June 16th, 2010

Glenn Beck: It’s not ‘baseless’ to claim Obama hates white CEOs

"If I get out of control and start leveling baseless charges," Glenn Beck claimed on his Fox News Channel show Monday, "guess what happens? I'm fired."

But that evidently didn't stop him from later accusing President Barack Obama of allegedly refusing to meet with BP's CEO because the British oil giant's top executive is white.

The Fox News host played a clip of President Obama declaring, “My experience is when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he’s going to say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words, I’m interested in action.”

He then went on to rebuke Obama for saying he'd meeting with the president of Iran, but not the chief of BP.

Lampooning Obama, Beck remarked, “I’ll meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… without any preconditions because we have to be able to talk… We’ll sit down, have some tea, some crumpets… Yeah, you’re a raging lunatic but we can get through to you and trust you. Now, the BP CEO? Depart from me, evil one!”

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Source: The Raw Story (via Bloggerheads)
soap&skin 2012

President Obama to visit Ohio; 62-foot statue of Jesus explodes



The White House Tuesday announced that President Obama will travel to Ohio on Friday.  Specifics of the trip have not been released yet.

In other Ohio news, A six-story statue of Jesus Christ was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, leaving only a blackened steel skeleton and pieces of foam that were scooped up by curious onlookers on Tuesday. The “King of Kings” statue, one of southwest Ohio’s most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati. Lightning set the statue ablaze around 11:15 p.m. Monday. The sculpture, about 62 feet tall and 40 feet wide at the base, showed Jesus from the torso up and was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus because of the way the arms were raised, similar to a referee signaling a touchdown. It was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame, which is all that remained Tuesday.

Outside of geographical location, the two news items are probably not related.

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SOURCE 1 & 2
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Reporting

Daisy Bitch

</div></div>
Daisy Bitch: Director: Pnina Halfon | Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2006

Synopsis: Daisy Bitch is the stage name of a young Israeli drag queen named Eli Abergel. The film documents Eli's life for two years, enters his personal world behind the costumes and make-up, and turns into a psychological journey which reveals his unique and complex relationship with his conservative Jewish mother, Jacqueline. Coming to term with her son's strange lifestyle leads to a turning point in their lives. A huge gap exist between Eli's two worlds: on the one hand, the world of the homo-lesbian community in Tel Aviv and on the other, living as an IDF solider in a low socio-economic, conservative family from a suburban proletarian town. The conflict that emerges from within this impossible combination reaches its climax at the end of the film.

Source

x-posted to ontd_feminism 

A School Prays for Help

Towns Tap Businesses, Churches to Shore Up Budgets


LAKELAND, Fla.—When his budget for pencils, paper, and other essential supplies was cut by a third this school year, the principal of Combee Elementary School worried children would suffer.

Then, a local church stepped in and "adopted" the school. The First Baptist Church at the Mall stocked a resource room with $5,000 worth of supplies. It now caters spaghetti dinners at evening school events, buys sneakers for poor students, and sends in math and English tutors.
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summer

Obama Kids -- Most Baller Father's Day Gift Ever

When your father is the Leader of the Free World, there tend to be some pretty cool perks -- like when Sasha and Malia Obama went to the Lakers game last night ... and picked up an AWESOME Father's Day gift for their dad.




Sources close to the situation -- but not too close -- tell us the daughters really wanted to get their dad a Lakers jersey for his special day. So, AEG president Tim Leiweke -- whose suite they happened to be sitting in -- ran down to the Lakers team shop in the Staples Center and had an Obama jersey made up on the spot.

To top things off, Phil Jackson even autographed the gear for the kids after the game.

Way cooler than that ugly tie you were gonna get your dad.

TMZ
Mr. T the Patriot

Seattle cop punches woman in face during routine jaywalking stop

Photobucket


A teen took a fist to the face by a cop, all because he stopped her for jaywalking.

Investigators in Seattle are reviewing the incident, which was captured on video, but the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild argues the use of force was justified.

"He did nothing wrong," Rich O'Neill said, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "If anything, I think he maybe waited a little too long to engage in force because I think he was trying to defuse the situation."

But "it was obvious from the audio anyway of the two individuals that they were not going to be calmed down."

The incident began when an unnamed police officer spotted a teen jaywalking across Martin Luther King Jr. Way South around 3:10 p.m., according to a report on the Seattle Police Department Web site.
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Significant

(no subject)

Too much anger and too few ideas. America needs a better alternative to Barack Obama

Jun 10th 2010 | HAPPY days are here again for the Republicans, or so you might think. Barack Obama’s popularity rating is sagging well below 50%. Passing health-care reform has done nothing to help him; most Americans believe he has wasted their money—and their view of how he is dealing with the economy is no less jaded. Although growth has returned, the latest jobs figures are dismal and house repossessions continue to rise. And now his perceived failure to get a grip on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is hurting him; some critics call it his Hurricane Katrina; others recall Jimmy Carter’s long, enervating hostage crisis in Iran. Sixty per cent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track.

All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs in November. The polls portend heavy losses for the Democrats, who currently enjoy a 39-seat majority there. Quite possibly, they will lose control of it. The Republicans stand less chance of winning the Senate, where a third of the seats are contested this year, but they should win enough to make it almost impossible for the Democrats to break a filibuster there by picking off a Republican or two. The second two years of Mr Obama’s presidency look like being a lot tougher than the first.

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Source

I think that this makes some good points, this has long been one of my main points of contention with the Conservative Movement (a phrase that seems to strike me as oddly oxymoronic) that they seem to oppose those who are in power when it's not them, without giving any alternatives to what they see as the problems
Cordy

Make the Obama family's favorite apple pie

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

President Obama has a special nickname for his pastry chef, Bill Yosses.

"The President calls Bill "The Crust Master," Michelle Obama revealed last year at the Governor’s Dinner preview event in the White House Kitchen, "because he's a big pie guy, and he has some of the best pies and tarts that come out of this place, and the fillings are just perfection – which is a problem."

But the nickname isn't a problem for Yosses, who tells PEOPLE, that his "apple pie is certainly a crowd pleaser."

"There are very few refusals from anyone when apple pie is the dessert," he says. Apart from his crust, the pastry chef has another secret: He uses a combination of apples "for a more complex flavor." (His favorites include Honey Crisp; Granny Smiths and Braeburn, among others.)

And then there's that secret crust. "More important is the technique of pre-baking the pie shell bottom beforehand," Yosses tells PEOPLE, "then filling it and adding the top cover. That gives a well-baked crust that melds with the filling."

Curious about how to bake the pie? Read on for Yosses' recipe (and baking tips).

 

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JakeShears

Pride Month: Transmisogyny

This is for yesterday.

What Transmisogyny Looks Like
By Tobi Hill-Meyer

This is a topic that has been vital to my understanding of the world over the past few years, but it's still relatively unknown outside certain circles of activists. When I mention it as an area of my work, I almost invariably have to explain what it is. The short answer is that it is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny that specifically targets trans women. But that dry academic answer never communicates the visceral and intense experience that it is.

Here's a limited list of examples of what transmisogyny looks like. Every example on this list has a story (or dozens of stories) behind it.

Relationship and Sexual Violence

When trans women desperately in need of sexual assault or domestic violence services are turned away because their needs are considered less important than the hypothetical discomfort their presence might cause for others, that's transmisogyny.

When activists encourage people not even to try to fight for trans women's access to sexual assault and domestic violence services because of the possibility that it could leave trans men unable to access those services, that's transmisogyny.

When I, personally, sought out support after being abused by my trans male partner and was told by a prominent genderqueer activist that because I'm a trans woman and felt validation in talking with cis women who have experienced abuse, I must have invented the abuse in an attempt to feel more like a woman by having an abusive boyfriend, that's transmisogyny.

When a trans woman is brave enough to talk openly about surviving childhood violence and experiencing rape, only to be told that her pain is less valid or important than cis women's experience of sexism, that's transmisogyny.

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yirCover

Legionnaires Disease linked to windscreen wash

If you use standard tap water in your windshield washer fluid reservoir instead of a cleaner, you may have effectively turned your vehicle into a biological weapon. Sure, that sounds cool and all, but according to BBC News, the only person you're going to be hurting is yourself. As it turns out, using plain water can cause the washer fluid system to become a breeding ground for Legionella bacterium – the same nastiness that causes Legionaires' Disease and pneumonia. Spray your windshield and the bacteria becomes airborne, allowing it to easily enter your lungs and wreak havoc with your immune system.

Researchers discovered the hive of scum and villainy lurking under the hood by attempting to discern why professional drivers were five times more likely to become ill than their amateur counterparts. After a little scientific sleuthing, the lab coats unearthed the bacteria. So do the world a favor and top off your windshield washer fluid reservoir with some sort of purpose-built cleaner. The stuff will kill the infection-causing bacteria and will keep the fluid from freezing in the winter. Not bad for 99 cents a gallon.

source

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For some reason I found this really interesting. I don't drive, but I've seen my parents do this. Have you ever used water as a replacement?
jacksparrow-bs

One of these things is not like the others......oh wait.


Waking America From the BP Nightmare

The spill cam, requested by Congress, has brought the horror into homes across the country, as we watch tens of thousands of barrels of oil billowing into the Gulf every day.
For years, the oil industry swore this could never happen. We were told that technology had advanced, that offshore drilling was safe.
BP said they didn't think the rig would sink. It did.
They said they could handle an Exxon Valdez-sized spill every day. They couldn't.

BP said the spill was 1,000 barrels per day. It wasn't. And they knew it.

Now the other big oil companies, testifying in Congress today, contend that this was an isolated incident. They say a similar disaster could never happen to them.

And yet it is this kind of Blind Faith -- which is ironically the name of an actual rig in the Gulf -- that has led to this kind of disaster.
In preparation for this hearing, Congress reviewed the oil spill safety response plans for all the top five oil companies.

What we found was that Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell and BP have response plans that are virtually identical. The plans cite identical response capabilities and tout identical ineffective equipment. In some cases, they use the exact same words and made the exact same assurances.

The covers of the five response plans are different colors, but the content is ninety percent identical.

2010-06-15-OilCoPlanCovers.jpg
Like BP, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for 3 million years.
 
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OP: So, aside from the different shades of color, my initial thought was that these documents look to me as though they were created by, if not the same person, then certainly the same consulting firm.  (Actually, it looks like the top three were probably created by one person, and the bottom two possibly by a second one....I'm basing this on the slightly different styles of placement and font) Since in my current job, I do technical/business writing and have spent a great deal of time where I create documents for various customers, this is something that kind of screamed out to me.  Turns out, I was correct.  See that little "wooshy" logo at the bottom of each document?  That seemed to be the clincher, if one was even needed based on the graphics and virtually identical fonts used on the covers anyway.

After doing a bit of online searching, I located a link to this company called
The Response Group.....and LOOK!  There's the little "whooshy" logo!  Who are they?  Well, they describe themselves on their "about us" page as follows:

"Formed in 2003, The Response Group is an Emergency Response Consulting and Support company in a growing niche with operations in Houston, Beaumont, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Durango, and Anchorage areas. While the home office is in Houston, there are over 35 employees throughout our various locations. "

They even have a special page dedicated to the creation of Oil Spill Response plans!  Wheee!

While it's certainly beyond my own research skills, I would love to see someone like Rachel Maddow get hold of this and do some digging.  I'm curious to know why on earth the largest oil companies in the world would come to this seemingly rather tiny firm to create their oil spill response plans, and apparently put them into implementation (i.e. wherein they apparently sit on a shelf and gather dust anyway because they are so useless) without even reviewing their contents to see if they actually make sense (read: walruses).  Who are the people running this firm?  What are their qualifications?  Do they have ties to big oil beyond the obvious ones with their business? 

Even if they themselves are not part of the problem, I certainly think Congress should have folks from this company answer questions about their work with the oil companies and determine if their clients even cared about the contents of these oil spill response plans, or if they knew they were providing cookie cutter stuff and had no feedback or input from the oil companies.  If that is the case, it certainly would speak to an industry-wide problem of negligence as it pertains to safety planning.


Also:  I haven't yet found the response plan documents for the other companies, but here's
BP's version of their oil spill response plan that was created by The Response Group for the Gulf of Mexico.
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JamesLaugh

Pride Month: Homelessness

And post for today.  I'm leaving for Toronto in ten minutes and will be gone for a week, so I won't be posting then.  I can't find the full speeches at the demonstration discussed below, so here is just a clip of Lt. Dan Choi's speech.  There are more videos and pictures at the sources

Budget Cuts Put Those In LGBT Shelters On Streets

The problem is already bad and is about to get worse.

Experts told CBS 2 HD on Monday that hundreds of gay, lesbian and transgender young people are now homeless in New York City because of their sexual orientation.

Community advocates are alarmed at budget cuts that threaten to put some of them back out on the street.

There was a cry for help in Union Square as a small network of homeless shelters for gay, lesbian and transgender youth came under attack -- beset by bigots and budget cuts.

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Community Rallies for Homeless LGBT Youth in Union Square

Earlier tonight a large crowd gathered in Union Square for a rally in support of homeless LGBT Youth. Sandra Bernhard opened the event by sharing how in her neighborhood she has often encountered kids who are staying at the Ali Forney Center, a shelter specifically for LGBT youth. “They’re up-beat, they’re smart, they have great potential. Everyone needs a little guidance now and then. It’s up to us to take them in and do some damage control,” she said.

One of the event’s prominent speakers was Lt. Dan Choi, who brought an incredible emotional resonance to the crowd, urging everyone to join him in cheering for LGBT Youth and equality. “I have a message to all the LGBT Youth wondering if it’s worth it to come out,” he said. “You deserve to be treated like a full person. You are my heroes. Say it with me, I am somebody. I am somebody. I am somebody and I deserve full equality right here, right now.”

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dappersquid

Closing Arguments Underway in California Gay Marriage Trial

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Passionate protestors against California's same sex marriage ban gathered outside the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco Monday morning. Inside, closing arguments are now underway in the trial over Proposition 8.

"This case for us is about how we as Americans just want to be treated equally by our government and under the law and today we will be going to court with that very simple request," said plaintiff Sandy Stier.

 

"All we are asking the court to do is to make sure that we are protected under our constitution, like every American is supposed to be," said plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo.

Inside the courtroom right now are superstar attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies. The attorneys are best known for battling each other over the Bush-Gore election controversy. They are now on the same side, arguing that Proposition 8, the voter approved ban on same sex marriage, is a violation of the constitution's guarantee of equality. Members of the Alliance Defense Fund were at the courthouse to support the Prop 8 ban.

"The 7 million voters in California voted for Prop 8. They made a reasonable, legitimate public policy decision that the constitution permits. The federal judge should just defer to their decision," said Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund.

Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker is also being asked to rule on the 18,000 same sex marriages that occurred in California during the six month period when they were legal. Yes on 8 attorneys want the judge to rule that government agencies, courts and businesses no longer have to recognize the couples as married.

"This is a very odd request by the defendants. That issue was resolved by the California Supreme Court, it is a matter of California state law and I don't think Judge Walker has jurisdiction to interfere with that decision," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Dean Johnson.

Judge Walker's opening line had the court buzzing.

"Judge Walker in his very first opening line said 'I'm sorry this took so long, but after all it is June and June is the month for weddings.' Was he telegraphing a decision?" asked Johnson.

Olson argued on how the word marriage has taken on an extended meaning throughout history. He brought up examples of how it was expanded to include slaves and interracial marriage. Olson argued that these expansions have not only changed the institution, but made it stronger.

Source: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/state&id=7500996

Gah, I don't want to read into the judge's opening words too much, but doesn't that seem like a good sign? 
jonstewart-what

BP: All Your GIS Data Are Belong To Us


Preface from the OPAfter my last post regarding this teeny tiny little company called The Response Group (TRG) that is apparently the source of all of the (cookie cutter) Oil Spill Response Plans for all of the world's major oil companies.  While doing a bit of research on that company, I came across a very interesting piece regarding what appears to be a systematic compartmentalization and restriction of access by BP to what is called GIS (Geographic Information System) data related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

GIS is data linked to geographic location, and thereby used in cartography, land surveying, utility management, emergency management, etc.   As it pertains to the oil spill in the Gulf, that information is being collected by various governmental entities and submitted to BP.....who is apparently then putting it behind BP firewalls and not making it accessible to the public, or to the various other respondant entities who are performing recovery work on the spill.

Last week, one of the GIS companies working with BP and all of the other folks involved in the oil spill wrote a VERY detailed open letter regarding their experience in recent weeks as the GIS provider.  This timeline outlines not only a gradual, but ultimately complete takeover by BP of all GIS data related to the spill, but what started out as virtually no involvement by BP's IT group for the first few weeks (during which the folks from the GIS Institute apparently acheived a great deal), until they sprang into ninja-like readiness action and took over the whole damn thing.....and removed the GIS Institute from the project entirely.     

Yesterday, that open letter was removed from the GIS Institute's website, by the author apparently.  Read the information below, and I think you'll understand why this information should be publicized rather than erased.



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Letter begins verbatim below line.  Some original formating and page style is lost, but the ASCII code is retained in full and unedited:
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Deepwater Horizon GIS Data Concerns
From: Andrew Stephens and Devon Humphrey
Date: June 9, 2010
Subject: BP control of GIS data

To Whom It May Concern:

Executive Summary

This letter is being submitted to make it known that several key factors of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command Structure (ICS) are not being met in the Unified Command process of the BP Deepwater Horizon Incident. Specifically regarding the treatment of Geographic Information System (GIS) data, current configuration and process limit, or exclude completely, the flow of information about the extent and status of the disaster to government entities, emergency responders, and the public.

GIS is essential to the oil spill response effort and to the recovery of public resources. Almost every map and geographic display representing the Deepwater Horizon Incident is sourced by GIS data. Current GIS management processes indicate that BP is treating GIS data as proprietary information, and these data are currently being stored behind the BP corporate firewall. It is our understanding that public agencies, for example, The US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Louisiana National Guard, are literally submitting the only copy of agency field data, via wireless-enabled mobile GPS devices, directly to a BP GIS server behind the corporate firewall in Houston. Examples of these data are; dead bird and fish locations with photos, boom placement, engineered construction barriers, including dates, and other descriptive information and photos.

State Emergency Operation Center (EOC) staff, Parish EOC staff, and other Emergency Responders and Recovery Specialists do not have access to these GIS datasets, contrary to all NIMS guidance, protocols and principles.

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What it means for GIS operations and disaster response:

One speculative consequence of BP’s actions is that priorities for data use, dissemination, and analysis may have negative impacts on spill response timing and operations. Because BP IT decisions for the ICP are evidently being made from Houston, there is extremely limited exposure to the needs of commanders and field personnel in Houma. Furthermore, since edits need to be implemented on BP proprietary systems in Houston by BP personnel, the ability to quickly adapt to needs in ICP Houma, which were changing and growing on a daily basis, were very likely impaired. GIS professionals, scientists and developers have an approach to their work that relies upon openness and adaptability in order to succeed. Therefore, it is highly probable that decision support was weakened by BP’s actions to take control over the GIS environment.

What this means to the non-GIS layperson:

1) The current configuration and process allow BP to limit or slow down the flow of information about the extent of the disaster to the government, the public and law enforcement, which I believe is against the spirit and letter of NIMS.

2) The current process allows BP to treat GIS datasets as proprietary information. It is my understanding that public agencies, like The US Fish and Wildlife Service and The Louisiana National Guard, are literally submitting the only copy of agency field data directly to a BP GIS server behind the corporate firewall. Examples of these data are; dead bird and fish locations with photos, boom deployment and engineered construction, dates, along with other descriptive information and photos.

3) The GIS information is essential to the recovery of public resources, and some data belongs to US taxpayers, not BP. BP is paying for the hardware and collection of these GIS datasets, yet it is my understanding that the data belong to the people of the United States. BP must not be allowed to protect these data as if they were a proprietary product.

4) State Emergency Operation Center staff, Parish EOC staff, and other Emergency Responders and Recovery Specialists do not have access to these GIS datasets, contrary to all NIMS guidance, protocols and principles. The effort to slow down the flow of information is at the expense of the containment and cleanup effort of the responders and is in our opinion, suspect behavior by BP.

5) The Federal On Scene Coordinator at ICP Houma, US Coast Guard Captain Ed Stanton, standing with USCG Rear Admiral James Watson, approved the National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant design, and ordered the first database and server. That server was received by BP, and placed behind the BP firewall.

Conclusion

At the very least, per NIMS, there must be redundancy of GIS information managed jointly, and fully accessible to both the FOSC and the SOSC. Technology allows implementation of this design to occur instantaneously and automatically.

The Incident Commander, the FOSC, the SOSC, and the President need to establish NIMS compliant access policies over this GIS data while they still can. This GIS information is an important component of the record, and it would be a loss to learn that some critical part were mistakenly edited, deleted or otherwise changed.

We urge The President, via Incident Command, to determine a NIMS compliant, secure, data sharing policy, based on GIS industry best practices for all GIS data of the BP oil spill. We believe a high priority should be placed on sharing this information to all responders and researchers, for our welfare, rather than leaving it to one party to control access for its own welfare. We must not allow BP to slow down the collection or organization or distribution of these data – they have demonstrated in other areas during this incident, that they are often slow or inaccurate when providing scientific data, quantitative methods, and projection figures.

We did the best work of our GIS careers at the ICP in Houma, and we are proud of the accomplishments, hard work, and every decision made while on post.

Sincerely,

Andrew Stephens, Former GIS Unit Lead ICP Houma, and

Devon Humphrey, Former GIO ICP Houma
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
End of verbatim content above line.



Source

Don't bother reading the stuff under the cut unless you really want to delve into the details.  I've included it because I felt the original letter should be posted in complete context.

lost // jack

Experts argue firing squad is a humane execution.

Mods: I hope this source is okay! First time posting here, so I hope everything is all right.
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SALT LAKE CITY — A condemned Utah inmate's decision to die in a barrage of bullets fired by five unnamed marksmen has been vilified by many as an archaic form of Old West-style justice.

But some experts argue it is more humane than all other execution methods, without the court challenges of cruelty that have plagued lethal injection.


"Lethal injection, which has the veneer of medical acceptability, has far greater risks of cruelty to a condemned person," said Fordham University Law School professor Deborah Denno, who has written extensively on the constitutional questions that surround execution methods.

Ronnie Lee Gardner picked death by firing squad because he believes it is a more humane way to die — not because it evokes drama or controversy, his attorney told The Associated Press.

"It's not about the publicity. He just prefers it," Andrew Parnes said.

Late Tuesday, Parnes appealed Gardner's case to both the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping to block the execution. It was the same day Gardner ate what may be his last meal — steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream and 7UP. Utah State Prison officials said Gardner now intends to fast until the execution set for early Friday.

Gardner, 49, was sentenced to death for a 1985 capital murder conviction stemming from the fatal courthouse shooting of attorney Michael Burdell during an escape attempt. Gardner was at the court because he faced a murder charge in the shooting death of bartender Melvyn Otterstrom.

Barring any last minute stays, Gardner will be the first person to die by firing squad in the United States in 14 years. He will be the third man killed by that same method in Utah since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling reinstated capital punishment in 1976: Gary Gilmore on Jan. 17, 1977 — after famously uttering the last words, "Let's do it" — and John Albert Taylor on Jan. 26, 1996.

Of the 49 executions held in Utah since the 1850s, 40 were by firing squad. The method has also been widely used around the globe and was long the primary method of execution employed by the military, even in the U.S.

But lethal injection has become the primary method used by most of the 35 states that still have capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center website. Yet it isn't without controversy.

University of Colorado law professor Michael Radlet has been tracking botched executions in the U.S. and found some 42 cases that went wrong between 1982 and September 2009. Of those executions, 30 were lethal injection, 10 were electrocution and two were from asphyxiation after exposure to lethal gas.

A court challenge of lethal injection in Kentucky essentially halted executions nationwide in 2007 as the U.S. Supreme Court grappled with whether a three-drug cocktail was more painful than just a single barbiturate. At the time, Kentucky had only had one execution by lethal injection — with no complications — but executions in Ohio and Florida had taken longer than usual and produced strong evidence that inmates had suffered severe pain in the process.

The court upheld Kentucky's use of the three drugs in 2008, clearing the way for capital punishment to resume, Denno said.

The firing squad has not been similarly challenged, and by all accounts, Utah's executions by firing squad were carried out without problems, Denno said.

"Even Gary Gilmore's father said it was a dignified execution," she said.

Utah's territorial government sought permission from the U.S. Supreme Court to use the firing squad back in the 1870s, according to Gillespie. The court said that "execution by shooting was not prohibited by the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause, in that the method did not entail torture or unnecessary cruelty," Gillespie wrote in his book "The Unforgiven," which chronicles the history of capital punishment in Utah.

Historians say the method stems from 19th Century doctrine of the state's predominant religion. Early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believed in the concept of "blood atonement" — that only through spilling one's own blood could a condemned person adequately atone for their crimes and be redeemed in the next life. The church no longer preaches such teachings and offers no opinion on the use of the firing squad.

Death penalty advocate Kent Scheidegger agrees that capital punishment should not amount to torture, but says the average person "is not really all that concerned with a murderer experiencing painless death."

Public debate is focused more on the larger issue of the death penalty and whether or not the punishment deters crime.

"Arguing over the method of execution is kind of a distraction," said Scheidegger, legal director of the Sacramento, Calif., Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.


Religious and secular groups plan prayer vigils and rallies outside the state capitol and the prison in the hours leading up to Gardner's execution.

"If you think about it, how do you kill somebody in a permissible manner?" said Ralph Dellapiana, a co-founder of Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. "We don't care much about the method, we're of the 'it's all not OK' belief."

The barrage of publicity that follows the firing squad is largely what prompted Utah lawmakers to alter it's capital punishment law in 2004 to disallow the choice for inmates and make lethal injection the default method. Inmates sentenced before then — like Gardner — retain the choice.

In repealing the option, Utah lawmakers said they disliked the negative media attention that firing squads focused on the state, said Republican Rep. Sheryl Allen, who twice carried legislation to change the law.

In 1996, more than 150 media outlets descended on Utah to cover Taylor's execution, painting the firing squad as an Old West-style of justice that allows killers to go out in a blaze of glory that embarrasses the state.

Gardner is one of at least four of 10 men on Utah's death row who have said they want to die by firing squad.

Source (or here, here, or here).

What do you guys think? Pro- or anti-capital punishment? Either way, do you think execution via firing squad could be more humane than the controversial method of lethal injection?

The U.S. and soccer – that joke isn’t funny anymore

Almost everyone’s got a sport they dislike. Some people can’t stand tennis, others don’t like football. Hockey’s too fast, golf’s too slow. And some incredibly popular sports outside of the U.S., like cricket, are as well understood as trigonometry to most Americans.

Soccer is something of an exception. As a country, we’ve historically been unimpressed. We’ve even reserved its more internationally recognized name, “football,” for our own game, which barely involves feet. But it’s made an impact on young Americans—evident in the “soccer mom” appellation—and inevitably, it is gaining in popularity here. After all, soccer’s the most popular sport in the world.

However, according to right-wing talk radio, it’s un-American.

Fox News entertainer and part-time thriller novelist Glenn Beck took a long walk to lump together the World Cup with President Barack Obama. “It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run,” said Beck. “We don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it.” He then got to his point, and added, “The rest of the world likes Barack Obama’s policies, we do not.”

On G. Gordon Liddy’s show (when did he get a show?), his guest, the oh-so-charming Dan Gainor of the conservative thinktank Media Research Center, stated that soccer, a “poor man or poor women’s sport” (take that Christiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Kaka!) is being sold as part of the “browning of America.”

So that’s it, is it?

It’s not hard to draw a line from conservative opposition to soccer and their ongoing narrative about “taking back America.” You know, before we played soccer. Or before illegal immigration? Or before racial integration?

Where does that line end, exactly? Maybe Glenn Beck can chalk that out for me.
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Zanzimonkey

There's a pipe spewing a gazillion gobs of oil into the gulf, so let's build more windmills

For all his reputation as the nation's Top Talker, Barack Obama took his sweet time giving a maiden Oval Office address to the country. And waiting another nearly 60 days to speak nationally about the oil spill that’s become the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history.

Obama, the first modern president to pass his first full year in office without addressing the country from his historic desk, had the setting right. Just back from a day-and-a-half on the gulf coast listening, reassuring, talking tourism, eating seafood. He wore the proper suit, had the requisite flags and family photos in the background.

For 18 minutes he delivered the words crisply and forthrightly, though too often distracting anxious viewers with his fidgeting hands like the lecturing professor he once was. Or wait! Was Mr. Cool nervous?

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Mr. T the Patriot

Psycho Killer Professor Charged with Murder for 1986 Shooting of Brother

CANTON -- Amy Bishop has been charged with murder for the 1986 shotgun slaying of her 18-year-old brother in their Braintree home, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating said this afternoon.

"The grand jury has indicted Amy Bishop for murder in the first degree,'' Keating told reporters. "Here in Massachusetts, we had evidence of a murder. We proceeded with that, as we should have. "The slaying of Seth Bishop was declared an accident by Norfolk County authorities at the time. But questions were raised about the investigation after Bishop, a college professor, was charged in February in a shooting rampage at the University of Alabama Huntsville. Three of Bishops' colleagues were fatally shot and three wounded in that case.

Keating said an indictment warrant has been lodged with Alabama authorities. He indicated that he would give the Alabama triple murder case priority. Asked whether Bishop would ever be tried in Massachusetts for murder, Keating said, "You never know.''Collapse )
MISC - moustache

A Doctor Tells Why She Performed Abortions—And Still Would

Dr. X is a physician at a community health center and a medical school faculty member in the Midwest. Health Affairs does not normally publish articles under pseudonyms, but given recent murders of abortion providers and other violent attacks against them, we decided not to publish the physician’s real name out of concern for her personal safety. As always, we welcome Narrative Matters essays from varying perspectives.



This is a clinic where they kill babies!" A woman in a black beret stopped me as I entered an abortion clinic. Pamphlets in hand, she asked me with concern, "Are you pregnant? Do you need help?"

I wasn’t pregnant. I was on my way to work.

I went to medical school to promote life. I defined that loosely: I wanted to do what I could to keep individuals healthy so we could be part of loving families and build healthy communities, supporting each other and enjoying being alive. While I was in medical school, a friend became pregnant after date rape, and I supported her through an abortion.

Around that time, I attended a talk at the medical school by the journalist Jack Hitt. He discussed "Who Will Do Abortions Here?"—his powerful, eye-opening New York Times article from 1998 about the threat to legalized abortion in the United States because of the lack of providers.

Then, as now, the number of abortion providers was dwindling. The number went from 2,680 providers in 1985 to 1,787 in 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available. Hitt described the upcoming retirement of the generation of obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) who had watched women bleed to death from botched abortions and had responded to those tragedies by staffing clinics when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

But no new generation of abortion providers was being trained, Hitt told us. When teaching hospitals merged with religious hospitals where abortions were banned, abortions were no longer done—or taught—at the teaching institutions. Other programs began to make abortion training optional: OB/GYN or family medicine residents who wanted the training needed to add it to their already heavy loads of required courses. Threats to the lives of abortion providers and their families dissuaded some practitioners from providing these services, even though they were trained to perform them and the procedure is legal. More than half of all abortion practitioners were past retirement age, Hitt said. One elderly practitioner flew his own plane to reach women in four states—he was the sole abortion provider in North Dakota—despite regular death threats.

There are now an estimated 1.5 million abortions each year in the United States, making it the most common surgical procedure. Yet there are fewer and fewer abortion providers available. One-quarter of women needing abortions must travel more than fifty miles for the procedure; 6 percent must travel to another state. During my medical training, I saw many women with an unwanted pregnancy, and I witnessed wide variation in the options that doctors offered patients in that situation.


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source

US General who said gays caused massacre warns of 'HIV risk'

Just a few months after apologising for suggesting gay soldiers were responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, US Army General John Sheehan has said allowing gays to serve openly in the military would have a "devastating" effect.

He was writing jointly with the anti-gay Family Research Council president Tony Perkins for Politico magazine.

The pair wrote that homosexuality has "profound behavioural implications" and "inevitable" sexual attraction among soldiers could "devastate morale, foster heightened interpersonal tension and lead to division".

They added that an increased risk of HIV in gay and bisexual men would be "devastating" and have "pronounced implications for battlefield blood transfusions".


Quoting data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they said gay and bisexual men were "50 times more likely to have HIV than heterosexual men".

The wrote: "This proposal is not about bigotry. Race is a superficial and benign element of one’s humanness, while homosexuality is a matter of behaviour.

"Homosexuality is not about civil rights but conduct detrimental to the discipline, trust and combat readiness of what has been — and still is — the world’s finest military."

They concluded: "If we want to keep it that way, we should not permit openly practicing homosexuals to serve in the US military."

Gen Sheehan avoided a reprimand for his remarks at a Senate hearing on the military's ban on out gay soldiers.

He said that Dutch military officials told him that allowing gay soldiers the Dutch army had led to poor morale, which led to a failure to prevent the genocide of 8,000 Muslims.

He later wrote to Dutch officials to apologise for "inaccurately " remembering discussions.

Source: Pink News
aurora // once upon a time

The honour killing question: A family loses control

Cultural differences may have laid the groundwork for murder

They came to Canada in search of a better life. But somewhere along the way, the immigrant dreams of Muhammad Parvez and his eight children went horribly astray. Tuesday, in a Brampton court, Parvez and his son Waqas pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing Aqsa Parvez, 16. Both father and son took blame for strangling her. But Aqsa’s death and the cultural context that surrounded it raised troubling questions: Was this the GTA’s first honour killing? Or was Parvez simply a domineering father, who feared losing control of his youngest daughter?

 

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Oops, forgot source!

Interesting points, but adjusting to cultural norms goes both ways. I'm not going to parade around in a bikini in Saudi Arabia - but the flipside is that I expect adaptation to Canadian cultural norms too. If a 16-year old girl feels more comfortale wearing a hijab, so long as it's her choice, that's great -- but she should also be able to wear blue jeans without the fear of abuse or death from her family. IMO, there is not enough support in place in this country for young girls in these types of situations, or support/education for the parents. No, not every immigrant family is going to kill their daughter for wearing lip gloss; but that doesn't mean we can ignore the tragic consequences of problems with cultural adjustment as isolated incidences.
Colbert Report- Leprechaun Hitler

BRAVE REPUBLICAN TRIES TO GOAD EVIL SEKRET BLACK PRESIDENT TO HULK OUT

King seeing if “pot will come to a boil” after his Obama remarks



Republican Congressman Steve King says he stands by comments he made Monday that have drawn national attention and prompted a Republican congressional candidate in another state to cancel King’s speech at his campaign fundraiser in Colorado.

During an interview on the G. Gordon Liddy talk show, King said President Obama has a “default mechanism” that “favors the black person.” King also accused U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of not pursuing a series of cases because those accused were minorities.

“I have no regrets about what I said. I stand by what I said because what I said is accurate. It’s factual,” King said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa late this afternoon. “I think the president should answer and Attorney General Holder should answer for the justice department being used in the way it is, but what I said was accurate and it was objective.”

King said his comments have been “distorted” by “the left” for political gain.

“All of these things are politically motivated. You have the professional hyperventilators out there who have the radar screen up all the time, trying to find something that they can twist or embellish. That’s what’s going on,” King said during his interview with Radio Iowa. “I don’t want anybody to think that Steve King loses a minute’s sleep over this.”

During his talk radio appearance on Monday, King said Obama has a “default mechanism in him that breaks down on the side of race” and King said that was highlighted by Obama siding with the black Harvard professor who was arrested in his home by a white policeman after a neighbor called about a possible break-in. This afternoon, King told Radio Iowa he had waited to respond to the furor over his comments about Obama and the attorney general.

“I actually, when this first popped…I told my people here that handle my media: ‘Let’s let this cook for a couple of days and see if this pot will come to a boil,’” King said. “I don’t want to put it away in the first day because I think the American people need to have this debate about what appears to me to be an inclination on the part of the White House and the justice department and perhaps others within the administration to break on the side of favoritism with regard to race.”

The Democrat who’s challenging King in the fall election suggests King’s flair for sparking controversy is standing in the way of progress on issues important to western Iowans. Matt Campbell of Manning, the Democrat running against King, says King comments are “of concern” to residents in the fifth congressional district.

“I think they’re reflective of a pattern of Mr. King saying polarizing things,” Campbell says. “I think collectively they preclude meaningful work on issues important to the development of western Iowa because of statements such as this.”

During an appearance on the nationally-syndicated G. Gordon Liddy radio talk show on Monday King said he is “not a coward” when it comes to discussing the issue of race in America, and King added he is “happy to talk about these things.” Campbell is challenging King to a series of at least three debates before the fall election.

“He’s not debated since he’s been elected to congress and I think that’s something that, regardless of these statements, is incumbent on him to do,” Campbell says.

King, the owner of an earth-moving company, served in the state senate for six years and was first elected to congress in 2002. He is running this year for a fifth term in the U.S. House.

Campbell made his comments this afternoon during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa.
Akuma River

200 dead in last 7 days in cartel drug war

Mexico's bloodshed worsens as hundreds die in last 7 days
By DUDLEY ALTHAUS
Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
June 16, 2010, 9:10PM

MEXICO CITY — More than 200 people have been slaughtered during the past seven days in the most violent week in the criminal insurgency racking Mexico since President Felipe Calderón unleashed federal forces against drug trafficking gangs.

The carnage has cut a wide arc through Mexico and underscored the gangsters' brazen willingness to take on military troops and Mexican federal police in direct combat.

Among this week's victims were 12 federal police officers ambushed Monday by presumed gangsters in western Michoacan state and three others bushwhacked in northern Chihuahua state. Army troops shot it out with gunmen Tuesday in Taxco, a tourist mecca 100 miles south of Mexico City, killing 15 alleged criminals.

"The difference now is that the criminals and security forces are clashing more frequently," said Raul Benitez-Manaut, a national security analyst. "The criminals are directly challenging the government."
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Border murder rates in the U.S. may be down but not on the other side and that is what has the government all worried about.

P.S. the murder rates in my region (Victoria, Texas) have gone up and we are a hub of the major highways that go to all the major cities in Texas and the deaths are directly attributed to gang warefare with links to the Mexican Cartels and smuggling (human, drugs, and weapons). We are also about 500 miles inland of the border.
comedy | J. Peterman

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 15, 2010.


Frozen land, forgotten people
In 1966, Bureau of Indian Affairs Commissioner Robert L. Bennett outlawed development on 1.6 million acres of desert in northeastern Arizona that was claimed by both the Navajo nation and the Hopi tribe. When the freeze ended, many residents didn't know where to begin.

Barbara Davidson | Los Angles Times
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This is an audio/visual photo set; check out the source link for the full experience.
mus | like a bird in a cage

Boy, 11, slams residential schools legacy

An 11-year-old boy stole the spotlight at the opening day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings into the tragedy of Canada's residential schools.

The former foster child, who turned up to ceremonies at The Forks in Winnipeg on Wednesday, told CBC News that members of his family still suffer from the aftershocks the federal government's former policies had on his grandparents and elders.

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