June 14th, 2010

fnl || elessar83

The Spill, The Scandal, and the President

Like the attacks by Al Qaeda, the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings – yet the administration had ignored them. Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years. He calibrated his response to the Gulf spill based on flawed and misleading estimates from BP – and then deployed his top aides to lowball the flow rate at a laughable 5,000 barrels a day, long after the best science made clear this catastrophe would eclipse the Exxon Valdez.

Read more at the source

Can McDonald's Claim That "Mac" is Theirs?

McDonald's might be the home of a smiling clown and friendly "I'm lovin' it" ads, but when it comes to defending their trademarks, they're notoriously ruthless.

Erin Wade and Allison Arevalo, friends and small business owners in Oakland, CA, recently discovered it's unwise to tread on anything the burger giant considers a trademark. The duo planned to name their restaurant -- a neighborhood joint featuring macaroni and cheese made from artisanal cheeses and local ingredients -- Little Mac. But last week, corporate counsel for the Golden Arches nixed the name, claiming that the word "mac" is the intellectual property of McDonalds.

Wade says they were stunned: "We were like, wait a minute, we're a mac and cheese shop and we can't use the word 'mac' at all?"
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Sufjan Smile

Candidate May Have Lied About Heroic Death In Vietnam

MONTGOMERY, AL — In a major scandal that could cast doubt on his political future, U.S. Senate candidate Chris Wilfred came under fire this week for comments he made alleging he had died heroically while fighting in the Vietnam War.

Wilfred made the controversial claim during a speech Monday honoring three American soldiers recently killed in Afghanistan.

"I know all too well the depth of their sacrifice, for I myself was killed on a battlefield far away from home," Wilfred, a three-term Democratic state representative, said to a crowd of hundreds. "But always take heart in knowing that we who have laid down our lives—whether in Vietnam or Afghanistan—have done so with the knowledge that our deeds have kept our country safe."

Added Wilfred, "Their deaths, like mine, were not vain."
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Source: The Washington Post

A damn shame that a fine patriot like this gets slandered back home after he dies in the line of duty. His noble sacrifice will not be forgotten -- he has our vote.

Update on anti-"Ground Zero mosque" letter

Posted on 6/5: Virginia Beach offfical writes letter to Bloomberg protesting "mosque at Ground Zero"

Beach councilman drops resolution on ground zero mosque

Councilman Bill DeSteph has dropped his effort to get the City Council to join him in opposing plans for a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

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Va. Beach councilman's mosque letter shaped partly from website

The letter Councilman Bill DeSteph sent to New York City officials last week objecting to plans for a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site is almost identical to an online petition by a political advocacy group.

The organization, ACT! for America, is run by Brigitte Gabriel, the mother of DeSteph's girlfriend, a college student. DeSteph and his wife are separated.

Gabriel is an "expert on global terrorism" who speaks against radical Islam, according to her website.

"Brigitte helped me write the letter. The first one I drafted wasn't as clear as I wanted," DeSteph said.

DeSteph said he decided to write to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council after people in Virginia Beach complained to him about the Muslim center plan.

The June 3 letter said "the citizens of the City of Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth of Virginia" are opposed to it.

"A ton of our constituents had come to me on this," he said.

DeSteph declined Friday to name the Beach residents whose complaints prompted him to write the letter. DeSteph said he doesn't want those residents "raked over the coals."

Mayor Will Sessoms and other council members criticized DeSteph for using the city's letterhead and wording the letter so that it looked as if he were speaking for the city and its residents.

DeSteph's letter copies much of the exact language of the petition on the ACT website.

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Ed Dept. probing Bronx school over toilet duty corporal punishment

Source: NY Daily News

This punishment really stinks.

City education officials are investigating charges that a Bronx middle school disciplined students by making them clean toilets, a military-style punishment flush with problems.

"It was gross. I did not want to do it," said Randy Estevez, 14, an eighth-grader at In-Tech Academy in the South Bronx.

Instead of detention, Estevez and another student were assigned janitorial duties, including cleaning up feces, for a couple of hours on two days last fall, he told the Daily News.

His offense, he claimed, was disrupting class. "My teacher was saying I was behaving badly," he said.

The punishment was confirmed by a staff member, who called it an example of "months of abuse" at the school, and said the administration had written off the corporal punishment "as being 'legal' because permission was supposedly granted by the parents."

Contacted by The News, In-Tech Academy Principal Rose Fairweather-Clunie at first denied kids had been sentenced to toilet-bowl cleaning duties.

"Someone's on a mission. This is so untrue," she said, before calling back to say, "It's under investigation."

Mom Sarah Estevez, 46, said she found out about Randy's punishment after the fact, but added she didn't mind because it taught her son to behave.

"I think it's okay. He learned his lesson," Estevez said in Spanish. "It's the only way he's going to learn. Now, next time he wants to misbehave, he'll think about the punishment and behave better."

Another mother whose son also was subjected to bathroom duty said she objected strenuously.

"I don't agree with that punishment. It's degrading. It's not the right punishment for an educational institution," said Cindy Rodriguez, 37, of the Bronx. "They need to find other forms of punishment."

Education Department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said officials are investigating.

"There is an active investigation of corporal punishment," said Feinberg. "If the current allegations are proved true, appropriate actions will be taken."

Over the years, the city has investigated unusual and sometimes cruel punishment cases, including a teacher lobbing a book at a misbehaving kid, another duct-taping special education students to their chairs and a dean taking away hot lunches and replacing them with peanut butter sandwiches.


While I do believe such a punishment should have gotten parental consent, I have some issues with the lady who says it's degrading. Doesn't she clean the toilets in her own house? Doesn't her child have chores?

Children in Japan clean the school as part of a normal day, and that does include bathrooms. I've had to clean a public bathroom as part of a job. I see nothing wrong with it as long as you're given the proper protective gear if you're using abrasive chemicals, though I do wonder exactly what the 14 year olds were given to clean, and if they were supervised.

Like I said, I AGREE the parents should have been asked, but this parent's attitude has me boggled.

And I'm VERY confused as to using the term "corporal punishment." That means physical pain inflicted, basically. I see nothing on the wiki as to indicate the meaning has changed since I was in fourth grade and paddling was explained to me.


Restoring your faith in humanity--one cup of tea at a time.

Australian 'Angel' saves lives at suicide spot

SYDNEY - In those bleak moments when the lost souls stood atop the cliff, wondering whether to jump, the sound of the wind and the waves was broken by a soft voice. "Why don't you come and have a cup of tea?" the stranger would ask. And when they turned to him, his smile was often their salvation.

For almost 50 years, Don Ritchie has lived across the street from Australia's most notorious suicide spot, a rocky cliff at the entrance to Sydney Harbour called The Gap. And in that time, the man widely regarded as a guardian angel has shepherded countless people away from the edge.


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I figured you all could use some good news in the wake of all the bad news nowadays.

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Green Wing Scream, Fangirl 93

Tea Party Candidate Tries to Out-Alabama Other Campaign Ads

From the state that brought you the vague threats of Dale Peterson and the awkward pauses of Tim James now comes the wet dream of businessman Rick Barber, a tea-party-backed Republican candidate for Congress in Alabama. In his ad, Barber is seated at a table with George Washington, Sam Adams, and Ben Franklin, all eagerly listening to Barber rant about the tyranny of the IRS and health-care reform, which is definitely what they'd be doing if they were brought back to life somehow. It ends with Barber asking, "Are you with me?" and Washington responding slowly, movie-like, "Gather ... your ... armies." Who? Ben Franklin? What armies? Eh, who cares.


So, if a Tea Partier calls upon people to gather "armies" against the U.S. to fight the oppression of the government it is BEING A REAL AMERICAN, but if a Democrat put out an ad like this, I guarantee he or she would get slammed for being an unpatriotic traitor. Oh, the Tea Party, I do love your logic. Also, if you are meeting up with Ben Franklin and George Washington, you'd think you'd at least wear a suit, Rick Barber!

The Niger delta: some perspective to the BP oil spill

There is a shocking disparity in the media and political response to oil disasters in different parts of the world.

The response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has, understandably for such a catastrophe, been huge -- from international condemnation of BP, to a narrowly-missed diplomatic row between Britain and the US.

No-one denies that the oil spill is a disaster that is having a devastating effect on ecosystems in the affected areas, as well as on the fishing and tourism industries. But what about a little proportion?

Receiving somewhat less attention in the international press is the environmental outrage that has been inflicted on the Niger delta over the last 50 years.

To give a recent example, on 1 May 2010, a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. There was not so much reporting about that.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. While exact figures are hard to come by, because oil companies and the Nigerian government are secretive about oil spills, a 2006 report by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and Nigerian representatives found that up to 1.5m tons of oil has been spilled in the area over the preceding 50 years. This is 50 times the amount spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.

A 2009 report by Amnesty calculated that at least 9m barrels of oil had been spilled. These figures suggest that every year, an equivalent amount to that lost in the Gulf of Mexico is spilled in the delta.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation says that an average of 300 individual spills each year equals nearly 2,300 cubic meters. This does not take into account "minor" spills, and the World Bank suggests that the real quantity is as much as ten times higher.

The delta is now one of the most polluted spots in the world. It is estimated that leaking crude oil -- which the oil companies blame on thieves and separatists, and campaigners blame on rusting equipment -- costs Nigeria $10m (£5.3m) daily.

The Niger delta provides 40 per cent of all the crude oil imported by the US. Over two generations, life expectancy in the region's rural communities -- where many people cannot access clean water -- has fallen to just over 40 years.

Obama is right to recognise the scale of the disaster in the gulf (which, he said today, echoes "9/11"), but it is rather sobering to take note of this disparity. Yet again, it seems to be one rule for the west, and one for the rest of the world.

Source: New Statesman
MISC - moustache

Winning a Battle to Honor a Civil War Hero

DELAFIELD, Wis. — Margaret Zerwekh and Alonzo Cushing were separated by more than a century, but united by a tie to the wooded land here along the Bark River, 35 miles west of Milwaukee.

Drawn by that bond, Ms. Zerwekh, a 90-year-old with a barbed wit, spent 23 years fighting to get Lieutenant Cushing honored for his brave service in the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg.

She petitioned congressmen, senators and presidents.

“He wouldn’t back down,” she said of Lieutenant Cushing, 22, who was killed in a storm of gunfire after refusing to retreat, so neither would she.

Ms. Zerwekh, the granddaughter of a Union veteran of the Civil War, spent years tromping to the Waukesha County Courthouse and the history museum to research the background of Lieutenant Cushing, a name of lore in this rural town. His baby brother is said to be buried near Ms. Zerwekh’s home in an unmarked grave that she still hopes to find before she dies. She wrote her first letter on behalf of the Civil War hero in 1987 to Senator William Proxmire.

Lieutenant Cushing had “distinguished himself with gallantry and intrepidity,” she wrote in 2003 in a letter to Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. In her home, she has thick folders stuffed with replies from Washington, including notes from President George Bush and Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

For many years, politicians responded mostly with form letters. But in the early 2000s, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, took up her cause, moved by the elderly woman’s passion for a long-ago hero. He consulted historians, who affirmed Lieutenant Cushing’s valor, and began a long push to ask the Army to award him the Medal of Honor. Because more than five years had passed since Lieutenant Cushing’s death, the medal requires an act of Congress, which is expected to be passed in the next few months.

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Hooray for feel-good stories! And my bb Russ Feingold, of course.
Murasaki Shikibu

Report: US finds mineral riches in Afghanistan

Report: US finds mineral riches in Afghanistan

A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan, conceivably enough to turn the scarred and impoverished country into one of the world's most lucrative mining centers, The New York Times reports.

"There is stunning potential here," Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told the paper in a report published Monday. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."

Americans discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium, according to the report. The Times quoted a Pentagon memo as saying Afghanistan could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium," a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and cell phones.

The report said the U.S. Geological Survey began aerial surveys of Afghanistan's mineral resources in 2006, using data that had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Promising results led to a more sophisticated study the next year.

Then last year, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq arrived in Afghanistan and closely analyzed the geologists' findings. U.S. mining experts were brought in to validate the survey's conclusions, and top U.S. and Afghan officials were briefed.

So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, but finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, as well as rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan, the report said.


This could be a very, very, very good thing for Afghanistan. It could also end up being really, really bad if groups start fighting for areas. I guess we'll see, but in general, well-off areas tend to be peaceful ones, so if this can help Afghanistan more stable and the people better-off, it could be amazing.

Oh, and here is the much, much better article from the New York Times on this.
Darren/People Photoshoot

Boy Scouts Go to court

Boy Scout council faces eviction over gays
Published: June 14, 2010 at 3:37 PM

PHILADELPHIA, June 14 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia Boy Scouts chapter faces eviction over its refusal to renounce the national organization's ban on gay members, observers say.

A Supreme Court decision in 2000 said the Boy Scouts, as a "membership organization," could exclude gay youths and troop leaders, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday.

But the Philadelphia City Charter says otherwise, and the city says the local Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts is violating local rules in refusing to renounce the national policy, the newspaper said.

The city told the Scouts to vacate the 80-year-old headquarters they enjoyed rent-free or pay $200,000 a year to lease the property from the city.

The council, which represents 87,000 Boy Scouts in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, says that's unconstitutional "coercion" violating the organization's rights to free speech and equal protection.

The matter now will go before a jury, the Inquirer said.

Since the organization can decide who its members are, the city's effort "to take that benefit away unless the Boy Scouts forgo a constitutionally protected right is a violation" of free speech, Jason P. Gosselin, an attorney for the scouts, said.

In court filings, the city says it is trying to "regulate conduct, not speech."


I live right outside Philadelphia, so this will be interesting to see what happens.

This will not convince the Brits that we're not holding a grudge

Sarah Palin plans trip to UK to meet 'political heroine' Margaret Thatcher

No date has been set for the meeting but they share a love of tax cutting and hostility towards organised labour


Sarah Palin, the once obscure governor from Alaska who is shaking up rightwing politics across America, is promising to honour the woman she calls the Iron Lady by visiting Britain to see Margaret Thatcher.

Today Palin told her 1,630,386 Facebook friends that she was in discussions about meeting the baroness. In typically convoluted Palin language, she said she had received an invitation for a visit to London that "included the offer of arranging a meeting" with Thatcher. Collapse )

I know Thatcher's pretty grim but would even she meet with that repellent individual?

Grauniad sauce

The BP spill has poisoned our tongues … our poor, crisp, British tongues

BP British Petroleum Co., Ltd., 1922 Union Jac...

Image via Wikipedia

Flippantly putting the grave environmental tragedy of it all to one side for a moment, the Deepwater Horizon oil leak isn't just causing extensive damage to the Louisiana coastline. What about our accents? Our lovely British accents? Thanks to the BP link, they've been destroyed too. Don't know about you, but whenever I'm around Americans, I tend to exaggerate my Britishness in a pathetic bid to win their approval. Those days are gone.

The first time I visited the US, I ran into trouble at immigration. Half the group I was travelling with decided to get drunk on the plane, which probably would've been fine with all the other passengers if it hadn't been for the unrelenting cackling and yelping and removal of trousers. I was fairly drunk too, incidentally, but only because I was so terrified of flying I'd decided to blot out the whole of reality by glugging myself into an inflight coma. From my slumbering perspective the flight was a warm 15-minute snooze. To the other passengers it must've felt like a 30-year sentence in baboon prison.

Upon arrival, we were identified as troublemakers and hauled off one-by-one for a comprehensive bothering. Instantly I realised my only hope of avoiding instant deportation was to behave like a minor royal – not an aloof, chilly posho, but a genial gosh-what-a-wonderful-country-you-have Hugh Grant-type, one who smiles a lot while using slightly formal language. I apologised profusely by saying, "I apologise profusely." The officer started out prickly – one of his opening gambits was, "You could be spending the night in jail, wiseguy", which simultaneously impressed and scared me – but several minutes of profuse apologies and crikey-I'm-sorry delivered in an embellished British accent appeared to disarm him, and I was released without being subjected to gunfire.

That's my recollection, anyway. Perhaps he just got bored with watching me grovel. But from that point on, my dial was set to 150% British for the duration. I said "Good day" to receptionists and "I beg your pardon" to waiters. At one point I think I even said "Toodle pip" to a cabbie. Incredibly, rather than calling me a dick, they said they loved my accent. The US was a magic country where strangers liked me on the strength of my voice alone, unlike cold anonymous London where, rather than break their stride, pedestrians would blankly step on your face if you were dying on the pavement, quietly tutting at the blood on their shoes.

On a subsequent trip I discovered mockney was just as useful, and deliberately roughed my accent down in gas stations or bars, saying "blimey" and "bloke" and "bleedin' 'ell", even if I was only asking the way to the toilet (sorry, "bog"). This was even more popular than my Little Lord Fauntleroy act. Thank God I can't do a Liverpudlian accent. I'd probably have adopted a Beatles persona in record shops.

But now, as a company with the word "British" in its name pisses apocalyptic quantities of oil into the ocean, and CEO Tony Hayward pops up on the news to make tactless statements in a British accent, anglophilia is shrivelling. Things must be bad when gimpy Cameron has to reassure us that BP wiping its arse on the Gulf of Mexico won't disturb the "special relationship" between the US and the UK. Of course it will.

Never mind that BP is an international company. Never mind that 39% of its shares are held in the US, that half its directors are American. It's got the word British in the title, and that'll do. It genuinely feels like our fault. Like you, I've never supervised the offshore drilling policy of a major oil company, but I can't help feeling responsible. It's like watching a news report in which someone with your surname has been caught having sex with a hollowed-out yam. The disgrace is shared, however irrationally.

And to be honest, the Americans are thus far admirably restrained about the whole thing. If a company called Texan Gloop belched a carpet of black gunk over Norfolk, we'd be surrounding the US embassy and burning sarcastic effigies of Boss Hogg within minutes. And that's just Norfolk: flat earth and windmills. Having vandalised Louisiana and laminated thousands of pelicans, the BP spill now threatens to disfigure the Miami coastline, corrupting its relentlessly cheery blue-and-yellow colour scheme with a sea of rainbow black. Congratulations, people of Britain. Even though, strictly speaking, it isn't your fault.

Clearly a rebrand is in order if we're to maintain any national pride whatsoever. Trouble is, BP's already had one: 10 years ago it changed its name from British Petroleum to BP following a merger with a US oil company. Since that's not enough to dissociate it from Britain, Britain itself will have to change its name. It'll still need to feel quintessentially British, mind. For the tourists, like. How about London Kingdom? Great Crikey? Yeoman Island? Hobbiton? Churchill-on-Sea?

Let's face it: to recoup our cultural value, it's either that or we all head over there and start cleaning the mess up ourselves, while muttering "blimey" and "gosh" and doing our best to be charming. If you've got a fly-drive holiday booked, start practising that Hugh Grant act now. Chances are you'll need it.

Source: Charlie Brooker @ The Guardian
(note to the confused: he's riffing off this teacup-storm)
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Evil monkey in closet (radiogaga)

I see this ending well.

Iranian aid ships head for Gaza

Iran is sending aid ships to blockaded Gaza, state radio said on Monday -- a move likely to be considered provocative by Israel which accuses Tehran of arming the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers, Hamas.
One ship left port on Sunday and another will depart by Friday, loaded with food, construction material and toys, the report said. The boats would be part of international efforts to break Israel's isolation of the Gaza Strip.
"Until the end of the Gaza blockade, Iran will continue to ship aid," said an official at Iran's Society for the Defence of the Palestinian Nation.

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I'm all for helping the Gazans but with tempers so high right now, this might be stirring a hornet's nest when a little patience might be a better move.

Source: Reuters

let the backpeadaling begin

Controversy continues over the interview where the brother of the president compared Allende to Hitler

It was enough that the minister of the Interior declared his outrage against Piñera's words, so much that Jose Pinera reacted by demanding a public apology, calling for his resignation, calling him a liar and even questioning his work in the fight against crime. All this through the social network. The former Labour Minister during the dictatorship also said he never gave an "exclusive interview" to the Argentine newspaper Perfil. According to him, he just answered a question which was asked via Twitter.

A strong backlash against the Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, launched via the twitter of Jose Pinera, after the minister described the statements of the brother of Sebastian Pinera, published in the Argentine newspaper Perfil, in which he compared Salvador Allende to Adolf Hitler.

"It seems inconceivable, really I can not accept, I find it reputiable and completely reprehensible that someone compared the government of former President Salvador Allende to the murderous regime of Adolf Hitler," said the minister of the Interior to Radio Cooperativa. And that was enough for the former Labour minister of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet to speak against the Interior Minister.

Through the same social network, Jose Pinera denied having given an "exclusive" interview to the newspaper Perfil and said he had only answered a question via Twitter. Furthermore, Pinera branded Hinzpeter a "liar" and posted a series of questions about his suitibility as Interior minister and demanded a public apology, saying otherwise he should resign.

"Hinzpeter lies. In a manner so brutal and irresponsible. It compromises the faith of the Republic and drags down the president. Today should apologize or resign," he said, continuing his attacks during the day, which he also brought into question the adequacy of Hinzpeter to face the fight against crime.

"As Hinzpeter does not apologize, refute his lie because the country must understand in whose hands the crucial battle against crime is in," adding that, "as Interior minister, Hinzpeter handles classified information provided by the state on every single Chilean."

Finally, he insisted that, "Yesterday Hinzpeter attacked a deputy. Today me. And tomorrow? Is the President himself safe? Are the congressmen? Are the journalists? Are the businessmen?"
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SOURCE (translated by me)

LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Also, Hinzpeter (the Interior minister that criticized Pinera's statements) is Jewish s0o0o0o. And :D :D :D at my music choice.
' jules

............. you stupid.

Rep. Steve King: Obama Favors The "Black Person" By Default

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) appeared on the G. Gordon Liddy Show this morning to discuss Arizona's controversial immigration law and accused Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama — both critics of the legislation — of harboring animosity towards white Americans. Specifically, he accused Obama of having a "default mechanism" that favors "the black person."
King: When you look at this administration, I'm offended by Eric Holder and the President also, their posture. It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race. And I don't know what the basis of that is but I'm not a coward when it comes to that and I'm happy to talk about these things and I think we should. But the President has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race — on the side that favors the black person.
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As always, remember this is the guy who

- called the Black Congressional Caucus a "separatist group"
- called same-sex marriage a "socialist" concept
- thinks Joe McCarthy was a "hero for America"
- said al-Qaeda would dance in the streets if Obama was elected

and most damningly

- was called "stunning" by Michele Bachmann, at least five separate times, on the House floor
The Gang

Publish (Online) or Perish: The Bullet Manga and Comics Have To Bite (Or Else.)

Recently, an alliance of Japanese and American manga publishers announced a crackdown on various manga scanlation sites. This news itself comes hot on the heels of some shocking revelations about said piracy sites. First off, some of them are so popular as to place in the top 1000 googled sites on the internet. Even more damningly, these sites are not only profitable, they are being run with an eye towards being sold off, and for no small amount of cash. This isn't the Crunchyroll model of going legit, but almost something like industry blackmail: pay up or put up with it.

There are fortunately two legitimate alternatives for the manga industry. The two major parties - the pirate sites and the publishers - are going to hate both. However, one of these options will at least keep the publishers in business, so we'll discuss that first.

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  • sauron

Bill Maher: Pro-Palestinian Media

On the June 11 web portion of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" called "Overtime", there was a lively discussion between guests - Queen Noor of Jordan, Rachel Maddow, Jon Meacham, Oliver Stone and Bill Frist.  A discussion of Israel and Palestine and the definition of "occupied" quickly turned towards a debate of whether there is a pro-Israel bias in the media.  The following is a portion of that debate:

Jon Meacham: "The idea that there is a pro-Israeli bias in the broad media - whatever 'the media' means at this point, I strongly disagree with.  I think if anything, you run into a very strong feeling on the Palestinian side."

Bill Maher: "I agree."

Rachel Maddow: "Who speaks out publicly in a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli way in mainstream American politics, or media?"

Bill Maher: "I think everybody.  I think most of them do because I think the media, to take up your point, mostly, is way too stupid to understand the issues.  So what they do is they go toward, oh, who's a victim.  And yes, their situation in Gaza is tragic, but partly it's tragic of their own making."

It's comes as no surprise that Jon Meacham would make the assertion that there's a pro-Palestinian slant in the media.  But it knocked me out of my chair to hear such a claim coming from Bill Maher.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one stunned by this revelation.  Maher's studio audience, who is generally sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to cheer and applaud whatever he says, sat in a stunned silence.

Watch the clip here:



i know it's two days old, but i don't remember seeing it posted

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell rejected again from Downing Street

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell

Image via Wikipedia

This week's Pride reception at Downing Street will see gay charity heads, campaigners, businessmen and celebrities flock to shake new prime minister David Cameron's hand – but not the man who is arguably Britain's most famous gay rights campaigner.

Peter Tatchell said it was "no big deal" he was not invited to the event but questioned why he has never been invited to any Downing Street reception.

Last year, he accused Gordon Brown of personally asking for his name to be removed from the guestlist of one such event, apparently because Mr Tatchell had heckled him.

Mr Cameron will be the first Tory prime minister to hold a reception in honour of the LGBT community, PinkNews.co.uk exclusively revealed last week.

Mr Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk: "It's no big deal I haven't been invited. I'm not kicking up a fuss but it is odd that I've never been invited to a Downing Street reception despite my 40-plus years of campaigning for LGBT human rights.

"I'll just carry on campaigning. Although I've got my criticisms of both the Conservatives and Lib Dems, I'm happy to work with them for LGBT rights.

Mr Tatchell said he had "no idea whatsoever" why he had not been invited, adding that he had been "liaising" with Tory MPs and ministers since the election.

He said he would "probably" go if invited and said he would attend the event in the same manner as any other guest, rather than bringing banners and loudspeakers.

Downing Street have refused to reveal the guestlist for the event, although a spokesman said last week it was not based on political allegiances.

Mr Tatchell also said he believed Cameron's promises on gay rights had been "commendable" and the coalition government was "nowhere near as bad as some predicted".

He said his main concern was the legalisation of full civil marriage for gay couples.

Source: Pink News
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Armed pair held at Central Command base

MacDill Air Force Base, Florida (CNN) -- A heavily armed man and woman were in custody Monday after trying to enter the Air Force base that houses the headquarters for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan without authorization, an Air Force spokeswoman said.

The pair were stopped at a gate at MacDill Air Force Base about 5 p.m. after they could not show proper identification
, Senior Airman Katherine Holt said. A search of the vehicle after they were detained found military-style uniforms and gear and several "rifle-type" weapons, Holt said.

The two were being questioned Monday evening, another Air Force spokeswoman, Elizabeth Gosselin, told CNN.

Authorities cordoned off their sport-utility vehicle and searched it using a robot, but no explosives were found, Holt said. Video showed base personnel removing weapons, ammunition and military-style clothing from the vehicle.

The Tampa, Florida, installation houses the headquarters of U.S.Central Command, which runs the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the U.S. Special Operations Command. One gate into the facility was closed, but another remained open, the base command reported.


Edit: thought of a funnier title >.>