April 3rd, 2010

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: April 2, 2010.

The Holy Week is observed by Christians by fasting during this period of time as they gear up for the important feast of Easter. This period of time has immense significance in Christianity as it marks the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ prior to his crucifixion on Good Friday, which is followed by his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

A look at the Holy Week celebrations from around the world [and a few other non-Christian religious festivities going on during the same week]...
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Full Galleries:
the stupid burns

Err...not quite, y'all.

Pope's preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher on Friday likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to "collective violence" suffered by the Jews.

The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday homily with the pope listening in St. Peter's Basilica that a Jewish friend wrote to him to say the accusations remind him of the "more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism."

The 82-year-old pontiff looked weary as he sat near the central altar during the early evening prayer service a few before he was scheduled to take part in a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum which commemorates Christ's suffering before his crucifixion.

Thousands of Holy Week pilgrims were in St. Peter's Square as the church defends itself against accusations that Benedict had a role in covering up sex abuses cases.

The "coincidence" that Passover falls in the same week as Easter celebrations, said Cantalamessa, a Franciscan who offers reflections at Vatican Easter and Advent services, prompted him to think about Jews.

"They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms," the preacher said.

Quoting from the letter from the friend, who wasn't identified by Cantalamessa, the preacher said that he was following '`'with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world.'"

"The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,'" Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.

In the sermon, he referred to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying "unfortunately, not a few elements of the clergy are stained" by the violence." But Cantalamessa said he didn't want to dwell on the abuse of children, saying "there is sufficient talk outside of here."

Benedict didn't speak after the homily, but, in a tired-sounding voice, chanted prayers. He leaned up to remove a red cloth covering a tall crucifix, which was passed to him by an aide. He took off his shoes, knelt and prayed before the cross.


...Yeah, I got nothin'.

D: D: D:

Witnesses in Danger

BUENOS AIRES, Apr 1, 2010 (IPS) - The murder this week of Silvia Suppo, a victim of rape during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina, has fuelled fears for the safety of key witnesses in human rights trials.

Since trials for human rights abuses committed during the de facto regime got underway again five years ago, plaintiffs, judicial employees and especially witnesses have faced threats and intimidation.

One witness, Jorge Julio López, went missing in 2006 shortly after he testified against a former police chief who ended up sentenced to life in prison on charges of genocide.

The Justice Ministry has created a programme to provide protection to 4,500 witnesses in the cases, which were reopened after two amnesty laws that had protected human rights violators were struck down.

But many of the witnesses are torture survivors, and are reluctant to accept police custody or other drastic protective measures like moving away from their homes.

Graciela Rosenblum, head of the Argentine League for the Rights of Man (LADH), told IPS that human rights groups like her own are calling for "a comprehensive strategy involving all three branches of the state" to fight impunity.

"It's not just a problem of protecting witnesses," she stressed. "The trials should move along faster, cases should be combined, new courtrooms should be opened, and measures should be taken to block legal maneuvers aimed at bogging down the trials."

Suppo was initially thought to have been killed during a robbery. But human rights groups and authorities speculate that she may have been killed in order to silence her, as she planned to testify in court again.

The 51-year-old woman was brutally stabbed a number of times Monday in her shop in Rafaela, a city in the eastern province of Santa Fe, and money and merchandise were taken.

In 1977, Suppo was kidnapped at the age of 18 and taken to a provincial police station where she was tortured and raped by her captors. When she became pregnant as a result, she was made to abort.

Her testimony played a key role in the December conviction of six human rights violators in Santa Fe, who were found guilty of torture and kidnapping. One of the six was former federal judge Víctor Brusa, the first judicial employee in Argentina convicted of crimes against humanity, for which he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Two former provincial police officers were also sentenced to 23 years in prison, two former civilian officials to 22 years, and the former prison guard who took Suppo to have an abortion was given a sentence of 19 years, becoming the first woman to be convicted for her participation in the "dirty war" against political dissent.

Suppo was also a witness in other cases of kidnappings committed in 1977, including that of Reinaldo Hammeter, one of the dictatorship's 10,000 to 30,000 victims of forced disappearance (depending on the source of the statistic - the government truth commission or human rights groups). She was scheduled to testify against four people charged in the Hammeter case.

The government's National Human Rights Secretary Eduardo Duhalde and Santa Fe Deputy Governor Gabriela Tessio said that no possible leads should be ruled out.

"The level of brutality was odd, for supposed thieves. It might have been a hired killing made to look like a robbery," Tessio speculated.

Horacio Coutaz, lawyer for one of the victims in the trial against Brusa, told IPS that "it is not prudent" to question the witness protection programme, which might not be responsible in this case. Furthermore, he said, such criticism could generate even greater fear among witnesses.

"In Santa Fe there is a provincial protection programme, and some witnesses accept it partially - not the bodyguards, but other measures," he said.

In his view, "a cautious approach" is needed in the investigation of Suppo's death. But he added that he was surprised by the brutality involved in the killing, of a kind never before seen in the town.

According to the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), a local human rights group, 1,464 people are accused in court of crimes against humanity, and only 68 have been convicted so far, in the trials that got underway since the 1980s amnesty laws were declared unconstitutional in 2005.

CELS called the slow pace of justice "exasperating," and said it contributes to the lack of safety for witnesses and the weak supervision and control of detainees.

With respect to inadequate controls, CELS mentioned the case of former coast guard officer Héctor Febres, who was slipped a lethal dose of cyanide in his cell at a military detention centre in 2007 while awaiting a verdict on charges of torture.

The group also pointed to former army lieutenant colonel Julián Corres, who escaped from a jail in 2008 (although he was later recaptured).

In the view of CELS, the justice system has shown "an incapacity to investigate and clarify threats and intimidations suffered by witnesses and plaintiffs."
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This just shows exactly how far people who committed human rights abuses during the Last Military Dictatorship are willing to go to make sure they don't get punished. Sickening.

New Sign of The Apocalypse: Dan Quayle Is Now The Voice of Reason...

Last Seal is Broken!!!! Oh, F@#K!!

Dan Quayle Warns GOP About Dangers Of The Tea Party

Former Vice President Dan Quayle has a warning for the GOP -- "
don't let the tea party go Perot."

In other words, Quayle is counseling against allowing the Tea Party to form the kind of third party that ended up costing President George H.W. Bush re-election in 1992.

In an Op-Ed to be published in Sunday's Washington Post, Quayle wrote that "[t]he emergence of official Tea Party candidates would be very welcome news in the Obama White House," because it would destroy what he sees as a current certainty that "Republicans will gain mightily" in November.

"All at once, a powerful and energetic counterweight to the Democratic establishment would become a splinter group, destroying the unified opposition it has helped to create," Quayle wrote.

In the Post piece, Quayle advised the GOP to reach out and embrace the Tea Party -- as the Republican Party did with the tax revolt movement in the late 1970's -- an effort that helped them get Ronald Reagan elected to the White House.

Another Un-American Traitor Refuses To Listen To The Will of The People. Kansas Turns Socialist!

Secession Last Hope To Destroy Obamacare and Death Panels

Kansas Attorney General Refuses To Sue Federal Government Over Health Care Reform

Yesterday, Kansas Attorney General Steve Six announced that his office would not be joining other states’ attorneys general in suing the federal government on the allegation that the new health care law is unconstitutional. From his statement:
The attorney general’s office has completed its legal review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Based on that extensive analysis, I do not believe that Kansas can successfully challenge the law. Our review did not reveal any constitutional defects, and thus it would not be legally or fiscally responsible to pursue this litigation. [...]

Legal precedent demonstrates that throughout our nation’s history, the U.S. Supreme Court has been reluctant to overturn legislative acts unless a clear and direct constitutional violation is shown. Article I, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution expressly gives Congress the power to legislate on matters affecting interstate commerce. The Supremacy Clause makes these laws supreme, regardless of any state laws or state constitutional provisions to the contrary. No serious argument may be advanced that the healthcare industry and all those who participate in it — including doctors, nurses, patients and insurers — are not part of interstate commerce. [...]

I do not believe it is in the best interest of Kansas to divert resources from these vital legal matters to pursue a lawsuit driven by political differences and policy debates
, a lawsuit that I believe has little to no chance of success and will squander scarce resources in a time of severe budget shortfalls.
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Why we won't file states' rights suits

The new health care reform law has already become the target of multiple lawsuits, including many filed by public parties.

Some are arguing that the new law is unconstitutional because Congress lacks authority to address the health care issue by mandating coverage and that people have a right to refuse to buy health insurance. Others see it as an affront to their basic freedoms.

As attorneys general for our respective heartland states, we take issue with the constitutional arguments being made against this new legislation. Under long-settled Supreme Court precedents, Congress has ample power under the commerce clause of the Constitution to legislate on health care.

Congress has the authority to regulate anything that affects interstate commerce “among the several States.” This is bolstered by the supremacy clause, which explicitly makes the Constitution and the laws of the United States “the supreme Law of the Land” for all Americans.

For Congress to have the power to pass this legislation, therefore, the health care problem need only affect interstate commerce. It clearly does.
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Shocking News: Al Sharpton Confirms Democrats are Using Wizards To Win Elections!

GOP's Fears Confirmed That Obama is Magic and Haz Used Magical Powers to Seize America!

Al Sharpton: Kirsten Gillibrand Must Have 'Mystical Powers'

Luck or magic? The Rev. Al Sharpton recently said that New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) must have one or the other on her side as a handful of potential primary and general elections challengers have dropped like flies.

"I think Gillibrand either has mystical powers or the best luck I have ever seen in politics,"
Rev. Al Sharpton told the New York Times's Ray Hernandez. "It is amazing."

The lack of any real action against Gillibrand has particularly frustrated Republicans, who view her as a political novice who was appointed by embattled Gov. David Paterson.

But the GOP has so far been unable to find a formidable challenger. Several potential Republican candidates -- including Gov. George E. Pataki, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, billionaire publisher of The Daily News, and former Bush adviser Dan Senor -- have not thrown their hat into the ring. (Several other lesser-known Republicans have launched campaigns).

Democrat Harold Ford, who was seriously considering mounting a primary challenge to Gillibrand, eventually decided against it.

Nevertheless, Gillibrand's own campaign team appears aware of the political realities facing the senator: "She is weak, but she is no pushover," one of her advisers told The Times. "So there's a lot to lose in running against her. Nobody is willing to take the risk."
Murasaki Shikibu

RIP, Mr. Allen

Eugene Allen, White House butler for 8 presidents, dies at 90

Eugene Allen, who endured a harsh and segregated upbringing in his native Virginia and went on to work for eight presidents as a White House butler, died March 31 of renal failure at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. He was 90.

Mr. Allen and his wife, Helene, were profiled in a Washington Post story in 2008 that explored the history of blacks in the White House. The couple were excited about the possibility of Barack Obama's historic election and their opportunity to vote for him. Helene, however, died on the eve of the election, and Mr. Allen went to vote alone. The couple had been married for 65 years.

Afterward, Mr. Allen, who had been living quietly in a simple house off Georgia Avenue NW in the District, experienced a fame that he had only witnessed beforehand. He received a VIP invitation to Obama's swearing-in, where a Marine guard escorted him to his seat. Eyes watering, he watched the first black man take the oath of office of the presidency.

Mr. Allen was besieged with invitations to appear on national TV shows. There were book offers and dozens of speaking requests, all of which he declined. He also received hundreds of letters, some from as far away as Switzerland, from people amazed at the arc of his life and imploring him to hold on while thanking him for his service to the nation. People in his neighborhood would stop him and explain to their children the outlines of his life.

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I remember reading about his wife dying right before they could vote, and Obama sending him a VIP invite to the swearing-in, so this made me really, really sad. ;_;

Also, there's a slideshow of pics and him talking at the source.
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