November 10th, 2010

Beware false Bush nostalgia, says Foreign Policy writer



Delusion Points
Don't fall for the nostalgia -- George W. Bush's foreign policy really was that bad.

BY STEPHEN M. WALT | NOVEMBER 8, 2010

Two years into Barack Obama's presidency, it has become a cliché to observe that the newish president, who spent his 2008 campaign promising a U-turn from his deeply unpopular predecessor's activities abroad, has ended up with a foreign policy that looks surprising like George W. Bush's. The United States has more troops in Afghanistan than it did at the end of the Bush years, Guantánamo is still open, efforts to engage Iran have failed, and while American soldiers may have begun pulling back from Iraq, they've left plenty of Western defense contractors in their wake.

In anticipation of tomorrow's release of Bush's memoir, Decision Points, this line of thinking is reinforcing one of the Beltway press corps' favorite rituals: the "was he really that bad?" nostalgia for a president that the same reporters and analysts were happily pummeling only two years ago.

Don't believe a word of it. George W. Bush's presidency really was that bad -- and the fact that Obama has largely followed the same course is less a measure of Bush's wisdom than a reminder of the depth of the hole he dug his country into, as well as the institutionalized groupthink that dominates the U.S. foreign-policy establishment.

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Source.

Kanye West and Bush apologize to each other, sorta



"I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," [Kanye] West said. "I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that we as human beings don't always choose the right words."

Shown a tape of West's remarks, Bush said he appreciated them and forgave him.

"I'm not a hater," he [Bush] said. "I don't hate Kanye West. I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist if in your heart you believe in equality of races."


Full article here.

Note to Kanye: Apologize for the Taylor Swift thing, sure. But to Bush? What you did made you liked by all the right people, and hated by all the wrong people. Don't apologize for that, you wuss.

UPDATE: Kanye West's pissy Twitter reaction to the Today Show statement by Bush is covered HERE.

Chomsky weighs in on what Tea Party elections really mean

Noam Chomsky with Sacha Baron Cohen

Outrage, Misguided

By Noam Chomsky

The U.S. midterm elections register a level of anger, fear and disillusionment in the country like nothing I can recall in my lifetime. Since the Democrats are in power, they bear the brunt of the revulsion over our current socioeconomic and political situation.

More than half the “mainstream Americans” in a Rasmussen poll last month said they view the Tea Party movement favorably—a reflection of the spirit of disenchantment.

The grievances are legitimate. For more than 30 years, real incomes for the majority of the population have stagnated or declined while work hours and insecurity have increased, along with debt. Wealth has accumulated, but in very few pockets, leading to unprecedented inequality.

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The Acorn Deal

Missing From the Juan Williams Debate: "The ACORN Deal"



Wednesday 10 November 2010

by: John Atlas, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis



(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Collapse The Light, ACORN)

A raging debate has ensued around whether National Public Radio (NPR) correctly fired Juan Williams. Some say Williams undermined his credibility as a news analyst. Others accuse NPR of bungling its response and stifling free speech. What's been missing in the debate over his firing is this:

Immediately after NPR fired Williams because of his remarks about Muslims, Fox cable's Bill O'Reilly said, "This is like the ACORN deal - no more money to NPR. NPR has now devolved into a totalitarian outfit functioning as an arm of the far left."

The Republican leadership and the right-wing echo chamber followed O'Reilly's call for the federal defunding of NPR. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) announced plans to introduce legislation to strip federal funds from NPR because it fired Williams. According to DeMint, NPR received $4 billion in federal money since 2001 and will get $430 million in the 2011. Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor and nearly every Republican running for office this year promised to seek an end to taxpayer subsidies for NPR and public television.

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coffee lol

Google Blogger v. Twitter Engineer- Did He Assault Her?

 Google blogger Noirin Shirley claims that Twitter engineer Florian Liebert sexually assaulted her during the ApacheCon conference in Atlanta, reports Newser.

According to Ms. Shirley's blog, in which she details the event, the incident took place during a friendly after-hours get-together in an Irish pub near the conference.

Shirley says she got up to go to the bathroom when Liebert called her over. "He grabbed me, pulled me in to him, and kissed me," she writes. "I tried to push him off, and told him I wasn't interested (I may have been less eloquent, but I don't think I was less clear). He responded by jamming his hand into my underwear and fumbling."

Shirley reported the incident the next day. However, she wrote, this kind of incident has happened before--at other tech conferences, no less.


"[This] is the first time I've spoken out about it in this way, because I'm tired of the sense that some idiot can ruin my day and never have to answer for it. I'm tired of the fear," Shirley said in her blog post. She continued thus:

I don't want to be assaulted, and the vast majority of guys read that just fine. It is not my job to avoid getting assaulted. It is everyone else's job to avoid assaulting me.


Newser points out that a sexual safety has become such a large concern among convention organizers that a campaign called the Con Anti-Harassment Project was organized to make gatherings safer for attendees.

To read Noirin Shirley's original blog post, visit NerdChic.net.

Source

Being in the IT field, I don't exactly know what to make of this. However, I do feel that posting the guy's name before charges had even been filed was bad form. To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of suspicious of both of the people involved.
-Simona
Martha

Study: Republicans Love Modern Family, Dems Love Dexter

Photobucket


'Modern Family,' a seemingly liberal show about a blended family -- with a gay couple and adopted kids -- is among the favorites of Republicans. Say what?

According to a new study by Experian Simmons, Republicans favor many of TV's biggest hits such as 'Modern Family,' 'American Idol' and 'Dancing With the Stars.' On the Democrat side, TV favorites include 'Dexter,' 'Mad Men' and 'The Good Wife.'

"The big shows with mass appeal tend to have above-average scores from Democrats and Republicans but with higher concentrations of Republicans," John Fetto, senior marketing manager at Experian Simmons, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Looking at the Democrats side, I don't mean to make light of it, but they seem to like shows about damaged people. Those are the kind of shows Republicans just stay away from."

Unsurprisingly, the top show for Republicans is 'Glenn Beck' and 'Countdown With Keith Olbermann' for Democrats. But who knew Democrats favored 'Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami'?

Do Republicans control Nielsen ratings? It appears that way, with Democrats favoring smaller, cult-hit shows. But look at the opposing party scores: Many of these shows have close numbers among both parties.

The research suggest CBS programs, which are some of the biggest hits on TV, seem to reach across party lines. 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'The Good Wife' both attract similar numbers from both parties. The younger fare, like '90210' and 'Kourtney & Khloe' along with the niche cable shows such as 'Breaking Bad' and 'Mad Men' seem to have the biggest difference in viewers.

SOURCE
ONTD post I stole this from

I guess I'm a ~maverick~ because I'm into Mad Men and a bunch of shows that aren't on this list. ONTD_P, how does your TV tastes line up with this?
Reporting

Why Obama Can Be Proud of Indonesia

As President Obama departs Jakarta, the city of his boyhood, he can celebrate Indonesia’s turnaround from dictatorship to vital Muslim democracy—and just maybe a vision of the future of Islam.

As President Obama leaves Indonesia behind, a bit earlier than planned thanks to a plume of volcanic ash that’s been shot in the air by Mt. Merapi, he can be forgiven for waxing nostalgic about the country in which he spent four years of his childhood.

“It’s wonderful to be here,” the president told an adoring crowd in Jakarta. “I will tell you, though, that I barely recognized it as I was driving down the streets. The only thing that was there when I first moved to Jakarta was Sarinah [a shopping mall]. Now it’s one of the shorter buildings on the road.”

When Obama lived in Indonesia, the country was ruled with an iron hand by Sukarno, a ruthless dictator who maintained power by relying on the military to crush his opponents. Sukarno was responsible for the deaths of nearly 1 million Indonesians. His successor, Suharto, who took control of the country in 1968, when Obama was a 7-year-old student at the prestigious Menteg School in Jakarta, was an even more ruthless despot. Suharto’s so-called New Order, which was supported by the United States, led to widespread corruption and human-rights abuses.

Today Indonesia is a completely different country. The fourth most populous nation in the world. The third largest democracy. A gross domestic product of $550 billion and rising. Home to nearly 15 percent of all Muslims on earth, as many Muslims as there are in the entire Arab world. Indonesia is not only the richest, most stable, and most populous county in the Muslim world. It is the Muslim world.

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Reza Aslan is author of the international bestseller No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism. His new book is Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.

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pete and peggy

No room for girlfriends at Ivanhoe Girls' dance


No room for girlfriends at Ivanhoe Girls' dance

Henrietta Cook
November 10, 2010
 

Same-sex couple banned from formal

Hannah Williams, 16, was told she could not bring her girlfriend of seven months to her year-11 formal.
>
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First time posting, hope goes well. Computer decided to fail when I pressed preview.
sca

Article on an anti-Berlusconi show which aired on Monday

Benigni’s Jibes at PM, Ruby and Bindi

Tuscan comedian begs Berlusconi not to resign: “You’ll ruin us”

MILAN – Joke after joke on Berlusconi and Rubygate. Roberto Benigni’s irreverent comedy exploded – successfully, to judge by the audience applause – onto the first episode of Vieni via con me [Come Away with Me], RaiTre’s Monday evening show conducted by Fabio Fazio and Roberto Saviano. “Let me start by saying that celeb sex gossip is rubbish. I’m here to talk about politics”, was how the Oscar-winning comedian opened his extended monologue. “If the news is confirmed – but I don’t believe it, it can’t be true – there’s a prime minister who went with a Moroccan woman, a minor, but for age reasons, the name of the prime minister cannot be made public”.

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source

This was the most watched show on Monday night in Italy with 7.623.000 viewers, followed by the Big Brother with 4.862.000 viewers.
Benigni, Vendola and Saviano are IMHO amazing and I get emotional every time someone talks about Falcone.
Books

Sources: Pentagon group finds there is minimal risk to lifting gay ban during war

A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1.

More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report's authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.

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Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/10/AR2010111007381.html

I'll just repeat my comment from the WP comment section: "I can say as both a veteran and as a member of a family with an unusually high number of active duty members/veterans... Will you NOW, FINALLY repeal this stupid policy?"

Washington State Bans "Four Loko"

(Nov. 10) -- Next week, Washington state residents will no longer find "blackout in a can" beverage Four Loko on liquor store shelves.

The infamous party drink responsible for the hospitalization of nine Central Washington University students at an Oct. 8 house party is being placed under emergency ban by the state's Liquor Control Board, set to go into effect Nov. 17, according to The Seattle Times.

The temporary ban, which passed unanimously and includes all caffeinated alcohol drinks, will remain in place for 120 days as the board deliberates protocol for a permanent prohibition. The Liquor Control Board cited "public health and safety concerns" as the basis for its decision.

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Rescue May Redeem a Troubled Past for Chilean City


Elizabeth Espejo visits the graves in Copiapó of victims of the Caravan of Death, killed under Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1973.

COPIAPÓ, Chile — Though the vuvuzelas have quieted down, this desert city is still basking in the daring rescue of the 33 men trapped deep in a copper and gold mine nearby for more than two months. And for some, the triumph was a striking contrast to another set of events here in Copiapó — also involving its miners — from a much darker time in Chile’s history.

The year was 1973, in the weeks after the coup by Gen. Augusto Pinochet that ended the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. In the predawn hours of Oct. 17, 1973 — 37 years before the mine rescue, almost to the day — military personnel murdered 16 men near here, including some who worked for Chile’s state mining company.

A squad operating under Brig. Gen. Sergio Arellano Stark executed the men using weapons that included military knives called corvos. Altogether, the unit, which came to be called the Caravan of Death, killed more than 70 Chileans suspected of leftist activities that month.
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source

I found this story a few days ago and thought it was interesting how the mine rescue corresponded date-wise to the Caravan of Death.
Ripley Alien

Student tuition fee protest turns violent as Tory headquarters evacuated

 A demonstration against tuition fees by tens of thousands of students and lecturers descended into violence today when a group of protesters smashed their way into the headquarters of the Conservative party.

A number of police officers were injured after they came under attack from youths, some wearing scarves to hide their faces, amid scenes of chaos.

Eight people were taken to hospital with injuries after the violence flared at Millbank Tower, next to the River Thames in central London.
Hundreds of protesters stormed the building after smashing through the windows chanting "die Tory scum".
Rocks, wooden banners, eggs, rotten fruit and shards of glass were thrown at police officers trying to beat back the crowd with metal batons and riot shields.

Inside the building, windows were kicked in, desks and chairs were overturned and the walls were daubed with anarchist graffiti.
Protesters set off fire extinguishers, overturned filing cabinets and threw office paperwork and business cards from the smashed windows.
Dozens swarmed onto the roof where they hurled fire extinguishers, burning banners, bottles and cans into the crowd.

Several people were knocked unconscious and some were seen with their faces streaming blood after being hit by missiles thrown by protesters

Placards and banners were being burnt, to cheers from the crowd, while protesters inside the building used chairs as they smashed and kicked their way through more of the glass frontage, effectively opening up the whole atrium to the crowd.

A confetti of torn newspaper rained down on the hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Millbank atrium after students gained access to the upper floors of the building.

Read more at the source + Video




once upon a time

GOP Robo Calls Inundate the Elections Office (in Oregon)

OP Note: While this is a local story, I wonder if anyone else in other states are facing something similar.

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By Steven Sandberg

November 10, 2010


MEDFORD, Ore. - The Jackson County Elections Office says it is being flooded with calls from voters concerned about whether their ballots were counted.

This is because the Senate Republican Caucus in Salem is using robocalls to voters. These automated calls tell the voter to find out if their vote went through. It even allows them to push a button to connect directly to the elections office.

Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker says the calls have been slowing down the ballot counting process.

There are only a small handful of races from last weeks election that have not been decided, most notably the crucial race for State Senator District 3, where Ashland Incumbent Democrat Alan Bates leads Republican Dave Dotterrer by 305 votes as of Wednesday.

That race will likely decide who has the advantage in the Oregon Legislature. If Bates wins, it will likely give the Democrats a 16-14 edge in the State Senate. A Dotterrer win would mean a 15-15 tie. There is already a 30-30 tie in the Oregon House.

The Jackson County Elections Office says it is still in the process of counting by hand all the ballots that were rejected by counting machines.

"We want to reassure the voters of Jackson County that their ballots are being counted. We're happy to look up your last name and first name and let you know that your ballot was validated and accepted for this election," Walker said.

The elections office says if there is a problem with a signature, voters will receive an official letter asking to verify their ballot.

Source

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It's sketchy that the local GOP is basically giving false information about people's ballots and making them panic for no real reason, which is actually slowing the democratic process down. Ah, the never-ending trials and tribulations of vote-by-mail.


lost // jack

Rape charge dropped after accuser kills self.

HURON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Samantha Kelly endured merciless taunting from classmates after they learned that the high school freshman had accused a senior of rape.

The weeks of harassment eventually became too much. Samantha went home from school Monday and hanged herself in this community southwest of Detroit.


With their key witness dead, prosecutors on Wednesday dropped criminal charges against the older student, saying they had no case without the accuser's testimony.

Samantha's mother screamed at 18-year-old Joseph Tarnopolski after his brief court appearance and had to be restrained by a relative. She told reporters she was not consulted about the decision to dismiss the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

"My daughter did not get any justice," June Justice said.

Samantha's accusations became known to many of her neighbors and classmates after she and her mother spoke to a local television station about the matter. Samantha's face was blocked out, but word of her allegations quickly spread.

"People wanted to beat her up — people who were friends of Joe," said Ayla Raines, who also attended Huron High School. "Not to her face. She heard from other people that they wanted to beat her up."

Another student, Calie Bouchard, said 14-year-old Samantha was confronted once in the lunch room by a group of girls who insisted she was lying.

"She started breaking down in tears," Calie said.

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Side-eying the "pair had consensual sex, but she was under the age of consent" comment. The poor girl. =(
i am often tense and angry

Indiana Ends Food Aid for Developmentally Disabled

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has quietly ended a state grocery benefit paid to hundreds of developmentally disabled people who advocates say have no money of their own to buy food.

The state Family and Social Services Administration withdrew the grocery benefit just weeks after it announced it would no longer reduce the benefit for those who receive food stamps, which a lawsuit claimed was a violation of federal law that prohibits food stamps from being counted against other benefits.

The lawsuit was filed in July by the American Civil Liberties Union and Indianapolis attorney Steven Dick on behalf of Dick's 26-year-old autistic son. Dick said he believed the state ultimately decided to end the grocery benefit altogether because it could no longer factor in food stamps.

"It was to me just a knee-jerk reaction to say 'OK, no food stamps, no groceries,'" Dick said.

Family and Social Services Administration spokesman Marcus Barlow denied that, saying the change was part of an overhaul aimed at curbing misuse of the Residential Living Allowance, which had included the grocery benefit.

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Keith

PAT SAJAK SEZ 'LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME! SOMEBODY LOOK AT ME!'

'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak claims he made Keith Olbermann famous, MSNBC host slams that story

BY Meena Hartenstein
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


 

"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak is a beloved American icon, but he says he owes the country an apology: Keith Olbermann is his fault.

In an essay for Richochet.com on Wednesday, Sajak takes the blame for the controversial MSNBC host's spot in the public eye, posting a video of the two on set together in 1989 during Sajak's short-lived CBS talk show.

"This YouTube video reminded me that I was the person who introduced Keith Olbermann to America," Sajak writes alongside the clip. "I thought Keith was pretty funny on the air, and I suggested we have him come on the show and talk sports. This was the first of several appearances he made on the show, and he always did a nice job."

The legendary game show host says he gave Olbermann, a sports reporter at the time, his first exposure on national television.
But Olbermann disagrees.

"Pat Sajak has made a claim picked up pretty widely - that he 'introduced me to America,'" the MSNBC host said in a statement emailed to the News. "He didn't."
 
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