September 15th, 2010


Show me your teeth

Pelosi Comes Out Swinging at G.O.P.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on Tuesday evening predicted that Congressional Democrats would emerge victorious in the midterm elections because voters would decide that they do not want Republicans to restore the policies of President George W. Bush.

At an impromptu news conference before the first meeting of the House Democratic caucus of the fall session, Ms. Pelosi and the Democratic majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said that Democrats would spend the fall working on legislation that would help create jobs and would promote American manufacturing.

And they sought to paint Republicans as favoring the rich over the middle class.

“We’re for preserving Social Security, tax cuts for the middle class, and making it in America,” Ms. Pelosi said, “as contrasted with Republicans who want to privatize Social Security, tax cuts for the wealthy, send jobs overseas.”
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It is nice to see some sign of fight left in the dems.
MISC - moustache

How Democrats, Republicans compare

For years I have been trying to persuade supporters of the other major American party to change their mind and vote with me, to no avail. That is, until last week, when three politically minded friends came over for an evening of snacks and politics, and, halfway through the evening, I unleashed my new one-two approach to political persuasion.

First, I asked my friends how they would go about choosing a new dishwasher. We agreed that the responsible and rewarding method would be to ignore any marketing hype and instead follow the Best Buy recommendations by Consumer Reports. Because nobody mentioned the virtues or shortcomings of, say, Whirlpool's executives as a valid criterion for choosing the appliance, I asked why they argue for hours about the perceived personalities of the candidates instead of comparing the track records of the major parties. My friends answered that it's simple enough to summarize the essential properties of dishwashers, while the elections are about a large number of issues that defy easy tabulation. Therefore, they concentrate on the candidates, hoping that by choosing the right person for the job, the elected official will make the right decisions when dealing with all those different issues.

I used to share this view myself, but then I checked the numbers. I was surprised to find out that the results of comparing the track records of the two major parties fall neatly (with one exception) into two categories - economy and family values. In my analysis, I compared all administrations going back to 1960 and all states based on how they voted in the presidential elections since 1980.

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statistical smackdown source

The military socialism of the GOP

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 07:01 ET

The war socialism of the American right
Conservatives do not object to Keynesianism -- as long as it involves the military

By Michael Lind

When American conservatives denounce Keynesianism and socialism, it is difficult not to detect a note of jealous resentment on their part. After all, since Reagan, the American right has made Keynesian fiscal policy and the socialization of American industry its own specialty. Conservatives are rhetorical libertarians but operational Keynesians, when they are not operational socialists -- military socialists.

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sunshine state

Former Fla GOP Chair Jim Greer: "Many within the GOP have racist views"

One year ago, when President Barack Obama gave his first back-to-school speech to the nation's schoolchildren, then-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, accused him of using "taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

Now, Greer is facing fraud and money laundering charges and has been thrown under the bus by the state GOP, which has accused him of living the high life on party money. And so he's had a change of heart.

"In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation's schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,'' Greer said in a written statement. "Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today. My children and I look forward to the president's speech."


The comments at the source...guh. Basically Republicans can't be racist, because Lincoln was a Republican, and also Jeb Bush appointed a lot of black people!!1!1! Don't bother reading them.
  • luomo

South Carolina Senate President Dresses Up Like Confederate Soldier With Black Slaves At GOP Event

This past weekend, the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) “held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, S.C.” In attendance at the event were major Republican leaders throughout the state, including Gov. Mark Sanford, who spoke to the audience gathered there.

One shocking moment at the NFRW meeting involved a special event called “The Southern Experience.” In this event, attendees dressed in clothing reminiscent of the Civil War and the antebellum South. As FITS News reports, South Carolina Senate President Glenn McConnell (R) participated in the event by dressing up as a Confederate General, and at many points posed with African Americans dressed as slaves:

The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, S.C. last weekend – a decision the organization is likely regretting after several controversial pictures from one of the meeting’s sponsored events began surfacing on the internet. One of the pictures shows S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell – who FITS readers will recall enjoys dressing up as a Confederate General – posing in his Rebel garb with a pair of African-Americans dressed in, um, “antebellum” attire.

The event in question – dubbed “The Southern Experience” – was held last Friday evening at the Country Club of Charleston. Hosted by the South Carolina Federation of Republican Women, it was included on the national conference’s official itinerary. In addition to McConnell, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford attended (and spoke at) the event – although it was not listed on his weekly public schedule. S.C. Republican Attorney General nominee Alan Wilson also attended.




Our bad. They're really all evil.

Paper to Readers: Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human
Posted by James Poniewozik

First, it was offensive and insensitive to build an Islamic center two blocks away from Ground Zero. Now it's offensive and insensitive to publish photos of American Muslims peacefully praying, on or around 9/11.

The Portland Press Herald has apologized to its readers for publishing images of Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan, which this year coincided with the 9/11 anniversary. Among the outrageous statements that the accompanying article made: that Portland-era Muslims met to mark the end of the month-long holy fast, that they made a traditional call for charity, and that children played soccer.

Noting that thousands of local Muslims marked a holy day peacefully near the anniversary of a day when a few Muslims committed a mass murder (whose victims included other Muslims) was apparently beyond the pale. The paper's editor and publisher wrote: "We erred by at least not offering balance to the story and its prominent position on the front page."

Here's where we are in America, 2010: There is now one group of Americans whose peaceful religious observance cannot be noted by decent people, unless it is "balanced" by the mention of a vile crime committed in 2001 by people, with a perverted idea of the same religion, from the other side of the world.

This is a depressing statement about the state of dialogue in America. Nine years after 9/11, there is now a widespread belief that, for one religious group of law-abiding Americans, the boundaries of acceptable behavior are narrower than for everyone else. Yes, you have the right to worship. But it would be decent of you to do it somewhere else. Or on another day. Or in such a way that the rest of us don't have to know about it. So now we have a newspaper kowtowing to a national freakout, apologizing for the most innocuous kind of soft feature, because acknowledging that there are decent Muslims in America is offensive. (From the comments on the article: "I don't want to here [sic] how caring the Muslim religion is on 9/11." But hey: it's only for a few days a year!)

But it's equally depressing for the state of journalism. This is an extreme instance, but a too-common, craven attitude: if anything you do offends a lot of readers—whatever their reasons, regardless of the merit of the coverage—it is a mistake. If enough people make a loud enough stink—well, it was your job to make sure that never happened. For any reason. This business is in bad enough shape. Just fix it. Make it go away. Apologize.

If there's one silver lining, it's that the apology drew its own storm of complaints. From one: "These people and their faith had nothing whatsoever to do with the horrific attack of nine years ago. Our state needs to be more tolerant, not less. Your apology implies that it is in some way OK to connect everyday Muslims and the attackers. I abhor such thinking."

Well said. The paper owed no one an apology. But it does now.

Mr. T the Patriot

ICE Policy Leaves Detainees With No Legal Rep, Study Finds

"You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you," goes the Miranda warning. The right to legal representation is a basic tenet of the court system. But for hundreds of thousands of immigrants facing deportation, the baseline guarantee of equal justice that most Americans are entitled to simply does not exist. Immigrants are not afforded the right to legal representation when locked up in immigration detention.Collapse )
Calvin & Hobbes: Hug
  • calybe

Kashmir has lost the plot: destroys a school

Tensions High Across Kashmir After Koran Protests

NEW DELHI — The authorities expanded a strict curfew across Kashmir on Tuesday and sent more security officers across the restive Himalayan region after bloody protests erupted there a day earlier, fueled partly by a report of Koran desecration in the United States.

The bloodshed, which rippled across different districts in the region, deepened the crisis that has steadily worsened in Kashmir since protests against Indian rule began in June. In New Delhi, the Indian government called for leaders of the country’s major political parties to meet on Wednesday and seek consensus on how to quell the unrest and stabilize Kashmir, a disputed region claimed by both Pakistan and India.
The authorities said that at least 18 people and one security officer had been killed on Monday, with more than 70 people injured, as separatist protesters clashed with Indian paramilitary officers. Minor clashes also took place on Tuesday but police reported a tense calm late in the afternoon. Air links to Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, were suspended for three days.
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Source: The New York Times

Although I feel that this article is slightly slanted (no churches were destroyed in Kashmir, although the end of the article implies they were), I am nevertheless ashamed of what has happened in Kashmir. Places of education should never be destroyed, it is the stupidest thing to do. Ugh, just ugh. Kashmir, I am disappoint. And it's sad that these were actually some of the most prominent schools in Kashmir - why are you doing this to your children?

And to bring religion in to the seperatist movement is just so idiotic that it frustrates me. Kashmir is capable of working towards self-determination into a secular country that follows Kashmiriyat, but the political leaders are igniting religious flames. Stop secluding the other minorities! You know better than to do this!
Amy hanging out

Jon Stewart Schools Tony Blair

Former British PM was on The Daily Show last night to promote his new book A Journey. When they ran out of time on the show, Jon continued the interview for another twenty minutes, which you can watch online. And you should!

Part One (actually on the show)

Part Two (Extended- talk about Iran, mostly)

Part Three (Extended)

Source is

House Republicans Cover For Boehner On Tax Cuts: Did We Mention We're United?

Conference Chairman Mike Pence says Republicans are "united" opposing "any tax increases." Minority Whip Eric Cantor thinks the midterm elections will be about "not allowing tax hikes to occur." Rep. Jeb Hensarling says the party is "united" they want "no tax increases on nobody."

Get the picture? They are all on the same page.

Three days after House Minority Leader John Boehner distinctly told CBS that he would vote for an extension of just the middle class tax cuts were that his "only option," the Republicans have a message to convey: Total unity.

TPM tried to press Boehner (R-OH) on his remarks, since we know Republicans attempted to do damage control after Sunday's interview.

Here's the exchange:

REPORTER QUESTION: Do you still stand by what you said Sunday, that if it comes down to it and the upper-income tax cuts expire...

BOEHNER: I said Sunday about five times that I want to extend all of the current tax rates, and that's what the American people want.


TPM REPORTER QUESTION: But if it's your only option, as you said Sunday, would you vote for...

BOEHNER: I want to extend all of the current tax rates. I want the speaker to allow a fair and open debate on our two-point plan, because if we extend the current tax rates and we're able to cut spending, we'll reduce some of the uncertainty coming out of Washington, D.C., and employers will then have the ability to continue to create jobs in America.


That was it, and the other Republican leaders didn't chime in. Aides insist everyone is on the same page, and Democrats are still struggling with their own internal battles on what sort of tax cuts vote to hold before the election.

Boehner pushed a new line, his request to Speaker Nancy Pelosi there be an "open and fair debate on the floor of the House" about all of the Bush-era tax cuts, which Republicans wrote to expire to get around the cost they'd add to the deficit.


FYI: Animated Gif was made from caps of last nights ep of The Daily Show.  ;p

Meek walks Kravis line with union; Forum Club meets without him or Crist

WEST PALM BEACHRoughly 50 union members carrying signs proclaiming "Kravis Stiffs Stagehands," "Kravis Is Criminal," and "Fired for Being In A Union," today greeted hundreds of Palm Beach County leaders who paid up to $55 to hear two U.S. Senate candidates talk about issues but instead were treated to speeches from emergency stand-ins.

Faced with the prospect of crossing a picket line, both Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meek late Tuesday said they would not tout their candidacies at the event sponsored by the Forum Club.


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Do colleges redline Asian-Americans?

SAT SCORES aren’t everything. But they can tell some fascinating stories.

Take 1,623, for instance. That’s the average score of Asian-Americans, a group that Daniel Golden - editor at large of Bloomberg News and author of “The Price of Admission’’ - has labeled “The New Jews.’’ After all, much like Jews a century ago, Asian-Americans tend to earn good grades and high scores. And now they too face serious discrimination in the college admissions process.

Notably, 1,623 - out of a possible 2,400 - not only separates Asians from other minorities (Hispanics and blacks average 1,364 and 1,276 on the SAT, respectively). The score also puts them ahead of Caucasians, who average 1,581. And the consequences of this are stark.

Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, who reviewed data from 10 elite colleges, writes in “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal’’ that Asian applicants typically need an extra 140 points to compete with white students. In fact, according to Princeton lecturer Russell Nieli, there may be an “Asian ceiling’’ at Princeton, a number above which the admissions office refuses to venture.


A few years ago, however, when I worked as a reader for Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it became immediately clear to me that Asians - who constitute 5 percent of the US population - faced an uphill slog. They tended to get excellent scores, take advantage of AP offerings, and shine in extracurricular activities. Frequently, they also had hard-knock stories: families that had immigrated to America under difficult circumstances, parents working as kitchen assistants and store clerks, and households in which no English was spoken.

But would Yale be willing to make 50 percent of its freshman class Asian? Probably not.

More at the source.
  • merig00

On the Advice of the FBI, Cartoonist Molly Norris Disappears From View

You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly.

The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.

Norris views the situation with her customary sense of the world's complexity, and absurdity. When FBI agents, on a recent visit, instructed her to always keep watch for anyone following her, she responded, "Well, at least it'll keep me from being so self-involved!" It was, she says, the first time the agents managed a smile. She likens the situation to cancer—it might basically be nothing, it might be urgent and serious, it might go away and never return, or it might pop up again when she least expects it.

We're hoping the religious bigots go into full and immediate remission, and we wish her the best.


And here is the link to the cartoon in question.
→ humphrey

Pope aide pulls out of trip after UK 'Third World' jibe.

One of the Pope's senior advisers has pulled out of the papal visit to Britain, after saying the UK is a "Third World country" marked by "a new and aggressive atheism".

Cardinal Walter Kasper, 77, made the remarks in a German magazine interview.

The Vatican said the cardinal had not intended "any kind of slight", and was referring to the UK's multicultural society.

It added that he had simply pulled out of the Pope's visit due to illness.

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Yet another gay teen suicide due to bullying

WCCO reports on the tragic death of Justin Aaberg
, which happened in July:

"Justin Aaberg came out as gay when he was 13 and, as his mom found out only after he hanged himself, suffered tremendously inside. 'I actually thought he had the perfect life. I thought out of anybody I knew that he had the perfect life,' said Justin Aaberg's mother, Tammy Aaberg. 'But I guess he didn't think so.' In the weeks since she found her son dead in his room on July 9, Tammy Aaberg has heard from many of her son's friends at Anoka High School. They told her Justin Aaberg had been bullied and had recently broken up with his boyfriend. Those same students also opened up about their own experiences, telling her they feel harassed and unsafe as gay and lesbian students. 'These kids, they just hate themselves. They literally feel like they want to die. So many kids are telling me this,' said Tammy Aaberg, fighting tears."

Watch the heartbreaking video HERE.

There were five suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin District last year, and a lesbian student there as well as a teacher believe at least three were attributable to anti-gay bullying.

The school district asks teachers to "remain neutral" on the bullying because of some conservative dipshits in the district who apparently don't want "gay" being addressed at school:

" and bullying happen often in the district because teachers and students don't stand up to it. The teachers said that's partly because other teachers are scared and confused about how to interpret the curriculum policy.  The Anoka-Hennepin School District said the curriculum policy and bullying are two entirely separate issues. 'It's very difficult. We have a community that has widely varying opinions, and so to respect all families, as the policy says, we ask teachers to remain neutral,' said District Spokeswoman Mary Olson."

Source Source
once upon a time

Elle magazine cover sparks questions Actor Gabourey Sidibe's skin appears lightened on Fall cover

Getty Images

Getty Images

In the world of American fashion magazines, women of color have notoriously been underrepresented, pretty much since the birth of print. Ditto the plus-size population, who go almost entirely absent from the pages of big-name publications, as if they don't exist. So it was a boon for both groups this summer when ELLE magazine announced that full-figured African-American actress Gabourey Sidibe would grace the cover of its  25th anniversary issue.

For its special October edition, ELLE produced four separate covers, each one meant to celebrate a different mid-20's female star--in addition to Sidibe, 27, it included actresses Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox and reality star/fashion entrepreneur Lauren Conrad. But here's where things got tricky:  

While each of the other three (all oft-used, not to mention skinny and Caucasian) cover girls are shown off in full-body glamour shots wearing stylish clothes, Sidibe is cropped at the mid-chest, with a swath of ruched green fabric hiding her curvy frame. Plus, her skin appears to be lighter than in most photos of the actress we've seen, which has stirred reactions on the Web.

This is the first big magazine cover for Sidibe, who became famous last year after an Oscar-nominated turn as an abused teen in the Oprah-backed film "Precious." Since then, she's received raves for her appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and a new role in the Showtime drama "The Big C." Similar claims about skin lightening were made in 2008 about the possible whitening of Beyonce's face for a L'Oréal Paris ad and in 2009 for an ad with Indian actress Freida Pinto.

For their part, the folks at ELLE deny any dramatic lightening or retouching of their cover girl. They sent us the following statement via email: "Nothing out of the ordinary was done. We have four separate covers this month and Gabby's cover was not retouched any more or less than the others. We had 25 cover-worthy subjects in our portfolio and we chose Gabby because of who she is. We shot this as a story of exuberant young women changing the world. If you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for different reasons."

Hmmm. The images are above. You be the judge.

Source: Colorlines, The Week


But, but...what about that previous, super-special-awesome article about "exotic" looks being cool and stuff? 
  • merig00

Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Rauf is a no-show in New Jersey court

While the Imam behind plans for a mosque near Ground Zero was jetting around the globe and advocating for his Downtown project, a pair of dilapidated apartment buildings he owns in New Jersey fell into such disrepair that cops have to stand watch in the event of a fire.

The fire watch, at taxpayer expense, was revealed during a court hearing today when Union City lawyers asked to have two buildings owned by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf placed into receivership so that rent s could be used to fix dozens of violations, including inoperable alarms and sprinklers.


Rauf skipped today’s hearing as did his wife Daisy Khan. Their lawyer, Tomas Espinosa, said he didn’t know why the Imam didn’t come to court.

“There have been a lot of stress on these people,” Espinosa said when asked after the hearing to explain why Rauf was a no-show “The legal process will show that my client is an honorable man that has taken care of his property.”

Asked why he was confident that Rauf would prevail, Espinosa said of the Imam, “There is integrity and character,” adding, “He is a man of peace.”

But Union City officials insist Rauf is a slumlord.

Christine Vanek, a lawyer for Union City, said cops were put on fire watch rather than evict tenants from 16 apartments in one of the buildings after a Sept. 7 inspection determined there was an imminent hazard. Rauf, she said, did not respond to an order to hire a private fire patrol.

“The city immediately put a police officer there and sent a detail officer, which means we have to pay over-time,” Vanek said of putting an extra cop on duty just to watch Rauf’s building. She did not say how much it is costing Union City, and other officials did not return calls for that information.

Espinosa, however, said he was told a fire alarm contractor has been working at the building and is putting together a plan to fix the alarms and sprinklers.

But Judge Thomas Olivieri bristled when Espinosa said he had no documents to show what work was done or what might be planned and then asked the judge for more time “to come here with a total picture of what has been done.”

“The allegation here is that nothing has been done,” Olivieri said. “The city is spending taxpayer money to put a fire person, man or woman, at the building that is occupied to monitor it so that there’s not a fire that occurs.”

Olivieri then blasted Espinosa for coming to court empty-handed.

"There is no reason whatsoever, none, in the last 48 hours why your client could not have submitted something to you that hyou could have submitted to the court. this is serious. I am somewhat suprrised that I have nothing from the defense -- nothing

"And I reject that you were busy and they were busy," the judge said.

But Olivieri didn’t immediately appoint a receiver to run the building, as the city requested. Instead, he gave Espinosa a Sept. 23 court date to produce plans and evidence of Rauf’s efforts to address all the building violations, or then face loss of control over the apartment buildings.

Union City filed its lawsuit against Rauf on Monday, charging that he has refused to comply with dozens of building violations, some dating back to 1996 for two properties he owns at 2206 Central Ave.

One of the buildings has been vacant since a 2008 fire that erupted a year after fire inspectors slapped a dozen safety violations against the property. The second building as 16 families living there.


Edit: And here is Associate Press for all of you who don't like NYP.