July 29th, 2010

misc. | Xosha Roquemore

ONTD_Political's PotD: July 28, 2010.

Two guests jump into the air for their friend's photograph during half-time at the Cartier International Polo day at Guards Polo Club in Windsor on July 25, 2010. The Cartier International Day is the world's largest polo event with 25,000 spectators plus over 600 guests from the world's of literature, stage, screen, sport and society.

LEON NEAL | AFP/Getty Images
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A little late...

Obama says he'll sign Tribal Law and Order Act

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A bill giving American Indian tribes more authority to combat crime on reservations has cleared Congress and is headed to President Barack Obama, who said he looks forward to signing it.

Obama said the Tribal Law and Order Act, which passed the U.S. House Wednesday, is an important step in addressing the "unique public safety challenges" that confront reservations.

"The federal government's relationship with tribal governments, its obligations under treaty and law, and our values as a nation require that we do more to improve public safety in tribal communities," Obama said. "And this act will help us achieve that."

The Senate approved the measure in June.

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Reports say he will sign today at 4:50 pmET.
Me in Hawaii.

Saggy pants are legal in NY

Wearing saggy pants that hang from your thighs and expose your underwear may be “foolish,” but it is not illegal, says a New York City judge’s ruling reported by the New York Law Journal. ”While most of us may consider it distasteful, and indeed foolish, to wear ones pants so low as to expose the underwear [] ‘people can dress as they please, wear anything, so long as they do not offend public order and decency,’” Criminal Court Judge Ruben Franco wrote.

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Posted via LiveJournal.app.


Sherrod to sue Bratfart

Ousted USDA Employee Sherrod Plans To Sue Blogger
Ousted USDA Employee Shirley Sherrod Says She Will Sue Conservative Blogger Over Edited Video

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will sue a conservative blogger who posted an edited video of her making racially tinged remarks last week.

The edited video posted by Andrew Breitbart led Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask Sherrod to resign, a decision he reconsidered after seeing the entire video of her March speech to a local NAACP group. In the full speech, Sherrod spoke of racial reconciliation and lessons she learned after initially hesitating to help a white farmer save his home.

She said she doesn't want an apology from Breitbart for posting the video that took her comments out of context, but told a crowd at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention that she would "definitely sue."

Vilsack and President Barack Obama later called Sherrod to apologize for her hasty ouster. Vilsack has offered her a new job at the department, which she is still considering.

"I have many, many questions before I can make a decision," Sherrod told the group. "I don't know what will happen from this day forward in terms of whether I'll be back in the department or what I'll do."

E-mails to Breitbart's Web sites seeking comment were not immediately returned Thursday morning.

Obama said Thursday morning on ABC's daytime talk show "The View" that the incident shows racial tensions still exist in America.

"There are still inequalities out there. There's still discrimination out there," Obama said. "But we've made progress."

Obama pinned much of the blame for the incident on a media culture that he said seeks out conflict and doesn't always get the facts right. But he added, "A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration."



Don't Vote For My Dad!

Oklahoma Woman: Don't Vote for My Dad!

Personal attacks in politics are nothing new, but it's not often that someone runs political attack ads against her own father.

That's why the decision by Jan Schill, 31, to launch a campaign against her father, Oklahoma judicial candidate John Mantooth, is garnering such attention.

Schill and her husband, Andrew Schill, bought a quarter-page newspaper ad against Mantooth, CBS affiliate KOTV reports.

"John Mantooth is NOT a good father, NOT a good grandfather & in my opinion a review of his 37 year record as an attorney in Cleveland, Garvin and McClain Counties reveals that HE WOULD NOT BE A GOOD JUDGE," the ad reads.

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The Best Political Campaign Money Can Buy!

Report: Angle Gave 20% Of Campaign Cash To Notoriously Shady Firm Base Connect

It turns out that Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle has retained the services of a very interesting firm for her fundraising: Base Connect, the shady Republican fundraising firm formerly known as BMW Direct.

As TPM alum Justin Elliott reports over at Salon, Angle's campaign has spent more than $600,000 for Base Connect's services -- amounting to more than 20% of her total fundraising. Jon Ralston adds to the discussion, noting that Angle's new communications director Jordan Gehrke is himself a former representative for Base Connect.

As we've previously reported, the firm has long been known for its history of using direct mail to raise tons of money for long-shot GOP candidates with almost no chance of winning, and then taking an exorbitant percentage as a commission. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), who won an upset victory in 2008 in a heavily Democratic district thanks to the incumbent's corruption scandals, and who is heavily vulnerable this year, has suspended the firm's work with his campaign after we reported that they were charging him a 75% commission.

Angle has previously noted that she prefers doing interviews with conservative media outlets that will allow her to raise money from viewers, making this wrinkle about where the money ends up going all the more interesting. The TPM Poll Average has Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid taking a lead of 44.5%-42.8% over Angle. So she might need to use all the money she raises on actual ads and GOTV operations.

In China, Pollution Worsens Despite New Efforts

BEIJING — China, the world’s most prodigious emitter of greenhouse gas, continues to suffer the downsides of unbridled economic growth despite a raft of new environmental initiatives.

The quality of air in Chinese cities is increasingly tainted by coal-burning power plants, grit from construction sites and exhaust from millions of new cars squeezing onto crowded roads, according to a government study issued this week. Other newly released figures show a jump in industrial accidents and an epidemic of pollution in waterways.

The report’s most unexpected findings pointed to an increase in inhalable particulates in cities like Beijing, where officials have struggled to improve air quality by shutting down noxious factories and tightening auto emission standards. Despite such efforts, including an ambitious program aimed at reducing the use of coal for home heating, the average concentration of particulates in the capital’s air violated the World Health Organization’s standards more than 80 percent of the time during the last quarter of 2008.

“China is still facing a grave situation in fighting pollution,” Tao Detian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Environmental Protection, told the official China Daily newspaper.

The ministry said the number of accidents fouling the air and water doubled during the first half of 2010, with an average of 10 each month. The report also found that more than a quarter of the country’s rivers, lakes and streams were too contaminated to be used for drinking water. Acid rain, it added, has become a problem in nearly 200 of the 440 cities it monitored.


The New York Times has the entire article

University in India Reserves Seats for Transgender Students.

Bangalore: Bangalore University is bending the gender. It will soon allow eligible transgenders pursuing higher education to take admission and avail of the reservation quota of one seat in each of the 60 post-graduate (PG) courses that it offers.

The varsity’s academic council meeting on Monday unanimously approved the proposals of opening admissions to transgenders to PG courses and to reserve seats for them. This makes Bangalore University the first in India to open admissions as well as fix reservation for transgenders.

It in fact is already gearing up to make adjustments to accommodate its new students.

The university has changed the application format. From this year, apart from the ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ categories, the application form will have a ‘TG’ (Transgender) option.

The transgender quota is not a transferable one. Even if the reserved seats are not filled, others cannot fill it. This reservation is meant only for transgenders, and it is not beyond rules and regulations,” said N Prabhu Dev, vice-chancellor, Bangalore University.

Members of the academic council, while appreciating the initiative, have also suggested measures to make the transgender students feel comfortable and protected against harassment or ragging by other students.

Prabhu Dev said if any student treated transgenders differently, or they were subject to mental or physical harassment, it would be considered as ragging. “The university is already zero-tolerant towards ragging. It is the responsibility of each head of department to ensure it does not happen and protect the transgenders,” he said. “We consider it as our social responsibility.”

To make students sensitive about transgenders, the university is planning to organise counselling sessions in coordination with the department of psychology.

The varsity is also all set to address the personal needs of the transgenders, like constructing separate toilets and restrooms for them.

“We want them to use the same libraries and laboratories. But in some issues we need to address their private needs, too, like separate toilets and rest rooms,” the vice chancellor said. “I came to know that some of them (transgenders) have been rejected seats in the past by our colleges. Some were hurt by the way college authorities behaved with them. As for my knowledge, many among them are really brilliant and we need to encourage them,” he said.

“We will also think of extending accommodation facilities to them,” said Dev.

BL Muralidhara, coordinator, centralised PG admissions 2010, who presented the proposal before the academic council, said: “Transgender individuals have been denied even basic human rights. It is inevitable that they be brought in the mainstream and given access to education and a better social status.”

“I have cases in that community who have completed their degree and await an opportunity to pursue higher education,” said Shobha Karandlaje, former minister for rural development and panchayat raj.

Source wants some brilliant transgender individuals all up in the house


I wince whenever the word "transgenders" appears in this article, but go Bangalore!

Stay classy, Memphis

Memphis City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove has received four death threats specifically related to her sponsorship of an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance the city is considering. Someone else threw a dead cat onto her lawn.

WREG reports:

"Police think the threats are serious enough have increased patrols around her home to keep her safe. Each phone call mentioned her support for banning discrimination against gays in city government. Distraught, Fullilove reached out to Jonathan Cole with the Tennessee Equality Project. 'She essentially said that they were threatening to kill her,' said Cole, who thinks the death threats are just another example of intolerance in Memphis. 'It's scary and our city needs to stand up to this kind of ugliness.' Police are keeping a close eye on Fullilove and her family. She's asked her telephone provider to track the calls. Meanwhile, Cole says the councilwoman's experience should highlight the need for the ordinance to protect gays and lesbians working for the city."

Fullilove says she will continue to push for passage of the anti-discrimination measure, which comes up for a vote on August 10.

You can send your support to Fullilove here.

Source: Towleroad

Man punched by African-American teen for listening to rap music in possible hate crime, say police

By Meena Hartenstein

A Florida man says he was the victim of a racially motivated attack Monday, when he was punched by a black teenager for listening to rap music.

David McKnight, 22, was playing the song “Wasted” by Gucci Mane when, he says, he was confronted by 14-year-old Joshua Lamb, WFTV.com reports.

"The argument involved the black male suspect saying, ‘You shouldn't be listening to rap music because you're white,' " said Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez.

When McKnight, who is Caucasian, refused to turn off the music, Lamb and a group of friends assaulted him.

"I couldn't get away fast enough," McKnight told WFTV. "One of them spit on me, punched me, knocked me down ... I got a couple of kicks in from a couple of them."

McKnight told police Lamb was with at least seven others.

"I told him to drop it. I was like, ‘Just drop it, let's go, there is eight of you and one of me. Just drop it,' " McKnight said. "And he says, ‘I'm not dropping anything.’ Bam! [He] punched me."

McKnight did not retaliate and, according to the police report obtained by The Smoking Gun, he "fled before any further battery could take place."

But WFTV reported that he suffered a swollen eye, broken toe, concussion and choke marks around his neck in the fight.

"I feel it's a racial thing, really," McKnight said.

Police officers who showed up shortly after the incident arrested Lamb on battery charges, and he is currently being held in a juvenile detention center.

If state prosecutors decide to charge Lamb with a hate crime, the battery charge could turn into a felony.


I really don't know what to think. Fuckin' hate crimes, how do they work?

UPDATE: Police report at The Smoking Gun

Russian city to block Youtube

The Central District Court of Russia's Far East city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur has ordered a local Internet provider to block access to five websites, including Youtube, for spreading extremist materials, a court spokesman told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

"The court ordered the Rosnet provider to block access to Youtube, as well as to lib.rus.ec, thelib.ru, zhurnal.ru and web.archive.org, which contain open materials included in the federal list of extremist literature," he said.

With the exception of Youtube, all the remaining sites are electronic libraries. "In particular, Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf could be found in the electronic libraries' websites," the spokesman said.

The Komsomolsk-on-Amur Prosecutor's Office filed a lawsuit after investigating the website content.

Rosnet on Wednesday appealed the decision.

"Representatives of our company have repeatedly offered... representatives of the Prosecutor General's office... ways of blocking extremist content by turning to the hosting providers and owners of websites or the authors of the [extremist] issues. But our proposals were neglected," Rosnet's press release said.

Several countries attempt to impose censorship on the world's largest websites. Pakistan blocked Youtube in February 2008 over "sacrilegious content." Last year, China blocked Youtube on its territory.

Source: Ria Novosti

Yeah, how about no. I guess they ban electronic libraries so that people stay better in control. >:(

The Bilerico Project vs. that awful Gallagher woman

When the National Organization for Marriage's summer bus tour rolled into Indianapolis, I grabbed the chance to chat one-on-one with Maggie Gallagher, NOM's President. After all, I'd already sat down with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and Ryan McCann, Director of Public Policy for the Indiana Family Institute, and I often go head to head on local media. When I realized I could interview both Ryan and Maggie, I knew I had a winning combo.

Ryan and I have a running bet for when we disagree. The losing person has to go on a date to an event of the winner's choosing. I took Ryan to the movies. He took me to an ex-gay conference. He's such a romantic.

Watch as Maggie and Ryan preach about love and truth at a rally for a group that's faced numerous electoral finance complaints and featured a sign saying that the "solution" to same-sex marriage is to lynch gay couples. But when questioned about those pesky legal troubles, they start squirming and I end up with another date.

This will be our third date and you know what that means! Will I have to take one for the team? The video is after the jump.

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Source: The Bilerico Project

Full interview with Mad Maggie here.
garf tired

Teabaggers in Wonderland

Tea Partyers in Wonderland

Thursday 29 July 2010

by: Barbara Koeppel | The Nation | Op-Ed

The mythmongers in Tea Party land and millions more Americans seem to prefer fiction to fact.

Based on a mid-April New York Times/CBS News poll of about 1,600 adults, we learned that 52 percent of Tea Party supporters believe "too much has been made of the problems facing black people." Could it be because 89 percent of the Partyers polled are white? They also have above-average incomes: 31 percent of Tea Partyers earn more than $75,000 a year, as opposed to 26 percent of all poll respondents. A cool 68 percent of Tea Partyers consider themselves middle-class or above. And they're very angry about government spending. As one woman says, "I'm sick and tired of them wasting money" (though she probably doesn't want her Medicare or Social Security touched).

If the Tea Partyers think too much is made of problems facing blacks and too much is being spent, can we conclude, ergo, that they think blacks are getting too many handouts? If so, they would not be alone. And they would also be mistaken. In the 1970s their predecessors' prevailing wisdom was that welfare moms drove Cadillacs and luxuriated in government largesse while others (substitute hard-working white folks) were kept from the cookie jar.

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Wars of the Future Will be Fought Over Urine: No War for Pee!

Urine: Waste Product or Future Power Source?

Researchers at Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL), a collaborative UWE/University of Bristol research facility, are looking into the use of urine as the 'fuel' for Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs), which use bacterial cultures to break down 'food' to create power.
MFCs are a developing technology used to power autonomous robots.

An EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship Grant worth £564,561 has been awarded to Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos for a four year project to develop research into how waste could be used by Microbial Fuel Cells to generate energy.

Researchers at BRL have spent three and a half years developing EcoBot-III, funded by EU FP-6 -- a robot which can power itself by digesting waste (see: http://www.brl.ac.uk/projects/ecobot/breadbot.html). The early stage work of the EcoBot-III research was funded by EPSRC.
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Fry: The future is disgusting.
Leela: Typical 20th century attitude.
why do you hate us so much?
  • chaya

The Most Common Marijuana Test's Accuracy Questioned (Again)


The field test kits are produced by a variety of manufacturers, the most popular brands being NIK and ODV. Literature about the D-L from NIK’s makers states that it is only a “screening” test that “may or may not yield a valid result” and may produce “false positive results.” Yet, since at least 1990, arresting officers, with the support of prosecutors, have regularly bypassed lab analysts and have purported to identify marijuana at hearings and trials only on the basis of visual inspection and the nonspecific D-L field test. And the manufacturers have taken note.

In 1998, ODV reported in its newsletter with seeming satisfaction that a growing number of police departments were using its D-L field test, marketed as the NarcoPouch, as “their sole method of testing and identifying Marihuana [sic]… To have Officers properly trained in identifying Marijuana and taking the Crime Lab out of the loop is a tremendous cost saving venture for the State…and gives the individual Officers testing the material a greater sense of satisfaction in completing their own cases”. NIK, too, argued that depending exclusively on D-L field tests saves time and money. “Crime laboratories are so busy that drug tests take too long,” NIK states on its website. “With the cooperation of the Prosecuting Attorney, many police agencies have turned to presumptive drug testing. If the results indicate that an illegal substance is present, criminal charges may be filed.

In June 2006, the Virginia legislature went so far as to pass “emergency regulations” permitting law-enforcement officers to testify at trial for simple possession of marijuana cases solely on the basis of a D-L field test. Prior to these regulations, officers had to send suspected material to an approved lab for testing. Nothing in the new legislation specified that the field tests used had to be specific, or even accurate. Frederic Whitehurst, a North Carolina-based defense attorney and former FBI special agent with a doctorate in chemistry, considers the law to be an unconstitutional usurpation of the authority of the courts to determine what test results can be admitted as valid evidence.


Despite its widespread use, as early as the 1960s, the D-L test had been proven incapable of definitively identifying the presence of marijuana in a seized substance. A 1968 article in the Chemistry and Pharmacy Bulletin of Japan reported that the D-L tests “lack in adequate specificity.” In 1969, M. J. de Faubert Maunder, a chemist in the Ministry of Technology, a UK government agency, documented the unreliability of the D-L test in an article in the Bulletin on Narcotics, noting that test results depended heavily on the subjective judgment of the analyst — and thus could easily vary dramatically from lab to lab. “[A] positive test is not recorded until this colour has been identified,” he wrote, “and because it is almost impossible to describe in absolute terms it is best recognised by experience.” Moreover, he reported finding twenty-five plant substances that would produce a D-L test result barely distinguishable from that of Cannabis and cautioned that the D-L test “should never be relied upon as the only positive evidence.”

(Sauce over at Alternet. Obviously I only pulled a few excerpts out, but the whole thing is a good read and the first story with the smudge stick girl is just plain depressing.)