June 2nd, 2010

comedy | Rudy Huxtable

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 1, 2010.

Argentina's Bicentennial

Two hundred years ago, in Buenos Aires (then capital of a Spanish colony), a week-long series of revolutionary events took place, known as the Revolucion de Mayo, which set in motion events that led to Argentina's eventual declaration of independence from Spain in 1816. [Millions] of Argentinians, their neighbors and foreign dignitaries gathered in Buenos Aires to celebrate their bicentennial with lavish parades festivals and performances. Collected here are scenes from Argentina as its citizens commemorate 200 years of eventful history.
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Alaskans bring Exxon Valdez experience to Gulf Coast disaster


Two Alaskans recently returned from a trip to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. They've seen the oil spill devastation first hand in Prince William Sound and now the Gulf of Mexico. Joe Banta and Patience Andersen Faulkner were there to help victims of the nation's worst oil spill disaster.

Both came back from the Gulf with similar experiences and observations about the spill. They went through the same things during the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Faulkner witnessed the effects of the disaster not only to fisheries, but to the mental health of the people.

Faulkner spent eight days in the Gulf to help communities come up with a response plan. She told families to find time to talk about what they're feeling.

After Exxon Valdez she heard about so many suicides and mental health problems.

"We can do something about the fisheries in time but it's the people that matter the most that's the most fragile," said Faulkner.

She just got back from the Gulf and sees the same thing happening there.

Gulf fisherman want to hear this will all be over soon, but Alaska commercial fisherman Joe Banta told them that the truth is that it could take years.

"Can you imagine just looking your job and not having something to replace it with right away?," said Banta.

Twenty-one years later, there's still oil on the beaches of Prince William sounds. That's something people in the Gulf don't want to think about happening there.

Environmentalist Rick Steiner, who returned recently from a trip to the Gulf, sees many similarities between the two disasters.

"These things not only have extraordinary environmental impacts but they have huge economic and social impacts, as well. The communities down there are in chaos and that's typical for technical disasters," said Steiner.

The Alaskans who went to help said they could do little but listen and tell them what they did to get through a similar disaster.

"It's hard we come down there and we don't have all the answers. They want to know their fishery is going to be alright and that they are going to be able to fish next year," said Banta.

Banta and Faulkner went down to the Gulf as representatives of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.

And a video from NBC about how the Valdez spill still affects people in Prince William Sound:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

franklin sherman

You now have to speak in order to invoke your right to remain silent. What?

You now have to say "I am Invoking my constitutional right to remain silent, I would like my lawyer."
Was a bit concerned about Sotomayor, but happy to see her reject this.

Court: Suspects must say they want to be silent

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that suspects must explicitly tell police they want to be silent to invoke Miranda protections during criminal interrogations, a decision one dissenting justice said turns defendants' rights "upside down."

A right to remain silent and a right to a lawyer are the first of the Miranda rights warnings, which police recite to suspects during arrests and interrogations. But the justices said in a 5-4 decision that suspects must tell police they are going to remain silent to stop an interrogation, just as they must tell police that they want a lawyer.

The ruling comes in a case where a suspect, Van Chester Thompkins, remained mostly silent for a three-hour police interrogation before implicating himself in a Jan. 10, 2000, murder in Southfield, Mich. He appealed his conviction, saying that he invoked his Miranda right to remain silent by remaining silent.

But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the decision for the court's conservatives, said that wasn't enough.
"Thompkins did not say that he wanted to remain silent or that he did not want to talk to police," Kennedy said. "Had he made either of these simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his 'right to cut off questioning.' Here he did neither, so he did not invoke his right to remain silent."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's newest member, wrote a strongly worded dissent for the court's liberals, saying the majority's decision "turns Miranda upside down."
"Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent — which counterintuitively, requires them to speak," she said. "At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so. Those results, in my view, find no basis in Miranda or our subsequent cases and are inconsistent with the fair-trial principles on which those precedents are grounded."

Van Chester Thompkins was arrested for murder in 2001 and interrogated by police for three hours. At the beginning, Thompkins was read his Miranda rights and said he understood.
The officers in the room said Thompkins said little during the interrogation, occasionally answering "yes," ''no," ''I don't know," nodding his head and making eye contact as his responses. But when one of the officers asked him if he prayed for forgiveness for "shooting that boy down," Thompkins said, "Yes."

He was convicted, but on appeal he wanted that statement thrown out because he said he invoked his Miranda rights by being uncommunicative with the interrogating officers.
The Cincinnati-based appeals court agreed and threw out his confession and conviction. The high court reversed that decision.

Toby for Obama orig

Artist Tattoos Indelible Iraq Memorial Into His Skin

Artist Wafaa Bilal has his back tattooed with dots representing casualties of the Iraq war as names of the fallen are read aloud. Names of Iraqi cities are etched into his skin, and the dots are placed near the city where each individual died.

On Memorial Day, Americans paused to remember the nation's men and women who died in combat. For Iraqi-born visual artist Wafaa Bilal, the effort to remember casualties of war is an ongoing and permanent project — tattooed into his skin.

Bilal's latest work is called ... And Counting. On a spring evening at the Elizabeth Foundation in New York, he stepped up to the microphone and read the first name out loud — Samir Azeez. The artist then removed his sweater, tied his kaffiyeh around his waist, and took his place, face down in a black, leather chair.

Names of Iraqi cities had already been permanently mapped out across his back in Arabic script. Over the next 24 hours, they would be barraged by dots of ink, thousands and thousands of them — each representing a casualty of the Iraq war. The dots are tattooed near the city where the person died: red ink for the American soldiers, ultraviolet ink for the Iraqi civilians, invisible unless seen under black light.

"We are talking about 100,000 Iraqis who have died and 5,000 American soldiers," Bilal says. "They're not visible. Many people don't even know the number."

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Woman Sues Google for Bad Directions

One day I was using my cell phone's GPS service to find the nearest Target. I was driving down the road when suddenly my cell phone piped up, "Turn right here." I looked to the right. There was no road, just a tree and some grass. I chalked it up to a GPS glitch and turned right at the next corner.

 If I had been Lauren Rosenberg, however, I would have turned right at that very moment, hit the tree, suffered some cuts and minor brain damage, and then turned around and sued Verizon for the glitch in its GPS service.


 Search Engine Land reports that Rosenberg, a Los Angeles California native, is suing Google because Google Maps issued directions that told her to walk down a rural highway. She started walking down the highway--which had no sidewalk or pedestrian paths--and was struck by a car. She is suing Google for her medical expenses ($100,000), as well as punitive damages. She is also suing the driver who struck her, Patrick Harwood of Park City, Utah.

 On January 19, 2010, Rosenberg was apparently trying to get from 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah, to 1710 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah. She looked up the walking directions using Google Maps on her Blackberry. Google Maps suggested a route that included a half-mile walk down "Deer Valley Drive," which is also known as "Utah State Route 224."

 There's not much more to say--she started walking down the middle of a highway, and a car hit her. Who wouldn't have seen that one coming?

 According to Rosenberg's complaint filing:

 "As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google’s careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer sever permanent physical, emotional, and mental injuries, including pain and suffering."


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Sufjan Smile

Barack Obama’s Imperial Presidency

If there’s any one axiom that Barack Obama has epitomized, it’s that nobody, it seems, willingly cedes back power to its rightful source — even when that power was acquired illegally.

When the Democrats won the Congress in 2006, progressives demanded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hold the Bush administration for its many sins, not least of them the seizure of power from both the legislative and judicial branches, with its use of illegal surveillance, its radical redefinition of the term “enemy combatant,” and its denial of civil liberties to whomever its leaders felt unworthy of such liberties — Constitution be damned.

I sat in a meeting the new speaker convened with a group of bloggers in 2007, listening to Nancy Pelosi make her case for why the Congress’s energies would be better spent working on bread-and-butter issues, including health-care reform. The thinking seemed to be that once the Congress got some good stuff done, the problems of the Bush imperial presidency would disappear with the subsequent election of a Democrat.

Would that it were so. It seemed a dubious proposition to me. If the Congress was unwilling to impeach Bush or hold war-crimes hearings, the very least it could do was to pass laws that would return power to the branches from which it originated. But that was not to be. And with that decision of inaction the Constitution was broken rather bad, in a way that Barack Obama, the constitutional law professor, seems quite content with.

While in a great many respects, Barack Obama is a far more reasonable and small-D democratic president than was George W. Bush, there’s not a lot of daylight between the two on the matter of executive power. As the nation’s chief executive, Barack Obama likes executive power very much, thank you.
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Source: AlterNet

Short but sweet. Obama's given us some progress on DADT and healthcare (even if I'm critical of what degree and the details of the bill passed) ~but he's still crappy on executive power~. Not a big surprise.

I mean, this isn't even news. Mostly posting to stir things up. SUP GUYS.
  • saoru

Foxconn employees getting 30% pay raise, possible share of Apple sales

Fresh on the heels of a recent spate of suicides, it seems that Foxconn and Apple are determined to make the workers of the sprawling Shenzhen complex a bit happier. Generally speaking, if you're looking to brighten somebody's day, paying them more money is a great start.

Apparently, the focus groups and deep investigations have led Hon Hai Precision Industry to the same conclusion, because Foxconn employees are now getting a 30% raise. The raise, which is already in effect, will bring their monthly income from the equivalent of about $131.77 up to $171.30 (USD). Foxconn management was originally going to raise the employees' salary by 20%, but it seems they're more committed to really good PR than anybody gave them credit for.

But that's not even the half of it. Rumor now has it that Steve Jobs is going to release between 1% and 2% of total sales of all Apple products manufactured at Foxconn to the workers who built them. This profit-sharing is supposedly starting with the iPad, which has already sold over 2 million units in less than 2 months. Even at 1%, that amounts to several million dollars heading back to Shenzhen and straight into the employees' pockets. That is, if the rumors turn out to be true.

On that note, where can I get a job application for the Apple section at Foxconn?

Source needs to stick that last sentence up its ass, but at least this is some slightly less depressing news coming out of the whole Foxconn mess.  Bolding is from the original.

Magneto puppet
  • drbat

Pakistan jails couple over gay marriage allegation

Malik Muhammad Iqbal is a man. Rani was born a man but lives as a woman.

Both are locked up in a northwest Pakistani jail awaiting trial because police say they tried to get married.

In Pakistan, that's a crime.

"Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal," says the country's penal code, "shall be punished with imprisonment. "

Eighteen-year-old Rani says Iqbal, a 42-year-old fertilizer dealer, is a friend - not a lover.

"We were only celebrating my birthday," Rani said.

But prosecutors say it was a marriage that was taking place. Police smashed their way in, broke up the party, arrested 43 dancing guests, Rani and Iqbal.

Iqbal says he was just another guest at the party.

"This was not a gay marriage," he said. "These are just false allegations."

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Gunman kills several [ETA: 12] in west Cumbria (UK)

Gunman kills several in west Cumbria (UK)

click on the image to see a gallery of pictures on the BBC news website

Several people have been killed and others injured after a gunman opened fire in several areas of west Cumbria.

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I'm watching coverage on BBC1 (lunchtime news) atm, though if they've not got it on when you see this, any news channel should be covering it. Sounds pretty bad. And if you're anywhere near, keep an eye out for him please and stay safe.

ETA: They've found a body in the last few minutes that they think is his. If you're worried about anyone in the area of the shootings, the number to call is 0800 0960095

ETA 2: Apparently at least 5 dead and up to 25 wounded.

ETA 3: 5:26pm - 12 dead (plus the shooter), 25 wounded so far
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Köln Kirchen bei Nacht

Three Killed in Explosion of World War II Bomb in Germany

A World War II bomb killed three disposal experts and injured six in the central German city of Göttingen on Tuesday night when it exploded just as they were preparing to defuse it. Wartime bombs are found almost weekly in Germany, but deaths are rare.

Three members of a bomb disposal team were killed in the central German city of Göttingen on Tuesday night while they were preparing to defuse a World War II bomb found on a construction site, police said.

Two people were seriously injured and four received slight injuries in the explosion which happened just as the surrounding area was being evacuated. All the casualties belonged to the 13-man bomb disposal team. Reports said the bomb went off before the specialists had begun trying to defuse it.

Barely a week goes by in Germany without unexploded bombs from World War II being discovered on building sites, but deaths are rare. The 500 kilogram bomb was of a particularly dangerous type because it had a delay-action chemical fuse, which can make it highly unstable.

But as bomb disposal operations are so routine in Germany, no one had been expecting any problems with this one, found lying in the ground at a depth of seven meters.

"Everything had been going great and the specialists from the munitions removal team had seemed satisfied ," Detlef Johannson, a spokesman for the city administration, told German media. He said he had heard an explosion at 9:30 p.m.. "After two minutes it was clear that something terrible had happened."

The city had been evacuating some 7,200 people living within one kilometer of the bomb, which was discovered on a construction site for a new sports arena. A similar bomb was detected and safely defused at the same site last Thursday, and media reports said a third unexploded bomb had been found.

Germany was first to attack civilian targets with aerial bombardments during World War II. In response, the Allies waged a five-year strategic air offensive during which they dropped 1.9 million tons of bombs to destroy Germany's industry and crush public morale. The raids on Germany killed an estimated 500,000 people.

Most estimates for the percentage of unexploded bombs range from 5 to 15 percent -- or between 95,000 and 285,000 tons. As Germany hastily rebuilt its cities after the war, authorities didn't have the time or the means to locate and dispose of a large part of that tonnage.

As a result, more than 2,000 tons of American and British aerial bombs and all kinds of munitions ranging from German hand grenades and anti-tank mines to Russian artillery shells are recovered each year in Germany.

Most of the bombs are found in an around big cities and industrial towns that bore the brunt of the bombardment -- including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt and many others.

Another article with more background information

It's depressing that people are still killed by weapons from that war after such long time, and that in this particular case they did not really expect anything bad at all makes it particularly tragic. Also, this makes me a bit uneasy because my university is doing construction work right in the middle of campus, and they keep finding bombs as well. The newsfeed from the university library has given me at least two "The library is currently closed while a five-ton-bomb is being defused" messages already. Usually, no one gets really nervous, but this incident is a reminder that those things are in fact dangerous even after 65 years - and also, of course, that wars have repercussions long after they're "officially" over.
JL: Annoyed J. Law

Ex-Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer indicted on six felony counts

Jim Greer, former head of the Florida Republican Party, was arrested Wednesday morning at his home near Orlando, law enforcement officials said. The Orlando Sun-Sentinel reports that at a press conference Wednesday, statewide prosecutor William Shepherd said that "a statewide grand jury indicted Greer on six felony charges: organized scheme to defraud, money laundering, and four counts of grand theft."

Shepherd said Greer developed a scheme to take money from the Republican Party. He used the money for his personal expenses.

The St. Petersburg Times has the affidavit (pdf).

In April, Greer was named as the subject of a criminal probe concerning "a secret contract that funneled party money to a consulting company he owned," the Miami Herald reported. Greer, a close ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, stepped down from his post in January under pressure from party activists and major donors outraged by lavish spending. Crist said Wednesday that the arrest was "disappointing " but he does not "feel complicit."

When asked earlier this year about his support for Greer, Crist responded,"I didn't have a crystal ball. Neither did you."

More on Greer's financial scandal from the AP:

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been investigating Greer since an audit found he awarded himself and his executive director a fundraising contract that paid them about $200,000.
Greer owned 60 percent of a corporation set up to raise money for the party and former party executive director Delmar Johnson owned the other 40 percent. That corporation got a 10 percent commission on money it brought in, the audit found.
Current party Chairman John Thrasher previously said he was told March 15 that the party may have been the victim of illegal activity after the audit discovered Greer and Johnson's role in the corporation. Thrasher reported the findings to the attorney general's office, which referred the case to state officials.


Criticism of Israel used to be “allowed”. Why not now?

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - MAY 01:  Israelis flags fly...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I was struck by a passage in Alexander Linklater's review of Christopher Hitchens's new autobiography, Hitch 22: a Memoir, in the new issue of Prospect. Linklater writes of Christopher's reaction to his brother Peter's discovery that their late mother had been Jewish:

He describes his irritation at an editor who had suggested that the discovery would make his life easier, "because Jewish people are allowed to criticise Israel". Had it really come to this, he wonders, that who you are might either justify or undermine your arguments?

Well, perhaps it has.

Certainly the line that any criticism of Israel is evidence of anti-Semitism has been forcefully put in recent years. Take Melanie Phillips, for instance.

In a recent interview with the American National Review, she suggests at one point that the two might be distinct: "The BBC simply embodies the world-view of the left, which demonises Israel and holds America responsible for Israel's behaviour. Of course, you might say that is itself a form of Jew-hatred, but that is an argument that needs to be unpacked."

You might say. Hmmm. Not long after that, though, she says: "While the irrationality of Jew-hatred cannot be defeated by reason, there are many in Britain and the west who are not natural bigots but . . . who have merely been indoctrinated with falsehoods about Israel that are never publicly challenged."

So falsehoods about a state -- Israel -- lead to hatred, not of citizens of that state, but to hatred of Jews in general, regardless, one supposes, of whether they themselves are supporters of Israel or even of Zionism in general. Well, I might say that there's not much of a distinction there.

This matters for all sorts of reasons, one of which Phillips goes on to mention when she says that "the continuity between the Arab/Palestinian agenda and that of the Nazis, whose allies they once were", should be "prominently discussed".

Indeed it should. And I recommend Gilbert Achcar's excellent new book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, as a very useful guide to that discussion. Unfortunately for Melanie Phillips, Achcar spends quite a lot time arguing convincingly that while there may have been pro-Nazi Palestinians around the time of the Second World War, most infamously the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, there were many who were not: and that to present it in the way Phillips does is oversimplification to the point of distortion and falsehood.

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Source: New Statesman
(article is a few days old, but was reposted on the NS Twitter because of newfound appropriateness)
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Mr. T the Patriot

And now for some racism/sexism/whateverism free news where no one dies or is sexually assaulted

Man calls 911 to report his mother took his beer

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man was arrested Friday after deputies said he called 911 multiple times to complain his mother took his beer away.

Charles Dennison, 32, who was "very intoxicated," told a deputy who went to their home at 1739 Dennison Road that he wanted his mother arrested for taking his beer, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office arrest report. If she wasn't charged, he said, he would continue to call 911.

A deputy charged him with making false 911 calls and took him to the jail in Land O'Lakes, where he remained Monday morning. His bail is $150.

Source swears its never drinking again

LOL I don't know why this paper published the guys address. That seems kind of messed up.

Software Developers Tackle Child Grooming on the Net

Four out of five children can't tell when they are talking to an adult posing as a child on the internet, according to researchers working on software to track pedophiles online.

Computer Scientists at Lancaster University have been working on a tool which can work out a person's age and gender using language analysis techniques. They hope it will eventually be used to help police and law enforcement agencies spot when an adult in a chat room is masquerading as a child as part of the victim "grooming" process.

For several months, groups of children and teenagers from the Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, have been taking part in experiments designed to provide the researchers with exactly the kind of informal web chat they need to help improve the accuracy of their software.

But the 350 students have also unwittingly been taking part in an experiment to find out if they know when they are talking to adults posing as children online.


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omar / wire

Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries

Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries

In late April in a courthouse in Madison County, Ala., a prosecutor was asked to explain why he had struck 11 of 14 black potential jurors in a capital murder case.

The district attorney, Robert Broussard, said one had seemed “arrogant” and “pretty vocal.” In another woman, he said he “detected hostility.”

Mr. Broussard also questioned the “sophistication” of a former Army sergeant, a forklift operator with three years of college, a cafeteria manager, an assembly-line worker and a retired Department of Defense program analyst.

The analyst, he said, “did not appear to be sophisticated to us in her questionnaire, in that she spelled Wal-Mart, as one of her previous employers, as Wal-marts.”

Arguments like these were used for years to keep blacks off juries in the segregationist South, systematically denying justice to black defendants and victims. But today, the practice of excluding blacks and other minorities from Southern juries remains widespread and, according to defense lawyers and a new study by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit human rights and legal services organization in Montgomery, Ala., largely unchecked.

In the Madison County case, the defendant, Jason M. Sharp, a white man, was sentenced to death after a trial by a jury of 11 whites and one black. The April hearing was the result of a challenge by defense lawyers who argued that jury selection was tainted by racial discrimination — a claim that is difficult to prove because prosecutors can claim any race-neutral reason, no matter how implausible, for dismissing a juror.

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link to full study
Atheists Nightmare

48 States In Lawsuit Against Westboro Baptist Church

WASHINGTON -- Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in support of a father who sued anti-gay protesters over their demonstration at the 2006 funeral of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq.

Only Virginia and Maine declined to sign the brief by the Kansas attorney general.

Albert Snyder sued over protests by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church at his son's funeral in Maryland. The church, founded by Fred Phelps in 1955, pickets funerals because they believe war deaths are punishment for U.S. tolerance of homosexuality.

The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment.

In the brief filed Tuesday, the states argued they have a compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals.

Source says, "God hates assholes."
coffee by overrule
  • fitnah

'Next time we'll use more force'

Navy prepares for expected arrival of 2 more activist ships.

Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

The anonymous comment came the day after the Israeli Navy raided a flotilla of international aid ships headed to the Strip. Nine activists were killed in the raid, and dozens were injured.

The flotilla which arrived late Sunday night was comprised of six ships, and another two ships, including The Rachel Corrie, were expected to attempt to enter Israeli waters in the coming days.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said earlier Tuesday that a cargo boat was already on the way to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

A second boat carrying about three dozen passengers was expected to join the first, she added.

(MUSIC) jake shears anderson cooper, (ANDERCONS) anderson jake shears
  • epicet

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

Are Cameras the New Guns?

Are Cameras the New Guns?

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, Collapse )

These are not new laws, but their enforcement is steadily increasing. If you are at all involved in any sort of protest or resistance movement, and even as a private citizen... be careful out there, kids.

(This post dedicated to influencethis, who is raging from her desk at work.)

Brian Williams: a Cronkite for the 21st century By Jon Friedman

With the speculation heating up about a CNN and CBS News combination, the individual most threatened would seem to be Brian Williams, the top-rated news anchor at 6:30 p.m.

But I can't see Williams falling from the top spot. He is too good -- and popular.

It may be too soon to anoint Williams as America's Most Trusted person. But it has become clear that the "NBC Nightly News" anchor has established himself as the Walter Cronkite of the 21st century.

Williams towers above the competition and has regularly won in the hotly contested ratings war for 6:30 p.m. Plus, he helped to hold NBC News together through periods of transition.

Perhaps his signature accomplishment has been to re-define what a news anchor can be, by showing a humorous side away from the 6:30 glare. Much has been made by commentators of the immense challenge posed to journalists during the digital and 24/7 news age. But Williams has remained relevant.



And yet ...


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Porn actor goes on rampage at video production office, police say; 1 dead, 2 wounded

The man believed responsible for a rampage at a Van Nuys video production facility that left one dead and two wounded is a struggling porn actor who faced the loss of his job, authorities said.

Stephen Hill, 30, allegedly used a machete-style weapon in the attack, which occurred about 10:20 p.m. at a video distribution business on Hayvenhurst Avenue and Saticoy Street.

Los Angeles Police Department Det. Joel Price said Hill was both working and living at the offices of Ultima DVD Inc.

Price said Hill did production work and acted in several porn movies. But on the night of the attack, he apparently faced the loss of his job and eviction from the office.



Hill allegedly fled after stabbing the three co-workers. The victims were rushed to a hospital, where one was pronounced dead. There were seven people in the office when the attack occurred.


The LAPD is investigating the attack as a case of workplace violence. The suspect fled in a blue Toyota RAV4 with license plate 5YTC423.

Toby for Obama orig

Hatoyama Quits As Prime Minister

Futenma fiasco, funds scandals proved undoing; Ozawa also out

Ending a turbulent eight months in office, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday he will step down to take the blame for his Cabinet's plunging approval rate, brought on by funds scandals and the row over relocating a U.S. base in Okinawa.

Hatoyama also said Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, embroiled in a shady transfer of political funds, will step down from the party's No. 2 post.

"I apologize for the amount of confusion caused," Hatoyama told a general meeting of DPJ lawmakers held at the Diet. "I thank you all for letting me lead (the administration) for the duration of eight months. I hope you will be able to create a new DPJ and a new government," he said.

DPJ members from both chambers of the Diet are scheduled to choose the party's new leader at a meeting Friday. The DPJ's new head will be elected prime minister the same day at the Diet, where the party holds a comfortable majority in the Lower House.

Ozawa reportedly said the new Cabinet will probably be formed Monday and he "regrets" he couldn't fulfill his duty to support Hatoyama.

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photo source.

As a resident of Okinawa, GOOD RIDDANCE. No one will miss you. Also, it would be awesome if Japan could hold onto a prime minister for more than a year. Hatoyama sets the record for this decade.

Mississippi looks to Iran for rural health care model


Scratch-poor towns in the Mississippi Delta once shared more in common with rural Iran — scarce medical supplies, inaccessible health care and high infant mortality rates — than with most of the U.S.

Then things in Iran got better.

Since the 1980s, rural Iranians have been able to seek treatment at health houses, informal sites set up in small communities as the first stop for medical care, rather than an emergency room. They're staffed by citizens, not doctors, and the focus is on preventive care.

Infant deaths have dropped from 200 per 1,000 births to 26. With the Delta's rate 10 times worse than Iran's, a group of volunteers is traveling to Iran this month to get a crash course in how health houses work.

"Why not try this?" asked Dr. Aaron Shirley, who has worked around the Delta for 40 years and is spearheading the effort to transform health care in a region where nearly three out of 10 infants die, residents are plagued by chronic illnesses, especially diabetes and heart disease, and few have health insurance.

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