August 17th, 2010

creepy but cute

Western donors are snubbing Pakistan

One week after launching a fundraising effort to help victims of Pakistan’s devastating floods, a coalition of Canadian charities has raised just $200,000 for the region. A week after they began a similar campaign following January’s Haitian earthquake, more than $3.5-million had been raised. “It’s really low compared to the needs,” said Nick Moyer, co-ordinator of a humanitarian coalition comprised of Care Canada, Save the Children, Oxfam Canada and Oxfam-Quebec. “After Haiti, everyone mobilized, there was no question. When there are questions hanging in the air, it makes it harder to fundraise.”

The big question is why international funds have been so slow to come for the ongoing crisis in Pakistan, which has left at least 1,600 dead, displaced millions and threatened the volatile country’s economic stability. Flood victims in Pakistan blocked a highway Monday to angrily demand help from their government and the international community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the flood-ravaged region over the weekend and made an impassioned appealed for donations, calling the disaster the worst he’d ever seen.
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Bet You Won't Hear Limbaugh Rant About THIS!

Driver's never one to shy away from blasting government spending and he waves his fiscal conservative credentials proudly. Guess that goes for government spending on anything other than his travel expenses:

The veteran Republican legislator, faced with findings from an investigation by The Associated Press, acknowledged in an interview that for years he has been submitting the same receipts - for luxury hotels, airline tickets, meals, fees and incidentals - to both his campaign and to the Texas House. He has also been collecting thousands of dollars in state mileage reimbursements for travel in vehicles for which his campaign has shelled out more than $100,000 since 2000.

Driver claims state ethics officials said all of this was A-OK years ago. But he can't remember who told him that -- or when. No kidding. Confronted with these facts, he promises to pay back any owed money:

"Now you're scaring the heck out of me," Driver told the AP, adding: "It pretty well screws my week."

The Sourcey bits are here!

It takes a village.

In Bold Display, Taliban Order Stoning Deaths
Published: August 16, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban on Sunday ordered their first public executions by stoning since their fall from power nine years ago, killing a young couple who had eloped, according to Afghan officials and a witness.

The punishment was carried out by hundreds of the victims’ neighbors in a village in northern Kunduz Province, according to Nadir Khan, 40, a local farmer and Taliban sympathizer, who was interviewed by telephone. Even family members were involved, both in the stoning and in tricking the couple into returning after they had fled.

Mr. Khan said that as a Taliban mullah prepared to read the judgment of a religious court, the lovers, a 25-year-old man named Khayyam and a 19-year-old woman named Siddiqa, defiantly confessed in public to their relationship. “They said, ‘We love each other no matter what happens,’” Mr. Khan said.

The executions were the latest in a series of cases where the Taliban have imposed their harsh version of Shariah law for social crimes, reminiscent of their behavior during their decade of ruling the country. In recent years, Taliban officials have sought to play down their bloody punishments of the past, as they concentrated on building up popular support.

“We see it as a sign of a new confidence on the part of the Taliban in the application of their rules, like they did in the ’90s,” said Nader Nadery, a senior commissioner on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “We do see it as a trend. They’re showing more strength in recent months, not just in attacks, but including their own way of implementing laws, arbitrary and extrajudicial killings.”

The stoning deaths, along with similarly brazen attacks in northern Afghanistan, were also a sign of growing Taliban strength in parts of the country where, until recently, they had been weak or absent. In their home regions in southern Afghanistan, Mr. Nadery said, the Taliban have already been cracking down.

“We’ve seen a big increase in intimidation of women and more strict rules on women,” he said.

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I will have this brave, brave couple in my thoughts. I know the man had a family, which complicates their motives for eloping, but let's please not derail with that. It's so, so, so not the point. This is fucking sickening news.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Cuts First 'Ground Zero Mosque' Political Ad

Republican Rick Scott, hoping to be Florida's next governor, is the first candidate to produce a campaign ad that centers on the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."

According to POLITICO, "Scott's campaign said the issue became relevant in the Sunshine State once the president weight into the debate and spoke about it in Panama City during the first family's weekend vacation on the Gulf Coast."

"We can't control the timing of President Obama’s offensive remarks. Perhaps you should ask the White House why our commander-in-chief chose to make this a national issue and offend Americans so close to the Florida primary," said Scott spokeswoman Jen Baker, when asked about the decision to air the ad just a week before the primary. "Floridians don't agree with him, and his remarks were particularly offensive to the Panhandle, where there is a large population of military men and women, many of whom are personally touched by the war on terror."

In the 30-second spot, entitled "Obama's Mosque," Scott references President Obama's comments on the proposed Islamic center, delivered at an Iftar Dinner at the White House.

"Barack Obama says building a mosque at Ground Zero is about tolerance," Scott begins. "He's wrong. It's about truth."

The truth: Muslim fanatics murdered thousands of innocent Americans on 9/11, just yards from the proposed mosque. The truth: The leader of the Ground Zero Mosque refuses to admit that Muslim extremists use terror tactics. The truth: The fight against terrorism isn't over.

At the end of the ad, the camera having zoomed in on Scott's face, the candidate address Obama directly: "Mr. President, Ground Zero is the wrong place for a mosque."

"It doesn't take six degrees of separation to see what's happening here," Mediate writes. "It could have very easily said 'Obama is wrong about the mosque' or 'Ground Zero Mosque' — but it did not."

Source says Ugh
[Avatar] sokka universe proves me wrong

Obooma shirts already on sale

Ore. Jets Scramble After Air Force 1 Space Violation
Calls About Sonic Booms Cripple 911 System In Wash.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two fighter jets from Portland were scrambled after a float plane violated airspace restrictions around Air Force One in Seattle, military officials said.

 The 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affair's Office said the F-15 fighter jets left Portland International Airport at 1:38 p.m. Tuesday for the Puget Sound area. North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman John Cornelio said the jets produced two sonic booms that could be heard for miles.


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local news is the source

A few hours ago Facebook explodes with OMG WHAT WAS THAT HOLY SHIT, which confused me because i totally missed the sonic boom :( I think I was inside the mall or something at the time, or possibly driving with the music turned up and it drowned out the sound (combined with the typical freeway noises, it's not that unusual). Apparently a lot of broken windows in the areas closest to where it originated.

And I wasn't kidding about those shirts.
mus | like a bird in a cage

PM: Migrant ship causes 'security concerns'

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government "will not hesitate" to strengthen Canada's human smuggling laws, but after a week of suggesting a crackdown, the government has not provided specifics.

Harper did not spell out what Ottawa might do to prevent future ships full of migrants from arriving in Canadian waters similar to the way 492 Tamils arrived last week.

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Rep. Roy Blunt and Sen. Kit Bond of MO oppose mosque near ground zero

Kit Bond compares the Islamic center near Ground Zero to 'Americans putting a church near Hiroshima after World War II'

While campaigning in Kansas City today for the U.S. Senate, Republican Cong. Roy Blunt was asked by reporters whether a mosque should be built near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

No way, Blunt said.

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Rain puddles and boxes

Exclusive: 'Pro-family' radio host Penna Dexter blames 15-year-old for his own shooting death

Says slain teen Larry King "was allowed in a sense to bully heterosexual kids through his orientation," and that killer Brandon McInerney was "never, ever protected from [Larry's] advances on him":

The Audio clip is at the source.

This little rant came during a segment in which Focus on the Family's schools "expert," Candi Cushman, was once again working her "true tolerance" message, which we all know is really just a stealth way of overlooking the real and demonstrable problem of anti-LGBT bias. And honestly, there could not be a better example of just how wrongheaded and dangerous this "true tolerance" message truly is. Because here we have a young man, robbed of his life during his teen years, in an act of premeditated murder. MURDER. Cold blood. The ultimate act of bullying. And yet Penna's mind has the nerve, much less the ability, to suggest that the still-breathing BRANDON was the one in need of more protection?! And to suggest that if Larry had only been encouraged to stifle his orientation and/or gender expression, then we'd all be better off?! How unbelievably offensive! And again: Dreadfully dangerous!

These "pro-family" figures who ignore the very real, very tragic problem of anti-LGBT bias in public schooling act as if harassment against a kid because his or her orientation, identity, or expression is equally as worrisome as the orientation, identity, or expression itself. They see an LGBT teen's choice to live openly and honestly as a form of bullying. And in doing so, these anti-LGBT voices both overlook a real world problem that we as a society could come together and actually solve, as well as give a pass to anyone who cites their personal, typically faith-based discomfort with LGBT people as a valid reason for utilizing teases, taunts, punches, or even guns. That is not "true tolerance": It is true negligence.


*Lest you think this "Point of View" show is ultra fringe, here are some recent guests who have appeared on the program: Steve Forbes, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Jim Dobson, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Congressman Charles Djou (R-HI), Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Maggie Gallagher, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ambassador John Bolton, Gary Bauer, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Ken Blackwell, Peter Sprigg,Tony Perkins, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Phyllis Schlafly, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA), Dallas mayor Ton Leppert, S.E. Cupp, and numerous other members of the conservative mainstream.


There isn't a "victim blaming" tag?
Yzma's headache
  • calybe

Ex-Israeli soldier mystified over Facebook uproar

JERUSALEM (AFP) - – A former Israeli soldier who posted on Facebook pictures of herself in front of blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinians appeared mystified on Tuesday by the uproar.

"What's wrong with that? I don't understand," Eden Abergil told Israel's army radio, clearly bemused by the fierce backlash.

"There was no violence in the pictures, there was no disrespect," she said defiantly. "I was simply photographed with him in the background."

Abergil posted pictures on her Facebook site showing her smiling and posing in front of three prisoners blindfolded and cuffed, with a caption that said: "The army, the best time of my life."

The incident drew a sharp response from the military, which slammed the pictures as "shameful behaviour" and said officials would be looking into the actions of the woman, who left the military last year.
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Source: Yahoo News

From another article:

"It was not clear whether the army could punish the woman, because she has finished her compulsory military service.

The comments by the woman and her friend in an exchange below one photograph suggested how casually the picture was treated, including jokes and sexual innuendoes.

"You're the sexiest like that," her friend wrote.

"I wonder if he's got Facebook!" the woman in the photograph responded. "I have to tag him in the picture!""

Curious, very curious.

Colombia declares US base share deal unconstitutional

A Colombian court has declared as unconstitutional a deal which gave US troops access to its military bases.

The constitutional court ruled the 2009 accord should be redrafted as an international treaty and sent to the Colombian Congress for approval.

The plan allowed the US to use seven bases to help with operations against drug trafficking and terrorism.

But it was criticised by other Latin American countries over a concern about the rise in US influence in the region.

The US was forced to look for a new centre for regional operations after Ecuador refused to renew the lease on its military base of Manta.

The deal, passed by former President Alvaro Uribe in October 2009, gave the US access to the bases for 10 years and would see a maximum of 800 US military personnel and 600 civilian defence contractors based in Colombia.

They would operate the US aircraft that maintain 24-hour monitoring of the region, intercepting communications and coordinating with spy satellites to protect US interests.

But the court's chief justice Mauricio Gonzalez said the deal was "an arrangement which requires the State to take on new obligations as well as an extension of previous ones".

He said that as such, it should be "handled as an international treaty, that is, subject to congressional approval".

The court did not rule on the legitimacy of the agreement itself.

The BBC's Latin America editor Warren Bull said the ruling is unlikely to generate a crisis in US-Colombia relations.

The government of the new President Juan Manuel Santos has a large majority in Congress and he will be confident of getting a redrafted version of the agreement approved.


Old post about it... And yet another one.

Didn't see that one coming.