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July 24th, 2010
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Dozens of Pentagon staff and contractors with high-level security clearance have been found by US federal investigators to have downloaded child pornography.
A spokesman said the defence department takes such matters seriously but would not comment on specific cases.
The Pentagon concern is not just that crimes have been committed, though that alone would be grounds for dismissal, but that it makes those involved security risks.
One of those charged was a contractor who had security clearance at the National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on communications worldwide. He fled the US and is thought to be hiding in Libya.
Details about links between the Pentagon and child pornography were disclosed yesterday in the Boston Globe.
The paper quotes an internal report from the defence criminal investigative service in 2009 which says that though the number found to be involved is small compared with the number employed by the defence department and related organisations, it leaves those involved "at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations".
Some of the pornography was downloaded on government computers.
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Source: The Guardian
Jane struggles to support her son financially and keep up with the demands of his medical care. So last fall when she found out she was pregnant again, and the fetus was male, meaning it was likely to be a hemophiliac as well, she knew she had to get an abortion.
There aren't a lot of places to get an abortion in Louisiana, where Jane lives. She looked in the phonebook and found a listing in New Orleans for Causeway Center for Women. She called the number and spoke to a man with a soothing voice and reassuring manner who promised to get her in contact with a private practice physician who would perform an abortion at low-cost. He warned her to stay away from abortion clinics, saying they provide poor medical care and have multiple malpractice suits filed against them.
He promised to set up an appointment for her to have the procedure the following Saturday at 4 p.m. He said he couldn't give her the doctor's name or address for confidentiality reasons, but he would call on Friday with the details.
He never called.
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During a taping of Michigan Public Television’s “Off the Record” today, Gene Clem — president of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots — said that the state’s Tea Party members “will look at ways to teach public school students the origins of the U.S. Constitution.” Clem noted that the Tea Party already holds sessions about the Constitution in public libraries and that the group has “plenty of retirees who could go in as Benjamin Franklin or whatever”:
“What we’re afraid of is individuals really don’t know where liberty, freedom and their rights come from, how the Constitution was written, the pain that went through in the summer of 1787 to write that and get it approved,” Clem said.Tea Party volunteers are, of course, welcome to teach an accurate version of the Constitution to schoolchildren. Indeed, Michigan’s current social studies standards already require students to learn about the origins of the U.S. Constitution and “Core Democratic Values” — including liberty and patriotism — by third grade. Given the Tea Party’s close association with radical “tenther” views of the Constitution, however, it is unlikely that they wish to provide Michigan children with an accurate constitutional history. Similar attempts have already been made to inject right-wing ideology into public school curriculum. Earlier this year, the right-wing Texas State Board of Education successfully adopted new content for the state’s social studies curriculum, which included more conservatives, more Confederate glorification, and more distortion of progressive viewpoints.
- Nina Bhattacharya
Sharing a joke cements our common humanity, dress sense be damned.
FORGES of Footscray closed its doors in the same week that France banned the burqa. This bargain mecca had become a heaving mass of thrifty humanity in all its multicultural glory.
Delicate Sri Lankan mothers with their hands full of children's clothes in velour. Gangly Sudanese youths with blue-black skin in caps and oversize jeans. Stooped Greek widows examining cut-price spencers.
Only five kilometres from Melbourne's CBD, and I am in the minority with my pale complexion, freckles, blonde hair and list of cheap items to tick off for my family.
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That isn't a real movie title. But filmmaker Ric Burns, who created the PBS series "The Civil War" with his brother Ken, is shooting a documentary about the Wall Street firm. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is paying for the film, has editorial control and is overseeing the project through its marketing department, a Goldman spokesman said.
Mr. Burns, who didn't return phone calls seeking comment, was approached by Goldman in 2007 and has been tackling the documentary on and off since then. The company's history goes all the way back to the day in 1869 when German immigrant Marcus Goldman opened a one-room office on Pine Street in lower Manhattan, near the firm's new headquarters.
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Las Vegas Sun: Sharron Angle addresses media for 3 minutes on taxes then bolts
By Anjeanette Damon (contact)
Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 2 a.m.
SPARKS — After more than a month dodging the press, Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle on Wednesday invited reporters to an event intended to amplify her campaign message that lower taxes and less regulation are the only ways to spur economic recovery.
It was the first time since her primary victory that she had agreed to mingle with the media. Political observers speculated it might signal a shift in Angle’s post-primary strategy of using the media solely as fundraising mechanisms.
Alas, Angle’s more media-friendly moment was over almost as soon as it began.
In the warehouse of a family-owned clean diesel manufacturer in Sparks, Angle delivered a three-minute speech on her desire to permanently repeal the estate tax. When invited by the final speaker to stay and answer a few questions, she turned on her heel and rushed out a back door with a small cadre of staff members.
Reporters, including one who is six months pregnant, chased after her, calling out questions on unemployment benefits and other topics she has largely refused to address.
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Much more, including an analysis verging on a debunking of her estate tax and jobs claims balanced by an interview with the owner of the clean diesel plant who supports her stance.
IMHO, She’s ticking off the local press, or she wouldn’t be getting coverage like this. Ducking questions has now become the story–and it’s only going to become worse between now and November.
Hat/Tip to nonnie9999 at Hysterical Raisins for the manip and story.
Gordon Brown has used his first major speech since leaving office to say the future growth of the world economy is reliant upon the development of Africa.
Speaking in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, the former UK prime minister said he wanted to see the continent achieve its full potential.
Mr Brown also made light of losing the British general election in May.
He said he was someone who "spent some time as a politician before becoming a community organiser".
Mr Brown contrasted himself with President Barack Obama "who spent some time as a community organiser before becoming a politician".
Speaking to Ugandan political leaders, Mr Brown said he wished to see the creation of an "African century".
"Future growth in the world economy, and future jobs in the developing world, will depend on harnessing both the productive potential and the pent-up consumer demand of this continent," he said.
"There is an alternative to a decade of low global growth which would fail to meet both the development needs of Africa and the growth needs of Europe and America.
"To me the answer is obvious - as we struggle to find new sources of growth we must turn here, to Africa, to this continent of huge potential and talent."
To help economies develop across Africa, he said nations needed to increase access to broadband internet, which he said less than 1% of people currently had access to.
Mr Brown added: "I am already working with some of you to bring together experts in this field for a major campaign and programme of work, because I truly believe that the rapid expansion of internet access in Africa could transform how Africa trades, learns and holds political power accountable."
Turning his attention to the developmental aid given to Africa, he said this needed to increasingly focus on private sector wealth creation, and not just providing services for the poor.
"The job of aid is to kick-start business-led growth and not to replace it," he said.
"And so I believe we need to focus not just on poverty, but on wealth."
Meanwhile, Mr Brown also spoke to the BBC's Zeinab Badawi for an interview, in which he said he wished his government had spotted the UK's financial crisis earlier.
He also revealed he is "very cheerful" and "very relaxed" and enjoying his work as an MP in Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath.
According to Sky News, Whitehall officials were said to be "seriously concerned" that figures such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Tatchell could attempt to bring a private prosecution against the Catholic leader under international criminal law.
Mr Dawkins, the atheist campaigner, and Mr Hitchens, an atheist author, asked human rights lawyers in April to put together a case for charging the Pope over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic church.
His visit is expected to be protested by campaigners angry at his statements on homosexuality, reproductive rights and AIDS.
Justice secretary Ken Clarke proposed changes to the law today which would require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions to any arrest warrant issued under universal jurisdiction.
Universal jurisdiction allows people to be prosecuted in the UK for serious crimes carried out abroad, such as genocide and torture.
The move comes after a London court issued an arrest warrant last December for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister and now opposition leader. The warrant was made over claims of war crimes in the Gaza Strip but was revoked because she cancelled her visit to the UK.
Changing the law would mean removing power from the courts. However, ministers say the system can be abused, as applications can be made where there is not enough evidence to bring a prosecution.
This, they say, can lead to people trying to obtain arrest warrants to make political statements or embarrass controversial figures.
Mr Clarke said: "Our commitment to our international obligations and to ensuring that there is no impunity for those accused of crimes of universal jurisdiction is unwavering.
"It is important, however, that universal jurisdiction cases should be proceeded with in this country only on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution – otherwise there is a risk of damaging our ability to help in conflict resolution or to pursue a coherent foreign policy.
"The government has concluded, after careful consideration, that it would be appropriate to require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction.
The Pope will be visiting the UK between September 16th and 19th. Today, it was reported that an estimated 70,000 people will attend an open air Mass in Birmingham at the end of his visit.
Source: Pink News
The U.S. Navy has used a a laser weapon to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in a test that rings up memories of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense shield in the 1980s.
The successful test of the Laser Weapon System off the coast of California was announced during the Farnborough International Air Show, which is taking place this week in England.
The technology, jointly developed with Raytheon, used industrial strength lasers, is more than just your run-of-the-mill PR exercise. In its write-up of the technology, Scientific American correctly notes that the shoot-down of the drones over water constitutes an advance over previous Raytheon tests which focused on static targets.
Mike Booen of Raytheon gave USA Today the money quote for the day: "The targets came in over the ocean, and it was a good day for lasers, bad day for drones."
Still, don't expect deployment any time soon. Even if the follow-up tests come through with flying colors, the technology is likely going to take several more years before it's ready for combat situation. (Coincidentally, the breakthrough made the rounds on the anniversary of the day that U.S. astronauts walked on the moon in 1969.
Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) revved up a conservative crowd today, even as she denied her pre-primary win statements on phasing out Social Security.
Addressing the conservative convention RightOnline at the Venetian casino this afternoon, Angle was hailed for pledging to "permanently repeal the death tax" and for saying she stands with Arizona's new immigration law. She has become a conservative darling in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
Angle repeated her desire to shut down the Department of Education, saying that it and other federal functions should be left to the states. She also said if elected her vision is, "One nation under God, not one nation under the government."
Angle's remarks on Social Security were the most likely to be new political fodder in an increasingly competitive race. The TPM Poll Average is Reid 44.0% to Angle 43.1%.
During Angle's less-than-10-minute speech, she outlined her philosophy to cut the deficit and talked of her "simple" campaign plan she calls "Pay back, cut back and take back." To start with she said the government should pay back the $2.5 trillion that's been "raided and pillaged out of the Social Security fund."
"I've never said I want to eliminate, I always said I want to save Social Security by paying back. But to do that we have to cut back," Angle told the crowd of more than 1,100 attendees to mild applause.
Of course, it takes just a few seconds to find video of Angle's now-famed quote on Nevada's "Face to Face" television show that, "We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out in favor of something privatized."
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Denise Fergus, the mother of murdered toddler James Bulger, and her husband Stuart, listen as her spokesman speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey
Jon Venables, 27, was jailed for two years on Friday after he admitted charges of downloading and distributing indecent images of children.
He had appeared at London's Old Bailey court by video link from prison, where he had been recalled in March after breaching his licence conditions
Venables and another boy killed 2-year-old Bulger in 1993 when they were 10 years old. They abducted him from a shopping centre in Liverpool before torturing and killing him.
The two boys were given life sentences but were released on licence in 2001 after being given new identities.
Some 57 pornographic pictures of children were found on Venables' computer after he alerted his probation officer when he feared his new identity was in danger of being revealed.
His lawyer said the child pornography offences were committed at a time when Venables was drinking heavily.
Former senior civil servant David Omand will conduct a three-month review into the supervision of Venables after his release, the Ministry of Justice said.
Bulger's mother Denise Fergus said on Friday she was surprised Venables had not been recalled to prison sooner.
The court heard that in 2008 the probation service had given Venables a formal warning after he was arrested after a drunken fight. In the same year he was cautioned for possession of cocaine.
Probation Chiefs Association director Diane Fulbrook said the 2008 offences had been relatively minor.
"Here we had a young man, who'd held down a job for nine years, he was in settled accommodation; some of his .. behaviour around drugs and alcohol (is) not uncommon amongst young people," she told BBC radio.
Bulger's murder shocked Britain and was widely reported around the world. A security camera picture showing the killers leading the toddler away from the Bootle shopping centre became a haunting image of the case.
Tags added, mods, sorry about that :)
It seems an odd statement after all, Norman Tebbit is a man notorious for his “strident” position on homosexuality.
Throughout the years he has done a number of things which leave him somewhat estranged from the gay community.
On the other hand, Ed Balls has passionately defended gay marriage after revealing that his deeply religious Uncle could never get married to his partner. Andy Burhnam insists that his commitment to equality leaves him no choice but to support legalising gay marriage.
Diane Abbott has supported gay marriage since the 1980s. Even the disappointing Ed Miliband “understands and sympathises” with the idea, even if he’s too cowardly to support it without the backing of a focus group.
You may think it odd for me to label Tebbit the more tolerant of those discussed. It is not. It only seems off because the language of tolerance has become debased and approached the meaningless.
Toleration is an important concept and practice in any society. We all live our lives in different ways, under different philosphies drawn from different axioms. Most of us cluster around the median practices and beliefs of a society but most of us have some foibles which set us apart from the whole; a few of us are all foible.
The practices of tolerance is the withholding of censure from those with which we fundamentally disagree, either in belief of practice.
Ed, Ed, Diane and Andy are not tolerant of homosexuality. They accept it in the same way in which they accept people with blue eyes, or black skin or a Geordie accent. Tebbit is a man who disapproves with a lot of aspects of, and I’ll use quotation makes, “homosexual lifestyles.” However in large part he tolerates them, in fact he admits some of his best staff have been gay.
Most people are far less tolerant than they think they are. Most of you probably think of yourselves as liberal people, you don’t feel any animosity towards gay people and gay adoption doesn’t bother you. You are happy with a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion or not. You are proud liberals when it comes to immigration, because you believe in the equality of man.
Of course none of that makes you a tolerant person. These are just things you agree with. It is only things which we find deeply unpleasant that test our tolerance. For example, the burqa and niqab are vile pieces of misogyny and I would feel far more comfortable knowing no women were to ever wear them again. But since the wearing of these does me no harm, and where they are worn by choice, I must accept them if I value tolerance.
Toleration is the vital lubricant of a society, without it a move towards a tyranny of the majority is entirely possible. Fooling yourself into thinking you are tolerant is a dangerous game. Without an initial tolerance a little acceptance is impossible, and without acceptance far too many people will remain on the fringes of our society.
Were it not for dinosaurs tolerating homosexuality in the past, we would not find ourselves in the situation now where all our most important politicians accept it.
Source: Liberal Conspiracy