April 20th, 2010

Akuma River

420 Day

420 Meaning: The True Story Of How April 20 Became 'Weed Day'

This piece was first published last year on April 20.

Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band guitarist, routinely plays with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, now touring as The Dead. He's just finished a Dead show in Washington, D.C. and gets a pop quiz from the Huffington Post.

Where does 420 come from?

He pauses and thinks, hands on his side. "I don't know the real origin. I know myths and rumors," he says. "I'm really confused about the first time I heard it. It was like a police code for smoking in progress or something. What's the real story?"

Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California. It's the number of active chemicals in marijuana. It's teatime in Holland. It has something to do with Hitler's birthday. It's those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied.
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Akuma River

Until Death Do You Part...but we still won't recognize it in the first place

As a Texan I appologize for our dip-stick sonuvabitch AG. His ass will be fired soon.

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Angelique Naylor stands near the Texas state capital in Austin, Texas Monday April 12, 2010. She had a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, but recieved her divorce in Texas. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the decision. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen)

Gay Divorce? Texas Says No
JAMIE STENGLE | 04/20/10 06:41 AM |

DALLAS — After the joy of a wedding and the adoption of a baby came arguments that couldn't be resolved, leading Angelique Naylor to file for divorce. That left her fighting both the woman she married in Massachusetts and the state of Texas, which says a union granted in a state where same-sex marriage is legal can't be dissolved with a divorce in a state where it's not.

A judge in Austin granted the divorce, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the decision. He also is appealing a divorce granted to a gay couple in Dallas, saying protecting the "traditional definition of marriage" means doing the same for divorce.

A state appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments in the Dallas case on Wednesday.
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Vixen

Black or biracial? Census forces a choice for some

There were 784,764 U.S. residents who described their race as white and black in the last census. But that number didn't include Laura Martin, whose father is black and mother is white.

"I've always just checked black on my form," said Martin, a 29-year-old university employee in Las Vegas. She grew up surrounded by black family and friends, listening to black music and active in black causes — "So I'm black."

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asoneill - Yahoo Me

Dead from the Cute.

No Duckling Left Behind

Some visitors outside the White House had their feathers ruffled today.

No, the Secret Service didn’t have to go Rambo on irate tourists. Several ducklings had trouble maneuvering up a set of concrete steps outside the briefing room.

A camera caught their ordeal on tape. The mother duck would go up one step, then wait patiently as the little ones hopped up and down feverishly, trying to join her. One duckling in particular proved head and tails above the rest.

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But that duckling's siblings are no lame ducks, either. It took a while, but they eventually made it up the steps.

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JakeShears

It's hard out here for a president.

HRC head gets praise, flak for Obama's gay-rights initiatives
By Lonnae O'Neal Parker

Within the community struggling to advance gay rights, there is one thing, and possibly only one thing, that everyone agrees on: President Obama's announcement Thursday mandating hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners and enabling them to make critical health-care decisions was a very good thing.

With that announcement, arguably the administration's most significant expansion of gay rights, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese became the man of the moment. His D.C.-based organization, the nation's largest and most prominent gay rights activist group, had worked closely with the White House on the policy change.

That Solmonese has been given much of the credit for the behind-the-scenes educating, advocating, cajoling and schmoozing it takes to get priorities acted upon in Washington is undisputed.

Whether or not he deserves it is hotly contested.

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Laura Brodie's adventures in home schooling

Before she decided to home-school her 10-year-old daughter, Laura Brodie was skeptical. Home schooling "was a little bit weird," she confesses in her new book, "Love in a Time of Homeschooling" (Harper, $25.99), a practice reserved for conservative Christians and people living off the grid. But in 2005, Brodie, a novelist and visiting professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., found her oldest daughter, Julia, hiding in the closet instead of doing homework. "That, to me, was a sign," she writes, that drastic change was in order.

 

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normal

Emergency News: Sekret Old Lezbian Infiltrated GOP!

Lindsey Graham Gay? Conservative Group ALIPAC Demands Senator 'Admit Homosexuality'

William Gheen, head of the conservative, anti-"amnesty," anti-illegal immigration group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), spoke at a Greenville, S.C. Tea Party rally this weekend and called for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to "come out of that log cabin closet."

According to Gheen, being gay is "a secret that Lindsey Graham has."

Gheen told the crowd: "I hope this secret it isn't being used as leverage over Senator Graham, so today I think Senator Graham, you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality."

"Barney Frank is more honest and brave than you," Gheen continued, referring to the openly-gay Massachusetts congressman.

ALIPAC has posted the video titled "US Senator Graham is Gay" -- and tagged with the keywords "queer" and "fag" -- on YouTube, where various news outlets have covered it.


The group defended itself Monday, and in fact doubled down on calls for Lindsay Graham to admit his homosexuality.

In a statement, ALIPAC alleged that a "brief clip of Gheen's speech, which is out of proper context, has already gone viral on YouTube and been reported by Keith Olberman on MSNBC without proper permissions or attributions."

"US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham's constituents do not," Gheen said in the statement. Though Gheen claimed, both in the statement and at the Tea Party rally, that he does "not care about Graham's private life," he again said that Graham must declare his supposed homsexuality "so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

"I need to figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it," Gheen said over the weekend.

Anonymous rumors of Sen. Graham's supposed homosexuality have swirled around Washington before. In the run-up to Justice Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, Graham asked Sotomayor to explain uncredited comments about her past behavior. A blogger reactd by asking Graham to respond to anonymous speculation that he was gay.
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summer

Wisconsin State Rep. Convicted of 3rd OWI



Portage — State Rep. Jeff Wood was convicted Monday of third-offense drunken driving and possession of drug paraphernalia and sentenced to 45 days in jail and more than $1,600 in fines.

The sentence came a day before members of the Assembly were expected to try to remove him from office for three arrests for driving under the influence in less than a year.

"I'm sorry for what I did and especially for putting people in danger on the highway," the Chippewa Falls independent told the court.

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normal

(no subject)

Obama's Financial Regulatory Reform: Socialism! Government Interference! Unlimited Bailouts! Totalitarian Financial Regime! Armageddon Part II!

Financial Regulatory Reform: Democrats Experiencing Health Care Deja Vu

Republican leadership made it clear on Tuesday that, even if Democrats drop from regulatory reform legislation a suddenly controversial $50 billion fund to help wind down failing banks, they will still denounce the bill for including an unlimited bailout.

The announcement, which came in the form of an email from House Minority Leader John Boehner's office, is yet another indication that the GOP is edging towards a major fight on regulatory reform. And it left Democrats with a queasy feeling of déjà vu. As with health care reform, the White House is telling congressional Democrats not to make too big a fight over a controversial provision. But it remains unclear -- at least to those on the Hill -- exactly what the party is getting in return for backing down.

"The pressure from the White House on the bailout fund is frustrating," said one Senate Democratic aide, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss negotiations. "Why drop a $50 billion fund if [Republicans] are still going to say it is in there?"

The frustration peaked on Tuesday morning when Boehner's office fired out an email insisting that the bill crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) "would empower the federal government to provide Wall Street with permanent bailouts, courtesy of American taxpayers." This would be true, the Ohio Republican said, even if Dodd took out the proposed $50 billion fund to help wind down dying banks, which Republicans have erroneously called a bailout. (As it stands now, no decision has been made on the fund, though multiple Hill sources tell the Huffington Post that the White House is not committed to the provision -- one person said it never was -- and is pressing for its sacrifice.)

Boehner's argument seems specious. His office says that Dodd's bill gives the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation authority to borrow cash from the Treasury for a "resolution fund" that would include 90 percent of the value of assets for too-big-to-fail firms. Left unmentioned, as Dodd's office remarked, is that the money can only be used to wind those firms down -- not to keep them propped up.
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normal

(no subject)

Marco Rubio: "Iranians Will Welcome Israeli Troops with Flowers! They Will be Greeted as Liberators!"

Rubio: ‘I Don’t Think Any Of Us Are Going To Blame Israel’ If They Decide To Attack Iran

Yesterday, a conservative Florida blogger interviewed Republican GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio about “the struggle against Radical Islam and Global Terrorism.” When asked if he would support an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Rubio suggested that he would, saying that an Israeli attack would be justified:

Q: Iran just came out and said that they’ve developed, that they’ve proliferated nuclear weapons or they have the capability of. What if Israel preempted a strike on Iran? Would you support it as a U.S. Senator?

RUBIO: Israel has to do whatever Israel needs to do for their own national security. You would hope the United States, by taking a stronger role, would prevent that from needing to happen. But ultimately, I don’t think any of us are going to blame Israel if they take it upon themselves to ensure that the security and well being of their people is safeguarded.
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Magneto puppet

Even the Dark Lord of the Sith Falls Asleep During Mass



Have you ever nodded off during mass, even for just a second or two? If so, you're not alone and can feel a little better about it knowing that, yep, even the Pope has fallen asleep during mass. Pope Benedict XVI nodded off in front of tens of thousands of people during an outdoor mass in Malta's capital, Valleta.

About halfway through the mass, the Pope slumped forward and had to be roused by the Vatican's master of ceremonies, Bishop Guido Marini, who was sitting next to him. Marini gently nudged the 83-year-old pontiff. An onlooker said "it was just for a few seconds."

The Pope spent just 26 hours in Malta after flying in from Rome on Saturday, but he had a very busy agenda. He met with dignitaries and Malta's president, waved to crowds from the Popemobile, and expressed sorrow to a group of sex abuse victims.

Recent, the Vatican announced that the Pope would not take his usual holiday in northern Italy this summer because officials did not want to over-tax him. He is generally in good health, but takes medication for a cardiovascular condition and last summer he slipped and fell in his bedroom. In December, the Pope decided to conduct Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve two hours earlier than normal to alleviate some of his tiredness.

Source.
dah

Dorothy Height, civil rights activist, dies at 98

Source:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100420/ap_on_re_us/us_obit_height

WASHINGTON – Dorothy Height, the leading female voice of the 1960s civil rights movement and a participant in historic marches with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, died Tuesday. She was 98.

Height, whose activism on behalf of women and minorities dated to the New Deal, led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years. She continued actively speaking out into her 90s, often getting rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was immediately recognized by the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.

She died at Howard University Hospital, where she had been in serious condition for weeks.

In a statement, President Barack Obama called her "the godmother of the civil rights movement" and a hero to Americans.

"Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality ... and served as the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement — witnessing every march and milestone along the way," Obama said.

It was the second death of a major civil rights figure in less than a week. Benjamin L. Hooks, the former longtime head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died Thursday in Memphis at 85.

As a teenager, Height marched in New York's Times Square shouting, "Stop the lynching." In the 1950s and 1960s, she was the leading woman helping King and other activists orchestrate the civil rights movement, often reminding the men heading the movement not to underestimate their women counterparts.

One of Height's sayings was, "If the time is not ripe, we have to ripen the time." She liked to quote 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who said that the three effective ways to fight for justice are to "agitate, agitate, agitate."

Height was on the platform at the Lincoln Memorial, sitting only a few feet from King, when he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech at the March on Washington in 1963.

"He spoke longer than he was supposed to speak," Height recalled in a 1997 Associated Press interview. But after he was done, it was clear King's speech would echo for generations, she said, "because it gripped everybody."

She lamented that the feeling of unity created by the 1963 march had faded, and that the civil rights movement of the 1990s was on the defensive and many black families were still not economically secure.

"We have come a long way, but too many people are not better off," she said. "This is my life's work. It is NOT a job."

When Obama won the presidential election in November 2008, Height told Washington TV station WTTG that she was overwhelmed with emotion.

"People ask me, did I ever dream it would happen, and I said, `If you didn't have the dream, you couldn't have worked on it," she said.

Height became president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1957 and held the post until 1997, when she was 85. She remained chairman of the group.

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 from President Bill Clinton.

To celebrate Height's 90th birthday in March 2002, friends and supporters raised $5 million to enable her organization to pay off the mortgage on its Washington headquarters. The donors included Oprah Winfrey and Don King.

Height was born in Richmond, Va., and the family moved to the Pittsburgh area when she was four. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from New York University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work. (She had been turned away by Barnard College because it already had its quota of two black women.)

In 1937, while she was working at the Harlem YWCA, Height met famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had come to speak at a meeting of Bethune's organization. Height eventually rose to leadership roles in both the council and the YWCA.

The late activist C. DeLores Tucker once called Height an icon to all African-American women.

"I call Rosa Parks the mother of the civil rights movement," Tucker said in 1997. "Dorothy Height is the queen."



Wow. This woman was incredible. I mean, she started being an activist around the time of the New Deal! WOW! Oh, and I couldn't get the video to embed, so please click the source to watch it. You totally need to. Not only does it tell you more about her, but they aren't lying about her hats. YOU MUST SEE THIS WOMAN'S HATS.

A Sorority of Three, and Counting

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

TWO weeks ago in Minneapolis, when Sarah Palin (the half-term Alaska governor) and Michele Bachmann (the Minnesota Republican congresswoman) took the stage to rally support for Ms. Bachmann for the midterm elections, they seemed to draw power from their proximity, like the Wonder Twins in the 1970s cartoons. But with their coordinating outfits — Ms. Palin in a shiny black jacket, glittery cross pendant and Madonna-in-the-’80s pearl strands; Ms. Bachmann in a “Dynasty” -bright yellow jacket — they strongly evoked another retro duo, the stars of the 1997 film “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”

In that movie, Romy and Michele (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, respectively) were supportive, competitive best friends — a self-selected sorority of two. On the road to their 10th high school reunion, they have a spat. “I’m the Mary, and you’re the Rhoda,” Michele blurts. “That’s ridiculous, you’re the Rhoda,” Romy retorts.

But on the triumphal dais in Minnesota, Sarah and Michele (above) shrewdly took turns in the Mary role, and took care to magnify their common ground. Ms. Bachmann first met Ms. Palin in summer 2008, a couple of weeks before Senator John McCain named her his vice-presidential pick. That September, Ms. Bachmann proclaimed Mr. McCain’s choice as “McBrilliant.”

In Minneapolis, Ms. Palin returned the favor, calling Ms. Bachmann “inspiring” and playing to the conservative, pro-Tea Party, largely female audience. Both women adopted a tone that any woman who has ever endured a sorority rush will recognize: aggressive, cheerful, empowered conformity, hostile to idiosyncrasy.

And yet, these G.O.P. B.F.F.’s share an extraordinary — you could even say idiosyncratic — trait with a woman who is not welcome in their club, the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

“You want to talk about a contrast in American women,” Ms. Bachmann said during the last presidential race. “Take a look at Nancy Pelosi, the third most powerful woman” in the United States. The speaker and Ms. Palin, she suggested, were so radically different as to be incomparable.

In reality, though, the three belong to what may be the smallest, most exclusive clique in American politics. The admission requirements are beyond most women, and all men: members must be prominent players in the United States political arena and must have given birth to not one, not two, not three, not even four — but five children, something that presumably gives them more in common than they might like to admit.

What does it say about this country at this moment that, of the small handful of women who have achieved highly visible political roles, three are matriarchs of such very large families? Could it be that the skills of managing sprawling households translate well into holding office? Or that such a remarkable glut of mom cred makes a woman’s bid for external power more palatable to voters? Or are they just related to more voters, which translates into a mysterious edge at the polls?

Whatever forces may be at play, taking a look at present dynamics, any American woman with long-range political ambitions might do well to also look to her nursery.

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Martha

Bogus Pearl Clutching Study Claims Everyone Likes Christian Movies

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Moviegoers in the United States and Canada prefer family friendly, conservative movies with Christian, biblical values. So says a new financial study of Hollywood's major releases by the Christian Film & Television Commission.

"Our comprehensive study also shows that Americans and Canadians reject Hollywood movies with liberal and leftist values, atheist content, and explicit sex and nudity," said Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and chairman of the Commission and Good News Communications, a non-profit advocacy group founded by Dr. Baehr in 1978.

For example, the Commission's comprehensive study of the movies released in 2009 by the major studios in Hollywood shows that conservative, morally uplifting, patriotic movies and movies with strong Pro-American, pro-capitalist, and anti-socialist content, such as THE BLIND SIDE, UP, SHERLOCK HOLMES, MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, NOT EASILY BROKEN, and Director Tyler Perry's I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF, averaged nearly $89.72 million per movie at the box office in the U.S. and Canada as of Feb. 17, 2010, but movies with strong liberal, leftist, atheist, anti-capitalist, radical feminist, pro-socialist, or pro-homosexual content and values, such as Michael Moore's CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY, CREATION (a pro-atheist movie promoting Charles Darwin's discredited theories on evolution), LAND OF THE LOST, BRÜNO, WATHCMEN, and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, averaged only $36.94 million, even if one included the anti-human blockbuster James Cameron's AVATAR.

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SOURCE has a lot more bogus claims

What these guys fail to realize is that the success or failure of a movie has less to do with their issues and a lot more to do with general public reaction, marketing, targeted audience etc. Instead of pissing and moaning about Hollywood's fail, they should go out and make their own stuff. Also their numbers might be bogus, but I'm not a statistics expert.

ETA: Click here for even lulzier Conservative Christian movie analysis!
K-Box cartoon

Attention religious liberals: This is relevant to your interests

Balloon Juice >> A Very Religious Open Thread
by John Cole

I learned today that saying you have no use for religion whatsoever really upsets people. I’ll have to say it more often, then - I have no use for religion, I have no use for religion, I have no use for religion. I couldn’t care less what others believe in, and I’m never going to tell you what to believe in, but apparently that courtesy can not be returned by even our religious liberal friends. I’d also like to repost what Aimai said:

You know what would be really great? If all the fantastic (and they are fantastic) liberal/left Christians would spend five minutes a day writing angry letters to the Christian right wing about how unchristian they are instead of complaining to atheists about how much bad press you all are getting from the overt bad actions of your co-religionists.
As I noted, the reaction from some of you when I said I have no use for religion was so bizarre, you’d think I was raping kids, gay-bashing, trying to force all taxpayers to fund student groups that gay bash, trying to deny vaccines that prevent cancer to girls because they might have sex, helping the spread of AIDS with idiotic anti-condom crusades and failed abstinence only nonsense, denying people the possibility of medical cures because I have some fetish about a semi-meiotic glob of cells, dictating what women can do with their vagina, trying to make people stupid by denying basic science, and so on. All I did was say I want no part in religion. I’m not even putting up a fight over the overwhelming religious influence on my government, because I like the days off at Christmas and Easter and it is nice to see the majority of the country at least pretending to be happy. I even like Christmas carols and Gospel music! And I’m not throwing stuff in people’s faces like PZ Myers and the communion biscuit stuff - but you should really look at the amount of in your face stuff you religious folks push on other people.

I’m not your enemy, and I realize a lot of people find deep meaning and solace in God and your respective religious institutions. I’m just not one of them, and I just want to be left the hell alone. I don’t care what you believe in until you try to force it on me through the government. Then I’m gonna fight back. And what’s more American than that? It’s almost like the very first amendment in our Bill of Rights states just that!

K-Box's editorial note: I think I'm going to repost these words every single time that religious liberals say stupid shit like, "Well, I WOULD support this attempt to bring the leadership of the Catholic Church to justice for sanctioning the molestation of hundreds of thousands of children, but because ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are ALSO supporting it, due to their AGENDA ..." because being an admittedly partisan attention-whore is apparently more morally offensive than MOLESTING CHILDREN.
bill

Okla. lawmakers approve several abortion bills

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate approved several bills Monday that opponents say would make it more difficult or uncomfortable for women to get abortions, including one that would require women seeking the procedures early in their pregnancies to undergo an invasive form of ultrasound.

The five bills, some of which will go to Gov. Brad Henry for consideration and others which will return to the House, were overwhelmingly approved by the Republican-controlled Senate. If given final approval, the bills would give Oklahoma some of the most restrictive laws of any state, an abortion rights group says.

One of the laws headed to the governor would require doctors to use a vaginal probe in cases where it would provide a clearer picture of the fetus than a regular ultrasound. Doctors have said this is usually the case early in pregnancies, when most abortions are done.

 

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I've had that kind of ultrasound before, and it was extraordinarily unpleasant. This bill is horrible.
pique poker

Presidential 'birther bill' advances in [Arizona] state House

The so-called "birther bill" won initial approval from the House of Representatives on Monday, advancing legislation that would require presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate before they can make the ballot in Arizona.

The legislation originated from a fringe group that believes President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible to be president.

Rep. Judy Burges amended Senate Bill 1024 to include a requirement that Arizona's Secretary of State inspect a presidential candidate's birth certificate before that candidate could qualify for the ballot.

Similar laws have been proposed in Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri. None have been signed into law.

Democrats criticized Burges' amendment, saying presidential candidates already had to prove their citizenship before they can run for the office.

"Republicans continue to take Arizona down the wrong track by wasting taxpayers' time on frivolous legislation instead of working on important issues like health care for kids and seniors and education," said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, in a statement.

Burges, a Skull Valley Republican, did not respond to a call for comment.

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett also expressed concern about Burges' amendment, saying that creating state-level eligibility requirements to run for federal office could violate the U.S. Constitution.

"While everyone has an interest in ensuring that only eligible citizens run for president, there are obvious issues with states implementing what could become a patchwork of different tests for a presidential candidate to prove his/her citizenship," said Bennett's spokesman, Matthew Benson, in an e-mail.

The amended bill still needs final approval from the House and will require another vote in the Senate before it can be transmitted to Gov. Jan Brewer.

Source
jailbird

And we know what kind of movements they're tracking

From TPM:

The Georgia state legislature, on top of the latest threats, is holding hearings on a bill to ban implanting people with microchips -- as one rumor suggested the Health Care Reform bill mandated.

But the good folks who run the Judiciary Committee seemed to have gotten a bit more than they reckoned with when one of their hearing witnesses claimed that she had already been implanted with a microchip.

And not just any microchip, but one the Pentagon had implanted in her "vaginal-rectum area", apparently to track her movements.

Presumably part of the Stimulus Bill.


And:


"Microchips are like little beepers," the woman told the committee. "Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission."
Cheers

Bill to prohibit tax dollars for abortion services on governor's desk

Legislation that would prohibit Tennessee tax dollars from being used for abortion services is headed to the governor for his consideration.

The bill sponsored by Senate Republican Caucus Chairwoman Diane Black of Gallatin was approved 27-3 by the Senate Monday evening. It passed the House 70-23 earlier this month.

Sponsors say the federal health care bill allows states to opt out of abortion funding within new insurance plans that they're required to start. They say their proposal makes sure that Tennessee tax money doesn't pay for abortions within those plans.

Gov. Phil Bredesen is expected to review the measure once it reaches his desk.


Source
florence

Hellz yeah! Get it, Argentina <3

Argentina's Last Dictator Gets 25 Years In Prison

Argentina's last dictator was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison Tuesday for torture and illegal detentions committed during the nation's 1976-1983 military regime.

Reynaldo Bignone, 82, shared responsibility in 56 cases involving break-ins, robbery, illegal detentions and torture in one of Argentina's largest torture centers, the Campo de Mayo military base, the tribunal ruled.

"Today is a good day for Argentines," said Estela de Carlotto, president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza Mayo human rights group. "We are in agreement [with the ruling], but a lot remains to be done. There are hundreds more accused."


Bignone was de facto president from 1982 to 1983, but the crimes he was convicted of were committed between 1976 and 1978, when he was second-in-command of the Campo Mayo military base.

In the same ruling Tuesday, five other retired military officers received sentences ranging from 17 to 25 years, while a former police official was absolved.
 
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This is awesome! I'm even more excited that I am visiting you this summer Argentina, when you do awesome things like this.

And if anyone needs any reminding about the US's part in supporting these monstrous motherfuckers,
here's a very classy video of Kissinger palling around with Jorge Videla
misc01

Lawsuit ignites firestorm in gay community against Sonoma County

Thanks to misstitania for posting this in the original post.

Lawsuit ignites firestorm in gay community against Sonoma County



In a lawsuit that has sparked a firestorm within the gay community, a Guerneville man claims that Sonoma County officials prevented him from being with his dying partner of 25 years, forced him into a nursing home and then sold all of the couple’s possessions.

The multi-million dollar suit alleges that Clay Greene, 78, was barred from visiting Harold Scull, 88, as he lay in a Santa Rosa hospital bed in 2008, and that Greene was eventually placed in a Sonoma Valley care facility against his will.

A lawyer for Sonoma County denied the allegations, saying the two men were kept apart as part of a domestic violence case.

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I'm suspicious of the domestic violence allegations, especially since Harold isn't around to confirm. If these people were willing to kick Clay out of his own home and dump him in a nursing home against his will, they would probably be willing to make that story up. The story doesn't mention anything about police, either, and I would think there would be some involvement, even to say that Harold refused to press charges or that they questioned Clay.

Yup... still the nasty party.

Well, not much sign of the "Big Society" here. The Conservatives have just released this new poster, which will go up on 500 sites across Britain tonight.

It's by far the harshest message promoted by the Tories this year and has more in common with Michael Howard's ill-fated 2005 election campaign than with anything we've seen under Cameron's leadership.

It's not the policy as such that's startling (Labour has also pledged to cut benefits for those who refuse work) but the dramatic shift in tone. For Cameron, who spent much of the early part of his leadership "detoxifying" the Conservative Party, it amounts to a huge gamble.

We know from off-the-record briefings that senior Tories have been privately urging Cameron to "dump" his abstract "Big Society" rhetoric and revert to a lean, mean election strategy. It looks like they won.

A well-documented tug of war has been taking place between Cameron's strategy chief, Steve Hilton, and his director of communications, Andy Coulson since the turn of the year.

Hilton, heavily influenced by a spell in California, has consistently urged Cameron to run a positive, hopeful Obama-style campaign. The launch of the "Big Society" marked the apotheosis of this strategy. Conversely, Coulson, the ruthless former tabloid editor, has pressed Cameron to run a fierce, aggressive campaign that relentlessly targets Brown's record. This poster has his fingerprints all over it.

After the launch of this poster, Cameron can be justifiably accused of reverting to a core vote strategy amid the panic caused by the surge in the Lib Dems' poll ratings.

Whether more follow in its wake or not (is immigration next?), Cameron's claim to be a moderniser is looking remarkably thin tonight.

Source: New Statesman

JamesTired

The Tea Party: Populism of the privileged

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

The Tea Party is nothing new. It represents a relatively small minority of Americans on the right end of politics, and it will not determine the outcome of the 2010 elections.

In fact, both major parties stand to lose if they accept the laughable notion that this media-created protest movement is the voice of true populism. Democrats will spend their time chasing votes they will never win. Republicans will turn their party into an angry and narrow redoubt with no hope of building a durable majority.

The news media's incessant focus on the Tea Party is creating a badly distorted picture of what most Americans think and is warping our policy debates. The New York Times and CBS News thus performed a public service last week with a careful study of just who is in the Tea Party movement.

Their findings suggest that the Tea Party is essentially the reappearance of an old anti-government far right that has always been with us and accounts for about one-fifth of the country. The Times reported that Tea Party supporters "tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45." They are also more affluent and better educated than Americans as a whole. This is the populism of the privileged.

And the poll suggested something that white Americans are reluctant to discuss: Part of the anger at President Obama among Tea Partiers does appear to be driven by racial concerns.

Saying this invites immediate denunciations from defenders of those who bring guns to rallies, threaten violence to "take our country back," and mouth old slogans about states' rights and the Confederacy. So let's be clear: Opposition to the president is driven by many factors that have nothing to do with race. But race is definitely part of what's going on.

The poll asked: "In recent years, do you think too much has been made of the problems facing black people, too little has been made, or is it about right?" Twenty-eight percent of all Americans -- and just 19 percent of those who are not Tea Party loyalists -- answered "too much." But among Tea Party supporters, the figure is 52 percent, almost three times the proportion of the rest of the country. A quarter of Tea Partiers say that the Obama administration's policies favor blacks over whites, compared with only 11 percent in the country as a whole.

So race is part of this picture, as is a tendency of Tea Party enthusiasts to side with the better-off against the poor. This puts them at odds with most Americans. The poll found that while only 38 percent of all Americans said that "providing government benefits to poor people encourages them to remain poor," 73 percent of Tea Party partisans believed this. Among all Americans, 50 percent agreed that "the federal government should spend money to create jobs, even if it means increasing the budget deficit." Only 17 percent of Tea Party supporters took this view.

Asked about raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year to provide health care for the uninsured, 54 percent of Americans favored doing so vs. only 17 percent of Tea Party backers.

This must be the first "populist" movement driven by a television network: Sixty-three percent of the Tea Party folks say they most watch Fox News "for information about politics and current events," compared with 23 percent of the country as a whole.

The right-wing fifth of America deserves news coverage like everyone else, and Fox is perfectly free to pander to its viewers. What makes no sense is allowing a sliver of opinion to dominate the media and distort our political discourse.

Democrats face problems not from right-wingers who have never voted for them but from a lack of energy among their own supporters and from dispirited independents and moderates who look to government to solve problems but have little confidence in its ability to deliver.

A Pew Research Center study released Sunday is thus a better guide than the Tea Party's rants to the real nature of this nation's discontent. It found that only 22 percent of Americans say they can trust the government almost always or most of the time, "among the lowest measures in more than half a century." This mistrust extends beyond government to banks, financial institutions and large corporations.

So, yes, there is authentic populist anger out there. But you won't find much of it at the tea parties.

Source

Hanifah Tough

GA seeks to steal the crazypants crown from AZ

Georgians worried about having miniature computer circuits inserted into their bodies without their consent can rest a little easier now that their state lawmakers have taken action.

The state Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday for legislation that would prohibit involuntary implantation of microchips in any body part.

“By passing this bill, we are sending the message that Georgia is committed to upholding its citizens’ constitutional rights and protection of their person,” the bill's author, Sen. Chip Pearson (R-Dawsonville), said in a written statement. He said technology is moving fast and “we must be careful that it doesn’t come at the harm of citizens. The benefits of a microchip that can be internally implanted are also available in many external forms.”

The Senate voted 47-2 in favor of the bill.

The Internet is awash with rumors about the government inserting microchips into people's heads without their consent or knowledge. This bill would prohibit that.Collapse )

Best reason to vote Lib Dem yet. C:

Nick Clegg's rise could lock Murdoch and the media elite out of UK politics

I doubt if Rupert Murdoch watched the election debate last week. His focus is very firmly on the United States, especially his resurgent Wall Street Journal. But if he did, there would have been one man totally unknown to him. One man utterly beyond the tentacles of any of his family, his editors or his advisers. That man is Nick Clegg.

Make no mistake, if the Liberal Democrats actually won the election – or held the balance of power – it would be the first time in decades that Murdoch was locked out of British politics. In so many ways, a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote against Murdoch and the media elite.

I can say this with some authority because in my five years editing the Sun I did not once meet a Lib Dem leader, even though I met Tony Blair, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith on countless occasions. (Full disclosure: I have since met Nick Clegg.)

I remember in my first year asking if we staffed the Liberal Democrat conference. I was interested because as a student I'd been a founder member of the SDP. I was told we did not. We did not send a single reporter for fear of encouraging them.

So while we sent a team of five, plus assorted senior staff, to both the Tory and Labour conferences, we sent nobody to the Lib Dems. And while successive News International chiefs have held parties at both those conferences, they have never to my knowledge even attended a Lib Dem conference.

It gets even worse. While it would be wrong to say the Lib Dems were banned from Murdoch's papers (indeed, the Times has a good record in this area), I would say from personal experience that they are often banned – except where the news is critical. They are the invisible party, purposely edged off the paper's pages and ignored. But it is worse than that, because it is not just the Murdoch press that is guilty of this. The fact is that much of the print press in this country is entirely partisan and always has been. All proprietors and editors are part of the "great game". The trick is to ally yourself with the winner and win influence or at least the ear of the prime minister.

The consequence of this has been that the middle party has been ignored, simply because it was assumed it would never win power. After all, why court a powerless party?

 

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Source: Ex-Sun Editor David Yelland @ The Guardian

Labour Rose

IMMIGANTS. I KNEW IT WAS THEM! EVEN WHEN IT WAS THE BEARS, I KNEW IT WAS THEM!

McCain: AZ Bill's Racial Profiling Aspect Is Fine Because Immigrants "Are Intentionally Causing Accidents."

During an episode of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly asked Sen. John McCain if the new Arizona immigration bill would result in racial profiling. In a bizarre argument, McCain retorted: "drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway."



O'REILLY: Now, next week, the governor is going to sign, we believe, a very stringent state law that gives the police in Arizona very, very broad authority to question people. And a lot of people say it's going to be racial profiling. You're going to look for Hispanics, question them, to see if they're here legally or not. And it's just not fair. And you say why?

MCCAIN: I say that the federal responsibilities have not been fulfilled. Therefore, the states are acting -- the state of Arizona is acting and doing what they feel they need to do in light of the fact that the federal government is not fulfilling its fundamental responsibility to secure our borders. Our borders must be secure.

O'REILLY: But what about the racial profiling? You know that's going to happen has to happen.

MCCAIN: I hope -- I would be very sorry that if some of that happens. And I regret it, but I also regret the -- really, it's not just the murder of Robert Krantz. It's the people whose homes and property are being violated. It's the drive-by that -- the drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway. Look, our border is not secured. Our citizens are not safe.

Media Matters.
Reporting

To lighten the mood, some awesome Muslim fashion!

Muslimah fashion is steamrolling across the world, and it looks like Rabia Z is certainly leading the way! On March 20th she showcased her collection at Miami International Fashion Week to applause and a standing ovation from the audience. And what's more, Rabia Z will also be taking part in Pakistan Fashion Week in a few days time!

Here are some exclusive photos from the MIFW show for Hijab Style readers:

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Source


This is a few weeks late, but I thought we could do with gaping at some awesome Muslim fashion after all of the depressing posts of today!
alice rackham illust bendy

the dc council knows what day it is.

D.C. Council unanimously backs medical marijuana in preliminary vote
By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hundreds of chronically ill District residents will be able to buy government-sanctioned marijuana by the end of the year under a measure that was unanimously approved by the D.C. Council on Tuesday.

Without debate, the council authorized five medical marijuana distribution centers throughout the city, a number that could grow to eight in coming years. A patient who has HIV, glaucoma, cancer or a "chronic and lasting disease" will be able to receive a doctor's recommendation to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana in a 30-day period.

Patients would not be allowed to grow marijuana but could buy it from dispensaries that are licensed and regulated by the Department of Health. Underprivileged residents who qualify will be eligible to purchase their drugs free or at reduced cost.


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source
i live in dc and this is fantastic news. happy 4/20, stoners of ontd_p.
flames

Arizona Immigration Law Sparks Uproar

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers approved a sweeping immigration bill Monday intended to ramp up law enforcement efforts even as critics complained it could lead to racial profiling and other abuse.

The state Senate voted 17-11 nearly along party lines to send the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has not taken a position on the measure championed by fellow Republicans. The House approved the bill April 13.

"This bill goes a long way to bringing law and order to the state," said Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, who cited costly services provided to illegal immigrants and the recent slaying of a southeastern Arizona rancher near the U.S.-Mexico border as reasons for the move.

The new measure would be the latest crackdown in Arizona, which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants and is the nation's busiest border crossing point.

Arizona enacted a law in 2005 making human smuggling a state crime and prohibited employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants with a law in 2007.

The latest bill would make it a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document. It also would require police to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally.

Other provisions allow citizen lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.

Republican Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa, who sponsored the bill, said it will take handcuffs off police and put them on violent criminals. "Enough is enough," Pearce said.

U.S. Sen. John McCain on Monday called the bill a "tool that I think needs to be used." His office later said that wasn't an endorsement.
"It's also a commentary on the frustration that our state Legislature has that the federal government has not fulfilled its constitutional responsibilities to secure our borders," the Arizona Republican said.

Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, predicted the legislation would cause chaos by spawning suspicion among neighbors, friends and relatives about who might be in the country illegally.

"Our state will be going completely backward," she said.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund has all but promised a legal challenge if the legislation becomes law.

The organization claims the measure is unconstitutional because the federal government is responsible for immigration enforcement.

"The bill is so vague that it encourages investigation and arrest of people ... who essentially have done nothing wrong but because of their racial profile," said Gladys Limon, an attorney for the Los Angeles-based group.

Mexico's embassy also has voiced concerns about racial profiling.

Arizona law enforcement groups are split on the bill, with a union for Phoenix Police Department officers supporting it and a statewide association of police chiefs opposed.

Calls, e-mails and letters on the bill were running 3-1 in favor, Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said.

Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who is now President Barack Obama's Homeland Security secretary, vetoed similar proposals.

Current law in Arizona and most states doesn't require police to ask about the immigration status of those they encounter, and some police officials say allowing such questions would deter immigrants from cooperating in other investigations.

The bill is regarded as carrying political high stakes for Brewer, who faces challenges from fellow conservatives in the Aug. 24 Republican primary.

If she vetoes it, "she would be crushed in the primary," said Mike Gardner, a business lobbyist and former legislator.

Vincent Picard, a federal Immigration and Customs enforcement spokesman in Phoenix, declined comment on the Arizona legislation and referred a reporter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Washington headquarters.

Agency officials gave only a written statement about Homeland Security immigration policy and refused to speak on the record about the Arizona legislation.

Arizona police use the human smuggling law from time to time to charge suspects.

In Maricopa County, however, more than 1,500 people were convicted under that law, with 85 percent immigrants, not smugglers.

To reduce the economic incentive for immigrants to sneak into the country, Arizona lawmakers also approved a civil law in 2007 that prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

Authorities across Arizona have examined several dozen complaints of employer sanction violations. But in the more than two years since that law took effect, only two cases have been settled with employers admitting to violating the law.


Source

Arizona, what the hell?
dah

Arizonan: Boycott state over immigration bill

Source:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/21/arizonan-boycott-state-over-immigration-bill/

One Arizona congressman called for businesses to boycott his own state, and a Catholic cardinal said the state may be encouraging "German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques" as pushback against Arizona's proposed crackdown on illegal immigrants went into high gear Tuesday.

The bill, which would make being an illegal immigrant a state offense and would make it illegal to knowingly transport or hide an illegal immigrant, has become the latest hot-button litmus test in the immigration issue, dividing members of Congress already sparring over whether to pass a bill legalizing illegal immigrants.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has not said whether she will sign the state measure into law, but U.S. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona Democrat, said businesses should be prepared to retaliate with a boycott if she does.

"Do not do business with the state," Mr. Grijalva said at a press conference on the Capitol grounds in Washington, adding that a boycott would "give economic consequence to a very bad decision."


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Dude, when a state representative is so adamantly against a bill that he calls for a protest of his own state, SOMETHING IS RATHER WRONG WITH THAT BILL.