May 19th, 2010

comedy | J. Peterman

ONTD_Political's PotD: May 18, 2010.

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, center, addresses members of the media in his office in Southfield, Mich. , Tuesday, May 18, 2010 with from left, Dominika Stanley, the mother of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones, who was killed early Sunday in Detroit, Aiyana's father Charles Jones, grandmother Mertilla Jones and aunt Krystal Sanders.

Carlos Osorio | Associated Press
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Cubs fans: move spring training out of Arizona in reaction to the new immigration law.

Naples, Florida has made an offer to the Chicago Cubs to move their spring training from Mesa, Arizona to Naples. And that offer is being taken more seriously now in part because Cubs fans would like their team to boycott Arizona because of the new immigration law.

Immigration Opponents urge fans at Wrigley to back Cubs move to Florida

In a new twist to the immigrants rights battle ongoing in Arizona, activists are outside of Wrigley Field Friday, saying the Cubs should move their spring training facility out of Arizona.

According to the Associated Press, members of the group are upset with the new immigration law in Arizona that they believe encourages racial profiling. The Arizona legislature has been debating ways to help the Cubs finance a new spring training facility in Mesa.

The protesters organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights asked fans heading to the Cubs-Pirates game on Friday afternoon to sign a petition urging the Cubs to move from Mesa to Naples, Fla.

Naples has been actively pursuing the Cubs as a spring training partner.

Fans also protested outside Wrigley two weeks ago when the Arizona Diamondbacks were in town.

Illinois Coalition For Refugee Rights: Fans Want Cubs Out of Arizona

Cubs fans want a winning team that shows it values and respects all fans. That's why ICIRR is partnering with cubs fans across the country to have the Chicago Cubs move their spring training from Mesa, Arizona to Naples, Florida.

The Cubs have been considering moving Spring training, and evidence shows that Florida would be better for building a winning team. Now the Arizona legislature’s failure to provide funding to keep the Cubs, choosing instead to pass the most radical anti-immigrant law in the country, is the final proof that Florida is the better choice for our team.

More than half the players on the Cubs are foreign born, and Latinos are well represented on most teams. Like immigrants and people of color across the country, baseball players are outraged at how this law violates their rights and opens them up to harassment—with some threatening to boycott the All-Star game if it is held in Arizona.

Baseball is America’s past time, but Arizona is not honoring American values like individual freedom and equal treatment under the law. A growing movement of Cubs fans—in Chicago and online—are calling for the team to move Spring training to Florida.

Not gonna lie, as a lifelong Cubs fan who also grew up in Naples, this is exciting. But it would also be fairly significant if it came to pass. The Cubs are the biggest draw of Arizona's spring training teams and it would mean a pretty significant loss of business to lose the Cubs. But does a state that has shown itself to be so hostile to immigrants and Latinos have any right to benefit from Major League Baseball business when so many players and fans are also immigrants and Latinos?
Akuma River

Sexual Freedom in China under Trial

Swingers On Trial In China: State Says 21 Broke Law With 'Partner Swapping'
TINI TRAN | 05/19/10 12:24 AM |

BEIJING — They were members of a modern-day swingers' club in China, where people met online and then gathered in homes or hotels for group sex parties involving dozens of men and women.

Last month, Ma Yaohai, a 53-year-old college professor and 21 others went on trial in the southeastern city of Nanjing, accused of "group licentiousness" – the first time anyone has been charged under a 1997 law in a case that has snagged huge public interest with its titillating details.

But aside from rampant curiosity in the swinger lifestyle, the uproar also has touched off a deeper debate about sexual freedom in a nation that is trying to reshape its own modern morality.

Ma said his decision to join the swingers was voluntary. "Marriage is like water. You have to drink it. Swinging is like a cup of wine. You can drink it if you like. If you don't like it, don't drink it," he said in interviews with Chinese media.
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So what do you guys think?
JL: Annoyed J. Law

FL: Abortion-bill strategy, election-year politics prompt massive early influx of bills to Crist

Florida House and Senate leaders have swamped Gov. Charlie Crist's office with 139 bills in the past week, the latest tactic in an ongoing election-year battle between Crist and a legislature dominated by the Republican Party he recently spurned.

"We have received quite a number of bills," Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said. "We're moving through them deliberately and as quickly as we can."

Both chambers send their own bills to Crist for approval during a two-month stretch in the summer following their annual legislative spring session.

But they normally send the bills in small waves. At this time last year, Crist had received 91 bills, compared to more than 200 that he has received in the past three weeks, including more than 70 Monday.

About 80 percent of the last week's deluge has been from the House, where Republican leaders are clearing their deck before they send Crist just one bill: a controversial measure to force women to get an ultrasound and at least hear a medical professional describing what it shows before receiving an abortion.

Two sources in the House said the plan was to spotlight the bill (HB 1143) and give anti-abortion activists time to mount a campaign to persuade Crist to sign it.

Crist has not decided what to do. He recently told The Palm Beach Post that he feared the measure was intended to intimidate women to not have an abortion. Crist describes himself as pro-life, but says he'd rather "change hearts than laws."

Meanwhile, Senate leaders are also putting a rush order on their bills. But they're sending their top priorities now, including a package of tax cuts and incentives for businesses aimed at reversing the state's spiraling unemployment rate (SB 1752) and a contentious insurance measure that would let property insurers raise rates but also offer consumer protections (SB 2044).

Crist is expected to sign the jobs bill, but has not said what he'll do about the insurance bill. He has until June 1 to decide.

A high-ranking Senate official told The Post that leaders fear that waiting to send the bills could jeopardize them in this year of increasingly hostile election politics.

Several House and Senate lawmakers have accused Crist of trying to help his U.S. Senate campaign by urging them back into a special session to put a question on the ballot asking voters whether they want a constitutional ban on offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil rig explosion.

Crist has already taken action on several bills. On Saturday, he vetoed two bills: one to expand tax breaks on agricultural land (HB 981) that he said would give an unintended benefit to developers and another to exempt farms from local environmental laws (HB 7103) because he objected to taking authority away from local governments.

He also signed two: one (HB 1581) that will allow Florida Atlantic University to open the state's sixth medical school and another that puts additional restrictions on horse meat consumption (HB 765).

While most of Crist's legislative battles have been with the House, which sent Crist the massive $70.4 billion budget ahead of the normal schedule, Senate President Jeff Atwater has already lost one of his top priorities to Crist's veto pen.

That veto of a divisive bill to end teacher tenure (SB 6) helped transform Crist's struggling Republican primary campaign into an independent bid that is leading in several recent general election polls.

Crist has denied the veto was a political calculation.

But it has given him a boost with the state's powerful teachers union, which could translate into an endorsement from their umbrella group, the AFL-CIO, this weekend in Jacksonville. The group has already endorsed U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami in the Senate Democratic primary.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen," AFL-CIO President Mike Williams said. "It's going to be interesting."

Sufjan Smile

US death toll in Afghanistan tops 1,000

The massive suicide bombing that ripped through a NATO convoy in Kabul Tuesday claimed the lives of five more US soldiers, a Canadian officer and a dozen Afghan civilians.

The attack demonstrated the failure of more than eight years of US-led occupation, not to mention that of the puppet government of President Hamid Karzai, to secure even the center of the Afghan capital. It also marked a grim milestone for American forces, bringing the total number killed in action in “Operation Enduring Freedom” to the 1,000 mark.

There is little doubt that the Obama administration, like the Bush White House before it, will seek to gloss over the significance of this casualty figure. A White House spokesman issued a brief statement Tuesday praising American military forces for their “extraordinary sacrifice”, but made no mention of the number of American dead in this war having risen to 1,000.

Such numbers, however, do have an immense significance and demand serious reflection. Behind them lie devastated family members and loved ones, not to mention the tens of thousands more US troops who have seen their lives shattered by horrendous physical wounds as well as the immense psychological toll of repeated tours of duty fighting a hostile population as part of an army of occupation.

In 2009, 17,538 military personnel were hospitalized for mental problems, compared to 11,156 for injuries and battle wounds. “War is difficult. It takes a toll,” commented the Army’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker.
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Source: World Socialist Web Site

The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives. - Eugene V. Debs

Troops Move in on Red Shirt Camp

Thai troops have reportedly fired warning shots ahead of a possible operation to evict anti-government protesters from their camp in the middle of Bangkok.

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By South East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel

For live updates you can follow Daniel's twitter or #redshirts


Thai soldiers backed up by armoured vehicles have broken into the Red Shirt protest camp in the heart of Bangkok, as a senior official trying to broker a peaceful resolution to the stand-off warned of "unbearable" loss of life.

An Associated Press reporter has seen the bodies of two people in the protest zone in central Bangkok as Thai troops stormed into the camp.

BANGKOK (AP) -- The Thai government has claimed that the army has been successful in its initial push to clear a protest zone in central Bangkok.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn claimed protest leaders have fled the area. But one of the leaders, Nattawut Saikua, appeared on stage in the protest zone several minutes before Panitan spoke and said he has not fled.

Channel 9 television station also said that Nattawut and two other leaders were still in the protest zone Wednesday.

Panitan says "our security operation to secure the (protest zone) around Bangkok has been successful."
interlac k
  • kynn

Michelle and the Second-Grader: "But my mom doesn't have any [papers]..."

First Lady Michelle Obama Questioned by Second-Grader Worried About Her Mom's Immigration Status

A second-grader stole the show today, even as U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House. 

While the two Presidents spoke about the need for immigration reform and about concerns over Arizona's harsh new law – without saying anything new or different – down the road in Silver Spring, Maryland, First Lady Michele Obama and Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala visited an elementary school to speak with a class of second graders. 

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports what happened when a young girl spoke up:

The student shyly raised her hand and said, "My mom ... she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers."

Mrs. Obama replied: "Yeah, well that's something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers, right? That's exactly right."

The girl then said quietly, "But my mom doesn't have any ..." and trailed off.

Mrs. Obama replied: "Well, we have to work on that. We have to fix that, and everybody's got to work together in Congress to make sure that happens. That's right."

Watch the video of the exchange:


Sadly, this brief exchange says more about the current state of the immigration debate than the remarks of the two Presidents in the Rose Garden today. 

The little girl wants her mother to have papers, but hears that the President is sending people away if they don't.

In fact, the Obama Administration is on track this year to exceed the deportation levels of the Bush Administration. Most of those deported are not criminals, but ordinary immigrants whose only violation was to come to this country without papers to work hard and seek better lives.  With common-sense comprehensive immigration reform stalled in Congress, and Arizona taking matters into their own hands, this young girl gives voice to the growing frustration and desperation in immigrant families and communities. 

Like the "DREAM Act 5" who earlier this week staged a sit-in in John McCain’s office, young people are increasingly underscoring the dysfunction and consequences of our broken immigration system and showing how Washington’s failure to address the unstable and unsustainable status quo is becoming a moral and political crisis.



How long until right-wing bloggers dig up this girl's identity, demand that she be deported, and report her family to ICE?

A snippet from the Washington Post's article:

A Montgomery County school spokesman said the district will not reveal the girl's identity.

Dana Tofig, spokesman for the Montgomery schools, said school officials are prohibited by law from asking students about immigration status or divulging such information to others. Public schools are essentially required to serve all students within their boundaries, regardless of legal status.

"We won't help identify the kid. We won't help identify the parents," Tofig said.

Killer who claimed 'gay panic defence' jailed for 18 years

An Ipswich man who killed a gay hairdresser and claimed the victim touched him has been jailed for 18 years.

Rodney Greenland, 47, of Manchester Road, Ipswich, stabbed 36-year-old Simon Amers to death last July.

He claimed he "flipped" when Mr Amers made sexual advances to him.

The pair had met in a pub on the night of July 27th and returned to Mr Amers' flat in Wigeon Close for a drink.

The victim's naked body was found by his friends in a pool of blood at his flat several days later.

He had been stabbed seven times.

Greenland admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

He told police that the victim, who was gay, began stroking his leg. He said that Mr Amers then followed him into another room and tapped his shoulder.

Greenland said he picked up a knife and slashed Mr Amers, who fell down the stairs.

While being interviewed by detectives, he said he had been abused at boarding school as a child and "flipped".

Ipswich crown court heard that Greenland had repeatedly confessed to the murder in the days after the killing but was not believed because no body had been discovered.

He told friends, family members, police and a doctor he had killed a man.

Police drove him around the area where Mr Amers lived in an effort to jog his memory but when he could not remember where he had been, they assumed he was drunk and nothing had happened.

According to the East Anglia Daily Times, Godfried Duah, a prosecuting lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Greenland needlessly took Simon’s life.

“One minute they were sharing a drink and the next he was subjected to a frenzied attack by a cold-blooded killer.”

Source: Pink News

Horrible murder, but it's kind of awesome to see that the bullshit "gay panic" excuse doesn't always work.

Have police really banned wearing England tops?

A bizarre rumour has kicked off on Facebook (thanks @gjcsouthsea for this).

Hundreds of people are copying and pasting this on to their Facebook status:

Police are going round all pubs and club saying we cant wear our england tops and we have to take our england flags down, as its offending people that arnt from england! Now im NOT racist… but this is taking the piss.. This is england and we need to make a stand!! Would you remove your turban if it offended me? NO! we need to stick together, repost this as your status and make your stand!

You can see people posting this on Facebook via

Is there any truth to this?

Searching various websites and news stories, I came to this Sun story in April: ENGLAND shirts could be BANNED at pubs screening live World Cup matches.

Apparently the Met police sent a letter to some pubs in Croydon with “guidance” notes.

Among World Cup guidance, it suggests “dress code restrictions – eg no football shirts”.

It also urges using plastic glasses and door staff. Pubs are not obliged to follow the advice, but it warns: “Police will not hesitate to use powers under the Licensing Act should we find you are not actively supporting the prevention of crime.

This is all reported in the Sun story, but it is still titled ‘Police are trying to ban’ football shirts when that clearly isn’t the case.

It is however true that the Licensing Act gives police too much power to shut down local events. I made the same case when the Met used the Licensing Act’s Form 696 to stop black and Asian music live events across London.

Anyway, the point is that the story is bogus. There was no ban on wearing these tops whatsoever.

And yet it’s now become an urban myth travelling across Facebook at frightening speed.

Look, I have a brother who wears a turban and I have friends who wear hijabs – I’ve never once heard anyone ask for a ban on wearing England tops. I have a turbaned mate who wears England tops himself!

If you want to blame anyone, blame the police for abusing their powers.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
talkin' that blah blah blah

Facebook mulls U-turn on privacy

Facebook looks likely to cave into pressure from users and simplify its privacy settings in the near future.

It follows criticisms of its privacy policy from US senators, the European Union and civil liberty groups.

The social networking giant told BBC News that it was listening to the message from users that it has "made things too complex".

"We're working on responding to these concerns," a spokeswoman said.

"Watch this space," she added.

Crisis meeting

At the end of last year Facebook changed its default privacy settings, allowing profile information to be shared with the wider web, unless users specifically opted out.

Last month it moved a step further, opening up Facebook data to third-party websites, described by founder Mark Zuckerberg as a move towards "a web where the default is social".

While Facebook sold the idea as a way to offer a more personalised surfing experience, critics were concerned that users were losing control over their information.

It prompted a letter from the European Commission saying changes to its privacy settings were "unacceptable".

The move caused outrage among some users, who have organised a "Quit Facebook" day, scheduled for May 31.

Last week Facebook held an internal meeting to deal with the crisis, which has already seen some high-profile users deactivate their Facebook accounts.

Facebook said it "didn't comment on deactivations".

"Some 10 million users have joined Facebook since the recent privacy changes," said a spokeswoman.

"There is a notion that people don't know what they are doing but people are much more savvy about their online privacy than is often portrayed," she added.

Since the changes were introduced in December, more than 50% of users have changed their privacy settings, Facebook said in a statement to BBC News.

"The fact that approximately half have accepted, and half are customising shows that our recommendations are reasonable," the statement read.

But it acknowledged that more could be done.

"We have heard from our users that our efforts to provide granular control have made things too complex. Of course we're working on responding to these concerns," it said.

Critics say navigating its privacy policy is overly complex.

Its current privacy policy has 50 different settings and 170 options and runs to 5,830 words, making it longer than the US Constitution.

Alternatives to Facebook are springing up, including open source social network Diaspora.

Designed by four students from New York University, the project has quickly gained thousands of backers and received $125,000 in donations to help get it off the ground.

Mobile world

In separate news, Facebook has launched a site designed to increase its footprint in the developing world. is a mobile site that includes all the social network's key features but is offered with no data charges.

It will be available through 50 mobile operators in 45 countries.

"When using the mobile internet, people around the world face two main challenges - sometimes the experience is too slow to be fun and the cost of data plans and understanding them can be daunting," Facebook's Sid Murlidhar wrote on the firm's official blog.

"We have designed to help solve these two barriers and we hope that even more people will discover the mobile internet with Facebook as a result," he added.

Facebook currently has more than 400 million users around the world.


i really hate the privacy settings on facebook. it took me weeks to even realize there had been changes, and then i couldn't figure out how/what to change.

First ever abortion ad to air on national TV

One of the UK’s largest abortion providers has announced that the country’s first ever abortion advert is to be screened on national television later this month.

But pro-lifers have slammed the ad, and warned that it is a cynical attempt to normalise abortions.

The advert by leading abortion provider Marie Stopes International (MSI) is due to be aired on 24 May on Channel 4, and will continue to be shown throughout June.


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fangirl21, Muppets Jim

Tea Party Leader Is Mad About Muslims Praying to ‘Monkey-God’ Near Ground Zero

Mark Williams, the chairman of the Tea Party Express, took to his blog on Friday to rant about the mosque that's planned for a site two blocks from ground zero. Of course, nobody really reads his blog or noticed until last night, but now that they have .... yikes. For a movement that has gone out of its way recently to try to counteract its reputation (among some people) for being full of racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiment, this is not going to help things.

The animals of allah (terrorists) for whom any day is a great day for a massacre are drooling over the positive response that they are getting from New York City officials over a proposal to build a 13 story monument to the 9/11 Muslim hijackers.

The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god (repeat: “the terrorists’ monkey-god.” if you feel that fits a description of Allah then that is your own deep-seated emotional baggage not mine, talk to the terrorists who use Allah as their excuse and the Muslims who apologize for and rationalize them) and a “cultural center” to propagandize for the extermination of all things not approved by their cult.

The funny (read: sad) thing here is that Williams thinks he's gone out of his way to only disparage terrorists. You can see it in the way he specifically identifies "animals of Allah" as terrorists, as well as his entire parenthetical about the phrase "terrorists' monkey-god." But consider that the God that Muslim terrorists worship, albeit in a perverted way, is still Allah. Or that he considers a mosque and community center a "monument to the 9/11 Muslim hijackers." (The leader of the organization behind the mosque says the goal is to "build a new discourse on how Muslims and non-Muslims can cooperate together to push back against the voices of extremism.") If Williams really is trying not to offend Muslims as a whole, well, he failed miserably.

Source // Secondary Source // Mark Williams' original blog post

My reaction to this was RAGE. But let's me just say this (the religious studies minor in me wants to come out and play), does this dude not realize that Islam is a Abrahamic religion. They recognize Abraham, Moses and Jesus as prophets, so dude, you just called your own god a "monkey-god". And lets not forget that "Allah" is just Arabic for "god" and god is called "Allah" by Arabic speaking CHRISTIANS!

Pakistan shuts down Facebook over 'Draw Mohammed' Day

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan is blocking access to Facebook in response to an online group calling on people to draw the Prophet Mohammed, officials said Wednesday.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority issued the order a day before "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," scheduled by a Facebook group with the same name.

"Obviously it (the blocking of Facebook) is related to the objectionable material that was placed on Facebook. That is why it is blocked," said Khoram Ali Mehran of the telecommunication authority.

"We have blocked it for an indefinite amount of time. We are just following the government's instructions and the ruling of the Lahore High Court. If the government decides to unblock it then that's what we will do," he told CNN by phone.

The organization has not received any complaints from internet users about the Facebook group so far, he said. Devout Muslims consider it offensive to depict Mohammed.

There were riots around the world in response to a series of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and at least two European cartoonists live under police protection after publication of their drawings of the Muslim prophet.

The administrators of the "Draw Mohammed" group did not immediately respond to a CNN e-mail.

' jules

Nate Silver Explains It All

What Tuesday Really Meant

There were five races that we were tracking closely over the course of the evening -- and I've already seen analysts drawing flimsy conclusions from each of them.

Pennsylvania -- Democratic Senate primary

The results: Joe Sestak defeats Arlen Specter, 54-46.

The conventional wisdom: This was a stunning repudiation of the Democratic establishment.

The reality: Certainly, Specter had the support of a lot of Very Important People, including the President, many unions, and the mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But in many cases, it seemed perfunctory. The White House elected not to send either Barack Obama or Joe Biden to the state in the closing days. The unions were nominally supporting Specter, but were concentrating their cash in Arkansas and elsewhere. As Sestak began to emerge as the superior general election candidate, their support grew even more tepid. This was an important win, and the netroots progressives who championed Sestak's campaign deserve all the credit in the world. But something can be dramatic without being especially surprising. Joe Sestak is a mainline, lunchpail Democrat who defeated a very unpopular Republican-turned-Democrat who ran an awful campaign and who Pennsylvania Democrats weren't used to punching their ticket for. No huge shock there.

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Not so fast, kids.

Big Powers Agree on Iran Sanctions; Brush Aside Deal With Brazil and Turkey

UNITED NATIONS - The big powers struck back at Turkey and Brazil's uranium swap deal with Iran by putting their draft sanctions resolution on the table, in effect telling the two nations they were not going to run the show.

In the UN Security Council, where Turkey and Brazil are rotating members, a resolution can probably be adopted without their votes. But at the same time, the United States and its allies do not want a political split in the 15-nation body -- especially since the Council approved unanimously three previous rounds of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. So hard bargaining lies ahead.

The 10-page text was introduced to Council members by US Ambassador Susan Rice after weeks of negotiations with Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in an effort to stop Tehran from enriching uranium that could be used in a nuclear weapon -- an ambition Iran strongly denies.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that agreement among the six had been reached, following a phone call on Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. On Monday, Iran announced a tentative deal with Turkey and Brazil to send about half of its low-enriched uranium abroad in return for fuel rods for use in a medical research reactor, an apparent effort to prevent another sanctions resolution. The deal, called a "confidence building measure" was similar to one Iran rejected last year.

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And if anybody here likes reading about the Global South...

The Iran nuclear deal and the new premier league of global powers

Brazil and Turkey are determined to pursue diplomacy and compromise – even if it means upsetting Washington

The furious row between the Obama administration and the leaders of Brazil and Turkey over how best to handle Iran's nuclear ambitions, following this week's controversial "uranium swap" deal in Tehran, reflects a more fundamental and widening disagreement over how the world should be run in the 21st century.

On Iran, as on other issues that it regards as critical to its security and national interest, Washington expects to have its own way – and is accustomed to getting it. If necessary, it stands ready to impose its will. This is what secretary of the state, Hillary Clinton, tried to do this week by whipping the UN security council into line.

Brazil and Turkey, two leading members of a new premier league of emerging global powers, have a quite different approach. They stress persuasion and compromise. In the case of Iran, instead of ultimatums, deadlines and sanctions, they prefer dialogue. It helps that neither country feels threatened by Tehran.

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Well, that was a very clear and even humiliating finger Brazil and Turkey just got. Good luck with this mess, P5+1 ^_^.
SNL - Oh hell no.

Anarchist group claims responsibility for Ottawa bank firebombing

Published On Wed May 19 2010
Jesse McLean Staff Reporter

An anarchist group claimed responsibility for firebombing an Ottawa bank Tuesday and vowed to bring its cause to the G8 and G20 summits.

The group, which identified itself as FFFC, posted a video of the bombing online, accompanied by a message criticizing Royal Bank of Canada for being “a major sponsor of the recently concluded 2010 Olympics on stolen indigenous land.”

The message goes on to read: “The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada (sic) . . . The G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment.

“We will be there.”

In the short video, which can be viewed at, two people run out the door as fire explodes throughout the building, shattering the front window.

No one was hurt in the 3:30 a.m. blaze, which caused about $300,000 in damage, reports say.

In Huntsville, meanwhile, the town’s fire chief has been reassigned following a possible breach in G8 summit security.

Officials remain tight-lipped about what the supposed breach was or why Steve Hernen, a 25-year veteran of the fire department, has been put on desk duties. However, the town learned of the incident Thursday and, following an emergency council meeting, launched an internal investigation.

The incident is a municipal matter and is not being investigated by the G8’s Integrated Security Unit, Sgt. Pierre Chamberland said.

As Huntsville’s director of protective services, Hernen has taken part in negotiations between the town and federal government regarding nearly everything on the G8 — from boosting the number of emergency vehicles during the summit to hashing out a contract to ensure the town isn’t on the hook for unforeseen operating costs.


Leonard Pitts: My history is part of America's history

I just read an awesome opinion piece on my local newspaper's website about the recent legislation in Arizona regarding ethnic studies.


History is not a Hallmark card. Sometimes, history breaks your heart.

I know this because I have often recounted history in this space, tales of black men and women bought and sold, cheated and mistreated, maimed and lynched. And whenever I do this, I can be assured of e-mails and calls of chastisement.

I still remember one of the first, an earnest lady who pleaded with me to leave this history behind. Telling such tales, she said, could not help but make black people resent white ones.

Her complaint presented a quandary. I find the same value in recounting those stories that my former boss Bert used to find in remembering Holocaust brutalities and my friend John finds in recalling Irish suffering at British hands. Understanding the past provides context to understand the present and predict the future. Moreover, history is identity. These stories tell me who I am.

But there's a difference, isn't there? Bert's history indicts Germans in Europe, John's indicts Britons in the United Kingdom. Mine indicts white people, here.

So I'm not without sympathy for people like that lady. This history hurts. But is requiring me not to speak it really the best response to that hurt? Should a hard truth not be uttered for fear it might cause somebody, somewhere to resent?
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BP chose more toxic, less effective oil dispersant manufactured by company with ‘close ties’ to oil


As BP believes it has finally made progress plugging the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, it has managed to prevent much of the oil already released from washing onshore by using huge quantities of oil dispersants. BP rounded up a “third of the world’s available supply of dispersants” and has been deploying them aggressively. But Greenwire reports that the chemical BP is using is more toxic and perhaps even less effective than other available dispersents:

So far, BP has told federal agencies that it has applied more than 400,000 gallons of a dispersant sold under the trade name Corexit and manufactured by Nalco Co., a company that was once part of Exxon Mobil Corp. and whose current leadership includes executives at both BP and Exxon. And another 805,000 gallons of Corexit are on order, the company said, with the possibility that hundreds of thousands of more gallons may be needed if the well continues spewing oil for weeks or months.

But according to EPA data, Corexit ranks far above dispersants made by competitors in toxicity and far below them in effectiveness in handling southern Louisiana crude.

Of 18 dispersants whose use EPA has approved, 12 were found to be more effective on southern Louisiana crude than Corexit, EPA data show. Two of the 12 were found to be 100 percent effective on Gulf of Mexico crude, while the two Corexit products rated 56 percent and 63 percent effective, respectively. The toxicity of the 12 was shown to be either comparable to the Corexit line or, in some cases, 10 or 20 times less, according to EPA.

BP "shares close ties" with Nalco. A BP board member who served as an executive at the company for 43 years also sits on Nalco’s board, and critics suggest there may be a conflict of interest in BP’s choice of Corexit. “It’s a chemical that the oil industry makes to sell to itself, basically,” said Defenders of Wildlife’s Richard Charter. While use of dispersants helps keep oil off beaches and out of wetlands, “[s]cientists warn that the dispersed oil, as well as the dispersants themselves, might cause long-term harm to marine life.” Even Nalco admits the chemicals pose "moderate" environmental hazard, but Pro Publica noted that dispersant ingredients are kept secret under trade laws, so it’s difficult to know the potential fallout from using them. A Corexit product was used to cleanup the Exxon Valdez spill, and workers suffered health problems “including blood in their urine and assorted kidney and liver disorder.”

Chibis- ChibiMermaidRachel is awesome

Is Ayn Rand Anti-Civil Rights?

Recently Rand Paul made some... concerning statements about the Civil Rights Act, suggesting that the Government shouldn't tell private business they can't discriminate. Rachel Maddow tries to get a straight answer out of him on the issue, to frustrating results.

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As I said on twitter, Ayn Rand Paul dodged the question so far, he ended up a hundred years off. This is the shining example of the Libertarians and Tea Party?

Haiti prosecutors seek prison for US missionary

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Prosecutors asked for a six-month prison term for US missionary Laura Silsby, who was arrested trying to leave Haiti with 33 children following the devastating January earthquake that hit the country.
Silsby was described as the leader of a group of 10 US Baptists stopped at the border with the Dominican Republic with the children who were purported to be orphans.

Although she was initially accused of child abduction, the charges were later revised to "irregular travel."

A verdict in the case is expected within a few days, judicial officials said.
Silsby and her fellow Baptist missionaries were arrested on January 29 as they tried to take the children into the neighboring Dominican Republic by bus without the necessary documentation.

The members of the New Life Children's Refuge missionary group denied wrongdoing, saying they were only trying to help orphans in the wake of Haiti's devastating January 12 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people.

Haitian authorities later determined that all 33 children that the US missionaries tried to remove from the country had parents, with whom they were eventually reunited.

Silsby's defense lawyer Jean Renel Tessier argued that Silsby should not be convicted on the charges "because the border with the Dominican Republic was open."

The other nine missionaries arrested were all released and allowed to return to the United States, but Silsby, the leader of the group, remained detained in Port-au-Prince.


A week old, but I didn't find it under the haiti tag. So there you go.
stock | road hazard

ONTD_Political's PotD: May 19, 2010.

Earlier today, soldiers from the Thai Army broke down barricades and entered the fortified camp occupied by anti-government Red Shirt protesters for the past several weeks in downtown Bangkok. Several clashes took place, and Red Shirt leaders announced to their followers that they were surrendering to police as the soldiers approached. Many protesters dispersed, but some continued to battle with grenades, guns, slingshots and fire, setting as many as 20 locations ablaze in central Bangkok. At this stage, it is unclear how many have been killed or injured, but at least five are known to have died, with dozens more injured. Thai authorities have imposed a curfew as they battle fires, process detainees and clear the rest of the Red Shirt encampment.
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