November 4th, 2010

  • homasse

Bush Says the Worst Moment of His Presidency Involved Kanye West

Bush Says the Worst Moment of His Presidency Involved Kanye West

Former President George W. Bush told Today anchor Matt Lauer that the "all-time low" of his presidency was when rapper Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" on live television. Hmm. Is that really the worst moment?

Remember, in 2005, when Kanye West freaked out his co-presenter, actor Mike Myers, by going way off-script during a Hurricane Katrina telethon? Well, that was the lowest point of George W. Bush's presidency, according to George W. Bush:

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...I got nothin'. *throws hands in the air*
Akuma River

Bishop Gene Robinson's It Gets Better video & op-ed

How Religion Is Killing Our Most Vulnerable Youth
Bishop Gene RobinsonBishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Posted: October 15, 2010 02:49 PM

An increasingly popular bumper sticker reads, "Guns Don't Kill People -- RELIGION Kills People!" In light of recent events I would add religion kills young people: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people.

Perhaps not directly, though. And religion is certainly not the only source of anti-gay sentiment in the culture. But it's hard to deny that religious voices denouncing LGBT people contribute to the atmosphere in which violence against LGBT people and bullying of LGBT youth can flourish.
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It's a bit late to post it but I believe it is a message that needs to be heard.

It was no 'Year of the Woman'

Over the past few months, newspapers, websites and cable news programs have implied 2010 would be a year of remarkable progress for women in politics.

With a record number of women running for the U.S. House (138) and U.S. Senate (15), pundits, pollsters and politicians assumed it was the dawn of a new day, one in which Democrats and Republicans understood the importance of electing women.

High-profile female candidates, many with interesting personal stories and personality traits, fostered the speculation that 2010 might very well be another "Year of the Woman."

But it wasn't.

In fact, Wednesday morning's headlines did not even mention women. Obviously, Democratic losses and Republican's ascent correctly took center stage. But some important points about women in politics slipped through the cracks.

First and foremost, for the first time in 30 years, the number of women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives will likely decrease. A few contests remain too close to call. Democratic incumbents Melissa Bean and Gabrielle Giffords are fighting to hold onto their seats. Republican challengers Ann Buerkle and Ruth McClung are trailing by only a few thousand votes to the male incumbents they hope to unseat.

But only if women win all of these races (an unlikely scenario) will the total number of women serving in the House hold steady at 73.

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Krugman: Punishing ourselves instead of the real bad guys

October 31, 2010

Mugged by the Moralizers

“How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” That’s the question CNBC’s Rick Santelli famously asked in 2009, in a rant widely credited with giving birth to the Tea Party movement.

It’s a sentiment that resonates not just in America but in much of the world. The tone differs from place to place — listening to a German official denounce deficits, my wife whispered, “We’ll all be handed whips as we leave, so we can flagellate ourselves.” But the message is the same: debt is evil, debtors must pay for their sins, and from now on we all must live within our means.

And that kind of moralizing is the reason we’re mired in a seemingly endless slump.

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rahm and whitford

Letter to a whiny young Democrat

Oh, now you've done it.

See? You see what happens when you young liberal voters get so disgruntled and disillusioned that you drop all your party's newborn, hard-won ideas about Hope™ and Change™, without any patience, without really giving them sufficient time to mature, without understanding that hugely foreign, anti-American concept known as "the long view"?

See what happens when you wallow in hollow disappointment, trudging all over your liberal arts campus and refusing to vote in a rather important mid-term election, all because your pet issues and nubile ego weren't immediately serviced by a mesmerizing guy named Barack Obama just after he sucked you into his web of fuzzyhappy promises a mere two years ago, back when you were knee-high to a shiny liberal ideology?

Well, now you know. This is what happens: The U.S. House of Representatives, the most insufferable gaggle of political mongrels this side of, well, the rest of Congress, reverts to GOP control like a brain tumor reverts to a more aggressive form of cancer, and everything gets bleaker and sadder and, frankly, a whole lot nastier.

What happens is: Many kinds of fragmented, muddled, but still constructive Democratic progress might get stopped quite nearly dead, and even a few pieces of legislation we actually did gain get slapped around, threatened, stomped on the head like a scientist at a Rand Paul rally. Happy now?

Check it out, kiddo: This is not just any Republican party you allowed back into power; these mealy folks are not anything like the war-hungry, Bush-tainted army of flying monkeys and Dick Cheney moose knuckles you so wonderfully helped bury in the history books last election.

No, the GOP of 2010-2011 is even weirder, dumber, less interested in anything you even remotely care about; this GOP is infused like a sour cocktail with a bitter splash of the most cartoonish, climate change-denying Tea Party dingbats imaginable -- most of whom think you're an elitist, terrorist-loving, gay-supporting threat to "real" American values, btw -- all led by a guy named Boehner who wears a bizarre, shellacked tan so fake and creepy it makes Nancy Pelosi looks like a supermodel.

And you made it all happen. Or rather, you failed to prevent it from happening, by not voting, by turning your collective back on Obama's tough love, by getting all whiny and dejected like some sort of sullen teen vampire who can't get laid.

Do you deny it? Did you see the polls and studies that said that most fresh-faced, Obama-swooning Dems like you are now refusing to support our beloved Nazi Muslim president because he didn't wish-fulfill your every whim in a week? That he was, in fact, not quite the instant-gratification SuperJesus of your (or rather, our) dreams?

Of course you didn't see any of that. Hell, I bet you're not even reading this column right now. You're probably back on Twitter, raging into the Void about, hell, who knows what? The Wolf Parade concert. Angry Birds. The People of Wal-Mart. Anything but politics, really.

But hey, whatevs, right? Screw it. Screw him. After all, the prez let you down. Conveniently "forgot" to include you in the dialogue, after a major election that you helped him win. Where were the outreach programs? The campus speaking tours? Weekly appearances on "The Daily Show"? Legal pot and gay marriage and discounts tickets to SXSW and Burning Man and Coachella? I want my goddamn political perks, and I want them now.

Hey, I understand. We're an instant gratification culture, and you're an ADHD generation. Who wants to hear that serious enviro legislation might take a decade or two to fully come to fruition? Who wants to hear about Obama passing rather amazing student loan reform? Or even financial reform? Or health care, the Iraq drawdown, saving a million jobs at GM, or all the rest of his rather astonishing achievements to date? Dude, so boring.

Of course, you've now learned the hard way that the hot flush of a major election is far more electrifying than the gray n' meaty grind of actual governing. Obama flew into office on gossamer liberal wings, but the real halls of D.C. are a goddamn pigsblood slaughterhouse, brutal and depressing, full of gnarled legislative compromise. Screw that noise, you know?

And you know what? You're right. Well, sort of. The Obama administration sure as hell could've done more to keep young activists inspired and involved. It's an opportunity squandered, no question. Then again, dude was sorta busy unburying the entire nation, you know? And the twitchy Democratic party has never been known for its savvy cohesion. Maybe you can give him/them a break? Whoops, too late.

Look, I'm sorry. I know I'm being far too hard on you. Of course it's not just you. It's not completely your fault these dimwit Repubs were allowed to ooze back into a bit of power so soon. As many analysts have pointed out, this wasn't a vote for the Republicans, but against the limp-wristed Dems who didn't step up and lead with more authority and clarity of purpose. Truly, libs and independents of every age are frustrated Obama isn't governing with the same kind of magical, balls-out visionary zeal that fueled his campaign.

And let's not forget a shockingly unintelligent Tea Party movement that stands for exactly nothing and fears exactly everything, all ghost-funded by a couple of creepy libertarian oil billionaires -- the leathery old Koch brothers -- who eat their young for a snack. Who could've predicted that gnarled political contraption would hold water? But hey, when Americans are angry and nervous, they do stupid things. Like vote Republican. It happens. Just did.

But here's your big takeaway, young Dem: It ain't over yet. The 2012 election is just around the corner. If we've learned anything, it's that two years whip by insanely quickly. Anything can happen, and usually does. You'll have another chance. And probably another after that. Maybe more.

So here's what you need to know, right now: Barack Obama is, and will continue to be, a bit of goddamn miracle. He's simply as good as we're going get for an articulate, thoughtful, integrity-rich Democratic prez in your lifetime. Period. To hamstring his administration out of spite and laziness is childish and sad. Check the accomplishments. Understand the process. Deal with the messiness.

It will never be perfect. It will never be giddy liberal nirvana, because it doesn't work that way. Politics is corrosive and infuriating, de facto and by definition, even with someone as thoughtful as Obama in the Big Chair. Understand it. Deal with it. Get back in the game. If you don't, we all lose.

Your choice, kiddo.


Left-wing economist vs. right-"Libertarian" economist on current econ. crisis

Right-Libertarian hero Peter Schiff debates left economist Doug Henwood on the current Great Recession. Schiff is widely credited among the right for predicting this recession; what isn't actually mentioned here is that Henwood, Dean Baker, and other left-wing economists also predicted it, but for different reasons.

My take on this 30 min. debate: Henwood is just too civil, polite, and patient at the beginning. Its only in the last 12 minutes that Henwood seems to get exasperated with Schiff's unending "private sector good, public sector bad" script to summon enough ire to confront him forcefully.

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This Week in Blackness: George W. Bush doesn't care about Earthlings.

In the latest installment of the award winning web series "This Week in Blackness" host Elon James White discusses Comments made by former President George W. Bush concerning the low point of his presidency. And no, it wasn't any of the death or heartache that occurred during it and THANK GOD, because that would have been a downer...


Bush Directly Authorized Use Of Waterboarding, Still Rejects 'Torture' Classification In New Book

"Damn right."

That's what former president George W. Bush told CIA officials when they came to ask him for permission to waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, according to a Washington Post report on the 43rd president's forthcoming book, "Decision Points."

Mohammed supposedly had knowledge of brewing terrorist plots against the United States, and Bush had little reservation about using the practice of simulated drowning on the detainee to extract them.

"I'd do it again to save lives," Bush, who refused to call the interrogation technique "torture" during his presidency, said at a forum earlier this year. He repeats this willingness to use the procedure and maintains that it isn't torture in his book, according to the Post.

President Obama and the current Justice Department have tightened their view on waterboarding, characterizing it as an act of torture that is prohibited by international stricture, and, while the Post reports that there may someday be legal repercussions for those who directly authorized torture, the Obama administration has shown little interest in pursuing action against Bush and others, such as Dick Cheney, who have openly supported and admitted using the interrogation tactic.

Earlier advanced looks at "Decision Points" have also provided insight into the mindset of the former president. According to a sneak peak by the New York Times, Bush considered dumping Cheney as his vice president in 2004 because of his "Darth Vader" image and the common perception that he was the real source of power and decision making in the White House.

Bush also writes that he was heartbroken and repulsed by rapper Kanye West's reaction to his handling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, when he said on live TV that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."


All 95 Candidates Who Pledged Support For Net Neutrality Lost On Tuesday

The FCC's push for Net Neutrality legislation suffered another setback on Tuesday, after all 95 of the candidates who pledged their support for it lost their elections.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee site has had a list of 95 candidates, all Democrats, listed on as pledged supporters of Net Neutrality.

But, as CNN Money reports, all of them lost.

The FCC has been trying to expand its authority to regulate broadband internet providers, initially losing a court case in April. After that, it pushed Congress to pass legislation that would prevent the providers from blocking access to certain internet content, and force them to treat all web content providers equally.

Republicans have mostly been opposed to Net Neutrality, and the Tea Party even formed a coalition against it back in August, arguing that it hurts freedom.


(to mods: honestly not sure what to tag this as?)
mus | like a bird in a cage

Stephen Fry speaks out on the Attitude magazine controversy


By Stephen Fry
November 4th, 2010

The whole stilly stick…

I suppose the keenest disappointment I feel about the past week and the almost incredible weirdnesses its has brought in its train is the idea that there are people out there who actually swallow the notion that I am so stupid as to believe that women don’t enjoy sex. That I not only believe it but that I am dense, dotty and suicidally deluded enough to make a public declaration of such a crazed belief.

Let me now come out and say before we go any further that I entertain no such notion. Much as you may wish to think me a compound of the most misogynistic, ignorant, sexist and antediluvian pig who ever trod the planet I can truly report that I know and love enough women to be quite assured of the fact the women do indeed enjoy sex. I would have to ignore evolution, precedent, personal experience and the empirical observation of vibrator sales and teenage pregnancies and all kinds of obvious and unavoidable facts in between to believe anything else. And yet the public perception appears to be that I have made a statement that proves I think otherwise. Any number of self-righteous, indignant and contemptuous figures have (if I have understood aright) come out to condemn me for opinions that I have never ever held. I say “if I have understood aright” because I have not read a single newspaper article on this whole issue and I may well have got hold of the wrong end of the whole silly stick. I am going by the maddeningly well-meaning but wholly unwanted information given to me by others.


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The Truth About Beauty

The Truth About Beauty

It would be so nice if inner beauty triumphed over outer appearance. But men are designed to care about packaging. It's time to accept the not-so-pretty facts about looks.

By Amy Alkon, published on November 01, 2010 - last reviewed on November 02, 2010

here are certain practical realities of existence that most of us accept. If you want to catch a bear, you don't load the trap with a copy of Catch-22—not unless you rub it with a considerable quantity of raw hamburger. If you want to snag a fish, you can't just slap the water with your hand and yell, "Jump on my hook, already!" Yet, if you're a woman who wants to land a man, there's this notion that you should be able to go around looking like Ernest Borgnine: If you're "beautiful on the inside," that's all that should count. Right. And I should have a flying car and a mansion in Bel Air with servants and a moat.

Welcome to Uglytopia—the world reimagined as a place where it's the content of a woman's character, not her pushup bra, that puts her on the cover of Maxim. It just doesn't seem fair to us that some people come into life with certain advantages—whether it's a movie star chin or a multimillion-dollar shipbuilding inheritance. Maybe we need affirmative action for ugly people; make George Clooney rotate in some homely women between all his gorgeous girlfriends. While we wish things were different, we'd best accept the ugly reality: No man will turn his head to ogle a woman because she looks like the type to buy a turkey sandwich for a homeless man or read to the blind.


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Jesus the JEW

Do the poor have a right to live in expensive areas?

The row over housing benefit has led to warnings of "social cleansing". But can those on low incomes really have an entitlement to stay in expensive localities?

They are postcodes synonymous with wealth and aspiration; the kind of districts that attract estate agents, upmarket retail chains and endless TV property shows.

They are also the places that many low-income families call home.

Some of these people might be long-term residents of places like London's Islington and Notting Hill that were, within living memory, down-at-heel, but have since gentrified beyond all recognition.

Others might live in social housing adjoining wealthy areas - like the Dumbiedykes estate in Edinburgh, which shares a postcode with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland.

Or they could be private tenants claiming Local Housing Allowance (LHA) based on the local average market rates, rising as high as £2,000 a week for a five-bedroom house.

Whether they are claiming housing benefit because they are pensioners, low-waged, unemployed or facing long-term health problems, their presence in well-to-do districts might, to foreigners, seem incongruous in a country widely noted abroad for its preoccupation with class distinctions and social status.

Yet for all its clearly-defined hierarchies, within a city like London the rich and poor still co-exist in relative proximity compared with somewhere like Paris, with its plush inner districts ringed by notorious banlieues.

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Having studied the Parisian system, my basic reaction to this is D:  Seriously, people who whinge about MY MONIES need to have a look at social exclusion, and what it does to a society.
Naked on Rollerskates

Bristol Palin makes a surprising admission

"I did not send in my absentee ballots in Alaska," she told INSIDE EDITION after Tuesday night's Dancing with the Stars show.

That's right, the daughter of one of the most prominent political figures of the day didn't vote in Tuesday's big election.

But she did weigh in on whether she'd want her mom to run for President in 2012.

"Of course I do. I know that she's great and she'd be great for our country," said the 20-year-old.

(The rest of all the articles I saw were about DWTS' eliminations, so I left it out)
Gwen Stefani - Pretty in Pink

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says She Has 'No Regrets'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today she has "no regrets" one day after a Republican landslide stripped her of the power that defined her historic tenure as the first female speaker of the House.

The California Democrat, who won a new two-year term in Tuesday's election, said she has yet to consider what she will do now.

"I'll have a conversation with my caucus, I'll have a conversation with my family, and pray over it, and decide how to go forward," she said in an exclusive ABC News interview with "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer. "But today isn't that day
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There's a video at the source. I cannot get it to embed.

Racism. We do it with class and money.

Brazilian law student faces jail for ´racist´ Twitter election outburst

A Brazilian law student could face criminal prosecution after allegedly making racist comments on Twitter and Facebook following her country’s election results.

Mayara Petruso used the social networking websites to blame people in the poverty-stricken north-east of Brazil for the victory of Dilma Rousseff, of the left-wing ruling Workers´ Party.

The OAB, Brazil´s equivalent of the Bar Association, in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco filed a request to open a criminal case against her at the Federal Public Ministry of Sao Paulo.

The law firm in Sao Paulo where she worked as an intern also confirmed that Miss Petruso was no longer working for them and condemned the comments.

Miss Petruso prompted a series of comments, some critical and others agreeing with her, after writing on her Twitter account: “Northeastern is not us (OP speaking: actually, she said "Northeasterns aren't people/humans") . Do a favour to SP [Sao Paulo]: kill a northeasterner, drowned.”
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Twitter has been deleting accounts like woooah.

Sorry mods! I accidentally pressed enter before editing the post! Disguised man boards flight

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Canadian authorities are investigating an "unbelievable" incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an "unbelievable case of concealment."

"Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong," the alert says. "The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands. During the flight the subject attended the washroom and emerged an Asian looking male that appeared to be in his early 20s."

After landing in Canada, Border Services Officers (BSOs) escorted the man off the plane where he "proceeded to make a claim for refugee protection," the alert says.

"The subject initially claimed to be in possession of one bag; however, flight crew approached the BSOs with two additional pieces of luggage which were believed to belong to the subject. One bag contained the subject's personal clothing items while the second contained a pair of gloves. The third contained a 'disguise kit' which consisted of a silicone type head and neck mask of an elderly Caucasian male, a brown leather cap, glasses and a thin brown cardigan."

The man put on the disguise for the officers who "noted he very much resembled an elderly Caucasian man, complete with mimicking the movements of an elderly person. The subject admitted at this time that he had boarded the flight with the mask on and had removed it several hours later," according to the alert.

Read the intelligence alert

"We can confirm that officials from the CBSA met a passenger arriving off AC018 Hong Kong to Vancouver on October 29 and the matter is still under investigation," said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick, who noted that "there are multiple identity checks before departure at the Hong Kong international airport, including Chinese government-run Hong Kong passport control, which Hong Kong originating passengers must undergo."

Hong Kong officials said they are aware of the incident and would call back with more information later.

Jennifer Bourque, regional communications officer for the CBSA, confirmed that "we intercepted an individual, on October 29, attempting to enter Canada under false pretenses on-board an Air Canada flight."

"CBSA can confirm that the foreign national is currently in CBSA detention," she said. "The individual will present before an IRB hearing. The officials of the CBSA will not disclose further information on this file."

Because of Privacy Act regulations, she said, she cannot provide details about specific cases.

"However, I can tell you that CBSA officers examine all passengers arriving on international flights at Vancouver International Airport," she said. "CBSA works closely with air carriers and local, national and international law enforcement partners, to ensure the safety of our borders and our communities. Getting the right information at the right time is a key element in keeping Canada's border closed to safety and security threats."

The agency would not discuss when or why the man put on the disguise or details about how he boarded the plane. But the alert indicated that the suspect boarded the plane with a board pass belonging to another passenger.

"It is believed that the subject and the actual United States Citizen passenger (whose date of birth is 1955) performed a boarding pass swap, with the subject using an Aeroplan card as identification to board the flight," the alert said.

Aeroplan is a credit card where card holders can earn frequent flyer miles.


eta: edited title. sorry.

Boa Constrictors Can Have Babies Without Mating, New Evidence Shows

ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2010) — In a finding that upends decades of scientific theory on reptile reproduction, researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that female boa constrictors can squeeze out babies without mating.

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Source ETA: Snake picture is under a cut. I just thought it was a cute picture since they looked like they were cuddling, didn't mean to scared anyone. :(