April 25th, 2010

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: April 24, 2010.

A dog looks out of a pouch as gay-rights groups hold a banner with writing in Italian reading "Gays against pedophilia" as they demonstrate in central Rome, Saturday, April 24, 2010. Gay advocacy groups demonstrated in Rome on Saturday in support of the victims of clerical abuse and the Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone's recent comments relating pedophilia to homosexuality.

Gregorio Borgia | AP Photo
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This is awesome

Denver today launches the nation's largest bike-sharing program, distributing 500 bicycles at 50 stations around the city for citizens to use wherever they find them.The B-cycle program mirrors bike-sharing networks in Paris and Montreal, and it'll be followed soon by networks in Boston and Minneapolis. Oh, and Mexico City too, which is launching a 1,114-bike program.

The hope is that people can leave their car at home, take light rail or a bus into the city, and use the bikes to zip around.

Participants can sign up at denver.bcycle.com, where they pay membership and usage fees. A 24-hour membership is $5; seven-day is $20; 30-day is $30; and an annual membership costs $65, with discounts for students and seniors. Rides shorter than 30 minutes are free, and usage fees begin at $1.10 and run up to $65 for a full day (which seems a little stiff), according to The Denver Post.

A nifty feature: The network has a GPS tracking system that lets users see where and how far they biked and also locate nearby bikes.

The project doesn't use local tax dollars -- it'll run off user fees and a $210,000 federal stimulus grant.

My biggest regret about reporting in Copenhagen last December was failing to find time to use the city's famed bike-sharing network. And my favorite social observation about bike-sharing is a problem Rio de Janeiro encountered: people much prefer riding bikes downhill to riding up. I read somewhere that all the bikes ended up at the bottom of hills and had to be trucked back up.  I bet the right payment scheme could solve that problem: charge more for cycling downhill, pay riders a little to return bikes to the uphill stations.

Anyway, props to Denver. Anyone there used B-cycle yet?


I'm not holding out any hope for MY city, but it would be great if this became more widespread.

Politics: Peace Fingers

Obama Administration Considering Range of Options Regarding Arizona Immigration Law -- Including Sui

So what did President Obama mean when -- responding on Friday to Arizona's new immigration law -- he said that he'd "instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation"?

An Obama administration official says it means that officials from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security are looking to see if there are any actions they should take in response to the law -- and "that could mean suing to block the law, but we're a long way from knowing if that's a viable route yet."

Ani: Amazon Warrior

Graham withdraws support for climate legislation, instead focusing on immigration reform

The effort to enact comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year suffered a critical blow Saturday when Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), the key Republican proponent of the bill, withdrew his support because of what he said was a "cynical political" decision by Democrats to advance immigration legislation first.

The move forced the other two authors of the climate and energy bill, Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), to cancel a much-anticipated news conference planned for Monday at which they were to unveil the plan they negotiated with Graham.

Graham, who spent weeks working with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on an immigration measure that will appeal to both parties, wrote in an open letter Saturday to leaders of the climate effort, "Moving forward on immigration -- in this hurried, panicked manner -- is nothing more than a cynical political ploy."

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I don't think it's politics at all - going after immigration is way more risky politically because of the likelihood of failure and losing moderate voters.  I think AZ has forced the Obama administration and the democrats into this.
Ani: Amazon Warrior

Immigration advocacy groups prepare federal lawsuit to challenge Arizona law

PHOENIX -- Arizona's governor is vowing that the state's tough new law targeting illegal immigration will be implemented with no tolerance for racial profiling, but at least two advocacy groups are preparing legal challenges and Mexico is warning that the law could affect cross-border relations.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Friday signed into law a bill that supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona, the nation's busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico and home to an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.

The law requires police to question people about their immigration status -- including asking for identification -- if they suspect that someone is in the country illegally. It has sparked fears among legal immigrants and U.S. citizens that they will be hassled by police because they look Hispanic.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund said it plans to challenge the law, which it said "launches Arizona into a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions."

William Sanchez, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Legal Defense Fund, said his group is preparing a federal lawsuit against Arizona to stop the law from being applied. The group represents 30,000 evangelical churches nationwide, including 300 Latino pastors in Arizona.

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Akuma River

This is your Gulf on Oil - Just say No.


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Exploded Offshore Rig In Gulf Of Mexico Now Leaking 42,000 Gallons Per Day

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard discovered Saturday that oil is leaking from the damaged well that fed a massive rig that exploded this week off Louisiana's coast, while bad weather halted efforts to clean up the mess that threatens the area's fragile marine ecosystem.

For days, the Coast Guard has said no oil appeared to be escaping from the well head on the ocean floor. Rear Adm. Mary Landry said the leak was a new discovery but could have begun when the rig sank on Thursday, two days after the initial explosion.

"We thought what we were dealing with as of yesterday was a surface residual (oil) from the mobile offshore drilling unit," Landry said. "In addition to that is oil emanating from the well. It is a big change from yesterday ... This is a very serious spill, absolutely."

Coast Guard and company officials estimate that as much as 1,000 barrels – or 42,000 gallons – of oil is leaking each day after studying information from remotely operated vehicles and the size of the oil slick surrounding the blast site. The rainbow-colored sheen of oil stretched 20 miles by 20 miles on Saturday – about 25 times larger than it appeared to be a day earlier, Landry said.
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FYI, one of the missing 11 is from my around my area, Yorktown. There was a prayer vigil for him a few days ago. He was a well known high school football player. My mom and most people think the missing 11 died in the explosion (there was actually 2 explosions) or were pinned down by the fire. Either way, we think they died that first day. Or we hope so. It would be god awful for them to die by the rig collapsing into the Gulf.

Btw, the article doesn't mention it but this Oil slick is about 20 miles from some very evironmental senstive areas. There is a bird sanctuary (a piece of land set aside for some endagered birds) and fishing areas.

Austrian president wins re-election, according to projections

Polling stations in Austria have closed, and incumbent President Heinz Fischer is projected to be the winner with 78.7 percent of the vote, according to the ARGE polling institute. Fifty-three percent of the votes have been counted.

The partial results indicate that the anti-immigrant, far-right Party of Freedom's candidate, Barbara Rosenkranz, received 15.8 percent of the vote. Ultraconservative Austrian Christian Party candidate Rudolf Gehring received 5.6 percent.

The other major parties decided not to field candidates for the mainly ceremonial office. Neither the center-right Peoples' Party nor the Greens thought they could defeat Fischer, who enjoyed continuously high popularity ratings during his first six-year-term.

Turnout for the election was low, with just 48.1 percent of voters going to the polls, according to ARGE. That's compared to a 71.6 percent turnout during the last presidential elections in 2004.

Questions over right-wing sympathies

In his campaign, the 71-year-old Fischer presented himself as a calm bridge-builder between Austria's political camps.

He also stressed that the choice was between him, a statesman, and Rosenkranz, whose tainted reputation he said could potentially damage Austria's image abroad.

Rival parties and religious groups have attacked Rosenkranz over her earlier opposition to an existing constitutional law which bans neo-Nazi activities, including Holocaust denial.

The 51-year-old mother of 10 formally retracted her position. Nevertheless, even the chief of Rosenkranz's Party of Freedom later appeared to distance himself from her.

After the vote on Sunday, Rosenkranz said she was "not happy... but generally satisfied" with the result.


Naive Blue Planet Found Talking With Outer Space Strangers: "I Was Promised Space Candy!"

Stephen Hawkings Betrays The Human Race: "I, For One, Welcome Our New
Technologically Superior and Intellectually Advance Extraterrestrial Overlords"

Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals — the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.

One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.

Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
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(no subject)

A Republican newsletter asked for help getting Rep. Betty Sutton "back in in the kitchen" where she belongs. But we're sure it's a joke, just like how we shouldn't get to vote.

The Daily Kos reproduces this gem from a newsletter for the the Medina County (Ohio) Republican Executive Committee: "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and get her back in the kitchen!" Oh, those cards! Sutton supporters are understandably upset, but Medina County GOP Chair Bill Heck says Democrats are just as misogynist, although he can't remember exactly how:

I know Democrats said that kind of thing about Sarah Palin, but maybe the reference to the kitchen wasn't the exact word. It was another sexist female task or location.

We bet Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton is just as thrilled with their little gag as readers were last week with Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Thomas Mitchell's suggestion that we should repeal the 19th amendment because women are too biased to vote.

See, according to Mitchell, his contention that "Men are consistent. Women are fickle and biased" was just a little harmless pot-stirring. But ladies took it way too seriously! He writes,

Just as I had anticipated, and in fact spelled out in a veiled reference in the second paragraph, my posting was judged by almost every commenter and e-mailer, not on any merits or demerits of facts in evidence or syllogism used, but on the basis of my age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, weight, sartorial choices, facial hair, writing ability, mental capacity, sobriety, sanity, political leanings and perversity - the very appellations the politically correct find so jaw-droppingly offensive.

But his description of said "appellations" isn't totally consistent:

Without once addressing the fundamental postulate that men and women are delightfully different, I was called an idiot, an (expletive deleted) moron, an ignorant redneck male chauvinist, a racist, a sexist, a narrow minded and crude douchebag, unsophisticated, ignorant, a flat earther, a fool, a Neanderthal and a misogynist.

Sure, some of these are ad hominem attacks, and some of them are a bit vulgar, but chauvinist, sexist, misogynist, and ignorant, seem pretty well linked to the "merits and demerits" of Mitchell's, er, argument, the latter of which certainly seem to outweigh the former. It's interesting that nobody added "copycat" to the list of digs, because Mitchell's not the first to think repealing women's suffrage is a hilarious idea. If we really wanted to judge Mitchell by extraneous criteria, though, we'd use the "trustworthiness of beards" scale — on which his handlebar 'stache comes up solidly "questionable."

cloak, capas, student, praxe

(no subject)

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, a non-violent military coup against the longest authoritarian regime in Western Europe.

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I thought it interesting enough for the rest of the world :)

Also, for the dear tea partiers who enjoy the tyranny and fascist signs, please listen to a round of "go f*ck yourselves". Thank you, and have a nice freedom day!
Akuma River

Real Aliens more like to be like the V and not like the Vulcans...

Stephen Hawking: Humans Should Fear Aliens
First Posted: 04-25-10 11:19 AM | Updated: 04-25-10 11:33 AM

World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking believes extraterrestrial life almost certainly exists -- and humans should be extremely cautious about interacting with it.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," Hawking says in a new Discovery Channel series called Stephen Hawking's Universe. "The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is "a little too risky". He said: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

Previously, Hawking has argued that humans must colonize space in order to survive and thrive. "Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out," he told Britain's Royal Society in a 2006 speech. "But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe."

Read more about the Discovery special in the UK Times Online, watch video here, or browse through other Hawking videos below at source.

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Guns + airports = bad idea. Guns + airports + presidents = really bad idea.

An Ohio man has been charged after authorities spotted him with a gun in a North Carolina airport parking lot as Air Force One was departing Sunday afternoon.

Joseph McVey, 23, is charged with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor, said Asheville Regional Airport Police Capt. Kevan Smith. Airport police saw McVey get out of a car about 2 p.m. in the rental car return lot and he had a gun, Smith said. He was taken into custody immediately and was being held at the Buncombe County jail.

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Poster comments:

lol at the strobe lights in his car.
stock | road hazard

Picspam: a month of anti/pro-govnt unrest in Thailand.

After nearly a month of protests by Thailand's Red Shirt anti-government movement, the situation in Bangkok has escalated. Though most of the past month's protests have been peaceful, Red Shirt protesters briefly stormed and held the parliament building. In response, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency, giving broader powers to security forces to quell the protests. When the government shut down an opposition TV channel, protesters seized control of a transmission station in the first violent clash of the recent conflict. The Red Shirts are calling for new elections, and are largely supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006.

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