May 24th, 2010

Akuma River

Korea War take two?

Obama tells military: prepare for North Korea aggression
By Jeff Mason Jeff Mason – Mon May 24, 2:05 am ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. military to coordinate with South Korea to "ensure readiness" and deter future aggression from North Korea, the White House said on Monday.

The United States gave strong backing to plans by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to punish North Korea for sinking one of its naval ships, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

The White House urged North Korea to apologize and change its behavior, he said.

"We endorse President Lee's demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior," Gibbs said.
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FYI, the Korea War never offically ended. A truce was signed but a Peace Treaty was not.
Akuma River

Jamaica Declares State Of Emergency Over Capital Violence


Jamaica Declares State Of Emergency Over Capital Violence
DAVID McFADDEN | 05/23/10 11:43 PM |

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Masked men defending a reputed drug lord sought by the United States torched a police station and traded gunfire with security forces in a patchwork of barricaded slums in Jamaica's capital Sunday.

The government declared a state of emergency as sporadic gunshots rang out in gritty West Kingston, stronghold of Christopher "Dudus" Coke, a Jamaican "don" charged in the U.S. with drug and arms trafficking. His defiant supporters turned his Tivoli Gardens neighborhood and other areas into a virtual fortress with trashed cars and barbed wire.

Four police stations came under heavy fire from gangsters roaming the streets with high-powered guns. In barricaded Hannah Town, close to Tivoli Gardens, black smoke spiraled into the sky from one that was set aflame by molotov cocktails.

Officers fled the burning station in impoverished West Kingston, where a 2001 standoff between gunmen and security forces killed 25 civilians as well as a soldier and a constable.
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Thoughts on the police action? Provoked or unprovoked? Thoughts on the politics involved?
No Jamaica tag?
LOLitics | Hold On Gurl...

"Ronald Reagan and James Dean: Rare Video From 1954".

Ronald Reagan and James Dean: Rare Video From 1954

By John Meroney | Today, it's an astonishing, even eerie, scene: the icon of modern American conservatism, whose rise to political prominence was galvanized by the cultural rebellion of the 1960s, fighting off an attack-at-gunpoint by the quintessential modern American rebel. But when "The Dark, Dark Hours" episode of General Electric Theater aired live from Hollywood on December 12, 1954, Ronald Reagan and James Dean were just two actors yet to find the roles that would define them.

No one has seen this episode in the decades since; the kinescope has been locked away, until now. My friend Wayne Federman, a writer for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, unearthed the broadcast, condensing it from its original 23 minutes (without commercials) into the six-minute version you see below. (Federman is planning a retrospective of Reagan's television career for next year's Reagan centennial.)

Here, Reagan is a physician, forced to defend his home and family from Dean, a teenage lawbreaker seeking medical treatment for an injured friend.

A decade before Reagan's political career took off, with a nationally televised speech supporting Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign, and months before Dean started filming Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, both of these Midwesterners seem to be rehearsing future roles--Reagan as the happy warrior who could, in a moment, turn fierce ("I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!") and Dean as teenage angst writ large ("You're tearing me apart!").

At the time of the broadcast, Reagan was 43. With the movie industry in recession, and his career waning, his agents had been bringing him offers to do TV shows. Like many movie actors at the time, Reagan was skittish about the small screen. But producers thought he was perfect for the anthology genre, which was still struggling to gain traction with audiences. He eventually signed on, helping produce the show, hosting it, and acting in a half-dozen dramas per season.

Less than a year after this episode aired, Reagan was a major primetime presence whom millions tuned in to see each week. Dean was a tragic, what-might-have-been figure, dead at age 24 from an automobile crash.


Source: The Atlantic | Found on a month-old Mothership post.

I love the discovery of obscure shit like this. ^___^

Scotch distillery turns whisky into watts

London, England -- Creating renewable energy from whisky might sound like a harebrained scheme conceived at the end of a long evening drinking the amber nectar.

But an independently-owned Scottish distillery is hoping that the installation of a new biogas generator will prove to be a lasting moment of environmental clarity and help solve their energy problems.

This month, Bruichladdich -- one of eight distilleries to be found on the Scottish isle of Islay -- will take delivery of an anaerobic digester which will start turning their whisky waste into electricity.


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In completely shocking news...

Arkansas Suspects Had Rage Toward Government
Published: May 23, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — It was here, in this blue-collar town of frame houses and good-natured biker bars, that Jerry Ralph Kane Jr. began his fight against what he regarded as the illegitimate corporations he believed had usurped the government.

That fight ended in spectacular fashion Thursday in West Memphis, Ark., just across the Mississippi River from Memphis, leaving Mr. Kane, his 16-year-old son, Joseph, and two local police officers dead.

Mr. Kane and Joseph shot the officers who stopped their white van on Interstate 40, then died in a firefight with other law enforcement officials in a Wal-Mart parking lot, wounding a sheriff and his deputy, the authorities said. A newspaper photograph showed Joseph, dead on a traffic island, the bullet-riddled van behind him.

It was only the culmination — the inevitable culmination, some who knew Mr. Kane said — of a struggle that began here in Springfield.

This is where Mr. Kane made a show of cutting his long grass with a pair of scissors when police officers came to his property to enforce city codes, a neighbor recalled. This is where he demanded to be paid $100,000 a day in gold or silver, “the only legal form of payment in the Constitution,” when he was sentenced to community service for traffic violations. This is where Mr. Kane’s brother has a plaque on his porch with a fake gun affixed to it. “We ain’t dialin’ 911,” it says.

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Source: The New York Times

Am I the only one who's sad the title didn't spell 'raeg' instead?

Fox News' John Stossel Prepares Speach for Nomination as 2010's Biggest Douchebag

Fox News' John Stossel Calls For Repeal of Part of Civil Rights Act

The Fox News commentator called for the repeal of the public accommodation section of the Civil Rights act, saying "private businesses ought to get to discriminate."

On the Thursday edition Fox News' America Live, Fox analyst John Stossel discussed the 1964 Civil Rights Act with host Megyn Kelly. Kelly asked, "How do you know that these private business owners, who owned restaurants and so on, would have said, 'You know what? We will take blacks. We'll take gays. We'll take lesbians,' if they hadn't been forced to do it?"

Stossel replied, "Because eventually they would have lost business. The free market competition would have cleaned the clocks of the people who didn't serve most customers."

Stossel went on to say, "[I]t's time now to repeal" the Public Accommodation section, "because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."


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More at the source

LOLitics | \o/

Moar photos of the state dinner for the Mexican President/First Lady.

Arizona to Obama: We need Predator drones!

Unbowed by a raft of boycotts over her immigration policy, Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer has requested helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles from the White House to patrol the border region with Mexico.

Brewer, in a letter to President Obama, asked that the National Guard reallocate reconnaissance helicopters and robotic surveillance craft to the "border states" from other parts of the country.

The governor specifically asked for OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, used by the military for reconnaissance, noting that Arizona currently has only four of them "available for border missions."

"These helicopters are extremely valuable assets in supporting law enforcement efforts on the ground," she wrote. "The number available, though, is inadequate to provide the kind of support needed on the Arizona border."

The governor said that a fleet of eight to 10 Kiowa helicopters "would enable us to double our border coverage to 2,000 hours per year. To be effective, these additional aircraft must be equipped for day and night operations."

Her letter included a map showing the state-by-state allocation of Kiowa helicopters, as well as newer Lakota helicopters.

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You know, every new story coming out about Arizona sounds more and more like The Onion having fun with the national media. Except, sadly, it is for real.

(no subject)

Rand Paul: Maddow Was Fair To Me But Media At Large Was Not (VIDEO)

Prior to canceling an appearance on "Meet the Press" Friday, Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul did sit down for an interview with a local television station in which he complained about being "tortured" by Rachel Maddow but ultimately called her interview "fair."

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So, even Rand Paul admits that Rachel was fair to him in that interview.....or at least he did until the GOP noise machine shut him up.

So, artificial life is here, courtesy of Craig Venter. Time to remix humankind…

OK, time to revise those nightmare visions of the future. Rather than being laser-gunned in the lungs by robotic shock troopers, we'll be absorbed by undulating blob monsters – all because a group of scientists in Maryland have created artificial life in a laboratory. What surprised me most about the news was that it was surprise news. I thought artificial life had been mastered years ago, when Sega created Sonic the Hedgehog. But apparently he didn't count.

Instead we're meant to be excited by a pair of thing-a-zoids which, placed side-by-side in the photographs, look less like the dawn of a new scientific era and more like a pair of giant googly eyeballs, as though Nookie Bear is staring at you from inside a burqa. The underwhelming bio-glob in question is, we're told, "based on a bacterium that causes mastitis in goats", which might make an amusingly wry on-screen sub-heading at the start of the next Transformers movie, but doesn't do much to make the breakthrough any more thrilling.

That's possibly because the breakthrough itself is impossible to understand unless you're a geneticist. Here's what happened: the scientists created a computer simulation of the goat bug thingy, then fed the code into a genetic synthesizer. You know, a genetic synthesizer. It looks like a George Foreman grill, but in white, and with twice as many winking lights on the top. They fed it into that. Probably using a USB stick. Anyway, the DNA grill heated up and went beep and "produced short strands of the bug's DNA", which I imagine were an absolute bugger to pick up with tweezers. Said strands were then "stitched together" by some bits of yeast and E coli, which eventually knitted the strand into a complete million-letter-long DNA sequence, which you're probably incorrectly picturing right now.

So far, so baffling. Then it gets weirder. To "watermark" their artificial bug, the geneticists spliced a James Joyce quotation into the DNA sequence. The unsuspecting genome now has the phrase "to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life" written through it like letters in a stick of rock. In other words, it's the world's most pretentious bacterium. After Quentin Letts.

This raises the question of whether it's possible to shove an entire book into the genetic synthesizer and create a new life form. I'd be quite interested in seeing what would pop out if you fed it one of Jordan's novels. It might result in a lifeform more sophisticated than Jordan herself, even if it was just a burping elbow with eyelashes.

Incidentally, the DNA sequence also includes an email address, presumably so you know who to contact if you discover a bacterium wandering about in the street without its owner present.

Anyway, leaving aside the immense philosophical and spiritual considerations, the most pressing concern about artificial life is the prospect of sinister man-made lifeforms being used for nefarious means. Even Craig Venter himself, who oversaw the experiments, describes it as a "dual-use technology", which is a brilliantly non-specific way of saying "good or evil". On the one hand, energy companies could create an organism which converts CO2 into power, thereby solving climate change and the energy crisis. And on the other, North Korea could unleash an army of sabre-toothed jackdaws. Or we could accidentally create a kind of whispering, intelligent mud that rises up and smothers us to death in our sleep. Literally all of the above can but won't happen.

If we survive long enough to perfect the life-creation process, we'll have zany new animals to look forward to. Entire zoos will be dedicated to ridiculous remixed animals: 100-legged cat centipedes, crocodiles with breasts, ladybirds the size of a church. Ever wondered what happens when you cross a cow with a shark? Wonder no more at the charkinarium.

Disney could breed a real Mickey Mouse, a real Donald Duck, and a real whatever-Goofy-is to greet kids in their amusement parks – genuine walking, breathing mascots, with their own lungs and digestive systems and everything. Your kids won't know whether to laugh or cry. Although ultimately "cry" is probably the likeliest option, since given the size of Mickey's head he'll probably break his own neck when he bends down to shake their hand.

I'd create an animal that excretes meat, just to give vegetarians pause for thought. Ethically, what's the problem with eating a sausage, if it's been harmlessly pooed out by an animal? To sweeten the pill yet further, what if you put pleasure receptors in the animal's colon, so it actively enjoys the sausage-creation process – enjoys it to such a degree that it chases you down the street, yelping in orgasmic delight and producing a string of pan-ready chipolatas? If you think that's disgusting, I'd just like to point out that it's far less revolting than killing a pig with a bolt gun then mashing it up into sausagemeat.

And we could remix humankind too, removing all the rubbish bits we're cursed with, like the appendix, or empathy. It'd be fun to create a race of people without memories, pain receptors, or shame cells, then populate a pleasure-island with them: a hyper-decadent, consequence-free paradise where you can spend a fortnight's holiday having sex with everyone you see, or deliberately ramming your car into them, or both – like a real-life 3D Grand Theft Auto. It'd be just like being an oligarch.

All in all, a brave new world full of sweating, belching horror lies just over our collective horizon. But don't be scared. Consider yourself lucky to be alive just as we've worked out precisely how special that's not.

Source: Charlie Brooker @ The Guardian


He's now a she and wants to serve the VFW as a woman
^this is the article's title, not mine!


After Larry Bush decided to come out as Laura, she wanted to tell the members of her Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
The retired 24-year Navy veteran had worked alongside members of General MacArthur Memorial Post 392 since last year: making Sunday breakfasts, passing out gift bags at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and serving as its chaplain.
Bush spoke with post commander Joe Brady, who gave Bush permission to speak at the April meeting about being transgender. The term refers to people whose gender identities, expressions or behaviors differ from that of the sex they were born.
But Brady didn't expect Bush, 44, to show up wearing what would have been appropriate for a female post officer: blue blazer, woman's necktie, gray skirt, lipstick and pumps.
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EDITEDIT: Okay. I believe everything is in place now. (Except for some reason, I can't remove the gay rights tag... OTL) Please let me know if there's anything else wrong that I need to fix! And I apologize deeply again for anyone I unintentionally offended!
' jules


For Sestak Matter, a ‘Trust Us’ Response From White House

For three months, the White House has refused to say whether it offered a job to Representative Joe Sestak to get him to drop his challenge to Senator Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary, as Mr. Sestak has asserted.

But the White House wants everyone who suspects that something untoward, or even illegal, might have happened to rest easy: though it still will not reveal what happened, the White House ensures that it has examined its own actions and decided it did nothing wrong. Whatever it was that it did.

“Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “And nothing inappropriate happened.”

“Improper or not, did you offer him a job in the administration?” asked the host, Bob Schieffer.

“I’m not going to get further into what the conversations were,” Mr. Gibbs replied. “People that have looked into them assure me that they weren’t inappropriate in any way.”

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not endorsing this article by posting it (and is it just me or is this way sarcastic for the New York Times?), I just thought there should be a post re: this story.

BTW, Anthony Weiner said on Morning Joe this am that the White House & Sestak should open up about the deal.
Chibis- Goes Boink

This just in: Govenor Jan Brewer caught in affair with Kermit's third cousin!

Brewer Uses Faux-Kermit Puppet Video To Sell Immigration Law

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer's re-election campaign is aiming to sell Arizona's new immigration law to voters with a new new sing-along video starring a puppet with striking resemblance to Sesame Street's Kermit the Frog.

The one-minute spot comes roughly a month after Brewer signed-off on controversial immigration legislation that critics argue will lead to racial profiling.

In the video with the frog puppet, Brewer mocks her opponents who have come out against the law, but admit to not having actually read its text in full.

"O.K. kids, ready? let's sing along," flashes across the screen in the beginning of the spot. Then to a children's tune, "Kermit" reminds Brewer's political foes -- who are belittled to youngsters -- that "reading is, really super swell."


{default} this is how I roll

Mark Twain will finally reveal all

Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

The creator of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and some of the most frequently misquoted catchphrases in the English language left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century.

That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist.

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Canada imposes sanctions on N. Korea

Canada and the United States offered their full support to South Korea as the country's president cut trade to North Korea Monday in retaliation for a torpedo attack that killed 46 sailors.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that Canada's sanctions will include enhanced restrictions on trade, investment and other bilateral relations with North Korea.

The Canadian government will also suspend high-level visits to Canada by North Korean officials.

"Canada has condemned the reckless North Korean regime for this egregious violation of international law and its blatant disregard of its international obligations," Harper said in the statement.

He also pledged Canada's support for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's decision to respond decisively to the "act of aggression."

Lee said his country has "always tolerated North Korea's brutality, time and again."

"We did so because we have always had a genuine longing for peace on the Korean peninsula," he said in a solemn speech to the nation from the halls of the country's War Memorial.

"But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts," he said.

Three experts from the Canadian Navy joined the multinational team that investigated the incident, and concluded the warship Cheonan was sunk by a torpedo on March 26 near the Koreas' western maritime border.

Harper's statement adds that Canada is committed to a co-ordinated international response, including through the United Nations Security Council.
'Highly precarious' situation

Meanwhile, the White House offered its full support for South Korea's moves, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed how best to handle the situation with China, a veto-wielding permanent seat holder on the Security Council.

Clinton warned of a "highly precarious" security situation in the region, and said North Korea's neighbours, including Pyongyang ally China, understood the seriousness of the matter.

Clinton would not say whether such action would include new international sanctions against the North, and said she was engaged in intense consultations with China and other nations about the next step.

"We are working hard to avoid an escalation of belligerence and provocation," Clinton said.

So far, China has refrained from criticizing the North, which it supplied with troops during the Korean War.

Earlier, Lee promised to haul its impoverished neighbour before the UN Security Council.

He also pledged to prohibit North Korea's cargo ships from passing through South Korean waters, calling it a "critical turning point" on the tense Korean peninsula, still technically in a state of war because the fighting ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.


You go Glen Canada!
Murasaki Shikibu

Uh-oh pt. 3

Lee: NKorea must pay for torpedo attack on warship

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea's president lashed out Monday at North Korea by suspending trade in a move aimed at crippling the impoverished regime as payback for a torpedo attack on a warship that killed 46 South Korean soldiers.

President Lee Myung-bak also pledged to haul Pyongyang back to the U.N. Security Council for possible additional international sanctions and prohibited North Korea's cargo ships from passing through South Korean waters — in retaliation for the March 26 sinking.

In Washington, the White House said President Barack Obama fully supports the South's measures, and the traveling U.S. secretary of state said she was conferring on a response to the North's "provocative acts" with China, a veto-wielding permanent seat holder on the Security Council.

"U.S. support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and the president has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression," a statement from the White House said.

Lee called it a "critical turning point" on the tense Korean peninsula, still technically in a state of war because the fighting ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

"We have always tolerated North Korea's brutality, time and again. We did so because we have always had a genuine longing for peace on the Korean peninsula," Lee said in a solemn speech to the nation from the halls of the country's War Memorial.

"But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts," he said.

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Hooboy. Things are definitely getting a lot tenser, I think. China needs to weigh in and fast, since N. Korea will be looking to them more now that S. Korea is cutting them off economically (aside from the joint factory park, but I suspect N. Korea will once again cut off its nose to spite its face by shutting it down like it did once before). Here's to hoping Hillary does some good diplomacy while she's talking to China.
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Constance McMillen 'Sham' Prom Accusation Denied By Itawamba School District

JACKSON, Miss. — A rural Mississippi school district that was sued by a lesbian student who wanted to bring a same-sex date to the high school prom is denying accusations it routed her to a "sham prom" at a country club while most of her schoolmates partied elsewhere.

The Itawamba County School District addressed the claims made by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Constance McMillen in papers filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in Aberdeen.

It's been nearly two months since McMillen attended a prom at the Fulton Country Club that drew fewer than 10 other students from Itawamba Agricultural High School. Most of her classmates attended a separate event at the nearby Evergreen Community Center, to which McMillen was not invited, and later posted pictures from the dance on Internet sites.

At the time, McMillen had already sued the district over its policy banning same-sex prom dates and for canceling an April 2 school-sponsored prom after the teenager pressed to bring her girlfriend to the event and wear a tuxedo.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson ruled in March that the district had violated McMillen's rights, but he didn't force the district to reinstate the prom. District officials had told the judge that McMillen was free to attend a parent-sponsored prom.

School District Superintendent Teresa McNeece and Attorney Michele Floyd have said little publicly about the issue despite numerous calls seeking comment.

The ACLU alleged that McNeece and Floyd attended a meeting March 29 with parent organizers, where the decision was made to hold separate proms. In court documents, the school district said McNeece and Floyd did attend a meeting, but officials "deny that the parents decided instead to hold two proms, one for the plaintiff and one for her classmates."

The ACLU submitted to the court photographs the organization said were of the Evergreen dance. The district admitted some of the photographs from an event at Evergreen circulated on the Internet, but said some of the ACLU's images were of students at a function in Memphis, Tenn.

McMillen has since transferred to a school in Jackson, and will graduate June 2.

No date has been set for the lawsuit to go to trial, but the case has led other school districts to reconsider their prom policies.

The Alcorn County School Board voted May 18 to allow parents to take over sponsorship of proms. Superintendent Stacy Suggs said the decision was partially tied to Itawamba County.

"Principals don't want to police proms anyway," Suggs said Monday. "It just gave us an opportunity to bring it up from a liability standpoint."

(This version CORRECTS RESTORES dropped reference to ACLU 3rd graf; corrects 'for' sted 'of' in 7th graf.)




 I hope we keep seeing Constance in the future for equality for teens and in schools; I admire her strength, so much.

Israeli Diplomat Expelled Over Fake Passport Affair

The Australian Federal Government is expelling an Israeli diplomat after it found Israel faked Australian passports that were used in a hit on a top Hamas leader in Dubai.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith today condemned the fraud as "not the act of a friend" and a clear affront to Australia that cannot be tolerated.

"This is not what we expect from a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship," he said.

In February several forged Australian passports were used in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

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comedy | J. Peterman

ONTD_Political's PotD: May 23, 2010.

Tennis is serious sport in San Quentin Prison
About 20 inmates — lifers and 'three strikers' — play for the Inside Tennis Team, created by recreation director Don DeNevi, 72. Competition comes from outsiders. The only rule: Resolve all arguments on the court.

Related article
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Rick Loomis | Los Angeles Times