July 6th, 2010

comedy | The Golden Girls

PRIDE PotD: July 5, 2010.


Picspam Installment 11 of international Pride events:

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Next Pride photo-spam: Columbus + Seattle, USA

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Murasaki Shikibu

Tim Wise, still staying on point

Of Collateral Damage and Roosting Chickens: Reflections on Racism, the Economy and the High Cost of White Ambivalence

By Tim Wise
July 2, 2010

The message began ominously enough, with words no one really likes to hear directed their way.

"With all due respect," it read.

As a writer I am painfully aware of the imprecision of language. Meaning is not always perfectly--and often not at all--communicated by the words we choose to represent our thoughts. But if there's one thing I've learned in the course of 42 years it is this: whenever someone addresses you by saying, "with all due respect," you can rest assured they think you are due very little of it. And furthermore, in what follows they intend to deliver to you exactly that amount of this precious commodity to which they believe you are entitled.

"I have been out of work for 26 weeks," the e-mail, signed simply "Jeremy" continued. "A little more than six months. Six months without a job. Six months having to live on unemployment insurance or the kindness of family, friends and even strangers. Six months, during which time I've had to pawn damned near everything of value in the house, donate blood, and raid my kids' college savings accounts just to keep the lights on and food in the fridge. Six months of having my self-image battered, interview after interview, being told that I'm overqualified for almost every job I apply for. All because I have a college degree. I did everything right. I played by the rules, and yet, this is where I've ended up."

By this point I was starting to wonder if his missive had been misdirected. Perhaps he had intended it for one of the Senators who had just voted not to extend those unemployment benefits on which he'd been relying. Perhaps he thought I was Sharron Angle, the Tea Party Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada who says that people like Jeremy are basically lazy and don't want to work because life on the dole is so luxurious. Or perhaps he thought I was Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite in Kentucky, who insists that if people like Jeremy would just lower their sights a bit and be willing to work for less than their previous salaries, they'd be on their feet in no time.

But seeing as how I've always been nothing but critical of such right-wing absurdities as these, why was I the focus of Jeremy's ire? Why was I the one being challenged, and "with all due respect" at that? Intrigued, I read on, and that's when things became clear.

"Then today," Jeremy continued, "while researching job opportunities on the web (on a computer at the library, since I long ago had to sell my own) an acquaintance sent an e-mail to my (thankfully free) yahoo account, where you were talking about racism and how hard black people have it in this country. I don't doubt that, actually. But I'm white, and I fail to see how that's helping me right now. In fact, if I were black I might actually have been hired by now thanks to affirmative action. But I guess none of this matters, right? All I can say is, it would sure be nice if people like you would be as concerned about the plight of all people, regardless of race, as you are about just one group."

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I think this shattering of illusions is a big part of why the teabagging movement is so big--they want to go back to a time when if they played by "the rules," everything worked out for them. Seeing a Black guy in office is the ultimate sign things are Not Like They Used To Be and that things Aren't Working Right For Us But Are For Them (...Even Though They Don't Deserve It and We're Playing By the Rules), and they're protesting their world getting upended in every single way. They want to go back to when things worked for them, and all the changes happening is downright terrifying because it means things won't work out for them they way they've been conditioned the think things will. So they're wildly scapegoating pretty much everything that's a visible sign of the changing times.

Israel confirms easing of Gaza blockade

Israel has confirmed details of what goods it will allow to enter the Gaza Strip with the easing of its blockade.

Consumer goods are being allowed but a "blacklist" of items including weapons and materials that could have a military use will be barred or limited.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, dismissed the concessions as of no use and said the blockade should be fully lifted.

Israel says its blockade of the Palestinian territory is needed to prevent the supply of weapons to Hamas.

Israel came under international pressure to ease its four-year blockade of Gaza after nine Turkish activists were killed in a 31 May Israeli raid on a flotilla that was trying to carry aid to the Palestinian territory

The international Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, told the BBC he believed the international outcry which followed that raid persuaded it to accelerate the easing of the Gaza blockade.

"It is true to say that the Israeli government, I think, were moving towards a different policy anyway, but of course what happened has hugely accelerated the idea," he said.

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' jules

HDU use my words against me.

Angle Sends Cease-And-Desist To Reid -- For Reposting Her Own Website

Sharron Angle has resorted to an unusual maneuver to counter Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's attacks on her past quotes and positions, the Reid campaign has announced: A cease-and-desist letter, demanding that Reid no longer republish Angle's previous campaign website.

The short version of the story is as follows: After the former state Rep won Nevada's Republican Senate primary, Angle's campaign took down most of its website, and later replaced it with a relaunched version that in some ways toned down her right-wing rhetoric. But Internet pages are rarely ever forgotten -- the Reid campaign saved the old version, and put up a website called "The Real Sharron Angle," reproducing the old content.

Then, they say, the Angle campaign sent them a cease-and-desist letter, claiming misuse of copyrighted materials in the reposting of the old website -- which was, of course, being posted for the purposes of ridiculing Angle. The Reid campaign has in fact taken down the site, rerouting visitors to another website that goes after Angle's positions, "Sharron's Underground Bunker."

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Ugh they shouldn't have taken it down! Come on Harry way to live up to your stereotype.
Anyway... just wait til she discovers archive.org
Sufjan Smile

When laws outlaw liberty

Orders for Japanese-Americans to report for internment during the Second World War

"We are a nation of laws," the supporters of Arizona's SB 1070 law say. Many in the "get tough on illegal immigration" crowd point to the fact that undocumented immigrants are breaking the law by not entering the U.S. "through the proper channels."

The underlying point of the "nation of laws" argument is that it would be wrong or immoral to break these laws. However, the absurdity of this is all around us. Many of our national heroes--like Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.--all broke laws in the struggle for dignity and justice.

In fact, the group most vocal about enforcing our immigration laws--the so-called Tea Partiers--got its name from an event that defied an unjust law.

In 1773, a group of colonists in Boston boarded three English merchant ships and dumped the tea they carried into the harbor--the so-called "Boston Tea Party."

This was certainly an illegal act. However, the protest was about opposing a series of laws that the colonists felt were unjust. The excise taxes on tea and other goods imposed by the British state on its 13 North American colonies were a tremendous burden on small merchants. Furthermore, the colonists had no legal pathway to challenge the laws, as they were denied representation in the English government.

This sentiment was embodied in a slogan you can find on many Tea Party bumper stickers today: "No Taxation Without Representation." It had quite a different political meaning back then than it does now.

The U.S. does indeed have laws--thousands of them. However, these laws are not made by gods or wizards. They are made by human beings.

Throughout U.S. history, the men who made the laws (still to this day, they are almost exclusively men) reflected the dominant prejudices of their day, passing laws that became the infrastructure for slavery, Jim Crow segregation and the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II.

Here is just a short list of unjust laws from our nation's sordid history:
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Source: Socialist Worker

Article speaks well for itself, and does a good job of highlighting the absurdity of various arguments in favor of SB 1040 or against 'illegal' immigration as a whole (if immigration is so hard that the swelling masses of ambitious people have to break the law, there's something wrong with the law, not them). But I totally lol'd at the concept of laws being written by a wizard. I welcome the mageocracy.
really. look.
  • chaya

Women of The Daily Show Respond, Bringing the Snark

Dear People Who Don’t Work Here,

Recently, certain media outlets have attempted to tell us what it’s like to be a woman at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We must admit it is entertaining to be the subjects of such a vivid and dramatic narrative. However, while rampant sexism at a well-respected show makes for a great story, we want to make something very clear: the place you may have read about is not our office.

The Daily Show isn't a place where women quietly suffer on the sidelines as barely tolerated tokens. On the contrary: just like the men here, we're indispensable. We generate a significant portion of the show's creative content and the fact is, it wouldn't be the show that you love without us.

So, who are the women of The Daily Show?

If you think the only women who help create this show are a couple of female writers and correspondents, you're dismissing the vast majority of us. Actually, we make up 40% of the staff, and we're not all shoved into the party-planning department (although we do run that, and we throw some kick-ass parties). We are co-executive producers, supervising producers, senior producers, segment producers, coordinating field producers, associate producers, editors, writers, correspondents, talent coordinators, production coordinators, researchers, makeup artists, the entire accounting and audience departments, production assistants, crew members, and much more. We were each hired because of our creative ability, our intelligence, and above all, our ability to work our asses off to make a great show.

More at the sauce.

It seems like a pretty comprehensive response to the 'expose' article from a few weeks ago (which was also posted here and seemed to get a lot of attention). I think this was an eloquent way to deal with it, and the sidebar list of "things Jon has helped us through" was cute as well. This is my first post, so let me know if the tags are off or if I quoted too much, etc?

Since when did we become "One Nation, Under BP"????

BP Media Clampdown: Journalists Now Face Possibility of Fines, Prison Time

A month ago, National Incident Commander Thad Allen issued an order granting the media "uninhibited access" to the areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was routinely and often brazenly ignored.

Thirty days later, it should be said that the order essentially has no real-world meaning at all. Here's Daniel Tencer at Raw Story:
Journalists who come too close to oil spill clean-up efforts without permission could find themselves facing a $40,000 fine and even one to five years in prison under a new rule instituted by the Coast Guard late last week. It's a move that outraged observers have decried as an attack on First Amendment rights. And CNN's Anderson Cooper describes the new rules as making it "very easy to hide incompetence or failure."

The Coast Guard order states that "vessels must not come within 20 meters [65 feet] of booming operations, boom, or oil spill response operations under penalty of law."

But since "oil spill response operations" apparently covers much of the clean-up effort on the beaches, CNN's Anderson Cooper describes the rule as banning reporters from "anywhere we need to be."
Apparently, a "willful violation" is a Class D felony, "which carr[ies] a penalty of one to five years in prison under federal law." It sort of sounds to me like "doing the standard work of a reporter" is the sort of thing that could end up being considered a "willful violation."

Naturally, I imagine this doesn't apply to
BP's own fake reporters, or their fake reporting.

Hat tip to Glenn Greenwald, who has much more. I'd also recommend you read Huffington Post blogger Georgiane Nienaber's recent contributions: she is one of those would-be "willful violators" of the new rule, and she tells the incredibly true story of how the Coast Guard's media liaison happens to work for the same PR company that represents BP.


This has become absurd beyond belief.  Go read the Glenn Greenwald article for even more asshattery around this issue.  Since when do our law enforcement officers (apparently at the local and federal level) start moonlighting as agents for BP?  This needs to stop right frakking now.

ETA:  Thanks to mylaptopisevil for spurring me to locate more information on the official sites.  Today, a release containing Media Ground Rules was issued.

Mr. T the Patriot

Feds File Suit To Block Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigrants, setting the stage for a clash between the federal government and state over the nation's toughest immigration crackdown.

The planned lawsuit was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Justice Department official with knowledge of the plans. The official didn't want to be identified before a public announcement planned for later Tuesday.Collapse )

Metro goes to court over anti-racist media direct action

Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the free daily title METRO, was somewhat less than amused when a spoof version, METR0, appeared on London streets on Friday. (Spot the difference? The capital O was replaced by a numeric 0).

The publisher's lawyers immediately took legal action against the fake METR0 distributors, a group called PressAction that appears to be linked to Indymedia UK, which describes itself as "a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues."

Both Press Action here and Indymedia here carry identical reports stating that the publication of METR0 was part of a two-day protest against racist and anti-migrant bias in the mainstream media.

They claim that some 50 people wearing white T-shirts bearing the METR0 logo distributed "tens of thousands of copies" of their spoof paper at 20 stations around the capital.

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Source: Roy Greenslade at the Guardian.

You can download a pdf of the edition distributed by activists in London here. Indymedia are encouraging supporters to mirror the file across the internet to resist the injunction.

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Should Smoking in Cars with Kids Be Banned?

A bill under consideration by the New York State Assembly would ban adults from smoking in a car with kids.

The idea is to stop parents from imposing their second-hand smoke on kids. In theory, it’s a good idea. But is the ban enforceable? And does it violate civil rights?

If the legislation passes, it would be illegal for occupants of a car to smoke if there are children in the car younger than 14, according to The New York Times.


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Sure, it’s wrong to expose kids to second hand smoke, but should it be illegal? What do you think?


Sri Lanka protesters lay siege to UN compound

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of protesters, led by a government minister, laid siege to the U.N. compound in Colombo on Tuesday, refusing to let workers out in an effort to force the world body to cancel its investigation of alleged abuses committed during Sri Lanka's civil war.

Police tried to break up the protest in the evening and escorted some of the trapped workers out of the compound, but quickly pulled back after Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa — who led the protest — ordered them to stop, leaving some U.N. staff trapped inside.

Later, four Westerners left the building after the country's foreign secretary, who was apparently negotiating with the protesters, entered and left himself. Protesters said they were the last of the staff who had been stuck inside, but neither Foreign Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe's office nor local police would confirm that. Calls to the local U.N. representative went unanswered.

Wasantha Bandara, one of the protesters who accompanied Jayasinghe into the U.N. building, said the protests would continue to sit outside the building but added that their intention was not to hold the staff hostage.


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Clarkson still a homophobic prick, bears still shitting in woods

Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson has been criticised for a remark about homosexuality.

The exchange was cut from Sunday night's BBC2 show, but was revealed by his guest Alistair Campbell.

Mr Campbell, the former Labour spin doctor, was booed while appearing on the programme.

He wrote on his blog: "I cannot remember how the subject of homosexuality came up, but I said at one point that he wasn't very sound on gay rights … Oh yes I am, he said, adding, to more laughter from the largely adoring crowd 'I demand the right not to be bummed'."

Mr Campbell continued: "I had the immediate thought that this was unlikely to be broadcast at 8pm on a Sunday, with Songs of Praise still ringing in some ears, but nonetheless chipped in that I suspected he was worried that he might like it. He seemed to enjoy that, and recalled his public school education, though without any detail."

Clarkson, who is paid £1 million a year, was nominated for Stonewall's Bigot of the Year award in 2007 for refusing to apologise after being reprimanded by BBC bosses for derogatory gay jibes on primetime TV.

He told an audience member that he would not buy a car because it was "a bit gay" and "very ginger beer", which is rhyming slang for "queer".

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill told the Daily Star: “Surely the reason Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t want to get bummed is that he needs somewhere to speak out of.”

The BBC said exchange was not broadcast because the section had to be cut down from 25 minutes to nine.

Source: Pink News

Hawaii governor vetoes civil unions bill

Gov. Linda Lingle announced today that she will veto the civil unions bill, describing the measure as "marriage by another name."

Lingle said the legislative maneuvering by the House, which brought the bill to a vote on the last day of session, was wrong and that the issue is of such societal importance that it should involve all the people of Hawaii.

She said she made the decision about a week ago. "I feel very comfortable with my decision," she said. "I think I gave (the issue) the dignity that it deserved."

"I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same sex marriage by another name," the governor said.

The Republican governor said she believes the issue of civil unions should go before voters in a ballot question and that lawmakers should draft the language for a ballot question during the next session. "I would be surprised (if) this does not go on the next available ballot."

Opponents of civil unions celebrated the governor's decision, while disappointed gay rights activists will likely push for the bill again next year.

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Tea Baggers and Conservatives Get their High from the Tears of Children and Widows

Suicide Hot Line Calls Surge as Joblessness Tightens Grip

In one of the darkest tallies of the nation's still-sputtering recession, experts say financial desperation has played a significant role in increased calls to suicide-prevention hot lines -- and likely has led to increased suicide rates.

While government statistics on suicides often lag by two or three years, experts say the easier-to-track calls to hot lines have grown significantly. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which operates 24-hour crisis help lines around the country, reported an increase of 18 percent from January to May this year. The rates have fluctuated wildly, from 13,424 in January 2007 to a peak of 59,500 two months ago.
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Riot police use rubber bullets on Belfast protesters

Riot police in Northern Ireland fired rubber bullets to quell rioting in west Belfast over the weekend, injuring several people.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland's ombudsman is investigating officers' use of the "non-lethal rounds" on Saturday night during clashes between riot police and a 100-strong crowd at Broadway roundabout near the M1.

Police responding to reports of disturbances there were showered with stones and petrol bombs, lightly injuring six officers.

Police fired rubber bullets that injured several citizens including two teenage boys.

A 16-year-old boy is in a stable condition at the Royal Hospital in Belfast.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that people "purporting to be from so-called dissident groups" had reportedly egged on nationalist teenagers.

Mr Adams said: "The people in this area want an end to this trouble and I echo this sentiment."

Breandan MacCionnaith of socialist republican party Eirigi said: "Seventeen people have died as a direct result of the use of rubber bullets in the six counties - they should be banned."

Source: Morning Star

I'm with MacCionnaith on this... if "non-lethal" means "only sometimes so" then they're unsuitable for that purpose and shouldn't be used (see also: tasers).

Iranian Morals Police Move into the Barber Shop


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The photos, disseminated on Iran’s semi-official news sites, look ordinary enough: young men sporting short haircuts, some with 1950s-style quiffs and a touch of gel on top.

But these haircuts are not just a summer fashion. They are being touted by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance as Islamically permissible models, part of an effort “to halt the spread of unconventional styles and promote Islamic culture.” More styles are set to be unveiled on Sunday as part of the ministry’s “Veil and Chastity Day” festival.

The haircut catalogue is part of the Iranian government’s long-running battle against Western cultural influence. Every summer, the country’s morality police renew their crackdown on “un-Islamic” dress and styles, including women with loose veils and men with long hair or ponytails. This year the crackdown appears to have been especially harsh, perhaps in part because of the government’s efforts to foil any renewed protests on the June 12 anniversary of the disputed presidential election last year. Special police squads have stopped or arrested unmarried couples, women wearing too much makeup and people playing Western music.

The haircut guidelines appear to be aimed at balancing the more aggressive enforcement with a softer promotional venture. On Monday, the director of the “Veil and Chastity Day” festival, Jaleh Khodayar, appeared at a news conference with hundreds of barbers and hairdressers to release the haircut posters and explain the new campaign.

“We do not intend to reverse the culture,” she said, according to the semi-official ILNA news agency. “We want to preserve our culture and respect Iranian tradition and come up with hairstyles that confront Western cultural invasion.”

Curiously, none of the young men in the photographs is wearing a beard, long considered a mark of Islamic orthodoxy in Iran. One appears to be wearing a necktie, long eschewed by Iranian leaders as a Western fashion.

It is not the first time Iran’s hard-line rulers have tried to push back against what they see as decadent Western trends. There have been Islamic fashion shows, calls for a national uniform and even an Islamic doll as a counterpart to Barbie. Earlier this year the “al Zahra” clothing brand was introduced, another effort to promote modest feminine garb.

But there is rarely much follow through, largely because so many Iranians resent having their private choices dictated to them. Last month, rising public resentment against the new morals crackdown led President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to distance himself on national television from any excessive or unfair enforcement by the morality police or the Basij militia.

I believe my reaction to this article can be best conveyed through song.

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ONTD_Political's PotD: July 6, 2010.

Nearly halfway through the month-long 2010 World Cup Tournament in South Africa, over a dozen teams have been eliminated from the original group of 32, with the Round of 16 beginning tomorrow, June 26th. Television and web viewership has been setting records all over the world as supporters tune in to watch the events in South Africa and react along with the fans and players in the stadiums as they celebrate their wins and suffer through losses. Collected here are recent photos from the 2010 World Cup, as some of the players and their supporters have been experiencing it - in South Africa and around the globe.
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