November 19th, 2010

movies | The Sound of Music

ONTD_Political's PotD: November 18, 2010.

Hajj, 2010 | [November 14, 2010] marked the start of the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Press Agency said that a record number of Muslims were expected to make the Hajj this year - over 3.4 million anticipated over the five days of the pilgrimage. One of the pillars of Islamic faith, the Hajj must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by any Muslim who has the ability to do so. Pilgrims perform a series of rituals including walking around the Kaaba, standing vigil on Mount Arafat and a ritual Stoning of the Devil. At the end of the Hajj, on November 16th, the three day festival of Eid al-Adha begins around the world.

Eid al-Adha | Eid al-Adha festivities began [two days ago]. Muslims the world over take part in the three-day festival, known as the Feast of the Sacrifice. The feast commemorates the story of Abraham, who Muslims believe was on the verge of sacrificing his son to obey God's command when God interceded by substituting a ram in the child's place.
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Governments remove sexual orientation from UN anti-discrimination resolution

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.

The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings - including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.

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franklin sherman

Marijuana = Terrorism (according to FBI and State officials)

Federal and State Police Conduct Marijuana Terrorism Drill [FEATURE]

Northern California pot growers bomb a car and a bus, then take over Shasta Dam in a bid to free an imprisoned comrade. It sounds like the plot to a very cheesy Grade-B thriller, but it was actually the premise for a day-long terrorist attack drill conducted by 20 state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies Wednesday.

According to an account published in the local paper the Redding Record Searchlight, the Shasta Dam scenario had the "Red Cell" pot grower/terrorists blowing up the car and bus to create a distraction and then taking over the dam. Holding three people hostage, the terrorist pot growers then threaten to flood the Sacramento River by opening the flood gates unless their imprisoned comrade is freed.

The drill was part of the US Bureau of Reclamation's Critical Infrastructure Crisis Response Exercise Program, which started in 2003. It identified six dams, including Shasta, the nation's second largest, as possible terrorist targets. Similar exercises took place at Utah's Flaming Gorge Dam in 2003, Washington's Grand Coulee Dam in 2005, and Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border in 2008. But none of those exercises identified pot growers as the putative terrorists.

According to bureau spokesperson Sheri Harral, the drill took 18 months of planning and cost the bureau $500,000. The other emergency and law enforcement agencies that participated paid their own expenses.

As of press time, Harral had not returned a Chronicle call asking why marijuana growers were selected as the terrorists. Northern California is home to thousands of pot growers, many of them doing it legally under the auspices of California's medical marijuana law. There are no known incidents of pot farmer terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure.

Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML and an observer of the state marijuana scene for decades, told the Chronicle he was unaware of any California pot grower terrorist cells—ever. "No, never," he said.

Nor was he impressed with the pot grower as terrorist scenario. "That was so stupid," he sighed. "I don't know what inspired it. I can see the need to do better pat downs for air travelers to make sure they're not holding joints in their underpants, but this? It sounds like something some yahoo red county sheriff would dream up."

Neither was the Marijuana Policy Project amused. "This is a classic example of law enforcement's utterly inaccurate stereotype of who is involved with marijuana," said the group's communications director, Mike Meno. "For decades, they have villianized users and people involved in the industry to such an extent that they now equate them with terrorists. It might be laughable," he said, "but it gives us real insight into the drug warrior mentality and what they think of marijuana people."

"The whole idea that they would equate growers with terrorism is absurd and insulting," sputtered NORML founder Keith Stroup. "This is too ignorant to take seriously. It's hard to imagine that in this time of fiscal crisis, someone would have the nerve to propose spending money on such a ludicrous exercise. My goodness! Of all the potential violent criminals out there, the idea that they would focus on pot growers shows that this is a political game," he said.

"People will be laughing about this for decades," Stroup continued. "You have almost half the people in California voting for marijuana, and on the other hand, this. It's hard to believe this is going on.

At least, they could have called it the "Green cell."
Redding, CA

More than 250 people from more than 20 agencies took part, said Sheri Harral, Shasta Dam’s spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation. Redding, CA just had to close their fire stations due to lack of funds.

Just what the heck is going on when it take a year and a half, thousands of dollars, and 20 agencies, and not a single person points out just how ridiculous the entire scenario is? Me-thinks that this is the next "framing of the issue," pinning the label "terrorist" to pot smokers.
TV | St. Shirley Bennett

Shenanigans Friday, November 19, 2010.

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of LOLgress. But I repeat myself." —Mark Twain

Please exploit these resources:
  • macro blanks: browse by ALBUMS
  • macro blanks: browse by TAGS
  • ROFLBOT (for your caption needs)

MOAR Picture Sources:

lost // jack

"Family Only" Hospital Visitation Rules Get Scrapped

In a victory for patients and their loved ones, a new federal regulation was announced Wednesday that dramatically loosens the rules on hospital visitors. Beginning two months from now, any hospital that cares for Medicare or Medicaid patients must give patients control over who's allowed to visit their bedsides. This means hospitals will no longer be permitted to limit visitors to “family” or “immediate family."
Rules like this previously varied by facility and by state.

Hospital guidelines limiting bedside visitors to legal relatives clearly discriminated against same-sex couples, but as the Obama Administration pointed out when initiating this rule change in April, the restriction affected others as well.

Often, a widow or widower with no children is denied the support and comfort of a good friend. Members of religious orders are sometimes unable to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions on their behalf.

While this change may provide relief for friends and family of patients previous denied the chance to visit their loved ones in the hospital, one other restriction wasn't addressed — how long and when visitors can be at the bedside. This is more complicated than just ending discrimination of who can visit. There are issues like needed rest and roommates that come into play.

But it's possible today's rule change could lead to further examination of existing policies.
In a May 2010 commencement address at Yale Medical School, Dr. Donald Berwick, who was chosen by President Obama to oversee Medicare and Medicaid, talked about the pain that strict visiting hours can cause families. In his remarks, Berwick described the true story of a woman only allowed to visit her dying husband in the hospital for 30 minutes at a time, four times a day. The couple, who had been married for 19 years, was rarely apart and these limitations devastated them. Berwick then imagined an alternate scenario, in which he and his wife, one of them facing death, would be allowed to sit and visit with each other as much as they wanted.

The nurses would pad in and out of the hospital room, checking i.v.s and measuring pulses and planning their dinners and their weekends. And none of what the nurses and doctors did would matter to us at all; we wouldn't even notice them. We would know exactly who the visitors were — they, the doctors and the nurses. They, they would be the visitors in this tiny corner of our whole lives together — they, not us.

This sounds ideal and yet, it would be unusual in some hospitals and particularly in some intensive care units, where patients often end up in their final days. Food for thought.

Christian Bale

Australia: Muslim woman jailed for false burqa complaint

A MUSLIM woman who accused a New South Wales police officer of forcibly removing her face veil has been sentenced to six months' jail.

Carnita Matthews, 46, of Woodbine in Sydney's south, had in August pleaded not guilty to one charge of knowingly making a false complaint relating to events in June.

But in Campbelltown Local Court today, Magistrate Robert Rabbidge said the "evidence was overwhelming" that Matthews had submitted a false declaration to police.

"There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind beyond a reasonable doubt that she knew that the complaint she was making was false," he said in sentencing Matthews.

The mother of seven was stopped in June by a police officer at Woodbine for a random breath test. She later filed a police complaint alleging the officer who pulled her over had tried to pull off her hijab, which concealed her entire face except for her eyes.

The court was told that after being issued an infringement notice for not properly displaying her P-plates, the 46-year-old branded the officer "a racist" and claimed he only booked her because of what she was wearing.

"I've got my P-plates on my car ... there was nothing wrong with how they were displayed," Ms Matthews said on the video.

"You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn't handle it. All cops are racist."

The court heard that Ms Matthews then drove to Campbelltown police station to complain that she was unfairly treated by the officer.

Giving evidence yesterday, the station officer who took the complaint said he had told Ms Matthews the officer had been right to ask for identification.

In a statement read to the court, Sergeant Paul Kearney said he told her: "I'm looking at you and all I can see is two eyes."

However, the court was told that an officer who three days later accepted a statutory declaration from a burqa-clad woman he assumed to be Ms Matthews failed to check her identification.

Ms Matthews' lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said there was no way for police to prove that his client was the one who signed the statutory declaration at Campbelltown police station on June 10. Mr Hopper said that meant Ms Matthews should not have been charged with the offence of making a false complaint to police.

' hex
  • schmiss

Are you crying? There's no crying in politics!

Nancy Pelosi: No crying in politics

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes there's no crying in politics – even though that's not a policy embraced by her future successor John Boehner.

In an interview in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Pelosi was asked to comment on Boehner's election night victory when he shed tears over the Republicans' historic sweep of the House.

Pelosi's response? Not so empathetic.

“You know what? He is known to cry. He cries sometimes when we’re having a debate on bills,” Pelosi said.

“If I cry, it’s about the personal loss of a friend or something like that. But when it comes to politics – no, I don’t cry,” she added. “I would never think of crying about any loss of an office, because that’s always a possibility, and if you’re professional, then you deal with it professionally."

Boehner, selected this week by his caucus to be the next speaker, openly has wept on multiple occasions in the House chamber, most notably when discussing the Iraq war.

Chibis- Keith Gaga

Guess what! Sarah Palin was right- there ARE death panels. Run by Republicans.

Remember the story about organ transplant funding being cut in Arizona? Here's a human face for it: Tonight on Countdown, Keith Olbermann interviewed two men who have been denied transplants because of this 'budget cut', and their families.

Warning: Potentially triggery.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If you have any interest in donating to help these men and others with being able to raise the money to qualify for their transplants, please visit

Look, I know there are quite a few people here who rightly (and not so rightly >_>) don't like Olbermann. But this puts a human face to WHY the blind cutting of programs is not good policy.
LOLitics | BAMF

"$#!% Joe Biden Says" (December issue of GQ).

Can he raise the rafters like his boss? No. But nobody can flat-out talk like Joe Biden. And these days, everybody's listening.

There are only two reporters traveling coast-to-coast with the vice president on Air Force Two on a clear day in early October. Which is two more than usual. Even though Joe Biden is in the midst of a long-overdue respectfest—the recent 9,300-word Atlantic opus declaring him "indispensable," the eighty or so floundering Democratic candidates who called Joe before O to come stump for them—he's still largely ignored by the press. Until he puts his foot in his mouth. (At the signing ceremony for the health care bill: "Mr. President, this is a big fucking deal"—well, it was!) In an ironic consequence of the ongoing economic crisis—the one he's traversing the country to assuage voters' angst about—few media companies can afford to send reporters on both Air Force One and Air Force Two.

We finally have a vice president who loves to talk, and the poor guy is stuck with just me and a Bloomberg reporter. "Bloomberg still has money," cracks one of Biden's aides.

Traveling with Biden instead of his boss is notable for other reasons, too. The vice president rarely avails himself of the closed private cabin up front in the 757. He prefers to sit with his staff, at a table or in an aisle seat from which he can see the entire plane. When it's dinnertime, everyone is served chili in plastic bowls. The vice president has a choice of basically anything he wants. He wants the chili.

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Source: Gentlemen's Quarterly

We can finally say it in the most literal sense --  "JOE BIDEN: GQ MUTHAFUCKER". Also, long article is LOOOOOONG SWEET JESUS, but it's J. fucking BIDDY, and in a straightforward question/answer format anyway, so it's really not that daunting.
donk... donk... donk...

Anti-Bullying Starts in First Grade

November 15-19 is Anti-Bullying Week at the schools. Like so many others, I have been reading with dismay about the recent victims of bullying, and I ache inside for the pain these young people have experienced.

I have often thought of bullying as a problem that faces children older than mine, but a recent conversation with my first grader has given me pause. Maybe it starts right here, right now with our little ones.

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