May 23rd, 2010


Republican Candidates Learn Nothing From Arizona, Support Similar Law for Florida

Newfound Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott came out swinging this week in defense of Arizona's anti-immigration law -- and taking a jab at primary foe Bill McCollum, who said three weeks ago the law was too "far out" for Florida.

"I think Arizona has its own unique problems; I don't think Florida should enact laws like this that are quite that far out," McCollum said on April 27, four days after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law critics said would task police with questioning anyone who could appear to be in the country illegally, leading to racial profiling.

"The law in Arizona for my purposes goes further than I would go. I would not do that."

But no sooner had Scott released a new radio ad praising the law then McCollum's campaign released a statement Thursday proclaiming Florida needed one just like it.

The explanation: The Arizona legislature narrowed its law on April 30 to restrict police questioning only to situations where they stop, detain or arrest someone, as opposed to the original law's mandate that they check the legal status of anyone they suspect while on-duty.

The law has already drawn lawsuits from cities within Arizona who claim it will be too costly to enforce, and repudiations from Los Angeles, where the city council wants to scrap contracts with Arizona companies in retaliation.

"I support Arizona's law as amended," McCollum said, "and if the federal government fails to secure our borders and solve the problem of illegal immigration, I would support a similar law for Florida."

Source: May 13, 2010 Orlando Sentinel

This may be a bit late in posting but I just saw a television ad where Scott promises to bring this law to Florida if elected
Ani: Amazon Warrior

Arizona Law Reveals Split Within G.O.P.

LOS ANGELES — Republican lawmakers and candidates are increasingly divided over illegal immigration — torn between the need to attract Latino support, especially at the ballot box, and rallying party members who support tougher action.

Arizona’s new measure, which requires that the police check the documents of anyone they stop or detain whom they suspect of being in the country illegally, has forced politicians far and wide to take a stance. But unlike in Washington, where a consensus exists among establishment Republicans, the fault lines in the states — where the issue is even more visceral and immediate — are not predictable.

Conservative Republican governors like Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia and Rick Perry of Texas have criticized the Arizona law. But some more moderate Republicans, like Tom Campbell, who is running in the party’s Senate primary in California, have supported it.

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This Northerner's ~completely shocked, I tell you.

Former ministers warned last night that looming government cuts risked deepening the country's north-south divide by hitting poorer regions heavily reliant on public-sector jobs.

Tomorrow the government will announce an additional £6bn of cuts for this financial year. MPs representing northern areas have demanded radical changes to protect funding in regions with vulnerable economies. Rosie Winterton, shadow leader of the house and the former minister for Yorkshire and the Humber, warned the cuts "will suck everything down south".

The government has described the first round of cuts as "modest" but warned that more pain will be felt in the following years. David Laws, the Treasury chief secretary, has said the country is moving "from an age of plenty to an age of austerity" in public finances. Tomorrow's announcement will be followed by an emergency Budget next month.

Winterton, the MP for Doncaster Central, warned the cuts risked devastating northern economies struggling to emerge from recession. "The government must rethink its strategy of regional funding," she said, arguing that the north of England needed the type of protection already given to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Phil Woolas, the former immigration minister and MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth in the north-west, agreed, saying it would be wrong to cut health budgets evenly across the country, because that would hit the areas with the lowest life expectancies hardest. He argued that abolishing the regional development agencies, which has been suggested, would be deeply damaging and said it was notable that the coalition government had been slow to appoint ministers representing the regions of England. And of those in the cabinet a tiny minority represent constituencies that are not in the south.

Many fear that the axe will fall most heavily on areas with high levels of public-sector employment, such as the north-east and Wales. Woolas pointed out that in the north-east almost one in two women worked in the public sector. "So low-paid women workers face the brunt of the cuts," he said.

It comes as The Smith Institute, a think-tank, calls for a "Barnett formula for the north" to replicate the mechanism that redistributes extra money to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Its director, Paul Hackett, said: "Without it the cuts will disadvantage the northern regions and risk taking us back to the north-south divide of the 1980s."

The government is expected to hit quangos in the first round of cuts. Among those at risk are the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, The Infrastructure Planning Commission and regional development agencies.

Source: The Guardian

"Human rights" urged for whales and dolphins

Japan, Norway and Iceland, the main whaling nations, oppose such arguments that would outlaw hunting or even keeping the mammals in marine parks. They have long said there is no real evidence that they are smarter, for instance, than cows or pigs.

Participants at a University of Helsinki conference said ever more studies show the giant marine mammals have human-like self-awareness, an ability to communicate and organize complex societies, making them similar to some great apes.

"We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing," they said in a declaration after a two-day meeting led by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

Thomas White, director of the Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University in California who was at the Helsinki talks, said dolphins can recognize themselves in a mirror, an ability rare in mammals that humans only acquire at about 18 months of age.

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' jules

No homo

Mayor Daley To Jam Rifle Up Reporter’s Butt, For Laffs

Omnipotent Chicago mob boss and mayor-for-life Richard Daley held a press conference with local reporters yesterday to discuss the city’s handgun ban that will probably be overturned by the Supreme Court, which loves giving citizens of violent death-towns as many handguns as the Constitution permits (10.9 trillion). It was a very serious affair, and Daley brought all sorts of guns to show the reporters how bad they are. When one reporter asked the Mayor how effective the ban has been, Daley picked up a rifle, giggled, and said he would stick it up the reporter’s butt? To demonstrate… huh?

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Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape victims too?

There has been a furore over government plans to grant anonymity to those accused of rape (their accusers already have their identity protected). A number of feminists have come out and argued that this simply tilts the scales further in favour of men, as it gives the impression that rape defendants need special protection. There are also fears that not naming the accused would stop other women coming forward if they heard about a trial, and so it would be harder to convict serial rapists like John Warboys.

Obviously, this change is better for the men accused of rape (which is good, as they are innocent until proven guilty), but could it be better for women too? Perhaps. We know from studies that some people are willing to blame the rape victim (or at least partially blame her), for the rape. This, combined with a perception that some rape victims are lying and desperate for attention, is likely to have a negative impact on some jurors, thus making them less likely to convict. Anonymity would eliminate the notion that a woman is seeking publicity, making some on the jury more sympathetic to their claims.

Whether anonymity would benefit women who have made it to court is a minor debate though compared to the wider issues surrounding rape. One of the biggest issues is the misinformation put out by many commentators about the low conviction rate for rape (‘94% of rapes don’t end in conviction’ is the standard line). The rape conviction rate is then compared unfavourably to conviction rates for other crimes. Yet this is a myth. The conviction rate for rape is between 50-60%, which is higher than for most other crimes. The conviction rate is the percentage of cases brought to trial that end in a conviction. What both commentators and politicians do is use the attrition rate for rape (number of convictions as a percentage of number of reported crimes), whilst using the conviction rate for all other crimes. As Baroness Stern (appointed by Harriet Harman to lead a review of rape) pointed out, misleading references to the attrition/conviction rate actually discourage women from coming forward to report rapes.

Secondly is the issue of the help women receive when they are reporting a rape. As Baroness Stern’s review noted, there are a number of things the police could do a great deal better. Many women who waited several weeks to report a rape (understandably, given the horrific nature of such a crime), were treated with suspicion and dismissive comments. Others felt that lack of a specialist support officer hampered their chances of recovering and ensuring that the rapist was brought to justice. Baroness Stern recommended more specialist advisers, greater training, and more ‘intelligence-led’ policing.

The third issue is the attitudes surrounding rape. As I mentioned above, there still is a culture of victim-blaming surrounding rape. Just to note: rape is never a victim’s fault, and no means no. Yet we are still a situation where high-profile women feel able to defend date rape on the basis that once a woman is in a man’s bedroom and kissing him she loses any rights she might have had over her own body. There is also still a stereotype of the rapist lurking in the bushes, while in reality the majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

There’s a lot to do regarding rape, particularly in terms of better provisioning for victims (both pre and post trial), changing mentalities and more accurate information about statistics. I don’t see anonymity of defendants as a step back, but rather a proposal that will benefit both victims and the accused.

Source: Pickled Politics

Charles Djou: How did a Republican win in Obama's Hawaii hometown?

Republican Charles Djou won the special election in Hawaii's First Congressional District – the Honolulu district where President Obama grew up. Djou is only the third Republican Hawaii has elected to Congress since statehood.

The victory of Republican Charles Djou in a special election in Hawaii’s First Congressional District – the heavily Democratic district where President Obama grew up – is a welcome political reversal for the GOP.

In 2008, Mr. Obama took the district with 70 percent of the vote, and no Hawaiian congressional district had returned a Republican for 20 years.

Moreover, the victory stopped a surprising winning streak for Democrats, who had won the past seven consecutive special elections for Congress, including three prominent races – two in upstate New York and one in Pennsylvania – in areas that tilt conservative.

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Pride & Prejudice

UN camp for Gaza children torched

Masked gunmen have attacked a UN summer camp being set up for children in the Gaza Strip, UN officials say.

The attackers burned tents and destroyed other equipment after tying up a guard. They also left a letter threatening the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), John Ging.

No group has claimed the overnight raid, but observers suspect it is the work of Islamic extremists opposed to such camps for boys and girls.

"The armed men torched the camp, which contained recreational equipment and (plastic) swimming pools, and completely destroyed it," Unrwa spokesman Abu Hasna told journalists.

The camp, due to open next month, is one of dozens of beach facilities set up by the UN offering a summer programme of arts, sport and other activities for some quarter of a milllion children in the Gaza Strip.

Representatives of the Hamas government condemned the attack and said those responsible would be found.

Unrwa chief John Ging said the agency "would not be intimidated by such attacks".

He pledged the summer camp would take place as planned.

Mr Ging said there was "no doubt in my mind that it is vandalism linked to a certain degree of extremism. It is an attack on the happiness of children."

The Gang

The Freedom Flotilla

It’s been almost 3 years now ever since the blockade of Gaza had started, from June 2007 when Hamas had seized control of the region. And ever since then, over 1.5 million Gazans have been cut off from all aspects of the outside World, suffocating in a small strip that’s no more than 360 square kilometers big (139 square miles) in a constant state of oppression, brutalization and gradual dehumanization by the Israeli Government in cooperation with the Egyptian Government. Can you imagine living in such a densely populated area?! Take my advice from a person who lives in Cairo; being also densely populated, I assure you it’s not fun, especially when to the rest of the World out there, you’re almost virtually incommunicado.

Then came the war in 2008, Operation ‘Cast Lead’ with the purpose of halting the rocket launches made by Hamas, and lasting for about 3 weeks, with no positive result, “just” the deaths of approximately 1,417 Palestinians, with over 400 women and children, along with the use of illegal weapons of war, e.g. White phosphorus and DIME explosives, that targeted buildings, vehicles and people without discrimination.

Shortly after this event, came the idea of the Gaza Freedom March, triggered by this war, over 1,300 activists from over 40 countries, including myself had converged in Cairo, set out to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gazans. And after weeks of demonstrating and protesting in Cairo, then al-Arish. The Rafah crossing was finally opened and over 150 trucks of food and medicinal supplies got to pass through. It felt good, I felt good I had the opportunity to participate in such an event with the rest of the few Egyptian activists who joined me there as well.

And right now, the Freedom Flotilla sets out to aid Gaza; a group of ships; starting with the MV Rachel Corrie, a cargo ship, that set sail from Ireland are coming from several corners of the Mediterranean Sea to gather in international waters to deliver some 5,000 tons of building and medical supplies to the population under siege in Gaza in what a statement called the “biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.”

Over 600 pro-Palestinian activists from over 40 countries aboard nine ships, coming from the UK, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, and an Algerian cargo ship joining in as well, funded by the Algerian peace movement, all set to meet at Greece, then setting out to attempt and break the siege imposed on Gaza by Israel, which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of fuel, food, and other basic necessities.

The Free Gaza Movement has sailed eight missions to Gaza in the past three years, five of them successful. The last three were violently stopped by the Israeli Navy; the boat Dignity was rammed three times and the Spirit of Humanity turned back in January 2009, then it was seized and all that was aboard was arrested.

And how does Israel’s Zionist regime respond this time?

An Israeli flotilla sets off from the shores of Herzliya as a response to the pro-Palestinian convoy with banners showing Gaza rocket fire toward Israel and photos of the captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Disregarding all the crimes that were committed by the IDF against the Palestinians as in the aid convoy would suddenly change their minds after seeing something like this, as if they’re saying: “All the Gazans deserve this, they’re all terrorists, all responsible for the rockets and the capture of Gilad Shalit”.

The Israeli Government accuses the IHH and the Free Gaza Movement of “supporting terrorism” and serving Hamas; with half the Israeli Navy set to stop the mission; with two naval ships already sailing around the coastal areas of Gaza, the air force on standby and diplomatic pressure being applied. Despite the efforts of Gush Shalom calling on the Israeli Government to allow the aid convoy to reach Gaza, stating that: “The State of Israel has no interest in footage of its navy violently assaulting against peace activists at sea flooding television screens all over the world. It is time to remove the suffocating siege and allow residents of Gaza to have free contact with the outside world, freely operate sea and air ports of their own like any country in the world.”

Thank you Gush Shalom!

Such a typical Zionist response from the Israeli Government, the message is quite clear: “We will stop you, and use any force necessary to achieve so” , which shows nothing but how weak the position of Israel is internationally regarding the plight of the Palestinians, I think the World, especially the Jewish people should now start to realize how Nazi-like the Zionist regime has become, and how many of the oppressed have become the oppressors, and just like the World stopped Nazism and the apartheid in South Africa, it should stop Zionism. Let’s help stop another Holocaust from happening, let’s end the ethnic cleansing process and the brutality that’s being shown to Palestinians to help avert another genocide.

Viva Palestine!


Conservatives shelve plans to freeze TV licence fee

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02:  A BBC logo adorns...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

THE Tories have reined in plans to freeze the TV licence fee and force the BBC to reveal the salaries of its highest paid stars.

After the party’s combative approach towards the corporation in the run-up to the election, Ed Vaizey, the new minister for media and arts, has used his first interview to tell the BBC that it will be treated firmly but fairly by the coalition government.

He even suggested that BBC 6 Music, the digital radio channel facing the axe, should be saved.

Last year the Conservatives had failed to win a parliamentary vote to freeze the licence fee temporarily. Now they are in office, Vaizey said there are no plans to block an annual increase by £3 next April and by a similar amount in 2012.

“We tried to vote a freeze for the fee last year but that was simply because inflation was next to nothing,” he said.

The Tories also appear to have softened their position on publishing the salaries of top presenters.

In March Jeremy Hunt, who has since been appointed culture secretary, said he wanted to “name and shame” BBC stars over their pay — despite protests from the broadcaster that this would breach confidentiality and lead to wage inflation as rivals were made aware of the stars’ value.

This weekend Vaizey seemed to temper his boss’s comments. “We will continue the conversation about their salaries and whether they should be revealed,” he said.

However, he was unequivocal about the need for greater transparency over the salaries of BBC managers.

The government wants the salary of the top person in any publicly funded organisation to be no more than 20 times that of the lowest employee.

At the BBC the £800,000 pay package enjoyed by Mark Thompson, the director-general, is 40 times higher — but ministers cannot enforce a change because of the broadcaster’s independence.

“I cannot tell Mark Thompson what his salary should be,” said Vaizey. “He can, however, listen to opinion.”

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Source: The Times
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JL: Annoyed J. Law

Meek gets FL AFL-CIO endorsement, FL Teacher Assoc splits endorsement

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek secured the full backing of the state’s largest labor movement Sunday, avoiding a late surge from Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent campaign.

The AFL-CIO endorsement gives Meek access to the union’s grass-roots political machine, which helps raise money and turn out voters on Election Day.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure Kendrick Meek wins,” AFL-CIO President Mike Williams said.

Meek, a U.S. House member from Miami, is in a primary race against Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre.

The winner will advance to a high-profile, three-way race against Crist and expected Republican nominee Marco Rubio.

Crist tried to steal the labor endorsement from Meek, but teachers, a powerful voting bloc within the union, split their support between the two and opted to avoid a fight with other unions that supported Meek.
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Michael Steele Expresses Partial Dislike Towards Rand Paul

The good stuff starts at 4:30:

The leader of the national Republican Party said Sunday that he is "uncomfortable" with civil rights views held by GOP Senate hopeful Rand Paul of Kentucky but stopped short of condemning the outspoken candidate.

"I can't condemn a person's view," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said on ABC's "This Week." "The people of Kentucky will judge whether that's a view that they would like to send to the Senate."

Mr. Steele said that while he is "uncomfortable with a lot of things … it doesn't matter what I'm comfortable with or not comfortable with. I don't vote in that election."

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Steele is really between a rock and a hard place here. He had to walk the line between personal opinion and party unity. I would have thrown Paul into the Atlantic ages ago, but I have no power in the party. Also, in before the "house negro" pic that shows up in every Steele post!