December 17th, 2010

MLP Rainbow Dash nahnah

Julian Assange, and what he's actually accused of

Assange bail request refused as Wikileaks chief fights extradition
by Caroline Davies and Sam Jones
7 December 2010


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was remanded in custody today after appearing in court on an extradition warrant.

The 39-year-old Australian, who is wanted in Sweden over allegations he sexually assaulted two women, was refused bail on the grounds there was a risk he would fail to surrender.

Before a packed court No 1 at Westminster magistrates court, District Judge Howard Riddle said Assange was to be remanded in custody until a further hearing on December 14.

The ruling came despite Jemima Khan, film director Ken Loach and veteran journalist John Pilger standing up in court to offer to act at surety for Assange.

But the judge concluded that because of the "serious" nature of the allegations against Assange, his "comparatively weak community ties" in the UK, and that it was believed he had the financial means and the ability to abscond, there was a substantial risk he would fail to surrender.

"This case is not, on the face of it, about WikiLeaks. It is an allegation in another European country of serious sexual offences alleged to have occurred on three separate occasions and involving two separate victims," he said.

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So this is somewhat outdated and, since this time, he has been granted bail, but it summarizes the actual charges (behind the cut). Given the confusion caused by truly shoddy reporting, I thought that was important enough to post this article here.

I do have one request: can we pleasepleaseplease not derail about how the situation is being taken advantage of by various governments? We know. Not going on about it just once isn't silencing you, or silencing that fact. Let's actually talk about the charges themselves for once.

Also, mods, can we get a Julian Assange tag up in here? This case and wikileaks are definitely not the same thing, but at the moment, there's no real way to distinguish with tags.

ETA: As of now, Assange has not actually been charged with anything. Rather, all of these are just allegations.

Also, this is the first post where the "julian assange" tag has been used, so for earlier information about this situation that's been posted to ontd_p, the "wikileaks" tag would probably be your best bet.
Yellow boxes made of ticky-tacky.

Eagles' Vick says dog as pet would help him

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who spent time in prison for his involvement in dog fighting, said Tuesday having a dog as a pet would help in his rehabilitation.

In an interview with NBC News and TheGrio.com, Vick said, "I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.

"I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that’s the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions."

Vick has starred for the Eagles this season, with the team in first place heading into Sunday's NFC East showdown against the Giants at the Meadowlands.

"This entire situation has changed my life dramatically. Better player, better person," Vick said in the interview. "More patience, more persistence, and the willingness to, like I said earlier, set high goals and high standards not only on the football field but in life.

"And in so many ways I thank God for changing my life and keeping me healthy and putting me on the path to where I can redeem myself and make a great comeback."

TheGrio.com will show the entire conversation with Vick on Wednesday.

Vick was convicted in 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting ring and served 18 months in prison and two months of home confinement. He returned to the NFL with the Eagles in 2009 and served a two-game suspension.

He became the Eagles' starting quarterback after Donovan McNabb was traded and Kevin Kolb was injured.

New York Post
Booooring...

Google Admits Trespassing In Allegheny, Pays Boring Family $1

PITTSBURGH -- Google Inc. has acknowledged that it trespassed when it took a photo of an Allegheny County house for its Street View service, but will pay only $1 in damages to a couple who sued.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Cathy Bissoon on Thursday signed off on a mutually agreed-upon verdict between the company and Aaron and Christine Boring, of Franklin Park. Both sides will pay their own attorney fees.

"We are pleased that this lawsuit has finally ended with plaintiffs' acknowledgment that they are entitled to only $1," Google said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The Borings' attorney, Gregg Zegarelli, said his clients are satisfied to have made the point that Google trespassed.

"This is one sweet dollar of vindication," the Borings said in a written statement. "Google could have just sent us an apology letter in the very beginning, but chose to try to prove they had a legal right to be on our land. We are glad they finally gave up."

The Borings live on Oakridge Lane, a long driveway labeled "Private Road," and they claimed Google would have had to have taken pictures from there. They said the images could only have been obtained if the driver traveled about 1,000 feet up a private road clearly marked "No Trespassing."

Google said people can have photos removed upon request and argued that the images were no more invasive than those on a county real estate tax website, such as the one in Allegheny County.

The Borings originally sought more than $25,000 in damages, alleging that photos of their home on Google Street View also devalued their property and caused them mental suffering.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Amy Reynolds Hay dismissed the lawsuit last year. An appeals court reinstated the trespassing claim but not the other claims. Hay died before she could hear the case again.

The Pittsburgh Channel
*betty draper reading

PolitiFact's 2010 Lie of the Year: "Government takeover of health care"

PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care'

By Bill Adair, Angie Drobnic Holan
Published on Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.

In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a "government takeover."

"Takeovers are like coups," Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. "They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom."

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the "public option" concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn't let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November elections.

Readers of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' independent fact-checking website, also chose it as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin. (Their second-place choice was Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India, a falsity that still sprouts.)

By selecting "government takeover' as Lie of the Year, PolitiFact is not making a judgment on whether the health care law is good policy.

The phrase is simply not true.


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source

A Gay Soldier's Letter Before Leaving For Afghanistan

I'm writing letters to my loved ones in case I don't return from Afghanistan. I hope my partner never has to open his. If he does, it will ask him to tell who I was, because I couldn't.

I was a teenager when my brother came home with an American flag draped over his coffin, so I understand the fragility of life and the dangers of serving. And the additional burden of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is one I choose to carry. I volunteered for deployment, and I continue to serve. It's my deepest core value, whatever the cost.

 

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Murasaki Shikibu

Woman sues Google for displaying her underwear in search results

Woman sues Google for displaying image of her hanging underwear in search results

FUKUOKA -- A woman here is suing search-engine giant Google Inc., saying her psychological condition worsened after discovering that a search for her address brought up a photo of her underwear hanging out on her veranda.

The woman, who is in her 20s, filed suit against Google at the Fukuoka District Court for 600,000 yen in consolation money and other payments.

Opening arguments were held on Dec. 15. The woman said, "I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime. It caused me to lose my job, and I moved my residence." Google said that it is hurrying to confirm the facts of the case.

According to the suit and other sources, the woman discovered the photograph in spring of this year when she used Google to do a search for the address of her Fukuoka apartment, where she lived alone.

The suit says the woman already had a form of obsessive compulsive disorder before seeing the photograph, and after seeing it her symptoms worsened. She began worrying that her activities were being secretly photographed throughout the day. She was fired from the hospital where she worked, and moved to a new residence.


After the court session, the woman told the Mainichi that around October, the month in which she filed the lawsuit, the image no longer came up when searching for the address in Google.

"I could understand if it was just a picture of the outside of the apartment, but showing a person's underwear hanging outside is absolutely wrong," said the woman.

--

I...I got nothing. I'm sorry it upset this woman so much, and it sounds like she really needs some kind of help, but I don't think Google works the way she thinks it does. Google didn't put the picture online. :/
Citadel

Keith Olbermann quit Twitter because of me

Late Wednesday night, long after I'd promised myself that I would sign off the internet, I found myself Googling Keith Olbermann's Twitter feed. He had re-tweeted a link to an article alleging that one of the women accusing Julian Assange of rape had "ties" to the CIA. That article also gave the name of the accuser. This, I understood to be a universally acknowledged no-no, when it came to subjects of an ongoing sexual assault investigation. So Keith Olbermann, one of the biggest names in left-wing journalism, was publishing unsubstantiated claims that smeared the subject of a rape investigation, and he was failing to uphold basic standards. I thought this was worth sharing. I found the link to the tweet, and I clicked through, and that's when I saw it: The big yellow box with the padlock.

"This user has protected their tweets," it read. I sent out a brief, confused tweet about Keith Olbermann locking down his Twitter rather than face online criticism -- which would soon turn out to be eerily psychic -- and Anna Holmes, formerly of Jezebel, corrected me: "He blocked you?" Amaditalks, a user who'd been debating the Assange case with Olbermann, confirmed: "No, he didn't lock it, he blocked you." Soon, I'd confirmed it myself.

First thought: Keith Olbermann blocked me?

Second thought: Keith Olbermann knew who I was?

Wednesday morning, I was a girl who ran a moderately-trafficked feminist blog. I had about 1,500 Twitter followers. I was frustrated with the way the Julian Assange rape case had been treated by fellow left-wing media figures, including Keith Olbermann, but especially Michael Moore, who minimized the accusations while pledging bail money to Assange. I didn't know yet that he had also misrepresented the accusations against Assange (they're for rape, not that his "condom broke"), on Olbermann's show. I tweeted a joke, about hoping a bunch of rape survivors pulled a Roger & Me outside of Michael Moore's office, and directed it at Moore's Twitter. Then it hit me: The dude's on freaking Twitter. He can hear me. More accurately, he can hear us.

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Source.
normal

Wealthy 9/11 First Time Responders to Celebrate their Tax Cuts. GOP Still Waiting for Thanks.

9/11 First Responders Challenge Teary-Eyed McConnell: ‘Where Is His Human Feeling For Us?’

In this lame duck session, Senate Republicans are grasping at every possible reason to “run out the clock” on any Democratic priority. Their brazen obstruction, however, took some victims last week when they used another filibuster to block the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. Named after a New York City policeman who died from health complications, this legislation that provides health care to 9/11 first responders and emergency workers who suffered illnesses from working at Ground Zero.

Not one Republican senator came to the floor to explain why the desperately needed, fully paid-for compensation didn’t deserve to pass. When Fox News’ Don Imus pressed Sen. John Thune (R-SD) for an explanation, Thune said the tax cuts are a bigger priority because “there is a deadline.” And when first responders came to the Senate to advocate for the bill yesterday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) actually called the Capitol police on them to prevent a sit-in.

Such callous miscarriage of responsibility was not lost on The Daily Show. Ripping the GOP earlier this week for “co-opting 9/11 imagery” while simultaneously killing legislation to help 9/11 victims, host Jon Stewart dedicated his entire show last night to censure their obstruction. Disgusted by Thune’s “deadline for taxes” excuse, Stewart scoffed, “yes there are only two sure things in life. Death and taxes. Apparently, the only thing this cat cares about is taxes.”

Then, in a unique segment for the Daily Show, Stewart held a panel discussion with four 9/11 first responders suffering from serious health issues to offer their views on Republican obstruction. Recounting Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) silence over their plight, Stewart then played McConnell’s emotional, teary farewell to retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH). The first responders pointed to McConnell’s tears as a sign of his grossly misplaced priorities:
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That child is surely me...

Alleged Religious Discrimination

Source for full story: Scientist Alleges Religious Discrimination in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – An astronomer argues that his Christian faith and his peers' belief that he is an evolution skeptic kept him from getting a prestigious job as the director of a new student observatory at the University of Kentucky.

Martin Gaskell quickly rose to the top of a list of applicants being considered by the university's search committee. One member said he was "breathtakingly above the other applicants."

Others openly worried his Christian faith could conflict with his duties as a scientist, calling him "something close to a creationist" and "potentially evangelical."

Even though Gaskell says he is not a creationist, he claims he was passed over for the job at UK's MacAdam Student Observatory three years ago because of his religion and statements that were perceived to be critical of the theory of evolution.

Gaskell has sued the university, claiming lost income and emotional distress. Last month a judge rejected a motion from the university and allowed it to go to trial Feb. 8.

"There is no dispute that based on his application, Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position," U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester wrote in the ruling.

Gaskell later learned that professors had discussed his purported religious views during the search process. Gaskell told the AP in an e-mail that he didn't grow frustrated, but felt "one should not allow universities to get away with religious discrimination."

University scientists wondered to each other in internal e-mails if Gaskell's faith would interfere with the job, which included public outreach, according to court records.

The topic became so heated behind the scenes that even university biologists, who believed Gaskell was a critic of evolution, weighed in by citing a controversial Bible-based museum in Kentucky that had just opened.

"We might as well have the Creation Museum set up an outreach office in biology," biology professor James Krupa wrote to a colleague in an October 2007 e-mail. The museum was making national headlines at the time for exhibits that assert the literal truth of the Bible's creation story.

Young politician was ‘set up’ over gay porn pics

 The young politician suspended for allegedly posting pictures of himself on a “pornographic” website claims he was set up.

Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk today, Reace Mcdonnell said he believed someone was trying to damage his reputation.

The openly gay 19-year-old, a deputy member of the Youth Parliament, was suspended earlier this month after a newspaper reported that there were images of him on porn websites.

The Plymouth Herald quoted an unnamed mother of a gay child who complained that Mr Mcdonnell was a bad role model.

The Youth Parliament then suspended him, citing “the safety of all the young people we work with”.

However, the A Level student says he has not seen the photos in question and believes he has been set up by someone out to damage his reputation.

He also criticised the Youth Parliament for failing to protect him and said he was worried that the publicity would damage his chances of getting into university.

Mr Mcdonnell was particularly concerned at the statement put out by the Youth Parliament, which he said suggested he was a danger to children.

The Plymouth Herald would not comment today and the Youth Parliament said no one was available to talk about Mr Mcdonnell’s suspension. The images have not been seen by PinkNews.co.uk.

The student said that while he may have posted topless photos of himself on a gay networking site, he was not aware of any explicit images of himself.

He said he believed that someone had maliciously posted images of him online and then contacted the Herald pretending to be a concerned parent.

He said: “I have my suspicions as to who it was but I don’t want to say as I haven’t got any proof.”


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Source: Pink News

Pic as yeah... he's pretty cute. :3 Also pornstar icon for obvious reasons.
Reporting

Muslim ‘Radicalization’ Is Focus of Planned Inquiry

WASHINGTON — The Republican who will head the House committee that oversees domestic security is planning to open a Congressional inquiry into what he calls “the radicalization” of the Muslim community when his party takes over the House next year.

Representative Peter T. King of New York, who will become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was responding to what he has described as frequent concerns raised by law enforcement officials that Muslim leaders have been uncooperative in terror investigations.

He cited the case of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan man and a legal resident of the United States, who was arrested last year for plotting to bomb the New York subway system. Mr. King said that Ahmad Wais Afzali, an imam in Queens who had been a police informant, had warned Mr. Zazi before his arrest that he was the target of a terror investigation.

“When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders,” Mr. King said.

The move by Mr. King, who said he was planning to open a hearing on the matter beginning early next year, is the latest example of the new direction that the House will take under the incoming Republican majority.

Indeed, Mr. King, a nine-term incumbent from Long Island, said that he had sought to raise the issue when Democrats had control of Congress, but was “denounced for it.” He added: “It is controversial. But to me, it is something that has to be discussed.”

Mr. King’s proposal comes amid signs that deep anxieties about Muslims persist in the United States nine years after the 9/11 terror attacks and an outcry this year over a proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York City.

Told of Mr. King’s plan, Muslim leaders expressed strong opposition, describing the move as a prejudiced act that was akin to racial profiling and that would unfairly cast suspicion on an entire group.

Abed A. Ayoub, the legal director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said Mr. King’s effort ignored that Muslim leaders around the country had been working closely with law enforcement officials since the 2001 terror attacks.

“We are disturbed that this representative who is in a leadership position does not have the understanding and knowledge of what the realities are on the ground,” Mr. Ayoub said, adding that Mr. King’s proposal “has bigoted intentions.”

Salam al-Marayati, the executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, also expressed deep concern and noted that his group would be holding a convention this weekend at which members would discuss the impact that the Republican takeover of Congress could have on Muslims.

“He basically wants to treat the Muslim-American community as a suspect community,” Mr. Marayati said of Mr. King. He added that Mr. King was potentially undermining the relationship that Muslim leaders had sought to build with law enforcement officials around the country. Tensions have occasionally erupted in recent years over counterterrorism measures that civil rights groups and others said had gone too far.

In 2007, for example, the Los Angeles Police Department was forced to abandon a plan to create a map detailing the city’s Muslim communities after civil rights advocates and Muslim leaders denounced the effort as a form of racial profiling.

Mr. King has used his position on the House Homeland Security Committee to elevate similar issues. In 2006, when his party controlled the House and he was chairman of the committee, Mr. King was the first Republican in Congress to break ranks publicly with President Bush over the president’s plan to give a company in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, control of six American ports. Mr. King joined Democrats in calling the port deal a potential threat to national security, and the deal eventually collapsed.

Mr. King also opposed the plan to build an Islamic center near ground zero, urging the developers of the project to meet with 9/11 families to identify a more appropriate location for the center.

“This is such a raw wound, and they are just pouring salt into it,” he said, referring to the developers of the proposed Islamic center.

Mr. King, who has conveyed his intentions to Republican leaders in the House, said he would seek comment from mainstream Muslim leaders so that the hearings he was planning to hold were not one-sided, with only people critical of Muslims.

But Mr. King suggested that Muslim leaders had minimized the extent of the problem he said he had identified. “They try to tell me that it is not as bad as it seems,” he said.


Source

Jack Harkness loves hot lesbian sex.

UPDATE on the story of the woman who shamed the guy sexually harassing her on the subway

How To Shout Down A Perv: Tips And Tricks From The Subway Badass

When she eviscerated her subway attacker, Nicola Briggs wasn't planning on becoming an international heroine — she didn't even know she was being filmed. But she was, and she did, and I'm happy to personally confirm she's really that awesome.

That Labour Day weekend, headed to dinner with a friend, the five-foot-tall Briggs realized the man sidling up to her was way too close — and had pulled out his condom-encased penis.

Briggs began shouting, and she didn't stop. Her righteous confrontation, which ended up going viral, would inspire hundreds of thousands, many of whom were women who wished they'd said what she said.

Her attacker was a pro: He had special zipperless pants that allowed him to shimmy his member back into hiding (maybe he'd been reading Dickflash after all), and it turned out he was a repeat offender. He is now serving his four-month sentence before being deported to Mexico.

Briggs, a full-time Tai Chi teacher and consultant, didn't see herself on video until it ended up on the local news, and even then it took a few days for her to bring herself to relive it. (She disliked the local news blurring her face, because she doesn't see herself as a victim.) But now, she told us, she's more than happy to spread the message that you shouldn't stand for these violations, and while everyone has to make the safest choice for themselves, she encourages women to speak up and to go to law enforcement.

Here she is offering some more lessons, with an assist from Jalopnik editor and volunteer sexual predator Ray Wert.

Sauce has the video!

I'm not a great fan of Jezebel for a lot of reasons, but this woman is fucking badass and these videos are beyond classy. I want to be BFFs with her, seriously.
hpyy

Such a great idea!

Venezuela congress grants Chavez decree powers


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Hugo Chavez broad powers Friday to enact laws by decree, undermining the clout of a new congress that takes office next month with a bigger opposition bloc.

Chavez opponents condemned the move as a power grab, saying the law will be a blank check for the leftist leader to rule without consulting lawmakers. The National Assembly approved the special powers for 18 months.

A new congress goes into session Jan. 5 with an opposition contingent large enough to hinder approval of some types of major laws. Opposition lawmakers say decree powers now give Chavez a blank check to rule autocratically while ignoring the congress.

Chavez has argued he needs decree powers to fast-track funds to help the victims of recent floods and landslides, and also to hasten Venezuela's transition to a socialist state.

The president's critics view the law as one of many controversial measures being pushed through in the final weeks of a lame-duck congress.

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SOURCE

Take a deep breath... Was anybody following the Venezuelan twitter war last night, btw?
-nature's embrace

Christmas Island Disaster

THREE baby girls and an infant boy are among 30 people whose bodies have been pulled from Christmas Island's deadly seas, while dozens remain missing as a search operation continues after Wednesday's disaster.

A Custom Department spokeswoman this morning confirmed the death toll had risen to 30 after a fragile Indonesian fishing boat packed with up to 100 asylum seekers was smashed against the island's jagged limestone coast.

The new toll comes as more questions emerge over the navy's failure to intercept the boat before it got into strife.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the people of Christmas Island would never forget what they had seen. ''We saw a truly horrific event, a terrible human tragedy,'' she said. ''I know the nation is shocked by what we have seen.''

She praised the residents, naval and border protection officers who had put themselves in harm's way to save 42 Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish survivors.

But an initial outbreak of political bipartisanship after the incident was broken yesterday, with the opposition refusing to join Ms Gillard's proposed cross-party committee to examine the incident.

The Prime Minister had proposed that two government ministers, their opposition equivalents and representatives from the Greens and the independents work together with relevant agencies to receive reports on the disaster.

But the opposition said it did not see the need for a special standing committee.
Acting leader Julie Bishop said there were established procedures for incidents of this nature, including a protocol for briefing the opposition.

Denying that her invitation to Coalition frontbenchers was a ploy to spread political liability for the incident, Ms Gillard said she had wanted to avoid a repeat of the ''children overboard'' affair, which involved a long dispute about the facts. ''There's one motivation behind putting this group together, and it's to make sure people have got the facts,'' she said.

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No refugee(s) tag?