November 6th, 2010

Deadly day south of the border, Mexican media refuses to report anything

Dozens killed in Matamoros; bridges closed
November 05, 2010 6:21 PM

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Gunfire broke out in Matamoros Friday, leaving at least 47 people dead and causing the closure of all three bridges between Brownsville and Mexico.

The fighting reportedly involved members of the Gulf Cartel, the Zetas and Mexican federal police and military

University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College closed the Fort Brown campus and moved the soccer games scheduled for Friday night to the Brownsville Sports Park.

Gunfire was reported in Matamoros in a number of incidents beginning Friday morning, with at least 30 people dead by around noon, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition that his name not be used.

In the afternoon, a major confrontation near city hall killed at least 17 more people, the source said.

One of those killed around midday was identified as Carlos Alberto Guajardo, 37, a reporter for the newspaper El Expreso. Sources with knowledge of the incident said Guajardo apparently was killed by soldiers who were chasing narcotics traffickers.

UPDATED: The three international bridges were reopened shortly after 7 p.m.

Something did come out of the chaos, though:

Key Mexican Drug Figure Killed


MEXICO CITY—The no. 2 man in Mexico's Gulf Cartel was killed in a day-long battle with Mexican security forces, Mexican officials said Friday night.

Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas Guillen, 48, known as Tony Tormenta and three other alleged members of the Gulf Cartel, were killed in the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, after a day-long battle with Navy special forces and army soldiers, officials said. Two members of the navy's special forces were also killed, said Alejandro Poiré, Mexico's spokesman for security affairs in a brief statement. Collapse )

Source, 2

Twitter is basically the average Mexican citizen news source now. The major media outlets outright don't report these things or just cover them very shallowly. Most local newspaper in the major border cities outright don't report a thing. Something is happening in Morelia right now but I can't find any English news...

I live in Laredo, TX, across from Nuevo Laredo - one of the border cities most affected by drug cartels related violence and as much as I would like to say that the reports about violence south of the border are greatly exaggerated, I can't lie: it has gotten pretty bad. I still have family living in Nuevo Laredo and their daily routine basically consists of going to work and coming back home and not going out past 8 pm. The city is dead and I imagine that it is the same in most of the other major border cities. :(


Racial Slur Prompts School To Cancel Play

Posted: 7:34 am EDT November 5, 2010

PALM COAST, Fla. -- A Florida school committee has canceled a high school production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" because of offensive language in the play.

The theater director at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Ed Koczergo, says the problem is the N-word. Koczergo says the word can't be removed from the script because of copyright laws.

Principal Jacob Oliva says parents, students and community members began complaining about it during the third week of rehearsals. The production was scheduled to open Nov. 12.

Most Flagler County ninth-graders read the novel dealing with racism in a fictional Depression-era Alabama town as part of their course work. Oliva says the guidance teachers give in the classroom about controversial material isn't available to community members coming to the play.




No one should be given a white feather for not wearing a poppy

Jon Snow is taking a mild stand against a mild form of authoritarianism, against intolerance and the pressures of social conformity. Good for him

Since I frequently complain about hyperbolic and inappropriate comparisons, usually involving some fiend such as Hitler, Stalin or Simon Cowell, I can hardly rush to the defence of the broadcaster Jon Snow when he denounces "poppy fascism".

All the same, I can see what he's getting at in a way that I can't when I hear some fool denouncing Margaret Thatcher as a Nazi or Barack Obama as a communist – and/or Nazi.

In saying he only wears the Remembrance Day poppy when and where he deems it suitable, Snow is taking a mild stand against a mild form of authoritarianism, against intolerance and the pressures of mindless social conformity. Good for him.

I'm sure Field Marshall Haig, the less-than-wonderful commander of the British Expeditionary Force in Flanders (1915-18), would have been astonished that, almost 100 years after the appeal he championed (it's why some people never wear poppies), Poppy Day is still going strong in its efforts to help ex-servicemen and women in need.

That's where the trouble starts, I think. From 1914 to the 80s Britain was full of people who had experienced war as volunteers or conscripts in the armed forces, as civilians too during air raids. As they died off, most of them, a new generation of professional soldiers sustained steady casualties – from Belfast and the Falklands to Basra and Helmand, but, apart from occasional terrorist bombs, never in mainland British streets.

As a direct result, gung-ho civilians, usually led by armchair soldiers safe in our great newspaper offices, have fallen into the habit of demanding ostentatious loyalty in all sorts of ways, an old default position for simple patriots and scoundrels alike.

The Sun likes to present itself as the paper that supports our boys and it probably does so from a mixture of honest endeavour and commercial calculation. But it is one of nature's bullies; it can't help itself.

As a result poppy-wearing has become a bit like Easter eggs, Hallowe'en or Christmas lights in October: another commercial opportunity from which meaning has largely been drained. The pressure to wear poppies – earlier every season – grows. I swear I saw some on sale around 20 October this year.

At the same time what I would more readily called "poppy baiting" – gentler than poppy fascism – has become a national pastime for sections of the press. I read the Daily Mail because it's so much smarter than its tabloid rivals, but I assume the others are usually worse.

The Mail wheeled out Lord Hattersley yesterday to pompously denounce Snow in terms worthy of Sir Herbert Gussett, Private Eye's legendary letter-writer. He had given arrogant and insensitive offence to the relatives of the dead, who included Roy's uncle, Herbert Hattersley of the 1/7 Sherwood Foresters, readers were informed.

But long before that the paper's vigilantes had been patrolling public life looking for poppy non-compliance on TV and elsewhere; a dig here, a diary par there. The same sort of papers egged on women to hand out white feathers to men not in uniform in the first world war – though many had good reason not to be.

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Source: The Grauniad
Christian Bale

Bill Maher Stands By Mohammed Remarks: ‘I Don’t Need To Apologize For Being A Proud Westerner’

Bill Maher showed up on CNN to talk about comments he made on Real Time regarding the ‘alarming’ number of ‘baby Mohammeds’ in England. Maher told Wolf Blitzer that he felt no need to “apologize for being a proud Westerner,” or for being worried that “Muslim people in these [Western] societies are having babies” at a faster clip than non-Muslims.

He clarified:

And when I say Westerner, I mean someone who believes in the values that Western people believe in that a lot of the Muslim world does not. Like separation of church and state. Like equality of the sexes. Like respect for minorities, free elections, free speech, freedom to gather. These things are not just different from cultures that don’t have them. … It’s better. … I would like to keep those values here.

Maher feared that “we can project ahead” to the possibility of England “losing those values.” While he and Blitzer didn’t discuss the Sharia law issue that arose Friday night, they did discuss another topic that had come up during the same conversation: whether Maher would’ve been fired from NPR, as Juan Williams had been, if he worked there. “Probably,” Maher said. Here, the two seemed to agree.

:(, teeeeeear, Fenris, emo, cry

Colt David Hansen: Clash with Mormon faith leads to another LGBT suicide in Utah

We have lost another beautiful life. Colt David Hansen, 28, passed away Wednesday evening after a lifelong struggle against the Mormon Church which he felt never accepted him because he was gay.

According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund.

The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.

Colt’s family is refusing to let his friends attend the funeral, presumably presided over by a Mormon Bishop, calling it a private family affair.

The Utah LGBT community will remember Colt for who he was. A beautiful, intelligent young man who worked for several years at Try-Angles, beloved by many.

When will our families learn that they must love us for who we are, and they dishonor our memories when they try to pretend we are something other than who we are.

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The rape of one is a tragedy, the rape of thousands is just a statistic.

Hundreds Were Raped on Congo-Angola Border
Published: November 5, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — More than 600 women and girls were recently raped along the Congo-Angola border during a mass expulsion of illegal immigrants, according to the United Nations.

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I don't even know how stories like these should be covered anymore. On the one hand, this presentation is extremely impersonal, making the women simple statistics, but on the other hand, sharing highly personal stories can carry hints of exploitation and are, in any case, extremely difficult for many people to read. I suppose it's at least good that this continues to be reported. It's mortifying that nobody is doing anything. People need to fucking do something. Anyone have aid organizations to recommend for donations? Anything?

Violence in response to questionable sentencing of Mehserle

Violence After Sentence in Oakland Killing
Published: November 5, 2010

OAKLAND — Protesters vandalized storefronts and clashed with the police here on Friday night after a white former transit police officer was given what they considered to be a light sentence for the killing an unarmed black man. But protests initially seemed less violent than others that have surrounded the controversial case.

The authorities said one officer was hit by a car — perhaps by a police vehicle — and another officer’s gun was stolen and turned on him. That protester was arrested, Police Chief Anthony W. Batts said, and a police police spokesman said 152 people had been arrested. “You have a very aggressive crowd,” Chief Batts said.

The demonstrations started after Judge Robert Perry of Superior Court in Los Angeles sentenced the former officer, Johannes Mehserle, to two years in state prison. But the judge dismissed a component of the charges that would have led to more prison time.

With time already served, Mr. Mehserle could be released from prison as early as next year. He was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant III, who was shot while lying face down on New Year’s Day 2009. He had been removed from a Bay Area Rapid Transit train after a fight, and Mr. Mehserle said that he had mistaken his gun for a Taser. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree murder.

The jury found that Mr. Mehserle was eligible for additional prison time because he had used a gun in the crime. But Judge Perry rejected that finding.

The shooting and subsequent verdict drew an angry reaction from Mr. Grant’s family, who thought Mr. Mehserle should have been convicted of murder, and sparked riots in Oakland.

The crowd on Friday initially assembled for a peaceful rally in front of Oakland City Hall, which had closed early, as had many businesses. But after the rally wrapped up, several hundred of the protesters began to roam downtown Oakland, vandalizing vehicles and businesses.

In Oakland, tensions between the city’s sizable black population and its police force are longstanding, even though the city has a black mayor and police chief. The mayor, Ron Dellums, had pleaded for calm, and police officers were out in force, with days off canceled and police helicopters hovering overhead.

But frustrations seemed present nonetheless. At the rally, Michael Johnson, a 26-year-old graduate student and medical case manager, said the sentence was a part of historic inequality.

“I’m indignant today,” Mr. Johnson said.


Can't say I'm surprised at the sentence or at the reaction. Personally I can't blame any of the rioters, though I hope nobody gets hurt and that the vandalism doesn't harm any businesses that can't afford the damage. Anyway, who else thinks that this bit: "tensions between the city’s sizable black population and its police force are longstanding, even though the city has a black mayor and police chief"... is kind of bullshit? Oh, so as long as POC have members of their community in positions of power, they shouldn't have anything to worry about from the police? Please.

Edit: Have changed subject heading in light of the fact that other reports and peoples' comments indicate "riots" are a pretty inaccurate term.

What would you do with $11,255,272?

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They won $11.2 million from a lottery ticket in July. And now every penny is gone. But Allen and Violet Large didn’t spend any of it on themselves. And that’s just the way they like it.

"What you’ve never had, you never miss," said Violet, 78.

Married since 1974, the Lower Truro couple don’t live large. They don’t travel, they don’t gamble and they don’t buy what they don’t need.

"We have an old house, but we’re comfortable and we’re happy in it," Violet said.

They spent 30 years in Ontario where Allen was a steel welder and Violet worked for cosmetics and chocolate companies. They retired in 1983 and returned to Nova Scotia.

"We were pretty well set, not millionaires, but comfortable," said Allen, 75.

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MISC - moustache

The Mississippi Pardons

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi has to decide whether to show mercy to two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, who are each serving double consecutive life sentences in state prison for a robbery in which no one was injured and only $11 was taken.

This should be an easy call for a law-and-order governor who has, nevertheless, displayed a willingness to set free individuals convicted of far more serious crimes. Mr. Barbour has already pardoned four killers and suspended the life sentence of a fifth.

The Scott sisters have been in prison for 16 years. Jamie, now 38, is seriously ill. Both of her kidneys have failed. Keeping the two of them locked up any longer is unconscionable, grotesquely inhumane.

The sisters were accused of luring two men to a spot outside the rural town of Forest, Miss., in 1993, where the men were robbed by three teenagers, one of whom had a shotgun. The Scott sisters knew the teens. The evidence of the sisters’ involvement has always been ambiguous, at best. The teenagers pleaded guilty to the crime, served two years in prison and were released. All were obliged by the authorities, as part of their plea deals, to implicate the sisters.

No explanation has ever emerged as to why Jamie and Gladys Scott were treated so severely.

In contrast, Governor Barbour has been quite willing to hand get-out-of-jail-free cards to men who unquestionably committed shockingly brutal crimes. The Jackson Free Press, an alternative weekly, and Slate Magazine have catalogued these interventions by Mr. Barbour. Some Mississippi observers have characterized the governor’s moves as acts of mercy; others have called them dangerous abuses of executive power.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections confirmed Governor Barbour’s role in the five cases, noting that the specific orders were signed July 16, 2008:

• Bobby Hays Clark was pardoned by the governor. He was serving a long sentence for manslaughter and aggravated assault, having shot and killed a former girlfriend and badly beaten her boyfriend.

• Michael David Graham had his life sentence for murder suspended by Governor Barbour. Graham had stalked his ex-wife, Adrienne Klasky, for years before shooting her to death as she waited for a traffic light in downtown Pascagoula.

• Clarence Jones was pardoned by the governor. He had murdered his former girlfriend in 1992, stabbing her 22 times. He had already had his life sentence suspended by a previous governor, Ronnie Musgrove.

• Paul Joseph Warnock was pardoned by Governor Barbour. He was serving life for the murder of his girlfriend in 1989. According to Slate, Warnock shot his girlfriend in the back of the head while she was sleeping.

• William James Kimble was pardoned by Governor Barbour. He was serving life for the murder and robbery of an elderly man in 1991.

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Mods, can we get a prisons/prison system tag up in this joint?

This is their plan. Thanks, America!

Republicans map out their agenda of less

By Lori Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 6, 2010; 12:33 AM

Republicans are mapping an agenda for the new Congress that calls for a radical reduction in government spending, a hard-line stance against new taxes and a "sustained" battle against federal regulators - all aimed at easing the concerns of voters desperate for jobs and anxious about the soaring national debt.

The path charted in the party's "Pledge to America" and in a new blueprint released this week by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the No. 2 Republican in the House, is certain to provoke clashes with the White House. It is already stirring dissension among Republicans who say it doesn't go far enough. Less certain is its ability to make progress on the nation's top economic priorities, particularly job creation.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate was stuck at 9.6 percent for the third month in a row, although job growth accelerated in October. Employers added a total of 151,000 jobs - more than double analysts' expectations. Gains were concentrated in the private sector, where 159,000 new jobs offset the loss of 8,000 government positions.

It was the strongest job growth since May, and a welcome sign that the recovery may finally be strengthening. Still, many economists see the need for further government spending to bring down unemployment. This week, the Federal Reserve announced plans to pump $600 billion into the economy through massive purchases of Treasury bonds to fuel the recovery.

Republicans reject the notion that government spending can spur prosperity. Instead, they favor keeping tax rates steady by extending Bush-administration tax breaks that are set to expire this year and repealing President Obama's health overhaul. Republicans also want to restrain government regulators and are looking to require congressional approval for any new regulation that imposes costs on the private sector in excess of $100 million a year.
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and just to give more insight, here is the above mentioned Heritage Foundation's ideas on how to cut the budget. Scary.
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Dubya admits to a mistake!

George W. Bush calls Katrina photo a ‘huge mistake’

Former President George W. Bush says it was a "huge mistake" to let himself be photographed looking from Air Force One down at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Bush reflected on the iconic photograph during an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer to promote his forthcoming memoir, "Decision Points." The photo was published widely and only reinforced the view that the Bush administration didn't act quickly enough or fully grasp the severity of the problems on the ground in New Orleans after the levees broke.

"Let's get to the picture that we may have seen more of you in the last couple years of your presidency than any other picture," Lauer said. "You're sitting in Air Force One, flying back toward Washington. You fly right over New Orleans and you look out the window."

"Yes," Bush responded. "Huge mistake."

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Y'know, between this and the Kanye West comment, I am more and more convinced that Bush doesn't care about things he did that were bad, only about things that made him look bad.

Bishop Robinson announces retirement

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, whose openness about his homosexuality has divided the worldwide Anglican Church, announced today he is retiring. Robinson cited, among other things, the burden of that international schism.

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family and you,” Robinson, 63, said this afternoon at the close of the diocese’s annual convention. “Death threats, and now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have taken a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband Mark…and in some ways you.”

Robinson, of Weare, won’t step down until January 2013, when he is 66, but to retire by then, Robinson had to begin the process today by announcing his intentions. He said evangelizing to the “unchurched” and “de-churched” will be his priority during his remaining time in the diocese and after his retirement. Robinson has been vocal about gay equality on state, national and international stages and said that will continue.

“I get the opportunity to make the case for God and for God’s church – either to people who have never known God’s unimaginable love, or to those who have been ill-treated in the name of a judgment God,” he said.

The news was so unexpected, the delegates at the convention in Concord gasped. The first reactions were “What?” and “No” and tears. Then delegates began handing tissues from table to table.

Afterward, Nicki Bourne of Grace Episcopal Church in Concord, said Robinson has shown her and the wider church that living as a Christian means being open and welcoming to all people. “And not just gay people,” she said. “It is a constant reminder that we should be inclusive of all people and to show rebounding love.”

Robinson too had to pause several times to wipe his eyes.

“Since I was ordained at the ripe old age of 26, the church has been my whole life,” he said, stopping to keep tears at bay. “I love getting up at 4:30 every morning to pray for you and I won’t stop. And . . . answering e-mails and questions and to respond to the needs of the clergy and congregation.”

He continued, increasingly unable to maintain his composure. “(The next bishop) has no idea what a joy and what a privilege it will be to serve you,” he said.

In the coming months, church leaders will form a search committee with hopes of choosing candidates for the next bishop by early 2012. The state’s Episcopalians will then chose a bishop through an election. Following that, the bishop-elect will face election by all the American Episcopal dioceses in September 2012. Robinson will remain at the diocese for three additional months to work alongside the new bishop he said.


Why do the West Coast states and the Northeast continue to elect liberals?

Coasting to the Left
By Bill O'Reilly

Here’s my question: If this week’s election returns demonstrate that the vast majority of the country is moving to the right, why do the West Coast and the Northeast continue to embrace liberalism, especially when it has led to economic disaster?

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movies | Pooh Bear

ONTD_Political's PotD: November 6, 2010.

This photo made available by the Zoological Society of London on Wednesday Oct. 27, 2010 shows first-time mother Mjukuu, a western lowland gorilla with her newly born male baby resting on straw in an enclosure at the London Zoo. Mjukuu gave birth to the healthy baby on Oct. 26, 2010, following a straightforward labor, which was closely monitored by the Zoo’s vets and keepers. Zoological director David Field said: "Mother and baby are both doing brilliantly, although it’s still early days. ‘Aunties’ Zaire and Effie were at the birth and have remained with Mjukuu throughout." Keepers are yet to name the tiny male, who will grow up to become a twenty-five stone (158 kilo -350 pound) silverback gorilla.

Iona Stewart | AP Photo/Zoological Society of London
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