April 28th, 2010

Nevada Woman Gets Life Sentence for Forcing a 13 year-old to Touch her Breasts

ELKO, Nev. — A Twin Falls woman convicted of forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breasts was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Michelle Lyn Taylor, 34, was convicted of lewdness with a minor under 14 in November after a week-long trial in Elko County, Nev., District Judge Mike Memeo’s courtroom.

With the conviction, Taylor faced a mandatory life sentence, and Memeo set parole eligibility after 10 years, the minimum sentence. If released on parole she must register as a sex offender and will be under lifetime supervision.

The district attorney’s office did not offer a plea agreement in the case, said public defender Alina Kilpatrick, who argued the sentence is unconstitutional and doesn’t fit the crime.

“The jury was not allowed to know the potential sentence in this case and the Legislature doesn’t know the facts,” she said, alluding to the minimum sentence set by the Legislature in Nevada Revised Statute.

Kilpatrick said despite the parole eligibility after 10 years, there should be no mistake that it’s a life sentence for Taylor.

“She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him,” she said.

After he sentenced her, Memeo said he was bound by state statute to impose the life sentence, but said he isn’t sure why the prosecution chose to charge her under that statute.

District Attorney Gary Woodbury could not be reached for comment.

Taylor, who lived in Jackpot, Nev., at the time of the crime, kissed a friend’s child, forced him to touch her breast and asked him to have sex with her in February 2008.

Taylor claimed she was intoxicated and doesn’t remember what happened that night. She told jurors she roughhoused with the boy, but didn’t force him to touch her inappropriately.

Akuma River

Another world wide market panic in the works?


Wake The President
Written by Simon Johnson
April 28, 2010 at 6:39 am

Most days we can coast along, confident that tomorrow will be much like yesterday. On a very few days we need to look hard at the news headlines, click through to read the whole story, and then completely change a large chunk of how we thought the world worked. Today is such a day.

Everything you knew or thought you believed about the European economy – and the eurozone, which lies at its heart – was just ripped up by financial markets and thrown out of the proverbial window.

While you slept, there was a fundamental repricing of risk in financial markets around Europe – we’ll see shortly about the rest of the world. You may see this called a “panic” and the term conveys the emotions involved, but do not be misled – this is not a flash in a pan; financial markets have taken a long hard view at the fiscal and banking realities in Europe. They have also looked long and hard into the eyes – and, they think, the souls – of politicians and policymakers, including in Washington this weekend.

The conclusion: large parts of Europe are no longer “investment grade” – they are more like “emerging markets”, meaning higher yield, more risky, and in the descriptive if overly evocative term: “junk”.
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There is some geniune fear that this will cause a panic in the market like the fall of Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns did. There is also some thought that the U.S. may come to help aid in the bailout of the EU because this will prevent a global panic like we saw two years ago which will in essence wipe out any progress we've made in getting out of our recession.

Right now it is not just Greece that is in trouble, the bond rates for Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland have dropped as well. There is also fear that others of the EU will fall as well. So this is big thing to pay attention to.

The meeting that is taking place right now can determine how this situation goes. Either a world wide market panic...or the beginnings of working this down to manageable levels.

U.S. conference on National Debt is taking place now on www.cspan.org/Watch/C-SPAN3.aspx

B.C. announces ‘toughest’ drunk-driving laws in Canada

Two years ago, four-year-old Alexa Middelaer was killed by an alleged drunk driver as she fed a horse on a road in Delta. Yesterday her mother, Laurel Middelaer, hugged B.C.’s solicitor general and thanked him for a “gutsy” new law to make British Columbia the worst place in the country to get caught driving while impaired.

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Hells. Yes. I love this province sometimes.

Film - The Old Guard

Strict Abortion Measures Enacted in Oklahoma

HOUSTON — The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

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WOW. Where to begin. Never mind the fact that it might be traumatic for a woman to see her rapist's child on an ultrasound or something--the kid might turn out to be Atticus Finch or something!
NY Times

Abortion-rights group sues to block Okla. bill

The Oklahoma Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Brad Henry's veto of two abortion bills, including one that an abortion-rights group has said would be among the nation's strictest measures against the procedure.

The narrow override votes in the Republican-controlled Senate came a day after the state House voted overwhelmingly to do the same, meaning the bills became law immediately. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights quickly filed a lawsuit, however, seeking to block enforcement of one of the statutes.

It requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The person who performs the ultrasound must describe the dimensions of the fetus, whether arms, legs and internal organs are visible and whether the physician can detect cardiac activity. He or she must also turn a screen depicting the images toward the woman so she can see them.

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Risky Sexual Behavior Hits All Sexual Orientations

When it comes to the subject of STDs and unprotected anal sex, gay men are often the target of the conversation. But new research by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suggests that straight people could learn a thing or two about protection from gay men.

More than 100,000 women in NYC have anal sex each year. And unprotected anal sex, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be far more dangerous than other sexual activities. The probability of getting HIV for a receptive partner engaging in sex with someone with HIV is about five times higher for anal sex than vaginal sex.

Yet, only 23 percent of women use condoms during anal sex, compared to 61 percent of gay men. Meanwhile, only 35 percent of women who engaged in unprotected anal sex got tested for HIV, compared to 63 percent of women who use a condom during anal sex. Clearly, many women are not understanding how important it is to use condoms and get tested.

The disappointing lack of education surrounding safe sexual practices involving anal sex is unsurprising. Sex education often focuses on pregnancy and STD transmission through vaginal intercourse, ignoring risks associated with anal sex. Heterosexuals, perhaps unaware of the dangers of unprotected anal sex, consider it a safer alternative since it can't result in pregnancy.

While sex education largely ignores anal sex, it is becoming increasingly popular among heterosexuals. Which means it might be time for sex-ed programs to change and provide adequate education so people can be aware of the risks they take, and engage in sex safely.

source says "No glove,No love"


So basically now they are admitting immigrants are like dogs...

Iowa candidate: Implant microchips into immigrants in country illegally

An Iowa Republican congressional candidate says he supports inserting microchips into illegal immigrants to track their movements, noting that's how he keeps track of his dog.

Speaking at a forum Monday in Toledo, 3rd District Republican candidate Pat Bertroche said police should catch illegal immigrants and document their whereabouts.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that he added, "I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I microchip an illegal?"

Bertroche — one of seven Republicans seeking the nomination to run against Democrat Leonard Boswell — said in a statement Tuesday that his comment was social commentary on how inane the immigration issue has become.

He said using microchips is as radical an idea as suggestions to build a fence across the nation's border with Mexico to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.


The Register posted this on their Facebook page: "He later said his comment was social commentary on how inane the immigration issue has become." Uh-huh...
  • Current Mood
' enough of this shit

Gillibrand haters stay pressed~*

Hot-Air Balloons
For an egocentric mogul (Mort Zuckerman), over-caffeinated TV host (Lou Dobbs, Chris Matthews, Larry Kudlow), or out-of-office politician (Newt Gingrich, Harold Ford), there’s no more satisfying source of media attention than the foreplay of running for office.

Vacillating over a possible presidential run, first for the 1988 election and again in 1992, New York governor Mario Cuomo elevated his indecision to existential drama—“Hamlet on the Hudson” he was called while he kept everyone hanging on, waiting for him to declare yes or no as he wrestled with maybe. Although Cuomo was clearly a man who savored the rich mahogany of his voice as he pondered aloud, his equivocation seemed genuine, fretful—so testified the weary bags under his eyes. He wasn’t just playing hard to get, stringing us along. In recent years, however, we’ve had a boardwalk parade of notables giving us the big tease, basking in the media attention even a brief, flyaway, floppo candidacy brings. (Forbes editor in chief and flat-tax fiend Steve Forbes will forever have “former presidential contender” stapled into his introductions.) They dangle themselves before us, fueled by a strange mixture of room-filling ego and wanting to be wanted, trying to get us so crazed that we’re signing ballot petitions and tucking crisp donations into their beaded thongs.

The elaborate foreplay of contemplating a run for high office gives pundits, cable-TV hosts, and even conceited bloggers (such as neoliberal, knee-jerk counter-intuitivist Mickey Kaus, eyeing Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat from California) the opportunity to preen their opinions even more and practice the false humility of pretending to answer a clamor that is mostly in their heads. Lou Dobbs, the former CNN heavyweight host who frittered away a rock-solid image with intemperate flare-ups and kooky talk about immigrant-borne diseases and Obama’s birth certificate, claimed he was being wooed by prominent nobodies to consider the presidency, then dialed down such speculation. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews toyed with our affections, hinting at a Senate run in Pennsylvania against Arlen Specter, though that fancy seems to have whiffed into smoke. The post–Eliot Spitzer, post–Hillary Clinton disarray in New York State encouraged a spate of alpha males to lace up their racing shoes for a possible sprint at the U.S. Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand, whose freshman status and cream-puff cheeks give the impression of a soft target there for the taking. Up popped Harold Ford, a smooth operator whose knowledge of his adopted state seemed scanty but who knew the best places in town for power breakfasts and manicures.

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Well, that's just lovely.

Somali Islamists al-Shabab 'join al-Qaeda fight'

Somali Islamist rebel group al-Shabab has confirmed for the first time that its fighters are aligned with al-Qaeda's global militant campaign.

The group said in a statement that the "jihad of Horn of Africa must be combined with the international jihad led by the al-Qaeda network".

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(no subject)

GOP Plagiarizes From Dodd's Bill Presents Their Own Alternative Version for Financial Reform But With 30% More Soylent Green!

‘Candid’ Corker Says He Doesn’t Know ‘What The Purpose’ Is Of GOP’s Alternative To Financial Reform

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that aides to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said that Republicans were likely to introduce an alternative financial reform bill as they continued to block Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) bill. “We have been drafting an alternative approach since the very beginning,” said one staff member. “It may come to the point where Republicans decide, ‘Let’s just put out specifically what we’re for.’ That decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Last night, an overview of the GOP’s proposal was released (the draft was not attributed to any individual senator)
. Asked about the proposal on CNBC this morning, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has been negotiating with Democrats on Wall Street regulation, said he didn’t know what the “purpose” of the GOP’s alternative was:

HOST: How hot are you on the Republicans’ alternative proposal?

CORKER: I — look, I’m not sure what the purpose of it is, to be candid. It’s, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it. I think I understand and I think everybody else does that the bill that’s moving is the one that will be on the floor and what is it that we can do to try to get it in a place that we don’t, in the name of driving a message, basically mess up the capital markets in our country that manufacturers and people throughout the heartland of our country use to make great companies.

Corker then suggested that the GOP proposal was just “messaging,” saying, “I try to stay out of the messaging. I try to stay out of the politics of it all.” Watch it:
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[TWW] Donna: She engaged the chicken

Gordon Brown 'bigoted woman' jibe caught on tape.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a "bigoted woman".

Sixty five-year-old Gillian Duffy had challenged Mr Brown on a number of issues including immigration and crime.

As he got into his car, he was still wearing a broadcast microphone and was heard to say "that was a disaster".

Mr Brown later apologised after the tape was played to him as he was interviewed on BBC Radio 2.

After listening to the recording, with his head in his hands, he said: "I do apologise if I've said anything that has been hurtful."

The comments were made after the conversation with Mrs Duffy which ended with him complimenting her and her family.

Off camera, but not realising he still had a Sky News microphone pinned to his shirt, he was head to tell an aide: "That was a disaster - they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It's just ridiculous..."

Asked what she had said, he is heard to reply: "Ugh everything! She's just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it's just ridiculous. I don't know why Sue brought her up towards me."

Mrs Duffy, a widow, said after hearing of Mr Brown's comments: "I'm very upset. He's an educated person. Why has he come out with words like that?

"He's supposed to be leading the country and he's calling an ordinary woman who's come up and asked questions that most people would ask him...It's going to be tax, tax, tax for another 20 years to get out of this national debt, and he's calling me a bigot."

She had earlier told reporters she was a lifelong Labour voter and described Mr Brown as being "very nice."

BBC News Channel chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg said this was "the worst moment of the campaign so far" for the Labour Party. Their tactic of putting him in contact with more "ordinary people" had "gone quite horribly wrong".

Speaking on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show, Mr Brown said: "Of course I apologise if I've said anything that's been offensive and I would never put myself in a position where I would want to say anything like that about a woman I'd met.

"I blame myself for what is done, but you've got to remember that this was me being helpful to the broadcasters, with my microphone on, rushing into the car because I had to get to another appointment and they have chosen to play my private conversation. These things can happen, I apologise profusely to the lady concerned."

Gordon Brown has since telephoned Mrs Duffy to personally apologise for the comments, telling her he was very sorry and said she "is a good woman".

When asked did this in any way make up for the comments she said "no - absolutely not".

The Conservatives said Mr Brown's comments spoke for themselves.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "That's the thing about general elections, they do reveal the truth about people."

Red Sauce

UPDATE: He's since gone to her house to apologise in person.
Update MachII: Video of their original conversation.

Basic error, Gordon, basic. But before I make any snap judgements I want video of what Gillian Duffy said. She challenged him on immigration? Well if she was saying things along the line of, "Close the borders, Britain for the British, Muslims are eeeevil RAH RAH RAH"... I'd be pretty inclined to call her a bigot as well.

Excerpts From Laura Bush's New Book: "I told him not to make gay marriage an issue"

LAURA BUSH’s memoir, “Spoken from the Heart” (Scribner, 456 pages), is officially out Tuesday. $16.20 on Amazon http://amzn.to/bP6eKd The New York Times has published an account based on a copy obtained at a bookstore, freeing POLITICO to report the contents of an embargoed hardback provided by the publisher.

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Hm, it all sounds like a fascinating read.
panda bear

(no subject)

Obama Administration Approves Nation's First-Ever Offshore Wind Farm

The Obama administration has approved what would be the nation's first offshore wind farm, off Cape Cod, inching the U.S. closer to harvesting an untapped domestic energy source the steady breezes blowing along its vast coasts.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision Wednesday in Boston, clearing the way for a 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was in its ninth year of federal review, and Salazar stepped in early this year to bring what he called much-needed resolution to the bitterly contested proposal.

"We are beginning a new direction in our nation's energy future," Salazar said.

But members of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha's Vineyard have vowed to sue to stop Cape Wind from being built, saying it would interfere with sacred rituals and desecrate tribal burial sites. Others opposed to the project on environmental grounds also have said they'll sue.

Salazar said he understood those concerns but had to weigh them against the nation's need for new renewable sources of energy.

Cape Wind says it can generate power by 2012 and aims to eventually supply three-quarters of the power on Cape Cod, which has about 225,000 residents. Cape Wind officials say it will provide green jobs and a reliable domestic energy source, while offshore wind advocates are hoping it can jump-start the U.S. industry.

America's onshore wind industry is the world's largest, but higher upfront costs, tougher technological challenges and environmental concerns have held back the development of offshore wind farms.

Denmark installed the world's first offshore wind turbine 20 years ago. China has built its first commercial wind farm off Shanghai and plans several other projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy envisions offshore wind farms accounting for 4 percent of the country's electric generating capacity by 2030.

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' u in danga ben

so you are the Crist, you're the great Charlie Crist...

Crist to Run as Independent in FL Sen Race

Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided he will run as an independent in the race to fill the Florida U.S. Senate seat, Crist allies tell Fox News. The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday at 5pm ET in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Senate campaign has been rough and tumble for Crist, he was once the front-runner -- but in recent months began trailing his GOP opponent, Florida State Speaker Marco Rubio.

Crist has said that under no circumstance would he drop out of the race, saying he will do what is best for the voters of Florida. The governor says Republicans in Washington want him to stay in the Republican party but voters in Florida have told him they want him to run as an independent.

His campaign and the governor's office have not officially confirmed anything, however this move by Crist has made internal communications difficult because some staff are unlikely to continue to work with Crist as an independent candidate.

The governor is expected to use much of Thursday for courtesy calls to supporters, allies and some Republican officials nationwide. Close advisers expect him to say tomorrow that he looks forward to caucusing with Republicans but that is not a certainty, there are still some issues being worked out and discussed.

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Akuma River

Harry Reid pissed at 3rd cockblock calls for ALL NIGHT SENATE SESSION to work on Finance Reform Bill


Finance bill blocked for third time: Senate may stay in all night

The Senate defeated a second cloture motion on the Finance Regulation bill 56-42. Senate Democratic Leaders said that they may keep the Senate in session all night to discuss Wall Street reform and proceed with another re-vote on moving the bill forward. Meanwhile, Pres. Obama pushes for Wall Street reform on his "White House to Main Street" tour today in Illinois and Missouri.

Video of Sen. Reid & Dodd from Earlier Today

Senate Dems plan all-nighter to push GOP on Wall Street reform
By Alexander Bolton - 04/28/10 12:51 PM ET

Senate Democratic leaders are planning for an all-night session to put more pressure on Republicans to allow a debate on Wall Street reform.

Republican senators voted for the third time in three days on Wednesday to block an effort to bring a reform bill to the floor.

Democratic aides said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to keep the Senate in session overnight to force Republicans to reconsider their opposition to the Democratic legislation.
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So who is up for an all night C-SPAN watch on Financial Reform?

President Obama will be having a press conference at 5pm ET.

C-SPAN 2 has the Senate Channel on it. As soon as the Fiscal Summit is over I'm switching. I'm expecting it to be goood.

S.3217: Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010


Update: Looks like the Repugs recanted. Debates are taking place now and each side adding amendments.

(no subject)


You may recall a story from last Octoberin which Ceara Sturgis, a lesbian senior at Wesson Attendance Center in Jackson, Mississippi, had her yearbook photo rejected by the school because she was wearing a tuxedo.

Sound familiar?

Anyway, the ACLU got involved, demanding that the school include Sturgis' photo. The superintendent said he planned to uphold the ban, citing a 2004 case involving dress codes and senior photos.

So, the yearbooks came out this week. Not only did the school not include Sturgis' photo, they refused to mention her name at all, despite the fact that she had attended there for 12 years.

Said Sturgi's mom Veronica Rodriguez: "They didn't even put her name in it. I was so furious when she told me about it. Ceara started crying and I told her to suck it up. Is that not pathetic for them to do that? Yet again, they have crapped on her and made her feel alienated. It's like she's nobody there, even though she's gone to school there for 12 years. They mentioned none of her accolades, even though she's one of the smartest students there with wonderful grades. They've got kids in the book that have been busted for drugs. There's even a picture of one of the seniors who dropped out of school. I don't get it. Ceara is a top student. Why would they do this to her?"

Seems obvious. Because she's a lesbian.

And we're now well-versed in how some Mississippi schools treat lesbians.

Here's some info, via slog: "Time for an accountability moment: the website for the Wesson Attendance Center is here. Ronald Greer is WAC's principal and you can email him at rdgreer@copiah.k12.ms.us. Oscar Hawkins is WAC's high school principal and you can email him at ohawkins@copiah.k12.ms.us. The school's phone number is (601) 643-2221. The school's fax number is (601) 643-2458."


update to the story I posted earlier

GOP candidate’s call to microchip immigrants draws backlash
Bertroche says his comment was a social commentary
By Jason Hancock 4/28/10 7:53 AM

A Republican candidate for congress in Iowa’s 3rd District calling for microchips to be installed in immigrants in the country illegally is “absolutely appalling” and counter to everything Iowa stands for, several immigrants rights advocates told The Iowa Independent Tuesday.

Discussing immigration policy on Monday, Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician and candidate for congress, told a Republican forum in Tama County, “I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal? That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under.”

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Oh, and this one just came out 23 minutes ago:

GOP candidate continues to take heat for his ‘microchip an illegal’ comment
By Jason Hancock 4/28/10 2:00 PM

Third District Republican Congressional candidate Pat Bertroche tried one more time Wednesday to explain his comment from earlier this week where he advocated “microchipping” immigrants in the country illegally, this time during an interview with The Des Moines Register.

According to Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich, Bertroche said he was trying to poke fun at some of the ideas out there.

“I ended my statement earlier than I should have.”

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Good. I hope he continues to get raked over the coals for this one. I mean, really? Why the fuck would you even SAY that in a public forum unless you wanted to commit political suicide?
  • Current Mood
    embarrassed for my state

Not Cool Chavez. Not Cool At All.

Venezuela's Chavez Tightens Grip On Judiciary

In a move that has drawn criticism as an attack on judicial independence in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has jailed a criminal court judge. Her transgression, critics of Chavez say, was straying too far from what the government wants.

Human-rights groups say the independent-minded judge, Maria Lourdes Afiuni, was jailed on trumped-up corruption charges after she allowed the release of a former banker who had once benefited from his ties to the government.

Just 15 minutes after her ruling on Dec. 10, intelligence agents stormed Afiuni's court, arresting her and her entire staff.

In a televised speech the following day, Chavez said Afiuni, 46, deserved a maximum 30-year jail sentence "in the name of the dignity of the country."

Chavez, elected to office in 1998, is known to his opponents for his increasingly authoritarian rule and his vocal opposition to U.S. foreign policy.

Sitting in a tiny cell in an overcrowded women's prison near the capital, Caracas, Afiuni told NPR she knew the ruling she handed down might anger the president, and she doesn't hold out much hope that she will be freed.

She was arrested Dec. 10 after granting a conditional release to Eligio Cedeno. The former banker had been held for nearly three years without a hearing. He was accused of evading currency controls.


Suggesting that Afiuni had been bribed, prosecutors accused her of corruption and abuse of office for having freed Cedeno. The state has yet to present evidence against the judge.

Afiuni was rounded up by the national intelligence service, along with her court bailiffs, clerks and secretaries.

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I rail against Pinochet and other Latin American right wing dictators all the time, but that doesn't mean I'm a fan of dictators and quasi-dictators on the left like Chavez. One can dislike all types of dictatorship. Sucks that not many people (both on the left and on the right) understand that.

She-Wolf to visit Arizona; Speak out agasint 1070

Sorry mods if this is already posted. got this press release yesteday and was literally shaking and crying.

Pop star Shakira is expected to lend her celebrity to the fight against Arizona's new immigration law.

Sources said Tuesday the Latina entertainer, perhaps best known for her hit song "Hips Don't Lie," is scheduled to meet with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other city officials at 3 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to discuss the law.

Vice Mayor Michael Nowakowski, the council's only Hispanic, will then escort Shakira to various sites around Phoenix to meet with children and

families who could be impacted by the law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

Finally, Shakira, a Columbia native, will speak at the state Capitol, where protesters have been camped out since Gov. Jan Brewer signed the legislation into law on Friday.

"Shakira supports the mayor and likes his message about the bill," said Gordon Chief of Staff Debra Stark, who has been arranging the visit.

I'm gona try to get a photo with her tomorrow. OMG cant wait!

(Source: My AWESOME internship)
Rorschach - Watchmen

March on Wall Street in NYC: Thursday 4/29

National People's Action (npa-us.org), the organizers of last summer's bank-busting protests in Chicago, are planning a March on Wall Street.

Showdown on Wall Street: Thursday, April 29, 2010
New York, NY

3:00 pm ET - Assemble at City Hall Park. Enter at Broadway and Chambers
4:00 pm ET - Rally on Broadway from Park Row to Chambers
5:00 pm ET - Thousands march down Broadway through Financial District

Is anyone here planning on attending? If you go, please take photos!

Michael Moore spoke about the March during his 4/27/10 interview on Larry King's show. Info about the Thursday March on Wall Street begins at 0:50.

Youtube video and sources after the cut.

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"This is Alabama; we speak English."

Amid a national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law, Republican Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James (and son of previous Gov. Fob James) vows in a new campaign ad that if he's elected, he'll give the state driver's license exam only in English, as a cost-saving measure.

"This is Alabama; we speak English," he says in the ad. "If you want to live here, learn it."

It's not clear how James thinks the change would save the state money. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic says Alabama could actually lose billions of dollars in federal funding if it enacts the measure, and he points to an Alabama political blog that runs down the legal history for why the exams are in multiple languages.

James says he's been attacked by the left for the ad, singling out MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. A writer on her blog called the ad "just plain mean" and argued it was simply pandering to the candidate's conservative base.

"I have come under attack and under assault by a very interesting group of far-left reporters,"
he said Monday, according to the Birmingham News. He said English exams are a public safety issue, to ensure drivers can read signs. Exams are currently given in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese, according to AOL News.


Muslim Polygamist May Lose French Citizenship

PARIS (Reuters) – A French Muslim threatened with being stripped of his passport for practicing polygamy on Monday denied the accusation, saying he had only one wife and several mistresses.

The case of Lies Hebbadj, an Algerian-born butcher who became a French citizen when he married a French woman in 1999, has flared into a major political row with opposition parties accusing the government of exploiting the situation.

Hebbadj's story came to light on Friday, when his wife complained she had been fined for driving while wearing an Islamic veil on the grounds that it was dangerous.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux accused Hebbadj of having four wives, who between them were claiming single parent benefits for his 12 children.

The accusation came days after the government announced a plan to ban the full veil from the streets of France.

Hebbadj said only one was his wife and the others were lovers.

"If one can be stripped of one's French nationality for having mistresses, then many French could lose theirs," he told reporters in the Western city of Nantes, where he lives.

A person can lose their French passport if they acquired it through fraud -- if, for instance, Hebbadj hid an existing marriage when he married the French woman. Mistresses, however, are hardly unusual in France
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Internet deprived students suffer withdrawal symptoms: study

Walden Siew, Reuters

American college students are hooked on cell phones, social media and the internet and showing symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addictions, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Maryland who asked 200 students to give up all media for one full day found that after 24 hours many showed signs of withdrawal, craving and anxiety along with an inability to function well without their media and social links.

Susan Moeller, the study’s project director and a journalism professor at the university, said many students wrote about how they hated losing their media connections, which some equated to going without friends and family.

“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said one student. “Between having a BlackBerry, a laptop, a television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.”

Moeller said students complained most about their need to use text messages, instant messages, e-mail and Facebook.

“Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort,” wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. “When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life.”

Few students reported watching TV news or reading a newspaper.

The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize so-called internet addiction as a disorder.

But it seems to be an affliction of modern life. In one extreme example in South Korea reported by the media, a couple allegedly neglected their three-month-old daughter, who died of malnutrition, because they were on the computer for up to 12 hours a day raising a virtual child.

In the United States a small private U.S. center called ReSTART, located near Redmond, Washington, opened last year in the shadow of computer giant Microsoft to treat excessive use of the internet, video gaming and texting.

The center’s website cites various examples of students who ran up large debts or dropped out of college due to their obsession.

Students in the Maryland study also showed no loyalty to news programs, a news personality or news platform. They maintained a casual relationship to news brands, and rarely distinguished between news and general information.

“They care about what is going on among their friends and families and even in the world at large,” said PhD student Raymond McCaffrey who worked on the study. Loyalty “does not seemed tied to any single device or application or news outlet.”



.... TV Tropes, is that you?


(no subject)

Arizona's Law Extra Bonus: Brown People Now Afraid of Census. We Did It!!

Census mail results could be trouble for 5 states

Five states — New York, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida — are perilously close to losing out on congressional seats because of lackluster participation in the U.S. census.

The five were average or below average in mailing back 10-question census forms when compared to other states, trailing by as many as 5 percentage points, according to the final census mail-in tally released Wednesday.

Based on recent population trends, New York, California and Texas had been estimated to fall just above the cutoff for the last House seats when they are redistributed next year. Waiting behind them in hopes of picking up additional seats are Arizona and Florida, which are already expected to gain one seat apiece.

Responses from these states also raise a red flag because of their higher shares of residents who are Latinos.
The Census Bureau has said one of its main concerns is whether tensions over immigration will discourage Latinos, and particularly illegal immigrants, from participating in the government count. That issue returned to the forefront after Arizona passed a tough immigration enforcement bill.

Latino residents represent a predominant share of the population growth in New York, California, Texas, Arizona and Florida, making up more than 50 percent of total growth since 2000. As a result, those states could face big losses if there isn't full cooperation when the Census Bureau on Saturday begins knocking on the doors of those who did not respond by mail.

Of the five states on the cusp, the biggest potential losers are California and New York, which could have a net loss of one and two House seats, respectively. Texas may end up gaining just three House seats instead of four.
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Labour is shunning gay Iraqis, asylum seekers

As he launched Labour's international LGBT manifesto last Wednesday, foreign secretary David Miliband made one howler, echoed by another in the manifesto's text.

He said: "Under Labour the UK will continue to be a beacon of hope for LGBT people."

This delusion sounded a lot like Home Office minister Phil Woolas' article last year, when he wrote that he was proud of the attendees of the London Pride march who'd found sanctuary in the UK – never mind that his office would have refused them and fought tooth-and-nail to remove them.

The pair should form a double act.

An Amnesty International report released today said that gays in Iraq have no protection from the state and are allegedly even being targeted by some security forces. Yet Miliband's 'beacon' government would tell those seeking our sanctuary they could safely return and be "discreet".

Recent research from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group on 50 refused asylum cases found that many were told to go home and not act gay.

Laugh? Cry? There is no "discreet" in Iraq – they will come and they will find you and they will torture you and display your body. For women "discreet" means you must marry and suffer rape for the rest of your life.

Furthermore, Labour's gay group LGBT Labour has nothing to say on asylum, despite the group passing a resolution at its AGM last year that it would "explore with the Home Office and Borders and Immigration agency" such items as no longer telling people to "go home and be discreet".

Labour's gay manifesto has nothing to say on the matter, presumably because the "explorations" came to nowt.

Elsewhere, the document says that the UK has "campaigned in the UN for the decriminalisation of homosexuality".

Now this has been part of a shopping list of Labour's great deeds for LGBT for some time. Previously, LGBT Labour's website claimed that the party "launched" the campaign but this has now mysteriously disappeared.

It certainly didn't lead. The origins of the UN resolution lie in the work of Louis George Tin, the French International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) founder who launched a worldwide campaign to end the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in 2006. He worked with then French foreign and human rights minister Rama Yade to get it to the UN. The British tagged on later. Google it.

I've exchanged emails with Louis George on the Labour claim. Shall we just say he's "bemused"?

It's also de rigeur here for them to say "only Labour" will continue to support UN work. I guess it was written before the rise of the LibDems who appear to be a good decade ahead of Labour on LGBT issues.

Having knocked it there's one good thing to say about Labour's gay manifesto. It does promise to "always raise matters of LGBT rights in countries where there is systematic violence or harassment", naming Russia, Uganda, Iran and Jamaica.

Of course we won't offer asylum or accept refugees but this is progress. It's certainly progress on Miliband's own Foreign Office human rights report, issued in February, which barely mentions LGBT issues anywhere outside Europe. It also somehow misses their sterling work in the Commonwealth, but, in future, sez the manifesto, they'll be a "relentless champion".

One country is missing in that list: Iraq.


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Source: Pink News

Senate passes ultrasound abortion mandate, 22-17

With two days left in the legislative session, the Republican-held Florida Senate passed a controversial amedment 22-17 requiring women who are seeking abortions to pay for ultrasound exams, using legislative manuevering to deliver an election-year victory to religious conservatives.

The ultrasound requirement would apply to first-trimester abortions, when more than 90 percent of abortions in Florida occur. Ultrasounds are already required in late-term abortions that occur after the first trimester.

Women could refuse to view the ultrasound image after filling out a form. Exceptions to the ultrasound requirement are provided to victms of rape, incest and domestic violence -- but they would have to provide proof.

“It’s actually, to me, the ultimate insult to women,” said Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston. “It’s saying women can’t make up their own minds, can’t use their own judgment, as to what they want to do with their bodies. The Legislature is making a medical decision for women.”

Supporters noted the decision to have an abortion is very serious and said the ultrasound mandate would simply provide women with more information.

“What we’re talking about is not an appendectomy, we’re not talking about cancer treatment,” said Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville. “What we’re talking about is ending a human life.”

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    Leon, The Professional

Brown, “Bigotgate” and the Prescott punch

Let's get some perspective, please.


Can we all just calm down? Or perhaps that's not possible in this 24/7 news/comment/blog/tweet age in which we all now live. Hyperbole rules. Frenzy is the norm. Memories are short.

Brown's gaffe -- or "Bigotgate", as it has already become known -- is not the end of the world, despite what his opponents might have us believe. The Telegraph's Benedict Brogan says this "might finish off Mr Brown altogether". ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie says it is "devastating for Brown".

Really? You mean the financial crisis, the recession, the expenses scandal, the European election results, the Purnell resignation, the letter to Jacqui Janes, three failed coup attempts and "bullygate" weren't enough? As I point out in my column in tomorrow's magazine, Brown -- to the fury of his disbelieving critics -- is the great survivor. It is amazing that he, and the Labour Party, are still standing in this election -- and perhaps on the verge of becoming the largest single party in a hung parliament. Who'd have thought it, eh?

Will Bigotgate set him back, especially with the third and final leaders' debate tomorrow, in which the PM will have wanted to focus on the economy? Maybe. But it is high time we recognised that "public opinion" is not the same as "pundit opinion". "Bullygate" in particular showed that voters didn't seem to react as Andrew Rawnsley, and his supporters in the Tory press, assumed they would.

Then there is the Prescott punch in the 2001 election campaign to consider. Did that wreck his careeer? Nope. As the Guardian's Andrew Sparrow notes:

These incidents are often not as damaging as they look. John Prescott was worried that his career was over after he punched a voter in 2001. But now he seems to regard that as something to be proud of. He referred to it in the title of his autobiography, and jokes about it frequently.


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New Statesman
britta perry

Rep. Hunter: Deport U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has roiled an already volatile immigration debate by saying that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants should be deported.

The East San Diego County Republican’s comments surfaced Wednesday on a YouTube video of a tea party event in Ramona, CA on Saturday.

The video shows him speaking about the need to crack down on illegal immigration and then responding to a question from the audience about certain children who are born in the United States and, thus, automatically become citizens.

"Congressman, would you support the deportation of natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?” the questioner asked.

“I would have to, yes,” Hunter responded.
“And I’ll tell you why. You know, this is a, it’s a complex issue and it’s, you know, you can look and say, ‘You’re a mean guy. You know, that’s a mean thing to do. That’s not humanitarian.’

We simply can not afford what we’re doing now. We just can’t afford to do it. California’s going under. How much in debt are we, $20 billion? ...We just can’t afford it. That’s it.

“And we’re not being mean. We’re just saying it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen. It’s what’s in our souls, not just walking across the border.

Hunter could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.


In the future, citizenship tests will include an e-meter portion to verify applicants' souls have aggregated enough thetans American essence to become citizens.
Darren/People Photoshoot

Belgium considers full ban on veiling

Belgium considers ban on Islamic face coverings
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
April 23, 2010

(CNN) -- The latest round in the battle of the burqa kicks off Thursday in Belgium, which could become the first country in Europe to ban face coverings worn by observant Muslim women.

Lawmakers are considering a ban in all public places on niqabs, veils that cover the face, as well as burqas, which cover the face and everything else from head to toe.

They're motivated both by security and morality, they say.

"We think all people in public places must show their face," says Denis Ducarme. And, he says, "We must defend our values in the question of the freedom and the dignity of the woman."

His liberal Reformist Movement drafted the legislation, and claims broad cross-party support.

Ducarme denies that Islam requires women to wear burqas or niqabs.

"The majority of Muslims in Belgium and Europe don't accept the burqa, don't accept the niqab. It's only 10 percent who are radical," he says, blaming trends from Pakistan and Afghanistan for encouraging facial covering.

And he rejects the suggestion that the proposed ban smacks of intolerance, saying it is the burqa -- and the Islamist movement -- that are truly intolerant and dangerous.

He estimates that 300 to 400 women in the country wear the niqab or the burqa.

Belgium is home to about 281,000 Muslims, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates. That would make the country about 3 percent Muslim.

Abdullah Bastin, a Muslim political leader in Belgium, warns that the legislation could have an effect exactly opposite from what it intends. Today only a few women wear the burqa, he says, but if the law is enacted, thousands will wear it as an angry reaction.

He dismisses the idea that the law is designed to protect women's rights. This isn't protecting their dignity, it's colonialism, he argues.

One town in Belgium banned the burqa six years ago.

Jan Creemers, the mayor of the tiny picture-postcard city of Maaseik, says it was no problem to enforce the ban: "I had always the support of the Moroccan community here in Maaseik."

Some fines were handed out, he says. None were paid, but no one wears a veil in Maaseik today, he says.

The bill before the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday would impose a fine of 15-25 euros ($20-33) or imprisonment of one to seven days.

Amnesty International warned Wednesday that the bill would break international law.

"A general ban on the wearing of full face veils would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who choose to express their identity or beliefs in this way," said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International's interim secretary general.

"Women must not be compelled to wear a headscarf or veil, either by the state or by individuals; and it is wrong for them to be prohibited by law from wearing it," Cordone said in a written statement.

If the Chamber of Deputies approves the law, it will go to the upper house of the legislature for a vote.

Belgium is not the only country considering banning the burqa. France said Tuesday that it would shortly be putting a similar draft law before Parliament.

"Face-covering veils must be totally forbidden in the whole public space because women's dignity is not divisible," said Luc Chatel, a spokesman for the French government. "The second principle, of course, everything must be done so that no one feels stigmatized because of one's faith and religion. The president of the republic and the prime minister have asked the members of government to work hard on this point."

He said the government will seek to avoid a partisan approach to the legislation, and will consult with all political groups "and of course, moral and religious authorities."

A panel of French lawmakers recommended a ban in January.

France denied citizenship to a man a week later because he made his wife wear a veil, and denied a woman citizenship in 2008 because she wore a burqa. The country's constitution fiercely guards the secularity of the state.

Switzerland passed a ban on building minarets, the tall towers next to mosques, in a nationwide referendum in November.

At the moment, Belgium has only "moderate" government restrictions on religion, a major Pew Forum study found last year. But Europe as a region is more restrictive than the Americas or sub-Saharan Africa, according to the study.



UGHHH RAGE. I understand that in some contexts veiling can be oppressive, but in many contexts it is considered empowering by many women. I just finished writing a 12 page research paper on this for my Women and Religion course.

Employees Fired for Pursuing Alleged Shoplifter

Two retail employees say they were fired last week after they chased down a suspected shoplifter.

Wait: The tale gets even loopier. The men – Paul Shoemaker and Mike McGee – apparently were on their break and chasing an alleged store shoplifter not in their store, but in an adjacent Apple Store.

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I can understand the policy within the worker's store, but being off duty in another store? No way. 

China stripped of 2000 gymnastics medal for underage athlete

China was stripped of a team all-around bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Wednesday because it fielded an underage gymnast. Dong Fangxiao was discovered to be 14 at the time of those Games, two years younger than the minimum age requirement.

The medal will be given to the United States team which finished fourth in Sydney.
The IOC has asked for China to return the medals "as soon as possible" so they can be reallocated to the U.S. team.

The action comes 20 months after China was accused of doctoring the ages of at least two of its gymnasts at the Beijing Games. Collapse )