June 3rd, 2010

' jules


Democratic Senate Candidate: White House Floated Possible Jobs If I Chose to Not Run Against Incumbent

Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the Colorado house of representatives, issued a statement Wednesday evening claiming that the White House raised the possibility that he might be offered an administration job if he opted to not challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Romanoff also released what he said was an e-mail from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina outlining three possible jobs -- deputy assistant administrator for Latin America and Caribbean for the U.S. Agency for International Development; director of the Office of Democracy and Governance at USAID; and director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency – he could have if he didn’t run.

Romanoff did not accept any of the offers, and currently is challenging Bennet, who has the endorsement of President Obama.

The White House did not comment. The statement comes as the White House attempts to distance itself from the controversy stemming from attempts – also unsuccessful – to convince Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., to not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., in the Pennsylvania primary. Sestak ultimately defeated Specter.

Last week, the White House released an internal report from White House counsel Bob Bauer stating that nothing inappropriate was offered to Sestak -- just a non-paying job on an advisory board, offered by former President Clinton at the request of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Republicans are demanding more information and alleging malfeasance.

Tonight, Romanoff said that Messina called him on Sept. 11, 2009 to tell him that the White House would support Bennet, appointed to the position to replace former senator and current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

“I informed Mr. Messina that I had made my decision to run,” Romanoff said in a statement. “Mr. Messina also suggested three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race. He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions. At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina’s assistance in obtaining one.

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article also has a list & description of jobs offered.

Gibbs's statement: "Andrew Romanoff applied for a position at USAID during the Presidential transition. He filed this application through the Transition on-line process. After the new administration took office, he followed up by phone with White House personnel," Gibbs said. "Jim Messina called and emailed Romanoff last September to see if he was still interested in a position at USAID, or if, as had been reported, he was running for the US Senate. ... Messina wanted to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters."

Laura Ling names new baby for her sister and Bill Clinton

At 7:36 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Ling, 33, and financial analyst Clayton, 43, welcomed daughter Li Jefferson Clayton at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, Calif. She weighed 8 lbs., 2 oz.

"Her parents are too speechless," Laura's sister Lisa Ling, former co-host on The View – and now a correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show – tells PEOPLE. But Lisa adds, "Li is super adorable!"

Laura Ling told PEOPLE last month that while she was in captivity, she thought, "I am never going to be able to start a family." But after learning she would have a girl in January, she and Clayton decided to name her "Li," after sister Lisa.

As for Li's middle name, Jefferson, Lisa Ling explains it is in tribute to William Jefferson Clinton. "He has checked in on me several times to see how I'm doing," Laura told PEOPLE, "and has been so concerned and caring. He's such a wonderful human being."

bird dj

Sarah Palin Blames Environmentalists For Gulf Oil Disaster

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In her latest note on Facebook, Sarah Palin is blaming "extreme 'environmentalists'" for causing the gulf oil disaster that has been unfolding for over a month. Her logic is that because environmentalists push for tougher drilling regulations onshore in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (also known as ANWR) it forces oil companies to explore deeper offshore drilling which has more risks.

Palin writes:

With [environmentalists'] nonsensical efforts to lock up safer drilling areas, all you're doing is outsourcing energy development, which makes us more controlled by foreign countries, less safe, and less prosperous on a dirtier planet. Your hypocrisy is showing. You're not preventing environmental hazards; you're outsourcing them and making drilling more dangerous.

Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country's energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It's catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it.

You can read her full note on Facebook here.

This is one of several comments about the oil spill Palin has made that has caused a stir, including a tweet in which she said we said we shouldn't trust BP because it is a foreign oil company. Palin's husband Todd worked for BP for 18 years.


Michael Gove and the imperialists

An anachronous map of the British Empire in red.

Image via Wikipedia

By inviting Niall Ferguson to revise the history curriculum, the Tories have revealed their nostalgia for imperialism.

The Tories want our children to be proud of Britain's imperial past. When right-wing colonial historian Niall Ferguson told the Hay Festival last weekend that he would like to revise the school history curriculum to include "the rise of western domination of the world" as the "big story" of the last 500 years, Education Secretary Michael Gove leapt to his feet to praise Ferguson's "exciting" ideas - and offer him the job.

Ferguson is a poster-boy for big stories about big empire, his books and broadcasting weaving Boys' Own-style tales about the British charging into the jungle and jolly well sorting out the natives. The Independent's Johann Hari, in his capacity as young bloodhound of the liberal left, sniffed out Ferguson's suspicious narrative of European cultural supremacy in a series of articles in 2006, calling him "a court historian for the imperial American hard right," as Harvard-based Ferguson believes that the success of the British Empire should be considered a model for US foreign policy.

This is exactly the sort of history that British conservatives think their children should be learning. "I am a great fan of Ferguson, and he is absolutely right," Michael Gove told the Guardian. The new Education Secretary has declared his intention to set out a 'traditionalist' curriculum 'celebrating' Britain's achievements. Andrew Roberts, another historian set to advise on the new curriculum, has dined with South African white supremacists, defended the Amritsar massacre and suggested that the Boers murdered in British concentration camps were killed by their own stupidity. It looks like this 'celebratory' curriculum might turn out to be a bunting-and-bigotry party, heavy on the jelly and propaganda.

What should shock about these appointments is not just the suspect opinions of Roberts and Ferguson, but the fact that the Tories have fundamentally misunderstood the entire purpose of history. History, properly taught, should lead young people to question and challenge their cultural inheritance rather than simply 'celebrating' it. "Studying the empire is important, because it is an international story, but we have to look at it from the perspective of those who were colonised as well as from the British perspective," said historian and political biographer Dr Anthony Seldon, who is also Master of Wellington College. "We live in an interconnected world, and one has to balance learning about british history with learning about other cultures."

The ways in which schools and governments structure and promote stories about a country's past, the crimes they conceal and the truths they twist, have a lasting effect on young minds. It is not for nothing that the most fearsome dictators of the twentieth century, from Hitler to Chairman Mao, altered their school history curricula as a matter of national urgency. Even now, the school board of the state of Texas is re-writing the history syllabus to sanitise slavery and sideline major figures such as Thomas Jefferson, who called for separation of Church and State. That the Tories, too, wish to return us to a 'traditionalist' model of history teaching should thoroughly disabuse the Left of the notion that the Conservative party has no ideological agenda.

The drive to rehabilitate a nostalgic vision of Britain's imperial past is part of the same bigoted discourse which recently saw new defence secretary Liam Fox describe Afghanistan as "a broken 13th-century country," and appears to be forming Conservative thought at home as well as abroad.

This week, an ugly caricature of inner-city teenagers appeared on the Tory-affiliated website ConservativeHome. The post, which laments that in Hackney "the white middle-class people disappear as soon as it gets dark," is titled "How the East was Lost" - drawing an explicit parallel between the resistance of colonised populations to British military rule and the resistance of voters in inner-London areas with large ethnic minority populations to Conservative ideas. The writer parodies the accents and eating habits of Hackney teenagers with the revolted fascination of a Victorian colonel writing about the natives, implying that these "fatherless, swaggering, out-of-control" youths need a firm white Tory hand to keep them in line.

Michael Gove's wish to re-engineer how history is taught to children is, quite simply, about social control. It is part of a broader political discourse that seeks, ultimately, to replace the messy, multivalent web of Britain's cultural inheritance with one 'big story' about dominance and hierarchy, of white over black, West over East, rich over poor.

But history is not about the big story, the single story, the story told by the overculture. History is not about "celebrating" the past or making white kids feel good about their cultural inheritance. History is a process of exploring the legacy of the past, and questioning it - including the ugly, uncomfortable parts. No wonder the Tories want to tear it up and start again.

Source: Laurie Penny @ New Statesman
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Fat Andy Warhol strikes again

cropped version of Image:Boris Johnson.jpg

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The Mayor of London is taking legal action to remove peace protesters camping in Parliament Square.

Over the past few weeks many tents and flags have transformed the green into what protesters have called Democracy Village.

They include anti-war protester Brian Haw, who has previously won legal battles to be allowed to continue his demonstration outside Parliament.

Boris Johnson has now decided to begin trespass proceedings at the High Court.

Protesters are expected to attend court to fight the injunction.

In 2007 it was made illegal to hold an unauthorised protest within a square mile of Parliament.

A spokesman for the mayor said: "Parliament Square is a world heritage site [OP note: No it isn't] and top tourist attraction that is visited by thousands of people and broadcast around the world each day.

"The mayor respects the right to demonstrate, however the scale and impact of the protest is now doing considerable damage to the square and preventing its peaceful use by other Londoners, including those who may wish to have an authorised protest."

One protester, Chris Knight, said: "I think it is an absolute scandal, it's a disgrace.

"He [Boris Johnson] should be supporting democracy, not opposing it.

"If Boris wins this case it means freedom of speech, freedom of assembly will be put in the dustbin.

"I'd rather he was put in the dustbin."

The move has been welcomed by Westminster City Council whose leader, Councillor Colin Barrow, has accused the protesters of "hijacking" the square.

Source: BBC (and jslayeruk for the proof the spokesman doesn't know what he's talking about)
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Don't Call The Guatemala Sinkhole a Sinkhole

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The giant sinkhole that opened beneath downtown Guatemala City over the weekend is all the rage right now. There's just one problem: it isn't a sinkhole.

"Sure, it looks a lot like a sinkhole," geologist Sam Bonis told Discovery News from his home in Guatemala. "And a whale looks a lot like a fish, but calling it one would be very misleading."

Instead, Bonis prefers the term "piping feature" -- a decidedly less sexy label for the 100-foot deep, 66-foot wide circular chasm. But it's an important distinction, he maintains, because "sinkholes" refer to areas where bedrock is solid but has been eaten away by groundwater, forming a geological Swiss cheese whose contours are nearly impossible to predict.

The situation beneath the country's capital is far different, and more dangerous. The lion's share of the city is built on pumice fill -- ash flows made up of loose, gravel-like particles deposited during ancient volcanic eruptions. In places, the debris is piled over 600 feet thick, filling up what would otherwise be a v-shaped valley of faulted bedrock. For those peering into the deep dark depths wondering what might be at the bottom, it's either more pumice fill or bedrock. Mixed with a healthy dose of wreckage from the swallowed-up clothing factory.

In 2007, a similar hole opened after a sewage pipe broke pipe just a few blocks from this weekend's disaster. Bonis was part of a team of geologists and engineers brought in to investigate and advise officials on what went wrong.

"Our recommendation was that this could happen again," he recalled. "When you have water flowing from storm water runoff, a sewage pipe, or any kind of strong flow, it eats away at the loose material. We don't know how long it has to go on before it collapses. But once it starts collapsing, God help us."

The Guatemala City metro area is home to nearly 3 million people. Not all of them live on the fill -- Bonis estimates around 1-1.5 million, with the rest perched on the valley walls -- but by mislabeling the feature a sinkhole, it distracts from a dangerous situation that could be mitigated, if not neutralized, by better handling of the city's runoff and waste water.

"I'd hate to have to be in the government right now," Bonis, who worked for the Guatemalan government's Instituto Geografico Nacional for sixteen years, said. "There is an excellent potential for this to happen again. It could happen almost anywhere in the city."


Discriminating against gays is actually a protected right!

The Catholic church has come out swinging against ENDA:

Just as every other group in our society, the Catholic Church enjoys the same rights to hold to its beliefs, organize itself around them, and argue for them in the public square. This is guaranteed by our Constitution. This includes the right to teach what it holds to be the truth concerning homosexual conduct—and to act as an employer consistent with that truth—without the threat of government sanction.

The USCCB continues to oppose “unjust discrimination” against people with a homosexual inclination, but we cannot support a bill – such as ENDA in its current form – that would legally affirm and specially protect any sexual conduct outside of marriage.

Moreover, because the passage of such a bill could be used to punish as discrimination what the Catholic Church teaches, the USCCB has always sought as comprehensive a religious exemption as is achievable, in order to protect the religious freedom of the Church, and of all others who hold similar views. One partial solution to this problem is to apply Title VII’s prohibition on religious discrimination, which is already incorporated in the current version of the bill.

Source has the whole letter.

It's all so clear now! As long as someone says it's their religion that makes them discriminatory and hateful, well, that's a-okay!


Andrew Sullivan is on the case with a cogent analysis. "It is a profound betrayal of the core message of Jesus: that the already despised should be embraced not stigmatized, that the victims of discrimination be protected not marginalized." Good stuff there if you want some further reading.


This letter was written by the USCCB, which only represents American Catholics, not all Catholics everywhere. So my headline "The Catholic church has come out swinging against ENDA" was inaccurate and wrongly encompassed every Catholic in the world. Ongoing clarification in this thread, if you're curious. (Thanks, teh_elb.)

Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza

Despite attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of food and humanitarian supplies to Gaza, used by internationally recognized organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross.


Humanitarian aid despite Hamas attacks

Despite attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of perishable and staple food items to Gaza. This conduit is used by internationally recognized organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross.
Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza. Millions of dollars worth of international food aid continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus, ensuring that there is no food shortage in Gaza.
Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week. These items were channeled through aid organizations or via Gaza's private sector.


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Putting Black Kids In Murals In Arizona Is Racist Because Obama Is President. Or Something.

Arizona Elementary School Mural Altered; Child Too Black
Over the past month, the state of Arizona has been making serious waves in the media and across the nation. Whether if it is the state’s new immigration law or the law banning ethnic studies, something continues to make the news in the last state in the United States to approve the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday.

In Prescott, Ariz., a new mural at Miller Valley Elementary School has caused an uproar. The mural shows a group of children of several races using "green" transportation methods. It appears to have struck a nerve among some Prescott residents.

The controversy started when comments made by Prescott City Councilman Steve Blair aired on his KYCA radio talk regarding the mural. On May 21, Blair said, "I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who's president of the United States today and based upon the history of this community when I grew up, we had four black families — who I have been very good friends with for years — to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, 'Why?'"

Blair also admits that "whenever people start talking about diversity, it's a word [I] can't stand."

Increasing pressure has resulted in people in support of Blair asking the school board to "lighten" the faces of the mural's main subject, which is an African American child.

"They want us to lighten up the forehead and the cheeks [of the boy in the center], and make him look like he is coming into the light," said R. E. Wall, director of the Prescott Downtown Mural Project.

Prescott, Arizona is located in Yavapai County, Arizona, near the Prescott National Forest. The population is almost 43,000 based on 2008 figures. It is 75 miles from Phoenix and has an average adjusted gross income of $52,072 based on 2005 figures. Just 13 percent of the residents live below the poverty level.

Source is totally post racial you guys.

My favorite bit is how they are lightening the skin color "like he is coming into the light." Inadvertent racism FTW.

Bush's Glib Waterboarding Admission Sparks Outrage

George W. Bush's casual acknowledgment Wednesday that he had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed waterboarded -- and would do it again -- has horrified some former military and intelligence officials who argue that the former president doesn't seem to understand the gravity of what he is admitting.

Waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, is "unequivocably torture", said retired Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a former strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for 18 years.

"As a nation, we have historically prosecuted it as such, going back to the time of the Spanish-American War," Irvine said. "Moreover, it cannot be demonstrated that any use of waterboarding by U.S. personnel in recent years has saved a single American life."

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States To Establish Uniform Standards for Teaching

For the first time, states have joined to establish what students should know by the time they graduate high school.

Governors, state education chiefs and other officials from across the country gathered in Suwanee just outside Atlanta on Wednesday to release the final version of the Common Core State Standards. States are expected to use the standards to revise their curriculum and tests and make learning more uniform across the country.

The federal government was not involved but has encouraged the project. The standards have already been adopted by Kentucky, Hawaii, Maryland and West Virginia. Another 40 states have agreed to adopt the standards in coming months.

The project was led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.


Christopher "moot" Poole: The case for anonymity online

Moot talks about his website, 4chan, and the power/price of anonymity online, especially when taking into account the drastic loss of privacy/anonymity brought about by social networking.

He could have definitely made a stronger argument for anonymity, and he absolutely downplayed the negatives of Internet anonymity, but I found the video interesting nonetheless. Mostly because I wrote my thesis on the impact of the Internet on the social development of adolescent males. Also, I had a dream about moot the other night. I have no idea what it was about, I just know he was in it, so I think my brain has been hacked.

Thoughts on Anonymous, anonymity, the Internet, cultural evolution?

' jules


SC senator: We’ve ‘got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion.’

Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network published a story about Nikki Haley, the frontrunner to become South Carolina’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, saying that she “recently changed the language on her website to reflect a more Christian tone.” The story said that although Haley has “gone out of her way to make sure people know she is a Christian,” she was raised in the Sikh faith and placed more emphasis on that tradition when she ran for the state legislature in 2004. This evening in an interview with Pub Politics, state Sen. Jake Knotts (R-SC) — who is supporting a different candidate — slammed Haley by using a racial slur:
We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion.
The South Carolina Republican Party has issued a statement condemning Knott’s remarks, saying, “Senator Knotts should apologize for his inappropriate comments, so that we can put this unfortunate incident behind us and focus on issues important to moving our state forward.”


LOL WTF, Jake Knotts is cray cray though, I'd never heard of him before the Sanford scandal but he's super nutty. He obsessively tried to impeach Sanford (which was a good idea except he pushed it too hard and made it a partisan issue) and when Andre Bauer was outed he sent a letter around accusing Sanford of spreading the rumors.
Me in Hawaii.

Police confusion by topless transgender beach men

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Rehoboth Beach in Delaware isn't a topless beach - but a few transgender men caused a stir by treating it like one.

Police say passers-by complained after the men removed their tops and revealed their surgically enhanced breasts over Memorial Day weekend. A lifeguard asked them to put their tops back on. The men initially refused, but covered up before police arrived.

Even if they hadn't, though, Police Chief Keith Banks notes the men were doing nothing illegal. Since they have male genitalia, they can't be charged with indecent exposure for showing their breasts. Banks says there's no need for a specific law to address the issue.

Rehoboth Beach commissioner Kathy McGuiness isn't so sure. She says the matter will be discussed at a town hall meeting next week.


Information from: The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, http://www.delawareonline.com


Posted via LiveJournal.app.

movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 3, 2010.

The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1 to be International Children's Day in 1925. It is not clear as to why June 1 was chosen as the International Children's Day: one theory has it that the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco (USA) gathered a number of Chinese orphans to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in 1925, which happened to be on June 1 that year, and also coincided with the conference in Geneva. The holiday is celebrated on 1 June each year. It is usually marked with speeches on children's rights and wellbeing, children TV programs, parties, various actions involving or dedicated to children, families going out etc. It was adopted mostly by former and current Communist and Socialist countries. -- Wikipedia

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For once, with utmost seriousness, I'd just like to say: Please--Think of the Children.
franklin sherman

Roughed-up cameraman sues Oakland police

A former cameraman for KGO-TV has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department, accusing several officers of attacking him and breaking his camera as he tried to film outside a hospital on the day four officers were killed last year.

Douglas Laughlin said several officers accosted him on March 21, 2009, outside Highland Hospital in Oakland as he tried to film the arrival of an ambulance carrying one of the mortally wounded officers.

The confrontation, as captured by Laughlin's camera, can be seen here:

The video shows off-duty Officer Fred Shavies running toward Laughlin and yelling, "Hey! Get the f-- out of here!" Shavies then knocked Laughlin against a parked car, breaking the camera's viewfinder, according to the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

A group of officers then forced Laughlin away from the hospital and onto East 31st Street.

"You guys can't do this to me," Laughlin protests on the video.

Sgt. Rich Vierra, who at the time was chief of staff to then-acting Chief Howard Jordan, tells Laughlin, "Sir, look at what we're doing here, man. Sir, that's one of our police officers that got shot. You need to leave."

Uniformed Officer Luke Sincerny repeatedly tells Laughlin, "Please go," as off-duty officers herd Laughlin along.

Laughlin tells the officers that they can't force him away because it's a public street. Sincerny responds, "It's not important right now," as Vierra tells the cameraman, "It's not. You are interfering with a crime scene. I will place you under arrest."

The camera kept rolling as the officers pushed Laughlin across the street and onto the sidewalk, the suit said. Officer William Pappas tried to tear the battery pack off the camera, and an unidentified sergeant put up yellow police tape to block Laughlin's access, the complaint says.

The suit, which names the city, the Police Department, Shavies, Vierra and Pappas, seeks unspecified damages and a court injunction barring Oakland officers from "interfering with plaintiff's and other television camera persons' and other journalists' rights to engage in journalistic activities."
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What happens to politics after the Sun dies?

Whatever happened to “It’s the Sun wot won it”? Politicians of today need to forge a new relationship with the media?

The night before the general election, a cry went up across blogs and Twitter when the Sun's front page was revealed: an illustration of David Cameron, in the style of the iconic blue-and-red image of Barack Obama, bearing the tagline: "Our only hope".

Within minutes, parodies started circulating and blogs started publishing them. By the next morning more than 50 new versions had been circulated and thousands of people had poked fun at the paper. Even the Tories admitted it was embarrassing. There was much contempt, naturally -- there always has been on the left for the tabloid -- but there was also dismissal of the Sun's previously feared influence.

This year's election was in fact notable for how little impact the tabloids had; the TV debates sucked up all the attention. But this isn't just a one-off. Tabloids have been declining for years and it's about time our political system started thinking beyond that world.

The Sun newspaper has always been at the forefront of this brash claim to political influence, most notably with its "It's the Sun wot won it" headline following Neil Kinnock's defeat in 1992. More recently its political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, was reported as saying: "It is my job to see that Cameron f***ing well gets into Downing Street," to a group of journalists, according to Rupert Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff.

But a closer reading of the polls illustrates how difficult Newton Dunn's job actually was. The Sun decided to back the Tories in September 2009 when they were 12-16 points ahead in the polls. Six months later that lead had halved.

There were several other examples. In November 2009 the Sun reported that a handwritten letter from Gordon Brown to Jacqui Janes, the grieving mother of a British soldier slain in Afghanistan, was riddled with spelling errors. It hammered the PM as not caring enough for our troops.

And yet a little-reported poll a week later found that 65 per cent of voters thought the controversy was over the top and that the Sun had crossed a line.
Astonishingly, roughly half said they were more likely to defend Brown because of the unfair coverage, with just 17 per cent inclined the other way.

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Source: Sunny Hundal @ New Statesman
talkin' that blah blah blah

Gov. Sticks BP With $69M Bill

No one ever said cleaning up an oil spill was cheap: Feds served BP with a hefty $69 million bill for the initial costs of contending with the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. An angered President Barack Obama slammed the energy giant, using his harshest words thus far on the matter: "I am furious at this entire situation because this is an example where somebody didn't think through the consequences of their actions," he told CNN's Larry King. "This is imperiling an entire way of life and an entire region for potentially years." This initial $69 million charge is one of many more to befall BP. The announcement precedes Obama's second visit to the Gulf. The president has been criticized for being too soft on BP and its role in an oil spill that has inundated the Gulf of Mexico with more than 21 million gallons of oil.

Kurt and Sue
  • drbat

Bill O'Reilly draws calls for apology after he mocks 'gay friendly' McDonald's ad

Gay groups tossed Fox's Bill O'Reilly into the deep fryer Thursday for mocking a gay-friendly McDonald's airing in France - and burning up the web.

The ad features a teen chatting his boyfriend on the phone while his dad is at the Mickey D's food counter. He hurriedly hangs up and smiles wryly when his dad sits down and tells him he can have any girl he wants.

"Do they have an Al-Qaeda ad?" O'Reilly asked Wednesday night on his Fox show.

Gay groups were outraged but O'Reilly's producer called the brouhaha "silly."

"Bill O'Reilly should be ashamed for equating a family with a gay son to terrorists," said the Human Rights Campaign's Michael Cole.

And the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sent out an action alert to its followers urging them to flood Fox with demands for an apology.

David Tabacoff, the senior executive producer for The O'Reilly Factor hit back: "This is a very silly controversy. The quote was taken totally out of context."

"If you look at the full segment and think he's actually equating gays with Al Qaeda, you must be crazy."

"By seizing on a handful of words, they have made a really ridiculous argument."

Lisa Howard, a spokeswoman for McDonald's, said the advertisement would run only in France and is part of a series of ads celebrating diversity called "Come as you are."

"The ad... recognizes the diversity of the McDonald's customers in France," she said.

O'Reilly, bantering with Fox anchor Jane Skinner about the TV spot asked if it made her "hungry for a Big Mac."

She held back her opinion of the ad and replied that she's always hungry for McDonalds.

"Ok, they want to make a political statement selling burgers, they are entitled to it," O'Reilly said. "It will never run in the USA."