June 6th, 2010

Helen Thomas issues apology

Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas reportedly said the following in a rather, ahem... candid moment:

Q: Any comments on Israel?

HT: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not German, it's not Polish.

Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

HT: Go home.

Q: Where is the home?

HT: Poland. Germany.

Q: So you're saying Jews go back to Poland, Germany?

HT: And America and everywhere else.

She then issued an apology on her website:

I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.

It is bad form to tell immigrants to "go back" to wherever they came from. Jewish people and Germany. Blacks and Africa. Mexicans and Mexico. Native Americans and....oh.

Whatever your opinion on Israel and/or any other nation, people are where they are. The human race moves around. For whatever reason, we move. Therefore, looking back and saying this group of folks belongs here and that group belongs there is ignorant and silly. That being said, I believe all of us have made statements we have later, upon reflection, come to regret. I believe we should be charitable towards people, generally, when they say things that are ridiculous. Especially when they are elderly folk. It was how I was raised. After you've put in a lifetime of work and family rearing, I think it's okay to become shall we say... blunt about your opinions.

What is interesting is that right-wingers are already calling for Thomas to be fired. I'd never expect them, of all people, to be the ones up in arms over telling people to go back where they come from.

Source: Daily Kos
Fatpie42

Coming Out As An Atheist - No I'm Not Making A Stand Against Islam!

No, I don't believe in God | Alom Shaha

I'm not grandstanding, or insulting the faith I grew up in. I've written this to confirm to myself that I'm not alone

I am an atheist. I imagine that the typical Cif belief reader may not think this is a particularly big deal, but it is for me, because I'm not just an atheist – I'm an apostate from Islam. Apparently there are people who would happily kill me for making such a statement. But I'm not expecting to be killed, or even threatened; despite what the BNP and certain elements of the press might want you to think, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not rabid fundamentalists who respond with violence to every perceived slight.

It's not easy "coming out" like this. Yes, this is a term that is usually applied to people declaring their homosexuality, but there are parallels which justify its use in this context – especially if you come from the kind of background I have.
I grew up on a council housing estate in the Elephant and Castle, an area of London notorious for crime and poverty. My family was one of a large wave of Bangladeshi families who emigrated to the UK in the early 1970s. It was a horrid time to be a young Bangladeshi in Britain – a time when pubs displayed signs saying "no Blacks, no Irish, no dogs", and violent racism was rife. We got used to the shouts of "go back home you dirty pakis", and lived in fear of physical abuse ranging from being spat at to being beaten up on the street. In these circumstances, it's not surprising that the Bangladeshi community was a close-knit and insular one.
It was not only our shared experiences as immigrants that unified us, but also our shared religion. Islam was the religion that defined many of my cultural experiences as I was growing up and it is the religion of all those "aunts" and "uncles" who will be so disappointed if they ever read this.
For many of the people I grew up with, being a Bangladeshi is inseparable from being a Muslim. The same is true of many of the Bangladeshi students I teach, as evidenced by a conversation I seem to have at least once a year with new students:
Bangladeshi Student (clearly excited and a little proud at encountering their first Bangladeshi teacher): "Are you from Bangladesh, sir?"
Me: "Yes."
Student: "You must be a Muslim then."
Me: "No, I'm an atheist."
Student (now a little bewildered and visibly disappointed): "But you're from Bangladesh, you must be a Muslim."
I tell my students the truth, but I haven't been so straight with the other Muslims in my life. This is an attempt to fix that. However, this is no dramatic renouncement of Islam, no attack on Islam of the sort the that some people seem to get such a hard-on for. I'm just someone whose education and life experiences have brought me to the conclusion that there probably isn't a god and that I can live a perfectly happy, moral life without practicing any form of religion. Just as people who are gay don't have a choice about it, I don't think I have a choice about being an atheist – I suspect I am somehow predisposed to be a non-believer and am grateful that I've been fortunate enough to live in a country where I can openly express that non-belief.
Once these words are published, there's no turning back for me, there's no more pretending or avoiding the issue with friends and family – some of whom will be hurt and feel insulted by what I write here, some will be disappointed and genuinely concerned that I am sabotaging the future of my eternal soul, and a few will be outraged and disgusted at the thought of having anything to do with an infidel, a kafir. But my oldest, closest friends, the boys I went to primary school with, the boys I still hang out with pretty much every Friday night, the boys I consider brothers, already know I'm an atheist, just as they'd probably have known if I was gay.

It's not for them I've written this piece, it's not for my "uncles" or "aunts" either – in many ways I'd rather they didn't read it. I'd like to say that I've written this as a call to action, to encourage others like me to come out as atheists. But that would be far too grand an ambition. No, the truth is that I've written this for the same reason so many of us tweet or blog these days: to confirm to myself, and to let others know, that we are not alone.

(Source)

Makes a change, doesn't it? :p
TW tales square

Will Turkey Face Another Military Coup?

One aspect of the current situation with the recent attack on the Turkish boat attempting to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza is the role that Turkey's military plays in Turkish politics. Historically, Turkey is a secular country, often militantly so. In the past whenever governments have become 'too religious’ the military has staged a coup. As recently as February of this year, a group of Turkish Military Commanders were arrested for plotting to overthrow the government

 

ANKARA, Turkey: Once they were untouchable. Some were members of Turkey's elite military class known as ‘pashas’ a title of respect harking back to Ottoman times. For decades Turkey's senior officers, self-appointed guardians of the country's secular tradition, called the shots.  Monday, the balance of power in this EU candidate appeared to have undergone a major shift. Turkish police detained 52 military commanders for allegedly planning to blow up mosques in order to trigger a military takeover and overthrow the Islamic-oriented government. The detentions showed that the elected government is trying to take the upper hand against the military, which has ousted four governments since 1960 and held influence since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk created the secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire….

…Conflict over Turkey's national identity has simmered since Ataturk, an army officer in World War I, founded the republic and abolished the Caliphate. He gave the vote to women, restricted Islamic dress and replaced the Arabic script with the Roman alphabet, but Islam remains a potent force.

Since taking power in 2002, Erdogan's Islamic-rooted party has repeatedly denied that it is trying to impose religion on politics and society. However, secularists view its attempts to permit Islamic style head scarves at universities and a past push to criminalize adultery as alarming.

The military's self-declared mission to protect the secular regime has pitted it in a bitter fight with Erdogan's government. His July 2007 re-election with 46.6 percent of the votes buoyed the pragmatic leader to investigate people accused of secret military plots, when the first of a series surfaced in 2008.

So far, prosecutors have jailed more than 400 people, including soldiers, academics, journalists and politicians. No one has yet been convicted.

In 2008, Turkey's top court narrowly voted against disbanding Erdogan's ruling party over accusations it is plotting to impose Islamic rule, but in a warning the judges cut off millions of dollars in state aid to the ruling Justice and Development Party.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Institute in Ankara, said that despite the arrests, military influence is not likely to disappear.

"It is not the military that makes itself important, it is the present state of the country," Ozcan told the AP. "As long there is no consolidation of democracy, the military will remain a main power in Turkey."

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So despite the cancellation of two joint military training missions between Turkey and Israel (which was a decision of the government, not necessarily the military), and Turkey’s recent uranium swap agreement with Iran (which may help Iran avoid further sanctions) is the Turkish government turning away from its traditional Western, secularist stance or is this just Turkey coming into its own as a democratic nation?  

 

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And where does the Turkish military stand on this? Are they going to tolerate a greater relationship with the Arab nations including those with fundamentalist Islamic governments or will they once again overthrow a legitimately elected government?

 

Having just returned from Turkey a week ago, this has been much on my mind.


' jules

Fake bitch not Michael Sheen

BP's CEO Tony Hayward: The most hated -- and most clueless -- man in America



Not too long ago, BP CEO Tony Hayward said, "I don't feel my job is on the line, but of course that might change."

It has.

After a series of gaffes - including dismissing the amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico as "tiny" compared with all that seawater, and then whining that "I want my life back" - calls are growing for the British oil titan's head to roll.

"The CEO of BP was talking about he wants his life back. I'm to the point where I wish the board would call him back," Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) told "Good Morning America" yesterday.

Shareholders are suing him for devaluing BP stock. And a Canadian columnist mused that the only person who still admires Hayward must be Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, because Hayward relieved him as the Most Hated Man in America.

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SO SICK of this asshole and his ~BP CARES~ ads. I think we have a new Biggest Douche in the Universe.



but I hafta say I lol'd at him being from Slough cause it made me think of David Brent
Citadel

Oh good grief.

The Israeli government's press division is apologizing for circulating a link to a video that mocks activists aboard a ship headed to Gaza earlier this week that was blocked by an Israeli raid.

"Due to a misunderstanding on our part, earlier (Friday) we inadvertently issued a video link that had been sent for our perusal," according to a statement from Israel's Government Press Office, which distributed the link to media outlets.

"It was not intended for general release," the statement said. "The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel."

The video, titled "We Con the World" -- set to the tune of the 1985 hit, "We are the World"-- was put together by Caroline Glick, a former member of the Israel Defense Forces and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

In the video, up to a dozen members of the so-called "Flotilla Choir" -- some wearing a variation of traditional Arab dress -- sing satirical verses, such as: "There's no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all."

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Source.

TL;DR: LOLZ, IT'S FUNNY, WHY DON'T YOU FIND IT FUNNY WHEN WE'RE MOCKING DEAD PEOPLE, GOSH?
Mad

Response to "The 'Glee' Agenda" (lol)

The Religious Right Targets Glee For Making Homosexuality Normal


by Michael A. Jones
June 04, 2010


Photobucket

Walk into any given house on a Tuesday night, and there's a good chance you'll find Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and the rest of the cast of Glee singing to Van Halen or Barbra Streisand or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

(Talk about a Mötley Crüe! Oh, music puns ...)

But if you walk into Brent Bozell's house on a Tuesday night, don't expect to see Glee on the tube. Bozell is a conservative blogger over at Townhall ("Where your opinion counts." So long as it's a little more Glenn Beck than Glenn Greenwald). Bozell is also a founder of a conservative media outfit known as the Media Research Center, where he watches hours upon hours of television and then determines which shows will earn you a direct flight ticket right into the underworld.

Glee happens to be one of those shows, though forget a direct ticket to the underworld — Glee is practically a rocket ship of damnation. And for Bozell, there's one primary reason why Glee gets Satan salivating: it makes the practice of homosexuality normal.

Bozell wrote a treatise on Glee this past week, in the wake of a highly publicized episode where the father of Kurt (the show's openly gay character) confronts some homophobic language directed at his son, namely that three letter f-word that many of us have heard at least once in our life. Bozell gets on the Fox network's case for making this show what he considers a megaphone for the homos.

"This show has presented gay as the 'new normal,'" Bozell writes, "and has not suggested, but presented that the abnormal people are the ones who adhere to apparently outdated Christian morality." Bozell goes on to gripe that the show only portrays people who are against homosexuality as "vicious school bullies," or giant meanies who would rather bust open the heads of many a queer kid.

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Source

Whatever your opinions on the show, Kurt's dad's speech was amazing. And, gay people can be considered normal?! O heav'ns forfend!

Photobucket
Mystique

Pride Month: Myth of black homophobia

Homophobia in black communities
bell hooks

Recently I was at my parents' home and heard teenage nieces and nephews expressing their hatred for homosexuals, saying that they could never like anybody who was homosexual. In response I told them, "There are already people who you love and care about who are gay, so just come off it!" They wanted to know who. I said, "The who is not important. if they wanted you to know, they would tell you. But you need to think about the shit you've been saying and ask yourself where it's coming from."

Their vehement expression of hatred startled and frightened me, even more so when I contemplated the hurt that would have been experienced had our loved ones who are gay heard their words. When we were growing up, we would not have had the nerve to make such comments. We were not allowed to say negative, hateful comments about the people we knew who were gay. We knew their names, their sexual orientation.  They were our neighbors, our friends, our family. They were us—a part of our black community.

The gay people we knew then did not live in separate subcultures, not in the small segregated black community where work was difficult to find, where many of us were poor. Poverty was important; it created a social context in which structures of dependence were important for everyday survival. Sheer economic necessity and fierce white racism, as well as the joy of being there with the black folks known and loved, compelled many gay blacks to live close to home and family. That meant however that gay people created a way to live out sexual orientations within the boundaries of circumstances that were rarely ideal, no matter how affirming.  In some cases, this meant a closeted sexual life. In other families, an individual could be openly expressive, quite "out."

The homophobia expressed by my nieces and nephews coupled with the assumption in many feminist circles that black communities are somehow more homophobic than other communities in the United States—more opposed to gay rights—provided the stimulus for me to write this piece. Initially, I considered calling it "homophobia in the black community." Yet it is precisely the notion that there is a monolithic black community that must be challenged. Black communities vary—urban and rural experiences create diversity of culture and lifestyle.

I have talked with black folks who were raised in southern communities where gay people were openly expressive of their sexual orientation and participated fully in the life of the community. I have also spoken with folks who say just the opposite.

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Mad

You Say That like It's a Bad Thing

Sen. Hatch: "Gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics"


by: Autumn Sandeen
Fri Jun 04, 2010




This rhetoric is highly insulting and offensive to lesbian and gay people, particularly to devout followers of a wide range of faith traditions. Media have a responsibility to show the gap between Hatch's false anti-gay rhetoric and the actual lives of lesbian and gay people of faith.

~Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), in GLAAD Urges Media to Scrutinize Offensive Comments by Senator Orrin Hatch



Mixing a little religion with his conservative politics at a Dixie State University (St. George, Utah) town hall meeting, Sen. Hatch had nice things about tea partiers, and some less than nice things to say about gays and lesbians.



[Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)] said he sympathized with the Tea Party members, but said the emotion to "Throw the bums out" could backfire because experience does matter in Washington, D.C.

"Tea Party members I know by and large are good, honest, descent [sic] people, but out of anger should not disrupt the few GOP [candidates] who can win," he said.

He said the Republicans need to organize and pull together just as unions, environmentalists, personal injury lawyers and gay rights activists do for Democrat candidates.

"Gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics," said Hatch.




So if ya' ain't got's teh Jeebus, and you don't tithe to a church, then apparently you don't deserve equality under the law. And, that's not even taking into the faith of many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people -- many of whom are paying tithes to the churches they attend.

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Source

Not trying to steal your thunder, petalsinthewind; these two articles just really struck me.
Ani: Amazon Warrior

American Immigration Lawyer's Association: I've Read the AZ Law and it still Stinks

I HAVE Read the Arizona Law. And, It Still Stinks

06/03/2010, 1:33 pm

I was at church on Sunday when a fellow parishioner decided to engage me on the Arizona anti-immigration Law.  His main point was this:  ”it is exactly like federal law.”  When I explained to him that it was not actually “exactly” like federal law and that in fact there is no federal law allowing for racial profiling and arresting people because they look “illegal,” he would not believe me (keep in mind, we are at church).

I have heard repeatedly over the last month, from folks who may have read the Arizona law, but who have NOT read the federal law, that the Arizona law is somehow nothing more than an extension of what the Federal government already does.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Arizona law is classic Kris Kobach.   When he worked in the Attorney General’s office under Ashcroft, he took Section 263 of the INA (written as part of the Alien Registration Act of 1940 — this law is how we put thousands of Japanese into internment camps), and turned it into “Special Registration” or NSEERS.  NSEERS was designed to have Muslim men who had come into the U.S. legally come and “register” with the then INS.   NSEERS did not require anyone who entered illegally come in and register (that is true).   The program is considered an failure, as it produced no viable evidence of anyone involved in terrorist activities.  It did lead, however, to 13,000 Muslim men being arrested, jailed and placed in removal proceedings, so perhaps Kobach did achieve his goal.

That said, and to make the argument that the Arizona law mimics federal law, Kobach has now taken Section 264(e) of the same Alien Registration Act of 1940, and included it in the new Arizona law (A.R.S. 13-1509).  Section 264(e) makes it a federal misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail and/or a $100 fine, to fail to carry one’s ”certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt car issued to him pursuant to subsection (d).”  Now subsection (d) of the INA 264 says:  ”every alien in the United States who has been registered and fingerprinted under the provisions of the Alien Registration Act, 1940, or under the provisions of this Act shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at a such time as shall be prescribed under regulations issued by the Attorney General.”   That alien registration document refers to the registration document created under the section of law that Kobach previously used to remove Muslim men from America.  However, in case you were thinking that this federal statute was actually being used, a search of court records reveals no prosecutions federally for this offense, and the last citation to the statute in an immigration appeals court case 32 years ago.  

So, while technically true that federal law does require anyone required to “register” to carry proof of that registration with them at all times, in reality, enforcement of this law has been suspended for decades for good reason–the law has not kept up with the changes in immigration law.  There are now dozens of ways to prove one’s legal status, many of which do not even include proof (e.g. Canadians who enter by showing a passport are given no proof of entry).  The law is basically unenforceable, or other words, broken.

A bigger issue, however, is the provision in the Arizona, that is causing the most outage —  the racial profiling provision found in Section 3 of HB2162, now A.R.S.  Section 11-1051. This is the big lie. This provision does NOT have any federal immigration statutory counterpart. There is a federal regulation that reads as follow:

8 CFR 287.8(b)(2)  If the immigration officer has a reasonable suspicion, based on specific articulable facts, that the person being questioned is, or is attempting to be, engaged in an offense against the United States or is an alien illegally in the United States, the immigration officer may briefly detain the person for questioning.

The question becomes this.  What are “articuable facts” to a trained ICE or CBP officer of a person’s illegal presence in the United States, versus what those facts are to a Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff?   Let’s not kid ourselves, this new Arizona law will lead to racial profiling, and thus creates the strong possibility that it is unconstitutional.  Kobach knows he is pushing the envelope on constitutionality here. He has repeatedly played this game at the expense of cities and counties around the United States. His plan is clear, keep getting gullible and politically ambitious politicians to pass marginally constitutional laws, in the hopes of establishing the outer fringes of what is unconstitutional on the issue of immigration enforcement (e.g. mandatory e-verify vs. housing discrimination).

So, Section 11-1051 is an attempt to establish how much “profiling” will be allowed in Federal law.  Kobach wrote:

“[F]or any ”lawful” stop, detention or arrest (actually he wrote “contact” but then realized after passage that this would fail constitutional muster so he had the AZ folks change it) made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state,  . . . county, city, town . . .  in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state (to make sure to include housing violations and cars on blocks in the yard, because you know those are signs of  ”illegals”), where ”reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, . . . .

Do you really believe that a statute this vague, ambiguous and downright inflammatory actually will pass constitutional muster?  I hope not, because it does not.    Now, tell me this–What does this language mean? The term “reasonable suspicion” is nowhere defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act.  So, what is “reasonable suspicion” that  someone “is an alien unlawfully present?”  Is it the clothes they wear? Their haircut? Perhaps the car they drive? The person’s accent?  Or, do you just know it when you see it, like pornography.

Perhaps the problem here is Kobach. Do we really want a man on a mission to aggrandize himself (and make a living on the lawsuits he causes to be filed by the laws he writes) to be the puppet-master behind these ambitious blinded politicians?  Isn’t a dialogue on the most effective way to curb illegal immigration, without passing unconstitutional laws denigrating entire races of people?  Surely we, as a society, are capable of agreeing on a solution that enforces our borders, punishes bad employers, secures America, AND provides compassion to people, energizes our economy, supplies needed labor and investment, and provides for an appropriate flow of immigrants and non-immigrants in the future.  I just hope we come to a solution before Kobach dreams up his next unconstitutional nightmare.

orange / karl

Campaign to end bullfighting in Catalonia gathers momentum



Ricky Gervais has added his voice to the anti-bullfighting campaign as the world waits for Catalonia’s vote on a bullfighting ban.

“It sickens me to know that in this day and age, people are still paying money to see an animal suffering in such a horrific way,” Gervais said in a film made exclusively for WSPA and urged animal welfare supporters to put pressure on Catalonian MPs as they prepare to vote on a proposal to ban bullfighting.

“We want them to know that there are thousands of people all around the world who care which way they vote, and are hoping to see them put an end to this cruel ‘sport’,” Gervais said.

All eyes on Catalonia

Currently, Catalan animal protection laws protect all animals except the bulls and horses used in bullfights. But with over 180,000 Catalonian citizens signing a petition demanding an end to bullfighting, the Catalonian regional parliament was forced to call for a vote on the ban.

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source
sign the petition here
' jules

MOD POST WHAT UP



Hi gang!! It's me, the... um, the nice mod? dammit I need a gimmick. Just a quick heads up about community etiquette. We've talked about this before, but the problem persists.
Do not delete your comments.

It uglifies posts! It makes it hard for us to keep track of alleged rule-breaking! It confuses people! It's just really really bad. If you make an error in spelling/grammar and need to delete it, that's one thing, but if people are jumping on you for a statement and you realize after the first ten comments that you're not in the mood for fighting, you gotta tough it out. If you absolutely need to delete a comment (or post) for some reason - realize you left information that could be traced back to your RL self, or something like that - contact a moderator beforehand.

We've been pretty lenient about this up until recently, but now the profile page has a new and improved warning and you're getting an official mod post and all, so we're going to be cracking down. Punishment for breaking the rule will range from a warning to a ban, depending on the circumstances of the deletion, the prior history of the violator, and the meanness of the mod involved (told you I'm the nice one).

Otherwise, keep on doing what you're doing, ONTD_P. It's been pretty tense in here with the news about the Israel/Gaza situation (MAYBE YOU NOTICED) and we've had a few ~incidents~ but for the most part people have been behaving within the rules. There has even been actual debate! Remember that if you have trouble with anything in the community - getting a post rejected for reasons you don't understand, catching a user behaving badly, whatever - you can head over to ontdp_mods and leave us a note.

We cool? Cool.

No blacks, no Irish, no queers?

A London pub has been reported to the police following an alleged homophobic comment made by its manager to the Labour Party's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) group. The comments have sparked widespread condemnation by senior labour figures including leadership candidate Ed Balls and Sarah Brown, the wife of former prime minister Gordon Brown and former deputy prime minister John Prescott.

The row began when the Labour LGBT group posted the following message on social media platform Twitter: "Manager at The Greencoat Boy near Westminster told members he would have refused the #LGBTLabour booking if he’d known it was an LGBT group!".

The alleged comments sparked a visit from the police, who were photographed interviewing members of the group inside the pub.

Sarah Brown posted the following message on Twitter: "very sad to hear that the Greencoat Boy shown as homophobic in taking LGBT booking – but good to see so many are concerned here."

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott Tweeted: "40 years ago we campaigned against a Hull pub that banned 'women & queers' This is disgraceful. Fully back you #greencoatboy "

The #greencoatboy and #bullybar hastags are currently among the most Tweeted on the social media platform.

Ed Balls, a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party described the alleged incident as "really shocking" and Labour MEP Michael Cashman has led calls for a boycott of Punch Taverns who own the pub. A boycott campaign organised on Facebook has already signed up almost 500 supporters.

Punch Taverns have not yet responded to a request for a comment from PinkNews.co.uk.

Source: Pink News

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Government attacked on NHS database u-turn

The right-wing civil liberties group Big Brother Watch has attacked the government for doing a “u-turn” on medical data storage.

The coalition announced this week it would continue building the ‘Summary Care Record’ database.

The Conservative policy was: ‘A Conservative government would “dismantle” central NHS IT infrastructure, halt and renegotiate NPfIT local service provider contracts and introduce interoperable local systems.’

Alex Deane of Big Brother Watch said:

This is a disgraceful u-turn. The Coalition wants us to believe that they are serious about privacy and civil liberties – this is their first real test, and they have failed it.

The SCR is an unnecessary and intrusive piece of bureaucracy, as well as being wildly expensive. Doctors have managed without it until now. Our research has shown how vulnerable the NHS is to breaches of privacy – this will make things much worse.


Finally, I note that it was “announced” by brief Written Answer, without debate, on the day of the statement made to the House on the Cumbrian shooting, so it didn’t get picked up anywhere. A Jo Moore 9/11 situation writ large, but after weeks in power rather than New Labour’s years in office by the time of Moore’s disgrace. New government, old tricks. No change, and no shame.

Last year the Libdem health spokesperson Norman Lamb had said: “The Government needs to end its obsession with massive central databases. The NHS IT scheme has been a disastrous waste of money and the national programme should be abandoned.”

Now both parties have quietly dropped those commitments.

Source: Liberal Conspiracy
Mystique

Really, man, really?

Jake Gyllenhaal stole my identity and my video game
By Sara Haghdoosti

Have you ever loved anything as a child only to grow and have someone completely ruin it for you?

Well that’s exactly how I’ve felt when I saw Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead in the new trailers for the ‘Prince of Persia’ movie. Now I’m happy to admit that I have an unacceptable level of personal attachment to the franchise - it being my favourite computer game growing up and being of Iranian or ‘Persian’ heritage myself.

Seriously, when did a dose of bad spray tan qualify someone as being Middle Eastern? And it’s not just the lead role, none of the principal cast members are of Iranian decent. This is despite the fact that Iran has a thriving film industry that is always exporting talented actors and creative types courtesy of its hardline government.

It really doesn’t matter that the movie ‘Prince of Persia’ is more reflective of science fiction then any actual representation of Iran or Iranians.

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bird dj

Elizabeth Edwards Won't Let Rielle Hunter Raise Her Kids

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Elizabeth Edwards has been battling cancer since 2004, and according to the New York Daily News, her condition has reportedly "taken a turn for the worse lately." The News says that Edwards, 60, has started to consider the question of her children's guardianship in the event of her death. Normally, young children who've lost a parent are placed in custody of the surviving parent. But sources say that Elizabeth is determined to keep the children out of estranged husband John Edwards' home -- for fear that Rielle Hunter would end up raising them.

According to the News, Elizabeth Edwards wants her oldest daughter Cate to take care of Emma, 12, and Jack, 10, if she should pass away. Cate is only 28, but she has a steady legal job at a federal court in Virginia, owns her own home and is in a long-term relationship. Still -- even if Cate is a suitable guardian, the children's father has the right to custody, unless he's determined "unfit" by a court of law. Although John has made some bad decisions (like, say, having unprotected sex with his mistress during a Presidential campaign and lying to the nation about his paternity when a baby was born to his mistress), he's traditionally been a fairly upstanding member of society in many other regards -- so it's unlikely that Elizabeth would be able to find a legal loophole to keep the children out of his care.

For what it's worth, Elizabeth's sister, Nancy Anania Sims, denies that Elizabeth's health is deteriorating -- but she doesn't deny that Elizabeth may be looking for custody options outside of John, saying, "There are a lot of family members who are willing and able."

John Edwards, 56, is the father of a 2-year-old daughter with his mistress Hunter, now 46. The couple has announced no plans to marry, although according to the New York Times, Edwards once told Hunter that he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony after his wife died. The Edwardses are legally separated and, per North Carolina law, can divorce in 2011.

Source
florence

OH POR FAVORRRRR!

Chilean ambassador to Argentina: "The majority of Chile did not feel dictatorship under Pinochet"

The Chilean ambassador to Argentina, Miguel Otero Lathrop, gave an interview to the newspaper Clarin of Argentina in which he referred to the state of Chile during the government of Salvador Allende, their way of life at that time and his thoughts on the country's military dictatorship.

With the statement "the majority of Chile did not feel the Pinochet dictatorship," the ambassador said that people "felt relieved" to move from a situation in which there were no household supplies on the market, noting that Chile was experiencing "a covert civil war on all fronts."

The ambassador said in the interview that fate brought him to perform in the positions he took throughout his life, and at the time of his arrival as ambassador to Argentina, he felt like the Argentine press treated him badly because of his past in the military coup of 1973, meaning that he would have led a mass layoff at the University of Chile.

The diplomat also referred to the years of the Concertacion in power, saying that they continued the military government's economic policy and that the Concertacion "fell when they lost the idealism, the vision of the country" as well as the public office filled for political influence rather than merit or ability.

Source (en Castellano) Translated by me (hopefully decently) from Spanish.
Ugh, so much rage. I don't even...THESE FUCKING PEOPLE.

Sorry, no Riff Raff allowed

I believe this belongs here, considering immigration is involved, but I understand if it's denied. <3

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Source: Stuff.co.nz

A Kiwi icon so famous that a statue was erected in his honour is being denied New Zealand citizenship.

Richard O'Brien, the New Zealand-raised creator of The Rocky Horror Show, has been told he can't retire here.

The 68-year-old British-born writer and actor is now appealing to Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman for help.

O'Brien, who lives in London, has been back to New Zealand regularly since the 1960s and wants to retire to Katikati, where he has a 2½-acre property. But his immigration adviser, Dion Smart, says he doesn't fit the criteria for citizenship or permanent residency.

Two of O'Brien's siblings, Robin Smith and Gillian Page, live in Tauranga, as did their parents until they died about four years ago. According to immigration requirements, to be sponsored by either of his siblings for permanent residency in New Zealand, O'Brien has to be aged 55 or under, and have secured a job offer – criteria he doesn't fit.

O'Brien says he thinks his application should be "rubber- stamped" in light of his contribution to New Zealand.

"I don't understand – they build a statue of me and celebrate me as a New Zealander, but I have to go on my knees and do all sorts of things, and I'm probably too old."

He came to New Zealand as a 10-year-old with his family from Britain in 1952.

He spent his teenage years and early 20s in Hamilton and Tauranga. He left in 1964 for London.

In 2004, he was honoured with a statue in Hamilton of his Rocky Horror character, the creepy butler Riff Raff, erected on the site of the barber shop where he worked before leaving for Britain.

His son Josh came to New Zealand on a student visa about four years ago and is applying for residency. Mr Smart says that having such close family ties to New Zealand should help his case.

O'Brien has often spoken in interviews about growing up in New Zealand and the influence it had on his life and work. Some of the songs from Rocky Horror were inspired by incidents in his youth here.

"I regret not getting citizenship before I went away to the UK. I thought I was only going on a one-year working holiday. I'm very proud of New Zealand. What it gave me was it's classlessness. It's a meritocracy. In 1964, Britain was a very class-run society, but I was indifferent to that."

Waikato film-maker Fiona Jackson, who directed the film An Evening with Richard O'Brien, says she's shocked he doesn't have New Zealand citizenship. "We've claimed him as our own. You would think making it legally so would be a formality."
music | Janelle Monáe

PRIDE PotD: June 6, 2010.



A gorgeous picspam of the São Paulo Gay Parade 2010, from a few hours earlier.

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MAJOR shoutouts and thanks to danyjoncew for suggesting this PotD picspam and hooking us up with a large chunk of these photos. ♥