September 18th, 2010


The Cowardice of Sarah Palin

Cartoon by Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune

When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.
See, I’ve always believed that the Internet — and by extension new online tools like Twitter — have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.
It turns out I may have been wrong — at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.
Since prematurely leaving the Last Frontier State’s governorship in 2009, Sarah Palin has avoided potentially devastating repeat performances of her sit-down disasters from 2008 with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson by rarely if ever subjecting herself to questions from serious journalists.
Insulated by her role as a Fox News contributor, Palin instead turns to Twitter and Facebook to communicate with the legitimate media. Rather than tearing down the walls that shield the powerful, the medium is instead being used as a cudgel of self-preservation by Palin.
It was especially evident during the health care reform debate last summer when Palin claimed on Facebook that “Obama’s ‘death panel’” could decide the fate of her son who has Down syndrome or her parents. Repeated frequently by right-wing politicians, bloggers, talk radio hosts, and Fox News personalities, the assertion quickly became conservative conventional wisdom.
It mattered little that the non-partisan described such claims as “a ridiculous falsehood.” In the months following the “death panel” lie Palin was able to skate on by with the press returning time and again to breathlessly report her latest online musings despite her documented track record of misinformation.
For a medium designed to increase communication between people, Palin’s use of these social networks has been remarkably one sided.Collapse )


No new information, but an interesting point of view.
Gwen is not impressed by your bullshit

Stephen Fry on why he's proud to be hated by the Daily Mail.

Not sure if this is allowed, but I love it so I thought I'd try.

I suppose the proudest thing I own is this badge, one of a very limited collection, given to me by the warm and wonderful Phill Jupitus. Anyone who can wear it can think of themselves of flying a flag of freedom, of having been awarded a medal struck for decency, fairness, honesty and what is right and morally good.

Proudly wearing this badge today

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Sauce is delicious.

I don't necessarily always agree with this man (hasn't he given the Daily Fail an interview or three before? I think I remember seeing it, but Google is not helping me) but dear God I love him -- and I can't wait to get to see him at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday. I bought three of the 'Hated By The Daily Mail' badges and I plan on wearing them with pride (pun intentional) when they arrive!

"44M Living in Poverty While the Rich Get Richer"

Tale of Two Americas: 44M Living in Poverty While the Rich Get Richer

Posted Sep 17, 2010 12:57pm EDT by Peter Gorenstein in Recession

The “Great Recession” is taking a heavy toll. One in seven Americans were living in poverty last year, according to the 2009 Census report, released Thursday.

Here are the facts:

• The poverty rate jumped to 14.3% in 2009, the highest rate since 1994 and up from 13.2% in 2008.

• 43.6 million Americans are struggling to eat every day – that’s the most since 1959.

• A record 50.7 million, were not covered by health-care insurance in 2009.

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German foreign minister 'marries' gay partner

Germany's foreign minister Guido Westerwelle has "married" his long-term partner and businessman Michael Mronz in Bonn, the daily newspaper Bild said in its Saturday edition.

"The marriage was pronounced by the mayor of Bonn, Jurgen Nimptsch... Only close family were present, some 20 people", the newspaper said, without quoting other sources.

In Germany, gay marriage is not recognised by the state, but since 2001 "registered partnerships" for same-sex couples are allowed, which provide some but not all the rights of marriage.

A spokesman from the liberal Free Democratic Party, which Westerwelle leads, neither confirmed nor denied the report when contacted by AFP on Friday, saying only that the two men "wish for this to remain a private affair."

Westerwelle, 48, and his 43-year old partner Mronz, who organises sports events, met in 2003 and have been a couple ever since.

The foreign minister "came out" in 2004, during a dinner to celebrate German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 50th birthday.

After the legislative elections in September 2009, Westerwelle became vice chancellor and then Germany's first openly gay foreign minister.

Since then, Mronz has accompanied him on a number of official trips, namely in Asia and Latin America, provoking a flurry of media debates over a possible conflict of interests between Westerwelle's private and professional life.

Source goes here.

Aww, isn't that sweet? Now, if only he were a likable person.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

That looks shopped.

Hosni Mubarak left red faced over doctored red carpet photo
Embarrassment as Egyptian paper alters image to put president at head of procession

There are those who lead and those who follow, and the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram clearly feels that President Hosni Mubarak fits into the former category.

When he was pictured with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, trailing behind Barack Obama on the red carpet at the White House recently, it was nothing Photoshop could not fix. So, on Tuesday, the state-run daily Al-Ahram published the photo, taken at the launch of the latest Middle East peace talks – but with Mubarak switched to the front of the procession.

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Dude, if you're going to Photoshop something like this, at least spend more than five minutes on it 'cause damn.
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New life for horses ... with prisoners


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sykesville, Maryland (CNN) -- It's the dirty little secret of the racing industry. Thoroughbreds who don't make the winner's circle, are injured or simply too old to race are discarded by their owners, auctioned off -- sometimes to the slaughterhouse. Now these horses are getting new lives.

The twist? Prison inmates looking for their own second chances are helping save them.

In the rolling hills of Carroll County, Maryland, is Second Chance Farm. Alonzo Pickett leads a horse to the pasture to graze.

"Greek is a beautiful horse. I love him," says Pickett. "I think he's a gentle giant."

The 7-year-old gelding came to the farm after a leg injury ended his racing career.

Each year thousands of racehorses in the United States like Greek are sent to slaughterhouses and their meat sold overseas, according to the nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. That's why the foundation funds programs in eight prisons across the United States to rescue these abandoned horses and train prisoners to "gentle" them so they can be adopted.

The inmates also have duties beyond grooming the horses. They maintain the farm buildings and the grounds.
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  • xerox78

Michigan assistant attorney general attacks gay student

Shirvell heckles at WBC counter-rally

Asst. attorney general targets openly gay college student
Says student is "nazi like," and "anti-Christian"

ANN ARBOR (WXYZ) - Andrew Shirvell has fought battles in courtrooms throughout the state, but it’s a fight he’s picked with an openly gay college student that has some wondering if this attorney is out of order.

In classroom’s across the state, Attorney General Mike Cox uses videos to teach students the dangers of internet predators and cyber bullies.

“We want you to be safe on the Internet, and in particular, we want to protect you from Internet predators,” said Cox in the video.

But is one of his top lieutenants engaging in cyber bullying, the very behavior Cox says is so dangerous. Andrew Shirvell is an assistant attorney general who helped run Cox’s last re-election campaign. But on his own time, he’s the author of a blog he started last spring targeting Chris Armstrong, the openly gay president of the University of Michigan’s student assembly.

“His agenda promote the radical homosexual agenda at the University of Michigan, and to use his position to promote that cause,” said Shirvell.

Armstrong campaigned to stop tuition hikes, expand gender-neutral housing to transgendered students, and make drinking less dangerous by keeping cafeterias open later. Students went to the polls, voting Armstrong in overwhelmingly, and Andrew Shirvell went to the web.

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Shirvell's blog: Chris Armstrong Watch

Algeria-Egypt: The Sports Feud that Never Ends...

Football row casts shadow on Algiers Book Fair


Algiers' upcoming book fair is at the centre of a cultural and political controversy with possible diplomatic ramifications.

By Mouna Sadek for Magharebia in Algiers - 16/09/10

SILA is among the most popular Maghreb book fairs.

The most important literary event of the year in Algeria, the Algiers International Book Fair (SILA), opens October 26th with the participation of some 343 publishers from 25 countries.

Except Egypt.

Algeria's literary and media communities are reeling over the decision to ban Egyptian book publishers, particularly since it is based not on government policy but on the fair organiser's lingering resentment over the World Cup football rivalry between the Greens and the Pharaohs.

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Spray-on clothing in a can to be launched

Scientists at Imperial College London have developed a liquid clothing spray that hardens on the body and turns into a reusable garment.
Dr Manel Torres and Professor Paul Luckham have developed a spray that contains small fibres which are mixed with polymers to join them together and a solvent that keeps the fabric in liquid form in the can.

The solvent evaporates instantly as the spray touches a surface, creating a smooth clothing material that can be washed and re-worn.

The spray may in the future be used to create garments, medical dressings or upholstery for furniture

Utena: I can't believe this

Montana GOP policy: Make homosexuality illegal

HELENA, Mont. – At a time when gays have been gaining victories across the country, the Republican Party in Montana still wants to make homosexuality illegal.

The party adopted an official platform in June that keeps a long-held position in support of making homosexual acts illegal, a policy adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.

The fact that it's still the official party policy more than 12 years later, despite a tidal shift in public attitudes since then and the party's own pledge of support for individual freedoms, has exasperated some GOP members.

"I looked at that and said, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" state Sen. John Brueggeman, R-Polson, said last week. "Should it get taken out? Absolutely. Does anybody think we should be arresting homosexual people? If you take that stand, you really probably shouldn't be in the Republican Party."

Gay rights have been rapidly advancing nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' sodomy law in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas decision. Gay marriage is now allowed in five states and Washington, D.C., a federal court recently ruled the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy unconstitutional, and even a conservative tea party group in Montana ousted its president over an anti-gay exchange in Facebook.

But going against the grain is the Montana GOP statement, which falls under the "Crime" section of the GOP platform. It states: "We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal."

Montana GOP executive director Bowen Greenwood said that has been the position of the party since the state Supreme Court struck down state laws criminalizing homosexuality in 1997 in the case of Gryczan v. Montana.

Nobody has ever taken the initiative to change it and so it's remained in the party platform, Greenwood said. The matter has never even come up for discussion, he said.

"There had been at the time, and still is, a substantial portion of Republican legislators that believe it is more important for the Legislature to make the law instead of the Supreme Court," Greenwood said.

Critics say the policy is a toothless statement, the effect of which is simply to make gays feel excluded. A University of Montana law professor says Montana's 1997 case and the U.S. Supreme Court's Lawrence decision means there's no real chance for the state GOP to act on its position.

"To me, that statement legally is hollow," said constitutional specialist Jack Tuholske. "The principle under Gryczan and under Lawrence, that's the fundamental law of the land and the Legislature can't override the Constitution. It might express their view, but as far as a legal reality, it's a hollow view and can't come to pass."

Montana Human Rights Network organizer Kim Abbott said the GOP platform statement does not represent the attitudes of most Montanans, and it shows that the party is out of touch with the prevalent view of the people they are supposed to represent.

"It speaks volumes to the lesbian and gay community how they are perceived by the Republican Party," Abbott said. "It would be nice if Republicans that understand that gay people are human beings would stand up and say they don't agree with that. But I don't know how likely that is."

Brueggeman suspects that the vast majority of the party believes, as he does, that the Republican party should remove statement. It's against every conservative principle for limited government and issues like this exemplify how a political party can interfere with the relationship between lawmakers and their constituents.

"I just hope it's something that's so sensitive that people don't want to touch it," he said. "Even if there wasn't a Supreme Court decision, does anyone really believe that it should be illegal?"

Source Don't read the comment guys.

O'Donnell-Palooza: The Saturday Edition

O'Donnell In 1999: 'I Dabbled Into Witchcraft' (VIDEO)

Another damaging past statement from Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell was revealed on Bill Maher's HBO show "Real Time" last night.

Maher played a clip from an episode of his previous show "Politically Incorrect" in which O'Donnell said she "dabbled into witchcraft." From Think Progress:

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Christine O'Donnell Cancels Sunday Talk Show Appearances

Christine O'Donnell is backing away from her plans to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows this weekend.


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The Old Adventures Of New Christine

ThinkProgress has put together a document compiling what we know about Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell in her own words. Here are the issues:


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Seriously, this woman is just the gift that keeps on giving. 
  • zoram

Man goes "inglourious basterds"- embarrasses self

The swastika on the Sweden Democrat's forehead had probably been scratched in by him, according to both the police and the forensic expert.

That's why David von Arnold Antoni is the one accused of a crime, now

Last friday, he called the Malmö police and told them that two men had attacked him in his appartment. He claimed to have been beaten and had a swastika cut into his forehead.
"They were two men in their 20s, speaking an arabic-sounding language", he explained. "Before they disappeared they called me Svennejävel."
A large police investigation was started, but the perpetrators weren't found. Most likely because they don't exist. The forensic expert examining the victim doesn't believe his story.

"Strong signs concerning positioning and appearance speak for the injury being self-inflicted", a statement that Sydsvenskan has taken part of claims.
This conclusion has been reached after looking closely at how deep the wounds are and how the knife had been angled.
On a scale of 1 to 10 the forensic expert places the likelyhood of the injury being faked at a nine.

"It sucks, not just because it costs resources, but because what he has done couldn't have been anything but fishing for votes" a policeman said to Sydsvenskan.

Since the police didn't find any traces in his appartment, David von Arnold Antonis' police report are not considered false, and will be called in for questioning himself, suspected of filing a false report.

He is surprised.

"The forensic experts' claim isn't true" he says to Aftonbladet. "I do not accept his judgement".

"What I said in my report is true. I was attacked by two men who carved a swastika into my forehead.

But the police don't believe you.

"I don't know anything about that."

Can we take a picture of your injury?


source: (translated by me)

Svennejävel basically means "cracker". It's an insult used by the far-right as an example of Swedes as a group being oppressed by immigrants, and they are trying to make it seem like the swedish version of the n-word. It's all bullshit, obviously.
  • merig00

US couple 'tried to pass nuclear secrets to Venezuela'

The US has charged a pair of former nuclear contractors with attempting to leak nuclear secrets to Venezuela.

The husband and wife team were arrested on Friday in New Mexico and accused of passing nuclear information to an FBI agent posing as a Venezuelan spy.

US citizens Pedro and Marjorie Mascheroni were contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a centre of US nuclear research.

The US justice department did not accuse Venezuela of wrongdoing.

"The conduct alleged in this indictment is serious and should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation's nuclear secrets for profit," Assistant Attorney General David Kris said in a statement.
'Access to secrets'

Mr Mascheroni, a 75-year-old native of Argentina, worked as a scientist at Los Alamos from 1979 until 1988, when he was fired after criticising US nuclear research funding priorities, according to court documents.
Continue reading the main story
Paul Adams BBC News, Washington

This bizarre story appears to be the result of an elaborate sting, designed to catch a scientist with a long history of grievances against his employers at Los Alamos.

The FBI's statement makes it clear that it is not accusing the government of Venezuela of anything.

But for over two years, an undercover FBI agent, posing as a Venezuelan official, held a number of conversations with Pedro Mascheroni, a naturalised American of Argentine origin, about plans to develop a nuclear weapon.

According to the FBI, in November 2008, the physicist handed over a coded, 132-page document entitled A Deterrence Program for Venezuela.

He allegedly told his wife he was doing it for the money and no longer considered himself an American.

Mrs Mascheroni was a technical writer and editor from 1981 to 2010, the justice department said.

The pair had access to nuclear secrets, including material on the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons, it said.

According to the justice department, in March 2008 Mr Mascheroni met an FBI agent posing as a Venezuelan intelligence operative named Luis Jimenez at a hotel in the US city of Santa Fe.

Mr Mascheroni allegedly said he could help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb within 10 years and a nuclear energy programme, and described a potential "umbrella" deterrent strategy for the Latin American nation.

"Mascheroni told 'Jimenez' that after Venezuela conducted a test of its nuclear weapons, Venezuela could cause an explosion over New York that would result in an electromagnetic pulse that he contended would not kill anybody but would destroy all the electric power in New York," the federal indictment states.
'Dead drop'

Mr Mascheroni asked about obtaining Venezuelan citizenship and said he hoped to be paid $800,000 (£512,000) for his services, the indictment states.

Soon after contact with the agent began, Mr Mascheroni informed his wife about the meeting, characterising it as a "secret".

In July 2009, Mrs Mascheroni helped her husband write and edit a document containing US nuclear secrets, which Mr Mascheroni then delivered to a "dead drop location" for collection by the purported Venezuelan agent, according to the indictment.

Mr Mascheroni was fired from Los Alamos in 1988 after criticising the US government's research funding priorities, according to a 1994 judgement in a lawsuit he filed challenging the dismissal. He argued the government should fund a laser project he was working on, rather than another.

He had refused orders to cease his complaints, was transferred to another division, had his security clearance revoked and was ultimately dismissed, the lawsuit stated.


Huckabee reaffirms support for GOP's "Die Quickly" health care reform

Huckabee Opposes Insurance For People With Pre-Existing Conditions


When Republicans attack health care reform, Democrats like to counter by accusing Republicans of wanting to repeal a law that requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. According to Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, that's exactly right. People with pre-existing conditions, he explains are like houses that have already burned down.

"It sounds so good, and it's such a warm message to say we're not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition," Huckabee explained at the Value Voters Summit today. "Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle [to] our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, "I'd like to buy some insurance for my house." He'd say, "Tell me about your house." "Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I'd like to insure it today." And he'll say "I'm sorry, but we can't insure it after it's already burned." Well, no preexisting conditions."

A moment of candor from the evangelical former Arkansas governor. Hard to say how that comports with voting on values, though.

It's worth pointing out, too, that the health care law's individual mandate is in large part meant to make sure people don't wait until they get ill until they buy insurance. But Republicans want to do away with that part of reform as well.