July 18th, 2010

Starbucks Xmas Cup 1

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston to Wed

In an interveiw w/US magazine, Levi and Bristol give a four and a half page interview on reuniting, their engagement, Tripp, and mother Sarah. I'm typing this out word for word.

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They are also on the cover of the US mag issue. Which I'll scan tomorrow and edit the post w/if anyone wants me to. Just typing up 4/12 pages w/a hyper kitten running around the room was enough, lol. But I thought y'all would enjoy this.
movies | The Sound of Music

"ATTN Auto-Tune the Interview".

Independent journalist
Posted: July 16, 2010 12:16 PM | Stefan Sirucek

"God Bless America" is a phrase so overloaded and overused that it rarely escapes cliché - unless, of course, it's delivered by a bellowing Joe Biden, his voice pitched to melodious perfection and backed up by a chorus of "Hey!"s, as he appears to fly through a glittering, purple starcloud.

That peps it up a bit.

Moments like these are why people love Auto-Tune the News, the Webby-award winning Youtube series that remixes news clips, adding music and tweaking the speakers' audio with pitch correction -a.k.a "auto-tune" - software, to hilarious effect.

ATTN is the mutant-media brainchild of the Gregory Brothers, a creative entity consisting of brothers Michael, Evan and Andrew Gregory and Sarah Gregory, who's married to Evan. The brothers are originally from Virginia ("Appa-latch-a," quips Michael) and Sarah Gregory is from Texas. All are now based in Brooklyn, NY.

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Balthier - Not impressed

Newspaper likens Alvin Greene's canidacy to circus act

There always has been a bearded lady/man-swallows-fire aspect to the candidacy of Alvin Greene, the 32-year old, unemployed military veteran facing an obscenity charge who somehow turned zero name recognition and just a little more money into 100,000 votes and a U.S. Senate primary victory last month.

There won’t be a big top erected at Manning Junior High today. But there will be circus-level curiosity when Greene, at the invitation of the Manning branch of the NAACP, makes what is scheduled to be a 20- to 30-minute speech.

SOURCE I'm sure doesn't mean it that way.

seeking conscientious objector status to avoid serving with openly gay soldiers

Pleas by Conscientious Objectors Evolve

WASHINGTON — Answering the G.I. Rights Hotline for the last 11 years, J. E. McNeil has counseled thousands of soldiers who want to become conscientious objectors and get out of the service.

But when the House of Representatives voted May 27 to allow the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, paving the way for gay men and lesbians in the military to be open about their sexual orientation, Ms. McNeil got a hot-line call that raised a new issue: the caller said he considered homosexuality an abomination and wanted to be a conscientious objector because he could not serve in the military alongside gay soldiers.

“I told him I wasn’t trying to criticize, but he was already serving with gays, since there’s lots of gays in the military now,” said Ms. McNeil, the executive director of the Center on Conscience & War, a nonprofit group that supports conscientious objectors. “He said, ‘Yes, but now if they come out, they can be forced out. But if homosexuality is actually allowed, I will be housed with somebody who’s sexually attracted to me.’ ”

For Ms. McNeil, a Quaker lawyer committed to helping anyone with valid legal grounds get out of the military, the call presented a legal and personal conundrum — and a possible unintended consequence of a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I told him it was outside the norm, and I’d have to think about whether it met the legal criteria,” she said. “I won’t tell you my internal dialogue. But I will tell you I have a brother who died of AIDS and a sister who’s a lesbian.”

The next day, while Ms. McNeil was thinking through the legal ramifications, the center got an e-mail message raising the same issue.

“This is just the beginning,” Ms. McNeil said. “When the other shoe drops and the policy actually ends, I think we’re going to get a lot of these.”

The New York Times has the entire article.

What is this, I don't even...

And one saga comes to an end

Tea Party Federation kicks out Williams over blog post

(CNN) -- The National Tea Party Federation, an organization that represents the Tea Party political movement around the country, has expelled conservative commentator Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote, federation spokesman David Webb said Sunday.

Appearing on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Webb said that Williams and the Tea Party Express -- which has held a series of events across the country to generate support for the movement -- no longer were part of the National Tea Party Federation.

"We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote," Webb said of the blog post by Williams that satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln.

Webb called the blog post "clearly offensive."

Williams wrote the blog post in response to a resolution by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.

The NAACP, the nation's main group advocating civil rights for African Americans, cited signs carried at Tea Party events and racial slurs reportedly shouted at black congress members during an event as some examples of racism in the movement.

The announcement by Webb on a Sunday talk show demonstrated that the public outcry over the issue had resonated with the Tea Party movement, and indicated a possible split within its leadership.

On the same program, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous called for other Tea Party leaders besides Webb, who is African American, to come out against racist elements in the movement.

"Dear Mr. Lincoln," began the fictional letter posted by Williams. "We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

Williams went on to write that the Tea Party movement couldn't be racist because it opposed government bailouts for Wall Street banks and big corporations.

"Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?" the posting said. "What kind of racist would want to end big money welfare? What they need to do is start handing the bail outs directly to us coloreds!"

Williams, a conservative talk radio host, said the post was intended as satire. He took it down as criticism mounted.


Now we can move on to a kindlier, gentler, more reasonably spoken racism

(no subject)

But Bootstraps!! Socialism!!! Socialist Libural Utopia!!! Those Have to Count!!!!

The Stupidity and Hypocrisy of the Austerity Movement

There has been growing talk of the need to reign in reckless government spending. Regrettably, this talk is not based in any knowledge of economics or history.. Let me explain why.

A Brief History of the Deficit

According to the Bureau of Public Debt, the US has been running a structural deficit for the last ten years, not just the last year. Here is a chart of the total amount of federal debt outstanding at the end of each federal fiscal year for the last ten years:

09/30/2009 $ 11,909,829,003,511.75
09/30/2008 $ 10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 $ 9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 $ 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 $ 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 $ 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 $ 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 $ 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 $ 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 $ 5,674,178,209,886.86

The reason for this yearly increase of at least $400 billion in net new federal debt/year is simple: the US cut taxes but didn't make a proportionate cut in spending. As a result, total debt outstanding increased.

If the austerity movement was really about the increase in federal debt, it would have emerged sometime after 2004-2005 when the US' structural deficit issue started to emerge in the data.

A Brief Explanation of GDP

Gross domestic product is comprised of four elements. Consumer spending (C) + Investment (I) + Exports (exports-imports) + government spending (g). Here is the equation:

C+I+X+G = GDP.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, government spending has accounted for about 20% of US GDP since 1970.

In other words -- government spending is always part of the national economic equation.
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Uncle V wants you

Michele Bachmann organizes Tea Party Caucus; Democrats chuckle

Washington Post: Are Democrats chuckling about Michele Bachmann's Tea Party?

I don’t think Rep. Michele Bachmann, the very right-wing Republican from Minnesota, is doing her party any favors by creating a Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. In fact, I imagine that this is the first thing Bachmann has done in a long time that will make Democrats happy.
Not surprisingly, Bachmann declared herself chair of the caucus, for which she filed paperwork on Thursday. “This caucus will espouse the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold,” she declared. “The American people are doing their part and making their voices heard and this caucus will prove that there are some here in Washington willing to listen."
That last part, about proving that “there are some here in Washington willing to listen," is what I suspect will make many Republicans nervous. This will put a lot of people on the line, and force some into an unappetizing choice.
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The Tea Party might be armed and dangerous, but they seem to be more of a threat to their supposed friends than to their ostensible enemies.  Also, this article made for tag-a-palooza--so many applied!

Charlie Brooker's Screen burn: The news

Must be difficult for news teams, struggling to shed light on this immense planet peppered with stories. Where do you start? You determine which current event is most likely to affect your audience, and place that at the top of your agenda. Then you methodically explain said event, so your viewers or readers retire for the night with a clearer sense of the world, and their place in it.

Unless there's a gunman on the loose. Then you just shout like a wanker.

That masturbatory term is a fitting one. When it develops an obsession with a particular kind of story, the news turns into an idiot with an erection. Its IQ plunges 50 points and it can't stop till it's satiated.

The hunt for Raoul Moat got the news so flustered, it shrieked its reports at a pitch several hundred octaves above satire. Beneath a photograph of Britain's Most Wanted Man as an infant, The Sun ran the caption "Cute baby … but two-month-old Moat clenches his fists". On the front page, his estranged mother apparently wished him dead.

Moat was so enraged by this kind of coverage, he threatened to kill a member of the public for each inaccurate report he came across, like an extremist wing of the Press Complaints Commission. The police requested a news blackout on stories relating to Moat's private life. Soon the rolling news networks were reduced to filling hours of airtime with speculation about what kind of campsite he might have built. To make this seem exciting, they'd yabber that "the net" was "closing", or read out exhaustive lists of how many the guns the police had.

When the police cornered Moat on the outskirts of Rothbury, the immediate advice to everyone in the vicinity was this: for your own safety, go inside and lock your doors. The BBC's Jon Sopel recounted this information as he strode down Rothbury high street, moving as close to the standoff as possible. At the cordon, a distressed and tearful woman explained that her mother's home was in the sealed-off area. She rang her mum. Sopel asked her to put it on speakerphone. "That's a bit impersonal," said the daughter. But she obeyed.

Then Sopel borrowed the phone himself, presumably so everyone at home could enjoy hearing how scared the old lady was. After several minutes he handed the handset to the woman's husband, who was standing patiently on the sidelines, waiting to speak to his wife. The phone was still on speaker when Sopel passed it back, so the man's conversation with his shaken wife was also broadcast live on air, with a camera trained on his reaction.

In the background, lads attracted by the cameras grinned and gave the odd thumbs-up, lending events the air of a live Children In Need link up. Why stay indoors for your own safety when you can walk outside and be on TV? If I was 15, I know what I'd do.

Meanwhile, other reporters were competing to get as close as possible to an armed confrontation with a mentally unstable gunman with an acknowledged hatred of the media. On air, they whispered down phones so the police couldn't hear them. Sky's James Matthews crept to "within metres" of the standoff until an armed officer caught him. "Crept up silently, first I knew was when I felt his breath on my cheek," he tweeted. There were other tweets from TV reporters, written in a breathless hurry. Channel 4's Alex Thomson apologised for the rush: "Sorry lots of Bberry tweets in dark running thru peoples gardens evading cops – some spelling may have gone astray".

Eventually a shot rang out. Matthews held his microphone in the air and captured it for posterity. The muffled blast was replayed over and over on Sky, while Kay Burley asked an expert to assess what the "significance" of this single shot might be. The expert thought it sounded like a suicide. He was right. Raoul Moat had done as the front page suggested. The story had come to its end.

And we all retired for the night with a clearer sense of the world, and our place in it.

Source: The Guardian