August 22nd, 2010

McMahon Siblings

Irony: McMahon blasts Blumenthal's honesty

HARTFORD, Conn. — Richard Blumenthal's words are haunting him again.

Already forced to apologize for saying he had served "in" Vietnam in the Marine Reserve rather than stateside, the state attorney general's campaign for U.S. Senate is now being challenged to explain his assertion that he had "never taken PAC money" and has "rejected all special interest money."

Federal records show that he has accepted $480,000 in political action committee money since he made that claim in January. Moreover, his Republican opponent, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, points to nearly $17,000 Blumenthal received as a state legislative candidate in the 1980s — a figure Blumenthal's campaign does not dispute.

Blumenthal's campaign insists he did not lie — as McMahon says — when he said in an interview on MSNBC the day after he announced he was running for the seat of retiring Sen. Chris Dodd that he had never taken PAC money. His campaign says he was referring only to his 20 years as attorney general.

The context of the interview was the race for the Senate seat and how expensive the campaign would be. During the interview, Blumenthal was shown a clip in which McMahon said she would commit whatever personal money was necessary to win because she did not want to take special interest funds.

Blumenthal was then asked how tough the race would be — and how expensive.

"I've never taken PAC money, and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and taken legal action against many of those special interests," he responded.

The rest of the article finds this terribly amusing and ironic.

movies | Viddy Well Lil' Brotha

ONTD_Political's PotD: August 21, 2010.

Since the Kabul Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center opened in May 2009 it has rehabilitated over 400 addicts in the 100-bed facility with temporary funding from the International Organization of Migration and help from the Ministry of Public Health. The program lasts for 45 days, combining both detox and rehabilitation. The center houses the two leading organizations that offer detox programs, Wadan and Nejat. A U.S. Department of State report in 2009 states that there are an estimated two million drug users in Afghanistan with at least 50-60,000 drug addicts in Kabul alone.

All photos by Paula Bronstein | Getty Images
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Source: "Afghan Heroin Addicts Get Help" | Boston Globe |
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Yeah, screw you, too.

NY candidate: Prison dorms for welfare recipients

Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they would work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in "personal hygiene."

Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists, is competing for the Republican nomination with former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio. The primary is Sept. 14.

Paladino first described the idea in June at a meeting of The Journal News of White Plains and spoke about it again this week with The Associated Press.

Throughout his campaign, Paladino has criticized New York's rich menu of social service benefits, which he says encourages illegal immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected.

Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state — "military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service," he said — while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors.

"Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes," Paladino said.

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There is so much wrong with this that I don't even know where to begin.
Pink Floyd

Long search for Mitrice Richardson comes to tragic end

I remember reading about this on this comm last year, here. Very very sad, and preventable. It is believed that she was suffering from bipolar disorder and that she had not slept for five days prior to being arrested.

Long search for Mitrice Richardson comes to tragic end
August 13, 2010|By Carla Hall and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times

In the 11 months since Mitrice Richardson stepped out of the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff's Station into the early morning darkness and vanished hours later, the mystery of her whereabouts twisted around false sightings from the ocean to Las Vegas.

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Invasion of the Asians is fiction, not a fact

I'm a big fan of 'The Tomorrow Series' by John Marsden. I was a teen when the books first became big and I loved it because it had a strong female protagonist and it had a very peace message 'war is hell, being a soldier destroys the soul' etc. I also loved it because it was set in a landscape that was very familiar to me, as an Australian.

I'm very excited that this books is going to be made into a film. But I do understand people's issues. But it's important to remember that the author, John Marsden never mentioned who the invaders were, because the story wasn't about the invaders, but about teenagers who had to grow up in war. Of course in a setting where Australia gets invaded, it's natural to assume it's our northern Asian neighbours. We have been attacked by Japan once, so it's part of our national consciousness. Is it right? I don't know. But I think the assumption should be examined.

What is it about invasion literature and film that worries me? In the 50 years before World War I, invasion literature reached craze proportions in Europe. The pioneering work The Battle of Dorking in 1871 was a story about a mythical invasion of England by Germany. It was later reprised, but with a sci-fi theme, in H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds.

In Australia, the Asian invasion idea has occasionally been a part of the popular imagination. In the 19th century, The Bulletin famously ran cover images of the yellow hordes pouring into Australia. The fear - probably born of an awareness of our own, then quite recent, takeover of Australia - gained credibility in the collective psyche following the two world wars. People do invade one another, as our neighbours knew only too well.

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Struggling to afford to eat in Niger

Droughts, flooding and rising food prices have left millions of people in Niger facing food shortages and this year's harvest is still months away.

A local volunteer is hard at work in the village of Tidirra in southern Niger.

Sweating profusely in the close heat of a bungalow built out of sandy mud bricks, Adamo Gabeye is mixing a pale golden powder with carefully measured portions of oil fortified with vitamins.

In a process that resembles folding the ingredients for a cake, Gabeye rubs the oil into the dry ingredients in a giant plastic bowl. A blend of corn, soya bean and sugar.

Gabeye, is carefully watched by 14 women, who sit in an orderly row on a bench running along one side of the room.

The small children in each of the women's arms grasp despondently at their breasts. The mothers are underweight and cannot produce enough milk, leaving their babies at risk of severe malnutrition.

On the wall of this clinic - built last year by the villagers, with the support of an international charity, specifically to treat child malnutrition - is a single poster bearing a photo of a chubby family of three.

The dimpled faces in the photo are a world away from the women waiting for their rations of food.

One of the world's poorest countries at the best of times, Niger is facing its most severe food crisis in a decade.

Exceptionally heavy rainfall in many parts of the country last year washed away staple crops of millet, sorghum and corn, producing a catastrophic harvest that failed to sustain people throughout much of this year.

The figures are alarming.

More than 80% of Niger's population - around 12 million people - are at risk of food insecurity.
Acute malnutrition is already above the emergency threshold for famine.


The entire article can be read at BBC News

I didn't even know this was happening, and have not seen anything about this in the US media.

also, we don't have a tag for Niger, so I tried to do the best I could as far as tags are concerned.
  • synesis

Tory govt: Trade trumps human rights

Britain scraps annual assessment of human rights abuses across the world
NGOs concerned that ministers are 'blindly' pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities are taking place

The coalition government is plunged into a major row today over its commitment to human rights amid claims that it will scrap the Foreign Office's landmark annual assessment of abuses across the world.

The Observer has learned that civil servants have been told to stop working on the next edition of the FCO Annual Report on Human Rights, which highlights incidents of torture and oppression, monitors use of the death penalty and aims to expose the illegal arms trade. The report also acts as a guide to MPs and businesses over which countries it is ethical to trade with.

The former Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, broke ranks last night to claim that any move to end the annual report risked "downgrading human rights" and would be met with "fierce resistance". NGOs said that doubts over the future of the report, which was introduced by Robin Cook in 1997, fuelled their concerns that coalition ministers were "blindly" pursuing commercial interests in countries where atrocities were taking place.

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Source: Guardian
The X-Files // Scully Glasses

This is a help Pakistan post.

The floods in Pakistan have affected some 20 million people and aren't over yet. The floods have affected more people than the combined total of the 2004 Tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the American Katrina disaster. Right now people need food, shelter and medical attention. In the long-term Pakistan will have to deal with the millions who no longer have homes, the crops that have been destroyed, the resulting economic fallout and much more. Below the cut are links to various organizations that you can donate to in order to help relief efforts. The Canadian government announced today that they will be matching the donations of Canadians from Aug. 2 to September 12. I know that a lot of us might not have the financial ability to donate but please, please donate if you can, bbs.

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Mods: I was hoping that this could get linked in the top bar of the comm so that it doesn't get lost after a day or two.

If anyone has any other links or information about helping those in Pakistan leave it in the comments and I'll edit it into this post.
Calvin & Hobbes: Trusting
  • calybe

Van Gogh painting stolen in Cairo

A Van Gogh painting worth $50 million has been stolen from a museum in Cairo, Egypt's minister of culture has said.

The painting, known both as both Poppy Flowers and Vase And Flowers, was "cut from its frame" on Saturday, Farouk Hosni told the AFP agency.

Van Gogh
Van Gogh is believed to have painted Poppy Flowers in 1887

Police are studying security camera footage and questioning employees at the Mahmoud Khalil museum, he added.

The same painting was previously taken from the same museum in 1977, but recovered a decade later.

Security has been tightened at air and sea ports in an effort to stop the painting from being smuggled overseas.

The work, measuring 1ft by 1ft, and depicting yellow and red flowers, is believed to have been painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1887, three years before his death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Mahmoud Khalil museum was built by Egyptian politician of the same name in the 1930s, and also hosts works by Monet, Renoir and Degas.

Nine paintings of 19th Century Egyptian ruler Mohammed Ibrahim Pasha were stolen from the Muhammad Ali Palace last year, but found 10 days later dumped outside.

Source: BBC News

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  • calybe

Uighur Intellectual Who Won’t Back Down in China

Muslim Uighur advocate Ilham Tohti chats with students following his lecture in a classroom in Beijing.

ILHAM TOHTI rarely worries about his personal safety here — at least not at the hands of would-be thieves.

That is because Mr. Tohti, an economics professor and unofficial spokesman for this country’s embattled Uighur minority, frequently has a police escort.

Whether they are looking out for his well-being is another matter.

“You may not see them, especially if I’m out with friends, but they’re there,” said Mr. Tohti, 41, whose ever-present smile seems to convey more sadness than joy.

Just then his cellphone rang. He looked at the number, put his fingers to his lips and whispered “domestic security.” After a quick exchange with his minders, Mr. Tohti hung up and lit yet another cigarette. “They’re very angry with me,” he said sitting in his Beijing apartment. “They told me very clearly that I may be in grave danger.”

These are precarious times for Mr. Tohti, a brazenly outspoken spark plug of a man whose advocacy for China’s Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs has landed him on the government’s list of citizens who warrant near-constant surveillance.

Last July, after ethnic bloodletting in the far western region of Xinjiang killed 197 people, the governor appeared on television to accuse Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader, of inciting the violence, much of which involved Uighur mobs bludgeoning Han Chinese migrants in Urumqi, the regional capital. Then he parceled out some of the blame to Mr. Tohti’s Web site,, a lively forum for debate — and a platform for rumormongering, according to the government — before it was blocked by the censors.
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Source: The New York Times
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  • homasse

Swedish prosecutors defend WikiLeaks about-face

Swedish prosecutors defend WikiLeaks about-face

Swedish prosecutors defended their handling of a rape allegation against the founder of WikiLeaks, saying Sunday that they had made no mistakes in issuing an arrest warrant and withdrawing it less than a day later.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the short-lived warrant had damaged his group nonetheless.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said an "on-call" prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Assange late Friday only to see it revoked the next day by a higher-ranked prosecutor, who found no grounds to suspect him of rape.

"The prosecutor who took over the case yesterday had more information, and that is why she made a different assessment than the on-call prosecutor,"
said Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the authority.

She declined to specify what the new material was, but said there was "absolutely nothing" that suggested errors had been made by either prosecutor.

Assange was in Sweden last week seeking legal protection for the website, which angered the Obama administration by publishing thousands of leaked documents about U.S. military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks is preparing to release of a fresh batch of classified U.S. documents from the Afghan war, despite warnings from the Pentagon that they could endanger American soldiers and their Afghan helpers.

The secretive Australian remains under suspicion of a lesser crime of molestation, which would not lead to an arrest warrant. Molestation covers a wide of range of offenses under Swedish law, including inappropriate physical contact with another adult, and can result in fines or up to one year in prison.

Assange called the allegations "without basis" in a Twitter posting and questioned the motives behind them in an interview with a Swedish newspaper.

The tabloid Aftonbladet quoted Assange as saying the allegations had caused damage even though the rape suspicion was dropped, because WikiLeaks' "enemies" could use them to discredit the site.

"I don't know who's behind this but we have been warned that for example the Pentagon plans to use dirty tricks to spoil things for us," he said in comments translated to Swedish. "I have also been warned about sex traps."

There was no immediate reaction Sunday from the Pentagon on Assange's comments.

Assange rejected the molestation accusation and said he has never — in Sweden or elsewhere — "had sex with anyone without the full consent of both parties."

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesman in Iceland, called the sequence of events related to the arrest warrant too "remarkable" to rule out ulterior motives.

"It is such an unbelievable unfolding of events that it would be unnatural not to consider that there is something behind it," he said.


...I don't even kind of know (which is why the only tag I'm giving this is "wikileaks"). I'm still in the whaaaaa?? stage, and find it a quite comfortable place to be.
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