November 11th, 2010


Tucker Carlson pretends to be Keith Olbermann; trolls reporter and

The day before yesterday, got a hold of an email exchange between Stu Bykofsky, conservative columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and, that Keith Olbermann. Phawker posted the exchange as HOT DOCUMENT: Keith Olbermann vs. Stu Bykofsky and included the following editorial note:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a testy email exchange between The Daily News’ Stu Bykofsky and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann regarding the latter’s suspension. Olbermann breaks his media silence to berate Byko and takes great offense at Byko’s column from last Thursday which itemized the respective ideological affiliations of guests on Olbermann’s The Countdown and Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor and concluded that O’Reilly was the more fair and balanced. Whether Juan Williams, Alan Colmes or Geraldo Rivera actually qualify as legitimate voices of the left — and not Fox News-financed straw men — remains debatable at best, in our opinion. Still, the exchange makes for an entertaining read as the insults fly fast and furious and much pettiness ensues. Olbermann also goes out of his way to insult the man that suspended him, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin, although Olbermann denies in the email exchange that Griffin is actually the boss of him. Ballsy. All dialogue guaranteed 100% for real.
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Distressed Veteran Dies in Cab after leaving VA

I just hate to think that this could be my grandfather someday. People say the most horrible things about the VA Hospital's here. It just sickens and saddens me.

Distressed veteran died in cab after VA release


BILOXI — Air Force veteran David Charles Miller, 61, died in the back seat of a taxi cab no more than 30 minutes after being released from the emergency room at the Veteran Affairs Hospital.

The taxi driver, David Winters, is still angry and upset about what happened to his fellow veteran in the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 20. Miller’s sister, who is so mortified by her brother’s death that she did not want her name used, said she has been nauseous and unable to sleep.


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Montana Attorney General seeks to dismiss gay rights lawsuit

Montana’s Attorney General has filed a motion seeking to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at granting same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples.

Spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana Constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, said Attorney General Steve Bullock.

The court does not have the authority to require the state to extend spousal benefits beyond that definition, Bullock said in his motion to dismiss.

The suit, Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, claims same sex couples are being denied their rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life’s basic necessities as provided for in the Montana Constitution.

Because there is a constitutional amendment in Montana barring same-sex marriage, the couples in the lawsuit are seeking the protection of state-recognized domestic partnerships, similar to those in place in several other states.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), under Montana law, it is possible for same-sex couples to be barred from visiting their partners in the hospital and to be left out of conversations about emergency medical care. Montana inheritance laws refuse to recognize same-sex couples, and can leave surviving partners with nothing if their partners die without valid wills.

The suit, filed in July by the ACLU on behalf of seven same-sex couples, seeks a mechanism such as the domestic partnership laws adopted by several other states to provide similar protections for committed same-sex couples.


Child Abuse Rate At Zero Percent In Lesbian Household

The Williams Institute, a research center on sexual orientation law and public policy at UCLA School of Law, has announced new findings from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running study ever conducted on American lesbian families (now in its 24th year). In an article published today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were asked about sexual abuse, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior.

The paper found that none of the 78 NLLFS adolescents reports having ever been physically or sexually abused by a parent or other caregiver. This contrasts with 26 percent of American adolescents who report parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3 percent who report sexual abuse.

According to the authors, "the absence of child abuse in lesbian mother families is particularly noteworthy, because victimization of children is pervasive and its consequences can be devastating. To the extent that our findings are replicated by other researchers, these reports from adolescents with lesbian mothers have implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, social service agencies, and child protection experts who seek family models in which violence does not occur."

On sexual orientation, 2.8 percent of the NLLFS adolescents identified as predominantly to exclusively homosexual.

The study was conducted by Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Henny Bos, Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam), and Naomi Goldberg, M.P.P. (Williams Institute). Principal investigator Nanette Gartrell, M.D., is a 2010 Williams Distinguished Scholar, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF, and affiliated with the University of Amsterdam.


Congressman Elect's Chief of Staff Advocated Hanging Illegal Immigrants

 Representative-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) decided this week to follow up a controversial and highly successful congressional campaign with a staff announcement in the same vein.

Conservative radio show host Joyce Kaufman will serve as chief of staff to West, a Tea Party-backed political insurgent from Florida's southern coast.

Kaufman is a local staple on Sunshine State airwaves, talking politics from 12pm-3pm on WFTL as part of a lineup that includes heavyweights such as Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage. According to the WFTL website, she'll be retaining a correspondent position while she carries out her Capitol Hill duties for the West camp, a setup that a House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct believes could be "potentially problematic," according to ThinkProgress.

Perhaps more problematic than her employment future, however, is her rhetorical history. As if a blend of her two commentator colleagues, Kaufman is herself known for lobbing partisan firebombs that often focus on issues such as illegal immigration and, more broadly, Democratic leadership.

From the Florida Independent's rundown of a few of her most combative statements:

* In August 2007, when discussing illegal immigrants, she said on her show, "If you commit a crime while you're here, we should hang you and send your body back to where you came from, and your family should pay for it."
* She became infuriated at illegal immigration after she called Comcast and the recording said, "Press 2 for Spanish."
* She said at a rally, with West standing by, "Calling illegal immigrants 'undocumented workers' is like calling a drug dealer a pharmacist without a license." She was furious that children of illegal immigrants were educated in public schools and received health care at emergency rooms. "There are people who want to change your way of life, and some of them may be your gardeners," she said.

The Florida Independent also notes Kaufman has rarely spared Muslims from her harsh words, and, according to the Washington Post's transcript of her show Tuesday, she referred to Democratic leaders such as outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as "garbage":

"Over these months I have been blessed to form very wonderful relationships with the West family," Kaufman said, adding that she had been a supporter of his campaign. "I looked at this family and [told] myself, how do you not fight and put them up on the pedestal when we've got this garbage up on the pedestal now, people like Nancy Pelosi?"

While some might think to chalk West's contestable chief of staff choice up to a case of him failing to thoroughly vet his pick, one report recently pointed out that "West is believed to have been on Kaufman's show more than 100 times" over the past four years.
  • luomo

Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Warns Undocumented Immigrants Will ‘Multiply’ Like ‘Rats’

During a hearing Tuesday, Tennessee state Rep. Curry Todd (R) asked a health official if a state health program that helps pregnant women checks the immigration status of its patients before offering benefits. After he was informed that the federal government doesn’t allow citizenship tests for prenatal care because all children born in the U.S. are automatically American citizens, he warned that without status checks, immigrants will “go out there like rats and multiply.” Watch it:

No other lawmakers on the state Fiscal Review Committee responded to the remarks,” the AP reported. In a follow up interview, he told the newswire service that he should have used less offensive words, saying, “I was actually wrong, and I admit when I’m wrong.” However, he said it would have better to use the term “anchor babies” — an unquestionably offensive term. Indeed, his rhetoric, while extreme, reflects a disturbingly common view amongst mainstream conservative leaders. ThinkProgress identified 130 Republicans in Congress, along with over a third of the incoming GOP freshmen class, who want to end the Constitutional guarantee on birthright citizenship. These include such prominent leaders as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and even some “moderates,” like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Holland and Belguim

Colbert Has Cee-Lo Green Change 'F**k You' To 'Fox News'

Cee-Lo Green appeared on "The Colbert Report" last night, and Stephen Colbert found an interesting way to allow Green to sing his new hit "F**k You" without offending the network.

"As this is a family show, we can't be dropping the F-bomb," Colbert said, and suggested Cee-Lo replace the lyric with "something positive."

After rejecting "beef stew" and other substitutions for the song's expletive-laden chorus, Cee-Lo agreed to use Colbert's suggestion of Fox News. Colbert even provided Cee-Lo with a special verse to make the song make more sense:

"I saw you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love on Fox News/ Didn't see one politician that wasn't corrupt on Fox News And I got the blues/ The poor get poorer, the rich get richer. Ain't that some sh**? (Ain't that some sh**?) / I'm havin' pains in my chest because I'm so stressed from Fox News."


I just thought we needed some laughs today.
Pride & Prejudice

At the student protests, the ancient cry of 'Tory scum' once again echoed out

Right on cue, exactly six months into David Cameron's premiership, the ancient British roar of "Tory scum" echoed across central London again. In honour of the coalition's deal on higher tuition fees, student protesters spliced their message with cheerful abuse of Nick Clegg. After almost 100 years of apathy Lib Dems can hold their heads high – hated at last.

It is a cosy cliche of demonstrations that get out of hand that the kind of "unrepresentative minority" which attacked the Millbank Tower and its squat neighbour, 30 Millbank, had spoiled an otherwise good-tempered protest. Today this was true.

Nobody riots in the rain, so the weather must share some blame. As hundreds of student buses converged on central London the sun shone provocatively from a blue sky. Streams of students poured into the Strand, the LSE contingent louder, as usual, than those from nearby UCL. "Banks don't cure disease", declared one gentle placard; "Science is more useful than duck islands" and "Ancient Norse is not a luxury," said others.


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I know we already have a post on this, but that seemed to be mostly about the violence, which really isn't fair. Most protesters spent their time standing around, dancing and singing. Having said that, though, whoever put 3 officers on the door of the Tory HQ when a protest of Tory-hating students was going past was really, really stupid.
donk... donk... donk...

Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Indiana: A Better Place for Everyone

Cats started the Indiana State Prison cat program. One by one, over the years, they arrived, entering the prison through the bars of the North Gate, depositing litters of kittens into the eager arms and hearts of the inmates there.

Indiana State Prison is a men’s maximum security prison. Before coming here, I had mentioned my impending visit in various conversations. Concerned cat lovers had fretted over the fate of cats confined with such a rough crowd. 70% of the offenders incarcerated at Indiana State Prison are there for murder.

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(no subject)

Hundreds rally against La. higher education cuts

About 500 college students and faculty from around Louisiana rallied Wednesday at the state Capitol against higher education budget cuts they say will cripple their campuses, directing much of their anger at Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Protesters said the governor is misleading Louisiana residents when he suggests the cuts aren't harmful and could come from administrative overhead and waste. An estimated $310 million in state funding has been stripped from higher education since cuts began two years ago, and more slashing is expected.

"We need a real plan, we need a real vision and we need a real leader," said Dadrius Lanus, 22, a political science and history major at Southern University. "Mr. Bobby Jindal, we are out here, and we are waiting for an answer."

Chants included, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bobby Jindal's got to go!" and "Where is Bobby?"

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So I was here today representing Southeastern Louisiana University who just cut its French program, which was my major. We've been fighting our university on this since French is part of Louisiana's culture and heritage.

The majority of Louisiana schools were here, as far as I know. The budget cuts are affecting all of us, and while it's all going on, Jindal is flying around the country visiting churches and supporting other GOP candidates. We are just trying to get the word out :)

Here is a link to the photos I took at the rally (I think 5 aren't mine). There were better photos taken, but I can't link to them.

Here is a small news report on it.

Another article.

ALSO my sign is mentioned in the article! It's the one that says "Bobby Jindal doesn't care about smart people" :D

'Dancing with the Stars': Is tea party conspiracy helping Bristol Palin?


Bristol Palin is no Mick Jagger on the dance floor. So how did the famous teen mom survive last night's "Dancing with the Stars" after crashing through a samba?

A tea party conspiracy, perchance?

Conspiracy is a strong word, of course, seeing that the center of the storm is a fluffy, albeit entirely entertaining, reality show that normally has little bearing beyond popcorn-littered living rooms.

But even the show's producer, Conrad Green, told Bloomberg last week that "it's entirely possible" that young Ms. Palin may be picking up support from her mom Sarah Palin's political supporters and a wave of tea party voters turning their attention from upsetting Washington to tweaking Hollywood. Callers, Mr. Green said, may be behind Bristol Palin "for political reasons."

Callers trump judges
Two weeks in a row Ms. Palin, a frequent tabloid subject, self-effacing mom, and "teen advocate," has received the lowest scores from the judges (including for last night's "instant samba"), but has squeaked through thanks to support from call-in voters, who make the final elimination call.

The apparently tea party-fueled call-in campaign, experts say, waltzes around her mother's rock-star power among conservatives and her figurehead status among tea partyers. It also points to the growing influence of distant social media operators, who with the flick of a few thumb strokes can prod like-minded people to the polls and, now, even affect the story arc of call-in reality TV shows.

"It's a game-changer," says Elayne Rapping, a pop culture expert at SUNY-Buffalo. Tea party activists on Twitter "are part of a large community that has power, and when this group of people with this power decide to put it in the service of Bristol Palin, it's kind of mind-boggling."

The tea party conspiracy theory does have legs. The Daily Beast website tracked Palin's Twitter support in part to conservative author Tammy Bruce, whose Twitter-centric "Operation Palin" has championed the teen mom's dance floor tenure. Ms. Bruce tweeted before last night's show: "Operation Bristol waltzes in tonight! As #DWTS starts vote at Tweeps pls tweet phone info, will RT."

In other words, "Vote early and often for Palin!"

GOP and social media
"The Republicans really do have this whole social-media thing figured out," writes Simone Wilson in LA Weekly "'Operation Bristol' has been posted and re-posted by websites such as Conservatives4Palin and us4Palin, gathering a clickety little army with the sole mission of securing the Palins as much screentime as possible."

While polarizing, the Palins are indeed becoming the poster family for how to walk the line between politics and pop culture. And it all appears to be heading in one direction. In the lead-up to her new reality TV show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which starts next week, the elder Ms. Palin again toyed with a presidential run in a Tuesday speech, saying that if she ran, she "would be in it to win it." Sarah Palin is also in the audience at DWTS.

But whether getting involved in TV dance contests is really a formula for building tea party electoral power is another question, says Ms. Rapping, adding, "If this is part of what the tea party is up to, it's goofier than it seemed."

Yet others contend there is a more serious edge to Bristol Palin, despite her two left feet, moving closer to victory in one of America's must-watch TV events.

"Bristol's survival on 'DWTS' is a testament to the power of her mother and her Tea Party fans," says CBS News. "And, it's an indicator of how the Palin brand is viewed as Sarah Palin contemplates running for president in 2012."

Veterans Day free meals: one way businesses are saying 'thanks'


Need a meal or a haircut? Maybe a new power saw for your shop or even a bridal gown?

If you’re a military vet, Veterans Day means all of these – and much more – are available to you free of charge or at a discounted price.

Across the country, restaurants, retail stores, lodgings, and recreational facilities – thousands of them – are offering special deals for veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families.

For two years now, US Marine Corps vet David Nelson has gone door-to-door in Seattle, asking businesses if they’d like to honor military veterans in their community. Last year, his list of “freebies and discounts for veterans on Veterans Day” – posted online to his blog site – numbered 20. This year, it’s 30, mostly restaurants but also everything from the Seattle Art Museum to the Brown Bear Car Wash.

“Military deployments and training are hard on families, and to me it's an honor to name restaurants where a military family can sit down as a family and enjoy a meal after a day at the zoo at a minimal price,” says Mr. Nelson, now an instructor at local community colleges. “Lately, I've had businesses approaching me asking if they can be listed as places that will honor veterans.”

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DNA test casts doubt on executed Texas man's guilt

DALLAS; A DNA test on a single hair has cast doubt on the guilt of a Texas man who was put to death 10 years ago for a liquor-store murder — an execution that went forward after then-Gov. George W. Bush's staff failed to tell him the condemned man was asking for genetic analysis of the strand.
The hair had been the only piece of physical evidence linking Claude Jones to the crime scene. But the recently completed DNA analysis found it did not belong to Jones and instead may have come from the murder victim.
Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, a New York legal center that uses DNA to exonerate inmates and worked on Jones' case, acknowledged that the hair doesn't prove an innocent man was put to death. But he said the findings mean the evidence was insufficient under Texas law to convict Jones.
Jones, a career criminal who steadfastly denied killing the liquor store owner, was executed by injection on Dec. 7, 2000, in the closing weeks of Bush's term as governor and in middle of the turbulent recount dispute in Florida that ended with Bush elected president.
As the execution drew near, Jones was pressing the governor's office for permission to do a DNA test on the hair. But the briefing papers Bush was given by his staff didn't include the request for the testing, and Bush denied a reprieve, according to state documents obtained by the Innocence Project.
Scheck said he believes "to a moral certainty" that Bush would have granted a 30-day reprieve had he known Jones was seeking DNA testing.
"It is absolutely outrageous that no one told him that Claude Jones was asking for a DNA test," Scheck said. "If you can't rely on the governor's staff to inform him, something is really wrong with the system."
Bush had previously shown a willingness to test DNA evidence that could prove guilt or innocence in death penalty cases. Earlier in 2000, he had granted a reprieve to a death row inmate so that Scheck and other attorneys could have evidence tested. The test confirmed the man's guilt and he was executed.
A spokesman for Bush, who is on a book tour, declined to comment Thursday.
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Color me shocked.

Mods: No death penalty tag?
lost // jack

Palestinian arrested for Facebook criticism of Islam.

QALQILIYA, West Bank — A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down.

The case of the unlikely apostate, a shy barber from this backwater West Bank town, is highlighting the limits of tolerance in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority — and illustrating a new trend by authorities in the Arab world to mine social media for evidence.

Residents of Qalqiliya say they had no idea that Walid Husayin — the 26-year-old son of a Muslim scholar — was leading a double life.

Known as a quiet man who prayed with his family each Friday and spent his evenings working in his father's barbershop, Husayin was secretly posting anti-religion rants on the Internet during his free time.

Now, he faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for "insulting the divine essence." Many in this conservative Muslim town say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.

"He should be burned to death," said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public "to be an example to others," he added.

Over several years, Husayin is suspected of posting arguments in favor of atheism on English and Arabic blogs, where he described the God of Islam as having the attributes of a "primitive Bedouin." He called Islam a "blind faith that grows and takes over people's minds where there is irrationality and ignorance."

If that wasn't enough, he is also suspected of creating three Facebook groups in which he sarcastically declared himself God and ordered his followers, among other things, to smoke marijuana in verses that spoof the Muslim holy book, the Quran. At its peak, Husayin's Arabic-language blog had more than 70,000 visitors, overwhelmingly from Arab countries.

His Facebook groups elicited hundreds of angry comments, detailed death threats and the formation of more than a dozen Facebook groups against him, including once called "Fight the blasphemer who said 'I am God.'"

The outburst of anger reflects the feeling in the Muslim world that their faith is under mounting attack by the West. This sensitivity has periodically turned violent, such as the street protests that erupted in 2005 after cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad were published in Denmark or after Pope Benedict XVI suggested the Prophet Muhammad was evil the following year. The pope later retracted his comment.

Husayin is the first to be arrested in the West Bank for his religious views, said Tayseer Tamimi, the former chief Islamic judge in the area.

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