April 29th, 2010

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: April 28, 2010.

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Brown People May Wanna Avoid The Following Seven States

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
~~ From "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus.

"Go Fuck Yourself, Brown People" ~~ From Utah, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

REPORT: Following Passage Of Arizona Law, At Least Seven States Contemplate Anti-Immigrant Legislation

When President Obama condemned Arizona’s draconian and potentially unconstitutional immigration law last Friday, he predicted that “if we continue to fail to act [on immigration] at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts to open up across the country.” Indeed, it’s already happening.

Last week, Wonk Room reported on the involvement of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) — the legal arm of a designated nativist-extremist hate group — in drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration law. IRLI lawyer Michael Hethmon boasted about being “approached by lawmakers from four other states who have asked for advice on how they can do the same thing.” In the aftermath of the passage of Arizona’s law, many states and localities across the country are in fact in the middle of or about to embark on copy cat pieces of legislation:


STATE BILL STATUS
Utah Require immigrants to carry proof of status, require law enforcement officers to question anyone they believe is in the country illegally, and target employers who hire or transport undocumented immigrants. Legislation still has to be drafted, but Rep. Stephen Sandstorm (R) claims he “has the support to do it.”
Georgia Nathan Deal (R), who is running for Governor, wants to propose legislation that mirrors Arizona’s. Tentatively pending Deal’s election.
Colorado Today, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis (R) said that if he were governor, he would seek to pass something “very similar” to what Arizona enacted. Tentatively pending McInnis’ election.
Maryland State Delegate Pat McDonough (R) “plans to start sending a survey to every candidate for the General Assembly — along with the candidates for governor — asking them whether they agree with Arizona’s approach.” McDounough’s survey will start being circulated this week as he hopes to “know who is in favor of the Arizona bill and who is not” by this summer.
Ohio Butler County Sheriff Rick Jones and Ohio Rep. Courtney Combs (R) sent a letter to Gov. Ted Strickland asking him “to employ” his “leadership role” “to assure legislation is passed that will mirror” Arizona’s. Strickland’s press person says he “hasn’t had an opportunity to review Arizona law” and is concerned it might be unconstitutional.
North Carolina Local anti-immigrant groups claim that lawmakers have told them that “the chances similar legislation will be filed here is over 95%.” The same groups also concede that such legislation wouldn’t “get far” in their state.
Texas Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball says she plans to push for a law similar to Arizona’s. Riddle says she will introduce the measure in the January legislative session.
Texas Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb of 30,000 people, passed an ordinance written by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach which would prevent landlords from renting houses or apartments to undocumented immigrants. Last month, a U.S. District judge ruled the ordinance unconstitutional. IRLI is helping Farmers Branch repeal the District judge decision.
Missouri The state legislature is considering a law, likely written by Kobach, that would make it unlawful for any person to conceal, harbor, transport, or shelter “illegal aliens” and would also make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to transport themselves. The bill has been referred to the Missouri House International Trade and Immigration Committee.
Oklahoma Restrict the ability of undocumented immigrants to obtain IDs or public assistance, give police authority to check the status of anyone arrested, and make it a felony to knowingly provide shelter, transportation or employment to the undocumented. After IRLI filed an amicus brief in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of HB 1804, the court refused to reconsider its decision that prohibits Oklahoma from enforcing two of the main parts of HB 1804.
Nebraska Residents in Fremont Nebraska likely will vote in July on a proposed ordinance to ban the “harboring,” hiring and renting to undocumented immigrants. Last Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that there was no authority to stop an election on the ordinance following a petition filed by Kobach.

For more on the Immigration Reform Law Institute, visit the Wonk Room.
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Breaking News: Washington Post Finally Finds Evidence That Obama is a Mooslim!

BaraX Obama to Destroy America. Zombie of Malcolm X Promises a Green Future.

The Washington Post Mistakes Barack Obama For Malcolm X (PICTURE)

We love it when newspapers put the wrong picture with a headline. But this one is just ridiculous. It's the President. You may have seen him before. You know who he's not? Malcolm X. And while it would certainly be newsworthy if the deceased civil rights activist was interested in Iowa's wind energy, our bet is he's got other things on his mind. (via The Daily What)

7 Animals Being Eaten To Extinction



With human populations increasing worldwide and consumers demanding rare and exotic meals, endangered animals are being hunted for food at an increasingly alarming rate. Due to such a diverse international culture and rich tastes, the United States is one of the largest consumers of wildlife, with mass amounts of it illegally smuggled into the country every year.

Take a look at 7 animals that are threatened with extinction if humans don't stop eating them--you might be surprised at what you find!

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drake thumbs up by me

Insurance industry will end rescission in May

The health insurance industry has decided to end its practice of cancelling claims once a patient gets sick next month, well before the new health care law would have required it, the industry’s chief spokesman said Wednesday.

"While many health plans already abide by the standards outlined in the new law, our community is committed to implementing the new standards in May 2010 to ensure that individuals and families will have greater peace of mind when purchasing coverage on their own," AHIP president and chief executive Karen Ignagni said in a letter to top House Democrats.

The decision to end rescission, as the practice is known, was made during a Tuesday afternoon conference call of chief executives organized by their trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and represents the industry’s latest attempt to build political good will after the bruising health care fight.

The decision came on the same day that WellPoint, under fire for reports that it had targeted breast cancer patients for rescission, announced it would end the practice by Saturday. On Wednesday, UnitedHealth also announced it had eliminated the practice.

Congressional Democrats and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had pressured companies to end the practice early. The overhaul plan will ban the practice in September, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation, and subject it to a third party review.

White House health reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle said the administration will be watching to ensure the industry does indeed institute the ban.

"Health reform made rescissions illegal because all Americans should be able to rely on quality care when they need it most. It's heartening to see that the insurance companies who employed these terrible practices — and fought reform — are coming around doing the right thing by instituting the ban right away. We'll be watching closely and holding them to their word," she said in a statement to POLITICO.

The move marks the third time the industry has smoothed the way for implementation since reform passed last month.

"Health plans are working to implement the health care reform law in a manner that will minimize disruption for the more than 200 million people we serve," Ignagni wrote in the letter.

Many insurers were early adopters of a provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. And they agreed to drop their objections to a ban on denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions that some in the industry argued was poorly drafted and didn’t technically forbid the practice.

In all cases, the industry was able to pick up some easy political points after months of being painted as a health care bogeyman.

“It sends a signal that plans want the implementation of this massive new law to go as smoothly as possible, both for the people they serve today and the people coming into the system,” an industry official said.

Source

Picking up political points is the wrong reason to do it, but I'm definitely glad to see this development.
Film - Star Wars

Preserving dying languages heard in New York

The chances of overhearing a conversation in Vlashki, a variant of Istro-Romanian, are greater in Queens than in the remote mountain villages in Croatia that immigrants now living in New York left years ago.

At a Roman Catholic church in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, Mass is said once a month in Garifuna, an Arawakan language that originated with descendants of African slaves shipwrecked near St. Vincent in the Caribbean and later exiled to Central America. Today, Garifuna is virtually as common in the Bronx and in Brooklyn as in Honduras and Belize.

And Rego Park, Queens, is home to Husni Husain, who, as far as he knows, is the only person in New York who speaks Mamuju, the Austronesian language he learned growing up in the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi. Mr. Husain, 67, has nobody to talk to, not even his wife or children.

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I feel kinda bad that I haven't even heard of some of these languages. :\
NYT
MISC - moustache

Oklahoma's Draconian Anti-Choice Law and the Radicalization of America Under Obama

A little over a year ago, millions of Americans held the (now quaint) belief that President Obama's election would marginalize the radical right and usher in an era of moderation and reason. It wasn't an unfounded notion. After all, eight years of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and their ilk running roughshod over the left had led not to a wondrous conservative utopia, but to a country in shambles.

But here we are, early in Obama's tenure, with a calcification of right wing rage and a plethora of proposals, rules, measures, and laws enshrining some of the most radical ideas on the right. School texts in Texas are shunning Thomas Jefferson, Arizona is fully embracing racial profiling, climate denialists are successfully reversing years of scientific progress and willfully imperiling our planet. Gay rights remain under assault, racism is resurfacing (does it ever really go away?), militia groups are resurgent, radio talk show haters are thriving, Fox ratings are soaring.

None of this is very surprising. As the demographic make-up of America shifts, as progressive ideas make incremental inroads, as the historic 2008 Democratic primary and ascent of Barack Obama positively reflect the progress we've made, age-old fault lines come into play: race, gender, sexual orientation, religion. Those who seek to suppress/oppress others are finding a new sense of energy and purpose. They do it out of fear, out of a misguided sense of morality, out of pure self-righteousness.

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Voldyteeth

Facebook Group 'Praying' For President Obama's Death Passes 1 Million Members

A Facebook group accused of "praying" for the death of President Barack Obama has raised controversy online, with many calling for Facebook to remove the group as "offensive speech."

The group, which lists its location as "Marysville, OH, 43040," currently has over 1 million members--Facebook users who say they "like" the group. It includes an album of anti-Obama imagery uploaded by the group's members--what Facebook labels "fan photos--that show the president against a communist flag, juxtaposed with insulting and derisive captions, or even a cartoon "associating Obama to Hitler."

The group is called, "DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN."

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Hamas: Egypt kills Gazans with gas



A senior Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri has held Egypt responsible for the death of four Palestinians killed in a border tunnel and has demanded for an impartial investigation.

Speaking at a press conference in Gaza on Thursday, Abu Zuhri strongly condemned Cairo's application of gas against Palestinian citizens. The Hamas official also demanded Egypt to conduct an immediate probe into the incident and to prosecute the perpetrators, the International Middle East Media Center reported.

"This is not the first time Egypt launches poison gas attacks against tunnel workers. At least 40 tunnel workers have been poisoned by toxic gasses since the siege on Gaza began. A total of 145 have lost their lives in various events," Abu Zuhri pointed out.

The Hamas spokesperson noted that the tunnels are being used by the Palestinians to bring essential goods such as food and medicine into the besieged Gaza Strip. He added that all border crossings must open and that Cairo should not pump gas into cross-border tunnels.

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Wednesday evening that four Palestinians were killed and nine others were wounded after the Egyptian security forces pumped gas into a border tunnel.

The sources identified the victims as Mohammad Ali Abu Jamous, 25, his brother Osama, 20, Khaled al-Ramlawi, 20, and Nidal Jeda, 25.

Israel has closed all border crossings to the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The illegal Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the coastal enclave.

In Gaza Strip some 1.5 million people are denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and the right to safe, secure and healthy living conditions. Poverty and unemployment rates now stand at approximately 80% and 60% respectively in the costal enclave.

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Akuma River

Congress holds Congressional Hearing over Greek Debt Crisis

C-SPAN

Credit Default swaps not main cause of Greek debt crisis
LIVE Video

At a congressional hearing looking into the Greek debt crisis and credit default swaps, members heard from several witnesses that the unregulated derivatives were not the main cause of the crisis and that other economic and social issues contributed to the current situation in Greece. Lawmakers are also discussing how the lack of transaction disclosure affected Congress’ efforts to stabilize the global financial system.

List of Witnesses and Testimony

Greek bank woes pose new risk in debt crisis

(Reuters) - They did not cause the debt crisis but Greece's banks may soon become its victims, and increasing pressure on their balance sheets could add another chapter to Athens' fiscal tragedy.

Greece

Greece's downgrade to speculative status by ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Tuesday was also applied to Greek lenders, a move that simultaneously hit the value of government bonds in the banks' portfolios and their own ability to raise credit.

That added to a bleak environment of more possible downgrades by other agencies, an economic downturn expected to squeeze earnings and push up non-performing loans, and a rising worry among analysts that Greece may restructure its debt.
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It seems that Congress is very concerned that what happened in Greece could happen here.

Update: Senate is back in session debating Financial Reform C-SPAN 2, watch LIVE

Update: Senate was QUIET for over an hour. Checked out House Channel turns out a BIG vote was taking place on the status of Puerto Rico. Vote passed, discussion went further on the bill, amendments are being added, then a big vote will take place. This is HUGE.
' jules

not cool CNN...

Another International Loss For CNN: Michael Ware Leaves Network



CNN foreign correspondent Michael Ware, who has reported from Baghdad and recently in Mexico, is leaving the network.

CNN tells Mediaite he is “on a leave of absence writing a book,” but AllThingsCNN.com reports he has left for good.

From AllThingsCNN.com:
In addition to having taken a break recently in order to work on his book, it is no secret that he has been grappling with PTSD, brought on from the hellish years he worked in Baghdad. I was told that, unfortunately, when he needed more time off in order to deal with things, his request was denied. So he will not be returning.
A CNN spokesperson tells Mediaite, “”Michael is currently on a leave of absence writing a book. We don’t discuss individual contracts.” The spokesperson declined to respond directly to the AllThingsCNN.com post. Ware’s bio is still currently listed on CNN.com.

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for some backstory, Michael Ware discussed his experiences in Iraq here (pretty intense, possibly trigger-y)
MISC - moustache

Violent offenses in Milwaukee down 40.2% compared with 1st quarter in ’07

Violent crime in Milwaukee for the first quarter of 2010 is down 40.2% compared with the first quarter three years ago, according to Milwaukee Police Department statistics that are being released Thursday.

The data shows a 15.8% drop compared with the first quarter one year ago.

Overall crime in the eight major crime categories tracked by the FBI is down 26.7% in the first quarter compared with the same time period in 2007, and down 9.1% compared with last year's first quarter.

Further, overall crime has decreased for nine consecutive quarters, according to the department's statistics - every quarter since Police Chief Edward A. Flynn took over the department in 2008.

The chief said Wednesday it is difficult to determine exactly why crime increases or decreases. But Flynn and others in the department have said three factors are significant:

• The department's use of real-time crime data to monitor trends and form deployment strategies. Just a few years ago, the department was well behind many of its peers in its use of technology. Instead of making decisions based on weeks-old crime data, department leaders now can review crime data that is constantly updated.

• An increased police presence in high-crime neighborhoods. Supervisors are using the updated crime data to focus resources on the neighborhoods being hit hardest by crime.

• Improved collaboration between the department's detective and patrol bureaus, which operated relatively independently of each other until recent years. Some detectives have been assigned to district stations - instead of working from the department's downtown headquarters - so that they can work more closely with patrol officers.

"One always takes a chance when you try to explain crime trends specifically," Flynn said. "I don't have a PhD. I know I am announcing a correlation with our efforts. I can't prove causation."

It's also worth noting that FBI crime data in cities across the country has shown a decrease. And while many might assume that crime increases during difficult economic times, little evidence exists to support the theory, law enforcement officials and criminologists have said.

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Тося

31 hurt in latest China school knife attack

BEIJING (AFP) – A jobless knife-wielding man attacked and injured 28 young children and three adults at a kindergarten in eastern China on Thursday in the third school stabbing frenzy in a month, state media said.

Five of the children were in critical condition after the attack in the city of Taixing, according to Xinhua news agency, citing officials and police.

The alleged assailant, a 47-year-old man identified as Xu Yuyuan, was detained following the incident in Jiangsu province, the report said.

The man burst into a classroom with a 20-centimetre (eight-inch) knife and started attacking the children, most of whom were four years old, Xinhua said. Two teachers and a security guard who tried to stop him were also hurt. 

 

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Mark Bittman: What's Wrong With What We Eat


I don't know if this'll pass the line up or not, but I thought it might be an interesting forum of discussion on the politics of food, where it comes from, how it's produced and why we eat the way we do. I've been debating posting this because of the wank I fear may ensue from it, however, I still think that what Mark Bittman has to say is informative and entertaining.  This is a TEDtalk from 2008. "In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it's putting the entire planet at risk."



Further information about Mark Bittman: Author of How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and the New York Times bestseller Food Matters: A Guide To Conscious Eating.

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For anyone who isn't familiar with TED: "TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. The annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free." I've thought about doing a series here by posting one TED talk a week for us to enjoy and discuss...that is if anyone would be interested.

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Citadel

GET IT GURL. Planned Parenthood and Rachel Maddow urge people to speak out.

Anita Fream, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, has one of the tougher jobs. Her state is down to a handful of doctors who'll perform an abortion. The state legislature just overrode a veto to pass a pair of draconian laws with new hurdles for women, and it's considering others. Last night on the show, she told Rachel Maddow that the aim of abortion foes is to make the service functionally illegal.

From the transcript:

Fream: I do think that is the effect and it is very clear that is the ultimate goal. That is not a secret. That is a strategy that's talked about fairly openly.

Maddow: How many abortion providers are still operating in Oklahoma? And I guess, what is the morale of those health care providers right now given this environment?

Fream: I think there are about three. I may be missing one in there.

Fream, cnt'd: Morale varies. We have good relationships with our local provider who is a wonderful person. But, you know, it's tough. Every time one of these new laws goes into place, it makes it harder to provide the procedure and makes their legal risk greater and restricts what kinds of medical decisions they can make, which is something I assume no doctor wants to have to deal with.

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Mystique

Yeah...no.

Why Obama should not have checked 'black' on his census form
By Elizabeth Chang

I have always considered Barack Obama to be biracial, and I had hoped that his election would help our country move beyond the tired concept of race. Unfortunately, the president is not getting with my program.

Although I knew Obama self-identifies as African American, I was disappointed when I read that that's what he checked on his census form. The federal government, finally heeding the desires of multiracial people to be able to accurately define themselves, had changed the rules in 2000, so he could have also checked white. Or he could have checked "some other race." Instead, Obama went with black alone.

Despite being raised by a white mother and white grandparents, despite have spent most of his childhood in the rainbow state of Hawaii, despite clearly being comfortable in almost any type of crowd (though I suppose Tea Partyers might give him pause), the president apparently considers himself only black. "I self-identify as an African American. That's how I am treated and that's how I am viewed. And I'm proud of it," he has said. But he also argued in his famous speech about race that he could no more disown the Reverend Jeremiah Wright "than I can my white grandmother." With his census choice, he has done precisely that.

I am the mother of biracial children (Asian/Caucasian) and believe that multiracial people need to be accepted and acknowledged -- even celebrated. The president's choice disappoints me, and it seems somewhat disingenuous. Obama, who has also referred to himself as a "mutt," made a big deal during the 2008 campaign of being able to relate to Hawaiians and Midwesterners, Harvard grads and salespeople, blacks, whites, Latinos, whatever -- precisely because of his "unconventional" background and multicultural exposure. On the census, however, he has effectively said that when it counts, he is black.

Michelle Hughes, president of the Chicago Biracial Family Network, told a reporter that she, too, was disappointed. "I think his choice will have political, social and cultural ramifications," she added.

I agree. I also wonder: Aren't people supposed to fill out their census forms accurately? Why else are we doing it? If everyone put down on the form how they "identified," I don't know what kind of count we'd wind up with, but clearly it would not reflect the racial makeup of the United States. As many have argued, race is an almost useless construct, so that might not matter, except in one very important area: If every biracial person chose one race, as Obama did, or as people had to do before the forms were changed in 2000, the census would portray a society more divided than it actually is. I'm all for tossing the whole racial-classification bit now, but I also know that if we fill out our forms accurately, the numbers will someday do that for us by quantifying the ridiculousness of race. In the meantime, if we aren't going to get rid of the racial category, we need to do it right.

Some have said that by putting himself in one box instead of two, Obama is simply exhibiting pride in being African American. I can appreciate that. But there is an important consequence when our president does not acknowledge half of his heritage, or, more basically, the mother and grandparents who raised him, or even his commonality with his sister, who is also biracial, though with a different mix. If the most powerful person in this country says that because society thinks he looks black, he is black, it sends a message that biracial children have to identify with the side they most resemble. That might be a problem for my daughters, who consider themselves Jewish, Chinese and, because it's the Chang family's home state, Hawaiian, yet are most often mistaken for Latinas. They usually shrug off that misperception, and I am glad. After all, if we let society determine what we are, we will never change society.

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9--His Popeness

Dear World: WE EXIST! --Sincerely, The 'Stans

Central Asia: Celebutards Wanted

by Sarah Kendzior on 4/29/2010 

Jesus!Sting, "GREAT SUCCESS"

For years, I have watched activists vainly attempt to focus a spotlight on the problems of Central Asia, only to be thwarted by the media’s steadfast refusal to, as CNN put it, “learn the stans”. Corruption, poverty, torture, mass violence — what does it take for Central Asia to merit real coverage, the kind which does not involve being measured against the portable Playstation (and found lacking) or having borders redrawn by CNN “anchor”-cum-inadvertent Tajik nationalist Josh Levs?

My friends, I give you Sting.

In November 2009, Sting was paid two million dollars to perform a concert in Tashkent in honor of Islam Karimov’s daughter, Gulnora Karimova, a tea magnate turned J. Lo-esque pop star and possible heir to the throne. Tickets were priced at $1000-2000 each. Sting later said that the concert was sponsored by UNICEF — a claim that UNICEF was very surprised to hear.

In February 2010, the Sting saga exploded in the international press, with dozens of media outlets accusing Sting, a spokesman for Amnesty International, of hypocrisy regarding his public stance on human rights and the environment. “Sting in the pay of tyrannical Uzbekistan regime”, “Sting wrapped around Uzbek dictator’s finger” went the more subtle headlines; “Sting plays concert for daughter of ‘boil your enemies’ dictator” screamed the Daily Mail. (The story is a particular favorite of the British press — apparently British people still genuinely care about Sting, whom I last dimly recall trying to sell me a Jaguar a decade ago.) Even the reliably apathetic Fox News got in on the act, blasting Karimov as a “little known dictator who burst upon the international scene in 2005″ by killing “up to 5000 people” in Andijon.

Suddenly, the media were outraged by what was happening in Uzbekistan. This outrage, of course, was focused squarely on the takedown of their Tantric tabloid target. But in their quest to vilify Sting, the media ended up accidentally covering the following issues: the plight of the Aral Sea, the use of child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, corruption and nepotism in the Uzbek government, the use of torture in Uzbekistan’s prisons, the arrest of photographer Umida Akhmedova, poverty and low wages among Uzbek workers, and the 2005 Andijon events. I know many Uzbek activists who have been working tirelessly to bring these issues to international attention for years. Apparently all they really needed was two million dollars to send a washed-up pop star into the fray.

Recently Sting issued a self-aggrandizing apology in which he insisted that “cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular.” (Sting is, of course, known for masterfully bridging cultural divides in the former Soviet sphere— how else would we Westerners ever have learned that “the Russians love their children too”?) Far from placating his critics, the apology has fueled the fire, prolonging the controversy — and the subsequent coverage of Uzbekistan required to chastise him properly — in the international media.

In many ways, this seems like a crass celebrified version of the Great Game — an UZ Weekly world in which Central Asia functions as the playground of pompous pop stars and their disingenuously righteous foes. However, there just may be an upside.

In condemning Sting’s decision to profit from a dictator, media outlets sent a clear message to the world’s fallen pop elite: play Uzbekistan, or other authoritarian regimes, and risk international outcry.

But this is entirely the wrong message to send. If anything, we should be encouraging our C and D-listers to travel to dictatorial regimes, bringing back with them a barrage of media coverage on the issues that human rights activists futilely attempt to publicize.

On that note, I propose the following: Heidi Montag, ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what you can do for Uzbekistan.

Source


I hate the title, but the article was interesting.

[AC] :D

~*UK ELECTIONS 2010*~ THIRD TV DEBATE



HAY Y'ALL



**LIVE POST**THURSDAY, 29 APRIL - TV DEBATE
The BBC will host the final televised prime ministerial debate of the campaign. David Dimbleby will be in the chair, between 8.30pm and 10pm on BBC One, at a venue in the Midlands. The main theme will be the economy.

Live Feeds:

BBC News
Guardian.co.uk - non-UK usable
Live Station
C-SPAN (check back at 3:30)
SKY News

Previous Posts:
Election Timeline
First TV Debate
Second TV Debate


If you have more feeds please link them in the comments and I will add them. The debate should be starting in ~15 minutes if my timing is correct. NOW!
→ humphrey

Appeal considered over Birmingham staff pay case

A council is considering whether there are grounds for appeal after about 5,000 mainly female staff won their case for equal pay.

Unions have said the women, employed by Birmingham City Council, may be owed £30m in back-pay for bonuses paid only to certain male workers.

Solicitors have said the pay-out could be up to £600m following the employment tribunal.

It was too early to determine financial implications, the council has said.

The UNISON website cites here that the council’s decision to exclude women from bonuses paid to men robbed them of bonuses worth up to 160% of their basic pay. This is 2010. Food prices don't drop just because you're a woman. I almost ended up working here, and my nearby council's no better.

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Notice how all names cited are male, and so far as I've watched and read the news, there's been no mention of women's issues during the election campaign. Well, unless you count the status of single persons over Cameron's proposed £150 tax break for married couples, which implies something about women's issues entirely in this country. Disgusting.

Pro-Israel bias 'led to Galloway ban'

Stop The War protests in London, 24 Feb 2007. ...

Image via Wikipedia

A lawyer acting for George Galloway has challenged Canada's ban on the left-wing MP, claiming the conservative administration didn't like his anti-war views.

Barbara Jackman charged in an Ontario court on Wednesday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's pro-war government falsely and unfairly labelled Mr Galloway a terrorist because it didn't like his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict and Nato's deeply unpopular occupation of Afghanistan.

All the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow did was provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, Ms Jackman observed.

In March 2009 Mr Galloway was scheduled to embark on a four-city Canadian speaking tour. But at the last minute he was told that he was inadmissible on security grounds.

The Canada Border Services Agency cited his involvement in the Viva Palestina aid convoy last spring that delivered clothing, medical items, relief money and vehicles to war-torn Gaza, and his donation of £30,000 to the elected Hamas government.

Mr Galloway was allowed into New York City at the time, where he addressed Canadian audiences via a video link.

Government lawyer Marie-Louise Wcislo responded to Ms Jackman by saying that Ottawa deems Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.

And Ms Wcislo noted that under Canadian law, collecting funds or giving support to a terrorist organisation is one of the conditions of membership to such an organisation.

"It's clear Canadian aid was going into Gaza, so it's all right for our government to do it but not for Mr Galloway?" Ms Jackman shot back.

"If in fact Mr Galloway is a terrorist because he provided humanitarian aid to the government of Gaza, then our prime minister is as well."

Justice Richard Mosley is to decide whether Mr Galloway should be admitted into Canada pending a judicial review of the government's refusal to grant him entry.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is under mounting pressure to resign for allegedly abusing his power in the affair.

A flurry of internal government emails in the run-up to the ban confirm that Mr Kenney's office was clear in its opposition to the 2009 visit, with his spokesman Alykhan Velshi writing that the minister would not overturn the ban given "the kind of things George Galloway advocates."

Mr Galloway, who has described the ban as "outrageous," is preparing to return to Gaza with another shipment of humanitarian aid on May 15.


Source: Morning Star
amy

Poll: Black teens more optimistic than peers

Poll: Black teens more optimistic than peers

CHICAGO – Bria Fleming has been through a lot in the last year, including her mother's hospitalization and job loss and a fire in their home. It'd be enough to get most 18-year-olds down.

But the black high school student is surprisingly optimistic about the future and her chances for a better life — an attitude common among her African-American peers, according to a new nationwide survey of high school students.

"I know kids who've been through less and maybe they can't handle it," said Fleming, who will head to Florida A&M University in the fall in hopes of eventually becoming a veterinarian. "But my mom always tells me, 'Work hard, stay positive and you'll make it.'"

A poll released Thursday by Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., found that 70 percent of black students ages 15 to 18 thought their standard of living would be better than their parents, compared with just 36 percent of white students.


Overall, 39 percent of respondents thought they would have a higher living standard.


Those numbers and the level of optimism among black students appeared to be closely tied to their enthusiasm for President Barack Obama, making for what some called the "Obama effect."


Asked about the president's performance, more than two-thirds of black students rated his performance as "good" or "very good," compared with 23 percent of white students. Overall, about a quarter of the students who were surveyed rated the president highly.

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garf tired

I'm not racist, I just need someone to disprove African Americans aren't genetically inferior.

Stephanie Grace, racist Harvard emailer.





This is disgusting. Stephanie Grace, a 3L at Harvard Law School, apparently had a conversation about race during a dinner with other law students. Her comments, she believed, were perceived wrongly, and so she sent out an email to a few students in an effort to correct the record. That email was forwarded around, and eventually made its way to several Black Law Students Associations (BLSAs). Here’s what Stephanie Grace wrote to some of her fellow HLS students:

… I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position.

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair. (Now on to the more controversial:) Women tend to perform less well in math due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders. This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria. I don’t think it is that controversial of an opinion to say I think it is at least possible that African Americans are less intelligent on a genetic level, and I didn’t mean to shy away from that opinion at dinner.

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ETA: Some Follow up from the Above the Law blog

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I know it's long guys, but it's an important (albeit infuriating) read. The analysis.
Reporting

Three Part Ken Blackwell interview on The Daily Show


In this complete, unedited interview, Ken Blackwell believes that expanding the role of government is central to Obama's plan.


Ken Blackwell says President Obama is building an unchecked executive branch in this complete, unedited interview.


In this complete, unedited interview, Ken Blackwell makes the case that Obama's power grab is unconstitutional.

Source and Source and Source
misc01

"I-SLAM"-hating Confederate racist loves NASCAR

Remember this?

Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message



Douglas Story, a Chantilly dump truck driver for the Virginia Department of Transportation, says he wanted to grab people's attention when he paid $224.90 to have a mural of the burning World Trade Center detailed onto the tailgate of his Ford F-150 along with a sticker that reads: "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11."

But he got more than he bargained for when a photo of his pickup went viral on the Web last week. Motorists and Muslim groups complained that his Virginia vanity license plate -- 14CV88 -- was really code for neo-Nazi, white supremacist sentiments. The state Department of Motor Vehicles voted last week to recall Story's plates and force him to buy new ones.

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neurotic posted that he used to be her neighbor and that he once said "why would anyone want to date a hispanic? they're the color of dirt. why would anyone want to date a black person? they're the color of the shit that comes out of your ass."

So not only is he a racist, he's a lying pig.