July 19th, 2010


Global Injustice and Moral Challenge

My son is studying economics at high school, so I took him to a talk by Amartya Sen at the RSA last week on Reducing Global Injustice. (Follow link for audio and video. See also summary by Mick Yates.) Sen is undoubtedly one of the greatest economists of our time but he is not the most inspiring speaker, and spent much of the time explaining subtle differences between his position and that of other thinkers, rather than presenting a clear ethical argument from first principles. My son found Sen's conversation with Matthew Taylor extremely heavy going, despite Matthew's best efforts to draw out the more interesting aspects of Sen's recent thought.
Someone asked Sen to identify the greatest form of injustice, hoping that he would identify gender inequality, but he rightly refused to do so, saying that different forms of injustice are both incomparable (on what basis can you possibly say that gender inequality is greater or smaller than mass poverty or genocide) and interconnected (injustice against children, invalids, old people and women are not separate injustices). Sen has demonstrated his strong support for women's rights and feminism in his books, but that doesn't mean that gender ranks above all other possible injustices.

more at source

I knew I liked Amartya Sen!
copshows| Stickup Man

ONTD_Political's PotD: July 18, 2010.

Amish Environment | Amish farmers face growing scrutiny for agricultural practices, chiefly involving manure runoff, that the federal government sees as environmentally destructive.

Indians Arise | In Latin America, and especially the Andes, a political awakening is emboldening Indians.
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How are Bankers/CEOs Going to Make Money by Being Honest and Fair? That's Just Madness!!

Elizabeth Warren: Honest, Fierce, and Decent... and Communist Sympathizer!

The Real Reason Geithner Is Afraid of Elizabeth Warren

As reported on HuffPost last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner's views.

One can assume that Geithner, being very close to the nation's biggest banks, is concerned that Warren, if chosen, will exercise her new policing and enforcement powers to restrict those abusive practices at our commercial banks that have been harmful to consumers and depositors.

Certainly, Warren is not the commercial banking industry's first pick to serve in this new role. And unlike other legislation in which an industry's lobbying effort would naturally slow or cease once the legislation is passed, the new financial reform bill is continuing to attract enormous lobbying action from the banks. The reason is simple. The bill has been written to put a great deal of power as to how strongly it is implemented in the hands of its regulators, some of which remain to be chosen. The bank lobby will work incredibly hard to see that Warren, the person most responsible for initiating and fighting for the idea of a consumer financial protection group, is denied the opportunity to head it.

But this is not the only reason that Geithner is opposed to Warren's nomination. I believe Geithner sees the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as a threat to the very scheme he has utilized to date to hide bank losses, thus keeping the banks solvent and out of bankruptcy court and their existing management teams employed and well-paid.
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franklin sherman

WaPo and wikileaks release MASSIVE info dump on Top Secret America


The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

The investigation's other findings include:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

"I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities," he said in an interview. "The complexity of this system defies description."

The result, he added, is that it's impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities. "Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste," Vines said. "We consequently can't effectively assess whether it is making us more safe."

This is huge guys. Tons of information. We need to start digging, post the highlights.

Glenn Beck is Going Blind Y'all

During a tearful and passionate speech at his "American Revival" meeting in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Fox News host Glenn Beck revealed that he may be going blind.

During his speech (video below), Beck told the audience, "I can't focus my eyes."

Taking a shot at health care reform, Beck said, "I went to the best doctor I could find, while I could still go to the best doctor I can find."

Beck, 46, says he has been diagnosed with macular dystrophy, and joked that the doctor told him, "You could go blind in the next year . . . or you might not."


Don Tony Hayward: "I am Gonna Make Him an Offer He Cant Refuse"

Nation Awakens to Find a Dolphin's Head Covered in a Pool of Oil Within Their Bed Sheets

BP: RICO Law Made To Combat Mafia Used Against Oil Giant In Lawsuits

Using a law originally enacted to combat the Mafia, attorneys are filing lawsuits accusing BP PLC and Transocean Ltd. of committing a longterm series of crimes by concealing flaws in deepwater drilling plans and lacking safeguards to contain a catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill.

BP has been named in at least three lawsuits brought under the federal law known as RICO, which stands for Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Transocean, which leased the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP, has been named in two lawsuits filed in Louisiana and Florida.

The lawsuits accuse both companies of committing wire and mail fraud over a number of years by filing false documents with the U.S. government, and by misleading investors through other documents and falsehoods.
They also claim both companies are guilty of bribery because they are part of an overall oil and gas industry effort to "infiltrate" federal regulators by providing favors such as alcohol and drugs, sex, golf and ski trips, concert and sports tickets, and more.

"The pattern of racketeering activity engaged in by defendants involves a scheme to fraudulently create a pretense of safety to the public while, at every turn, seeking to avoid the costs associated with actually conducting their operations in a safe manner," claims a lawsuit filed by Louisiana attorney Daniel Becnel and others on behalf of a restaurant seeking to represent a huge class of businesses suffering economic loss from the oil spill.
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Left-wing journalist assassinated on his doorstep

Journalist Investigating Siemens Scandal was Killed

The director of Theme 98.9 radio station and Troktiko e-blog Sokratis Golias was shot pointblank outside his home in the Athens suburb Iliupolis at 5.20 am this morning. Golias is a longtime associate of the famous journalist Makis Triandafilopoulos. He was arrested 6 months ago on charges of defamation. He claimed in his blog that another associate of Triandafilopoulos, George Psaras was CEO of the company Telepassport through which, it is believed, the black cash money of Siemens were transferred. Then it turned out that this is a coincidence of surnames. George Psaras sued Golias and he was arrested again early in the morning and taken from his home to the prosecutor. Then the police confiscated and the Troktiko blog computers.

It is not clear yet whether the murder of Sokratis Golias has something to do with the Siemens scandal. The police are still investigating the motives for the murder. The wife of the journalist is shocked and unable to testify. The victim is the father of a 2-year-old child.

The murderers were two or three and were disguised as policemen. They knocked on the front door, saying that someone tried to steal the car and motorcycle of the journalist. When Sokratis Golias opened the door, they fired five bullets in him. Death occurred instantly. The murder is covered by the Security Service in Attiki and the Anti-Terrorist Office.

Source 1. The source above is one of the few reports in English I could find. An article in Italian here gives more information, including that the police have moved on to considering organised crime, rather than terrorist groups, hence the anti-terror office is no longer involved. As a campaigning leftist journalist, Golias was subject to regular death threats. The Italian article concludes with some fear-mongering speculation about armed anarchists out to murder journalists because of their collusion with capitalism. This is one of the less charming idiosyncrasies of Italian journalism.

If you don't know about the 2008 Siemens scandal, the Wikipedia entry is a quick overview; a Spiegel article is also interesting background, if a little dated.
aurora // once upon a time

Verdict reached in Semrau case

Military panel is set too announce decision in case of Canadian Forces Captain charged in death of Afghan man

The military panel deliberating on the fate of a Canadian Forces captain charged in a battlefield death in Afghanistan is to announce its verdict shortly.The panel began its deliberations Saturday afternoon in the case of 36-year-old Captain Robert Semrau, and met again all day Sunday and Monday morning.
The panel is set to announce its decision at 2 p.m. ET.
Capt. Semrau is accused of firing two rounds from his rifle into a dying Taliban fighter in Helmand province in October 2008.
The trial has heard that Capt. Semrau told fellow officers after the shooting that he simply wanted to put a wounded and dying enemy fighter out of his misery. Capt. Semrau never testified during his four month trial, and his lawyer presented no evidence.
He is charged with four different offences, including second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, with no chance of parole for 10 years.  
Also, see
this post for further reference.


Semrau cleared of murder charge

Captain Robert Semrau has been found not guilty of killing a wounded Taliban soldier by a Canadian military court.
He was found guilty of disgraceful conduct however today.

Source. & Second update.

I'm glad he wasn't convicted on the murder charge. I think this case highlights the morally ambiguous situations we expect our soldiers to navigate through, and the problems of applying domestic laws to the battlefied.

Then we take Costa Rica... The USA and the militarization of the Caribbean

How can we understand the American presence in Costa Rica? The USA is in fact in the process of militarizing the whole Caribbean area, something which is crucial to the process of rebuilding America's dog-eared hegemony in Latin America. Indeed, this has been one of the key policy objectives of the Obama administration.

On Thursday 1st July, the parliament of Costa Rica approved a US request for permission to station between 7,000 and 13,000 US troops (the precise number is still uncertain) on its territory. The troops will arrive in 46 warships. This request, backed by Laura Chinchilla's government and the parties who support her - the National Liberation Party (PLN), the Libertarian Movement (ML) and Costa Rican Renovation (RC) - would be covered under the Security Section of the Free Trade Agreement between Costa Rica and the USA which was signed despite significant popular resistance after a rigged referendum in October 2007 [1]. The excuse being given to justify this extraordinary presence of US troops is the fight against drug trafficking [2], a sort of catch-all expression normally used throughout the region to justify any outrage against the local population or any interference that Washington feels the need to indulge in.

But is drugs really the issue at stake? Is this really a war against drugs? Let's examine the military equipment being employed...

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Source: Anarkismo (citations there, as it was a big list)

If Your Water Sample Explodes: That's Just Nature's Way of Being Uncooperative With Big Oil

The Bad News is that there is Water in Our Oil. The Good News is that Now Our Cars Can Run on Water!

Oil Spill: Gulf Water Sample Explodes When Chemist Tests For Toxicity (VIDEO)

In this video, WKRG News 5 investigates the toxicity levels of local public beaches that have been populated with people swimming and children playing in the water in Alabama. Their search ends with some explosive results.

WKRG teams up with Bob Naman, an analytical chemist with almost 30 years in the field. Naman tested WKRG's various samples for petroleum, and said he expected to find no more than 5 parts per million (ppm). Instead, Naman finds results that far exceed his expectations: 16 ppm from waters at Katrina Key, and 29 ppm at Orange Beach.

The most shocking results came from a sample of water collected near a boom at Dauphin Island Marina. When Naman combined the sample with an organic solvent that separates the oil from the water, which he did for all the other samples as well, it exploded in his lab, breaking the container and destroying the sample in the process. Naman thinks the reaction was caused by the presence of methane gas or Corexit, the dispersant that BP has been using in the Gulf.

Call for Justice Sets Off a Debate

NEWBERRY, S.C. — Before dawn on June 2, law enforcement officials here say, a white man shot and killed a black co-worker at close range. Then, he tied his body to the back of a truck and dragged it for nearly 11 miles before the rope broke, leaving the mangled corpse of the victim, Anthony Hill, on a bloody patch of road.

Malik Zulu Shabazz, president of the New Black Panther Party, called for the death of Mr. Hill to be classified as a hate crime.

On Saturday, black-clad members of the national New Black Panther Party marched to the courthouse steps to demand that the case be classified as a hate crime.

All that seems fairly straightforward, even par for the course. But on close examination, this story unfolds like origami in reverse, saying less about racism in the South than about the fraught posturing of the summer’s raging national conversation on race.

“We keep finding these surrogates and calling them a racial dialogue, but instead it’s just drama without a substantive discussion,” said Susan M. Glisson, the director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in Oxford, Miss. “It’s like that old saying, ‘You shed more heat than light.’ ”

In recent days, the New Black Panthers have been at the center of an unrelated furor over what conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin say is reverse racism in the Obama administration. And the New Black Panther Party is itself a hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Even Bobby Seale, a leader of the original Black Panther Party of the 1960s, has called it “a black racist hate group” that is usurping the original Panther name.

Here in Newberry, a town better known for its college and its opera house in what was once the egg-and-dairy capital of South Carolina, the sight of beret-topped men with walkie-talkies and “black power” placards attracted curious spectators.

“It’s really interesting that there’s a hate group taking a position on calling something a hate crime,” said Rebecca Smith, a white retired auctioneer who sat with her husband on the sidewalk in front of their house, watching the march go by. “They kind of cancel each other out.”

The march and demonstration attracted several hundred of Newberry’s black residents, who pumped their fists in the air and agreed to support the group’s seven demands, including justice for Mr. Hill, reparations for slavery and “self-improvement in the black community.”

The entire article can be found at the New York Times

At last...he speaks

In his first campaign appearance, South Carolina's surprising U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene avoided any major gaffes Sunday as he hit his three major themes of jobs, education and justice.

The speech started off with a joke and ended with Greene timidly waving, a shy smile spreading across his face as he got a standing ovation before a friendly audience in his hometown of Manning.

Greene's 6 1/2 minute speech at the local NAAP's monthly meeting was mostly serious. Left out was any mention of his suggestion earlier this month that creating a line of action figures modeled after him could give South Carolinians jobs. In their place came platitudes familiar to anyone who has heard a stump speech.

"Let's get South Carolina and America back to work and let's move South Carolina forward," said Greene, one of about a dozen lines that got applause from the several hundred folks crammed into a sweltering junior high gymnasium.

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Mom who inspired "The Blind Side" inspires me to continue hating the movie

Leigh Anne Tuohy, Mom Who Inspired 'The Blind Side,' Talks Parenting

by Julie Z. Rosenberg

"Leigh Anne scared me from the minute she opened the door," Bullock writes in an interlude chapter of the new memoir "In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving," by the husband and wife team of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

In their book, the Tuohys add personal insight to their story (before it was a movie, it was a bestselling book of the same title by Michael Lewis) about their generosity of spirit and how even the smallest act of kindest can forever alter someone else's life. ParentDish talked with Leigh Anne Tuohy, and an edited version of the interview follows.

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halleluyer, amen.

Fat? Ugly? Old? Good Luck Getting Hired

Poll: How Much Beauty Is Worth At Work

NEWSWEEK surveyed hiring managers and job seekers about the role of beauty in the workplace. The bottom line? It pays to be good-looking.

We’ve all heard the stories about how pretty people have it easy: babies smile more around good-looking parents; handsome kids get better grades and jobs, and earn more money; the list goes on. Still, we’d probably all like to think that we’ve earned our jobs on merit alone—and that, in this economy, it’s our skill that will get us back in the game. But if you believe the results of two new NEWSWEEK Polls, you’d better think again—because in the current job market, paying attention to your looks isn’t just about vanity, it’s about economic survival. Job candidates have always been counseled to dress up for interviews. But our surveys suggest managers are looking beyond wardrobe and evaluating how "physically attractive" applicants are. NEWSWEEK conducted an online survey of 202 corporate hiring managers, from human-resource employees to senior-level VPs, as well as a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 964 members of the public, only to confirm what no qualified (or unqualified) employee wants to admit: that in all elements of the workplace, from hiring to politics to promotions, even, looks matter, and they matter hard. The eight most interesting revelations:
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Isn't it nice to have my worst suspicions about lookism confirmed?  I guess I better start saving up for botox now. 
this is my life

Fireman's Widow at Center of Lawsuit

The family of a Wharton firefighter who died battling a massive egg farm blaze is fighting to keep his widow from receiving death benefits, arguing that the 37-year-old had found out his bride of two years was born a man.

Thomas Araguz III separated from his wife after learning her history two months prior to being trapped in the fatal July 3 fire, according to attorney Chad Ellis, who is representing Araguz's parents in the lawsuit.

"He was distraught. It was extremely difficult and embarrassing for Tommy," said Ellis, who added that there is no will for the estate, which will be substantial since the fire captain died in the line of duty.

Thomas Araguz learned during a custody dispute with his ex-wife last spring that 35-year-old Nikki Araguz, whom he married in August 2008, was allegedly born as Justin Graham Purdue. Ellis said he was unsure when Nikki Araguz may have undergone a sex-change operation, but the lawsuit claims she changed her name in the mid-1990s to Nikki Paige Araguz.

Nikki Araguz has been court-ordered not to remove any property from their home, withdraw funds from any account or receive any death benefits, as part of the lawsuit filed last week in state district court by the firefighter's mother, Simona Longoria.

Among the issues: Who will be the administrator of the estate and whether Nikki Araguz was Thomas Araguz' lawful wife. The family wants all the death benefits to go to the two young sons that Araguz had with ex-wife Heather Delgado.

The lawsuit, slated for Friday in Wharton County District Court, leans on 1999 state case law prohibiting same-sex marriage and maintaining a person's gender forever remains the same as it was at birth, Ellis said.

"We are not blazing new legal ground here," Ellis said.

Nikki Araguz declined Sunday to discuss her gender history, and insisted that her husband knew everything about her personal life when they married in August 2008. She also said the couple was not separated.

"We had a completely honest marriage, a 100 percent loving, honest marriage," she said. "I am grieving the loss of my husband and best friend."

She also would not discuss her birth name or whether she was connected to the criminal history of Justin Graham Purdue, which includes at least three theft convictions.

Nikki Araguz, a native of northwest Houston, ran an unsuccessful bid for Wharton mayor against a volunteer firefighter this past spring, drawing 30 percent of the vote. She closed her magazine, Wharton County Living, immediately following her husband's death.

Another issue at play: Only a spouse may file a wrongful death suit, Ellis said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state fire marshal have said the fire — which required 150 firefighters from 31 departments — was caused by a light fixture.


Say what?

Suriname ex-strongman
Bouterse back in power

The former military ruler of Suriname, Desi Bouterse, has been elected president by the South American nation's parliament.

Mr Bouterse won the necessary 36 votes out of 50 after weeks of negotiations with political factions following a narrow election victory in May.

Mr Bouterse, 64, first led Suriname after taking power in a coup in 1980.

He has been accused of killing political opponents and convicted of drug trafficking in the Netherlands.

His supporters waved flags and cheered outside parliament in the capital Paramaribo, after he secured enough votes for the presidency.

But opponents voiced dismay that the former coup leader had been elected.

"We have gone totally mad in this country," government employee Michael Charles told the Associated Press news agency.

Murder charges

Mr Bouterse's Mega Combination coalition won won 23 out of 51 seats in May's parliamentary election, so he had to get the backing of other parties to secure the two-thirds majority he needed to be elected president by parliament.

Desi Bouterse first seized power in a coup in 1980, five years after Suriname won independence from the Netherlands.

He stepped down under international pressure in 1987, then briefly seized power again in 1991.

In 1999 a Dutch court sentenced him in absentia to 11 years in prison for cocaine trafficking, but the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

He is also facing a long-delayed trial in Suriname for his alleged role in the murder of political opponents in 1982.

Critics say his campaign for the presidency may have been motivated in part by a desire to secure immunity from prosecution.


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

panda bear

(no subject)

Syria Bans Full Islamic Veils At Universities

Syria has forbidden the country's students and teachers from wearing the niqab – the full Islamic veil that reveals only a woman's eyes – taking aim at a garment many see as political.

The ban shows a rare point of agreement between Syria's secular, authoritarian government and the democracies of Europe: Both view the niqab as a potentially destabilizing threat.

"We have given directives to all universities to ban niqab-wearing women from registering," a government official in Damascus told The Associated Press on Monday.

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Spanish Parliament To Consider Banning Islamic Veils In Public

Spanish lawmakers will debate barring burqas in public, joining other European countries considering similar moves on the grounds that the body-covering garments are degrading to women, the leading opposition party said Sunday.

Top officials of the ruling Socialist Party have indicated they will support the proposal by the opposition Popular Party, making a ban likely unless the country's highest court rules it unconstitutional.

A debate in Spain's lower house has been set by the Popular Party for Tuesday or Wednesday, the party said.

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1 & 2

Thanks For The Crazy, Sharron. We Will Miss You... Not

If You are a Politician and it is Election Time, You Dont Have to Be Better than Your Political Opponent. You Just Hope They are Tea Bag Extremists With The Lowest IQ.

Reid On The Rise: How Sharron Angle's Rough Month Put Harry Reid Back On Top

Harry Reid is back -- maybe. Or perhaps it's just that his opponent, former state Rep. Sharron Angle, is taking herself down.

Earlier this year, Reid seemed like a sure goner. Unemployment in Nevada was sky high. The bad economy had especially damaged Nevada's tourism base. (The latest statistics this morning show an unemployment rate of 14.2%.) The state's voters seemed very unhappy with the Senate Majority Leader. He lagged in the polls. And it looked like he would face a tough challenge in November from former state GOP chair Sue Lowden.

And now? Reid's back on top in the polls. And his challenger, Angle, has made a series of unforced errors that seem to be hurting her campaign, and helping Reid's.

Angle won the Republican primary despite polls generally showing her to be the weakest potential GOP candidate. She largely has Lowden to thank. The former state GOP chair had a rather amusing self-destruction after encouraging the use of barter in order to lower health care costs, pining for the days when her grandparents' generation would bring a chick to the doctor.

And now recent polls have shown Reid running ahead or closing the gap against Angle, who's made a number of gaffes of her own. There's a Dem poll giving Reid a four-point lead. Jon Ralston, one of the top political reporters in the state, called that poll "ominous news for Angle, if those numbers are right - and I bet Republicans know they are."

On top of that, a new Mason-Dixon survey shows Reid up seven points -- a 10-point swing from last month, when Angle led by three. Furthermore, Rasmussen shows the trend in Reid's favor. On June 9, Angle led by 11. A month later, on July 12, that lead had shrunk to three.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Reid a narrow edge of 42.8%-42.6% -- the first time this year that Reid has led in this composite at all. In fact, take a look at the graph. As you can see, Reid is rebounding just slightly, but Angle is taking a serious dive, illustrating how the nature of Reid's comeback has come from Angle's errors:
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oldboy box

Christopher Hitchens: Mel Gibson Isn't Just An Angry Narcissist

Mel Gibson Isn't Just an Angry NarcissistHis tirades are the distilled violence, cruelty, and bigotry of right-wing Catholic ideology.

By Christopher Hitchens Posted Monday, July 19, 2010, at 11:03 AM ET

Every time Mel Gibson unburdens himself of a tirade against Jews or "n______s" or uncooperative females, there are commentators on hand to create a mystery where none exists. When he produced The Passion of the Christ, which lovingly and in detail recycled the bloody myth that all Jews are historically and collectively responsible for the murder of Jesus, it was argued by many mainstream Christians that his zeal for the faith might be a touch lurid but that the film itself was mainly devotional. When he was arrested on the Malibu freeway and screamed abuse at a police officer to the effect that Jews were responsible for all the wars in the world, pundits convened on page and screen to speculate whether our Mel had too much to drink that evening. Not long ago, I watched him go completely bug-eyed on television at a Jewish interviewer who asked him about the latter incident. "You've got a dog in this fight, haven't you?" he hissed. And now, in the wake of a Niagara of cloacal abuse directed at the mother of his youngest child, in which we were spared nothing by way of obscenity and menace and nothing by way of paranoid and sexualized racism, there have been those who diagnose Gibson's problem as a lack of anger management skills, combined perhaps with a touch of narcissistic personality disorder.

This is extraordinary. We live in a culture where the terms fascist and racist are thrown about, if anything, too easily and too frequently. Yet here is a man whose every word and deed is easily explicable once you know the single essential thing about him: He is a member of a fascist splinter group that believes it is the salvation of the Catholic Church.

This schismatic crackpot sect is headed by Mel Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, a nutty autodidact with a sideline in Holocaust denial. During the controversy over The Passion of the Christ, Gibson junior said that he had never heard anything but the truth from his father. I have some of old man Gibson's books on my shelf, including his self-published classics Is the Pope Catholic? and The Enemy Is Still Here!, which essentially accuse the current papacy of doing the work of the Antichrist. My favorite sample of his prose style is the following: "Our 'civilization' tolerates open sodomy and condones murder of the unborn, but shrinks in horror from burning incorrigible heretics—essentially a charitable act." He attacks the late Pope John Paul II for having said, in one of his "outreaches" to the Jewish people, "You are our predilect brothers and, in a certain way, one could say our oldest brothers." Hutton Gibson's comment? "Abel had an older brother." I don't think that there's much ambiguity there, do you? Like many ultra-conservative Catholics, the Gibsons, père et fils, have never forgiven the Vatican for lifting the charge of deicide against the Jews in 1964.

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Promises, promises...

Most countries fail to deliver on Haiti aid pledges

(CNN) -- Six months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, most governments that promised money to a special fund to help rebuild the country have not delivered the cash, a CNN investigation has found.

Donors promised $5.3 billion at an aid conference in March, about two months after the earthquake -- but less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

Only four countries have paid anything at all to the commission: Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia.

The United States pledged $1.15 billion to the commission. It has paid nothing, with the money tied up in the congressional appropriations process.

Venezuela promised even more -- $1.32 billion. It has also paid nothing, although it has written off some of Haiti's debt.

Former President Bill Clinton, a U.N. special envoy for Haiti, said he plans to put pressure on governments that have been slow to deliver on their promises.

"I'm going to call all those governments and say, the ones who said they'll give money to support the Haitian government, I want to try to get them to give the money, and I'm trying to get the others to give me a schedule for when they'll release it," Clinton told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week.

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From last week but I didn't see any updates since then. It only makes sense that the aid won't immediately drop from the sky all at once (and it shouldn't) but I really think things could be better than they are over there right now.

fisting sheep

And in other news, tits are apparently offensive.

Breastfeeding Moms Protest Johnny Rockets

Public breastfeeding is completely legal in Kentucky, but don't try telling that to the manager of the Johnny Rockets in Newport, where a nursing mother was given the boot for refusing to stop feeding her child when directed to do so by the manager.

According to the mom, she went out onto the Johny Rockets patio to feed her 6-month-old daughter. Minutes later, the manager told her she would have to do her breastfeeding out on a public bench.

But, per Kentucky law, a nursing mom can "breastfeed her baby or express breast milk in any public or private location." The woman pointed this fact out to the manager, who told her she could do her feeding in the bathroom if she wanted.

The incident brought protesters to the Johnny Rockets with signs reading things like "Johnny Rockets is not a family restaurant" and "No, I will not feed my baby in your bathroom."

Says the ticked-off mom:
“ I just want people to know there is a law, and whether or not they personally feel comfortable with breast-feeding in public, or whether they bottle-feed or breast-feed or however they choose to raise their families, there is a law that protects mothers' rights to nurse in public. ”

Kentucky is one of 44 states with laws permitting breastfeeding in any public or private location. Additionally, the Bluegrass State is also one of 28 states that has a law declaring that breastfeeding can not be considered an act of public indecency.


The comments by the folks comparing breastfeeding to taking a shit on the floor, or pissing into people's mouths are exceptionally depressing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat my dinner in the bathroom.
Sufjan Smile

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

While Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud lawsuit filed by the SEC, Goldman has not been held accountable for many of its other questionable investment practices. A new article in Harper’s Magazine examines the role Goldman played in the food crisis of 2008 when the ranks of the world’s hungry increased by 250 million. We speak to Harper’s contributing editor Frederick Kaufman.


Frederick Kaufman, contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. Author of the piece The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It from the July issue of the magazine.

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Interview is under the cut, and the video of the interview is at the source. Nothing is bolded, because I urge, urge, urge people to read through it. The speculation on grain prices, food bubble, and resultant food insecurity of millions went way under the radar.

It's as much that capitalism, such wanton speculation, can be seen as immediately dangerous and in fact threatening to various people's livelihoods, just through resources which they need to live being worked over for profit. If there was ever such a concise refuting of the idea of global capitalism being 'abstract' its this. The actions of brokers and speculators and corporations can lead directly to the starvation of another human being. That is exploitation, pure, simple, and tangible.

Sarah Palin compares herself to Shakespeare FOR REAL!

The Twittersphere erupted Sunday when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tweeted that "peaceful Muslims" should "refudiate" the mosque being built in New York City near where the Twin Towers once stood. Palin found herself the butt of many tweets, as refudiate, of course, is not a word in the English language.

After deleting the offending tweet, Palin replaced it with another calling on "peaceful New Yorkers" to "refute the Ground Zero mosque plan," which only added to the confusion because it would appear the word she was looking for was "repudiate." Then came the kicker: To quell the vicious Twitter-ribbing she was receiving, Palin unleashed yet another tweet comparing herself to no less than the Bard of Avon.

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'Refudiate' is still one of the trending topics on Twitter (at least it was a few minutes ago), so log in and have some fun!

Spock/douchebaggery by _kissmygrass
  • lidane

Brave Patriot Glenn Beck Exposes Obama Plot to Murder Tea Party Members and Ron Paul Supporters

You might need a good strong drink before trying to watch this:


Glenn Beck goes completely batshit crazy here, barking and ranting like a lunatic in the throes of a full-out psychotic break — and says the Obama administration is planning to murder Tea Partiers and Ron Paul supporters.

Un. Freaking. Believable.

Beck is crazy all the time, so you may not get it at first — but listen to what he’s actually saying here. This rant really crossed a whole lot of lines.


The crazy really starts at the 2:00 mark if you don't have the stomach to sit through everything.