August 9th, 2010


ADL Baffled as to Why Wont Zakaria Join Sarah Palin and The League of Patriots

Fareed Zakaria Returns Anti-Defamation League Award Over Ground Zero Mosque (VIDEO)

Update: Zakaria addresses the issue at the top of on his CNN show Sunday.

Zakaria says that the man behind the proposed Ground Zero Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, "has spent years trying to offer a liberal interpretation of Islam" and "argues that America is actually what an ideal Islamic society would look like because is it peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic.

"His vision for Islam, in other words, is Osama Bin Laden's nightmare," Zakaria says.

Zakaria also speaks directly to the Anti-Defamation League:

I have to say I was personally and deeply saddened by the ADL's stand because five years ago, the organization honored me with its Hubert Humphrey Award for First Amendment Freedoms. Given the position that they have taken on a core issue of religious freedom in America, I cannot in good conscience keep that award.

So, this week, I am going to return to the ADL, the handsome medal and the generous honorarium that came with it. I hope this might spur them to see that they have made a mistake and to return to their historic robust defense of freedom of religion in America, something they have subscribed to for decades and which I honor them for.
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anime, technology

Much Gulf Oil Remains, Deeply Hidden and Under Beaches

Oil in a core sample taken from Pensacola Beach, Florida, in early July. Photograph by Chris Combs, National Geographic

Christine Dell'Amore
National Geographic News
Published August 5, 2010

Part of an ongoing series on the environmental impacts of the Gulf oil spill.

As BP finishes pumping cement into the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead Thursday, some scientists are taking issue with a new U.S. government report that says the "vast majority" of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been taken care of by nature and "robust" cleanup efforts.

In addition, experts warn, much of the toxic oil from the worst spill in U.S. history may be trapped under Gulf beaches—where it could linger for years—or still migrating into the ocean depths, where it's a "3-D catastrophe," one scientist said.

The U.S. government estimated Monday that the Deepwater Horizon spill had yielded about 4.9 million barrels' worth of crude.

On Wednesday a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report said that about 33 percent of the spilled oil in the water has been burned, skimmed, dispersed, or directly recovered by cleanup operations. (See "Gulf Oil Cleanup Crews Trample Nesting Birds.")

Another 25 percent has evaporated into the atmosphere or dissolved in the ocean, and 16 percent has been dispersed via natural breakup of the oil into microscopic droplets, the study says. (Read more about how nature is fighting the oil spill.)

The remaining 26 percent, the report says, is still either on or just below the surface, has washed ashore or been collected from shores, or is buried along the coasts.


Personally, I've been finding some of the reporting on the 'disappearance' of the oil from the gulf coast to be extremely disturbing. This seems to be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. The oil is not magically gone, it's just hidden.

Tea Party Running on Patriotism and Libertarian Magic Dust

The tea party's growing money problem

Some leading tea party activists are concerned that their efforts to reshape American politics, starting with the 2010 elections, are being undermined by a shortage of cash that’s partly the result of a deep ambivalence within the movement’s grass roots over the very idea of fundraising and partly attributable to an inability to win over the wealthy donors who fund the conservative establishment.

Many tea party organizations have shied away from the heavy-handed solicitations that flood the e-mail boxes of political activists. And the handful of tea party groups that have raised substantial amounts, either by embracing aggressive fundraising or through pre-existing connections to wealthy donors, are viewed suspiciously within the movement.

Local groups have been left to literally pass hats seeking donations at their meetings or rely on their organizers’ bank accounts, while some national groups have failed to live up to their bold fundraising predictions.
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Priest/Teacher Explains The Cycle Of Reactionary BS In The UK Tabloids And Right Wing Websites

Ah, the Tabloids, bless them!

Some weeks ago I tried to explain to an American blogger the hierarchy of the British press in terms of political leaning, bias and reliability. I don't particularly have a problem with political bias, after all there is more than one perspective on party politics and so, armed with the knowledge of the editorial stance of these papers, I would have no problem reading The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian or the Independent and their Sunday editions. I would join many people in describing these papers as the "quality" press.

It is below these - often well below these - that the problems start and I often berate my students for their lamentable knowledge of current affairs.

Do you read a newspaper?

All too often the answer is in the negative. Those whose parents do regularly buy a national daily or Sunday edition tend to go largely, it seems, for the tabloids. They express amazement when I tell them that I can predict what party their parents vote for and what stance they will take on a variety of current issues based on their newspaper of choice. I have always been right. Too often in the classroom I can hear their parents talking and talking through the headlines and editorial position of their newspapers.

My response to my American friend arose out of trying to make a comparison between British and American news outlets. The same rule that I apply to my pupils can be applied to American bloggers in their choice of which British papers they cite in support of their position. If I see a Daily Mail article used as evidence against global warming, for instance, or The Star cited in a diatribe against Islam as another example I can safely assume I am dealing with a Republican.

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(Article From Here)

Their Sources
("News" Source For Daily Star Article)
("News" Source For Daily Star Article)
(News Source For BBC Article Which Refutes The Above Sources)
(Local News Source)

Niece of Martin Luther King calls gay marriage ‘genocide’ at NOM rally

Allowing gay couples to marry amounts to “genocide” and will lead to the “extinction” of the human race, said the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at a National Organization for Marriage rally in Atlanta on Saturday.

Speaking from the steps of the Georgia state capitol building, Dr. Alveda King, emphasized the procreation aspect of the gay marriage debate and voiced her concerns that legalizing gay marriage would mean genocide.

“It is statistically proven that the strongest institution that guarantees procreation and continuity of the generations is marriage between one man and one woman. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to be extinct and none of us wants to be. We don’t want genocide, we don’t want to destroy the sacred institution of marriage.”

King, daughter of the late slain civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King, also spoke of her family’s commitment to strong marriages, including her uncle and “his lovely wife.”

She did not mention that Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, has spoken out in favor of gay marriage on numerous occasions and was a speaker at Atlanta’s Gay Pride festival in 1996.

The Atlanta rally is latest stop in the NOM’s 23-city anti-gay “Summer of Marriage” roadshow, and attracted a crowd of — wait for it — about 20 supporters (although some reports say it was as high as 35, but we’re not counting the NOM speakers or the media).

The rally was outnumbered, as an estimated 300 gay marriage advocates rights lined the sidewalk across the street from the state capitol building, in a silent counter-protest to the NOM event.

Next stop for the NOM is a rally in Orlando on Sunday. In counter protest, hundreds – maybe thousands – of LGBT citizens and gay rights supporters plan a rally to celebrate and, as they promise in their press release, “spread a message of equality for all Americans.”

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EDIT: Source.
mus | like a bird in a cage

Rape threat nixes Khadr confessions: lawyer

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - Omar Khadr's lawyer says the threat of rape and death by an interrogator should render his client's confessions as coerced and unreliable.

Lt. Col. Jon Jackson made the argument in final pretrial motions in a Guantanamo courtroom today in attempting to have the statements deemed inadmissible.

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(For anyone who hasn't yet, I advise checking out this book. It's sickening that this was allowed to go on for so long, especially under the guise of "protecting freedom.")

Unless You Have a PhD in Tea Baggery, You are Not a Real Doctor or American

Angle Headlines Far-Right ‘Doctors Tea Party’ Event Attended By Fake Doctors

The National Doctors Tea Party” drew several hundred protesters to a park in San Diego this Saturday, where activists clad in white lab coats protested the Affordable Care Act. As was the case at a recent tea party event in Philadelphia, turnout at the California event appeared to be lower than expected.

The protest was meant to showcase physicians’ opposition to “Obamacare,” and many activists present were “wearing white lab coats – implying that they were doctors.” But at least one man was not, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune that he borrowed a white lab coat for the protest, because the event’s website encouraged attendees to do so:
Craig Brown, a psychiatrist who lives in Del Mar, donned a white lab coat and wore a stethoscope around his neck as U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada spoke against the health-care bill signed into law earlier this year.
“I’m against ObamaCare,” Brown said. “It doesn’t achieve the goals of reduced health-care spending and because it will increase regulation and create more government agencies.”
Brown said he borrowed the white coat from a nearby lab because a website suggested people wear lab coats to the event.
In fact, as the OB Rag noted, “there are actually only two local San Diego medical doctors that belong to the sponsoring group.”

The highlight of the event was a speech by Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle, who thanked the doctors for “standing up for freedom and liberty.” As has become her default strategy, Angle fled from reporters after the event, granting only the conservative web outlet PJTV an interview. After Angle escaped, a spokesperson seemed to admit that the reporters present were not “mainstream media.” When asked if they were, the spokesperson said, “well, the campaign wasn’t responsible for what media outlets showed up.” “But she [Angle] was definitely here and available to answer questions,” the spokesperson added with Angle safely hidden from view.

Angle’s headlining of the event has raised eyebrows, as the event’s sponsor, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, is a far-right organization that propagates absurd anti-government conspiracy theories. The group has called the establishment of Medicare “evil” and “immoral”; has denied the link between HIV and AIDS; has argued that the FDA is unconstitutional; has promoted “one of Angle’s previously expressed theories that abortion may cause breast cancer“; and has even warned that President Obama may have used a “covert form of hypnosis” to win over voters.

Angle’s association with extremist groups is not too surprising at this point, but it appears that staffers from the campaign of California GOP Senate nominee Carly Fiorina were also at the event.

Ted Olso Defend the Constitutional Right to Marriage on Fox News

Ted Olson appeared yesterday on Fox News Sunday to discuss this week’s landmark gay marriage ruling overturning Prop 8 in California

I’m pro gay marriage, but that’s not why. Olson’s logic, his clear, cogent reasoning based on specifics and facts, the methodical rooting of his argument in long-standing principles of this country — that’s why. His rhetorical flair and points of emphasis are worth learning from as well, but the real star of this appearance was his flawless, unshakable reasoning.

There are basically two points of attack on this ruling that neatly sidestep the more homophobic arguments (i.e. that gay marriage is wrong, harmful to children and families, etc.) on this issue: (1) Judicial activism – How can one judge overrule the votes of millions of people? and (2) Where is there a right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution?

Seven million people voted! Now a single judge overrules all of them? That, by the way, is a direct quote from Chris Wallace, who posed variations on that question numerous times. Ted Olson did not dispute the importance of those votes — he just neatly explained how they don’t trump fundamental rights.

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Watch the full clip and read the transcript at the source

Also, can we make him ONTD_P ~cool~ uncle?

WSJ blog: "U.S. Economy Is Increasingly Tied to the Rich"

* August 5, 2010, 12:27 PM ET

U.S. Economy Is Increasingly Tied to the Rich
by Robert Frank

Who cares how the rich spend their money?

Well, perhaps everyone should these days. Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product, or the value of all goods and services produced in the nation. And spending by the rich now accounts for the largest share of consumer outlays in at least 20 years.

According to new research from Moody’s Analytics, the top 5% of Americans by income account for 37% of all consumer outlays. Outlays include consumer spending, interest payments on installment debt and transfer payments.

By contrast, the bottom 80% by income account for 39.5% of all consumer outlays.

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[AC] :D

Response to NYT article re: FLOTUS visit to Spain

A response to this article.

The First Lady’s Vacation From Empathy by Michel Martin

Sergio Torres/AP

I need to start by disclosing that I live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I drive a nice car, which is almost paid for. And I have some nice clothes, which, while mostly leftovers from my days as a television correspondent, are nevertheless mine and I do wear them. Our kids all have passports and we do enjoy using them from time to time. And with any luck we will get to go to the beach sometime this summer. I say all this just to establish that I am not a hater, especially not of the first lady with whom I share a name — the elegant, intelligent, Michelle Obama.

But having said all that, even I have to agree that the first lady's vacation trip to a pricey resort in Spain in a week when we are reminded that nearly 1 out of 10 Americans is still unemployed — well, that is not a good look.

Is that unfair? Sure it is.

Are the comparisons to Marie Antoinette way over the top? Of course.

Is at least some of the grousing directed at the family motivated by partisanship at best and racism at worst? I bet it is.

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Prof Jesus Wins Nobel Prize on MetaPhysics. Libural Science Corrupting the Mind of Our Children.

Conservapedia: E=mc2 Is A Liberal Conspiracy

To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly -- Phyllis Schlafly's son -- has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity.

If you're behind on your physics, the Theory of Relativity was Albert Einstein's formulation in the early 20th century that gave rise to the famous theorum that E=mc2, otherwise stated as energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light. Why does Andy Schlafly hate the theory of relativity? We're pretty sure it's because he's decided it doesn't square with the Bible.

In the entry, "Counterexamples to Relativity," the authors (including Schlafly) write:
The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.[1]
To what does that reference lead? Why, a note by Schlafly:
See, e.g., historian Paul Johnson's book about the 20th century, and the article written by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe as allegedly assisted by Barack Obama. Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold
In other words, reading a theory about physics is correlated to a decrease in people's interest in reading the Bible, which means that it causes people to stop reading the Bible.

Schlafly also points to the Bible as a reason that Einstein's theory must be wrong:
9. The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54.
Conservapedia defines "action-at-a-distance" as "Action at a distance consists of affecting a distant body instantaneously. At the atom level, this is known as "non-locality." In non-confusing terms, that indicates the ability to cause something to happen instantaneously in another location (i.e., faster than the speed of light). Since Jesus could, reportedly, do this, thus Einstein is wrong. Schlafly's evidence is John 4:46-54, in which Jesus reportedly cured someone's son just by saying it had happened.
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."

Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.

When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.

This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
Schlafly brags on Conservapedia that he has homeschooled 185 children, all of whom do exceptionally well on standardized tests.

As with Wikipedia and other online crowd-sourced resources, Conservapedia is a colloborative effort of its users and any registered user can post to the site. Schlafly is a frequent contributor to the site, and is identified as the initial author of the entry and well as the editor of the note identified above. Schlafly did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Janeway - Side

In which the WSJ explains how silly that whole "blood diamonds" thing is

The Truth About Blood Diamonds
The international focus on "conflict minerals" is a self-serving charade.


Thanks to Naomi Campbell's clueless testimony before the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, the manufactured non-scandal of "blood diamonds" is once again being trundled before the collected gullibility of the world.

The parallel occurrences of diamonds and internecine mayhem in Africa are in no way causative—certainly no more than by any other commercial commodity found in the continent. When was the last time we heard of "blood manganese," or "blood copper," or, for that matter, "blood bananas" or "blood cut flowers"?

The fact is that most African diamonds are produced in places that are reasonably-to-perfectly peaceful, (such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa), whereas there are murderous African conflicts that rage elsewhere without the slightest "assistance" from diamonds (such as Rwanda, Uganda, and the Sudan).
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WSJ Source

I lost it at the suggestion that there are no other blood minerals. Which, tbh, is a bit farther than I normally get in most WSJ articles. That said, I think there is a general point about what is being done, and how effective these methods are (or rather, are not). That was lost in gallons of wharrgarbl in the article, but it's a point for discussion.
mus | like a bird in a cage


Khadr confessions get OK; trial set to start

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - The judge presiding over Omar Khadr's war-crimes case cleared the way for the trial to proceed by ruling on Monday that confessions the Canadian made can be used as evidence against him.

In making the ruling, Col. Patrick Parrish rejected defence arguments that Khadr's most damning statements were the product of torture.

"The motion to suppress the accused's statements is denied," Parrish said without giving reasons.

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