July 1st, 2010

LOLitics | \o/

PRIDE PotD: June 30, 2010.

Picspam Installment VI of international Pride events:

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Next Pride photo-spam: Columbia, Nicaragua, Spain.

Source Photos:

Additional Galleries:
calibrations [garrus; me]
  • tifa

Mammoth ship arrives to fight Gulf oil spill

I can't believe they even need permission...from BP. I really hope BP will let them try because it sounds way better than burning sea turtles alive. I know they're not letting anyone except BP people get in there...I don't know why they get to run the show all by themselves when they're the idiots who caused the damn problem.


Republicans continue to love America so much, they want to watch it crash and burn.

Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan talks to Chris Matthews about the GOP's Block Everything and Hold Your Breath Til You Turn Blue Strategy of Fail

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Unemployment Extension Fails: Senate Rejects Jobless Benefits 58-38

The Senate rejected Wednesday -- for the fourth time -- a bill that would have reauthorized extended benefits for the long-term unemployed, by a vote of 58 to 38. Democrats will not make another effort to break the Republican filibuster before adjourning for the July 4 recess.

By the time lawmakers return to Washington, more than 2 million people who've been out of work for longer than six months will have missed checks they would have received if they'd been laid off closer to the beginning of the recession.

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You know, I've really had it with these guys.  At this point, the Dems shouldn't even bother trying to get agreements for any damn thing with the GOP.  Force them to actually filibuster (instead of cringing at the mere threat), wait them out, and then vote the damn thing through.

Btw, mods we need a "Bipartisan my ass" tag.    ;p

Shocking news, because it's not like defendants ever have their rights trampled upon

U.S. Court Strikes Down Death Sentence for Killer of Two New York Officers
Published: June 30, 2010

An appeals court struck down the first successful federal capital-punishment prosecution in New York State in more than 50 years on Wednesday, overturning the death sentence given to a Staten Island man who was convicted of killing two undercover New York City police detectives in 2003.

The man, Ronell Wilson, now 28, was sentenced by a federal jury in January 2007 to die by lethal injection for shooting each of the detectives in the back of the head in a car on a dead-end street on Staten Island. The detectives, James V. Nemorin and Rodney J. Andrews, had been posing as gun buyers.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the death sentence, asserting in a 2-to-1 ruling that federal prosecutors had violated Mr. Wilson’s constitutional rights.

The judges ruled that Mr. Wilson’s conviction still stands, but they essentially ordered a new hearing to determine if he should receive the death penalty. The United States attorney’s office could appeal the ruling to the entire Second Circuit or to the Supreme Court. If prosecutors choose not to appeal, the case will go back to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn for a penalty phase hearing before a new jury.

Another option would involve withdrawing their notice to seek the death penalty, in which case Mr. Wilson would be automatically sentenced to life in prison.

At a news conference, Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives Endowment Association, the union that represents detectives, said the ruling sent “shockwaves through the families of Detectives Nemorin and Andrews as well as the N.Y.P.D., and probably the entire law enforcement community.” He added, “Two judges out of the three have ruled in favor of a ruthless, remorseless killer of two undercover police officers.”

MaryAnn Andrews, who was married to Detective Andrews and who is also a detective, stood next to Mr. Palladino and wiped tears from her eyes. She told reporters she was too distraught to discuss the case. “I can’t,” she said. “It’s just too much.”

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If there's anything I hate as much as execution itself, which makes criminals' lives of less value than others', it's the concept of "capital crimes," which makes some victims' lives of less value than others'. Supposing I believed in the death penalty at all and I lost a family member via murder, I would be fucking enraged if their killer got life in prison and a cop killer got death. Why wouldn't my family be entitled to the same justice as the cop's family? Oh wait, because Police Are Magical.

Laws make it illegal to text your gun-toting Burmese python while driving drunk......or something.

Individual Choices At Stake As Laws Take Effect

New Laws Range From Smoking Restrictions To Crime-Fighting Measures

Gun owners with permits can carry concealed weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol in New Mexico and Virginia. Young and old alike must show proof of age when buying alcohol in Indiana. Georgia and Kentucky are hitting the delete key on texting while driving.


New laws taking effect Thursday reflect states' ongoing debates over individual freedoms, touching on everything from smoking restrictions to measures seeking to fight crime.


A widely publicized Arizona measure, requiring police conducting investigations to ask those involved about their immigration status if there's a "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally, takes effect at month's end, though a court challenge is likely. Several states are also reducing programs and cutting spending to deal with record budget deficits.


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1) Yay for Ohio raising the age of kids who can stay on their parents insurance to 28 years!

2) You mean human trafficking in Alabama was legal up until today?  Damn, talk about missed opportunities.

3) Florida has had it with these muthafuckin snakes in this muthafuckin state!

More gay men becoming victims of forced marriages

Forced Marriage Unit believes 65% increase in calls to helpline is 'tip of the iceberg'

Men in some communities are increasingly being forced into marriage, often because their families suspect they are gay or bisexual, the government has revealed.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) says there has been a surge in such cases. Over the past year, the number of calls from men to the unit increased by 65%, from 134 in 2008 to 220 in 2009. Experts believe the figures are only the "tip of the iceberg", as the issue tends to be under-reported for both sexes.

In all, 1,682 forced marriages were reported to the FMU – a joint Home Office/Foreign Office body – last year. Of those, the calls suggest, 14% involved a man being forced into a union. But the unit believes the true figure may be as high as one in five.

Most victims are aged from 15 to 24, but the FMU recently received a call to its helpline from a 62-year-old widower whose family was trying to force him to marry a 35-year-old woman because they no longer wanted to care for him. Cases also include an underaged man taken to Pakistan and forcibly engaged to his five-year-old cousin.

Most calls come from men linked to Pakistan, followed by India and Bangladesh. But it has also received calls from British men with links to the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe.

According to the FMU, such incidents traditionally increase during the summer, when holidays abroad are taken.

"Professionals and communities can be very intolerant towards men being forced into marriage, even if they have learnt to be sympathetic to women in the same situation," said the spokesman for the FMU. "It can be hard to persuade people to believe it even happens."

"But the threats to these young men are very real. We received a call recently from a young man taken to Pakistan. He didn't know he was going to be married, and when he refused, he was locked in a room. Every day, his father came in to beat him – we're talking broken legs and sexual abuse."

While the vast majority (86%) of victims it sees are female, the FMU says men are being forced into marriage because they are gay or bisexual, or because their families suspect that they are. It can also be a result of family commitments to relatives abroad or their own expectations, securing visas or an attempt to control their son's behaviour or protect a family's reputation.

"This kind of abuse must not be tolerated," said Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister.

Just two weeks ago, the FMU took a call from a young man living in Leicester whose family had locked him in his bedroom after discovering that he was gay. He told the FMU that his family were downstairs, discussing whether they should take him to India and either kill him, abandon him there or marry him off.

The Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual young people, recently reported a rise in the number of young gay Muslims contacting it for help.

By the end of May, there had been 88 calls to the FMU from men for help. "Boys and men who are forced into marriage find it harder to ask for help than women," said Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office minister for consular policy. "Of course, women make up the majority of forced marriage victims, and over 1,400 reports of women facing this abuse were dealt with by the FMU last year. But people often don't realise that men can be victims of forced marriage too."

Men and women who have been forced into marriage, or who fear they are about to be forced, can apply for a forced marriage protection order. Since their introduction in 2008, more than 150 orders, which can also be applied for by others acting on a person's behalf, have been taken out.

Source: The Guardian

Sam-Cam says husband's wax-work looks "identical" to the PM

Is there a tiny irony there?

Having sunk into denial over the Gordon Brown premiership and instead held out for a David Cameron victory like much of the media, London's Madame Tussauds has now unveiled its wax-work model of the new Prime Minister, and Cameron's wife, Samantha, has said it looks "identical" to the real thing.

I have no doubt about this, for on the few occasions I have seen Cameron in person he appears to be caked in a glossy sort of make up, which is -- along with the new need for a party leader to be a good performer on TV debates -- a sign of the times.

Anyway, for a brilliant blog on the bizarre selection process at Madame Tussauds, see my colleague Mehdi Hasan's post here.

Source: New Statesman
Mods: can we have an "autons" tag plz? Useful for posts involving both David Cameron and Stephen Harper C:
  • sauron

Sen. Lindsey Graham Addresses Rumors: 'I Ain't Gay'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has denied rumors circulated by anti-immigration activists in South Carolina that he is a homosexual, telling The New York Times unequivocally that he is not.

In April, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) theorized that Graham's support for immigration reform is the result of threats by liberals to expose his sexuality. "I hope this secret isn't being used as leveraged against him," Gheen said at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, S.C. "It's time for you to come out of the closet, Lindsey."

But in an interview with Robert Draper that will appear in Sunday's New York Times magazine, Draper writes that Graham, who has never married, "smirked" when asked about the rumors.

"Like maybe I'm having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin?"
Graham, 54, responds. "I know it's really gonna upset a lot of gay men -- I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge -- but I ain't available. I ain't gay. Sorry."

The article itself is a lengthy profile of Graham. Draper dubs him, "This Year's Maverick," because of the numerous stands he has taken since President Obama took office in 2009, including his support for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, for comprehensive immigration reform, and for climate change legislation. Graham has backed off his support for the latter two issues, telling Draper neither will pass Congress in 2010.

In terms of his personal likes and dislikes, readers learn that Graham has a fondness for Chick-fil-A and almond schnapps, and has never owned a BlackBerry.

Perhaps most surprising of all, the new maverick predicts the swift demise of the Tea Party phenomenon and the protesters who have attacked him relentlessly in his home state since the nascent movement formed.

"The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country," Graham says. "It will die out."


10 years on, Elian not angry at Miami relatives


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(Photo from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/cuba/7865528/Elian-Gonzalez-holds-no-grudge-against-Miami-relatives.html)

Elian Gonzalez says he's not angry at his Miami relatives who fought to keep him in the United States during a nasty international custody battle a decade ago.

And he says he has "thanks to a large part of the American public" that he was reunited with his father in Cuba.

Now 16, Gonzalez's first comments to foreign reporters in years came after President Raul Castro attended a state celebration Wednesday night marking the 10th anniversary of the famous ex-castaway's return to Cuba.

"Even though they didn't help me in every way possible — they didn't help me move forward — they are still my own family," Gonzalez said of his South Florida relatives, speaking in a shy, almost timid voice.

"I don't have anger for them," he said. "It's only that it wasn't the best effort possible, and thanks to a large part of the American public, and our public, today I'm with my father and I feel happy here."

When asked about the family's Miami relatives, however, Gonzalez's father, Juan Miguel, shot back that he was still angry, "because, at any moment, having the boy there and with me giving them opportunities so they could reunite the family, they let themselves get carried away in other things."

Asked if bringing his son back to him homeland was the right thing to do, Gonzalez said, "Today I'm more sure than I was then."

Gonzalez was a photogenic 5-year-old when a fisherman found him floating off the coast of Florida in an inner tube on Thanksgiving Day 1999, after his mother and others fleeing Cuba drowned trying to reach American soil. Elian's father, who was separated from his mother, had remained on the island.

U.S. immigration officials ruled the boy should return to Cuba over the objections of his Miami relatives and other Cuban exiles, creating a furor that caused even presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore to weigh in. Many believe Cuban-Americans' outrage at how the case turned out helped cost Gore the White House.

Gonzalez's Miami relatives refused to give him up, while in Cuba, Fidel Castro led marches calling for his return.

Federal agents raided the Little Havana home of Gonzalez's uncle with guns drawn on April 22, 2000, and seized the boy from a closet to return him to his father.

It took the pair another two-plus months to return to Cuba, however, and when they made it back, men, women and children jammed the road from Havana's airport, cheering, waving Cuban flags and throwing flowers as a motorcade carrying them passed.

Wednesday marked the first time Cuba's current president stood in for its former leader, brother Fidel Castro, at an event in Gonzalez's honor.

Fidel Castro personally led major celebrations cheering Cuba's most famous youngster in years past, marching in parades or delivering lengthy speeches. But the 83-year-old has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery and giving up power — first temporarily, then permanently — almost four years ago.

The latest event was organized by Cuba's Council of Churches, which includes all major Cuban religions except the Roman Catholic Church, and was held at the Episcopal Santisima Trinidad Cathedral in Havana.

Religious elders joined Fidel Castro in leading huge demonstrations demanding the boy's return from the United States a decade ago and held a celebration in the same church days after he was brought back in 2000, with Castro in attendance.

"It was a triumph, not only of love and justice, but of logic over indecency of spirit, truth against evil," the Rev. Marcial Miguel Hernandez, president of the Council of Churches, told those assembled Wednesday night.

Gonzalez wore a red-stripped dress shirt and sat in the front row next to Raul Castro, who was in a white Guayabera shirt and embraced him and patted him on the back before the event started. Gonzalez's father sat a row behind them, and his stepmother, two younger stepbrothers and grandmother, a faithful churchgoer, were in nearby rows.
TB - Bill not amused
  • mykaa

Police, protesters clash at Puerto Rico's Capitol

In Spanish. Skip to 0:31 for footage.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A protest at Puerto Rico's Capitol has turned violent with police using pepper spray and wielding their batons in clashes with demonstrators.

The violence broke out when protesters including some local university students attempted to enter the legislature Wednesday afternoon. Authorities had closed access to the general public after groups announced plans for a protest against budget cuts and other policies of Gov. Luis Fortuno.

Television footage showed protesters throwing eggs and barricades at police who were lined up shoulder-to-shoulder at the top of the Capitol steps. Officers struck some people with batons as they charged the entrance.

Police chief Jose Figueroa Sancha said protesters also vandalized several cars outside the legislature.

Source (In Spanish)
Source (In Spanish)

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London - Belvedere

"Make A Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom": Al-Queda makes a magazine

NEW YORK – Al-Qaida launched its first online propaganda magazine in English on Tuesday, a move that could help the terror group recruit inside the U.S. and Europe.

The magazine, called Inspire, is being run by al-Qaida's branch in Yemen, which has been linked to the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt of a U.S.-bound airliner.

The launch suggests that, as al-Qaida's core has been weakened by CIA drone airstrikes, the group hopes to broaden its reach inside the U.S., where officials have seen a spate of homegrown terrorists.

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Source is slightly paranoid, but expects more mom jokes to follow in next month's issue. Also, for the love of everything holy, don't read the comments.
  • Current Mood

After Gulf swimmers report illness, questions about opening a beach

By Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer / July 1, 2010


Santa Rosa Island officials flew the double-red flag – no swimming – over Pensacola Beach in Florida after a swath of thick oil washed ashore from the Gulf oil spill June 23.

Two days later, against the warnings of federal health officials and based on a visual survey of the beach, the local island authority director, Buck Lee, reopened the beaches for swimming, urging residents and tourists to come back to the beach. Officials left the ultimate decision on whether it was safe to swim to beachgoers.

This week, health officials in Escambia County, Fla., which includes Pensacola Beach, reported that about 400 people claimed they felt sick after visiting the beach and swimming in the Gulf.

The massive oil slick hovering off the shore of the US Gulf Coast threatens an entire tourist season that, in Florida alone, represents $65 million in revenue.

The situation in Pensacola Beach points to the growing difficulty of balancing the potential and largely unknown health effects of a spill making only localized landfall against the political and economic motivations of hard-hit beach communities facing a canceled summer.

"Perception is a bigger enemy than reality, because would-be visitors are not willing to really do the research or take even a small amount of risk," says Adam Sacks, managing director of Tourism Economics, a consultancy firm in Wayne, Pa.

Testing by the University of West Florida in recent days has indicated small amounts of dissolved petrochemicals in the water near Pensacola Beach.

"There are molecules dissolved in the water and you can't see them," Dick Snyder, a biologist at the University of West Florida, told a local TV station. "We don't know how much of that there is, but we suspect there's a lot."

more @ source
misc - microphone

(no subject)

ACLU of Wisconsin Issues Travel Advisory for State of Arizona
(NB, from the sidebar: "The Cap City Liberty Blog is written and maintained by Stacy Harbaugh, the ACLU of Wisconsin Madison Area Office Community Advocate for general information purposes only and to provide a general understanding of current civil liberties news and issues. The purpose of this blog is not to provide legal advice.")

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin alerts Wisconsin residents to potential threats to the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individuals planning to travel or stay in Arizona. This is especially important for those traveling during the holiday weekend.

Get your bust card:
The ACLU has prepared an informational card for the public entitled, “What to Do if You’re Stopped by Police, Immigration Agents or the FBI.” While the card provides information that applies throughout the United States in any encounter with law enforcement officials, individuals are particularly advised to download and read this card before traveling to Arizona. A copy is available here (en Español).

Key information that applies to all individuals considering travel through Arizona includes the following:

* If you travel through the state of Arizona and encounter law enforcement officers, remember that all persons within the boundaries of the United States, regardless of immigration status, are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

* Racial and ethnic profiling is illegal. An officer cannot stop you because of physical features or English ability. The officer must be able to articulate a reason for a “lawful stop or detention.”

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Study: Newspapers stopped describing waterboarding as 'torture' during Bush years

Is waterboarding torture? If you picked up a major U.S. newspaper before 2004, the answer would likely be ‘yes,’ according to a new Harvard University study.

But in the post-9/11 world, when the practice of immobilizing and virtually drowning detainees became a politically charged issue, that straightforward definition grew murky. The study, conducted by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, examined coverage in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and found a noticeable shift in language concerning waterboarding.

“From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture,” the study noted. But the study found that things changed in the years when “war on terror” became part of the American lexicon.

The New York Times defined waterboarding as torture, or effectively implied that it was, 81.5 percent of the time in articles until 2004, the study found. But during 2002-2008—when the George W. Bush White House made a concerted effort to normalize harsh interrogation methods for use on terror detainees—the Times “called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture in just 2 of 143 articles." That’s 1.4 percent of the time.

The study also noted a disparity in how newspapers defined waterboarding when the United States employed the practice versus its use by other nations—in the latter instance, newspapers more readily called the practice torture.

But the New York Times doesn’t completely buy the study’s conclusions. A spokesman told Yahoo! News that the paper “has written so much about the waterboarding issue that we believe the Kennedy School study is misleading.”

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Source: Yahoo! News

‘England lost because we’re too nice to blacks’

Say hello to Mike Buckingham. He is a columnist at the South Wales Argus.

He is also a bigot who, in his latest rant blames “multiculturalism” and our “lack of identity” as responsible for losing to Germany in the World Cup.

His column this week isn’t online (wonder why) but Angry Mob blog has some excerpts:
HAD I not been minus four at the time I would have been for Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement before the last war.

The reason Germany thrashed England in the World Cup is that it is a better-organised society and one united around the idea of itself as a Northern European country with values which are superior to anybody else’s.
A northern European country with superior values eh? What values specifically is he referring to?
This is where we were before multiculturalism fatally undermined England and its sense of identity and self-belief, and will as surely do the same to Wales.
Ah right, “multiculturalism” is to blame. Apparently it undermines our self-belief. This is why Jermain Defoe scored and Wayne Rooney couldn’t.

Bucking goes on to say:
The Germans, in football as in all else, pick the best people for the job.

In Britain we pick the least worst, unless they happen to belong to an approved-of minority in which case we settle for the truly useless.
And we’re at his main point: England lost because there’s too much political correctness and giving jobs to black people who don’t deserve it.

The fact that Germany also had black and Turkish players in their team is completely ignored. Why let little facts like that get in the way when you’re looking for a scapegoat?

You can also read his other rants in the past on Haiti at Angry Mob.

I’m surprised he hasn’t been snapped by up the Daily Express already as a columnist.

Source: Sunny Hundal @ Liberal Conspiracy

Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits

Working for a company as rich as Google comes with an incredible number of fringe benefits: the free food, the free laundry, the doctor on duty at company headquarters and the impressive five months of maternity leave with full pay and benefits, to mention a few.

So it is not entirely surprising that the company is about to introduce another set of benefits that pushes the envelope — this time, geared toward its gay and lesbian workers.

On Thursday, Google is going to begin covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.

“It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,” said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of “Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.”

Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google’s move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.

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