March 14th, 2010

Ace Attorney

Gay Marriage, More Destructive Than Smoking?

The Iowa Family Policy Center, a group that opposes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, released a statement today comparing smoking-related health costs to gay unions.

“The Iowa Legislature outlawed smoking in an effort to improve health and reduce the medical costs that are often passed on to the state,” said Chuck Hurley, president of the group. “The secondhand impacts of certain homosexual acts are arguably more destructive, and potentially more costly to society than smoking.”

He continued: “Homosexual activity is certainly more dangerous for the individuals who engage in it than is smoking.”

Hurley pointed to a report this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that showed gay men have higher rates of HIV and syphilis.

“Because of their (legislators) unwillingness to correct the error of last April’s Iowa Supreme Court opinion, the Iowa Legislature is responsible for sanctioning activities that will lead to dramatically higher rates of HIV and syphilis in Iowa,” Hurley said

The latest information about HIV is more evidence that additional resources are needed for prevention and tests, said Jordan Selha, executive director of the AIDS Project of Central Iowa. Most new transmissions are by people who are unaware of their HIV status, he said.

“Stigma and discrimination only add to the barriers people face in accessing testing, prevention and healthcare services,” Selha said.

* Sauce
You guys, did you know that homosexual activity causes STDs? And, also, that promoting monogamous relationships will only increase the spread of STDs?? And if you get lung cancer, you can blame gay people or something.
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Israelis nab senior Hamas leader

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli forces have arrested a senior Hamas operative they say is responsible for killing more than 70 Israelis in various terrorist attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

Maher U'dda, who had been wanted since the end of the 1990s, was arrested Saturday night in a joint operation by Israeli police and security forces in Ramallah, on the West Bank, the IDF said.

"Pinpoint intelligence information" from the Israel Security Agency led to the arrest, they said.

U'dda, who is in his early 40s, was one of the founders of Hamas in Ramallah and lives in a village northeast of the city, the IDF said.

In the early 1990s, he formed a Hamas cell in his village that abducted and interrogated Palestinians suspected of cooperating with Israel, the IDF said.

The cell demanded weapons as ransom and used them in terrorist attacks, according to the IDF statement.

Palestinian security forces investigated U'dda in 1998 and held him in a prison for several months, the IDF said.

During the Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, U'dda helped organize and manage a Hamas military cell responsible for killing 10 Israelis, the IDF said.

"U'dda's arrest is the final stage of thwarting Hamas' military headquarters in Ramallah, which executed various terror attacks and is responsible for the murder of more than 70 Israelis," the IDF statement said.

Labour Rose

Conservatives Are Bastards, News At Eleven.

Pressure on Tories to name mystery MP who sabotaged anti-poverty bill
Campaigners demand David Cameron identifies member who killed bill protecting developing world from vulture fund bankers

Pressure is growing on David Cameron to identify the mystery Tory MP who deliberately scuppered a landmark anti-poverty bill that could have stopped "vulture" bankers profiteering from the developing world's debt burdens.

Debt campaigners have reacted in fury and disbelief to the killing of the bill and Labour MP Sally Keeble, one of the bill's backers, has accused the Conservatives of "duplicity" by pretending to back the legislation and then sabotaging it at the last minute.

Campaigners are now calling on the leader of the opposition to clarify his view of the bill and asking whether the MP concerned will be identified. The international development secretary, Douglas Alexander, has sent a letter to Cameron demanding an explanation.

The frustration has been compounded by the secrecy surrounding the events in the Commons last night. During the reading, three Tory MPs were seen to huddle together on the benches before one shouted the word "object!", which under parliamentary procedure effectively stopped the bill passing.

Three Conservatives were in the chamber – Christopher Chope, Andrew Robathan and Simon Burns – but none has admitted intervening. The Tory treasury spokesman, David Gauke, who was on the committee that debated the bill, insisted the Conservatives had wanted to see it go through and that the MPs, two of whom are Tory whips, did not have the support of the frontbench. He said he did not know which one had made the objection. "We have our suspicions," he added. "It is a pity. Our view was let's go with the bill but that was not to be. Everyone recognises that this was a rushed process."

But Keeble said that there had been plenty of time to debate the bill, both for two hours in the chamber and at committee stage. "All concerns that had been raised had been dealt with and the bill had been watered down already as a compromise to the Conservatives," she said.

"It's blatantly obvious that this was duplicitous behaviour by the Conservatives whose commitment to international development is deeply suspect. The three men went into a huddle and then no one can see who actually objects. It's disgraceful behaviour."

Nick Dearden, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said: "It is an outrage that one MP has taken it upon himself to effectively kill a bill which has the support of the vast majority of the house. His move will mean many of the poorest countries in the world will continue suffering at the hands of reckless and unethical investors.

"This action has destroyed the hopes of many people across the developing world that we might put an end to the appalling practice of vulture funds."

Vulture funds buy up the debts of poor countries, often at a fraction of their face value, and pursue them through the international courts, in many instances despite agreements by other creditors to give the country debt relief.

Campaigners wanted the legislation to apply retrospectively, because it could help countries such as Liberia, which lost a £13m case in London against two vulture funds late last year. The Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has urged parliament to pass the new law. The scuppering came a day after the former Tanzanian president, Benjamin William Mkapa, backed the bill, saying: "I hope the international community joins hands to put an end to these deplorable activities of the vulture funds." The bill also has the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Andrew Gwynne the Labour MP who proposed the bill, said: "It is staggering the Conservatives are still unwilling to support even the most basic legislation."


Every day the Tories plumb new depths of arseholery. At least Sen. Jim Bunning had the balls to put his face on this kind of bullshit.

Karl Rove Never Promised That Americans Would Bathe In Oil Money. Black Golden Shower Postponed.

Iraq Swears That Oil Money Check Is In The Mail. Declares That Post Office Must Have Lost It.

Rove Falsely Claims Bush Administration Never Said Iraqi Oil Revenue Would Help Pay For War

In his new book and in recent media appearances promoting it, former top Bush aide Karl Rove has been revising the history of the Iraq war, particularly regarding the issue of Saddam Hussien’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rove continued with his Iraq war history revision campaign. Noting that the Bush administration had mishandled the management of the war, host Tom Brokaw mentioned that “the cost of the war skyrocketed almost from the beginning. There was not a sharing of the oil revenue that a lot of people had promised.” But Rove flatly denied that the Bush administration said Iraqi oil revenues would help pay for the war:
ROVE: No, no. Tom with all due respect that was not the policy of our government that we were going to go into Iraq and take their resources in order to pay for the cost of the war. … [T]he suggestion that somehow or another the administration had as its policy, “We’re going to go in to Iraq and take their resource and pay for the war” is not accurate.
Watch it:

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Jon Venables and dangerous dogs have more in common than you think

Animal stories and murders are interesting, but people read about them to be entertained, not because you can infer something important from them

Everyone likes an animal story. They fill up the nooks and crannies of newspapers like socks in a tightly packed suitcase. On TV, they're a grace note between the empathic rage brought on by proper news and the despair induced by the weather.

Ducks that deliver letters, cats that like dogs, chimpanzees that play scrabble, squirrels that conquer assault courses and pandas that refuse to copulate. From the geese saving the capitol, to some chickens murdering a fox last week, they've always raised an eyebrow, albeit over a slightly glazed eye. Like Harry Potter and The One Show, they're what passes for a massive hit in the 21st century: something to which nobody particularly objects.

Why don't we scream "Stop telling me about some donkey that can count! I don't care! It doesn't matter!"? Until donkeys discover calculus or a gerbil finds the Higgs Boson, save it for an episode of Animals Do the Funniest Things, because all any of this really shows is that contact with the weird sophistication of human society can blow an animal's tiny mind. The parrot that squawks the national anthem and the pitbull that savages a toddler are two sides of the same coin of bestial confusion.

This last type of animal story is increasingly common, with more than 100 people admitted to hospital every week after being attacked by dogs, hardly any of which subsequently said "Sausages!" This doesn't surprise me. It seems to me there are more dogs about nowadays, and I don't think that's just an effect of getting older, like shadow chancellors looking younger. I'm convinced dog shit is back to early-80s levels and every street corner seems to have a scrawny teenager idly texting with one hand while a slavering wolf strains on a bit of string from the other.

So last week the government proposed a raft of new measures to deal with the problem, including the notion that every dog owner should have to take out insurance to cover the consequences of their dog attacking someone. That doesn't make me feel any safer. I want dog owners to be thinking: "If my dog bites anyone, I'm for the high jump!" not: "Whatever Killer does, I'm covered." The fact that I'd get a guaranteed cash bonus doesn't make me any keener to be penetrated by a Pedigree Chum-caked fang.
It's insurance against irresponsibility. Where would it end? Adding 20p to the price of every pint of lager to cover your costs in case you glass someone later? Putting 10% on parking fines to deal with any issues arising from traffic wardens being bludgeoned to death? Still, it was the first animal story to arouse my interest since some wag at the BBC website came up with the headline: "Great tits cope well with warming". I clicked on that like a sucker and now I'm a little better informed about the challenges facing the RSPB.

But the news isn't just about informing people of things that matter. It's also about entertainment. That's why they're called stories. Everyone likes a story before bedtime – some are funny, some are sweet, some are scary. Which brings me to Jon Venables.

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Source: David Mitchell @ The Guardian

Karl Rove To Take Family To Annual Waterboarding: Now Fun For The Whole Family!

Waterboarding (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques) Will Become A Proud New American Tradition!

Rove: I'm 'Proud' Of Waterboarding

In an interview with the BBC, Karl Rove declared he is 'proud' of the US's use of harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. The former Bush adviser argued that the techniques helped keep America safe from further terrorist attacks and that they should not ultimately be considered torture.

Rove told the BBC: "I'm proud that we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists and gave us valuable information that allowed us to foil plots such as flying aeroplanes into Heathrow and into London, bringing down aircraft over the Pacific, flying an aeroplane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and other plots."

Regarding the legality of the techniques sanctioned in a series of controversial memos by Bush administration lawyers in 2002, Rove said "They're appropriate, they're in conformity with our international requirements and with US law."

Asked whether he thought waterboarding was torture, Rove said, "No, it's not."

"Yes, I'm proud that we kept the world safer than it was, by the use of these techniques," he said.

President Obama banned the use of waterboarding last year, stating that it was a form of torture and its use a "mistake."

You can watch video of Rove's interview with the BBC here.

(no subject)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Found Standing Outside of The White House's Lawn Under Joe Biden's Window, Holding a Boombox Over His Head While Playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes"

Israel Apology: Netanyahu Expresses Regret Over Settlement Announcement

Israel's prime minister expressed regret Sunday for a crisis with the United States over plans to expand a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, even as American officials played down the apology and called for bold Israeli action to get peace efforts back on track.

With tensions rising, Israel deployed hundreds of police around east Jerusalem's Old City and heavily restricted Palestinian access to the area – the scene of several recent clashes.

Israel's already strained relationship with the U.S. hit a new low last week when the Jewish state announced plans during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden to build 1,600 homes for Israelis in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their capital.

The announcement embarrassed Biden, who quickly condemned the plan, and cast a shadow over upcoming U.S.-mediated peace talks.

In his first public comments on the matter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday that he was sorry about the diplomatic fiasco and had ordered an investigation into the incident. Netanyahu has claimed he had no prior knowledge.

"There was a regrettable incident that was done in all innocence and was hurtful, and which certainly should not have occurred,"
Netanyahu said.

At the same time, he urged his Cabinet "not to get carried away and to calm down" and gave no sign he would scrap the settlement plan.

"We will act according to the vital interests of the state of Israel," he said.

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Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Jesus? by Amy Sullivan

When Glenn Beck told listeners of his radio show on March 2 that they should "run as fast as you can" from any church that preached "social or economic justice" because those were code words for Communism and Nazism, he probably thought he was tweaking a few crunchy religious liberals who didn't listen to the show anyway. Instead he managed to outrage Christians in most mainline Protestant denominations, African-American congregations, Hispanic churches, and Catholics--who first heard the term "social justice" in papal encyclicals and have a little something in their tradition called "Catholic social teaching." (Not to mention the teaching of a certain fellow from Nazareth who was always blathering on about justice...)


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women's history month with brecho: day fourteen

Read this if you need a good type of cry.

In Congo, Women Put Power Behind Rejoicing

BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo (WOMENSENEWS)--The streets here are usually a drab combination of dust and mud. But on International Women's Day, which took place March 8, they were awash in color as thousands of women, dressed in their finest, came to celebrate.

Although this place is often associated with the world's worst rape crisis, women throughout the east, especially in Bukavu and Goma--the provincial capitals of South and North Kivu--use the occasion to show they refuse to let victimization define them.
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MISC - moustache

Poll: Half of Israeli high schoolers oppose equal rights for Arabs

Nearly half of Israel's high school students do not believe that Israeli-Arabs are entitled to the same rights as Jews in Israel, according to the results of a new survey released yesterday. The same poll revealed that more than half the students would deny Arabs the right to be elected to the Knesset.

The survey, which was administered to teenagers at various Israeli high schools, also found that close to half of all respondents - 48 percent - said that they would refuse orders to evacuate outposts and settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Nearly one-third - 31 percent - said they would refuse military service beyond the Green Line.

The complete results of the poll will be presented today during an academic discussion hosted jointly by Tel Aviv University's School of Education and the Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel. The symposium will focus on various aspects of civic education in the country.

"Jewish youth have not internalized basic democratic values," said Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the conference organizers.

The poll was commissioned last month by Maagar Mochot, an Israeli research institution, under the supervision of Prof. Yitzhak Katz. It took a sampling of 536 Jewish and Arab respondents between the ages of 15-18.

The survey sought to gauge youth attitudes toward the State of Israel; their perspective on new immigrants and the state's Arab citizens; and their political stances.

The results paint a picture of youth leaning toward political philosophies that fall outside the mainstream.

In response to the question of whether Arab citizens should be granted rights equal to that of Jews, 49.5 percent answered in the negative. The issue highlighted the deep fault lines separating religious and secular youths, with 82 percent of religious students saying they opposed equal rights for Arabs while just 39 percent of secular students echoed that sentiment.

The secular-religious gap was also present when students were faced with the question of whether Arabs should be eligible to run for office in the Knesset. While 82 percent of those with religious tendencies answered in the negative, 47 percent of secular teens agreed. In total, 56 percent said Arabs should be denied this right altogether.

The survey also delved into the issue of military service and following orders that are deemed politically divisive.

While an overwhelming majority (91 percent) expressed a desire to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, 48 percent said they would not obey an order to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank.

Here, too, researchers note the religious nexus. Of those who would refuse evacuation orders, 81 percent categorize themselves as religious as opposed to 36 percent who are secular.

"This poll shows findings which place a huge warning signal in light of the strengthening trends of extremist views among the youth," said an Education Ministry official.

The survey, which also revealed that a relatively high number of youth plan on voting and that democracy is still the preferred system of government, indicates "a gap between the consensus on formal democracy and the principles of essential democracy, which forbid the denial of rights to the Arab population," the official said.

"The differences in positions between secular and religious youth, which are only growing sharper from a demographic standpoint, need to be of concern to all of us because this will be the face of the state in another 20-30 years," said Bar-Tal. "There is a combination of fundamentalism, nationalism, and racism in the worldview of religious youth."


The rich get richer, the scum get scummier

Edwards Used Nonprofit to Funnel Money to Hunter

A nonprofit group that John Edwards set up to fight poverty paid $124,000 for Web videos and photos to the former Democratic presidential candidate’s mistress, say four lawyers familiar with the payments.


The Center for Promise and Opportunity wrote the previously unreported checks to videographer Rielle Hunter in late 2006, the same year Edwards acknowledged he started a “liaison” with her. (Edwards contended originally that he cut off the relationship that year. He admitted more recently he’s the father of Hunter’s daughter, born in February 2008.) The checks have since been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in North Carolina as part of a sprawling criminal investigation into nearly $1.5 million in payments from various Edwards entities and campaign contributors that were for Hunter’s benefit, say the lawyers, who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing probe.

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I can't believe this bastard. If he'd made it to the primaries we'd have Sarah Palin for VEEP now. I will never forgive him.

Kentucky Welcomes Jim Bunning As a Liberator! Deficit Hawk Will End Socialism!

Jim Bunning In Tears Promises To Make Our Lives an Obstructive Living Hell.

Jim Bunning Gets Cheers At Home In Kentucky

Irascible Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning has been a pariah among his congressional colleagues. Back in the conservative swath of northern Kentucky he calls home, though, he's being heralded as a hero.

Democrats bemoaned Bunning as unsympathetic to down-on-their-luck Americans when he single-handedly held up a $10 billion spending bill that had money for jobless benefits. He's not popular among Republican senators, either – including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky – who worked to dry up the brash lawmaker's fundraising so he'd have no choice but to drop out of his re-election campaign.

Back home, the former major league pitcher and hall-of-famer is known as a budget hawk standing against out-of-control federal spending. Some 400 people paid $60 to $100 each to reserve seats to honor him at a dinner Saturday evening. McConnell was conspicuously absent, but scores of other politicians lavished Bunning with praise.

"Jim Bunning has been right more than he's been wrong," said Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican who thinks of Bunning as his mentor. "And history will show that he, more than anyone else, predicted some of the economic problems we're having now and worked to try to prevent them."

Bunning had been widely considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent heading into this year's elections, and with the GOP trying to retake majority control of the Senate, they encouraged the 78-year-old not to seek a third term. Many feared he couldn't hold the seat against one of the two prominent Democratic candidates, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway.

But given the change in political mood, Alecia Webb-Edgington – who helped organize the dinner – believes Bunning might have been written off too quickly.

"He's incredibly popular," she said. "I truly believe he could have easily won another term."

Grayson, who is running for the Senate seat, called Bunning "a Hall of Famer in baseball, politics and life."
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