July 14th, 2010

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Diplomacy is soooo Boring. Wont You Rather Nuke Them Until They Embrace Our Way of Life?

Bolton Continues to Embrace Feverish Dream That Iran Will Welcome Us With Flowers After Israel Showers Them With Radiation

Bolton Lays Out His Pro-Israel Strategy: Increase Political Support In The U.S. For Letting Israel Bomb Iran

Reports have emerged this week on the group Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI), an organization led by pro-war neocons and evangelical Christians seeking to attack President Obama’s Middle East policy. The group launched an ad this week bashing Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) for allegedly not understanding that Israel is a U.S. ally.

War hawk flack John Bolton commented on the new group today in an email to right-wing Commentary Magazine:

I don’t understand why so many people accept the Obama Administration’s ritualistic recital of the pro-Israel catechism, rather than looking at its specific policies and actions. You can say “unbreakable relationship” as many times as you want, but it has no real-world impact. I don’t see how anybody can object to a new group that simply points out the obvious disjunction between what Obama and his acolytes are saying and what they are actually doing.

So what is this “obvious disjunction” between ECI and “what Obama and his acolytes are saying and what they are actually doing?” The President has made it clear that the United States will achieve its foreign policy goals in the Middle East, particularly regarding Iran’s nuclear program, through diplomatic means — a position that both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen support. What are those on the right like Bolton supporting? The former U.N. ambassador outlined his views today in the Wall Street Journal:

[Opinion leaders need] to increase political support for an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile facilities. [...] What outsiders can do is create broad support for Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against a nuclear Holocaust and defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks against Iran’s Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, its Natanz enrichment facility, and other targets.

Indeed, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — a member of ECI’s leadership board — has been supporting and advocating a strike on Iran’s nuclear program for quite some time. So yes, Bolton is right, there is an “obvious disjunction” between ECI and the Obama administration’s policy; despite the debacle in Iraq, the former still appears to believe that war will achieve peace in the Middle East, while the latter has learned from the neocons’ mistakes in favor of negotiation and diplomacy.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: July 13, 2010.


After a month of matches, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament is over, with Spain claiming its first ever trophy, the Netherlands placing second, and Germany taking third place. 32 teams came to South Africa last month, and the eyes of the world were upon them as television and online viewership broke records, and in many places productivity dropped sharply when matches were being played. Collected here are photos from the second half of the tournament (see earlier entries: one | two | three), the action on the fields, and the reactions of those following the games in both South Africa and their home countries, as we bid farewell to the 2010 World Cup.
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Source: "2010 World Cup comes to a close" | The Big Picture | Boston.com
Cheers

Abortion, DADT And Other Issues Likely To Delay Action On Defense Bill In Senate

The potential for debate over several politically sensitive issues -- including abortion -- and a full legislative agenda make it unlikely that the Senate will take up its fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill (S 3454) before the August recess, CQ Today reports.

With midterm elections approaching, senators might seek to avoid debate on the bill's most "politically charged" provisions, including an amendment that would allow female military personnel to obtain abortion care at military hospitals if they used private funds, CQ Today reports (Donnelly, CQ Today, 7/9). The amendment, authored by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), would repeal a policy that prohibits the provision of abortion services at military hospitals, even if paid for with private funds, except in cases of rape, incest or threats to the woman's life (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/10). Provisions related to border security and a repeal of a ban on openly gay service also are expected to fuel debate.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the bill in May. The legislation would authorize $725.7 billion in national security spending through the Pentagon and Department of Energy (CQ Today, 7/9).

The House version (HR 5136), passed in May, does not include the Burris amendment. House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) has said he is opposed to changing the current policy (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/10).

Even if some senators push to debate the bill before the midterm elections, the chamber's full legislative agenda will make quick action difficult, CQ Today reports. In the four weeks before the August recess, the Senate is scheduled to act on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a supplemental FY 2010 spending package (HR 4899), an extension of unemployment insurance benefits (HR 4213), and a conference report on the financial regulation overhaul (HR 4173 -- H Rept. 111-517) (CQ Today, 7/9).


Source
TB - Sookie sky

Teen tourist killed in U.S. Virgin Islands shooting crossfire



A 14-year-old cruise passenger was killed in a crossfire Monday as she rode on a tour bus on the U.S. Virgin Islands, police said.

Authorities said the shooting happened just before noon in the Coki Point area of St. Thomas. They found the girl wounded on the bus and a man who had been fatally shot in the street, police said in a statement. She was identified as Liz Marie Perez Chapparro of Puerto Rico by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

Chapparro was taken to a hospital, where she died from her injuries, police said.

The shootout between the unidentified man and the driver of a red Honda occurred at the funeral of Joseph Ferrari, who was shot to death at a mall parking lot on June 29. The driver in Monday's shooting ran away from the scene, police said.

Three others were arrested as police searched the area. Police said they found ammunition on the dead man's body.

Chapparro's family immediately flew home to Puerto Rico, the tourism department said.

Source
Longer source In Spanish

The girl was celebrating her quinceañero :(
MISC - moustache

Police arrest Women of the Wall leader for praying with Torah scroll


Anat Hoffman, chairwoman of the Women of the Wall group, holds on to a Torah scroll as police attempt to take it from her and detain her outside the Western Wall, July 12, 2010

Jerusalem Police on Monday arrested the leader of the Women of the Wall group for carrying a Torah scroll while praying at the Western Wall, Army Radio reported.

Anat Hoffman, the women's prayer group leader, was arrested and taken in for questioning after she was caught holding a Torah scroll in violation of a High Court ruling prohibiting women from reading the Torah at the Western Wall.

Dozens of Women of the Wall members arrived at the holy site on Monday morning for the traditional festive prayer in honor of the first day of the month of Av.

"This is another example of the ultra-Orthodox establishment imposing its stances on the public," a spokeswoman for the group said.

Women of the Wall has previously clashed with ultra-Orthodox worshippers over the group's desire to pray at the Western Wall wrapped in prayer shawls or wearing phylacteries, which some rabbis have called provocations.

In November 2009, another of the group's women was arrested for wearing a prayer shawl (tallit). At the time, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said the act was a provocation meant to turn the wall into a fighting ground.

"We must distance politics and disagreement from this sacred place," Rabinowitz had said.

The Masorti Movement said in response to Hoffman's arrest: "The arrest of the Women of the Wall chairwoman is a foolish act. The Western Wall plaza belongs to the entire nation and the Haredim have expropriated it."

Hoffman is one of the prominent activists of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel and serves as head of the Religious Action Center – the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.

source

The Middle East's Only Democracy™ strikes again!
Sufjan Smile

Scientists expected Obama administration to be friendlier

A culture of politics trumping science, many say, persists despite the president's promises. The use of potentially toxic dispersants to fight the gulf oil spill is cited as just one example.


John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is shown speaking in Beijing earlier this year. Holdren says the administration has scientific-integrity standards in effect. (Liu Jin, AFP/Getty Images / May 25, 2010)

When he ran for president, Barack Obama attacked the George W. Bush administration for putting political concerns ahead of science on such issues as climate change and public health. And during his first weeks in the White House, President Obama ordered his advisors to develop rules to "guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch."

Many government scientists hailed the president's pronouncement. But a year and a half later, no such rules have been issued. Now scientists charge that the Obama administration is not doing enough to reverse a culture that they contend allowed officials to interfere with their work and limit their ability to speak out.

"We are getting complaints from government scientists now at the same rate we were during the Bush administration," said Jeffrey Ruch, an activist lawyer who heads an organization representing scientific whistle-blowers.

White House officials, however, said they remained committed to protecting science from interference and that proposed guidelines would be forwarded to Obama in the near future.

But interviews with several scientists — most of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation in their jobs — as well as reviews of e-mails provided by Ruch and others show a wide range of complaints during the Obama presidency:

In Florida, water-quality experts reported government interference with efforts to assess damage to the Everglades stemming from development projects.

In the Pacific Northwest, federal scientists said they were pressured to minimize the effects they had documented of dams on struggling salmon populations.

In several Western states, biologists reported being pushed to ignore the effects of overgrazing on federal land.

In Alaska, some oil and gas exploration decisions given preliminary approval under Bush moved forward under Obama, critics said, despite previously presented evidence of environmental harm.

The most immediate case of politics allegedly trumping science, some government and outside environmental experts said, was the decision to fight the gulf oil spill with huge quantities of potentially toxic chemical dispersants despite advice to examine the dangers more thoroughly.
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Source: Los Angeles Times

And so the administration continues to be more committed to defending corporate interest and exploitation in the name of profit than scientific integrity, environmental preservation, or the good of the common people.
[info]open_the_blinds)

THIS IS A TIME WARP POST

The Date: 14 Julliet 1789



The Bastille, that mighty symbol of royal might, is being stormed by a revolutionary mob!

Louis and Marie Antoinette are nowhere to be found, cowards that they are! Just look at the excess, the depravity of their court!*



LIBERTE! EGALITE! FRATERNITAE!


</i>n/b, I may have made up some or all of that French. The fashions in the picture are more consistent with the 1770s than late 1780s, but I think it gets the point across.

Marie Antoinette picture from fashiontweet.net; the Bastille picture should be in the public domain.

When you comment on this post, pretend it's 14 July 1789 and you are French!</i>
misc01

Levi's back in the family

Us Weekly: Levi Johnston & Bristol Palin are engaged



Happy news! Bristol Palin and her baby-daddy Levi Johnston are engaged! Again. Levi and Bristol are parents to son Tripp, who is about a year and a half old. Originally, they called off their engagement shortly after Bristol gave birth, and Levi and the Palin family have been engaged in an Alaskan battle royale ever since, although about a month ago, there were significant rumors that Levi and Bristol were back together. Bristol confirms to Us Weekly that she and Levi got engaged about two weeks ago - and that they haven’t told Sarah Palin yet. Whoops.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston reveal exclusively in the new Us Weekly that they are getting married. And, they tell Us Weekly, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been kept in the dark about their plans … until now.

“We got engaged two weeks ago,” Bristol, 19, tells Us Weekly. “It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents.”


Bristol and Levi, 20 — who famously called off their previous engagement two weeks after welcoming son Tripp in December 2008 — tell Us Weekly they reconnected three months ago while working out a custody plan for their 18-month-old son.

“I really thought we were over,” Levi tells Us Weekly. “So when I went, I had no hope. I think we both just started talking — and then we took Tripp for a walk.”

Says Bristol, “When he left that night, we didn’t hug or kiss, but I was thinking how different it was. He texted me: ‘I miss you. I love you. I want to be with you again’ … I was in shock.”

Now comes the hard part: Getting the blessing of Sarah Palin, who has made no secret of her feelings for Levi. He provoked her fury last fall when he claimed that she had called her infant son Trig (who has Down syndrome) “retarded.” She fired back, telling reporters that anyone who posed for Playgirl would “say and do anything for even more attention.”

Later, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she dubbed him “Ricky Hollywood” and called his “aspiring porn” career “heartbreaking.”

Says Bristol, “It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board.”


[From Us Weekly]

It actually makes sense, to me at least. Even though Levi bashed the Palins in general, he usually didn’t say anything harsh about Bristol, and you could tell they still had feelings for each other. Plus, I always kind of thought they were probably still sleeping together. I think this a nice story - a young couple coming back together after a few years of insanity, after they’ve done some growing up. Hopefully they’ll be a lot stronger this time around. And hopefully, Sarah Palin will stay out of it, publicly and privately.

UPDATE: Us Weekly got Sarah and Todd Palin’s statement about the engagement: “Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.” So… they’re giving their blessing?

Source

So which is it? Bristol really wants to have sex again? Bristol has had sex again and is now pregnant? Sarah is running for POTUS in 2012?
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Good News, Everyone! Oil Spills and the Genocide of Marine Life are Tax Deductible!!

Those Poor Bastards. Lets Give Them an Oil Bailout so They Can Eat. I am Sure the Tax Payers Can Afford It...

BP may get tax refund because of oil disaster expenses.

The costs to the foreign oil giant BP for poisoning the Gulf of Mexico will lower the company’s taxes by billions of dollars, and BP “may be able to get a refund for taxes paid in previous years.” If BP’s cleanup costs reach $60 billion, as Merrill Lynch & Co. estimates, the company will be able to deduct almost $20 billion over time. In addition to billions in subsidies, the company has received $10 billion in federal contracts from the American taxpayer in the last ten years. BP spokesman Steve Rinehart told Bloomberg News that BP will deduct the $3.5 billion already spent on cleanup efforts and any future expenses:
Taxes are paid on profits. If our profits are down due to increased expenses such as the cost of responding to this spill, then it follows that our tax bills will be lower as a result.
BP cannot write off future government fines and penalties, including criminal fines, but it can write off punitive damages that are awarded by courts, according to a report by Center for American Progress tax expert Sima Gandhi. Over the opposition of 36 Republicans and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), the Senate passed an amendment to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 to eliminate the deduction for punitive damages in June, but the tax reform bill has since been filibustered three times.
Mr. T the Homo

Charges dropped against Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. James Pietrangelo II for two White House protests

Photobucket


WASHINGTON – Lt. Dan Choi said today via Twitter that all charges have been dropped against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protesters who were arrested after handcuffing themselves to a White House fence.

“Victory for truth today! Government drops case against us,” Choi tweeted.

Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo II, a gay man who had served in the Army, were among those who chained themselves to the fence on two occasions in March and April.

The attorney for Choi has subpoenaed President Barack Obama to testify in the case, but the document was not served.

The two officers were each charged with two counts of failure to obey a lawful order. They were to face a nonjury trial on both charges, which are considered minor and using result in a fine without jail time. Both men, however, were jailed overnight after both arrests.

Source

Mel Gibson: racism isn't the half of it

It's disturbing how easily Hollywood overlooks violence against women.

What an edifying week this has been for those of us who are female. I know it sometimes slips the mind of many, male and female alike, so let me take this opportunity to remind readers that females are more than half the human race. We're not a special interest group, or a niche category.

But you wouldn't know it from the responses to a horrifying series of stories featuring violence against women that have dominated the news on both sides of the Atlantic over the last week.
In escalating order of importance -- measured crudely in terms of numbers of victims and actual physical and psychological harm done -- let's begin with Mad Max. Mel Gibson has been dropped by his agents, and most of Hollywood, for his "racist rant".

It's good to know that Hollywood objects to racism. I trust that the rest of us do as well. What troubles me is that the racism, as disgusting as it was, was ancillary to the purpose of Mel's alleged rant, but it's only the racism that anyone seems to care about.

The claim is that Gibson screamed at his then-girlfriend that the way she dressed meant that she deserved to be raped by a pack of "n----rs." The so-called "n-word" is so totemically powerful that no one will even print it, and its use has finally placed Gibson beyond the pale -- his agents issued a statement saying that no one in Hollywood would touch him with a 10-foot-pole. Because of his racial attitudes.

But what about the (alleged) threats and assaults against his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, who claims that he broke two of her teeth, and attacked her while she was holding their baby? Those are mentioned in passing as "misogyny" or "domestic abuse." Objectionable, maybe, but not enough to end a Hollywood player's career. Using a racist word is, on the evidence, a far greater social crime than a man physically assaulting his girlfriend, or telling her she deserves to be gang-raped. How is this possible? Let's ask Roman Polanski.

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Source: Sarah Churchwell@New Statesman
dah

Medical examiner: Texas mayor's death was suicide

Source:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j8CQo2_Xn2BTagTQ1SjFo6BRU6ywD9GV01VG0

The mayor of an upscale Dallas suburb, whose body was found with that of her 19-year-old daughter, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday. Her daughter's death has been ruled a homicide.

Police found the bodies of Coppell Mayor Jayne Peters and her daughter Corinne at their home after the usually prompt mayor failed to show up at a city council meeting.

City spokeswoman Sharon Logan said there were no signs of forced entry. Police have not said if they believe the deaths were a murder-suicide.

Bob Mahalik, mayor pro tem who is now acting mayor of the city, said council members were shocked when they learned of the deaths.

"Everybody in the room is like, 'Did we miss a sign?'" Mahalik said. "It's hard to wrap your arms around it."

The circumstances of the shootings remained unclear. Coppell police declined to release additional information.

Mahalik said he had a gut feeling something wasn't right when the 55-year-old mayor didn't turn up for the meeting.

"But nowhere in your wildest dreams did you think it would be that far not right," he said.

By late Wednesday morning, a small collection of flowers, wreaths and cards decorated the front porch of the Peters' home. A printed letter said: "Please know that you are loved no matter what happens. I know that God is with you and giving you comfort. You both are with Don, a wonderful husband and father. A family again."

The mayor's husband, Donald Peters, died in 2008 at the age of 58.

Jayne Peters was a contract software developer who had served as mayor of Coppell, a city of about 40,000 located 15 miles northwest of Dallas, for a year. Her term was to expire in 2012. She had been a council member since 1998.

"This is a tremendous loss for the city, the community and the region," said City Manager Clay Phillips.

The elder Peters attended Miami University in Ohio. In her official biography on the city's website, she said "Coppell is a community with a huge heart, and we take care of one another."

"She enjoyed what she was doing as mayor and she was good at what she did," said Mahalik, who last saw Peters waving and passing out candy at the city's July 4 parade. "She attended almost everything, every ribbon-cutting, speaking at the schools, the chamber, regional meetings."

Todd Storch, of Coppell, had known Peters for about a year. When his 13-year-old daughter died in a skiing accident in March, Peters was there for him and his family and later took a spot on the foundation he formed in his daughter's name to increase awareness for organ donation.

"She was just one of those rocks that was always there. We kind of grieved together," Storch said.

Corinne Peters graduated from Coppell High School this year. A classmate said she was bound for the University of Texas at Austin, and neighbors said the mother and daughter seemed happy and normal.

"That's what makes it really sad," said a neighbor, Stephanie Roberts. "She had her life ahead of her."

Her Facebook page shows a smiling girl in a white top and details her interests in movies and television comedies.

"Corinne was an outstanding student and gifted dancer with a big heart," said Jessica Doty, a spokeswoman for the Coppell school district. Doty called Jayne Peters a "dedicated school volunteer."

"She was the nicest person to everyone," said Sterling Von Strohe, a classmate. "Her mom was so sweet."

Corinne Peters and her mother lived alone in their 3,850 square-foot brick home with a spa and pool.

Sarah Palin’s video: what was left unsaid?

It’s hard to put your finger on what is wrong with Palin’s “Mama Grizzly” video.

Contemporary conservative propaganda, especially in the United States, works a little like Victorian stage-magic -- pandering to popular bigotry through sleight of hand, pantomimic charisma and misdirection, taking care not to give sceptics enough material to work out how the trick is done. For example: liberal, educated women all over the world understand that there's something subtly wrong with former VP candidate Sarah Palin's pseudo-feminist "mama grizzly" spiel, but it's often hard to put one's finger firmly on what it is.

The video posted on Palin's Facebook page this week relies heavily on implication and suggestion rather than facts and statements, using the motif of "moms know best" to drum up a knowing, superstitious, traditional-home-remedy attitude to politics. There's a great deal of talk about "women rising up" and "common sense", but the only clue to what Palin is actually getting at comes when the viewer zooms in on a home-made placard encouraging passers-by to "Annoy Liberal". "We don't like this change in our societies," brays the voiceover, "we're going to turn this thing around, no matter what it takes." But what thing? What, in plain English, is the change that Palin wants Americans to join her in reversing? Watch the video again and see if you can tell:

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Source: Laurie Penny@New Statesman
tobin

TN gov commutes death sentence for abused woman who put a hit on her husband



For the second time as governor, Phil Bredesen has commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer – this time a woman.

Gaile Owens would have been the first woman executed since record keeping began in Tennessee. She had exhausted her legal appeals and was set to die by lethal injection in September. Governor Bredesen says he made two considerations. For one, it appears she was abused by her husband before she hired someone to kill him in 1985.

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If you're interested, Gaile Owens' son Stephen has a blog in which he thanks Jesus H. Christ for allowing him to forgive his mother. It's called He Will Deliver.

And for the details of the murder and the case, here's a rather sensationalist Nashville Scene article

sourceasaurus rex
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But The Bush Tax Cuts are Free!! You Dont Throw Something That is Free!!

Watch Out World. The Corporate Plutocratic Overlords are Coming to the Rescue!

Coburn: New Tax Cuts Cost Money But Extending The Bush Tax Cuts ‘Isn’t A Cost’

Last Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) caused quite a stir when he claimed that the government should “never” offset tax cuts, yet unemployment insurance extensions must be paid for. “You should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans,” he said.

Today on C-Span, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) circled the wagons around his Senate colleague. When host Greta Brawner asked Coburn about a Washington Post editorial mocking Kyl’s statement, Coburn conceded that tax cuts cost money, but he claimed that extending the Bush tax cuts won’t cost anything, because, according to Coburn’s logic, they’ve already been enacted at one point in the past:

COBURN: Continuing the [Bush] tax cuts isn’t a cost, if you added new taxes, new tax cuts, I would agree that’s a cost. It’s not a cost. That’s where we are today. That’s the baseline. It doesn’t score anything to continue them. It costs money if we increase, which I would be willing to do. I think we ought to cut corporate taxes.
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Fatpie42

French Tycoon Sets Up A Million Euro Fund To Counter Burkha

Businessman Rachid Nekkaz hopes to render new law useless by paying fines for women caught wearing veil in street

A French property tycoon enraged at his government's plans to
ban women from wearing the full veil in public has promised a fund of €1m (£830,000) to help any Muslim who is fined for wearing the niqab in the street.

Rachid Nekkaz, a businessman of Algerian origin who launched a short-lived campaign in the 2007 presidential elections, has already put €200,000 into a bank account aimed at bailing out women who find themselves on the wrong side of the new law.

He insists that the ban, which was approved by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday and is set to be ratified by the senate in September, is "anti-constitutional" and a move that could put France on a slippery slope towards greater intolerance.

While he has no problem – like most of the French population – with an idea initially mooted by MPs of banning the full veil in state areas such as town halls and post offices, he is vehemently against a law that applies to women simply walking down the street.

"I am very, very sensitive to when people start playing around with institutions and the constitution. I was not shocked by the idea of a ban in public services; I am a [French] republican. But when I saw the president – the guarantor of the constitution – announcing a ban in the street I said to myself, 'this is serious'".

Nekkaz, who says his fund received €36,000 in donations in the 24 hours following its announcement and hopes it will reach €1m by September, is selling properties in the Parisian suburbs to keep the money coming in.

Under the planned law, any woman found wearing a face-covering veil anywhere in public faces a possible fine of €150 as well, potentially, as a course in "citizenship". However, if she has been fined for wearing the garment in the street, she will be able to pay the charge from Nekkaz's fund. The law, he hopes, will be made "inapplicable".

"I think this would never happen in the United States or the United Kingdom … France is a country which is not scared to compromise its principles," he said.

Nekkaz, a Muslim, is not the only one to have raised concerns about the viability of the law, due to come into full effect by spring next year. France's constitutional watchdog has twice warned that it could be found to infringe personal freedoms.
(Source)



Please note that opposition to the burkha ban is not the same as approval of the burkha. A ban on the burkha targets a tiny minority amongst Muslim women, but entirely fails to engage with the patriarchy which forces women to wear it. As such, it serves to prevent this minority group of women from leaving their home and bars practically all possible access to education, employment and other means of personal independence. Not only that, but a large proportion of Muslims in France are of Algerian descent and thus there is also quite a complex long-running race-related issue at play here.

I also notice that while the ban is apparently on wearing the burkha, the article seems to suggest that the nikab is also included.

I'm not sure why he supports a ban in the town hall or in post offices, but I'm nevertheless pleased to see him setting up a fund to contest this ridiculous ban.

Classified documents reveal UK's role in abuse of its own citizens

Previously secret papers show true extent of involvement in abduction and torture following al-Qaida attacks of 2001

The true extent of the Labour government's involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens after the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001 has been spelled out in stark detail with the disclosure during high court proceedings of a mass of highly classified documents.

Previously secret papers that have been disclosed include a number implicating Tony Blair's office in many of the events that are to be the subject of the judicial inquiry that David Cameron announced last week.

Among the most damning documents are a series of interrogation reports from MI5 officers that betray their disregard for the suffering a British resident whom they were questioning at a US airbase in Afghanistan. The documents also show that the officers were content to see the mistreatment continue.

One of the most startling documents is chapter 32 of MI6's general procedural manual, entitled "Detainees and Detention Operations", which advises officers that among the "particular sensitivities" they need to consider before becoming directly involved in an operation to detain a terrorism suspect is the question of whether "detention, rather than killing, is the objective of the operation".

Other disclosed documents show how:

• The Foreign Office decided in January 2002 that the transfer of British citizens from Afghanistan to Guantánamo was its "preferred option".

• Jack Straw asked for that rendition to be delayed until MI5 had been able to interrogate those citizens.

• Downing Street was said to have overruled FO attempts to provide a British citizen detained in Zambia with consular support in an attempt to prevent his return to the UK, with the result that he too was "rendered" to Guantánamo.


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Source: The Guardian
GrayMan

Identifying information of vulnerable populations: Still okay to spread around

US government warns bankrupt website not to sell subscriber details
By Grant Gross

The US Federal Trade Commission has warned two people associated with a now defunct magazine and website for gay teens and young men that they would violate the privacy promises the publication made to subscribers by selling their personal information during a bankruptcy proceeding.

The FTC, in a letter sent earlier this month, also suggested that the owners of XY Magazine and XY.com would be violating the privacy standards the company had in place before shutting down if they used the subscribers' personal information in a relaunch of the magazine or website. The personal information is listed as part of the debtor's estate in a New Jersey bankruptcy proceeding for Peter Ian Cummings, editor and founder of the magazine.

XY Magazine's subscription form said it "never sells its list to anybody." XY.com told prospective subscribers that their magazines would be mailed in shrink-wrapped black plastic so that subscribers' parents couldn't tell what they were getting.

XY.com users were told that personal information they submitted "will not be published," the FTC said.

XY's target audience was gay male teens as young as 13 and gay young men, according to information filed in the bankruptcy case by the FTC. Many of the subscribers and website users lived with their parents, and many had not announced their sexual orientation to their families, the FTC said in its letter.

The magazine, published from 1996 to 2007, collected the names and street addresses of about 100,000 subscribers and photographs and articles submitted by about 3,000 former readers, the FTC letter says. In addition, XY.com, which closed in 2009, collected the names, street addresses, email addresses, personal photos and online personal profiles of between 500,000 and 1 million users, the letter said.

Two men seeking to establish ownership of the personal information from subscribers, apparently in an effort to restart the magazine or website, may run afoul of US law prohibiting deceptive and unfair business practices, warned David Vladeck, director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"The XY privacy policy is simple, explicit, and clear," Vladeck wrote. "Subscribers and members were told that their personal information would not be sold, shared, or given away to 'anybody.' Therefore, any sale or transfer of the data to a new company, new owner, or other third party would directly contravene the privacy representations and could constitute a deceptive practice by the original company or its principals."

Peter Larson, listed as majority owner of magazine publisher XY Residuary in the bankruptcy filings, and Martin Shmagin, president of financial consulting firm Innovative Financial Solutions, have asserted ownership of the customer information, the FTC said in its letter.

A lawyer representing Larson and Shmagin didn't immediately return an email message seeking comment on the FTC letter.

Subscribers entrusted their data to Cummings and XY, not to investors Larson and Shmagin, the FTC said in a filing with bankruptcy court. If Larson and Shmagin would attempt to sell the information to recover money that's owed to them, it would represent a major "threat" to public safety, the agency said in the filing.

"Data could be sold and re-sold for decades," the FTC said in the court filing. "Customers would have no adequate remedy at law and no way to regain their security."

Even if Larson and Shmagin used the personal information to restart the magazine or website, the information may not be consistent with the original purpose for which it was collected, the FTC said. Mailing notices to subscriber addresses may create privacy concerns, and subscribers expectations have likely changed because the magazine and website closed, the letter said.

"With regard to the street addresses collected by XY, many of these were provided by minors living with their parents or others who may have been unaware of their sexual orientation," Vladeck wrote. "With the passage of time since the magazine and website's demise, many of these minors may have moved."



I remember furtively looking through XY as a young gay at the bookstore. It was very...white.
movies | The Sound of Music

Stephanopoulos seeks advice for Obama from Old Spice Guy. Plus a discussion on gender/advertising.

On Twitter, @GeorgeStephanopoulos wrote:
"@OldSpice Hey Old Spice Man -- Political question: President's lost some female support. How does WH get those women voters back?
Answer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Bli13rO9A&

Context: Old Spice has engaged in a two-day viral campaign where the Man Your Man Can Smell Like™ answers Twitter/Yahoo/YouTube questions via 180+ video responses.

Yes, this is relevant to the community #dontjudgeme. Dont think so? Think this is just an excuse to feature shirtless Old Spice Guy on ONTD_P? Fine. Let's debate the sociological implications of Old Spice's successful viral campaign with regard to gender/sexism/misogyny:

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Personally, I clearly dont feel bad for liking these ads, haha. Nor do I think liking them makes me a bad female postmodernist. I fall into the camp that sees these as deliberately over-the-top caricaturization of common gender stereotypes, even if it is, in the end, just to hawk a line of body wash. Share your own thoughts.


ETA:  His real name is Isaiah Mustafa ( IMDb | Twitter ). ^_^
Def-Con4

THIS IS WHAT WHITE CONSERVATIVES ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

Conservative website WorldNetDaily, ground zero for Birther conspiracy theorists and a vocal supporter of The TEA Party Movement, recently polled its readers on "Who do you think is the most racist in America today?"

Neo-Nazis? Didn't even make the list.
David Duke? One vote.
Sarah Palin? Whose own father said she dropped out of Hawaii Pacific Univesity, because she was "uncomfortable" being around so many Asians and Native Islanders? One vote.
The Ku Klux Klan? Didn't even crack the top ten.

Well who are the 12 groups or people who are more racist than the KKK? Take a look:

Photobucket

Yep. Your average, day-to-day, black or Hispanic person is more racist than the United States's most infamous white supremacist organization.

Source
indignant

Sue Myrick explains that racism and prejudice save lives, people!!!!!

 Anyone remember the terrible 1997 movie The Jackal, in which Bruce Willis played an international assassin with a secret identity and the propensity for dreaming up the craziest, most super-complicated ways of doing the simplest things? Here, let's allow the great Roger Ebert to remind you:

"The Jackal" is a glum, curiously flat thriller about a man who goes to a great deal of trouble in order to create a crime that anyone in the audience could commit more quickly and efficiently. An example: Can you think, faithful reader, of an easier way to sneak from Canada into the United States than buying a sailboat and entering it in the Mackinaw to Chicago race? Surely there must be an entry point somewhere along the famous 3,000-mile border that would attract less attention than the finish line of a regatta.

[...]

There was never a moment in "The Jackal" where I had the slightest confidence in the expertise of the characters. The Jackal strikes me as the kind of overachiever who, assigned to kill a mosquito, would purchase contraband insecticides from Iraq and bring them into the United States by hot air balloon, distilling his drinking water from clouds and shooting birds for food.

I immediately thought of this movie, and this review, when I heard this latest nutlog conspiracy theory from the utterly zany Representative Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).


MYRICK: Well the thing that concerns me, and you mentioned this briefly, Iran is working with Venezuela. And they're transiting through Venezuela, taking Spanish for maybe six months. They're getting the false documents that they need, coming up through Mexico and if they're stopped, they just say well I'm Spanish. And it, oh I mean Mexican, and it only takes a smart border agent who knows the difference in the accents. He can tell, but if he doesn't have that, there's no way to know.

And the other thing that we're seeing, and we're seeing it in your state in particular in the prisons is Farsi tattoos. Farsi is basically a Persian language, which Iran is, and we know we've seen Arabic tattoos in our prisons for a long time, but we havent seen Farsi tattoos in a long time. That's a pretty good indication that these people coming across our border are not just coming from Mexico and other countries that are looking for work. And that's what scares me. Being on Intelligence, we know there are people who are are here who do want to do us harm who are already in the country and it's not a matter of will they get in anymore, it's a matter of they're already here because of our lax border laws.

Why on earth would Iranian agents provocateurs need to travel to Venezuela to learn Spanish ("for maybe six months!") when they receive foreign language education in their own schools, beginning in the seventh grade? Why do they need to learn Spanish, at all? Is it so they can make a perilous border crossing from Mexico, as opposed to entering the country in any number of easier ways? Why not just learn to patter like a French-Canadian and cross from the north?

And what's with the tattoos? Is this some secret tactic that allows Iranian agents to recognize one another? Are they training special tattoo artists? Why can't these Iranian agents just communicate with each other in any one of a myriad of less complicated ways that have sustained humanity for centuries? (I'm guessing they don't because these agents from Iran are either stupid or crazy, based upon their crack plan to infiltrate the country through Venezuela's distance-learning programs.)

Also: prison tattoos. Aren't they commonly found on people who are already locked up in jail?

To paraphrase Ebert, there was never a moment in the above clip where I had the slightest confidence in the expertise of the people who appeared in it. And she sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is precisely the sort of thing that encourages terrorists.

Source

After overcoming my initial anger I actually laughed wholeheartedly. However, this woman's stupidity combined with her insanity and the fact that she actually is someone with power is frightening as SHIT!
Sufjan Smile

It’s Obama’s Empire Now


President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meet in an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on March 28.

The American Empire is alive and well—and as expansive as ever. We have established more than 700 military bases across the world, largely encircling the peripheries of Russia and China, which are now central to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The Cold War in the aftermath of World War II drove the expansion as we searched for security—and markets, to be sure.

Perhaps we now are the largest imperial power the world ever has known. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan trivializes the once-massive naval and air facility at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, and we have developed “permanent” mega-bases in Iraq. We engage in denial, and euphemisms abound. Stumping for the colonial takeover of the Philippines in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, so fashionable today, insisted that “there is not an imperialist in the country. ... Expansion? Yes. ... Expansion has been the law of our national growth.” Chalmers Johnson reminds us of Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s liberal “idealist imperialism,” which would make the world safe for democracy. (See Johnson’s “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic” and other works.) Deceit comes from the top.

Johnson cites neoconservative journalist Charles Krauthammer, who, as we embarked on the Afghanistan war, touted the British model and remarked that “Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” Oh? Then why did the British with their jodhpurs and pith helmets fail in Afghanistan, as did the Russians, whether Cossacks with swords or Soviets with missiles? Why did the British ignominiously retreat from their empire, and why did the Soviets tuck tail and leave Afghanistan in the 1980s? Rather pathetic models, and hardly to be emulated, one would think.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited the Republic of Georgia, which Russia had invaded in 2008 in helping establish independence for two breakaway provinces. George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice expressed outrage and sympathy for the Georgians—who sit astride the oil-rich Caucasus. We are still at it, now in a “bipartisan” manner, pushing for, or appearing to push for, NATO membership for Georgia. When asked to specify why Georgia was so important for the United States, Clinton responded with glittering generalities of support—no blank check here, only evasion.

Clinton ardently courted an informal alliance. She reiterated the U.S. “commitment” to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Further, she said that the U.S. “does not recognize spheres of influence”—meaning Russian. In one sense, the statement reflected our foreign policy since 1945, while we of course maintained and expanded our own spheres of influence. The Monroe Doctrine since the 19th century offers ample evidence, and then add the Truman Doctrine, NATO and the now-forgotten CENTO and SEATO.
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Source: TruthDig

The article brings up some good points about Afghanistan and some more-neglected conflicts in critical thought, like Georgia.

Mostly, I like it for the however-brief Teddy Roosevelt bashing. It's weird to see so much hero-worship of a man who gave us the Roosevelt Corollary (which basically asserted that the US had the right to interfere in any affairs in Central America and the Carribean), and said things like:

"The settler and pioneer have at bottom had justice on their side; this great continent could not have been kept as nothing but a game preserve for squalid savages"

or

"The world would have halted had it not been for the Teutonic conquests in alien lands; but the victories of Moslem over Christian have always proved a curse in the end. Nothing but sheer evil has come from the victories of Turk and Tartar."

But he was HARDCORE RIGHT, BULLY!

Anyways, feel free to turn this post into a discussion on US imperialism by large too, ~don't constrict it to the modern day~
Aaronburr-bakersdozen

An Omar Broadway Film

HBO:  An Omar Broadway Film

OMAR BROADWAY and Buddy Randolph once believed that the truth would set them free.
And might even make them rich and famous.
Armed with a smuggled-in video camera, the pair, cellmates at Northern State Prison, in Newark, N.J., spent six months back in 2004 shooting footage of themselves, their fellow inmates and those inmates' sometimes violent interactions with correctional officers in hopes of, as Broadway put it at the time, showing "the world exactly what goes on within the confines of these buildings."

Held in a unit of the prison where those identified as core gang members were confined to their cells almost 24 hours a day, the pair made the most of their tiny window on the corridor outside their cell to show aspects of prison life that most of us never see.

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Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/98393394.html