August 21st, 2010


U.S. Army Soldiers Punished for Refusing to Attend Christian Rock Concert

Troops: Skipping Christian concert got us punished

RICHMOND, Va. – The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.

Fort Eustis spokesman Rick Haverinen told The Associated Press he couldn't comment on the specifics of the investigation. At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn't impose religious views on soldiers.

"If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said.

Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base, home of the Army's Transportation Corps.

"My whole issue was I don't need to be preached at," Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. "That's not what I signed up for."

Smith, 21, was stationed in Virginia for nearly seven months for helicopter electrician training when the Christian rock group BarlowGirl played as part of the "Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts."

Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said.

"Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down," Smith said. "It seemed very much like a punishment."

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation first reported on the Christian concert. The foundation said it was approached by soldiers who were punished for not attending or offended by the religious theme of the event.

The group's president, Mikey Weinstein, claims Christian-themed events are "ubiquitous" throughout the military, and he credited the soldiers for stepping forward.

"Whenever we see this egregious, unconstitutional religious tyranny our job is to fight it," he said.

Smith said he and the other soldiers were told not to use their cell phones or personal computers and ordered to clean up the barracks.

About 20 of the men, including several Muslims, refused to attend the concert based on their religious beliefs, he said.

Smith said he went up the chain of command and traced the concert edict to a captain, who said he simply wanted to "show support for those kind of events that bring soldiers together."

While not accepting blame, the officer apologized to the soldiers who refused to attend the concert and said it was not his intent to proselytize, he said.

"But once you get in there, you realize it's evangelization," Smith said.

FYI, this event was scheduled after duty hours, from 6:30pm to 10:00pm, which is normally a soldier's personal time.

This also happened during Advanced Individual Training, the training phase where a soldier learns his or her specific career field, immediately after Basic Training. It's not nearly as harsh as Basic Training, but not as relaxed as the regular Army. I'm not surprised this is when they're pulling this, as you have new recruits who would be unfamiliar with the actual limits to a commanding officer's power, they are still intimidated by rank, and unfamiliar with how to make an Equal Opportunity violation complaint. The officers and non-commissioned officers who gave the order know damn well they couldn't pull this off in the real Army.

Queen Amidala

Wine Gives Women an Intellectual Edge

According to a recent study out of Norway, wine gives women a bit of an intellectual edge over men.

The so-called 'Tromso Study' tested more than 5,000 middle-aged men and women over seven years, and found that women who drank four or more times over a two week period scored better on cognitive tests than those who only drank once during the same time frame.

The women who said they drank wine at least four times over two weeks had a lower risk of scoring poorly on the tests as compared to women who had less than one drink during the same period. Those women who didn’t drink alcohol scored lowest on the tests. Men who participated in the Norwegian study did not fare quite as well as women.

The researchers say that drinking wine was associated with better results in cognitive function testing in women. However, that doesn’t hold true for beer and spirits.

One reason may be due to the polyphenols or antioxidants in wine.

Another reason could be the alcohol itself, which helps blood circulation.

Edit: Whoops! Forgot the sauce.


Dear article posted earlier from the Daily Fail,


A lady preferential to the Shiraz
movies | Oh Captain My Captain

ONTD_Political's PotD: August 20, 2010.

Last month, Russia endured the hottest July ever recorded since records began 130 years ago. The intense heat and drought affecting central Russia has been drying out trees and peat marshes, which have been catching fire recently, burning forests, fields and houses across a massive region. Some 500 new fires have been reported in the last 24 hours alone, and a mobilization of hundreds of thousands of emergency workers is underway to combat them. President Dmitry Medvedev has now declared a state of emergency in seven regions. To date, over 1,500 homes have been destroyed and 40 lives have been lost. as wildfires continue across over 300,000 acres.
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Source Galleries:
I feel like I know her
  • maclyn

US calls for Megrahi to return to jail

US calls for Lockerbie bomber to return to jail

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, August 2009 

The White House has called for the man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to be returned to prison in Scotland.

President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said the US had expressed "strong conviction" to Scottish officials that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi be brought back to jail. Scottish ministers freed Megrahi, who has cancer, citing medical advice that he would likely die in three months. Analysts say the anniversary of his freeing adds weight to the US call. Mr Brennan called the release of Megrahi, who was set free from prison one year ago, an "unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision".He added: "We've expressed our strong conviction that Megrahi should serve out the remainder - the entirety - of his sentence in a Scottish prison."

Mr Brennan said the US had had productive discussions with Libyan officials and would use "diplomatic channels to convey our sentiments on a broad range of issues to include Mr al-Megrahi".
The BBC's Steve Kingstone, in Washington, says that US position is not new, but it carries additional force - coming form President Obama's counter-terrorism adviser on the anniversary of Megrahi's release.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said in a statement on Friday that the US continued to "categorically disagree" with the decision to release Megrahi.
"As we have expressed repeatedly to Scottish authorities, we maintain that al-Megrahi should serve out the entirety of his sentence in prison in Scotland. We have and will continue to reiterate this position to the Scottish and Libyan authorities," she said.
The Scottish government says the decision to free Megrahi was taken in good faith.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi being welcomed in Libya, August 2009 

Following his release from a Scottish prison in August 2009, Megrahi got a hero's welcome in Tripoli.
Of the 270 people who died in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, 189 of them were Americans.
'Outstanding questions' Meanwhile, a group of US senators says a "cloud of suspicion" still hangs over Megrahi's release.
Senator Robert Menendez called on Britain and Scotland to answer a number of "outstanding questions" over the case.
Mr Menendez said there was anger and frustration in the US that the convicted bomber was "still very much alive and very much free."

In letters to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, the four US senators setting up an inquiry into issues around the release have reiterated what they call the "persisting uncertainty about medical, legal and diplomatic issues related to" the release.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who took the decision to release Megrahi, has said that he is prepared to meet the US senators.
He said: "What's quite clear is the people of Scotland think the decision should be made here in Scotland, by the justice secretary, and they do believe it was made in good faith without any intervention, or indeed any consideration, of political, diplomatic or economic considerations."
Mr MacAskill has always maintained the decision to release Megrahi followed due process and was in keeping with the ideals of the Scottish justice system.
Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for the bombing.

From the BBC:

How about lol no. Not your decision, deal with it.

Wikipedia Editing for Zionists

Wikipedia Editing for Zionists


This week in Jerusalem, two Israeli groups hoping to smite their online enemies, both domestic and foreign, began a course in the “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia entries.

At the opening seminar, attended by about 80 activists, one of the organizers, Naftali Bennett, said that the aim of the course is to make sure that information in the online encyclopedia reflects the worldview of Zionist groups. For example, he said, “if someone searches [for] ‘the Gaza flotilla,’ we want to be there; to influence what is written there, how it’s written and to ensure that it is balanced and Zionist in nature.”

Mr. Bennet is the director of the Yesha Council, which represents Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank. Another of the course’s organizers, Ayelet Shaked of the My Israel movement, told Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news organization based in the West Bank, that the use of the word “occupied” in Wikipedia entries discussing Palestinian territory conquered by Israel in 1967 was just the kind of problem she hoped a new team of editors could help fix.

Ms. Shaked told The Guardian that the new editors were needed for entries related to Israel since, “People in the U.S. and Europe never hear about Israel’s side, with all the correct arguments and explanations.”

One of the participants in the seminar, Miriam Schwab, said, “I’ve personally tried to edit things in Wikipedia that were against Israel, small things, and my changes were erased or undone and I didn’t understand why.”

She added, “In general, it’s so important for us to be online working to defend ourselves and to prove to the world and to ourselves that we are just and we are right.”

The editors are expected to work on Wikipedia entries in both Hebrew and English since, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted, “For years now, Wikipedia has been a fierce battleground between the Israeli right and left.” In a report on the editing course, the newspaper explained:

The organizers’ aim was twofold: to affect Israeli public opinion by having people who share their ideological viewpoint take part in writing and editing for the Hebrew version, and to write in English so Israel’s image can be bolstered abroad.

The Yesha Council also announced a prize for the “Best Zionist Editor” — the person who over the next four years incorporates the most “Zionist” changes in the encyclopedia. That lucky encyclopedist will receive a trip in a hot-air balloon
over Israel.




What do you think about this? I didn't like the woman equating their story with the "right side" of the story. It feels like it's more about propaganda than presenting a fair and balanced view of world affairs.
creepy but cute

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange accused of rape

Swedish authorities have issued an arrest warant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspician of rape and molestation

Swedish authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of molestation and rape. The warrant was issued late yesterday, said a spokeswoman at Sweden's prosecutors' office in Stockholm.

She said Assange should contact the Swedish police for questioning about the accusations of molestation and rape in two separate cases "so that he can be confronted with the suspicions". Assange has denied the charges, which were first reported by the Swedish tabloid Expressen, on Wikileaks' Twitter account.

He implied that they were linked to the release by the whistleblowers' website of a huge cache of US military records about the Afghan war, which were published in collaboration with the Guardian and two other papers. Assange said: "The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing." Earlier postings on the Twitter account implied the accusations were part of a dirty tricks campaign against the Wikileaks founder, who has been strongly criticised by the Pentagon.

"Expressen is a tabloid; No one here has been contacted by Swedish police. Needless to say, this will prove hugely distracting. "We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks'. Now we have the first one." Last month Wikileaks released around 77,000 secret US military documents on the war in Afghanistan.

US authorities criticised the leak, saying it could put the lives of coalition soldiers and Afghan informants at risk. Assange has said that Wikileaks is intending to release a further 15,000 documents in the coming weeks - a pledge condemned by the Pentagon, which has demanded the deletion of the files from the website.

Assange, an Australian citizen, was in Sweden last week to apply for a publishing certificate to make sure the website, which has servers in Sweden, can take full advantage of Swedish laws protecting whistleblowers. He also gave a talk about his work and defended the decision by Wikileaks to publish the Afghan war logs.

-The Guardian

Oy vey... Let's see if this is just a post by the right-wing tabloid before engaging in any spec-u-lation /bush.

Gender bias against a man in the Australian Election!

Poor Mr Abbott, it's so hard competing against a woman in the election, because women in Australia have never suffered discrimination ever. But this man who writes this opinion explains that being a women in Australian politics is good, because men get in trouble if they insult women based on their gender, and men get in trouble if they try to control women's fertility, so therefore women have the advantage in politics, or something. I got a little confused with the point.

In this opinion piece he also takes a potshot at the Labor Party for their insulation program, regarding the houses which were burnt down and some deaths, it's fair criticism. Although I'm not sure how it's misogyny if you are critical of that program. Umm.


Tony Abbott had only just appeared on ABC’s Q & A this week when a tweet appeared on screen: “Good evening Mr Rabbit”.

This preschool wit went out to about 840,000 viewers, about the same number as watched Julia Gillard on the same program the previous week. Would Aunty have posted an equivalent dumb-arse tweet about her? Something like “Good evening Ms Carrot”? No way. It sums up the gender bias in this election campaign.

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The comments at the source are so boring.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

So you can run and tell that, homeboy

From Sex Assault Fury to Internet-Fueled Fortune
Antoine Dodson Capitalizes on Accidental Fame With Facebook, Twitter, Web Page, Merchandise

For many people who dabble with fame, it's their face that determines their fortune. But Antoine Dodson's ticket to success isn't his face, it's his fury.

Three weeks ago, the 24-year-old man was struggling to complete an associate's degree at a college in Huntsville, Ala., while living with his mother, three sisters and a niece.

Now, he's an Internet superstar with Facebook fans by thousands, YouTube views in the millions and enough money of his own to move his family into a new house.

All because of a televised rant that attracted a rabid following.

On the local news in late July, Dodson unleashed an animated diatribe the likes of which even the Internet had never seen, denouncing an intruder who allegedly attempted to rape his 22-year-old sister, Kelly, in her bed one night.

"Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park," the 24-year-old called out to the camera. "He's climbing in your windows, he's snatching your people up, trying to rape them; so y'all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because they're raping everybody out here."

He ended the video with a sharp warning to the still-at-large perpetrator: "We're looking for you. We gonna find you. I'm letting you know that. So you can run and tell that, homeboy!"

Gregory Brothers Turns Dodson Video Into 'Bed Intruder Song'

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It's good to see that something good is coming out of the whole "Bed Intruder" meme for Dodson's family, and how well he's handling it (and I admit, I LOL'd at the agent who saw dollar signs and busted out as fast as his car could take him to Dodson). I'm also glad to find an article on this that finally talks to his sister and gets her opinion on it. I don't know if this will translate into anything long-term for Dodson, but he's definitely taken control of his own fame and is trying to use it to take care of his family.

Oh, and in case anyone wants them, here are Antoine's:

sneaky bitches

Blago and his hairs' next performence at-!

Rod Blagojevich Latest Wizard World Chicago Comic Con Guest

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

August 20th, 2010
by Albert Ching

In case it wasn’t clear that Wizard’s shows aren’t really “comic book conventions” any more, here’s the latest evidence: impeached former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has just been added to the lineup of this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago Comic Con. Yes, the same Blagojevich who just three days ago was convicted in federal court on one count of lying to investigators — a mistrial was declared on the other 23 counts, and a retrial is expected. Wizard took the opportunity to playfully reference the decision, opening their press release with “Rod’s appeal” and later starting “The verdict is in!”
Here’s how Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus described Blagojevich’s appearance in the official statement: “Wizard World Chicago Comic Con is all about pop culture, and Rod Blagojevich is as relevant to today’s news as it gets.” The implication being that “today’s news” is synonymous with “pop culture” — ah yes, who doesn’t love tuning in to cable news and watching the latest adventures of beloved pop culture icons like Tony Hayward and Shirley Sherrod? To be fair, Blagojevich does qualify as a pop culture figure, given how he was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice this past year, and, more puzzlingly, his wife was on the 2009 US version of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here!.

He’ll be there tomorrow (Aug. 21, 2010), posing for photos from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (only a half hour?), and then singing autographs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. As Blagojevich says in the release, he’s “looking forward to meeting loyal supporters and other fans on Saturday.” Given that the he’s reportedly broke, and the photographs are $80 each and the autographs $50, he’s presumably very much looking forward to meeting these supporters and fans.

Other celebrities making appearances at the convention and mentioned in the press release include William Shatner, Adam West, Linda Hamilton and James Marsters — which is a couple of Kardashians (or Cardassians) away from being the best cast of The Surreal Life ever. There are comic book pros there, too, such as Mike McKone, Ethan Van Sciver and Jill Thompson. Wizard World Chicago started Thursday and ends on Sunday.

i just...i fucking swear...this mofo...NOBODY BETTER DARE.


The Feministing Five: Jay Smooth

Jay Smooth, as longtime readers of Feministing will know, is one of our favorite commentators and male allies. Jay is the founder of New York City’s longest running hip hop radio show, WBAI’s “Underground Railroad,” which has been around for twenty years now. You can also hear him on NPR’s “Morning Edition” every week, talking music and culture.

But what really got our attention, and what secured Jay’s inclusion in the ranks of Salon’s Sexiest Men Living in 2008, is the commentary he does about the intersection of race, gender, politics and pop culture. At his website, Ill Doctrine, he does trenchant, funny and thought-provoking commentary on everything from the phrase “no homo” to the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Most recently, Jay has garnered attention for his video “How to Tell People they Sound Racist,” a fascinating guide to having a productive conversation about the most divisive issue in American culture and politics. The video, which should be shown to every incoming college freshman (and every pundit, and every one of your friends, and everyone who wants to be included in our national discussion about race), is three minutes of desperately-needed genius, and with it, Jay has done us a real service (seriously, watch it).

It was a genuine pleasure to be able to pick Jay’s brain for half an hour, to hear how his experiences of race have shaped his views on gender and to find out exactly which Feministing editor he wants to take to a desert island.

And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five, with Jay Smooth.

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Totally not posting this as ladypolitik bait.
  • xerox78

Strippers protest church that protests them

Churchgoers, strippers protest one another in Coshocton County

WARSAW, Ohio -- Strip-club owner Tommy George rolled up to the church in his grabber-orange Dodge Challenger, drinking a Mountain Dew at 9 in the morning and smoking a cigarette he had just rolled himself.

Pastor Bill Dunfee stepped out of a tan Nissan Murano, clutching a Bible in one hand and his sermon in the other, a touch of spray holding his perfectly coiffed 'do in place.

Inside the New Beginnings Ministries church, Dunfee's worshippers wore polyester and pearls.

Outside, George's strippers wore bikinis and belly rings.

Both men agree it is classic sinners vs. saints. But George says it is up to America to decide which is which and who is who.

Dunfee says God already has chosen.

"Tom George is a parasite, a man without judgment," Dunfee said. "The word of Jesus Christ says you cannot share territory with the devil."

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tl;dr explanation: Church has protested strip club and tried to get it shut down for 4 years, so the dancers are now protesting the church (citing Matthew 7:15 and Revelations 22:11). The pastor and strip club owner attempted to make a truce, but got nowhere. The strip club will lay off the church when the church lays off them.

Haiti rejects Wyclef Jean's presidential bid

Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has been told he is not allowed to run in the country's presidential election.

The 40-year-old singer, who lives in the US, formally registered to stand earlier this month.

But the Haitian constitution requires candidates to have lived in the country for five years prior to an election.

The electoral council, which ruled against Mr Jean's candidacy, has also been deliberating on the applications of other potential candidates.

The country is still recovering from January's earthquake, which killed an estimated 230,000 people and left more than one million homeless.

Electoral council spokesman Richard Dumel said officials had accepted 19 candidacies and rejected 15 others.

Following the ruling, Mr Jean issued a statement saying he respectfully disagreed with the council's decision but accepted it and urged his supporters to do the same.

"We must all honour the memories of those we have lost - whether in the earthquake, or at any time - by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment," he said.


The entire story can be read at BBC News

This makes sense, given that he doesn't live there.

If Elected for CA Gov, Meg Whitman (R) will defend Prop 8.

SAN DIEGO – Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman said Friday that she would defend voter-approved Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex marriage, if she becomes governor next year.

The announcement, made just hours before she addressed the California Republican Party convention here, put the Republican candidate at odds with both Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, Whitman's Democratic rival in the governor's race. Both Schwarzenegger and Brown have refused to defend the law against court challenges.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has taken up the issue after Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court of Northern California declared the measure unconstitutional earlier this month.

Previously, Whitman had supported only letting the case work its way through the courts before allowing same-sex couples to marry.

When asked by The Bee, however, during a campaign stop Friday whether she'd defend Proposition 8, she said, "The issue right now is, as I understand it, is 'Will Proposition 8 have the appropriate support to actually make an appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals?'

"And I think the governor, the attorney general today has to defend the constitution and has to enable the judicial process to go along and has to enable an appeal to go through," she continued. "So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court."

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Pakistan flooding submerges new areas

New flooding in Pakistan sent 150,000 people to higher ground Saturday as aid agencies struggled to help the millions of people already affected by the disaster.

The evacuation of homes was carried out in southern Sindh province as the latest surge approached. Already, 600,000 people are in relief camps set up in Sindh province because of flooding over the past month.

Howard Arfin, spokesman for the Canadian Red Cross, is in one of the worst affected areas.

"We're seeing first-hand the massive destruction from a river that is five times its normal size. Homes are washed out all around us. We're still seeing people up to their chests in water," he told CBC News.

"To some extent, the waters in the north are subsiding and we're hoping that a second round of monsoon rains don't increase the misery.

"Of course, this great wall of water is moving southward into the southern provinces and causing further inundation there," he said.

According to Arfin,
six million people are already homeless, and there are upwards of 20 million people whose lives have been impacted.

The floods began in the northwest, hitting the Swat Valley and areas close to the main city of Peshawar, before moving down the country by way of the River Indus, devastating millions of hectares of crops in the country's "breadbasket" in Punjab and the Sindh.

About one-fifth of the country — a chunk of land about the size of Italy — has been affected.


The entire article can be read at the CBC's website

The source has a pretty long list of organization for people wishing to donate (many are Canadian, since this is from the CBC)

also help_pakistan
ontd → glasses!rdj

Australian Election is a Hung Parliament

Australia's political future hangs in the balance as a big swing against Labor on the eastern seaboard looks set to make the Coalition the largest bloc in the first hung parliament since World War II.

Labor MPs have been swept aside by swings of more than 9 per cent against them in former prime minister Kevin Rudd's home state of Queensland, and of more than 6 per cent in New South Wales.

ABC election analyst Antony Green now says he expects the Coalition to have 73 seats in the House of Representatives, with Labor on 72, four independents, and one Green.

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It sounds like Mad Monk Tony Abbott will become P.M. This is a devestating result for Labor. I can not believe they performed so badly.