Source: The one and only, Onion
Source: The one and only, Onion
[Several weeks ago], leaders of nations from both the G8 and G20 gathered in Ontario Canada, for meetings in in Huntsville and Toronto. Canadian authorities planning for the event spent an estimated $1 billion, mostly for security. Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Toronto, looking to have their voices heard on a broad range of issues, from indigenous rights to anti-capitalist ideals, to human and animal rights, and much more. Many peaceful marches took place throughout the weekend, but on Saturday, a small group of "black bloc" anarchists became violent, smashing storefronts and burning several police vehicles. Harsher tactics and more arrests by the 20,000 police officers deployed to Toronto soon followed, although many of those arrested were released from a temporary G20 detainment center soon after.( Collapse )
Source: "G20 Protests in Toronto" | The Big Picture | Boston.com
Gulf Oil Spill Hits Louisiana's Largest Pelican Nesting Area
Biologists say oil has smeared at least 300-400 pelicans and hundreds of terns in the largest seabird nesting area along the Louisiana coast – marking a sharp and sudden escalation in wildlife harmed by BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The finding underscores that official tallies of birds impacted by the spill could be significantly underestimating the scope of damage.
The government counts only oiled birds collected for rehabilitation or found dead, for use as evidence in the spill investigation. Oiled birds in the many nesting areas that dot the Gulf coast typically are left in place and not counted in official tallies.
Researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology said Wednesday that they had spotted the oiled pelicans on Raccoon Island over the past several days. The spit of land lines the Gulf outside the state's coastal marshes. An estimated 10,000 birds nest on the island in Terrebonne Parish.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Lisa Williams said state and federal observers had documented only 68 oiled pelicans on Raccoon Island.
Biologist Marc Dantzker with Cornell – considered one of the nation's premier institutions for bird research – said about 30 to 40 of the pelicans spotted by his group were oiled "head-to-tail." Many more had visible blotches of oil.
Dead birds also were seen, although no count was available for those.
"This is a major oiling event of an incredibly important seabird colony," Dantzker said. "Many of these birds will be dead soon – weeks and months. These blotches are deadly."
Even a small amount of oil can kill birds because it hampers their ability to regulate their body temperature.
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WI GOP congressman supporting Ron Johnson surprised that Johnson supports Great Lakes oil drilling.
Ron Johnson, a wealthy business executive and leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin this year, is beginning to receive scrutiny for his far right views. He has been criticized recently for opposing an anti-sex offenders bill, the Child Victim Act, and for saying that he is “glad there’s global warming.” Last month, when asked if he would support drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, Johnson — who owns more than $100,000 in BP stock — replied, “I think we have to, get the oil where it is.” At a town hall on Wednesday in Howards Grove, Wisconsin, ThinkProgress asked Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) — who was sporting a Ron Johnson for Senate bumper sticker — if he agreed with Johnson’s support for Great Lakes oil drilling. Petri said he personally hasn’t supported Great Lakes drilling, but seemed genuinely baffled by Johnson’s radical views, and refused to comment:
TP: Ron Johnson, the Senate candidate here in Wisconsin, says he opposes the drilling moratorium and he even goes as far as saying he wants drilling everywhere, even possibly the Great Lakes. Would you support that kind of position?
PETRI: Well I haven’t but I don’t know the details of what exactly is being talked about and I sort of hate to respond to someone else’s characterization of an individual’s position without knowing what they actually said myself.
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Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriage after the Senate voted in favour.The country's Chamber of Deputies has already approved the legislation.
The vote in the Senate, which backed the bill by just six votes, came after 14 hours of at times heated debate.
The law, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, had met with fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious groups.
Thousands protested outside Congress as debates took place inside.
At Sunday Mass, people were urged to protest on the eve of the vote by senators on whether to legalise gay marriage in the country.
"I came to defend marriage between man and woman, because I think any attempt against this is an attempt against natural law," said Angeles Navarro, one of the protesters.
The main slogan for the protest against the legislation was "the children have a right to a mother and a father".
There has been a number of gay marriages recently in Argentina, some of which were annulled by the Supreme Court, creating a legal controversy.
"Same-sex families already exist, gay families already exist, so the task that they (the senate) will have... is to legalise the situation of all those families," said one protester.
Civil unions between people of the same sex are legal in the city of Buenos Aires and in some other provinces but there was no law to regulates it on a country-wide level.
President Cristina Fernandez had stated that she would not veto the measure if it arrived in her office.
The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital, is widely considered to be among the most gay-friendly cities in Latin America. It was the first Latin American city to legalise same-sex unions.
The Palestinian side, which has suffered for decades from the Israeli occupation, can demonstrate moral superiority over the occupier by allowing Gilad Shalit's family to visit him.
By Salman Masalha
In an era of political correctness, there are those who think it appropriate to adjust the message to the audience to which it is directed. I don't agree. In my view, political correctness is a defilement - sweet talk that obscures blatant racism. There is a universal morality that transcends religions, peoples and nations, and is binding on anyone who belongs to the community of humankind.
So when I speak about Gilad Shalit, for example, I call him "the captive Israeli soldier." That's right. Captive and not abducted, which is the term they try to feed the public here. In Israel, they prefer to forget, or deliberately try to make others forget, that Shalit was not abducted. He was taken captive as a soldier in a military operation carried out against an army, in the context of the Palestinian national struggle against the decades-long Israeli occupation. That basic fact turns the act into a legitimate one, carried out by a people fighting for its national liberation.
So far so good, but from this point forward there are other things that have to be said. I have already published them in Arabic for an Arab audience, because it's important for the Palestinians to hear that the Shalit case belongs to them too. It is appropriate that these things be heard in Hebrew as well, and read by all manner of brainwashed Hebrew speakers. The remarks also have to do with the Israeli Palestinians (yes, there are such creatures, who also read and speak Hebrew ).
There is no doubt - this I believe, this I want to believe - that Israeli captive Gilad Shalit is being treated humanely by his captors in Gaza. All of us hope a prisoner exchange deal is carried out quickly, and that the Israeli captive returns to his family and the Palestinian prisoners return to theirs.
Nonetheless, the silence by Palestinian intellectuals over the case is troubling. Hamas is demanding a large number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit's release.
No one has asked himself what this means from a moral standpoint, in terms of the way the Arabs view the value of each individual Arab. How much is an Israeli prisoner worth compared to Arab or Palestinian prisoners?
The silence of Arab Knesset members is also conspicuous. They cry out, and rightly so, about the injustices of the Israeli occupation and the suffering it causes the Palestinian people, but not a word is heard from them taking a clear moral stand on Shalit. That is their duty. They must rise and wholeheartedly tell the Hamas government in Gaza and Khaled Meshal, who pulls the strings in Damascus, that there are things that are simply unacceptable. They can and must say that refusing to allow the Red Cross to visit the Israeli prisoner is a moral stain on the Palestinian struggle as a whole. If Shalit is a prisoner of war, and he is, then he is certainly entitled to all the rights accorded prisoners of war under international law.
The Palestinian side, which has suffered for decades from the Israeli occupation, can demonstrate moral superiority over the occupier by allowing Shalit's family to visit him, or at least by allowing Red Cross representatives to visit him, just as they visit Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
I have never understood why the Arab side is forsaking the moral arena, leaving it for others. It is acting as though matters of morality are none of its concern. Those who choose to abandon the moral arena should not be indignant over their poor image in the eyes of the world.
The writer is an Israeli-Palestinian, if it wasn't clear.
Ex-Officer Avoids Jail Time in Arrest of Times Square Bicyclist
A former New York City police officer convicted of lying about a confrontation with a bicyclist in Times Square was given a conditional discharge on Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The former officer, Patrick Pogan, had faced up to four years in prison, but will avoid any time behind bars. He also will not be placed on probation.
In April, a jury found Mr. Pogan guilty of filing a criminal complaint that contained false statements concerning a 2008 collision with Christopher Long, who was participating in a Critical Mass bike ride. Mr. Pogan’s complaint alleged that Mr. Long knocked him to the ground by intentionally steering his bicycle into him. But video footage of the episode, which was a viral presence on the Internet, showed that Mr. Pogan remained on his feet, while Mr. Long flew to the pavement.
Mr. Pogan was acquitted of falsifying the initial arrest report filed against Mr. Long. The jury also acquitted Mr. Pogan of a less serious charge of assault.
Mr. Pogan, who was on the job for less than two weeks when the collision occurred, resigned from the police force. Because he was convicted of a felony, he would not be allowed to attempt to rejoin the Police Department.
Here's a partial list:
false information to peace officer
required to register as sex or arson offender
dump waste or offensive matter
discard appliance with lock
possess forged notes
pass fictitious check
obtain money by false voucher
fraudulent use of access cards
stolen license plate
embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
false personification of other
injure telephone/ power line
interfere with power line
unauthorized cable tv connection
administer/expose poison to another's
The department's chief had said in recent days that unless the city could meet the union's demands, officers would no longer respond in person to register sex offenders, or for reports of vehicle accidents, grand theft, identity theft, burglary, embezzlement, vandalism, stray animals and others.
Instead, victims in most non-emergency situations are being directed to file reports over the Internet. Police say the move will help them better focus on emergencies and violent crime.
Union and city officials had been in talks to save the jobs by requiring police to contribute 9 percent of their paychecks to pension funds: something already required of other city employees. The police union balked and demanded Oakland ensure that if they agreed, no officers would be laid off for another three years. The city could not make such a promise, so the impasse grew.
"In a press conference tonight Brunner said the city’s final offer was to allow police union members to pay 4% of their pension now and an additional 3% come July 1, 2011," California Beat reported. "Because the union had already agreed to pay 2% beginning January 2013, officers would have contributed the 9% the city sought, Brunner said.
But in a move that infuriated victims’ groups and put United States bishops on the defensive, it also codified “the attempted ordination of women” to the priesthood as one of the church’s most grave crimes, along with heresy, schism and pedophilia.
In its revision, the Vatican doubled the statute of limitations in abuse cases from 10 to 20 years from the victim’s 18th birthday and added possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of mentally disabled adults to the list of crimes handled by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In a statement, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the changes were a sign of the church’s commitment to addressing child sex abuse with “rigor and transparency.”
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It's nice to see that they are attempting to put procedural safeguards in place regarding pedophilia, but the statements regarding ordaining female priests is enraging.
Gay adoption and domestic partnerships have taken center stage in Georgia's GOP gubernatorial primary, as the AJC's Jim Galloway notes:
"State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, former congressman Nathan Deal, and former state senator Eric Johnson are all pointing to former secretary of state Karen Handel’s history on those particular issues."
Handel, Georgia's former Secretary of State, is against gay marriage, civil unions, and gay adoption.
He points to a contentious interview Handel did with 11Alive in which she proudly spews her bigotry
Q: Frequently, folks in the Legislature kind of threaten to — there are always rumblings in the Legislature that they may outlaw gay adoptions. You’re against gay adoption.
A: I am against gay adoption. But remember — I mean, if there is legislation on that, certainly I will follow that and look at it. But in the end, ultimately courts are going to be the ones to have to make the decision on that and it’s always in the best interests of the child. Do I think that gay parents is in the best interest of the child? No. But we do have our court system that deals with many and most of those issues.
Q: Would you favor outlawing gay adoptions?
A: Yeah, I would consider that, absolutely.
Q: Do you know any gay couples with children?
A: Not that I’m aware of.
Q: So you think gay couples are less qualified to function as parents than straight couples?
A: I think that for a child to be in a household — in a family in a household with a situation where the parents are not married, as in one man and one woman, is not the best household for a child.
Q: Is it better or worse than a single parent household?
A: Doug, I’m really trying to be straightforward with you but I’m not going to debate all the nuances. I’ve made it abundantly clear that I think that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that’s what I believe, and I don’t know what more you would like me to add to that.
Q: I guess I want to know why you think gay parents aren’t as legitimate as heterosexual parents.
A: Because I don’t.
And that last line just nails it on the head. She's an outright bigot.
Source 1, 2, 3
DEAD @ I'm not going to debate the nuances. Sweetie forget nuances, you haven't even provided a BASIC argument.
By Chris Hedges
White House / Pete Souza
A close reading of the new health care legislation, which will conveniently take effect in 2014 after the next presidential election, is deeply depressing. The legislation not only mocks the lofty promises made by President Barack Obama, exposing most as lies, but sadly reconfirms that our nation is hostage to unchecked corporate greed and abuse. The simple truth, that single-payer nonprofit health care for all Americans would dramatically reduce costs and save lives, that the for-profit health care system is the problem and must be destroyed, is censored out of the public debate by a media that relies on these corporations as major advertisers and sponsors, as well as a morally bankrupt Democratic Party that is as bought off by corporations as the Republicans.
The 2,000-page piece of legislation, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), will leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. It will permit prices to climb so that many of us will soon be paying close to 10 percent of our annual income to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will only pay for about 70 percent of our medical expenses. Those who become seriously ill, lose their incomes and cannot pay skyrocketing premiums will be denied coverage. And at least $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies will now be handed to insurance firms. We will be forced by law to buy their defective products. There is no check in the new legislation to halt rising health care costs. The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female work forces can be charged higher gender-based rates. The dizzying array of technical loopholes in the bill—written in by armies of insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means that these companies, which profit off human sickness, suffering and death, can continue their grim game of trading away human life for money.
“They named this legislation the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and as the tradition of this nation goes, any words they put into the name of a piece of legislation means the opposite,” said single-payer activist Dr. Margaret Flowers when I heard her and Helen Redmond dissect the legislation in Chicago at the Socialism 2010 Conference last month. “It neither protects patients nor leads to affordable care.”
“This legislation moves us further in the direction of the commodification of health care,” Flowers went on. “It requires people to purchase health insurance. It takes public dollars to subsidize the purchase of that private insurance. It not only forces people to purchase this private product, but uses public dollars and gives them directly to these corporations. In return, there are no caps on premiums. Insurance companies can continue to raise premiums. We estimate that because they are required to cover people with pre-existing conditions, although we will see if this happens, they will argue that they will have to raise premiums.”
The legislation included a few tiny improvements that have been used as bait to sell it to the public. The bill promises, for example, to expand community health centers and increase access to primary-care doctors. It allows children to stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26. It will include those with pre-existing conditions in insurance plans, although Flowers warns that many technicalities and loopholes make it easy for insurance companies to drop patients. Most of the more than 30 million people currently without insurance, and the 45,000 who die each year because they lack medical care, essentially remain left out in the cold, and things will not get better for the rest of us.
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Yeahhh lets raise this healthcare thing like fucking Herbert West up in this. This is a great article posted to truthdig not long ago (aka like three days) by one Mr. Chris Hedges, who's written books like War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, an absolutely bleak, awesome look at war-culture and nationalism. But that's besides the point.
Really it's just a few points most of us were making after the bill was passed anyways. I think I'm just posting to be a rabble-rouser really. Srry guys, it's legit a good article though!
The operation went very well and I am now recuperating," Cheney said in a statement released by his office. The surgery took place last week at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in northern Virginia, where Cheney said he is currently receiving care.
A longtime face of the Republican Party, Cheney has dealt with heart problems much of his adult life, suffering five heart attacks since age 37. He said the latest step, the implanting of a pump called a left ventricular assist device, will allow him to resume an active life.
The kind of heart pump that Cheney received can be implanted next to the heart to help its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, pump blood through the body. Such devices are used mainly for short periods, to buy potential transplant candidates time as they await a donor organ.
But they are being studied for use as a permanent therapy for people with severe heart failure who aren't transplant candidates.
About 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure, where the heart weakens over time — often as a result of heart attacks — and cannot pump enough blood. Heart transplants are one solution, but few patients find a donor and many are too old or sick for a transplant.
Cheney said a few weeks ago it became clear he was "entering a new phase of the disease when I began to experience increasing congestive heart failure."
Late last month, Cheney was admitted to George Washington University Hospital for a few days after reporting he was not feeling well. In that episode, he ultimately received medication to treat a fluid buildup related to his aggressive form of heart disease.
On Wednesday, Cheney said that after testing and consultation with doctors, he underwent surgery last week to install the heart pump. The former vice president offered thanks to those who have kept him and his family in their thoughts.
I'm a surgeon and just read your wire story about Dick Cheney getting a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) placed. The story downplays the seriousness of that procedures...once you've got an LVAD in place, it means your heart is essentially incapable of working on its own and has no potential to improve. While LVAD outcomes have been improving, and some patients live months or even years with one of these devices in place, this is a HUGE operation with MAJOR associated morbidity and mortality. If he's not listed for a heart transplant, his days are seriously numbered. Life on an LVAD isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy...an axiom that this situation really tests. He's in for a rough time.
(and i think thats my three posts for the day. sorry about that)
Boehner: Repeal Wall Street Reform
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that Wall Street reform ought to be repealed and that it penalizes Main Street bankers for the crimes of a few on Wall Street.
"I think it ought to be repealed," Boehner told reporters at a press conference Thursday morning. "I think the financial reform bill is ill-conceived. I think it's going to make credit harder for the American people to get -- clearly harder for businesses to get. And the fact that it's going to punish every banker in America for the sins of a few on Wall Street, I think is unwise. On top of that, I think that it institutionalizes "Too Big To Fail" and gives far too much authority to federal bureaucrats to bail out any company in American they decide ought be bailed out."
Boehner ran through some common Republican talking points, slamming the administration and the financial reform package, and ending with a tribute to the virtues of transparency. "There are common sense things that we should do to plug the hole in the regulatory system..." said Boehner, "to bring more transparency to financial transactions. Because transparency is like sunlight and sunlight is the best disinfectant."
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18th-Century Ship Found at Trade Center SiteBy DAVID W. DUNLAP
In the middle of tomorrow, a great ribbed ghost has emerged from a distant yesterday.
On Tuesday morning, workers excavating the site of the underground vehicle security center for the future World Trade Center hit a row of sturdy, upright wood timbers, regularly spaced, sticking out of a briny gray muck flecked with oyster shells.
Obviously, these were more than just remnants of the wooden cribbing used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to extend the shoreline of Manhattan Island ever farther into the Hudson River. (Lower Manhattan real estate was a precious commodity even then.)
“They were so perfectly contoured that they were clearly part of a ship,” said A. Michael Pappalardo, an archaeologist with the firm AKRF, which is working for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to document historical material uncovered during construction.
By Wednesday, the outlines made it plain: a 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel had been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level on the World Trade Center site, the first such large-scale archaeological find along the Manhattan waterfront since 1982, when an 18th-century cargo ship came to light at 175 Water Street.
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Source, plus more pictures!
oh man I wonder what's gonna happen with this find? This is really exciting to me. :D
Urban College Prep Charter Academy--the nation's first all-boys charter school--has found an ingenious new way to boost its stats: cheating.
A Chicago Sun-Times article last week heralded the success of the school's 100 percent college-bound rate for its first class of graduating seniors. If it were true, the achievement would have been a very impressive feat.
The school was established in 2006 in the notoriously neglected neighborhood of Englewood on Chicago's South Side. The first year's inbound freshman class of 166 students, drawn from the 98 percent African American neighborhood, was required to wear uniforms of suits and ties and pushed to raise test scores fast.
The school reported in its very first year that it had broken its fundraising goals, attracting plenty of corporate funding support in addition to its allotment from the Chicago Public Schools system.
Yet according to the Interactive Illinois Report Card, the school failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards in 2009, with only 15 percent of students meeting or exceeding grade level proficiency in all areas of standardized testing, well below the Chicago district's 62 percent.
Starting in May, news outlets from People magazine to Good Morning America began humming with celebrations of Urban College Prep's 107-student graduating class all moving on to college. Then came the still-jubilant announcement that all 95 graduating seniors were college-bound.
The question, of course, is what's become of the other 71 students who began in the 2010 class? And why did reporters not pick up on the shrinking pattern in Urban's good news?
While the Sun-Times published a glowing piece in the print edition of their paper on July 9, the story did not appear on the newspaper's Web site, perhaps indicating an editor realized after the print paper went to press that 95 students out of 166 in fact gives the graduating class a college-bound rate of 57 percent, substantially lower than the 69.8 percent average rate of other Chicago public high schools, according to the Chicago K-12 Examiner.
This deception cuts a hole right in the middle of the school's self-proclaimed project of interceding in the lives of young men with otherwise scant resources, revealing a deeply cynical willingness to "disappear" the students who weren't able to make it to graduation.
Of course, young men in Englewood ought to be given every opportunity and encouragement to succeed in school, but the same year that Urban Prep opened its doors, three other public high schools on Chicago's south side were closed.
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Here’s the opening paragraphs of the most recent example:
As predicted, the only outcome of the election is that one set of self-serving crooks has replaced another, and our country continues its decline and disintegration. It is time we reflected on the terrible future that awaits our country, our children and grand-children.They’ve decided at this inauspicious moment to relaunch the Young BNP, not to be confused obviously with a group with a somewhat similar name which was fairly massive in the 30s and 40s in a certain foreign nation.
If the politicians and the media have their way, our country will be totally overrun by the masses of the Third-World, we will be ruled from Brussels, we will be a despised, second-class minority in our own homeland.
Is that the future you want for your children? Will you regret it when it is too late and you wished you would have joined the British Resistance when you had the chance?
Perhaps because of the connotations with that other youth organisation, as well as journalists infiltrating the grouping, the group has been renamed and is now aimed at the slightly older 18 to 30 market.
For those imagining this might be an exercise in encouraging the master race to procreate in a Club 18-30 style, you’ll probably be disappointed.
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Source: Liberal Conspiracy
OP Note: I knew that guy in the second picture looked familiar - just realised where from. A while back he made an unbelievably crap and petty response to "Fuck You" by Lily Allen. Enjoy!
CNN reports from Louisiana, showing the heartbreaking scene of countless puppies and kittens torn from their families, and facing euthanasia if homes are not found. The Louisiana SPCA is even forced to send animals to other states, as there just isn't enough room to house all of the orphaned pets.
While the SPCA recently set up a donation-based fund to support out-of-work fisherman with pet food and veterinary care , they still don't have enough money to help everyone. Ana Zorilla of the SPCA thinks that BP should pay to support pets that are being forced out of their homes as a consequence of the oil spill. For families already confronted with the loss of their livelihood and struggling to support themselves as a result, having to say goodbye to the family pet is just "one more blow on top of everything else," she says.
GO HERE to help Gulf pets stay with their families.
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If the embed doesn't work, go the source here
Note - this is not a no-kill shelter.
The abuses raise further questions about the ability of Kyrgyzstan’s weak central authorities to control the tumultuous south of the country, where sympathies remain strong for the former president who was ousted in April, Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev.
Reported by Human Rights Watch and acknowledged by the current government, the abuses come at a time when the new leadership is already riven by infighting ahead of parliamentary elections in October. With several top ministers having resigned, citing the need to prepare for the vote, the interim president, Roza Otunbayeva, announced Wednesday that she was forming a new caretaker government.
The police actions could further inflame hostilities and possibly provoke new clashes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday in a statement.
“They detain one or two people every day,” Anna Neistat, a researcher for the group, said of the moves by the local police against ethnic Uzbeks. “They have been doing this over the last two weeks. And the vast majority of these people seem to be subjected to ill treatment and torture in detention.”
The New York Times has the entire article.
A tightly fitted cap was successfully keeping oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in three months, BP said Thursday. The victory -- long awaited by weary residents along the coast -- is the most significant milestone yet in BP's effort to control one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
Kent Wells, a BP PLC vice president, said at a news briefing that oil stopped flowing into the water at 2:25 p.m. CDT after engineers gradually dialed down the amount of crude escaping through the last of three valves in the 75-ton cap.
"I am very pleased that there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, I'm really excited there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico," Wells said.
The stoppage came 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first report April 20 of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill.
Now begins a waiting period to see if the cap can hold the oil without blowing a new leak in the well. Engineers will monitor pressure readings incrementally for up to 48 hours before reopening the cap while they decide what to do.
Though not a permanent fix, the solution has been the only one that has worked to stem the flow of oil since April. BP is drilling two relief wells so it can pump mud and cement into the leaking well in hopes of plugging it for good by mid-August.
BP has struggled to contain the spill and had so far been successful only in reducing the flow, not stopping it. The company removed an old, leaky cap and installed the new one Monday.
Between 93.5 million and 184.3 million have already spilled into the Gulf, according to federal estimates.
Finding a pair of comfortable yet sexy heels can be a challenge for any woman. Imagine trying to find a pair of sassy platform sling-backs for a 250-pound, size 15-foot man.
Bernie Fatla, owner of a Verona-based company, has the answer.
His business, Le Dame Footwear, sells shoes ranging from ballet flats to 4-inch heels to thigh-high boots for men who are transgender or dress in women's clothes.
"It's the most fun I've ever had in my entire life," said Fatla, a heterosexual, married, suburban businessman who worked for more than 26 years as a buyer and merchandise manager for Famous Footwear. "I think (the business) is absolutely right for the time."
Le Dame primarily ships wholesale orders to retail and online stores across the country. The idea was born in 2006 after Fatla, who had been laid off years earlier, read a New York Times article that described the problems of drags queens searching for comfortable, sexy shoes.
"I told my wife there's got to be a business here," he said.
And there was. But before launching the line, Fatla and his wife, Sharon, did their homework, setting up booths with shoe samples at cross-dressing conventions, attending drag shows and cold calling stores and clubs to confirm there was a market and to learn what cross-dressing men were looking for in a pump.
He learned there was an untapped market and that drag queens were forced to buy women's shoes that were often too ill-fitting to wear for more than a couple hours.
"It can be really, really hard to find professional shoes," said Denise Leclair, executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, who said she's met Fatla at a conference where she told him "make some shoes I can wear to the office."
Fatla said he can't remember ever being to a drag show before starting Le Dame, but said the openness of the transgender and cross-dressing community has meant he and his wife always feel comfortable at the events.
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I thought this was pretty neat.
A PPC spokesman confirmed this afternoon it had received 72 complaints against the Daily Express and three against the Daily Mail.
He added that the body would consider whether the complaints fell within the remit of its its editors' code of practice, which includes discrimination and accuracy.
A protest is due to take place outside the Express' office in London this evening.
The case centred on two gay asylum seekers, from Iran and Cameroon, who had been told they could return home if they kept their sexuality secret.
The court ruled that they could not reasonably be asked to hide their sexuality. In the judgment, Judge Rodgers said that gay men must be "free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts" and drink "exotically coloured cocktails".
Reporting the decision last Thursday, the Express used the headline "Now asylum if you're gay" and quoted from Judge Rodgers' bizarre statement in its standfirst.
The Daily Mail's headline was "What planet is he on?", referring to the judge, while the Daily Star said there was "no room for gays".
A number of protesters, including National Union of Journalists chiefs Jeremy Dear and Michelle Stanistreet, wrote to the Guardian today to complain, accusing the newspapers of stirring up "hatred".
They wrote: "The only motivation in these tabloid articles is to whip up hatred and division. They want to create scapegoats and undermine opposition to the Tories' cuts. They also risk intensifying homophobia in Britain. The murder of Ian Baynham last autumn is a terrible reminder of where this can lead."
Other signatories to the letter were Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and gay campaigners Mark Healey, Sue Sanders and Tony Fenwick.
A protest was set to be held outside the Daily Express' offices this evening at 5pm.
Author Hannah Dee, who organised it, said that demonstrators were demanding a retraction and an apology.
She said: "If you've got a front page saying 'Now asylum if you're gay'… you're trivialising the issue. The judge's comments were blown completely out of context."
She also accused the newspapers of showing a "pattern of homophobia".
Donnacha Delong, the vice-president of the National Union of Journalists, is expected to speak at the protest this evening.
He said: "We condemn the homophobia of all [three] of the papers. The PCC should do something about it."
Mr Delong added that he would be speaking about the NUJ's call for editors to sign up to a "conscience clause", which would allow journalists to refuse to write stories they deemed discriminatory or offensive without the risk of sacking.
Source: Pink News
Vacation Liberty School: Tea Party-Allied School Aims To Re-Teach Civics With Emphasis On Faith
Call it vacation Bible school, Glenn Beck-style.
Some three dozen kids ages 10 to 15 are spending five nights this week learning what organizers – some with tea party ties – say they won't hear in school about the Constitution, the Founding Fathers and the role of faith in the birth of the United States.
"If we're going to take our country back, we've got to remember where we came from – not only as adults, but we need to teach our children," said Tim Fairfield, one of the teachers, who wore a three-cornered hat at the opening class of Vacation Liberty School. It's held in a church basement in Georgetown, a city just north of Lexington that is the site of a major Toyota assembly plant.
The curriculum includes lessons like "equal rights, not equal results," "recognize men don't create rights – only God," and "understanding falsehoods of separation of church and state."
And organizers say the program has drawn interest from people looking to start new chapters in Ohio, Colorado, New York, Florida and other communities in Kentucky.
It's is an offshoot of the 9/12 Project, inspired by Beck, the conservative commentator, who had no direct role in the planning of the Kentucky school. Beck declined comment.
The project, which seeks to unify Americans around nine values – including honesty, hope and sincerity – and 12 principles, was behind some of the raucous protests at health care forums around the country last summer.
On Monday, the first night of Vacation Liberty School, the basement of Gano Baptist church was converted into a tyrannical kingdom meant to resemble colonial England where students were told they must suppress their laughter, sit apart from their friends and flawlessly recite "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Against the urgings of a mock king's representative, the brave ones ventured through the rugged terrain of a maze of upside-down tables discovered an adjoining room with all the luxuries of the New World. There they could play basketball, toss beanbags and ride a teeter-totter while being showered with confetti as Neil Diamond's "Coming To America" blared over the speakers.
Some parents showed up early to quiz the organizers about the curriculum. Others said they wouldn't mind a conservative slant to balance out what they say is a liberal influence in the public school system.
"Other people are trying to put their viewpoints out there, so I don't see any reason why we can't put our viewpoints out there," said John Cravens, the father of two children who attended.
Eric Wilson, head of the Kentucky 9/12 Project, acknowledges he and many others behind the school are strong supporters of the conservative tea party movement, which claims Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul as one of its highest-profile members. But he says the curriculum was carefully planned to make sure politics didn't creep in.
"We may be playing in the same sandbox," Wilson said. "But in the 9/12 Project, we're going to tell you where the sand came from while the tea party is telling you what sand to buy."
Joe Conn, spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, isn't so sure. A news release announcing the school referenced the tea party, leading him to believe that if Vacation Liberty School isn't crossing the line into politics, it's coming close.
"All Americans want kids to learn about the government and political system," he said. "It's something quite different when kids are being indoctrinated in church in one political tradition. That's quite different from learning objectively and academically about civics."
He cautions Gano Baptist could risk losing its tax-exempt status if explicit political lessons are being taught in a church setting.
But the Rev. Wayne Lipscomb, the pastor there, says he had no political motivations for allowing the classes to be held without a rental fee. Tickets were distributed online for free.
"I think our kids need to know about the Founding Fathers and they need to understand the connection between God and the Founding Fathers," he said. "They don't need to hear the revisionists' stories of history."
With such weighty topics swirling, 13-year-old Matthew Porter seemed to get some of them jumbled.
"I didn't know faith, hope and charity were parts of the Constitution," he said. "I thought they made it as laws, nothing to do with church."
Although there was no talk of Democrats or Republicans during Monday's session, there was an activity geared toward teaching children the dangers of communism.
Given pistols to shoot soap bubbles out of the air, the students quickly learned they could do it far more easily by refilling from their own buckets of water rather than having to share a communal one.
Fairfield told the class the lesson is that while secular communism sounds good in theory, free enterprise works far better in practice.
Later in the week, the economic teachings would extend to lessons on debt and inflation. As more money is printed, the costs of candy and toys at the school's canteen will skyrocket.
Even in the New World it's not all fun and games, the children learned. When told it was time to clean up, 10-year-old Taylor Lopez responded with a quip.
"Now we have to clean up America?" she asked.
Brazil officially launched Tuesday the campaign for October presidential election which begins with a polarized scenario and the two main candidates, incumbent Dilma Rousseff and opposition hopeful Jose Sierra virtually even in vote intention according to the latest public opinion polls.
The election for the successor of President Lula da Silva, the most popular leader in Brazil since Getulio Vargas in the fifties, promises to be the most hard-fought in recent history and the first since 1989 in which the former union leader is not running.
Lula da Silva’s whose support stands at 80% took office January first, 2003, was re-elected in October 2006 but is barred constitutionally from a third consecutive mandate.
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(CNN) -- She's a sexy celebrity with millions of fans, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
With flashy music videos and a performance at the White House this past March, Mozhdah is a singing sensation and a model. And her latest achievement is becoming the host of a popular -- though controversial -- television talk show.
But if you don't know who she is, you're probably not an Afghan.
Mozhdah Jamalzadah is an Afghan superstar in a country still struggling with war and a battle between ideologies and cultures.
Born in Kabul, Mozhdah was only five when her family fled to Canada.
"When I was growing up, my parents were like, 'don't ever forget where you're from. And don't ever forget your people because you're one of the lucky ones,'" she says. And she didn't forget.
The singer, in her mid-20s, came back to Kabul seven months ago where she is now caught between two very different worlds. "I was an emotional mess when I came here and I realized I might not want to go back (to Canada)," she says, sitting inside an armored vehicle driving along the streets of Kabul.
"But then I have my life over there too," she says reminiscing about her family and friends in Canada.
Including one furry friend.
"I miss my cat so much," she says laughing.
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The activists said the group that submitted the petitions wants to siphon votes from tea party conservatives running as Republicans.
Mark Steffek, a Tuscola County man who described himself as head of the party that turned in the petitions, issued a statement Wednesday criticizing both major parties and claiming "the tea party is a grassroots movement that belongs to everybody. No one person, click (sic) or party boss owns the tea party."
He could not be reached for comment. His statement contained no phone number, e-mail or other address.
Leaders of tea party groups in Michigan said they have had no contact with Steffek or others linked to the petition drive.
"This is absolutely not legitimate," said Mark Graham, an organizer of a tea party group in Tuscola County.
A spokesman for the Michigan Democratic Party said it had "absolutely nothing" to do with it.
A group calling itself the Tea Party submitted an estimated 59,400 signatures to state elections officials, well in excess of the 38,000 needed to qualify it as a minor political party eligible to run a slate of candidates in the November election.
A statement from the enigmatic head of the Tea Party, Mark Steffek of Richville, delivered by untraceable fax Wednesday afternoon, said the political party will allow the tea party "to keep holding these politicians accountable."
But veteran Michigan tea party activists said there are ties between Steffek, the UAW, Democratic politicians and the firm hired to collect signatures for the petition drive, which has worked for the state Democratic Party.
LOL This is going to be good!
The financial reform bill passed by the Senate on Thursday mandates the creation of a new federal entity charged with protecting consumers from predatory lenders.
But if Geithner has his way, the most prominent advocate for creating the agency may not be picked to lead it.
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For the tl;dr crowd, Geither doesn't want Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer protection agency because she actually does her job and gives a damn. Oh, and makes him squirm as she chews him out. She needs this job.
Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious "Gods Hates Fags" congregation out of Kansas, will be in San Diego next week to rain down 45 minutes of eternal and inconsequential damnation upon your idolatrous worship of Spider-Man and Green Lantern.
This appears to be an opportunistic double, as the same day the same group is scheduled to picket a San Diego hotel where Al Gore is, I guess, staying. The "action" is listed for July 22 on the group's schedule of events:
Are you kidding?! If these people would spend even some of the energy that they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here. They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! Isaiah 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. It is time to put away the silly vanities and turn to God like you mean it. The destruction of this nation is imminent - so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.
Wait a minute, you mean Batman's not a legitimate deity?
After accomplishing nothing in San Diego, Westboro's back to ruining some military funerals in the greater Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri area, before two dates on July 28 and Aug. 3 to bitch about Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga ... hmm ... the enemy of my enemies is my ... fuck it, they're all enemies.
Reminder: If You're Going to SDCC, You're Going to Hell [Topless Robot. Image via NerdBastards]
Send an email to the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org.Source: kotaku.com/5588292/hate-church-targets-c
A Jacox Elementary teacher who anointed students with "holy oil" in the classroom is the second Norfolk public school educator this year to be investigated for inappropriate religious activities.
The division confirmed that a fifth-grade teacher performed "religious practices" in the classroom, and may have done so throughout her three-year tenure in the school system. The division would not identify the teacher but said she resigned after an investigation of the incident.
Earlier this year, the division investigated after teachers at Oakwood Elementary told the state that their principal had led staff and student in prayer prior to Standards of Learning testing. Teachers also said they felt pressured by the principal, Sheila Tillett Holas, to attend prayer or Bible sessions at school before the class day began.
Stephen Jones, the superintendent at the time, concluded that no activities occurred that violated division policies.
At Jacox, a parent complained in early June about the teacher's religious actions.
Interim Superintendent Michael Spencer told the School Board in a memo Wednesday that he interviewed the teacher. She admitted that "she had rubbed 'holy oil' on students and their desks during the school day."
The teacher was immediately removed from the classroom and she resigned, the memo said.
According to Karen Tanner, a division spokeswoman, the teacher's activity violated the school system's instructional curriculum "and violates policies and laws related to the separation of church and state."
With the Jacox incident echoing concerns raised earlier at Oakwood, Spencer told the Board he will remind principals at a convocation next Tuesday about the division's policies and expectations regarding religious expression in schools.