August 26th, 2010

copshows| Stickup Man

ONTD_Political's PotD: August 25, 2010.

USDA Racism Resignation: Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, right, puts his arm around former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, left, as they conclude a news conference at the Agriculture Department in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official ousted during a racial firestorm last month, declined Tuesday to return to the agency, though she said it was tempting.

Manuel Balce Ceneta | Xinhua | AP Photo
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franklin sherman

The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

That is the bizarre - and scary - rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants - with no need for a search warrant.

It is a dangerous decision - one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.

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Oh another one? Of course...

OP: The  hypocrits are crawling out of the word work to take advantage of those rights that other people fought for and that ... oh fuck it. I'm tired. It's so cliché now. Another Republican comes out of the closet but surprisingly- he seemingly was not OUTED by some tryst in a public toilet. Kudos to Melman,(even If grudgingly offered.) Perhaps just as interestingly, he out KARL ROVE as a liar- oh wait, we already knew that. First there's this:

Bush Campaign Chief and Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman: I'm Gay

Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has told family and associates that he is gay.
Mehlman arrived at this conclusion about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed to answer a reporter's questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California's ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.
"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. "Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I've told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they've been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago."
Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for civil unions and told of how, in private discussions with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage. He insisted, too, that President Bush "was no homophobe." He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called "the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now."
Mehlman's leadership positions in the GOP came at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities -- such as the distribution in West Virginia in 2006 of literature linking homosexuality to atheism, or the less-than-subtle, coded language in the party's platform ("Attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country..."). Mehlman said at the time that he could not, as an individual Republican, go against the party consensus. He was aware that Karl Rove, President Bush's chief strategic adviser, had been working with Republicans to make sure that anti-gay initiatives and referenda would appear on November ballots in 2004 and 2006 to help Republicans.
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This little tidbit from Dallas New highlights one admission from the Melman's story ... big surprise right? I don't even get why Karl would lie about it? 

Karl Rove says he didn't engineer anti-gay marriage amendments. He did.

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108 school judo class deaths but no charges, only silence

Fatalities since '83 highest rate in any sport; brain injuries abound

Full of hope: Koji Murakawa strikes a cheerful pose with his mother upon entering junior high school in Shiga Prefecture in April 2009. COURTESY OF THE MURAKAWA FAMILY

Yasuhiko Kobayashi's 15-year-old son had skipped judo practice.

According to Kobayashi, the boy's teacher was furious and stood waiting for him at the gates of his junior high school in Yokohama. The teacher forced the boy into the gym and made him grapple one on one. The former All Japan judo champion choked the boy until he lost consciousness.

When the boy came to, the teacher choked him again until he went limp, and threw him to the floor with such force that he suffered severe internal bleeding in his brain, an injury known as an acute subdural hematoma.

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Source: The Japan Times Online

Man torches home after mum bins robots

A Japanese man has pleaded guilty to burning down his family home after his mother threw away some of his favourite robot toys.

Yoshifumi Takabe told Kobe District Court in western Japan he became suicidal after losing the figures, which he says were partners he wanted to spend his life with.

The 30-year-old, who lived with his mother, torched the family home in retaliation, saying he wanted to die with his robots in the fire.

His mother had long complained that Takabe was cluttering the house with enough toys to fill at least 300 boxes.

The blaze on August 9 last year completely destroyed their two-story wooden house, but no-one was injured.

The robot toys were figures from the Gundam animated TV series, which started in the 1970s, about space wars involving giant robots.


I'm Sorry I Gave You HIV...

Sorry, though the onus for sexual health and protection falls on both (or all partners, if you're into that sort of thing) I have a hard time holding back my rage on this one...

Darmstadt, Germany (CNN) -- A German pop star was found guilty Thursday of causing grievous bodily harm and attempted bodily harm for failing to tell sexual partners that she was infected with HIV.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, former singer in the girl band No Angels, was given a two-year suspended sentence. She was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service with people who are HIV-positive.

The trial has been taking place at a court here in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt.

Benaissa had unprotected sex five times between 2000 and 2004 with three people and did not tell them she was infected, according to multiple media reports.

One of her partners became infected with the virus. Benaissa had allegedly known her status since 1999.

Benaissa admitted not telling sexual partners she was HIV-positive but denied intending to infect anyone, telling the court during the trial, "I am sorry from the heart."
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Letter From The Father of Joseph Rocha, Discharged Under DADT

With the Pentagon’s family survey now in the field, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a national, legal services and policy organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), will release a letter each day this week from family members and spouses of former service members impacted by DADT. As the Pentagon reaches out to 150,000 straight couples on how their lives are impacted, these letters will share the perspective of those forced to serve under this law alongside their loved ones. SLDN is urging supporters of repeal to call, write, and schedule in-district meetings with both their senators as the defense budget, which contains the repeal amendment, moves to the floor just weeks from now.

August 26, 2010

Hon. Jeh C. Johnson
General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

General Carter F. Ham
Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe
Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group

Dear Mr. Johnson and General Ham:

I am a heavy machinery truck driver; I have been all of my life. A blue collar American who raised my son, Joseph Rocha, in a Roman Catholic home with strong Spanish values, after his mother lost custody for drug abuse. Throughout school Joseph turned out to be an awarded scholar, athlete and leader. I did my best to provide a good home for him. But, I wasn’t prepared for my only boy to turn out gay.

Early on in his senior year, at 17, he left the house on one condition: that he never return.

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Film - The Old Guard

Finding The Root Of Anti-Gay Sentiment In Uganda

Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill was introduced by parliament member David Bahati in October 2009. The bill seeks to eradicate homosexuality from Uganda and become a model for the rest of Africa.

Among the proposals in the bill: prison terms for Ugandans who fail to report a homosexual within 24 hours; lifelong prison sentences for a single homosexual act; and the death sentence for a range of acts, including having gay sex while HIV-positive, having gay sex with a disabled person or being classified as a "serial offender" — that is, someone who has gay sex more than once.

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npr (full audio interview/transcript)
Bree Gun

(no subject)

Why Books By Women Aren't Considered Serious

A kerfuffle over Jonathan Franzen's new book has exposed a controversy in the literary world: to hear some writers tell it, women may get the money, but men get all the praise. Except when men get both.

Said kerfuffle began when Jodi Picoult tweeted about the Times review of Franzen's Freedom:
NYT raved about Franzen's new book. Is anyone shocked? Would love to see the NYT rave about authors who aren't white male literary darlings.

An argument over whether the Times actually skews white and male in its fiction reviews ensued over at NYTPicker, with some interesting nuance emerging (said Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, "I would add that they only cover authors 'of color' when such authors write about barrios, ghettos or magical thinking"). Hard stats on the issue turn out to be rather difficult to come by — a new study found that 95% of the American political authors the Times reviewed in 2009 were white dudes, but apparently didn't address fiction. Julianne Balmain of Sisters in Crime says 66% of the mystery novels the Times reviewed in 2009 were by men, and for 2010 so far the figure is 72%. Does the Times universally neglect female writers in favor of male ones? Hard to tell — but now Picoult and Jennifer Weiner are arguing that there's something else at work: money.

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  • merig00

Woman recovering from "Blackberry thumb" surgery

St. Petersburg, Florida - A woman in the Philadelphia area is recovering from "Blackberry thumb" surgery.

The mortgage banker spends 12 hours a day texting clients on her iPhone.

"I'm texted out," she said.

The constant texting put so much pressure on her hands that the tendons in her thumb became inflamed. She had to undergo surgery to remove the tendons.

Doctors say if you start feeling pain during texting, stop. Don't try to power through it.

Symptoms of Blackberry thumb include pain, inflammation, numbness and tingling.

The mortgage banker is anxious to get back to work, but for now, she's using the "hunt and peck" method and trying to give her Blackberry thumb a break

martha my dear, paul

Migrants Shot for Refusing to be Assassins

MEXICO CITY — The sole survivor in the massacre of 72 illegal immigrants headed to the U.S. has said a notorious drug gang gunned them all down after they refused to work as assassins, according to a source at the prosecutor's office for the state of Tamaulipas quoted in Mexican media.

The teen — an Ecuadorian who escaped and stumbled wounded to a military checkpoint on a highway — told authorities that his captors had identified themselves as Zetas, a drug gang whose control of parts of the northern state of Tamaulipas is so brutal and complete that even many Mexicans avoid traveling its highways.


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Linda McMahon's campaign takes a chair to the head

New York Magazine: The Father of a Dead Wrestler Calls Linda McMahon a Liar
By: Avi Zenilman

When Linda McMahon first announced she was running as a candidate for Chris Dodd's old Senate seat, the assumption was that her association with the ball-kicking, roid-raging world of the WWE would world of the WWE would kneecap her campaign. Her campaign insisted it wouldn't, and, apart from those hallucinatory Taiwanese videos, she has been able to maintain kayfabe and act like her old job is a non-issue.But then, two weeks ago, a 29-year-old former WWE wrestler with a painkiller addiction named Lance "Cade" McNaught died of heart failure. He had previously criticized the WWE's see-no-evil steroid policy; after his death, McMahon said she couldn't be held responsible for what her former employees did outside the ring, and didn't remember McNaught — she "might" have met him once, she said.
Enter Harley McNaught, Lance's dad."I've been with him on two different WWE functions where she came up to him and knew him by name," he said in an interview published in today's edition of The Day . "She disrespected him ... She disrespected my family."

There is nothing new about the allegations that the McMahons have turned a blind eye to rampant drug use; credible accusations of moral callousness are easy to fend away. But now, she has to deal with a much bigger political problem: a possible petty lie and an angry father.

It looks like the antics of the wrestlers in the ring aren't going to be the problem for McMahon.  It will be how she and her family have run things outside of the ring that will be.  Daily Kos is certainly making a big deal about McNaught's death.

P.S. Mods, we might need a Linda McMahon tag.

franklin sherman

Roaving Naked Scanners Aka Superman Scanners roll out worldwide

Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans

As the privacy controversy around full-body security scans begins to simmer, it’s worth noting that courthouses and airport security checkpoints aren’t the only places where backscatter x-ray vision is being deployed. The same technology, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on U.S. streets.

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

“This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss. Reiss says AS&E has customers on “all continents except Antarctica.”

Here’s a video of the vans in action.

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TxVoodoo layout icon

Middle School Segregates Class Elections by Race

Thinking about running for eighth grade class president at Nettleton Middle School in Nettleton, Mississippi? Well... are you white? Because only white kids are allowed to run for president. Black kids can be vice-president, though! But only black kids.

A few days ago, Nettleton Middle School students brought home the following memo, which spells out the requirements for students who want to run for class office:

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What is this. I can't....what.

eta: The school district's website with the "media statement"
Calvin & Hobbes: Hug
  • calybe

Man gets arrested for Facebook message

Singapore: A Singaporean man who attacked the ruling party on Facebook and urge people to "burn" a cabinet minister has been arrested on charges of inciting violence, police said Wednesday.
In a statement, police said they had arrested a "man in his late 20s" on Tuesday "in connection with investigations into offences related to incitement of violence".
The statement did not name the man or give details of the offence, but said that he was released on bail pending further investigation.

Local media identified him as Abdul Malik Ghazali, 27, who posted a series of comments on the social networking site critical of how Singapore is hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG)

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Source: Gulf News