June 18th, 2010

movies | Sally Brown

ONTD_Political's PotD: June 16, 2010.

Fill a lightweight material with hot air, helium or hydrogen, and you have a vessel that floats in the air. People around the world use balloons, blimps and airships for transportation, to conduct research, to deliver messages, to protest, and - mostly - for having fun. Collected here are recent photographs of balloons of all shapes, sizes and purposes - ranging from a child's toy to a football-field-sized research instrument, and much in between.
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101-year-old graduates from citizens' police academy

Norfolk woman, 101, is city's newest crimefighter

When the officers who teach the Norfolk Citizens' Police Academy received Josephine Demmons McBride's application, they thought the birthdate she'd supplied was a typo. It listed '08.

Officer Jhet Sarmiento called McBride and verified her age.

"I actually called my partner and said, 'Dude, there's a lady that's going to come and she's 101 years old.' "

Officer Miles Warren wasn't buying it.

"I said, 'No, that can't be right, because who, at 101, would be able to come and do all the things that we have to do?" Warren said.

Josephine McBride graduated from the academy Thursday night after 12 weeks of classes, including one at the shooting range, where she fired a submachine gun.

She joined the academy alongside about a dozen members of her Lindenwood/Cottage Heights/Barraud Park Civic League. She wanted to better understand the Police Department.

"As a person living alone, I need protection. And I think that the police are one of the sources that I have to protect me," McBride said.

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Source has more photos.
MISC - moustache

You will have no protection

You will have no protection
-- Medgar Evers to Civil Rights Activists in Mississippi, shortly before he was assassinated, 12 June, 1963

My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.

For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep. Which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were in some cases, some of the best people on earth. They have not stood silently by and watched the destruction of others, brutally, sustained, without offering themselves, weaponless except for their bodies, to the situation. I am thankful to have a long history of knowing people like this from my earliest years, beginning in my student days of marches and demonstrations: for peace, for non-separation among peoples, for justice for Women, for People of Color, for Cubans, for Animals, for Indians, and for Her, the planet.

I am weeping for the truth of Medgar's statement; so brave and so true. I weep for him gunned down in his carport, not far from where I would eventually live in Mississippi, with a box of t-shirts in his arms that said: "Jim Crow Must Go." Though trained in the United States Military under racist treatment one cringes to imagine, he remained a peaceful soldier in the army of liberation to the end. I weep and will always weep, even through the widest smiles, for the beautiful young wife, Myrlie Evers, he left behind, herself still strong and focused on the truth of struggle; and for their children, who lost their father to a fate they could not possibly, at the time, understand. I don't think any of us could imagine during that particular phase of the struggle for justice, that we risked losing not just our lives, which we were prepared to give, but also our children, who we were not.

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Internet "kill switch" proposed for US


"A new US Senate Bill would grant the President far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of, or even shut down, portions of the internet.

The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects "shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined.

That emergency authority would allow the Federal Government to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people," Joe Lieberman, the primary sponsor of the measure and the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, told reporters on Thursday. Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who meets with the Democrats."

Is anyone else seriously creeped the fuck out by this??? I mean, combine it with the plans being kicked about to allow the government to take control of any and all media (combine the information that can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Alert_System and by googling around some more..... for some high octane paranoia fuel)

Murasaki Shikibu

We Have a Black President, But That Doesn't Resolve the Deep Racism Built into the American Psyche

We Have a Black President, But That Doesn't Resolve the Deep Racism Built into the American Psyche
President Obama hails a post-racial future for America. But being colorblind to our society is not a smart move.

It was summer 2004 when most of us first became familiar with Barack Obama. Then an Illinois state senator, the U.S. senate candidate delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston: the first of his many now-famous orations on a national stage. Therein he delivered several applause lines, but none were as big as when he proclaimed:

"There's not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

Though one might welcome such a statement were it offered in the future and aspirational tense -- as a heartfelt plea for true equality -- Obama proclaimed it in the descriptive and present tense. In so doing he traded intellectual honesty for easy and predictable ovation. After all, 2004 was the same year that research from MIT and the University of Chicago found that job applicants with "white" names were 50 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than those with "black" names, even when all their qualifications were indistinguishable. And with black and brown unemployment standing at double the white rate, even as the new upstart from Chicago poured forth rhetoric professing national unity (and with the median white family possessing 8-10 times the net worth of the median black or Latino family), it should have been apparent that Obama was engaged in political science fiction rather than the description of sociological truth.

Post-Racial Liberalism: Its Origins and Trajectory

To be fair, of course, the rhetoric of post-racial liberalism wasn't something invented by the current President. Rather, it has its roots in the period immediately following the passage of civil rights laws in the 1960s. It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for instance -- an advisor to President Johnson before becoming a United States Senator -- who first suggested that the nation would do well to engage in "benign neglect" when it came to the issue of race.

According to Moynihan, persistent inequities between whites and blacks could best be addressed by the passage of race-neutral, universal programs to help all in need; that, in addition to focusing on presumed cultural defects in the black community, from single parent families to crime to an inadequate attachment to education and the labor market. While conservatives made some of the same arguments about so-called black cultural pathology during this period, what distinguished post-racial liberalism from the new cultural racism of the right was its stated commitment to reducing racial disparities, albeit by non-racial means.

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All special interests groups are created equal... under the NRA

Loopholes Grow in Bill to Offset Ruling on Campaigns
Published: June 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are pushing hard for legislation to rein in the power of special interests by requiring more disclosure of their roles in paying for campaign advertising — but as they struggle to find the votes they need to pass it they are carving out loopholes for, yes, special interests.

In a deal that left even architects of the legislation squirming with unease, authors of a bill intended to counter a Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to pour money directly into campaign commercials provided an exception this week for the National Rifle Association, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington.

The resulting uproar over special treatment for the pro-gun group led Democrats on Thursday to expand the exception to cover even more interest groups as they tried to secure votes for the measure, which is opposed by most Republicans. But with other powerful groups also weighing in and no assurance that Democrats had the votes they need, House leaders decided late Thursday to put off a planned Friday vote on the campaign bill, increasing doubts about whether Congress can enact it in time for this year’s elections.

The episode has highlighted again the difficulty President Obama has had in fulfilling his promise to diminish the power of lobbyists and interest groups, and how deeply entrenched the groups are in the process of shaping policy proposals into detailed legislation. Mr. Obama has sought to make the effort to fight back against the Supreme Court ruling — which could allow corporations, industry groups and unions greater opportunities to sway voters — a key part of his party’s platform for this year’s midterm elections.

Backers said the N.R.A. deal was the only way to win enough support among House Democrats, many of whom refuse to take any action that could rile the gun lobby, and impose regulations they say are necessary to prevent corporations and other organizations from hiding behind front groups and flooding the airwaves in this year’s elections.

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How to Be an Oil Company CEO for Dummies: The Video Quick Guide

The Man Who Wasn't There: A Whole Day Of Tony Hayward's Obfuscating In Four Minutes

You really have to marvel at the amazing way we have ordered the universe, circa 2010, in America. If I grabbed a ball peen hammer and a can of spray paint, dashed across the street to the Au Bon Pain on Pennsylvania Avenue, and started smashing out the windows and tagging the hell out of the building, you can bet your ass that the cops would come, they would rough me up, arrest me, throw me in stir, put me on trial, and find me just as guilty as homemade sin.

On the other hand, if I was the CEO of a major oil company, I could jack up an entire region of the country with oil and chemical dispersant and incompetence and fraud and contempt, and if anyone called me on the carpet to ask, "Pardon me, hello. We, the representatives of the American taxpayers just would like to know how it came to pass that your oil is now, well ... what's the word I'm looking for? Oh! Yes! KILLING AMERICA," I could just sit back and tell everyone that despite the fact that I am the CEO of the company involved, and thus theoretically in charge, that I actually have no idea whatsoever about any of the decisions or processes or conversations that took place.

That's what your House of Representatives was up against today, in the form of BP CEO Tony Hayward. He's the captain of a foundering ship who just doesn't know anything about ships. He was not party to any important decisions. He cannot recall important moments. He managed to get through nearly three decades of working in the oil business without actually learning anything about it. And given the opportunity to prepare for specific questions in advance, what do you think he did?

It all got to be too much for Representative Michael C. Burgess, who, amid calls to get the MMS -- an organization that Congress will probably have better luck putting the screws to -- into the hearings, summed up Hayward's essential uselessness by saying, "Any one of us could do his job!" And this is one of those rare occasions where that is absolutely correct.

Anyway, you can enjoy the the whole misbegotten episode in the form of a four minute video, by Ben Craw, in which Tony Hayward does his best imitation of a blowup doll.


You know, the ancient Greeks had these magical ladies named Alecto and Megaeara and Tisiphone, collectively known as the Furies, who would just relentlessly hound the liars of the world to misery and ruin and death. Don't you wish we had some Furies? Man, I could really go for some Furies, right about now.


OP Note:  You know, I had this on in the background basically all day, and I was astounded at the almost universal frustration the members of the committee were obviously experiencing (with the exception of Barton from TX, who did his best imitation of a battered spouse begging forgiveness from their corporate abuser).  I will point out that before this hearing, he had been provided with a detailed letter of the information they wanted.  So, apparently he seemed to have done virtually no preparation for this hearing AT ALL. 

This entire thing was oddly reminiscent of another set of hearings we had a few years ago with Alberto Gonzales.....remember the ones where he had no bloody clue what was going on in his own department?

Here's a great reminder courtesy of Jon Stewart:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Hearing Problems
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

President Obama Is Not Impressed with Your High School Diploma. Neither Is Wal-Mart.

by Katherine Mangu-Ward

Earlier this month, the world's favorite smiley-faced megastore announced that it will begin offering subsidized college education to many of its 1.4 million U.S. employees. Headline writers everywhere rejoiced at the "everyday low prices" jokes that await them.

Partnering with a for-profit online-only university, Wal-Mart is planning to drop $50 million over the next three years on the program. But employees will have to kick in their own cash as well: An associate's degree will cost a Wal-Mart employee $11,700, a four-year degree would be a little more than twice that.

Meanwhile, the phrase "higher education bubble" is popping up everywhere in recent months. This is thanks (in small part) to President Obama, who announced in his first State of the Union address that "every American will need to get more than a high school diploma." But Americans have been fetishizing college diplomas for a long time now--Obama just reinforced that message and brought even more cash to the table. College has become a minimum career requirement, a basic human right, and a minimum income guarantee in the eyes of the American public.

So if we're in the middle of a culture-created, government-subsidized higher education bubble, is Wal-Mart part of the problem? Or is it the solution?

More at the source.

hate humanities majors? read the comments.
' jules

Shenanigans Friday: June 18, 2010.

"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."-LOLn Chretien
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by baked_goldfish

Police officer blocks couple from the ER; she was having a stroke. Husband later arrested.

By Callie Starnes & WRCB Staff

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – A patient believed to be having a stroke says a Chattanooga Police officer blocked her and her husband from entering the emergency room Wednesday night.

Aline Wright is a cancer survivor, amputee and a newlywed. Wednesday night she began to show signs that she was having a stroke.

That's when her husband of four days, and a nurse technician at Erlanger Medical Center, Jesse Wright, put her in the car and rushed her to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, Aline says Jesse stopped at then proceeded through two red lights, as if they were stop signs. After Jesse ran the second stop light one block from Erlanger, Chattanooga Police Officer Joshua Daves turned on his blue lights and followed the couple into the Emergency Room parking lot.

According to Aline, Officer Daves caught up with the couple as they were attempting to enter the emergency room at Erlanger Medical Center. Aline says her husband was carrying her in his arms because she could not walk. According to Aline, Daves blocked the entrance and demanded answers for running the red lights.

Aline says eventually Officer Daves allowed them to enter the hospital, but says he didn't stop there.

Aline tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that once the couple was placed in a hospital room, Officer Daves attempted to enter their room to arrest Jesse for evading the police.

Erlanger medical personnel turned Officer Daves away at that point, informing him that since Aline could not speak Jesse was needed to answer questions for the doctors.

Thursday morning Erlanger security informed the couple that a warrant for Jesse's arrest had been issued, and suggested he turn himself in. Aline says Jesse went to the Hamilton County Jail to turn himself in that evening. According to Aline, Jail employees told Jesse that they had no record of a warrant for him and told him he was free to go.

So Jesse returned to his ailing wife's bedside at Erlanger Medical Center.

On Friday morning the police were back at the hospital. This time Jesse surrendered to Erlanger Security who arrested him on behalf of the Chattanooga Police Department.

Jesse is now sitting in jail in lieu of a $7,500 bond. He is facing seven charges related to Wednesday night's events.


Eyewitness News contacted Chattanooga Police today for their side of the story.

lLt. Kim Noorbergen says the officer was just "doing his job".

Beyond that, the department will not comment until a formal complaint is filed with the internal affairs department.

Aline Wright says she plans to file the complaint. The couple has already hired an attorney to file a suit against the officer.

As for Erlanger, a spokesperson tells us by law their security guards are obligated to carry out an arrest warrant related to felony charges. An Erlanger spokesperson says once they learned the warrant for Wright's arrest was issued, and they learned he was in the building, they had to arrest him.


Who the FUCK loves Hitler?

Sadly, not a case of Godwin's Law or a Producers joke.

Prayag Thakkar, a 19-year-old student in Gujarat state, is one of them: "I have idolised Hitler ever since I have had a sense of history. I admire his leadership qualities and his discipline."

The Holocaust was bad, he says, but that is not his concern. "He mesmerised the whole nation with his leadership and iron discipline. India needs his discipline."

Dimple Kumari, a research associate in Pune, has not read Mein Kampf but she would wear the Hitler T-shirt out of admiration for him. She calls him "a legend" and tries to put her admiration for him in perspective: "The killing of Jews was not good, but everybody has a positive and negative side."


4 'missing' NKorean players turn up to practice

TEMBISA, South Africa — Four players from North Korea's soccer team put to rest questions about their whereabouts Friday simply by turning up for practice.
Speculation about the players' whereabouts began building after four players missed North Korea's first World Cup match Tuesday against Brazil.
FIFA denied that the players were missing, and video shot Thursday night by broadcaster AP Television News showed three of the four players sitting on the team bus.

All four — Pak Sung Hyok, An Chol Hyok, Kim Kyong Il and Kim Myong Won — were on the field for training as usual Friday at Makhulong Stadium in the township of Tembisa. They could be seen stretching, jogging and kicking soccer balls alongside their teammates.
FIFA said the confusion arose after North Korea handed in a squad list Tuesday with only 19 names, not the usual 23. North Korean team officials explained that they omitted the names of players who were going to sit out the game, FIFA media official Gordon Watson said.
The South Americans won the game 2-1.
Isolated and impoverished North Korea has a team in the World Cup for the first time in 44 years.
The team is sequestered in a tightly secured hotel north of Johannesburg and has largely stayed out of the public eye. Teammates dine and travel together as a group, going between their hotel and the training grounds or to a gym for sporadic workouts accompanied by team officials.
The team bus arrived at the stadium in to a crush of reporters, TV cameras and photographers. With curtains drawn, the bus pulled up close to the entrance, away from the media glare.
A news conference scheduled for Friday was canceled at the last minute, but reporters were allowed to watch about 20 minutes of the training session.
All four players were visible on the field. The players did not acknowledge the press, and the practice began without fanfare.
The team's participation in football's biggest event comes as North Korea faces international scrutiny over its nuclear program and the sinking of a South Korean warship in March. Forty-six sailors were killed in an explosion that a multinational team of investigators blamed on a North Korean torpedo.
North Korea's next game is against Portugal on Monday in Cape Town.


I'm sort of disappointed that such an interesting story turned out to be nothing, but at least nothing sinister seems to have happened to these four.

EDIT: And because there's been a little bit of drama about my phrasing in another community I posted this story in, apparently I need to clarify that I'm very happy that they are safe and well, and am only sorry that they weren't able to flee to a better life (assuming that they actually have a desire to flee, because I can't see inside their hearts and minds and so I can't say with any certainty that if they're happy in NK or not.)

Army’s Hand Suspected in Kyrgyzstan

OSH, Kyrgyzstan — As the armored personnel carrier rumbled down the street, men in Kyrgyz military uniforms clinging to its sides, residents of an ethnic Uzbek neighborhood here felt a surge of relief. The peacekeepers, it seemed, had finally arrived.

But then the men in uniforms jumped down and began firing automatic weapons into homes while shouting anti-Uzbek slurs, more than a dozen residents of the neighborhood, Shai-Tubeh, said in interviews on Wednesday. They spoke of the terrifying moments last week when they realized that they were under attack from what appeared to be their own nation’s military. They said the assailants killed several people, wounded many others and set fire to buildings.

“We believed that they had come to protect us,” said Avaz Abdukadyrov, 48. “But instead, they came to kill us.”

Mr. Abdukadyrov and others said one memory of the events last Saturday haunted them: as they fled and their homes burned, the men in uniforms laughed and danced in the street.

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SOURCE: www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/world/asia/17kyrgyz.html 
MISC - moustache

Name on Stoughton water tower misspelled

STOUGHTON, WI (WKOW) -- There is a big boo boo in Stoughton. The city's name is spelled wrong on its new water tower.

Its spelled Stoughon. Missing the "T."

People flooded Racetrack Park to see the spelling blunder for themselves.

"I don't know what it says about the guy, he may have to go back to school for a little bit," said Hannah O'Connor, a Stoughton resident.

Stoughton Public Works says the mistake was made by a contractor from Illinois.

"They did get one side right but missed the other one," said Public Works representative Brian Hoops.

Hoops says the contractor will be back Friday morning to start fixing the mistake. They'll do it free of charge.

It should be corrected by the weekend.


Posting this cause I live in "Stoughon" and we need more lighthearted news here. I would love to know why we're hiring out-of-state contractors, and from Illinois no less.
One. One sucker punch! Ha ha ha!

Residents pack a County Commission Meeting to Protest a planned Islamic Community Center in TN

MURFREESBORO — Hundreds of residents packed Thursday's Rutherford County Commission meeting where dozens voiced opposition to a planned Islamic center off Bradyville Pike in southeast Murfreesboro.

"We have a duty to investigate anyone under the banner of Islam," said Allen Jackson, pastor of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro.

Many of the speakers questioned why the county's Regional Planning Commission approved the site plan for the 52,000-square-foot center south of Murfreesboro without including it in a public notice.

County Planning Director Doug Demosi explained that the site plan for the Islamic center did not require a public hearing because no change in zoning for the property was needed. He said the planning commission's meeting was advertised in advance in a local newspaper.

County Commission members allowed a parade of speakers three minutes each to have their say but did not discuss the matter.

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Shirley Animated

Rasmussen: Colorado has highest percentage of Tea Partiers

According to a series of surveys from Rasmussen Reports, Colorado has a greater percentage of voters who consider themselves members of the "Tea Party" movement than any other state. 33% of likely voters surveyed in Colorado in April claimed to be a part of the right-wing movement. That's two points higher than Alabama and Kentucky, where Senate candidate Rand Paul recently shocked the Republican establishment by riding Tea Party support to landslide victory in the GOP primaries.

The states with the lowest rate of Tea Party association were Hawaii, North Dakota and Vermont.

In Colorado, Tea Party-backed candidates have overcome poor name recognition and lackluster fundraising to turn Republican Senate and gubernatorial primaries into competitive races.
The Colorado Republican and Democratic parties will choose their nominees in August.

Sauce: HuffPo

I shouldn't be surprised, as Colorado used to be a stronghold for the KKK and has an alarmingly high number of hate groups sprinkled throughout it. Not all of Colorado is like Boulder and Denver, sadly.