April 1st, 2010
TOLUCA, Mexico – A disabled 4-year-old girl whose disappearance last week sparked an outpouring of sympathy across Mexico was found dead in her own bedroom days later. Prosecutors said Wednesday the girl was asphyxiated and her mother is a suspect.
The shocking discovery of the lifeless Paulette Gebara Farah under the mattress of her own bed at her wealthy parents' apartment left prosecutors struggling to explain how multiple searches could have been conducted without the body being found.
Investigators weren't even looking for the girl in the apartment on the outskirts of Mexico City when they found her body late Tuesday, but were searching for suitcases or other family possessions that might have been missing or moved.
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Gitmo Detainees Collecting Food Donations For Haiti, Says Lawyer
Gitmo detainees have been collecting unopened containers of food and beverages to give to victims of Haiti's earthquake, according to a lawyer for one of the detainees.
Lawyer Allison Lefrak told Time Magazine's Swampland blog what her client, detainee Ravil Mingazov, told her about the detainees' efforts.
"What our client was telling us is it seems so wasteful for all this food to be thrown away and with the Haiti relief mission next door it was common sense to ask to give it to them," Lefrak told me in a phone call today. Apparently, even unopened food and beverages are discarded. So far the camp guards have not been facilitating the donations, so they're starting to pile up, she added.Lefrak told Swampland that she hopes the story is told so that people understand that not all detainees are "just a bunch of terrorists" and that they "have hearts too."
Lefrak's client Ravil Mingazov is a 42-year-old Russian citizen who has been held at Guantanamo for almost eight years. He is accused of traveling to Afghanistan to train with a terrorist group from Uzbekistan. According to U.S. documents he was arrested at a "safehouse" in Pakistan. Mingazov's habeas corpus hearing is in two weeks, Swampland reports.
Google has acquired a company that has created a new process for highly efficient isotope separation, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources. The primary use of this technology, say experts we’ve spoken with, is uranium enrichment.
Enriched uranium is a necessary ingredient in the creation of nuclear energy, and one source we’ve spoken with at Google says that this is part of the Google Green Initiative. The company will use the new technology to enable it to design and possibly build small, mobile and highly efficient nuclear power generators. “Google has already begun building an enrichment plant,” says a high ranking IAEA source.
As GreenBeat points out, “Google finally decided to launch a dedicated unit of the company for designing and building its own solar panels, wind turbines, energy efficiency devices, etc. So far, its green efforts have been pursued by separate projects within the company. Nuclear is an obvious next step for the company.”
GreenBeat first broke the story (first titled Google Has A Big Alternate Energy Announcement Forthcoming) after seeing multiple tweets about the impending announcement.
But other sources we’ve spoken with say Google has no real intention of pursuing nuclear energy, despite the fact that the company has promoted the use of alternate energy sources for years.
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It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists' emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.
"I don't think we're yet evolved to the point where we're clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change," said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. "The inertia of humans is so huge that you can't really do anything meaningful."
One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."
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NEW DELHI — India began counting its billion-plus population Thursday, with 2.5 million census-takers fanning out across the country to photograph and fingerprint citizens for a new a database that will be used to issue its first national identity cards.
President Pratibha Patil joined the start of the 11-month exercise at her pink sandstone palace, which became the first household to be listed in the first phase of the census known as "house-listing."
Over the next six months, census-takers, or "enumerators," will travel across more than 630,000 villages and over 5,000 cities in the country to visit every structure that serves as a home to put together the national database.
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I think the right-wing nuts here would throw an absolute shit fit at being photographed, fingerprinted, and given a national id card for every person who lives in the nation.
Btw, I heard on the news that there is a real movement in, I think it was Florida, to document all the homeless in efforts to get more aid for the area. This is actually being recommended by the census in order to give an accurate acount who lives where, even the homeless.
Prince William has taken up a request put to him by Aboriginal elders in Redfern during his recent visit to Sydney to return the missing skull. The prince was deeply moved by the story.
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New England floodwaters recede, but danger remains
By ERIC TUCKER and PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press Writers Eric Tucker And Pat Eaton-robb, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 27 mins ago
WEST WARWICK, R.I. – Stacey Marcure thought she and her family had survived the worst of flooding two weeks ago, when no more than 5 inches of water seeped into her basement. Then she woke to a fresh burst of heavy flooding spurred by record-setting rainfall that caused havoc in this former mill town and much of the Northeast.
Her family made it out safely Tuesday morning, though her husband had to be rescued by boat after he returned to raise valuables to the top floor. Now she's staying with relatives, unsure what will become of possessions such as her daughter's first communion dress — or the home that had been in her family for 70 years.
"It's definitely not going to be livable, at least not for a while," said Marcure, 38, a teacher's assistant.
The rains stopped Wednesday and the floodwaters began to recede in hard-hit Rhode Island, though what the governor called the worst flooding in 200 years could persist for several days and permanently close businesses already struggling in the weak economy.
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I'm kinda shocked no one has posted anything about how horrible the flooding has been. I wonder if this means that the 'Lousianna purchase' amendment to the Health Care Bill will now be applied to Rhode Island.
I wonder what the Tea Party folk think about federal aid for disasters? Bootstraps? Or since it effects everyone, including them, it doesn't count as the federal government stepping on the states' toes?
Btw, this summer is going to be hell. Expect HIGH temperatures, tornadoes and massive amounts of rainfall. Texas has been told to prepare for flooding.
In an audacious new election strategy, Labour is set to embrace Gordon Brown's reputation for anger and physical aggression, presenting the prime minister as a hard man, unafraid of confrontation, who is willing to take on David Cameron in "a bare-knuckle fistfight for the future of Britain", the Guardian has learned.
Following months of allegations about Brown's explosive outbursts and bullying, Downing Street will seize the initiative this week with a national billboard campaign portraying him as "a sort of Dirty Harry figure", in the words of a senior aide. One poster shows a glowering Brown alongside the caption "Step outside, posh boy," while another asks "Do you want some of this?"
Brown aides had worried that his reputation for volatility might torpedo Labour's hopes of re-election, but recent internal polls suggest that, on the contrary, stories of Brown's testosterone-fuelled eruptions have been almost entirely responsible for a recent recovery in the party's popularity. As a result, the aide said, Labour was "going all in", staking the election on the hope that voters will be drawn to an alpha-male personality who "is prepared to pummel, punch or even headbutt the British economy into a new era of jobs and prosperity".
Strategists are even understood to be considering engineering a high-profile incident of violence on the campaign trail, and are in urgent consultations on the matter with John Prescott, whose public image improved in 2001 after he punched an egg-throwing protester.
Possible confrontations under discussion include pushing Andrew Marr out of the way while passing him on a staircase, or thumping the back of Jeremy Paxman's chair so hard that he flinches in shock.
One tactic being discussed involves provoking a physical confrontation at one of the three ground-breaking TV debates between the candidates. In this scenario, Brown, instead of responding to a point made by Cameron, would walk over from his microphone with an exaggerated silent display of self-control, bring his face to within an inch of the Tory leader's, and in a subdued voice, ask "what did you just say?", before delivering a single well-aimed blow to his opponent's face, followed by a headlock if required.
The bloodied and bruised Cameron could then be whisked to a nearby hospital, where a previously briefed team of doctors and nurses would demonstrate the efficiency and compassion of the NHS under a Labour government.
Saatchi & Saatchi, the agency behind the poster campaign, are also considering reworked posters from classic movies, casting Brown as The Gordfather, the Terminator, and "Mr Brown" from Reservoir Dogs, or perhaps linking him to Omar Little, the merciless killer in the TV series The Wire, in order to burnish the prime minister's "gangsta" credentials. Another set of designs appropriates the current Conservative anti-Brown poster campaign, employing adapted slogans such as: "I took billions from pensions. Wanna make something of it?"
The Brown team has been buoyed by focus group results suggesting that an outbreak of physical fighting during the campaign, preferably involving bloodshed and broken limbs, could re-engage an electorate increasingly apathetic about politics. They also hope they can exploit the so-called "Putin effect", and are said to be exploring opportunities for Brown to be photographed killing a wild animal, though advisers have recommended that weather, and other considerations, mean Brown should not remove his shirt.
Labour further hopes to "harness the power of internet folksourcing", the aide explained, encouraging supporters to design their own posters, which could then be showcased online. The "design your own poster" initiative has caught the imagination of Downing Street strategists, the aide said, because it is cheap, fosters engagement among voters and, above all, nothing could possibly go wrong with it.
For their part, Conservative strategists are said to be troubled by internal research suggesting that several members of the shadow cabinet – including Cameron and George Osborne – would in fact not "come here and say that" if challenged by Brown, instead turning pale and running away, or arranging for an older brother to wait outside the Houses of Parliament to attack him when he is least expecting it.
Completely kosher and not the slightest bit made up Source: The Guardian
By Roger Ebert on April 1, 2010
Do the schoolbook publishers of America have standards? Courage? Ethics? In what sense do they stand behind their product? For "product" they sometimes produce, and not textbooks in the traditional sense. I ask these questions for a reason.
Right-wingers from Texas will be deciding what will be added and taken out of the textbooks of America's school children. They form the majority of the 15-member Texas State Board of Education. They believe current textbooks are slanted toward a liberal viewpoint, and that discussion of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, which one member describes as "hooey," wrongly excludes a consideration of Creationism.
"Teaching the controversy" about Evolution versus Creationism is of course the Wedge Strategy of the Discovery Institute, a fundamentalist think tank in Dallas. Having failed in the courts to get Creationism into schools as a legitimate area of science, they created a "controversy" about the most thoroughly confirmed theory in the history of science. Now the Texas Schoolbookers are using the strategy to make openings for other political beliefs dear to the Right.
Well, what's wrong with that? Left and Right work together to create American history, after all, in the open marketplace of ideas. True. But how do you feel about Ralph Nader being taken out history books and Newt Gingrich being added? The Confederacy seen in more positive terms? Or that the Texas board's review panel doubts that such "minority figures" as Cesar Chavez, Justice Thurgood Marshall and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. need to be included.
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I, for one, am quite concerned that a board of 15 randomly elected Texans should have any kind of influence over what is included or excluded from educational textbooks that are used around the country. As has been stated many times in recent weeks, you're entitled to your own opinions.....you are NOT entitled to your own facts.
Published: Thursday, Apr. 1, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 1, 2010 - 8:00 am
GOP guv-hopeful Meg Whitman is offering up copies of her policy manuscript – even to those who can't accept it.
That would be the 48-page, picture-packed glossy policy book, we mean plan, or better yet magazine (to use the campaign's latest terminology) that lays out Whitman's priorities for running the state.
She's touting her plan in her latest TV spot (the second statewide media buy the campaign has launched this week) and announced that she has mailed two copies of the plan to each of the 1,400 or so public libraries across the state.
"I encourage the libraries to display my magazine in their periodicals section so voters can gain a clear understanding of how I will govern, if elected in November," Whitman said in a statement.
But Sactosphere readers perusing the local public library won't find a copy. The Sacramento Public Library won't be posting the publication, says public information coordinator Don Burns, who said this is the first time in his 18 years on the job that he's heard of a candidate asking to put campaign materials on display at the library.
The decision isn't personal, it's policy, said Burns, who pointed to page 134 of the Sacramento Public Libraries Public Services Manual. The regulation, on the books since 1993, reads: "Partisan politics with mention of a specific candidate and religious notices of any kind are prohibited."
As for other libraries, a California Library Association representative said she didn't know of any laws prohibiting political speech from being put on display, and that it would likely be up to individual branches to craft their own policy on the matter.
If a library has a shelf FOR campaign literature, well, I guess fair enough. But NOT with real periodicals, thank you. There's already enough blurring of the lines between genuine journalism and ads, entertainment, etc.
During such reports, the so-called journalist involved acts like demonstrations of this sort are somehow new and have taken on inflammatory rhetoric never before seen in this country.
To disprove such blatantly bad reporting, conservative writer Evan Coyne Maloney has put together a marvelous video and essay chronicling some of the protests of the previous decade, and what some attendees were saying and carrying in their hands (video embedded below the fold, vulgarity alert, h/t Power Line)
Not too long ago, taking to the streets to protest your government was considered a patriotic act.
But it seems that publicly airing your grievances stopped being patriotic right around noon on January 20th, 2009.
Once President Obama was sworn in, protesting became incitement to violence.
If you've opened up a newspaper or watched a cable news program in the past week or so, you've probably seen members of the media painting Tea Party activists as dangerous bigots. That's because disagreeing with President Obama on issues like government spending and high taxes makes you a racist, you see.
What's interesting about the media's latest freak-out is that there were radicals a-plenty under President Bush. They protested in the streets. They talked openly about revolution and killing. But oddly, the violent imagery used by people claiming to be advocates for peace never registered with the media. They were too busy fawning over Cindy Sheehan.
Why the difference in coverage? Did the media cheerlead the protests against President Bush to hurt him politically? Are they trying to marginalize the increasingly powerful Tea Party movement because they favor President Obama's agenda?
One thing's for sure: If there is such a thing as dangerous rhetoric, then the media is at least one president too late in reporting the story.
Bravo, Evan. Bravo!
Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/03/31/video-highlights-media-hypocrisy-concerning-rightwing-hate-speech#ixzz0jrivn3lk
Not a fan of bush or obama, but I'm getting tired of seeing this on both sides. You guys are being pitted against each other.
Google to leave Australia over 'evil' filter
By Liam Tung, ZDNet.com.au
Google will close its Australian operations, effectively blacklisting the country in response to the Federal Government's "evil" plan to filter the internet.
ZDNet.com.au has confirmed that the search engine giant will close its doors on Australia for good, effective immediately, marking the end of four years of its operation here and a long-running battle with the government over its plan to filter the internet.
Known for changing its famous logo to commemorate special occasions, Google's Australian site this morning featured a somewhat blunt statement on how the company viewed its place in the local market (see screenshot).
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For the first time in 44 years, Newark, N.J., has not recorded a single homicide during a full calendar month, The Star-Ledger reports.
The last homicide occurred 32 days ago, besting a 1966 record, says Police Director Garry McCarthy, who is now eyeing a 50-year record of 43 murder-free days.
While many factors are involved, the statistics reflect an aggressive effort by Mayor Cory Booker to lower the crime rate.
Booker applauded the murder-free month on his Facebook page.
The Star-Ledger also notes that the murder rate for the quarter is the second best since 1941 and says major crime rates for shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies and carjacking are also down for the first quarter compared with 2009.
A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.
The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment's vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.
Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his 'time machine power unit', a device that resembled a kitchen blender.
Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. "Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it ever happening."
This isn't the first time time-travel has been blamed for mishaps at the LHC. Last year, the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya and Danish string-theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen put forward the hypothesis that the Higgs boson was so "abhorrent" that it somehow caused a ripple in time that prevented its own discovery.
Professor Brian Cox, a former CERN physicist and full-time rock'n'roll TV scientist, was sympathetic to Mr Cole. "Bless him, he sounds harmless enough. At least he didn't mention bloody black holes."
Mr Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered.
Terry Lakin: Army Officer Joins Birthers, Defies Orders
Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, an Army physician, has refused to obey any orders from his commanding officers -- including President Obama -- until Obama produces his birth certificate.
"Any reasonable person looking critically at the evidence currently in the public domain would have questions about President Obama's claim to be a natural born citizen," Lakin says in the below video released the right-wing American Patriot Foundation. "I will disobey my orders to deploy [to Afghanistan] because I, and I believe all servicemen and women and the American people, deserve the truth about President Obama's constitutional eligibility to the office of the presidency and the commander in chief."
Lakin says this marks the first time during his 18 years in the Army that he has chosen to disobey "what I believe are illegal orders." Evidently he didn't feel the need to personally verify the citizenship of his three previous commanders-in-chief.
Published: March 31, 2010
WASHINGTON — In proposing a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development, President Obama set out to fashion a carefully balanced plan that would attract bipartisan support for climate and energy legislation while increasing production of domestic oil.
It is not clear that the plan announced Wednesday will do either.
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To quote Rachel Maddow last night: What the hell is Obama getting for this, just one of his many compromises with Republicans? They are still treating him like a Marxist emperor whose every decision is horrible for Americans. They are obviously determined to make every issue a petty political game in order to win the government back like some kind of coked-out paintball tournament, so why not let that inner liberal shine? Go big or go home.
Geography teacher Zeljka Raguz begins an impromptu test for her final-year students.
The high school is in southern Bosnia, but her questions have a rather different geographical focus.
"What are the main cities in Croatia?" she asks.
"Which European country has the largest Croatian community? Are there many Croats in Africa?"
She calls the Croatian war of the 1990s "the war for our homeland".
The dozen or so students in the class at Stolac High School are Bosnian Croats, who learn the Croatian curriculum and attend school in the morning.
Bosniaks - Bosnian Muslims - are taught on their own at the same school, but in an afternoon shift.
The system, known as "two schools under one roof" was introduced in 2003, replacing a previous set-up in which different ethnic groups were often taught in separate establishments.
Intended only as a temporary measure, it was an attempt to allow families who returned after the war to educate their children in proper facilities.
But more than 50 schools in Bosnia remain divided today.
The parliament of the Bosniak-Croat Federation - one of the two semi-autonomous entities making up post-war Bosnia, and the part where the Bosniaks are concentrated - recently adopted a resolution to establish multi-ethnic schools.
But many local municipal authorities are unwilling to make the change.
"It's not good for our future, but that's how it is," says Marija Blatnjak, an 18-year-old Bosnian Croat student.
"You can see that the different students don't communicate," she says. "That will be a big problem for our country because we learn to be separated."
As the Croat shift ends, a bell signals when the waiting Bosniak students can enter the building.
They pass under a Croatian flag, which hangs over the doorway. Eighteen-year-old Bosniak Emin Isakovic tells me he, too, has reservations about the system.
"If we were together at school, we'd be able to understand and get to know each other," he says.
"As it is, we can't form our own opinions about others. We have to solve the school separation issue before we can start to tackle other problems here."
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I saw the report on BBC America last night and I found it fascinating. Here's the video version of the report. Also, an interesting pdf from last year that covers the same school.
Oh, Republican National Committee, this is just not your week, is it? Hard on the heels of Monday's nonsense with the bondage-themed Young Eagles sexytime nightclub jaunt, news is breaking of a mailer the RNC sent out that includes a phone number directing callers to a phone sex line.
Politico's Jonathan Martin has the story:
A voter in Minnesota received the mailer and called the number intending to complain about the attempt to raise money with a form that looks like a government document.
But the Minnesotan was instead directed to a second toll-free number that greets callers as "sexy guy" before offering them the chance to talk with "real local students, housewives and working girls from all over the country."
The individual then forwarded the mail piece to the voter's congressman, a Democrat, who shared it with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The problem was a typographic error, in which "1-800" was included instead of the correct, and decidedly unsexy, "1-202." Honest mistake! We've all been there.
Of course, it seems like an oddly fitting thing to happen to the RNC given the shenanigans they were trying to pull with this mailer. That Minnesota voter's complaint? It had to do with the fact that this was one of the RNC's "census" mailers, fundraising asks that are dolled up to look like official census forms. This was another one of Michael Steele's stupid ideas that nobody liked. Last month, House Republicans made their opinion on these mailers known:
170 Republicans voted to ban the RNC letters, and Issa and Chaffetz blasted Steele's tactics in a recent committee hearing on the matter. "I have seen the Republican Party send out documents that say 'census.' I think it's wrong, I think it's deceptive, and I wish they wouldn't do it," Chaffetz said. Steele recently defended the mailers, saying, "If it's against the law, I won't [send them]. Until such time, this is an aggressive fundraising season."
So, the story here, I guess, is we have some measure of karmic backlash against a terrible idea that was executed with a minor example of the incompetence we've come to expect from the RNC these days.
Source has an audio clip of the alleged sex line that is described as "Definitely treat this as Not Safe For Work, because I doubt that any of you have Michael Steele's inexplicable job security."
The Mad Tea Party
Leftists like to say that another world is possible, but I was never quite sure of that until I started reading tea party websites. There, a government of leftists is not only possible, it's on the cusp of seizing permanent power, having broken American capitalism and replaced it with a socialist state. Down that rabbit hole, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are communists, and "The Left"--which encompasses everyone from the Democratic Leadership Council to Maoist sectarians--is a disciplined and near omnipotent army marching in lockstep to a decades-old master plan for domination called the "Cloward-Piven strategy" or, as of January 20, 2009, "Cloward-Piven government."
What is this plot? According to David Horowitz, who apparently coined the expression, Cloward-Piven is "the strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis." Named after sociologists and antipoverty and voting rights activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who first elucidated it in a May 2, 1966, article for The Nation called "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty," the Cloward-Piven strategy, in Horowitz's words, "seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse." Like a fun-house-mirror version of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine theory, the Cloward-Piven strategy dictates that the left will exploit that crisis to push through unpopular, socialist policies in a totalitarian manner.
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According to officials, the decision to cut the national legislative body was reached during a budget review meeting on Tuesday. After hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the cost of financing U.S. senators far outweighed the benefits they provided.
"Now more than ever, we must eliminate needless spending wherever possible," President Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. "When we sat down to go over our annual budget, we asked ourselves, where can we safely trim back? What programs can we do away with without negatively impacting the American people? Which bloated and ineffective institutions can we no longer justify having around?"
"The answer was obvious," Obama added. "The U.S. Senate just needed to go."
Established in 1789 as a means of overseeing the passage of bills into law, the once-promising senator program has reportedly failed to contribute to the governing of the nation in any significant way since 1964. Last year alone, approximately $450 billion was funneled into the legislative chamber, an amount deemed fiscally unsound considering how few citizens actually benefit in any way from its existence.
In fact, the program has gone unchecked for so long that many in Washington are now unable to recall what purpose U.S. senators were originally meant to serve.
"I'm sure when it was first introduced the U.S. Senate seemed like a worthwhile public service that would aid vast segments of the population and play an important role in the years to come," said Sheila McKenzie, president of the watchdog group the American Center for Responsible Government. "But in reality, this program has been a complete and utter failure."
"It simply doesn't work," she added. "We've been pouring taxpayer dollars into this outdated relic for far too long."
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But rapper-actor LL Cool J says his participation in the show was bogus.
In response, the network has snipped him from the program.
In a Twitter posting late Tuesday, the entertainer wrote that "Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW."
"Real American Stories," which debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT, is hosted by Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, who joined Fox News Channel as a regular contributor in January. The one-hour program is described by Fox News as "the first installment of a new series" that features "real-life tales of overcoming adversity throughout the American landscape."
Fox News says the episode, which was not available for preview, will feature a Marine Medal of Honor recipient "who gave his life to save his comrades" and a wealthy stockbroker who helps underprivileged students pay for college.
Also listed as part of the show are country singer Toby Keith and former General Electric boss Jack Welch, as well as LL Cool J, who appeared among a number of video clips on the "Real American Stories" Web site Wednesday morning before being removed.
"Contrary to what was reported, LL Cool J was never scheduled to be a guest on 'Real American Stories' with Sarah Palin this week," Rhett Usry, the artist's spokesman, said in a statement on Wednesday. "The show had planned to use an interview from 2008 that was being repurposed without LL's permission.
"This statement is not a reflection of any feelings LL has toward Fox News or Ms. Palin, whom he has never met, rather a clarification of what we have seen published in the media."
Fox News Channel did not respond to numerous calls and e-mails from The Associated Press inquiring about the status of the segment with LL Cool J, who was born James Todd Smith.
But in a statement released to other media outlets, the network said: "'Real American Stories' features uplifting tales about overcoming adversity and we believe Mr. Smith's interview fits that criteria. However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others, we are cutting his interview from the special and wish him the best with his fledgling acting career."
Credits for the 42-year-old actor include a starring role in the hit CBS freshman series "NCIS: Los Angeles," as well as several films such as "Last Holiday" and "S.W.A.T."
It is unclear when or if future editions of "Real American Stories" will appear on Fox News. Thursday's airing pre-empts "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."
Palin's ongoing relationship with Fox News Channel as a host and news analyst accounts for only part of her television activities. Last week, the TLC cable network announced "Sarah Palin's Alaska," an eight-part series about Palin's home state that is set to start production this summer.
Normally I wouldn't post Palin news, but I've had a fancy for LL Cool J since Toys. And I'm loving him on NCIS:LA, so OH HALE NO with their little passive aggressive swipe at him and the "fledgling acting career" shit.
Source has a spiffy hat.
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Defiant to the end, an anti-abortion zealot who murdered one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late-term abortions was sentenced Thursday to life in prison and won't be eligible for parole for 50 years - the maximum allowed by law.
Scott Roeder, 52, faced a mandatory life prison term for gunning down Dr. George Tiller in the back of Tiller's Wichita church last May. He showed no remorse during the daylong sentencing hearing and sought to justify his crime by describing abortion procedures in gritty and graphic detail.
"I stopped him so he could not dismember another innocent baby," Roeder said. "Wichita is a far safer place for unborn babies without George Tiller."
Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert had the choice to make Roeder eligible for parole after 25 or 50 years, but said he gave him the harsher sentence because evidence showed Roeder stalked Tiller before killing him. As he was being led away in handcuffs, Roeder shouted, "Blood of babies on your hands."
Wilbert also sentenced Roeder to serve an additional year in prison on each of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers in the melee. Allowing for possible time off those sentences for good behavior, Roeder won't be eligible for parole for 51 years and eight months.
In a rambling statement, Roeder - who at trial testified that he killed Tiller to save unborn children - blamed Tiller's death primarily on the state for not outlawing abortion. He interrupted Wilbert several times as the judge discussed the sentence from the bench. As Wilbert read from a previous court decision saying that allowing vigilantism would promote chaos, Roeder said, "Baby murder is anarchy and chaos."
Forty minutes into his remarks, Wilbert stopped Roeder as he was about to publicly attack District Attorney Nola Foulston.
"It is not a forum for you to get on a soap box for you to give your entire political beliefs," Wilbert told Roeder.
Roeder accused Wilbert of "duplicity" and said his trial was a miscarriage of justice because he wasn't allowed to present testimony about the evils of abortion. He also said God's judgment against the U.S. will "sweep over this land like a prairie wind."
"He will avenge every drop of innocent blood," Roeder said.
Earlier Thursday, Lee Thompson, who was Tiller's friend and attorney and represents the Tiller family, asked Wilbert to give Roeder the harshest sentence possible, saying anything less would encourage other anti-abortion fanatics to follow in Roeder's footsteps.
"It will happen again and again," Thompson said. "This is domestic terrorism. This act will be repeated by this person if he ever sees the light of day again."
Thompson described Tiller as a devoted husband, father and grandfather and a strong believer in women's rights. He said his office still receives calls from women seeking medical services. As he spoke, Tiller's widow Jeanne cried. Roeder at times looked away, yawned and took a drink of water.
"The impact of his death on women throughout the world is like an earthquake," Thompson said. "They ask, where can I go? What will I do?' I have to say, 'I'm sorry, I can't tell you.' That's the impact of this crime."
Foulston argued that the longer sentence was warranted because Roeder stalked Tiller for years. Roeder testified in January that he had previously taken a gun into the doctor's church and had checked out the gated subdivision where Tiller lived and the clinic where he practiced.
Foulston also told the court that Roeder put others at the church in danger when he shot the doctor and when others chased him afterward. In delivering his sentence, Wilbert said that the choice of venue for the killing, a church, made it even more heinous.
Security was tight for the hearing. Law enforcement officers had explosive-detecting dogs sniffing reporters' equipment before the hearing. Four Sedgwick County sheriff's deputies were on duty outside the courtroom Thursday, along with several agents from both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
GOP congressman calls out conservatives pushing ‘blatant misinformation’ about the Census.
For over a year, many on the right have led a smear campaign against the Census, potentially undermining the constitutionally mandated decennial count. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) led the charge, making outlandish claims about internment camps and proudly declaring in June that she would not fill her form, in violation of federal law. Meanwhile, right-wing talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh urged listeners to not fully complete their forms, with Beck warning that answering the race question would somehow “increase slavery.” Today, in a post on the conservative blog Red State, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC) called out this “blatant misinformation” and urged all Americans to complete the Census, as it is our “Constitutional duty”:
No, what worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives. They are trying to do the right thing, but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms. [...]McHenry mentioned the startling news that some of the most Republican counties in Texas have had some of the lowest Census return rates in the country, implying that conservative fear mongering is to blame. He also noted that the race question has been asked since 1790, so suggesting “that this question or others like it make this year’s census unconstitutional is absurd.” And in a thinly veiled rebuke of Beck, Limbaugh, and Bachmann, McHenry wrote that “calls to only partially fill out census forms…feed a climate of mistrust in the census and need to be refuted.”
Anyone who tells you that this year’s census is unconstitutional and that you are not required to fill out the form completely is flat out wrong. They argue that because this year’s census asks for more than a simple count of how many people live in your home, it is unconstitutional and therefore should not be completely filled out. That argument doesn’t stand up to either history or the Constitution’s text.
Sen. Bennett: ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions Have Nothing Whatever To Do With Clean Air’
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, under the stipulations in the Clean Air Act. Last month, the EPA announced that it would phase-in the regulation over several years, starting with the largest sources of emissions. Many — mostly Republican — state legislators have recently introduced measures to block or limit the EPA’s authority to regulate the gases.
Reporting on the state action today on Fox News, host Megyn Kelly went a bit overboard on the EPA mandate and its plan to regulate auto emissions. “A laundry list of new regulations set to increase the cost of nearly everything in America,” she said, adding without any sense of irony: “And that may not be an exaggeration!” Taking the discussion a bit further into right field, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) actually argued that greenhouse gases are helpful:
KELLY: Back in 2007 the United States Supreme Court basically issued a decision saying it was ok for the EPA to start putting its nose into other peoples’ business in this way if it so desired. [...]
BENNETT: Greenhouse gas emissions have absolutely nothing whatever to do with clean air. CO2 does not add to pollutants or cause asthma or any of the other things you think of with dirty air. CO2 is actually a nutrient for plants and helps some parts of the continents grow more and have greater vegetation.
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Boy Scouts Of America Portland, Oregon President Blames Negligent Parents For Sex Abuse
The president of the Boy Scouts council for the Portland metro area has testified he believes the parents of some Scouts were negligent and even criminal for allowing sleepovers that led to sex abuse.
Eugene Grant told a jury in a $29 million sex abuse lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and its Cascade Pacific Council that parents should not have allowed boys to stay overnight with a single man at his apartment.
The man, Timur Dykes, has admitted molesting the victim who filed the lawsuit and has been convicted of other sex abuse dating back to the early 1980s, when Dykes was an assistant Scoutmaster.
During cross-examination by Kelly Clark, an attorney for the victim, Grant said Thursday it was not Boy Scouts policy to allow sleepovers, especially when they were unsupervised.
"His parents should have known better," Grant said, referring to the parents of the victim. "I think it was criminal."
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