications of that confession sink in, and what it means to Breitbart's already dented credibility.

Recall that for months Breitbart personally vouched for the ACORN videos, braying loudly that they could not be ignored and that they represented the unvarnished truth. Breitbart claimed he had told "the truth" every step of the way about the controversial ACORN clips and bragged that "[t]hroughout the ACORN story I applied my conscience to the material."

But now it turns out that Breitbart was fooled by the ACORN pimp hoax and mistakenly assumed, after watching deceptively edited clips from his protégé James O'Keefe, that O'Keefe strolled into ACORN offices wearing the outlandish pimp outfit.

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Anyone surprised?

Cotton balls scattered in front of MU's black culture center

BY Bryan Richardson
COLUMBIA – MU police are conducting an investigation after cotton balls were scattered in front of MU’s Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center early Friday morning.

MU Police Capt. Brian Weimer said it’s too early to say whether the incident would be considered a hate crime.

Talk of the incident spread via text message, Facebook, Twitter and word-of-mouth later in the morning. Many comments on the subject said it was an example of continuing racism.

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Janeway - Side

"It's a topsy-turvy world!" now has new meaning

Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis, NASA Scientist Says
By Alex Morales

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”
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Crooked Source

Half of me is all "woah, cool!" and the other half is D: and imagining ridiculous movie plots.

Yet More Proof That Jason Kenney Is An Asshole

Immigration Minister Kenney nixed gay rights in citizenship guide: documents

By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked any reference to gay rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, The Canadian Press has learned.

Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005.

But Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June. Senior department officials duly cut out the material, but made a last-ditch plea with Kenney in early August to have it reinstated.

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asoneill - Yahoo Me

VA House Passes Concealed Gun Law

RICHMOND -- A bill that allows people to carry concealed handguns into bars has won final legislative passage and heads now to Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell for his expected signature.

Vetoed for years by a Democratic governor, the bill opens the way for people to go armed into places where alcohol is served.

The law forbids those who pack guns from drinking.

The measure passed the House on a 72-27 vote.

Opponents argued that bringing firearms into places of varying degrees of sobriety will come to a tragic end. Supporters say it's a step that allows law-abiding people to defend themselves.



GDI, Virginia. It's going to take exactly one crappy sports game or karoke performance for people to realize what a *SPECTACULARLY SHITTY IDEA* this is. "Defending themselves" my ass. I live in Virginia. I go to bars here. I, for one, don't want to constantly be looking over my shoulder when I should be simply having a good time. I think I'm writing to McDonnell, for all the good it'll do.

Edited to add:
For those curious, here is what I'm sending to Gov. McDonnell beneath the cut.

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Impotent Patriots to Buy Bigger Guns and Viagra

Rich Un-american Elitists To Run For The Molehills

Report: An 'Astonishing' Rise In Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Government Groups

When the Obama administration's Department of Homeland Security released a report this past August raising concern about the rise of "right-wing extremist activity," a debate erupted over whether the findings were politically motivated or based on factual analysis.

A slew of stories of right-wing violence -- from the shooting at the Washington D.C. Holocaust Museum to attacks on IRS buildings -- seem to verify DHS's warnings.
And a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks instances of violent extremism, provides further evidence.

On Tuesday, the SPLC released its quarterly intelligence report, titled "Rage on the Right," in which it charted what officials described as "an astonishing" rise in "nativist extremist" and anti-government "Patriotic" groups. The former, which includes institutions that "go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants," saw its numbers bulge from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 in 2009. The latter saw an even larger explosion in numbers, going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) in 2008 to 512 (including 127 militias) in 2009.

"That is cause for grave concern," the SPLC concludes. "Individuals associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead."
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AIG Lost Less Money Therefore They Deserve a Raise. Viva La Free Market!

AIG Executives Tells Unemployed Crowd To Get a Job as Executives.

AIG Execs May Get Pay Raise (VIDEO)

AIG may have lost $8.87 billion last quarter -- and may be in need of another federal cash infusion -- but some of the company's top executives are set to get new raises, according to Bloomberg's Margaret Brennan.

Pay czar Kenneth Feinberg is reportedly open to negotiating salary changes for the insurance giant's top 25 execs, though the proposed changes would be relatively modest: while some of the executives will reportedly get raises of less than 10%, others will see their salaries slashed -- although by less, Brennan says, than in 2009, when pay was cut by about 91 percent.

The news, which Bloomberg says will be confirmed by the company sometime this month, comes a day after AIG announced the sale of its Asia unit to Prudential for $35.5 billion.

WATCH the full clip:


Tea Party Continues Their Fight For Democracy. Demands Overthrow of Elected Senator.

Patriotic Lawyers Lending a Pro-bono Free Market Hand as Their Patriotic Duty.

Bob Menendez Recall Drive: New Jersey Tea Party Group Seeks To Oust Senator

A Tea Party group is acknowledging that it has little chance of success in ousting a U.S. senator from New Jersey.

But lawyers for the conservative activists argued in a state court Tuesday for the opportunity to have voters recall Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

Lawyer Daniel Silberstein says the group should be allowed to collect the 1.3 million voter signatures it would need to get a recall on the ballot.

New Jersey is one of 18 states that allows voters to recall statewide elected officials. There is no right to recall congressmen or senators under the U.S. Constitution.

Menendez lawyer Marc Elias argued that federal law supersedes the state.

"Tea party" coalitions have formed around the country to speak out against President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
franklin sherman

4.5 SWAT Raids Per Day - Maryland's SWAT transparency bill produces its first disturbing results

Cheye Calvo's July 2008 encounter with a Prince George's County, Maryland, SWAT team is now pretty well-known: After intercepting a package of marijuana at a delivery service warehouse, police completed the delivery, in disguise, to the address on the package. That address belonged to Calvo, who also happened to be the mayor of the small Prince George’s town of Berwyn Heights. When Calvo's mother-in-law brought the package in from the porch, the SWAT team pounced, forcing their way into Calvo's home. By the time the raid was over, Calvo and his mother-in-law had been handcuffed for hours, police realized they'd made a mistake, and Calvo's two black Labradors lay dead on the floor from gunshot wounds.

As a result of this colossal yet not-unprecedented screw-up, plus Calvo's notoriety and persistence, last year Maryland became the first state in the country to make every one of its police departments issue a report on how often and for what purpose they use their SWAT teams. The first reports from the legislation are in, and the results are disturbing.

Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county’s SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George’s County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes. And that's just one county in Maryland. These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war.

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franklin sherman

(no subject)

BOSTON — The man who tried futilely for 10 years to expose the largest Ponzi scheme in history has written a book about his failed crusade.

“No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller” ( is released March 2. Harry Markopolos relives his tragic tale, how he discovered Bernard Madoff was a fraud, how he tried for years to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate, how no one would listen.

Madoff became a national symbol for Wall Street greed. Markopolos, an ordinary-seeming if quirky finance whiz, has been harder to peg. Just why was he the only one to figure it out? Why did he alone try so hard for years to expose the scam? Why didn’t anybody listen?

Markopolos is embarking on a national media tour to tout his book. He’ll be on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” the “Today” show, and a bunch of others. WBUR’s Curt Nickisch got the first radio interview with the man who’s still coming to terms with the fact he’d always been right about Madoff, but it didn’t do any good. Here’s the story.

tons of text:

disney || almost there
  • brecho

women's history month with brecho: day two

Africa is the most poverty ridden continent in earth in no small thanks to imperialism, colonialism and the slave trade. However, I grow weary of the idea that Africans need white people to come and fix all the problems that they've helped create/benefited from. I think it's really important to show that African men and women create organizations to help their communities. Africans are people, and people want to make their world a better place, and they often do. This is one such story of Kenyan women working together to create safer environment to give birth.

Kenyan Mothers Choose Hospitals for Births

When 18-year-old Salma Akéno gave birth earlier this year, she made a choice many other mothers in rural Kenya don’t make—she decided to deliver her first-born in a hospital, not at home.

Now she is encouraging other women to do the same as part of a new “Mothers Club” at the Kendu Bay Sub-district Hospital in western Kenya’s Nyanza province.

The club is the idea of Jane Owaka, the hospital’s chief nursing officer.
Owaka was one of 365 health workers from across the country that completed the six-month Leadership Development Program (LDP), which teaches leadership and management skills and helps to address challenges in health facilities.
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MA Senate Approves Testing for Elderly Drivers, Ban on Texting While Driving

Soon to be a thing of the past? A woman texted while she drove recently in New Hampshire. The Massachusetts Senate today passed a bill that would make it illegal.

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Senate passed a driving safety bill today that would forbid text-messaging from behind the wheel and would impose new mental and physical fitness screening on older drivers who seek to renew their licenses.

Driver safety advocates have been debating both issues for years and today’s action represents the furthest either measure has gotten in the state Legislature. The House passed a similar bill last month. Both bills would also bar teenagers from using cellphones while driving.

But before Governor Deval Patrick can sign either bill into law, the two chambers have to resolve differences in their approaches.

The House bill, in addition to banning text-messaging, would also forbid drivers from using a hand-held cellphone while driving, though hands-free devices would still be legal. The Senate rejected that approach narrowly today, with opponents citing research showing that hand-held devices offer no safety benefit. Those favoring a hands-free requirement said it would be a partway measure to at least minimize distractions.

On the other hand, the Senate bill goes much further in regulating older drivers. It would require a still-undefined mental and physical acuity screening – conducted at a doctor’s office -- for those 75 and older.

The House version would require older drivers to renew licenses in person every five years and pass a vision test in the process.
Currently, drivers of all ages must renew licenses in person every 10 years, with some renewals allowed online.

Both debates have been fierce. Advocates for older drivers, including the AARP, have insisted that driving restrictions should not be age-based, while some brain specialists have cited research showing reflexes tend to slow significantly as drivers age. Opponents say the mental acuity tests favored by the Senate have not been defined or proved effective.

Legislators debated the measures for hours, with many telling personal stories about the discussions they have had with loved ones over when it is time to give up licenses.

“We are not trying to take driver's licenses away from our elderly drivers. We are simply trying to ensure that those who get behind a wheel do so safely,” said Senator Steven A. Baddour, co-chairman of the Legislature's Transportation Committee.

Senator Gale D. Candaras, a Democrat from Wilbraham, condemned the rules for older drivers as discriminatory, saying the law prohibits singling out people because of physical characteristics. "And that includes gray hair and wrinkles," she said.

Governor Deval Patrick has said he supports a bill with strong provisions on both major issues, but has not offered opinions on the specifics from either bill.

Gryffindor corgi

Psychological Profile of the Average Teabagger

Why We Need to Have Empathy for Tea Party

AlterNet / By Michael Bader

If we don't understand how decent, god-fearing, victimized people can come to espouse such dangerous ideologies, we won't be able to fight them effectively.

These Tea Party folks seem to most liberals -- well, to most of us who live in the "reality community," or, as I like to call it, "reality" --- like crazy fuckers.

As a recent New York Times article reports, this hodgepodge of people and groups spout frankly paranoid beliefs as received wisdom, e.g. the Federal Reserve is our enemy and should be abolished; citizens should stock up on ammo, gold; and survival food in anticipation of an impending Civil War; states should "nullify" federal laws and even secede; medical records are being shipped to federal
bureaucrats; the army is seeking "Internment/Resettlement" specialists; and Obama is trying to create crises in order to destroy the economy, convert Interpol into his personal police force and create a New World Order.

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I'm not one hundred percent sure how much I agree with all of this article; however I do believe that the majority of the Tea Party is made of confused and hurting people who have been victimized and militarized by the overwhelming radicalization of the American far right. What are your thoughts on the matter, ontd_p?

Source (sorry for forgetting it upon first submission):
' hey girl hey

We're sold on vanity but that's so see-thru...

Rick Perry, Bill White win Texas primaries for governor


Gov. Rick Perry cruised to a victory tonight in a three-way Republican primary fight, crushing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and setting the stage for a run for a third full term this fall.

Hutchison conceded the race just before 9:30 pm local time with Perry holding a steady 20-plus point lead and just over the 50 percent barrier he needed to avoid a runoff. Debra Medina, an underfunded candidate backed by some within the Tea Party movement, finished a distant third.

"We have fought valiantly for our principals but we did not win," Huchison said in her concession.

On the Democratic side, former Houston Mayor Bill White crushed hair care magnate Farouk Shami to secure his party's nomination for governor.

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KBH ran one of the worst campaigns of my lifetime... what a loss.

Paterson told two female aides to contact alleged domestic violence victim Sherr-una Booker: source

I'm surprised I haven't seen much about this here yet.


Source: NY Daily News

ALBANY - Gov Paterson personally directed two female staffers to reach out to a domestic violence victim who was pointing the finger at his right-hand man.

In the latest damning twist in a mushrooming scandal, Paterson had "multiple" conversations with a state worker who is pals with him and the woman, Sherr-una Booker, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

The worker, Deneane Brown, spoke several times with Booker, who accused top Paterson aide David Johnson of a brutal assault on Halloween night in the couple's Bronx apartment, the source said.

One of the conversations occurred Feb. 7 - a day before Booker was to be back in court to finalize an order of protection against Johnson. Brown asked Booker to call the governor directly.

Booker and Paterson spoke briefly. Booker then skipped her court appearance the next day and the case against Johnson was dismissed.

At Brown's home in Harlem Monday night, a man believed to be her husband said she would not be commenting and that she has a lawyer.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, which first reported the story last night on its Web site, said Paterson also asked his press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, to contact Booker to ask that she publicly describe the episode with Johnson as nonviolent.

Shorenstein, who tried but was unable to reach the woman, also declined to comment Monday night when reached by e-mail.

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