August 6th, 2010


Church plans Quran-burning event

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(CNN) -- In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.

Muslims and many other Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.

The church launched a YouTube channel to disseminate its messages.

"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?" Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.

"No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the monthlong fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release.

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.

"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said in the statement.

Dove's Facebook page, set up for the September event, has more than 1,600 fans.
"Eternal fire is the only destination the Quran can lead people to, so we want to put the Quran in it's [sic] place -- the fire!" the page says.

But another Facebook group with more than 3,100 fans says it stands "against the disrespect and intolerance that these people have for the Muslim people" and encourages people to report Dove's page to Facebook.

Targeting another group it calls "godless," the Dove center is also hosting a protest against Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe, who is openly gay, on Monday at Gainesville's City Hall. The group previously fought -- unsuccessfully -- to derail Lowe's election campaign.

"We protest sexual perversion because the Bible protests it. ... What is acceptable to today's leadership becomes acceptable to tomorrow's society," the church says in its blog entry about the event.

Lowe and other government figures and media outlets received e-mails from the church about the event, The Gainesville Sun reported. Lowe isn't concerned with Monday's event.

"I've got other things to do," he said, The Sun reports.

On the outreach center's front lawn, alongside a sign reading "Aug. 2 Protest, No Homo Mayor, City Hall," stands not just one, but three signs bearing the slogan "Islam is of the Devil."

One of the signs -- one reading "Islam" on one side, "Devil" on the other -- was vandalized. On its blog last week, the church said the sign will be replaced.

"This is private property and vandalism is a crime here in America," the blog says. "In Islam, many actions that we consider to be crimes are encouraged, condoned or sheltered under Islamic teaching and practice, though. Another reason to burn a Quran."


"judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37. JFC, can these people not read or something!?!?

I Blame Superintendents for Running Schools They Cant Afford. The Free Market Can Fix That.

Exotic Deals Put Denver Schools Deeper in Debt

In the spring of 2008, the Denver public school system needed to plug a $400 million hole in its pension fund. Bankers at JPMorgan Chase offered what seemed to be a perfect solution.

The bankers said that the school system could raise $750 million in an exotic transaction that would eliminate the pension gap and save tens of millions of dollars annually in debt costs — money that could be plowed back into Denver’s classrooms, starved in recent years for funds.

To members of the Denver Board of Education, it sounded ideal. It was complex, involving several different financial institutions and transactions. But Michael F. Bennet, now a United States senator from Colorado who was superintendent of the school system at the time, and Thomas Boasberg, then the system’s chief operating officer, persuaded the seven-person board of the deal’s advantages, according to interviews with its members.

Rather than issue a plain-vanilla bond with a fixed interest rate, Denver followed its bankers’ suggestions and issued so-called pension certificates with a derivative attached; the debt carried a lower rate but it could also fluctuate if economic conditions changed.

The Denver schools essentially made the same choice some homeowners make: opting for a variable-rate mortgage that offered lower monthly payments, with the risk that they could rise, instead of a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage that offered larger, but unchanging, monthly payments.

The Denver school board unanimously approved the JPMorgan deal and it closed in April 2008, just weeks after a major investment bank, Bear Stearns, failed. In short order, the transaction went awry because of stress in the credit markets, problems with the bond insurer and plummeting interest rates.

Since it struck the deal, the school system has paid $115 million in interest and other fees, at least $25 million more than it originally anticipated.

To avoid mounting expenses, the Denver schools are looking to renegotiate the deal. But to unwind it all, the schools would have to pay the banks $81 million in termination fees, or about 19 percent of its $420 million payroll.
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  • luomo

Ann Coulter to Headline Party for Gay Republican Group GOProud

Ann Coulter will headline HomoCon, a September 25th party "celebrating gay conservatives" in NYC.

Writes the group: "Today, GOProud, the only national organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, announced that conservative author Ann Coulter is headlining their first annual Homocon – a party to celebrate gay conservatives. 'The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics, with their endless list of boycotts and protests. Homocon is going to be our annual effort to counter the ‘no fun police’ on the left,' said Christopher Barron, Chairman of the Board of GOProud. 'I can’t think of any conservative more fun to headline our inaugural party then the self-professed ‘right-wing Judy Garland’ – Ann Coulter'....'I can promise you, Homocon 2010 will be a hell of a lot more fun than chaining yourself to the White House fence,' concluded Barron."

GOProud recently inspired protests after defying a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, The hotel's owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign.


(no subject)

SOLDIERS killed themselves at the rate of one per day in June making it the worst month on record for US Army suicides.

There were 32 confirmed or suspected suicides among soldiers in June, including 21 among US active-duty troops and 11 among National Guard or Reserve forces, according to Army statistics.

Seven soldiers killed themselves while in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan in June, according to the statistics. Of the total suicides, 22 soldiers had been in combat, including 10 who had deployed two to four times.

"The hypothesis is the same that many have heard me say before: continued stress on the force," said Army Col. Christopher Philbrick, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. He pointed out that the Army has been fighting for nine years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year was the Army's worst for suicides with 244 confirmed or suspected cases.

The increase was a setback for the service, which has been pushing troops to seek counseling. Through May of this year, the Army had seen a decline in suicides among active-duty soldiers this year compared with the same period in 2009.

Philbrick expressed frustration over the June deaths. "Because we believe that the programs, policies, procedures are having a positive impact across the entire force. The help is there."

A leading military suicide researcher says changing a culture that views psychological illness as a weakness takes time.

"I would expect it to be years," said David Rudd, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The mounting stress on an Army facing renewed deployments and combat in Afghanistan is also a factor, Rudd said. "That's not a challenge they (Army leaders) control. It's a challenge that the president and Congress controls," he said.

The Army also unveiled on Thursday a training video designed to combat suicides. It contains testimonials by soldiers who struggled with self-destructive impulses before seeking help. It is titled "Shoulder to Shoulder: I Will Never Quit on Life."

Philbrick said this was an improved video that he hoped would reach troubled soldiers. The previous video did not resonate with average soldiers, he said. During a showing in Baghdad, soldiers laughed at it, Philbrick said. "In grunt language, it sucked," he said.

The Army's current suicide rate is about 22 deaths per 100,000, which is above a civilian rate that has been adjusted to match the demographics of the Army. That rate is 18-per-100,000. Only the Marine Corps has a higher suicide rate, at 24-per-100,000. Although Marine Corps suicides had been tracking similarly to last year's record pace, the service reported only one suicide in June.

Just among Guard and Reserve soldiers, suicides have occurred at a higher rate this year than last year, according to Army figures. There have been 65 confirmed or suspected cases this year, compared with 42 for the same period last year.


Goddamn it, someone please tell me this got coverage SOMEWHERE in the US media. If beats you to it - that delightful site more likely to tell you about what the Prime Minister is wearing than what she intends to do in terms of policy - then...yeah. Journalist fail has occurred somewhere.

Dammit Spencer! Dont Make Me Sent You Back to Glenn Beck University and Redo Gotcha Journalism 101!

How Not To Be A Tracker

Wednesday afternoon as our building held an ice cream social in the lobby, a young man showed up at Media Matters office armed with a camera. Positioning himself outside our office, he proceeded to ask people leaving the building what is was like to work for George Soros.

I decided to go have a conversation with him:

I would like to note, no matter how many times Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly says it, George Soros has never made a contribution to Media Matters. However if he would like to make a contribution, he can do so at

There is nothing wrong with tracking -- Media Matters regularly sends trackers to conservative events -- but if you are going to track, perhaps it would be a good idea to come prepared with more than a single question based on a false premise. And when you are confronted with your own questions, have a better answer than rubbing your nose and mumbling.
bitch please by unknown
  • gmth

Massive Censorship Of Digg Uncovered

A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year.

"The more liberal stories that were buried the better chance conservative stories have to get to the front page. I'll continue to bury their submissions until they change their ways and become conservatives." -phoenixtx (aka vrayz)

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Much, much more (including a list of the ringleaders' Digg usernames) available at the source.

Maine Tea Party Reenacts The American Civil Flame War: Less Civil, More Flame War.

Is There A Coup In The Maine Tea Party?

Something weird is happening with the tea party in Maine. In the past few days, tea party websites in the Pine Tree State have offered glimpses of what some are calling a coup at the one of the state's largest tea party groups, The Maine Patriots.

On Tuesday night, Amy Hale -- one of the leaders of the Patriots group -- posted an odd message to the group's website, suggesting that she'd been forced to give up control of the site, according to media reports (the post has since been removed):
I was cornered in the parking lot by 10+ people and told that bad things would happen to me if I did not give them the password and hand over Maine Patriots. Therefore, I no longer have control of Maine Patriots. Amy
Hale reported the incident to the police. Last night, she refused to comment on the matter because, she told me, "the investigation is ongoing." Details beyond what she wrote that first night are sketchy.

Piecing together posts from tea party websites in the past couple of days, however, paints a picture of a state tea party in disarray -- and a look at tea party paranoia.

Since Tuesday, other tea party sites in Maine have been hotbeds of conspiracy theories and accusations, with some claiming that Hale was undermining the movement and others suggesting that those who allegedly removed her from the Maine Patriots site are anti-tea party plants.

Over at Maine Refounders, another tea party site, one tea partier offered up some more detail on what allegedly happened Tuesday night:

"Yesterday, a group of members of Maine Patriots extorted the passwword [sic] and took control of Maine Patriots' website. Amy is working with the parent site Ning to correct this. A police report is being filed."
Down in the comments to that post, other tea partiers offered their opinions on what happened. "We are clearly succeeding at restoring sanity to our country or hidden plants wouldn't be so desperate to disrupt our communications openly and chance blowing their cover," one wrote.

Others were more introspective, calling on Hale to stop her self-imposed silence on the matter.
"This is just the kind of action that the opposition loves to use to discredit us," one commenter wrote. "Don't fool yourself into thinking that the media won't pick up on this eventually and then who knows what will come of it."

Eventually, a leader of the movement to remove Hale from the Maine Patriots, Jeff Cucci, took to the web to offer his explanation for what happened. According to Cucci, Hale had fallen victim to that most common affliction among those who dabble in politics -- hubris.

"Amy Hale is a liability to the Tea Party Movement," Cucci wrote.
"Amy Hale has been alienating people by prideful statements, pirating ideas, controlling statements and actions, manipulative actions, shunning advice and giving untruthful advice, which in some cases has resulted in no participation or refrained participation in the Tea Party Movement by those affected."

Cucci says Hale's rallies "are nothing more than a GOP promotional with little or no understanding gained for participants as to what the Tea Party Movement is about." The worst sin, according to Cucci? The tea party rally Hale hosted in Dover, Maine, "was boring, not motivational as claimed by several participants."

Of course, politics are part of the problem. "Amy has vetted a candidate and at least three Patriots believe political favoritism was demonstrated," Cucci wrote.

In the extensive comments under Cucci's post, Maine tea partiers go back and forth about who is doing what to whom in classic small-political-group-infighting fashion. One member tries to put a stop to it, but judging by the posts that continue to fill up the websites in Maine, Hale's ouster will be a topic of discussion among tea partiers up there for months to come -- assuming her police report doesn't result in some kind of criminal actions, that is.

"UNBELIEVABLE - Don't you people understand this is just what everyone expected and were waiting to happen!!!," one upset tea partier commented to Cucci's post. "Now everything we have fought so hard to accomplish will be wiped out by one headline 'Tea Party in Maine Eats It's Own'"
movies | Impish Fräulein2

Mod Note: Follow-Up Pending.

It was suggested that members wouldn't be aware that Management™ has been busy preparing a follow-up to the most recent Mod Note, so here's a general note indicating that, yes, we've been preparing a follow-up. In the mean time, we ask for some patience on the community's part in order to help us achieve the best results.


The Macro Whore Mod
LOLitics | From Her Mama

Shenanigans Friday: August 6, 2010.

"A private moraLOL view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for LOLgislation."--Judge WaLOLker

Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
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  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)

MOAR Picture Sources:

Made by haruhiko /ladypolitik

So how much of a crazy racist do you have to be to get fired by Andrew Breitbart? Meet this guy.

Meet Breitbart's Sherrod writer: Racist sexual "expert" and inventor (who cured cancer)

In two posts on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment website, Dr. Kevin Pezzi smears Shirley Sherrod as a racist, claiming that "if someone deserves to be put on a pedestal for overcoming racism, it isn't Sherrod." The racism criticism is ironic coming from Pezzi, who has repeatedly used racial epithets like "Japs" and "Chinks," and claimed Native and African Americans should have been grateful for their subjugation by whites.

Pezzi, who says that "Breitbart asked me to write for," has a peculiar self-described history. Pezzi claims to be responsible for "over 850 inventions" and schemes such as a "magic bullet" for cancer, a "robotic chef," and sexual inventions like "penile enlargement techniques" and "ways to tighten the vagina" (because "men like women with tight vaginas"). Pezzi has started multiple websites, from term paper helpers to a sexual help site that answers "your questions about sexual attraction, pleasure, performance, and libido" (Pezzi is qualified to do so because "No doctor in the world knows more about sexual pleasure than I do").

Pezzi also claims to have "beaten Bill Gates" on a math aptitude test, turned down a blind date with Katie Couric, and says he's "bigger than some porno stars."

Pezzi Facts (by Dr. Pezzi)

Dr. Kevin Pezzi is the most interesting man in the world -- according to Dr. Kevin Pezzi:

* "A government official once claimed that Dr. Pezzi achieved the highest score ever attained on an IQ test administered nationwide, although Pezzi dismisses this as disingenuous pandering."

* He has "information about a new cure" for cancer, which he "stumbled upon while reading an editorial and article in one of the many journals I read. The editor said there is good evidence that this new treatment works, and that it truly cures cancer -- not just temporarily treating it, as so many cancer therapies do. However, he lamented that the cure is being overlooked, which he felt stemmed from the fact that there isn't any way for pharmaceutical companies to profit from it."

* His "penis size went from embarrassingly small (at least to me) to bigger than some porno stars."

* He "declined an offer to go on a blind date with Katie Couric," because, in part, "my political beliefs would clash with Katie's well-known liberal bias" and "Katie's career will keep her in New York (or some similar megalopolis) for the indefinite future. I can't stand cities."

* "He has beaten Bill Gates, an acknowledged math and computer genius who is Chairman of Microsoft, Inc. and the richest man in the world, on a test of mathematical ability and logic."

* "A producer who won an Emmy for a blockbuster film contacted me because he is interested in turning one of my books into a movie or TV series." [Um, movies win Oscars. TV shows win Emmys, unless he's referring to a TV movie, which I've never heard anyone refer to as a "blockbuster."]

* "While a college student at Michigan State University, he once went into the wrong room to take a final exam. Even though he was not enrolled in the class, he scored 147 out of 150, easily the highest score achieved by any of the hundreds of students taking the test." [But not smart enough to realize he was taking the wrong test, and missing his actual final?]

* "As a sophomore in college, he decided that his future was in the CIA, not medicine, so he skipped most of organic chemistry. Three days before the final, he changed his mind, crammed, and received a 4.0 for the course."

* "In spite of seriously misjudging the optimal strategy for taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), he scored astronomically."

* "The first woman to read [Pezzi's The Science of Sex] book wrote to me to report that she obtained the most intense orgasm of her life after trying one of the new methods I discussed -- a method that I invented, so no one else has yet written about it. Even when I discuss topics that you might think are so old that nothing new could be said about them, I offer a new perspective. Take vibrators, for example."

Racist and incendiary writings

"Japs" and "Chinks." Pezzi repeatedly uses ethnic slurs to denounce Asians. On the problem of lead contamination in Chinese products, Pezzi wrote:
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Bikes - A Massive Threat To America's Democracy... WTF??!!?

Bike agenda spins cities toward U.N. control, Maes warns

By Christopher N. Osher
The Denver Post

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

He added: "These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."

Maes said in a later interview that he was referring to Denver's membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international association that promotes sustainable development and has attracted the membership of more than 1,200 communities, 600 of which are in the United States.

Denver became a member of the group in 1992, more than a decade before Hickenlooper became mayor. Eric Brown, the mayor's spokesman, said the city's contact with ICLEI "is limited."

George Merritt, a spokesman for the Hickenlooper gubernatorial campaign, said the group's goal is "to bring cities from all over the world together to share best practices and help create the kinds of communities people want to live and do business in. John Hickenlooper believes collaboration leads to smart decisions."

Hickenlooper has often touted bicycling as an environmentally friendly and healthy way for people to commute to work and has said he hopes more people will do so.

Last week, Hickenlooper upset some auto dealers on the eve of a fundraiser when he lauded the city's B-Cycle bike- sharing program at an event and asked: "How do we wean ourselves off automobiles?"

Maes, at the rally July 26, took aim at Denver's bike-sharing program, which he said was promoted by a group that puts the environment above citizens' rights.

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Mexico City gay marriage law upheld

Mexico's Supreme Court has voted to uphold a law allowing same-sex marriages in the capital, Mexico City.

Eight of the 10 justices at the country's highest court said the law was constitutional.

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples have been married since it was passed seven months ago.

Federal prosecutors had challenged the law, saying it went against the principle of protection of the family.

But the Supreme Court justices said nowhere in the constitution was it defined what a family was.

It is not yet clear whether the ruling could pave the way for same-sex marriages across Mexico.


The entire article is at the BBC

Congrats to the folks in Mexico City :)

Pursuing Nuon Chea, Mastermind of Deaths, in a Quest for Answers

FOR seven long years, Thet Sambath lived in a world of secrets as he courted and won the trust of the former Khmer Rouge leader he holds responsible for the deaths of his parents.

Month after month, he says, he sat for hours with the aging leader, Nuon Chea, sharing meals and confidences, recording his words on thousands of hours of audio and videotape until at last he confessed his guilt.

His pursuit of Mr. Nuon Chea became an obsession that he says he hid from everybody, even his wife, who never knew where he went on what he called his investigation.

“I forgot everything,” said Mr. Thet Sambath, 42. “I forgot how to make money for my family. I sold my land. I sold everything. My brother told me, ‘You should stop going to the province. For what? You should take care of your children, your wife, build a house.’

“He didn’t know what I was doing. I never told anybody. If I told them, they would have told me to stop.”

Mr. Nuon Chea, the chief ideologue of Pol Pot, who died in 1998, is one of four Khmer Rouge leaders who are due to be tried next year for crimes against humanity in the deaths of 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979. That trial follows the conviction last month of the chief Khmer Rouge prison warden, Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch.

The killings were a necessary part of the revolution, Mr. Nuon Chea told him during their discussions, which form part of “Enemies of the People,” a film about Mr. Thet Sambath’s search for answers that is now being screened in New York and Los Angeles. Mr. Thet Sambath and his British co-producer, Rob Lemkin, have refused a request by the court for a copy of the film, saying they promised Mr. Nuon Chea that his remarks would be used “for history, not for evidence.”

“They were killed and destroyed,” said Mr. Nuon Chea, now 84 years old, fragile and ailing but unrepentant. “If we had left them alive, the party line would have been hijacked.”

Until almost the end of their interviews in 2007, just before Mr. Nuon Chea was arrested, Mr. Thet Sambath kept another secret: that his parents had been among these victims.

If Mr. Nuon Chea had known this, he said, he might not have let down his guard.

His father was stabbed to death after resisting a Khmer Rouge order to give up his property, Mr. Thet Sambath said. His mother died in childbirth after being forced into a new marriage with a Khmer Rouge militiaman.

“After 1979, I cried almost every night,” Mr. Thet Sambath said.

“I felt that I was an orphan with no parents to take care of me, and that feeling pushed me to try to learn about what happened.”

When Mr. Nuon Chea heard about his parents, he said, “He was shocked. He could not talk. He became very sad.”

And then, possibly for the first time addressing an individual death, Mr. Nuon Chea apologized.

It was Mr. Nuon Chea who urged him to keep secrets, Mr. Thet Sambath said, much as he might have instructed young Khmer Rouge cadres when the movement was still an underground insurgency. “At the beginning, it was very hard for me, but later I got used to it,” he said.


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So not really sure how to tag this one but hopefully what I chose made sense.


Community Organizers and Hippie Activists Encouraging Anti-Patriotic Activities

Ground Zero Mosque Gets Support From Jewish Activists

A group of Jewish activists and community leaders voiced their support for a planned mosque near ground zero and said opponents, including the nation's leading Jewish civil rights group, are perpetuating misunderstandings about Islam.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center, joined about 30 other religious leaders and Jewish activists Thursday at the spot where the Cordoba Initiative hopes to build an Islamic center that will include a mosque, an athletic center, a culinary school and art studios. Waskow says the mosque will help people learn more about Islam.

"Whenever there has been bloodshed allegedly in the name of one tradition or another, it's necessary to say, 'That's not what that tradition is about,'" Waskow, 76, said. "The Cordoba Initiative will keep saying that is not what Islam is about."
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Amy and Rory and the Doctor

Pollution-Eating Concrete, No Longer Science Fiction

(CNN) -- Concrete isn't usually considered an environmentalists' friend, but a remarkable new technology could soon be turning the gray stuff green.

Scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have developed a paving material that actually eats pollution, claiming it could soon become a crucial tool for improving air quality in urban areas.

The problem in many cities is that vehicle exhausts emit nitrogen oxides, which cause acid rain and smog that damages not only human health and quality of life but also the fabric of buildings.

But the new concrete is coated with titanium dioxide, which is a photocatalytic material, meaning it removes the nitrogen oxides and uses sunlight to convert them into harmless nitrate that is washed away by rain.

"In our tests we have found nitrogen oxide reductions of 35 to 40 percent in areas paved with the new concrete," Professor Jos Brouwers of the Department of Architecture, Building and Planning at Eindhoven University of Technology told CNN.

Titanium dioxide is already commonly used to coat surfaces that are hard to clean -- it is a component in some paints -- because it functions as a self-cleaning chemical, meaning the new concrete has the additional advantage that it breaks down algae and dirt so its surface stays clean.


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So what do you guys think? Potential part of solving air pollution or something we will ultimately regret making?
Calvin & Hobbes: Hug
  • calybe

Violence in Indian Kashmir: A cyclical problem

BEARING the stiffening corpse of Anees Ganai, a 17-year-old boy, thousands of Kashmiri men marched on Srinagar’s gaudy, 15th-century main mosque on August 3rd. “Anees! Your blood will start a revolution!” they chanted, adding the refrain of Kashmiris, “Azadi!”, “Freedom!” During two months of violent protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir the mosque had been barred to stop crowds gathering. The killing of around 45 people in that time—including 29 in the past week—most shot by police, suggests that the policy failed. As the mob surged, the police drew back.

Even by its turbulent standards, the Indian-held portion of Kashmir is in chaos. Each day, defying curfews, crowds in Srinagar and several outlying districts gather to pelt stones at police. A paramilitary bunker near the line dividing Indian from Pakistani Kashmir was ransacked this week, and a police station torched. The local economy is choked, as so often in two decades of insurgency and protests. The road to Srinagar is closed and supplies of blood, medicine and baby milk are short.
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Source: The Economist

[1] The case they were talking about is known in Kashmir as the Shopian Tragedy (taken from the time it was still under investigation - the case has as of yet still not been resolved): Collapse )

OP: I really dislike the Abdullah family for all the non-chalance they show to what their own people want and how they pander to those who can personally benefit themselves. Sending in more troops is definitely not the solution - it will only serve to frustrate an already irate and oppressed population. The fact that they refuse to even allow peaceful protests from occurring is just ridiculous.

NOM: Only practicing homosexual judges would legalize practicing homosexual marriage

Group continues to show their bigotry

Prop 8 supporters claim Walker’s ruling unfair because he’s a gay judge
LGBTQ Nation | Friday, August 6, 2010

Is Judge Vaughn Walker gay? Does it matter?

Not surprisingly, supporters of Proposition 8 say the U.S. District Court judge who overturned California’s voter approved ban on gay marriage should have recused himself from the case because, they say, he is gay — and therefore is biased.

“The ‘trial’ in San Francisco in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is a unique, and disturbing, episode in American jurisprudence,” Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM, said in a statement. “Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution. We call on the Supreme Court and Congress to protect the people’s right to vote for marriage.”

Although Walker has never publicly commented about his sexual orientation, Gallagher and others point to a February 7, 2010 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, effectively “outing” the judge.

“Judge Walker should have recused himself from this case since he is a practicing homosexual,” wrote Bryan Fischer of the American Families Association. “His own personal sexual proclivities utterly compromised his ability to make an impartial ruling in this case.”

So the question for Gallagher and Fischer, et. al., is: If a gay judge who rules against Prop 8 must be biased, wouldn’t a heterosexual judge who rules for Prop 8 be just as biased?

“I think it’s profoundly offensive to suggest that a judge who is not of the sexual orientation of the majority or the race of the majority or the religion of the majority is unfit to hear cases,” said Larry Levine, a professor at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Levine added that judges of all races and creeds are legally bound to render impartial verdicts, and that Walker’s only reverence in his ruling was to the law.

“Are they saying that an African American judge can never rule on an affirmative action case and a Muslim can never rule on a case dealing with religious expression? If you follow their logic, that’s exactly what they’re saying.”

Which goes back to the question of “rational basis” for Proposition 8 and Judge Walker’s ruling:

“The evidence at trial shows that gays and lesbians experience discrimination based on unfounded stereotypes and prejudices specific to sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians have historically been targeted for discrimination because of their sexual orientation; that discrimination continues to the present.”

The claim that only a gay judge’s ruling would be biased, but a straight judge’s ruling would not, is nothing more than the same fear and hate mongering discrimination that fueled Prop 8 to begin with.

How many witnesses will they call to the stand to prove this theory?

Walker, by the way, didn’t seek out the Proposition 8 case – it was assigned to him at random.

Gay Sauce
Murasaki Shikibu

'Bed Intruder' Meme: A Perfect Storm of Race, Music, Comedy And Celebrity

'Bed Intruder' Meme: A Perfect Storm of Race, Music, Comedy And Celebrity

It all began last week, when reporter Elizabeth Gentle of WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Ala., aired a story about a woman named Kelly Dodson who was almost raped in her bedroom by a home invader. The video included an interview with her, but it was her brother Antoine Dodson, who interrupted the assault, who stood out in the story.

Dodson addresses the camera directly with a mixture of anger, defiance and flamboyance.

“Well, obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park," he says. "He’s climbing in your windows, he’s snatching your people up, trying to rape them, so you need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because they’re raping everybody out here.”

The video quickly became a runaway online hit. But is this Internet meme really about race, music, comedy, celebrity or a delicate mix of all of the above? And for Antoine Dodson, how would he respond to his new-found fame?

WAFF-TV received angry calls and e-mails from members of the public who felt the story perpetuated stereotypes about African Americans. The station, however, stood by its decision to air the piece.

“Some have contacted our newsroom saying that interviews with people like Antoine reflect poorly on the community. To that I say censoring people like Antoine is far worse," explained WAFF reporter Elizabeth Gentle in a follow-up story.

Online discussion of the “Bed Intruder” meme, as it’s become known, initially focused on that angle, as well as the divide between those who felt the video was funny or offensive.

“If you wonder why folks can't take the news seriously, here's Exhibit A,” noted the blog “Lord, Jesus, how can the reporter file this story with a straight face?”

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once upon a time

Pretty Rich Woman Annoys The Rest Of Us By Saying Stupid Things

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who had her first baby, Benjamin, in December, recently told Harper's Bazaar UK that she thinks there should be a "worldwide law" requiring mothers to "breastfeed their babies for six months."

She went on to say in the September issue, "Some people (in the US) think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think, 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?'"

After her comments caused public outrage, she attempted to clear the air on her blog: "My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law. Becoming a new mom has brought a lot of questions, I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child."

She went on to write, "I am sure if I would just be sitting talking about my experiences with other mothers, we would just be sharing opinions. I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best."

Video at the Source


God, this is so annoying. As if mothers already don't have to put up with enough of this pro vs anti-breastfeeding crap.

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

The Food Bubble
How Wall Street Starved Millions and got away with it

by Frederik Kaufmann, from Harper's

The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention. That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment.

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Full text from here, version at is subscribers only (and if that makes posting it a big no-no, let me know), I put in the pictures.

I actually remember (though the source seems to indicate a lot of people don't) that this was an issue, partly because of the food riots, partly because my microeconomics professor was all excited to have such a current example of Griffin goods he could tell us about, and we were all... dude, that's kind of morbid. There's even a Wikipedia entry on the crisis, for crying out loud!

It's also interesting/scary to note that with the fires spreading in Russia, grain prices are expected to go up even further, as Russia will have to buy more grain on the global market to meet its demand. Rising demand for feeding grains and biofuels play a role as well, of course, but the role speculation plays really is striking. With food! The most basic commodity there is! I just can't wrap my head around it.

ETA previous post on this (interview with Frederick Kaufmann) from a few weeks back, and the "food" tag (I love that we have one).