May 5th, 2010

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Powdery White Substance Sent to Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer's Office

The FBI will assist in the investigation of a suspicious envelope addressed to Gov. Jan Brewer that an employee at the Capitol opened Tuesday, sending the Executive Tower into one-hour lockdown after a white powder spilled from the envelope onto a computer. Phoenix Fire Department hazardous materials experts spent less than one hour in the building. No injuries or complaints of illness were reported and the tower was reopened around 11:20 a.m.
The letter was opened in the governor's constituency services office in the tower at 1700 W. Washington St.
The powder is being analyzed at a state Health Department lab. The results of the tests should be released Wednesday.
Andrew Staubitz, chief of the Arizona Capitol Police, said it was common for state or federal police to assist on such an investigation.
"Obviously we don't have all the resources (of the FBI)," Staubitz said. "They do assist in those kinds of things. Using the mail is a federal issue."

Source

Good luck finding the story outside the local reports and blogs even though it happened about 12 hours ago. Can you imagine if Governor Brewer had declared a Arizona a sanctuary state and then received white powder in the mail? The uproar? The outrage? The utter ALARM!??! Was this a TEA PARTY PERSON trying to stir up stuff again? After all they are So RADICAL.

I hate Tories. And yes, it's tribal

Satan and SonI hate Tories. Not the people who vote for them. But the people they vote for. I make no great claims for that as a political position. But as an electoral category it is crucial. For I'm sure I'm not alone and it's pretty much the only thing keeping Labour going right now. It's certainly the only thing that could get me to the polls on Thursday.

I don't have a phobia about Tories. That would suggest an irrational response. I hate them for a reason. For lots of reasons, actually. For the miners, apartheid, Bobby Sands, Greenham Common, selling council houses, Section 28, lining the pockets of the rich and hammering the poor – to name but a few. I hate them because they hate people I care about. As a young man Cameron looked out on the social carnage of pit closures and mass unemployment, looked at Margaret Thatcher's government and thought, these are my people. When all the debating is done, that is really all I need to know.

But it's not rationality that drives my disdain, it's a negative tribalism. Tories, like Labour, exist only as a political and electoral category. I was raised in the Labour tribe. But over the last 15 years that tribe left me, or rather showed such disdain for me that I felt I had to leave. They did terrible things I did not want to be associated with. I grew to loathe them, too. But there was lament in my loathing. I wanted them to be better. I thought they could be better. I never had much time for the Liberals. By which I mean I never gave them much thought. I didn't want a new tribe, and somehow they never seemed tribal enough. I wanted my old tribe back. This isolation came with regret. Labour left me tribeless. The only way I could define myself electorally was by what I was not. And I am not a Tory.

I don't hate them because they're rich. I grew up among working-class people and now know a fair number of rich ones, too. I see no more inherent moral quality among those who have little money than those who have lots. The fact that Cameron went to Eton is irrelevant. He had no choice in the matter. I hate him because he supports the rich and wants people who go to Eton to enjoy even more breaks than they already have.

Philosophically this is an impotent rage. I also hate them because for a long time they kept winning, and were able to convince more people than we could by appealing to their most base instincts. Because they managed to change the country in a terrible way and reconfigure the political conversation so that some of the more outrageous things they did are now orthodox. The memory of them and the prospect of them make me want to retch.

I would not dignify this as a political sentiment. It's a gastro-intestinal and emotional response. But it's electorally potent. Because unlike others who have written on these pages I can't think of a single morally compelling reason to vote Labour. I have resisted that call for many elections. I can think of a few reasons one might vote Liberal Democrat – an amnesty for immigrants, proportional representation, getting rid of Trident.

Voting is always a balance between the moral and the strategic. What do I want, what can I get and what do I feel comfortable endorsing to get it. In the past the strategic case was weak, because there was no chance of the Tories winning and the moral case was weaker, given Labour's record. That's not true this time.

Indeed the only thing that is really holding my interest at this stage: the one thing that would really make my Friday morning would be to see Cameron crushed and Osborne despondent. To see them miss this own goal and descend into bitter recrimination. To think that however bad things have become, they haven't got so bad that we would make that mistake again. This may be the worst reason for voting. But right now, after watching them all in the debates, it also feels like the only reason in much of the country (apart from where there are good Labour and Liberal MPs).

These feelings are crude. But their object is subtle. The Tories won't lose by accident on Thursday. They'll be defeated by people making careful choices on the basis of what is going in their constituency. Take a look at your constituency, and work it out. I don't think those who refuse to vote tactically are precious. But I do think they're mistaken.

Given the challenges of the post-election period I'm not convinced it matters much who wins. But for reasons that are rooted more in emotion, vengeance and resentment than political analysis, I'm equally convinced it matters who loses.

Source: Gary Younge @ The Guardian

K-Box cartoon

FREEDOM OF SPEECH FUCK YEAR

Supreme Court Upholds Freedom Of Speech In Obscenity-Filled Ruling


Justice Ginsburg wrote that those who dispute her interpretation of the Constitution can "shove a fat one so far up their ass they choke."

WASHINGTON—In a decisive and vulgar 7-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court once again upheld the constitution's First Amendment this week, calling the freedom of expression among the most "inalienable and important rights that a motherfucker can have."

"It is the opinion of this court that the right to speak without censorship or fear of intimidation is fundamental to a healthy democracy," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. "Furthermore, the court finds that the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, is not only a founding tenet, but remains essential to the continued success of this nation."

Added Ginsburg, "In short, freedom of speech means the freedom of fucking speech, you ignorant cocksuckers."

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Fallout over 'foul' language charge being dismissed

A university student's parting shot at a Bondi Junction police officer has reignited debate over what constitutes offensive language.

Science student Henry Grech, 22, had an offensive language charge against him reportedly cleared in Waverley Local Court yesterday after NSW magistrate Robbie Williams decided the word "prick" would not offend a "reasonable person".

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ONTD_P, what do you think constitutes as offensive language?
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  • kynn

Cinco de Mayo: a holiday about the American Civil War

Cinco de Mayo: The Real Story

Part 1: While viewed as a Mexican holiday, the date has more meaning in the US.
By David E. Hayes-Bautista, Exclusive to EGP

Cinco de Mayo is coming up. It must be party time! But before stocking up on chips, salsa, margarita mix, and miniature party sombreros, we might want to ask one serious question: why are we celebrating an obscure battle that took place far away in Mexico nearly 150 years ago? And further, why is that Latinos in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo so intensely, when it is not celebrated in Mexico?

The answer is simple: Celebration of the Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican holiday—it is an American Civil War holiday, created spontaneously by Mexicans and Latinos living in California who supported the fragile cause of defending freedom and democracy during the first years of that bloody war between the states.

California was part of the Republic of Mexico when slavery was abolished in that country, decades before it was dismantled in the United States. The Latinos who helped write the California constitution in 1849 were insistent that slavery be kept out of the state, and California’s subsequent entry as a “free state” tipped the balance between free and slave territory, and thwarted the original “Southern strategy” to extend slave territory all across the US to the Pacific coast.

The first test of wills between the forces of freedom and forces of slavery came shortly after Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina during the spring of 1861. The infamous Battle of Bull Run, in which the Confederate army made a shambles out of the union forces, was a swift, hard blow to the Union morale.

But the news became worse. The main Army of the Potomac, under General McClellan was pummeled by the Confederates in almost every engagement, and it appeared to be mired, lost, leaking morale, and on the verge of defeat.

With the US ripped apart by the fratricidal war, French Emperor Napoleon III decided the time was ripe to expand French territories in the North American land mass, and on the pretext of collecting a debt owed by previous administrations, sent his troops into Mexico to topple  democratically elected President Benito Juarez, and install his own puppet, Prince Maximilian of Austria, as ruler. Coyly, Napoleon III teased the Confederacy with talk of possible French recognition of the breakaway regime.

Had both the French and the Confederates been successful in their plans, the North American landmass from the Mason-Dixon line to the Guatemalan border would have been characterized by slavery and oligarchy.


But, as the French Army marched across Mexico to conquer Mexico City, they first had to pass through the city of Puebla, defended by a rag-tag, outgunned Mexican Army.

On the morning of May 5, 1862, the brilliantly uniformed army of the French Empire charged the walls of Puebla, expecting no resistance. To their surprise, the Mexican army did not yield, but instead put up a fierce resistance, and to the world’s surprise, threw the French troops off the town’s walls. Morale quickly rose among the Mexican defenders—they could resist the forces of slavery and oligarchy. Stunned, the French troops re-grouped, then charged again. And again, Puebla’s gutty defenders threw back the French invaders. A third French charge failed and the discouraged Imperial troops slunk back to their lines. Finally, realizing that the French could be defeated, the Mexicans left the security of the walls of Puebla the next day and formed a battle line on the open field, eager to take on the French, positive they could beat the forces of the empire in a formal, frontal battle.

However, the French, their morale destroyed, had broken camp during the night and fled back to their stronghold on the coast by Vera Cruz. The news traveled quickly from Mexico City to San Francisco, arriving three weeks later. On May 27, 1862, the Spanish-language newspaper, “La Voz de Mejico” proudly proclaimed the news to Mexicans in California:

“Retirada de los Franceses. Viva Mejico! Viva la independencia! Vivan los valientes soldados Mejicanos! (The French retreat. Hooray for Mexico! Hooray for independence! Hooray for the valiant Mexican soldiers)

The effect of the victory in faraway Mexico was electrifying on Mexicans in California, who had agonized with the Union over the Confederacy’s seeming invincibility. Finally, in a major battle, the forces of freedom and democracy had prevailed over the forces of slavery and oligarchy.

Far up in the gold country town of Columbia (now Columbia State Park) Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news that they spontaneously fired off rifles shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches. Had a new holiday just been born?

Next week, Part II of “Cinco de Mayo: The Real Story.”

David E. Hayes-Bautista is Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. His most recent book is La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State (University of California Press, 2004)

Source

Part two
Part three
Part four

From 2009, but relevant today. Read all four parts -- no, Cinco de Mayo isn't "Mexican independence day," but neither is it just some obscure battle that foolish Mexican-Americans happened to latch onto even though the holiday isn't widely celebrated in Mexico. As described by professor Hayes-Bautista in part 4, it's "an American Civil War holiday, created by Mexicans in California to commemorate the importance of freedom and democracy."
The Gang

UN envoy says paused Cyprus peace talks to resume end of May

A United Nations envoy said Tuesday that the suspended talks to reunify divided Cyprus will resume during the last week of May.

Alexander Downer says that the exact date hasn't been finalized, but that it would likely be May 26.

Downer said Tuesday newly elected Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu and Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias will pick up where the talks left off prior to pausing for the April 18 Turkish Cypriot presidential election.

Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey intervened after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Source

Police fine Italian woman for wearing Burqa

Author: Richard Henley Davis

A 26 year old woman who was born in Tunisia has been fined 500 Euros in Italy after she was spotted by police with a veil covering her face.

 

The law used to fine Amel Marmouri was based on an existing anti-terrorist law dating back to 1975, which makes it illegal for a man or woman to cover their face in a way that prevents them from being identified whilst in a public place.

The authorities in Novara fined Amel through a city ordinance that has banned all items of clothing that “prevents all immediate identification of the wearer inside public buildings, schools and hospitals”.

Mayor of Novara, Massimo Giordano states that “people who come to come to live in our city must respect our traditions”.

The woman’s husband, Ben Salah Braim, has said that he must now keep his wife at home because the Koran states that no man must look at her face in public and has no idea how he will afford the 500 Euro fine.

Rules is rules.

If that’s the law in the city then you must obey it or move out.

Women are banned from wearing bikinis in public in many Islamic countries because it goes against the cultural/religious traditions which have grown over generations, the same respect should be paid by Muslims when in other countries adhering to the dress codes of that country.

If a woman goes out in Saudi Arabia wearing nothing but a mini skirt and a bra then she will be arrested so why should it be any different when the burqa or any veiled item of religious clothing is worn in a country where the traditions and cultural sensitivity forbid it?

I am not saying the Burqa is good or bad but don’t expect it to be tolerated just because your faith demands it and the same goes for ANY item of clothing which is out of step from the traditions of the country in which it is worn.

The Gang

Unmarried black women: "We're here, we're fierce, get used to it."

Aside from a few online clips, I didn't watch last week's ABC Nightline special titled "Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?" But I've been following enough of the recent media frenzy around straight, unmarried black women to make an educated guess about the analysis and diagnosis that emerged from the show. The takeaways were likely as follows:

Professional black women aren't getting married because we're unlovable, inflexible and have an inflated sense of ourselves and the lives we deserve. Our character flaws are compounded by the fact that black men are too busy chasing white women or serving time for non-violent drug offenses to look in our direction. Let's be honest: Men of all races run screaming because they find us ugly, mannish and overbearing. We should be thankful for self-proclaimed Black Woman Expert Steve Harvey, because even when he demeans and talks down to us, his intentions are pure.

There's so much to unpack from the recent trend of corporate media excursions into black women's presumed desire for marriage, and I'm thankful that women like Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Gina McCauley and Farai Chideya have been deconstructing the madness. What interests me most about the trend are what I see as its parallel underlying purposes:

1) To shame, ridicule and pathologize unmarried black women so that we become the cautionary tale, lest more women of other races start questioning whether marriage will actually contribute to their happiness, and

2) To distract us from raising hell over all the legal and social benefits that aren't available to us that would be if we were married.

So, why are my conspiracy theory wheels turning over some bad television and magazine articles?

Nothing about the tone of or approach to these stories tells me they're actually for me or other unmarried black women. Just as I can't imagine 19th century black women flocking to catch a glimpse of the Hottentot Venus, I don't imagine that I'm the target audience for these contemporary public humiliations. So for whom are these stories being produced? What's causing editors to green-light the inane pitches that develop into these media train wrecks? The executives who assume their audiences have an appetite for these portrayals of black dysfunction sense a bubbling panic coming from somewhere in the American political and cultural landscape. That panic is rooted in the sense that too many professional women (of any race) not getting married means too many people pushing back on sex-based pay disparities in the workplace. It means too many people questioning the logic of tying health care benefits, property rights, hospital visitation rights, etc. to marriage. To me, these articles and "news" programs are being published and broadcast in an effort to stem this coming tide. And those of us black women who feel offended and mischaracterized by the media onslaught should take this as our cue to claim our rights and our rightful place as trailblazers in the 21st century reconfiguration of family and adulthood.

Rather than take the bait and feel terrible about ourselves when some media outlet tells us we're both cause and victim of an "epidemic" or "crisis" in the black community, let's assert that we are grown-ass human beings, and thus deserving of the same social, economic, civil and political rights that married people can access.

A vocal segment of the LGBTQ activist community has been making this argument for a while now. People like Kenyon Farrow, Jasmyne Cannick and Yasmin Nair have long been arguing that rather than making marriage the be all end all, we should be supporting each other in creating custom-made families that work for us. They've pointed out the folly of fighting to mimic and reproduce the patriarchal, nuclear families that continue to be held up as the only legitimate model in this country. These writers argue - and straight, unmarried black women would be smart to join the chorus -- that rather than focusing on getting more people married, we should be de-linking human rights from marriage and creating space for a broader acceptance of the cobbled together, nontraditional families that many of us came up in. I know I'm not the only one who was raised by a thoroughly capable single parent and the family members she kept close to make sure I was surrounded by love and good care at all times. My family has never been illegitimate.

So where have we been while this segment of the LGBT community has been crafting the arguments we need to be firing off to Essence every time they let Steve Harvey ruminate on how much we should hate ourselves? While segments of the gay community are planning for a time when non-sexual domestic partner benefits are available nationwide, why aren't those of us who still don't quite get how marriage would enrich our lives spiritually, romantically or materially supporting that fight? Even if we do think we might want to marry some day, why not join forces now with people like Farrow and Cannick as they argue for the kind of movement that would benefit us just as much as it would benefit them?

Sadly, we've been too caught up posting our gag reflex responses on Facebook every time there's some new show about us but not for us. Or we've been taking advantage of this weird media moment to wage a class war on black men. Or we've been perfecting our bootstraps narrative and telling ourselves and anyone who'll listen that we don't need a man because we can do it all ourselves thank you very much.

Well, yes, I'm sure we can. But the idea is there's no reason why we should have to. Let's claim the way we're living our lives as a political identity and demand that we're not sitting at the kiddie table of human rights any more. It's time, sisters. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Source

Murasaki Shikibu

New privacy bill makes your location, sexual orientation "sensitive info"

New privacy bill makes your location, sexual orientation "sensitive info"

Major Internet privacy legislation was unveiled today (PDF) by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Under the bill, companies would be forbidden from using your cell phone's geolocation information without your consent, and the same goes for information on your race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. For most other information, a simple opt-out will keep that data—even data already collected—from being used.

Boucher chairs the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and he has dealt with Internet issues for years (he was a driving force behind the doomed attempt to patch the worst parts of the DMCA, as well); Stearns is the ranking member on the committee. The two today released a "discussion draft" of their new privacy legislation in order to gauge Congressional and public opinion on its ideas.

Covered and sensitive

The bill isn't particularly long, and compared to laws in other countries, it's not particularly strict. But it does provide a decent privacy baseline in the US, providing limited protection for "covered information" and much tougher protection for "sensitive information."

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3 Dead in Greek Violence

Police sirens and the smell of tear gas filled the streets around Greece's parliament building Wednesday after protests against government spending cuts turned violent, then deadly.

Three people died and at least four others were missing after a fire bomb hit a bank in central Athens, the Greek fire brigade told CNN. The victims, two women and a man, were bank employees, they said.

Another 20 people were trapped on the floor above the MARFIN bank and were being rescued by firefighters, the fire brigade said.

The three dead were removed from the premises along with five survivors, the fire brigade said. They would not say whether the five survivors included any of those missing inside the bank.

Protesters were throwing bottles at police guarding the burned-out bank, shouting "torturers" and "liars" because they don't believe people were killed inside. Riot police were moving in to push the crowd away, CNN's Diana Magnay reported from the scene.

Bins and cars were set on fire around the city. Two public buildings were on fire and a fire truck was ablaze near the Temple of Zeus, the fire brigade said.

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source.
Sufjan Smile

Where we stand with ENDA



AFTER DECADES of waiting for protection for LGBT people from discrimination on the job, a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is likely to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks--but still lacks enough votes to pass both houses of Congress.

This is the time for activists to turn up the heat and press Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration to keep their promise and pass ENDA this spring.

The bill has wide support--there are 199 co-sponsors for the legislation in the House of Representatives, including six Republicans. In the Senate, there are 46 co-sponsors.

But passage in the Senate is expected to be difficult. For one thing, the Republican bigots are escalating their rhetoric against what, disgustingly, they call the "bathroom bill," as Sherry Wolf reported at SocialistWorker.org:

While polls show that 89 percent of the population support workplace equality for LGBT people, fear-mongering and transphobic stupidities are being spread and echoed by right-wingers. Now that it is less palatable to openly discriminate against lesbians and gays, transgender people have become the primary targets of the cultural cretins...

One widely circulated form letter to congresspeople on Congress.org states, "The thought of my child or grandchild in a bathroom with a transgender (sic) is repugnant to me." Tellingly, this note doesn't even modify the adjective transgender to refer to an actual person--as if "a transgender" is some alien species and not a human being who deserves respect and equal treatment.

But there's a further problem--16 Democrats in the Senate have yet to sign on to ENDA. The Democrats have enough votes to not only pass the bill, but avoid a filibuster if they get all their senators to support it.

The Democrats have no excuse for not passing ENDA now.
Our movement needs to call them out publicly on this and demand that they "put up or shut up."
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Source: SocialistWorker.org

Please note that if the remaining Democratic senators were to sign onto the bill, it would be enough for us to pass it flawlessly and break a filibuster if needed. There are currently 46 supporters, 42 Dems, 2 Independants, and 2 Republicans: Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. There are currently enough votes in the house to pass the bill, and Barney Frank is planning on pushing it through soon.

The senators that haven't signed onto supporting the bill:
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Evan Bayh (D-IN.), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Clare McCaskill (D-MO)

Carper, Bayh, Johnson, and Rockefeller are likely to vote yes on the bill based on their past voting history. Bayh isn't even running for re-election, so he ought to be a confirmed yes.

As for the other senators? Please feel free to swarm their offices with phone calls, letters, or preferrably even, organize groups and protest for the passing of ENDA. I know we've got a good ONTD_P contingent in a lot of these states, we can help get this shit passed.

For your convinience, here is the contact info for all 100 senators. Additionally, if you have a Republican senator in your state that isn't Collins or Snowe, feel free to badger them about being the bigot they are if you have an itch to. After all, every Republican senator besides Collins and Snowe has refused to co-sign the bill, and likely will vote against it.

Remember folks, you're the impetus of Democracy. Seize upon your rights!

Someone collect this man's tears for later consumption (HuffPo)

 

Why Men Don't Read: How Publishing is Alienating Half the Population

by Jason Pinter



Back in 2005, while I was still working as an editor, I had an opportunity to acquire a book that I was confident would be a bestseller. The author had a huge media platform, was one of the stars on a show watched by millions of people each week, hosted his own radio show, headlined his own band, he had a fascinating life story, thousands (if not millions) of fans worldwide, and even had a degree in journalisn. Unlike many celebrity memoirs, I knew this author was passionate about his story and had the writing chops to make it a great read. The author's agent wanted, in my opinion, a reasonable advance. I had confidence that this book was low risk, very high reward. However...

The author's name was Chris Jericho. Chris Jericho is a professional wrestler. Needless to say, pitching Jericho's book to my editorial board was like pitching iPads to the Amish. A whole lot of blank stares and a whole lot of people saying 'I don't get it'. Now, this is not the fault of the individuals, but it is the fault of a system in which in a room of 15-20 people, not one of them knew what I was talking about.
Like many boys, I grew up watching pro wrestling. I knew that Jericho was not only a huge star, but a genuinely smart, charismatic guy who had some incredible stories to tell. In an attempt to convince the editorial board, I brought in Chris's videos, action figures, CDs, anything I could think of to prove to a skeptical room that this guy was a big deal and his book would work. Nobody was buying my pitch. Nobody had heard of Jericho. So here's what happened--and I swear this is true.

One of our senior editors had a 15-year old nephew who was a wrestling fan. I was instructed to have a conference call with the editor's nephew, where I would ask him what he thought about Jericho. If the nephew agreed that Jericho was popular and the book had potential, I would be permitted to make an offer. If the kid disagreed, no dice. Naturally I was dumbstruck, infuriated, since I was essentially being told that a random 15-year with no publishing experience and questionable judgment was trusted more than I was. Thankfully, the kid agreed with me, and thought the book was a fantastic idea. The offer was greenlit, I acquired the book, and Chris Jericho's A Lion's Tale got rave reviews (Kirkus loved it. Kirkus!!!) and the book became a New York Times bestseller. The sequel is scheduled to come out this Fall.

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Source

I thought this would make a good companion article to this post because it's all I could think about while reading this nonsense. Let me quote author Maureen Johnson (who brought this to her followers' attention) about this, from her Twitter: "Why is something a crisis if women are (so they say) doing more of it than men? Would that be true the other way around? A better question: why is it that for HUNDREDS OF YEARS women read "boy books" and LOOK! We got them! But in theory men can't do the same?"

Preach, sista.

Martha

~MAUDE POST: MANDATORY TAGGING AND CRIME CRACKDOWN~

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1) TAG YOUR SHIT!

We have many tags available to suit all of your needs. Mandatory tagging allows everyone to find old articles and to check to see what has been posted before. Every post from now on must have at least one tag. Posts without tags will be deleted. If you don't know which tags are appropriate for your post, ask the mods and we will be happy to assist you.

2) As a result of reviewing the responses to the 2010 ONTD_P Census, we have decided to crack down on "horrid crime of the week" posts. Crime posts without significant national/international importance or clear ties to political issues will be rejected! ontd_crime will be more than happy to accept WTF-style crime stories.


Carry on, ONTD_P!
Murasaki Shikibu

Rescuing girls from sex slavery

Rescuing girls from sex slavery

Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.

"I used to be really sad and frustrated with what was happening in my life," she said.

The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta's visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.

"The brothel where I was ... there [were] many customers coming in every day. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn't comply, [she] would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons."

It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims.

"Families are tricked all the time," said Koirala. "The trafficking of the girls is done by people who are basically known to the girls, who can lure them from the village by telling them they are getting a nice job. It's a lucrative business."

By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993.


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Here's the Maiti Nepal website. This woman's just amazing, for what she's doing.
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Virginia's 'ayatollah general' covers up bare breast on state seal

Remember this article about Cuccinelli's issue with the Virginia state seal?



Virginia's 'ayatollah general' covers up bare breast on state seal
By Tamara Dietrich

I think I have Ken Cuccinelli figured out: He thinks women's bodies have awesome and terrible magical powers.

That the female form unleashed and unrestrained is a force of nature. And even more — a sin.

Thus, the best defense against a wrathful God is a full-body wrap for females. A burqa, perhaps. Or, in Cuccinelli's case, armor plating on the goddess Virtus — long bare-breasted on Virginia's state seal, but primly corseted in the version our attorney general just had stamped onto lapel pins for his staff.

Cuccinelli later decided the lapel pin was a distraction, and said that his office wasn't going to use it.

He also said that the image he used was similar to a large flag at the state Capitol in Richmond.

But his original decision set the stage for even more spirited discussion.

Scoff if you must, but a fundamentalist cleric in Iran recently declared that women who "don't dress appropriately" are responsible for devastating earthquakes. That God sees all, judges all and punishes collectively. Show a little skin and, wham, suddenly the earth's a-rockin'.

Well, Cuccinelli is an old-fashioned man of God, too; no less so than some measly Muslim prayer leader. He can rail against moral depravity with the best.

And once you accept the basic premise of a vengeful Almighty easily offended by sex and skin and not shy about showing it, you can pretty much apply it anywhere, for any disaster — monsoons, tidal waves, droughts, floods, plagues, crop infestations, rising sea levels, a foreign-born Muslim in the White House, etc.

You might even begin to wonder if Virtus' bare breast is responsible for the disastrous oil rig explosion and massive spill in the Gulf Coast, and if Cuccinelli's cover-up is sheer coincidence or an attempt at divine appeasement to try to avert the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

Personally, I vote for none of the above.

Cuccinelli's Disney-fied version of Virtus is simply fresh evidence of our own ayatollah general as sexual prig.

He says he was just kidding about making Virtus "a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing," but the titters you hear aren't the world laughing with him, but at Virginia for electing such an uptight buffoon.

By law and long tradition, Virtus is depicted as an Amazon in a blue toga, left breast bare, wielding a spear in one hand and a sword in the other. She's got one foot on the fallen enemy, Tyranny. The motto reads "Sic Semper Tyrannis" — "Thus always to tyrants." The seal was designed by George Wythe and adopted in 1776.

Since this story broke over the weekend, wags have made helpful suggestions for additional areas of moral outrage. That long, gray, phallic-shaped sword Virtus is cradling? Looks a lot like something that might run on batteries. And her bare foot on Tyranny's chest offers him a perfect peek up her short skirt. Maybe Cuccinelli should've given her bloomers, too.

"When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens," political scientist Larry Sabato said in one news report. "And it will happen here, nationally. This is classical art, for goodness sake."

If he keeps it up, Cuccinelli will make our evangelical, Regent University-educated, Stepford governor look like a libertine.

Yes, there are plenty of guys who, like Cuccinelli, object to having to look at a woman's naked breast. Ironically, Cuccinelli objects to them, too.

Homosexuals, Cuccinelli has said, represent "behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society."

"In a natural law-based country," he has said, "it's appropriate to have policies that reflect that."

Statements like these help explain his letter to public universities in March — sent for no apparent reason than to foment a natural law-based state — warning that Virginia law doesn't protect gay employees from discrimination.

Strangely, Cuccinelli comes off as ridiculous even when he talks straight sex.

When students at George Mason University held a Sextravaganza education fair in 2005, Cuccinelli, then a state senator, derided it as a mere "how-to fun fair for sex." (Hey, now that's a tagline!)

The event, he said, is "designed to push sex and sexual libertine behavior as far, fast and furiously as possible." (Hmm. Far, fast and furious?)

It promotes, he said, "every type of sexual promiscuity you can imagine." (Ooh. That many?)

"It doesn't swell me with pride," he said, "to see my alma mater putting on a soft porn show." (Oh, God! Somebody muzzle this guy!)

You might wonder what a bare breast ever did to Cuccinelli to deserve such shabby treatment. I wonder what Virginia did to deserve a boob like Cuccinelli.


Contact Dietrich at 757-247-7892 or tdietrich@dailypress.com.

Source

This article made my day. And yes, the last part of the article is all bolded because it's hilarious and you need to read it.
Sufjan Smile

The Times Square bombing attempt



Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old US citizen of Pakistani descent, was arrested at Kennedy International Airport late Monday night in connection with the failed attempt to set off a car bomb in New York City’s Time Square. He was taken off a passenger jet bound for Dubai and then onto Pakistan. US authorities claim that he has admitted responsibility for the failed bombing.

US Attorney Eric Holder announced that Shahzad would be charged with an act of terrorism and an attempt to use a “weapon of mass destruction.”

While there have been reports of arrests in Pakistan—including in at least some cases of Shahzad’s relatives—and there has been media speculation that he could be tied to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or so-called Pakistani Taliban, the suspect has insisted that he acted alone, according to police sources.

In fact, by all accounts the bomb (which included a kind of fertilizer that is nonexplosive), as well as the method used to deliver it, bore the hallmarks of extreme amateurism, strongly suggesting that the individual responsible was not someone who had received professional training.

As with all such cases, questions remain about the real motive and authorship of the attempted terrorist act. Information about the suspect and his connections has only begun to surface.
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Source: World Socialist Web Site

I have no real commentary to offer, the article says it perfectly. But to parrot the points above: Terrorism is a foul act borne out of other crimes. You cannot kill a tree by attacking its branches, you must attack it at its very root. In the case of terrorism, this is US aggression. The day we stop radicalizing young men and women who see their families murdered before them, who are survivors of grave war crimes, and whose future is poverty and bombs, is the day we win the "war" on terrorism.

But of course, reactionary calls to power, indignation and displays of brute statist strength are more palatable to politicians and the members of the state, than the safety of their own citizens.
Pride & Prejudice

Welcome to Cameronland

conservatives

David Cameron cites Hammersmith and Fulham council as a 'model' of compassionate conservatism. So what can the actions of Tory councillors here tell us about how the party would behave in government? 


This is a dispatch from David Cameron's Britain, the country that could be waiting for us at the other end of the polling booths and the soundbites and the spin. I didn't have to take a time machine to get there; I just had to take the District Line. In 2006, a group of rebranded "compassionate Conservatives" beat Labour for control of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, a long stretch of west London. George Osborne says the work they have done since then will be a "model" for a new Conservative government, while Cameron has singled them out as a council he is especially "proud" of. So squeezed between the brownish dapple of the Thames and the smoggy chug of the Westway, you can find the Ghost of Cameron Future. What is it whispering to us?

Hammersmith and Fulham is a sprawling concrete sandwich of London's rich and London's poor. It starts at the million-pound apartments on the marina at Chelsea Harbour – white and glistening and perfect – and runs past giant brownish housing estates and Victorian mansions, until it staggers to a stop on Shepherd's Bush Green, where homeless people sit on the yellow-green grass drinking and watching the SUVs hurtle past. Here, high incomes squat next to high-rises in one big urban screech of noise. In such a mixed area, the Conservatives had to run for power as a reconstructed party "at home with modern Britain". They promised to move beyond Thatcherism and make the poor better off. They were the first to hum the tune that David Cameron has been singing a capella in this election.

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Source
I want to be surprised by this, given their popularity. Not quite managing it though.

Also, guess who leads the group whose principles Cameron calls the 'common ground' of Conservative policy-making?

normal

At Least Is Not a Lesbian Bondage Sex Club... Unless He is Into that Sort of Thing...

Jeff Kottkamp Witnessed leaving "The Ink and Paint Club". Jessica Rabbit Refuses to Comment

Jeff Kottkamp, Florida Lt. Gov., Billed State GOP For Disney World Tours

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R) was one of a lucky bunch that embarked on special Disney World tours costing more $9,500 at the expense of the state Republican Party, the Miami Herald reports.

According to records obtained by The Herald and The St. Petersburg Times, the trips to Disney World were charged on a Florida GOP-issued American Express card in 2008:

The Florida Republican Party spent more than $9,500 on special Disney World tours for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and others in the summer of 2008, according to credit card bills obtained by The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times.

The outings were part of roughly $47,000 in expenses charged that year to the American Express card held by the former executive director of the state party, Jim Rimes, and tied to Kottkamp. Handwritten notes on the bills describe the amusement park costs as "Lt. Gov. Disney trip."

Kottkamp is just the latest Florida Republican to find himself embroiled in controversy over making dubious expenditures on a state party credit card. Last month reports surfaced that GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio billed $110,000 in expenses to the Florida Republican party.

After finding himself in hot water, Kottkamp described the Disney World trips as "donors' appreciation" outings in defending the charges he claimed to have made for Republican contributors and their families. The Florida Lt. Gov.'s explanation however, did not fly with the state GOP:

Kottkamp said he went to Disney with donors and their families. But party spokeswoman Katie Betta said Tuesday that the Disney charges were not associated with a fundraiser nor other official party business. {...} "This is an example of the type of expense our forensic investigators are looking into to determine if additional documentation does exist that would confirm that the Disney expenses were in fact related to RPOF business,'' Betta said in an e-mail.
The Gang

Russian president asked to investigate alien claims

A Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalymkia, made his claim in a television interview.

MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern.

He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets.

The MP has written a letter to Mr Medvedev raising a list of his concerns.

In his letter he says that - assuming the whole thing was not just a bad joke - it was an historic event and should have been reported to the Kremlin.

He also asks if there are official guidelines for what government officials should do if contacted by aliens, especially if those officials have access to state secrets.

Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples - and claims to have several witnesses.

He has been president of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years.

The millionaire former businessman has a reputation as an eccentric character.

As president of the World Chess Federation, he has spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players - building an entire village to host international tournaments.

Source

Proportional representation for dummies... by John Cleese

An SDP/Liberal alliance broadcast from 1987.

So it took the New Yorker to remind us of a famous party political broadcast, shown 23 years ago, that may prove helpful today. Here's ex-Python John Cleese explaining the inequity of first past the post and the benefits of proportional representation in a 1987 election broadcast.



In the previous election the SDP/Liberal alliance gained a 26 per cent share of the votes which in turn translated into just 23 seats. Or, as he notes:

It took 40,000 voters to elect a Labour MP, only 33,000 to elect a Conservative and it took ten times that number - 340,000 voters - to elect one Social Democrat or Liberal MP.


Source: New Statesman
Mr. T the Patriot

GOP Recruits Every Black Republican EXCEPT Bluetooth16 to Run for Congress

Among the many reverberations of President Obama’s election, here is one he probably never anticipated: at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials.

The House has not had a black Republican since 2003,
when J. C. Watts of Oklahoma left after eight years.

But now black Republicans are running across the country — from a largely white swath of beach communities in Florida to the suburbs of Phoenix, where an African-American candidate has raised more money than all but two of his nine (white) Republican competitors in the primary.

Party officials and the candidates themselves acknowledge that they still have uphill fights in both the primaries and the general elections, but they say that black Republicans are running with a confidence they have never had before. They credit the marriage of two factors: dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, and the proof, as provided by Mr. Obama, that blacks can get elected.Collapse )
tea!
  • saoru

GOP *still* sending out fake census fundraiser forms.

Even after being called out on their misleading practices starting months ago, it seems the Republican "Census" fundraising document is still going out... we received one in the mail at my house today, so I thought ONTD_P might enjoy seeing what the Republican National Committee considers Fair & Balanced and clearly totally non-leading survey questions.

Sorry for the poor quality photos, these were taken with my cell phone and (badly) stitched together.

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0_lsp
  • turi

rentboy.com pt. 2

This is an official response to yesterday's rentboy Reker story and the blog coverage.



 

"A recent article in an alternative newspaper cleverly gave false impressions of inappropriate behavior because of its misleading innuendo, incorrectly implying that Professor George Rekers used the Rentboy website to hire a prostitute to accompany him on a recent trip. Contrary to Internet stories based on this slanderous article, following medical advice Professor George Rekers requires an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery. His family, local friends, and even another university professor colleague have offered to accompany him on trips to lift luggage. Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant." - Dr. George Rekers in third-person statement he posted on his personal site.



Omg this just gets so much better with each passing hour.


source

Reker's blog.

Don’t Be Fooled On May 6th, You Could Be Voting BNP Without Knowing It

Anti BNP March

Image by AndyArmstrong via Flickr

This isn’t something new; other political parties do this as well, but many of them at least leave some obvious indication of the real party behind the name.

The British National Party (BNP) have registered a number of official descriptions with the Electoral Commission which will enable them to put names other than British National Party or BNP next to their candidates name on the ballot papers on May 6th.

I have checked through the Electoral Commission website to provide you the full list of names the BNP ‘Could’ be using on the ballot paper for your area on May 6th, these are the names you need to be aware of:

A Fair Deal for British People
British Homes for British Families
British Jobs for British Workers
Decent People Not Corrupt Politicians
End Afghan War Troops Home Now
Get Your Own Back
Putting Scottish People First
Scrap All Global Warming Hoax Taxes
Support Our Pensioners Support Our Troops
Support Our Troops Bring Them Home
With Nick Griffin Support Our Troops


If you see ANY of the above names listed as the description of a candidate on the ballot paper they ARE British National Party BNP candidates, don’t be fooled into voting for the BNP when you don’t want to.

Source: Vote No The The BNP
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ABORTION HAS BECOME MORE CONCENTRATED AMONG POOR WOMEN

Rising Poverty, Economic Recession May Be Factors

The proportion of abortion patients who were poor increased by almost 60%—from 27% in 2000 to 42% in 2008, according to “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008,” by Rachel K. Jones, Lawrence B. Finer and Susheela Singh of the Guttmacher Institute. This shift is the most striking change in the profile of women obtaining abortions.

 

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Tories deny Lady Warsi questioned morals of Muslim MPs

Sayeeda Warsi at Conservative Party Conference

Image by conservativeparty via Flickr

Conservatives say comments by shadow cohesion minister Sayeeda Warsi, made in Urdu, have been misinterpreted

The Conservatives today denied reports that its shadow cabinet member for social cohesion, Lady Warsi, made disparaging comments about Muslim MPs in which she questioned their fitness to stand for parliament.

Warsi, who is Muslim, was quoted on the Next Left website, as saying she did not think there should be more Muslim MPs and peers because they "don't have any morals or principles".

The remarks were reportedly made at a dinner in Yorkshire in honour of the visiting president of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on 2 April, in response to comments by an earlier speaker who urged more Muslims to enter parliament.

Warsi is reported as saying: "I would actually disagree with that because one of the lessons we have learned in the last five years in politics is that Muslims that go to parliament don't have any morals or principles. Not everyone is [former Labour peer] Lord Ahmed, not everyone puts their community before their own career."

Her final comment was said to have been greeted with applause.

There are reports at Westminster that the Times had compiled a report on the speech, but the story had been dropped. Next Left said it had seen a copy of the unpublished article.

The Conservatives said Warsi's comments were made in Urdu and she had been misinterpreted. A party spokeswoman said: "What she was saying was you shouldn't vote a Muslim MP in thinking that they are going to vote or behave with a Muslim principle. You shouldn't vote them in because they tick boxes."

Warsi said in a statement: "I said that the definition of a good MP is someone that stands up for their constituents and who understands the communities they represent, not necessarily someone that ticks a particular ethnic box. People of every background feel let down by parliament and what is needed are MPs that can represent and empathise with their communities."

The Conservatives have never had a Muslim MP, while Labour had four during the last parliament including two ministers, Sadiq Khan and Shahid Malik.

A Labour insider said that the Tories were "spinning desperately" and insisted that Urdu speakers who had listened to the remarks could confirm the veracity of the translation contained in the Times article.

The Labour candidate Khalid Mahmood, who is hoping to be re-elected to Birmingham Perry Barr, described Warsi's comments as "offensive" to Muslim MPs. "This is a gaffe by her and they [the Conservatives] should recognise that."

He added: "I was very disappointed by her comments. I am going for election for a third term running and I have worked very hard. This bashing of Muslim MPs is just complete nonsense. What she has to do is realise why she hasn't got any Muslim MPs in her party."

Another website, Left Foot Forward, said it had seen the Times article. The website initially reported that the Sheffield Urdu and English newspaper Mahana ILM had confirmed it held a recording of Warsi's comments. But when contacted by the Guardian, Mahana ILM denied any knowledge of Warsi's comment, and the reference to the recording was subsequently removed from the Left Foot Forward story.

Source: The Guardian
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Murasaki Shikibu

On Reparations

Ending the Slavery Blame-Game
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

THANKS to an unlikely confluence of history and genetics — the fact that he is African-American and president — Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to reshape the debate over one of the most contentious issues of America’s racial legacy: reparations, the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage.

There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain.

While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others.

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--
And now, Tim Wise's response:

Pardon You: Racism, Reparations and the Politics of Blame (as Explained by Henry Louis Gates Jr.)

By Tim Wise
May 4, 2010

As a writer, there are times when you have something to say, and yet no particular "hook" upon which to hang the missive you are burning to release. In these moments, it is often best to wait, to hold on to the material you find so compelling, secure in the knowledge that soon enough something will happen--some personal experience or news event--that will render the intended screed relevant at long last.

Apparently, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. believes not in this sagacious advice. To wit his recent essay for the New York Times, in which he addressed the issue of reparations for slavery, imparting therein the completely unoriginal and long-recognized wisdom that Africans were implicated in the enslavement of their continental peers. This, to Gates, is a revelation of monumental proportions, which demonstrates the complexity of the slavery issue, and implacably muddies the matter of who should pay whom for the damage done. Resolving this last point is, Gates wants you to know, far more difficult than the apparently simple-minded who clamor for repair might believe.

That literally no one in the dominant political culture had been raising the issue of actually paying reparations makes the timing of Gates's piece especially bizarre. It's as if he had been wanting to say these things for some time, had never previously been able to find the right opportunity, but now intuited his opening, given the presence of a black president ensconced in the White House. Let Obama be the hook, by suggesting as Gates did in the article, that because of the president's unique ancestry, he would be the perfect vessel for carrying this message of joint responsibility to the masses. Just as surely as Gates would no doubt advise a Jew, should one ever become German Chancellor, to ruminate often and endlessly about the responsibility of the Kapos in the camps, or other Jews who collaborated with the Nazis.

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I was really puzzled over Gates' piece when it came out--it was a big a) Um, why? and b) Um, duh, yeah, Africans were doing the selling, this is news? to the whole thing. The only thing I can think of that might have prompted this is how some of the blowhards on the radical right are screaming about how "obamacare" is really reparations in disguise.

And while on the subject of Tim Wise, here is a video of him on CNN talking about "What if the Tea Party were Black?" and talking to a teabagger on the subject.
  • Current Music
    Final Fantasy XII - Little Scoundrel
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The Gang

Spokesman: Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has died after long illness

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua, long plagued by poor health, has died at age 58, his spokesman said.

Yar'Adua died at 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) Wednesday at the Aso Rock presidential villa, presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi told The Associated Press. Adeniyi, his voice cracking, said Yar'Adua's wife Turai was at his side when he died. Adeniyi did not give a cause of death.

Yar'Adua, a Muslim, will be buried Thursday, Adeniyi said.

Yar'Adua went to a Saudi Arabian hospital on Nov. 24 to receive treatment for what officials described as a severe case of pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart that can cause a fatal complication. He failed to formally transfer his powers to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, sparking a constitutional crisis in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 150 million people.

Jonathan assumed the presidency Feb. 9 after a vote by the National Assembly while Yar'Adua was still in Saudi Arabia. Lawmakers left open the possibility for Yar'Adua to regain power if he returned to the country in good health. He returned on Feb. 24 but never appeared in public and did not assume power again.

Yar'Adua took office in 2007 in a country notorious for corruption and gained the accolades of many for being the first leader to publicly declare his personal assets when taking office — setting up a benchmark for comparison later to see if he misappropriated funds. But enthusiasm for his presidency waned as time past and little changed in a country burdened by years of entrenched corruption.

However, Yar'Adua sought to end the violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has been attacking oil installations, kidnapping petroleum company employees and fighting government troops since January 2006 in what it called a protest against the unrelenting poverty of people in the Niger Delta.

The unrest had cut Nigeria's oil production by about a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa's top oil producer.

Source
The Gang

Roza Otunbayeva: profile of Kyrgyzstan's interim leader

Roza Otunbayeva, Kyrgyzstan's former foreign minister, is leading the central Asian nation's interim government one day after a bloody uprising forced President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the capital.


Mrs Otunbayeva, 59, was a one-time ally of Mr Bakiyev, and served in his cabinet following the 2005 "Tulip Revolution", which overthrew the government of Askar Akayev.

But the Moscow-educated diplomat later broke with Mr Bakiyev, joining the opposition Social Democratic Party.

Mrs Otunbayeva, who is viewed by many in the former Soviet republic as a moderate, is a fluent English speaker and former ambassador to both the United States and Britain.

She is married with two children and until Wednesday's violent events was an MP in the country's parliament for the opposition Social Democratic Party.

A former university professor who graduated from Moscow State University in the Soviet era, she is also an accomplished former diplomat.

After graduating in philosophy at Moscow State University, she entered politics and quickly rose up the Kyrgyz Communist party ranks.

She first served as the republic's foreign minister under the Soviet Union, then again for two stints in the 1990s after Kyrgyzstan became independent.

While Mr Bakiyev's relationship with the Kremlin was seen to be increasingly fragile, Mrs Otunbayeva is believed to have close ties to Moscow, which she thanked for its support in her first press conference as interim leader.

A liberal-leaning former ally of Mr Akayev, she also served as the country's UN envoy to Georgia during the 2003 Rose Revolution there.

But Mrs Otunbayeva broke with Mr Akayev in 2004 to join an opposition movement made up of former high-ranking establishment figures.

A year later in 2005, she tried to stand for parliamentary elections but officials refused to register her on a technicality. Mr Akayev's daughter, meanwhile, was running in the same district.

Her Fatherland, or Ata-Jurt party, with its trademark yellow ribbons, which she co-founded, was one of the main opposition groups behind the 2005 Tulip Revolution, which brought Mr Bakiyev to power.

Mrs Otunbayeva briefly went on to serve as acting foreign minister under Mr Bakiyev, but failed to gain approval from parliament deputies for the post.

She later became highly critical of Mr Bakiyev, saying that his government continued the corruption and nepotism of the previous president. In 2007, she became a deputy for the opposition Social Democratic party.

"They stole our revolution!," she told Russia's Interfax new agency in March this year.

Mrs Otunbayeva is widely viewed as having presidential ambitions. It is unclear whether she can pull this off, although there are few challengers on the Kyrgyz political scene with her stature.

Source

A month old, but I thought it was interesting to learn more about her. Also mods, need a tag for Kyrgyzstan!

Edit: Here are two videos. The first profiles her back in 2008 while the other's an interview of her after the coup.

Edit 2: Here's another interview here.

Тося

Somali pirates board oil tanker; warship en route

NAIROBI, Kenya – Somali pirates armed with automatic weapons boarded an oil tanker with $50 million of oil and 23 Russian crew onboard Wednesday, and a Russian warship was rushing to intervene, a European Union Naval spokesman said.

The pirates launched the attack on the Liberian-flagged ship, which is named the Moscow University, at dawn. Cmdr. John Harbour, the EU Naval Force spokesman, said the crew evaded the pirates for several hours while sending out distress calls.

The pirates are on board the 106,000 ton ship but it is unclear if they are in control of the ship or the 23 Russian crew. The ship is carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil, worth roughly $50 million.

A Russian warship is heading to the ship at full speed, said Harbour. He declined to say how long the warship would take to arrive or what action it might take, citing security.

The Moscow University tanker

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The Russian media says that the crew   barricaded themselves in the engine room, where the pirates have no access, so the special forces from the Marshal Shaposhnikov will probably try to storm the tanker to free the crew.
Citadel

6 People You've Never Heard of Who Probably Saved Your Life

It's interesting how a man can become a local hero by saving just one life--or how a fictional character can be considered a superhero by saving a few thousand--when there are people relatively unknown to history who have saved many, many times more.

These are men and women who saved millions of lives, without whom you might not exist, and whose names likely never came up in your history class.

#6: Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov


Nuclear war... Doomsday... WWIII... forget about everything Stanley Kubrick, James Cameron or (God forbid) Alan Moore ever mused on the subject. Fact is stranger than fiction, and the truth is we came closer to nuclear annihilation than even the most taut Cold War thriller would let on. More than once.

For instance, you probably know that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. and USSR came closer to nuclear war than ever before. But you probably don't know that if it weren't for one man, we would all be wandering around a charred, radioactive wasteland today. And that guy wasn't JFK.

It's 1962, communist Cuba had gone nuclear, John F. Kennedy had the entire island under quarantine, Nikita Khrushchev was not intimidated by the young president and Kevin Costner's reputation as a legitimate actor was on the line.

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Source is indeed Cracked.com
princess rihanna

From 'Glee' to 'Promises, Promises'

Straight Jacket


Heterosexual actors play gay all the time. Why doesn't it ever work in reverse?


By Ramin Setoodeh | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 26, 2010

The reviews for the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises were negative enough, even though most of the critics ignored the real problem—the big pink elephant in the room. The leading man of this musical-romantic comedy is supposed to be a single advertising peon named Chuck who is madly in love with a co-worker (Kristin Chenoweth). When the play opened on Broadway in 1968, Jerry Orbach, an actor with enough macho swagger to later fuel years and years of Law and Order, was the star. The revival hands the lead over to Sean Hayes, best known as the queeny Jack on Will & Grace. Hayes is among Hollywood's best verbal slapstickers, but his sexual orientation is part of who he is, and also part of his charm. (The fact that he only came out of the closet just before Promises was another one of those Ricky Martin-duh moments.) But frankly, it's weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play's most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp. Is it funny because of all the '60s-era one-liners, or because the woman is so drunk (and clueless) that she agrees to go home with a guy we all know is gay?

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Hey Ya'll it's an Al Sharpton Post!!!


The Rev. Al Sharpton vowed to bring "freedom walkers" to Arizona this summer to engage in non-violent civil disobedience if the state's strict new immigration law goes into effect.

Sharpton made his promise during a late Wednesday news conference attended by Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and other activists opposed to the implementation of Senate Bill 1070, approved by lawmakers

 
 
Speaking before a prayer vigil at the at Pilgrim Rest Church, 1401 E. Jefferson, Phoenix, Sharpton compared the fight against the law to the civil rights struggle in the American South, arguing that there will be no way to enforce the law without having police engage in racial profiling.

(Preecha Preecha, He's the teacher you can learn...)
 

So ya... they had to evacuate us from the House of Reps. when they heard the protesters were on thier way.... scary stuff. sidenote...last day of my internship was today... :(

Final polls of the campaign point to a hung parliament

Final pre-election polls show the Tories around 40 seats short of a majority.

22:05 UPDATE: The final poll of the night, a ComRes survey for the Independent, has the Tories unchanged on 37 per cent, Labour down one to 28 per cent and the Lib Dems up two to 28 per cent.

21:50 UPDATE: ICM for the Guardian has the Tories up three to 36 per cent, Labour unchanged on 28 per cent and the Lib Dems down two to 26 per cent.

20:06 UPDATE: It looks as if last night's YouGov poll, which had the Lib Dems way down on 24 per cent, was an outlier. Tonight's has them back up fourpoints to 28 per cent, with Labour down two to 28 per cent and the Tories unchanged on 35 per cent.

There's no sign of a late Conservative surge tonight but these polls are far from encouraging for Labour. Most show them level-pegging with the Lib Dems and two put Nick Clegg's party in front.


New Statesman Poll of Polls

Hung parliament, Conservatives 38 seats short of a majority.

UPDATE: The latest Angus Reid/PoliticalBetting poll has the Tories up 1 to 36 per cent, the Lib Dems unchanged on 29 per cent and Labour up 1 to just 24 per cent. As ever, Gordon Brown will be hoping that Mike Smithson's golden rule -- that the poll with Labour in the worst position is normally the most accurate -- does not hold this time.

UPDATE: Populus for the Times has topline figures of Con 37 per cent (+1), Lab 28 per cent (+1) and Lib Dems 27 per cent (-1). On a uniform swing, that result would leave Cameron 24 seats short, a legislative handicap he would hope to overcome with the help of the DUP and others.

The first two polls of the night are out and both point to a hung parliament. An Opinium poll for the Daily Express has the Tories on 35 per cent (+2), Labour on 27 per cent (+1) and the Lib Dems on 26 per cent (-1). If repeated at the election on a uniform swing, that result would leave David Cameron 38 seats short of a majority.

Meanwhile, a new TNS BRMB poll puts the Tories down one to 33 per cent, with the Lib Dems also down one to 29 per cent and Labour unchanged on 27 per cent. On a uniform swing, the figures would leave Cameron 57 seats short of a majority.

So, like other recent polls, both suggest that the yellow tide is receding. That said, it's worth remembering how few expected to see any poll put the Lib Dems ahead of Labour the day before the election.
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Source: New Statesman

Do they really have to use the term "yellow tide"?!  Anyway: predictions? prayers? It's all good.
Cheers

New York shuts bridge after truck found abandoned



New York City's Triborough Bridge was shut down on Wednesday night after police said a truck, smelling of gas, was found abandoned on the busy thoroughfare.


New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said a worker on the bridge that connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx found the vehicle abandoned by its driver and apparently smelling of gas.

The New York police bomb squad was investigating the vehicle, law enforcement sources said.

Browne said the vehicle was a U-Haul rental truck with Arizona license plates. It was left on a Manhattan-bound service road leading from the Bronx, he said. Fire officials were responding.

The closure of the span, also known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, came days after a failed bomb attack on New York's Times Square that has heightened security concerns in America's most populous city.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Faisal Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, with five counts, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and trying to kill and maim people within the United States.

He is accused of driving a crude homemade bomb of gasoline, propane gas, fireworks and fertilizer into Times Square on a warm Saturday evening.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the Times Square plot was the 11th thwarted attack on New York City since hijacked airliners destroyed the World Trade Center's twin towers on September 11, 2001, killing more than 2,600 people.


Source

Update: Cnn and fox news report that no bomb was in the truck. Police about to open bridge again soon. Investing pending on why the vehicle was left alone.

Where Women Still Don't Own Their Own Bodies

The recent exhibition about female criminals - Femme Fatale - was spread over two rooms at Sydney's Justice and Police Museum. The first room charted the history of deviant females, starting with that evil biblical temptress Eve. The vain, sexually rapacious queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs got a mention as did female sex workers who patrol Kings Cross each night.

The second room stopped us dead in our tracks. A disclaimer advised its contents might disturb, and explained the room was devoted to abortion because it was the one crime Australian women were most frequently involved in, and it was one of the only crimes always involving a woman.

The exhibition was not simply equating female sexuality with female deviancy; it was exposing the ways in which our current culture and laws do exactly that. My friend and I walked silently through the second room, reflecting soberly on the fact Australian women still do not have complete rights over our own bodies, 50 years after the contraceptive pill became available.

As a young woman it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming female reproductive rights have been secured, and not at risk or being eroded by right-wing, conservative ideologues. Wrong on both counts.

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movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: May 5, 2010.


Late on the night of April 20th, 50 miles from the shore of Louisiana, a fire broke out aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig under lease by BP, with 126 individuals on board. After a massive explosion, all but 11 of the crew managed to escape as the rig was consumed by fire, later collapsing and sinking into the Gulf. Safeguards set in place to automatically cap the oil well in case of catastrophe did not work as expected, and now an estimated 5,000 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) of crude oil is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day - and could possibly continue to do so for months as complicated efforts are made to stop the leak. Collected here are several recent photos of the developing situation along Louisiana's Gulf Shore - one with the potential to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in scope and damage.
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Full galleries:
dah

Group Protests AZ Immigration Bill with White People “Deprofiler” Masks

Long source is looong:http://www.mediaite.com/online/group-protests-az-immigration-bill-with-white-people-deprofiler-masks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mediaite%2FClHj+%28Mediaite%29

Supporters of the group Reform Immigration for America have come up with a fairly clever way to get attention. They’ve created a website advertising masks for Arizona citizens to wear so as to “remove reasonable suspicion” after the passing of the recent Immigration Bill. The masks are, of course, of blandly nonthreatening white people. The masks and the website are pretty funny and, like all clever protests, will assuredly be taken out of context and accused of any number of things by the end of the day.

The “Deprofiler” site is fairly simple. It features a bunch of different pictures of caucasian faces. Choose one and you’ll get a PDF file with the life-size face that you can print out. They were even nice enough to make dotted lines for the eye holes. (This writer chose the old man with a moustache. Not because I fear getting deported any time soon. I just can’t ever grow a nice, full moustache like that.) There is also a link to the organization’s main site as well as a button to share the page so you can “help a friend be white today”.

The cheeky opening text is as follows:

“Being brown in America was never easy. But now, due to SB 1070, it can get you thrown in jail. Deprofiler.com allows you to print a mask of a friendly white person’s face to wear while you’re in Arizona. Now you can bask in the freedom and confidence of knowing you’ll never be harassed by the police.”

Satire is one of the best ways to get your point across. It’s also one of the most dangerous. Ever since the first person asked Jonathan Swift if he was really going to eat some babies, satirists have had their purposefully twisted words forcibly untwisted. So, congratulations, Team Deprofiler, you made us laugh. Just know that, as we speak, there’s a guy who totally missed your point and is sitting at his computer putting the finishing touches on his “Why are white people masks okay but dressing up in black face isn’t?”

The Deprofiler site: http://www.deprofiler.com/
normal

(no subject)

Fox Defends Position: Heck of a Jub Brownie Senior Expert on Botched Emergency Government Response.

Fox Defends Michael Brown Interview: He's An 'Expert On Botched Responses'

Fox News is defending itself from yet another wave of White House criticism, this time saying the decision to let former FEMA chief Michael Brown speak unchallenged about the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was justified because Brown is "an expert on botched responses."

Fox News' Neil Cavuto, who conducted the interview with Brown on Monday -- in which the former FEMA chief insinuated that Obama welcomed the oil spill disaster because of the political advantages he could reap -- circled back to the topic again on Wednesday's show.

"Nowhere in the exchange nor the rest of the interview... did Michael Brown ever say, ever say that the White House was behind this spill, or set this spill, or started this spill," said Cavuto. "That is beyond laughable."


"Here is what is not," he added. "Dismissing what Mr. Brown did say about a president who might have botched a lot since that gulf spill. Just as Mr. Brown argued the last president did in the immediate aftermath of that gulf hurricane -- he was criticizing his old boss -- Mr. Brown says he has become an expert, an expert on botched responses. That is why I had Michael Brown on. Robert Gibbs seems to have done the same for botched White House pressers. That is why I invite him on. So, whenever you want, Robert, it would be a pleasure to have you on. You're always welcome here. Robert, come by."

On Tuesday, Gibbs took Fox News to task for allowing Brown to go unchallenged when he proclaimed a lack of surprise "if the White House said, you know, we might be able to, guess what, do what? Use this crisis to our advantage," Brown would go on to insist that the president would use the oil spill in the Gulf to "shut down" calls for additional offshore drilling -- insinuating that politics had already infested the crisis.

The administration, naturally, was a bit peeved with the insinuation. And when Fox's White House correspondent Wendell Goler asked Gibbs to address the matter, it produced yet another element of strain between the White House and the cable news network.


"I got to tell you, Wendell, I'm not entirely sure that a factual answer that I might give to any one of your questions is going to change the notion that your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposely set off in order to change an offshore drilling decision," Gibbs said.
Labour Rose

You have GOT to be kidding me.

The morning's front pages have come out. I give you, The Sun:



*facepalm*

Never have the words "OH NO YOU DIDN'T" been said by so many to so few.

(I am already preparing to edit this post as I predict some more epic election fail in the hours to come.)

Source.

Mods, I get that something this stupid looks fake. That's how shit The Sun is.
{default} this is how I roll

Racists in Jacksonville (FL) Block Appointment of Muslim And Hope Story Doesn't Leave Town



In the room when the Jacksonville City Council debated the appointment of Parvez Ahmed, a Muslim scholar and university professor, there were a lot of people holding their breath.

Ben Warner, deputy director of the Jacksonville Community Council Inc., said he heard from many who said they just hoped the story wouldn't "get out" of Jacksonville.

"Everybody is just praying, 'Keep it off Drudge,'" he said, referring to The Drudge Report, a news aggregation site with a national following.


So far, the story hasn't gone national. But those fears illustrate a broader concern about the price of perception. If Jacksonville develops a reputation as being less tolerant, could it have deeper economic ramifications?

Throughout the Ahmed controversy that culminated in the April 27 meeting, many wondered whether it would tarnish the city's image. Already, the story had locals buzzing after Councilman Clay Yarborough told Times-Union columnist Mark Woods he would prefer gays not hold public office, and he wasn't sure whether Muslims should either.

Then, during the meeting, another councilman, Don Redman, called Ahmed to the podium and asked him to pray to his God, leading some in the audience to gasp audibly and sending a city attorney rushing to speak with Redman privately before he went any further.


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Source

Hey, ONTD_P, I came across this via Unfunny Business and I'm wondering if we could spread the news a bit since this racism is just appalling but the people involved don't want to be exposed for their actions by online sources or the MSM.

Also, I'm told to avoid the comments at the source. 0_0