December 21st, 2010

I'd break out the booze for this one.


Now Glenn Beck Is Telling Us How to Clean Our Homes

He rambles. Oh, how he rambles. He incites people (not to be confused with "insight". He infuriates many and intimidates none. Glenn Beck has a neverending stream of tirades on everything from civil liberties to Sarah Palin.

And now he’s after your clutter.

That’s right, your clutter. It seems Glennie-boy has finally run out of things to say. Or, nope, no, he’s still saying plenty on that TV show of his ... it' just about the clutter in your house.

But first he has to scare you, like any good right winger.


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movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: December 21, 2010.

Kawah Ijen by night | Photographer Olivier Grunewald has recently made several trips into the sulfur mine in the crater of the Kawah Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia, bringing with him equipment to capture surreal images lit by moonlight, torches, and the blue flames of burning molten sulfur. Covered last year in the Big Picture (in daylight), the miners of the 2,600 meter tall (8,660ft) Kawah Ijen volcano trek up to the crater, then down to the shore of a 200-meter-deep crater lake of sulfuric acid, where they retrieve heavy chunks of pure sulfur to carry back to a weighing station. Mr. Grunewald has been kind enough to share with us the following other-worldly photos of these men as they do their hazardous work under the light of the moon.

All photos | Olivier Grunewald |
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Your sarcasm AMUSES me!

TSA Worker Avoids Prison After Stealing Travelers’ Laptops

A 37-year-old former Transportation Security Administration officer has been sentenced to three years’ probation for stealing laptop computers from passengers’ luggage at Philadelphia International Airport.

Federal prosecutor Arlene Fisk says defendant Troy Davis, upset about a demotion and lost pay, admitted stealing five laptops and a Sony Playstation.

Fisk says Davis actually used the surveillance equipment for his own greedy purpose.

“He put the luggage through special machines to see whether there was any explosives or anything of concern in the luggage,” she told KYW Newsradio. “When he saw that there was something of value in the luggage, he took out the computers or the games.”

Judge C. Darnell Jones says he considered the defendant’s military service — the US Navy veteran served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and in Somalia. And Davis is still recovering from injuries from a near-fatal car wreck a year ago.

“Quite frankly,” Judge Jones told the defendant, “that is what kept you out of jail, because I was determined to put you there. As I indicated before, if you violate this court’s probation, I can assure you this will not keep you out.”

Davis is married with six children.

CBS Philadelphia
Mentok the MIND TAKER!!!

Berkeley study links Reagan, Hitler

In a study that ponders the similarities between former President Ronald Reagan, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Rush Limbaugh, four American university researchers say they now have a better understanding of what makes political conservatives tick.

Underlying psychological motivations that mark conservatives are "fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management," the researchers wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.

"From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination," they wrote, according to a press release issued by the University of California at Berkeley.

The researchers also contend left-wing ideologues such as Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro "might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended."

The study was conducted by Associate Professor Jack Glaser and visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park.

Glaser allowed that while conservatives are less "integratively complex" than others, "it doesn't mean that they're simple-minded."

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the actual study that doesn't mention Reagan or Limbaugh

Congress Must Act Now to End Suicide Epidemic

With one month left in 2010, the Army’s suspected suicide total has already surpassed last year’s record total. Through November 2010, there were 271 potential suicides compared to 242 in 2009.

These numbers point to a broader challenge that requires the government’s attention. A significant portion of troops and veterans suffer from untreated psychological injuries, including PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, which can lead to suicide. Although information about veterans’ suicide rates is not as readily available, a recent study of young female veterans’ revealed alarming numbers. The House Armed Services Committee recently re-introduced the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA), which contains critical provisions to address troops’ and veterans’ mental health. There is only a short window for this bill to pass during the lame-duck session and Congress must make it a priority.

Yesterday, the Army released its totals for the month of November. Among active-duty service members, there were eleven potential suicides with zero confirmed. Among the non-activated reserve component, there were five potential suicides with zero confirmed. After investigation, the Army also confirmed eight suicides among active-duty service and reserve members in October, with eighteen still under investigation.

While most reports of suicide focus on those still in the military, a recent study, published in the December issue of Psychiatric Services, suggests a previously unreported hidden epidemic among young female veterans. It finds that the suicide rate among this group is almost three times higher than among civilian women. These worrying statistics reinforce the need for more mental health assistance and suicide prevention efforts for all veterans and servicemembers and for women veterans specifically.

The House Armed Services Committee re-introduced the NDAA on Wednesday in coordination with the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bill contains important provisions to address mental health issues that plague veterans. Specifically, the bill will:

* Recognize licensed mental health counselors under TRICARE
* Improve the Yellow Ribbon Program to create a center of excellence for reintegration
* Require DOD to create a comprehensive policy on neurocognitive assessment
* Improve tracking of post-deployment health assessments

Servicemembers and veterans need immediate help. Congress must set aside partisan politics and use the lame-duck session to address the alarming suicide epidemic among the armed forces and the veteran population. Passage of the NDAA can be an important step forward in expanding access to mental health care to target servicemembers and veterans before they consider the unthinkable.


FCC passes net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday in Washington D.C. passed new rules that govern how providers treat web traffic.

"Today, for the first time, we are adopting rules to preserve basic Internet values," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said at Tuesday's hearing. "These rules will increase certainty in the marketplace; spur investment both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks, and contribute to a 21st century job-creation engine in the United States."

“Given the importance of an open Internet to our economic future…it is essential that the FCC fulfill its historic role as a cop on the beat to ensure the vitality of our communications networks and to empower and protect consumers of those networks,” he added. The order prevents cable providers from limiting broadband access to rival content and video and gives the FCC the power to issue fines and injunctions against organizations that don't abide by the new regulation. "The era of legal Internet arbitrage has dawned," Commissioner Robert McDowell said.

The rules could face court opposition from both politcal parties. "The draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination," Senator Al Franken wrote Monday night. "What's more, even the protections that are established in the draft Order would be weak because it defines 'broadband Internet access service' too narrowly, making it easy for powerful corporations to get around the rules." The Writers Guild of America said in a statement: "Our members write most of what people watch on television and in the movie theaters and increasingly, online.

Today’s FCC vote will diminish our members’ ability to create and distribute innovative content and audiences’ ability to watch the content of their choice.” Bob Pisano, president and interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., added in a statement:

“The Motion Picture Association of America commends Chairman Genachowski and the Commission for recognizing that intellectual property enforcement helps protect jobs and strengthen this nation’s economy. Combating IP theft is especially critical in an online world. Consistent with statements by the Obama Administration and recent law enforcement initiatives, the Commission understands that stemming the rising tide of online theft requires active participation by Internet service providers. Notably, Internet service providers may take reasonable measures to address copyright infringement without running afoul of open Internet rules. Under no circumstances should open Internet rules be used to shield copyright infringers.”


So confused on whether this was the good outcome or bad outcome.

Media Matters launches war room for LGBT equality rights

Media Matters, a Washington D. C.-based media watchdog group has announced it is launching a new effort to combat the increasingly strident offense against LGBT equality rights by right wing conservative organizations and conservative run media outlets such as Fox News and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Former presidential adviser Richard Socarides, a key former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, was selected to head the new “communications war room for gay equality.”

Also announced was that Kerry Eleveld, veteran Washington journalist and Senior White House correspondent for The Advocate, will leave the magazine next month to take over as Editor-In-Chief of the website,

In an interview in the Sunday edition of The New York Times, Mr. Socarides, who has been highly critical of President Barack Obama’s record on LGBT equality rights, said:

“Yesterday was a very important breakthrough and President Obama’s comments, especially following the vote, were very significant, where he for the first time connected race and gender to sexual orientation under the banner of civil rights.

But we will celebrate this important victory for five minutes, and then we have to move on, because we are the last group of Americans who are discriminated against in federal law and there is a lot of work to do.”

Socarides and the founder of Media Matters, David Brock, said they began planning Equality Matters several months ago, according to The New York Times. They quickly persuaded Eleveld, who covered the Obama campaign and has covered Washington for the last two years, to join them.

“I’ve spent the past two years with a front-row seat to history, and the longer I sat there the more I felt drawn to participating,” said Eleveld.

“David Brock, a former conservative journalist who is gay — and who broke with the right in the 1990s — has lately been expanding the Media Matters organization,” the Times reports. “He said in an interview that he had raised $23 million in the last year for the group, which has an operating budget of $13 million. His backers include George Soros, the liberal donor; the Hollywood producer Steve Bing; and gay philanthropists like James Hormel, an ambassador to Luxembourg under Mr. Clinton.”

“Equality Matters,” Brock said, “should “expose right-wing bigotry and homophobia wherever we find it” and “stiffen the spines of progressives,” Brock told the Times. That, he said, did not change with the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He said Equality Matters was planned long before anyone in Washington had an inkling that repeal might actually succeed.

“We believe the big battle is full equality, which is gay marriage,” he said.


Church Abuse Scandal: Still everybody's fault but ours

Pope Blames Child Abuse Scandal on Society

Benedict XVI Says Mistreatment of Children Frighteningly Common in Secular Society, Child Porn Considered Normal

Pope Benedict XVI told Vatican officials Monday that they must reflect on the church's culpability in its child sex-abuse scandal, but he also blamed a secular society in which he said the mistreatment of children was frighteningly common.

In his traditional, end-of-the-year speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops, Benedict said revelations of abuse in 2010 reached "an unimaginable dimension" that required the church to accept the "humiliation" as a call for renewal.

"We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen," the pope said.

Benedict also said, however, that the scandal must be seen in a broader social context, in which child pornography is seemingly considered normal by society and drug use and sexual tourism are on the rise.

"The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times," Benedict said.

He said that as recently as the 1970s, pedophilia wasn't considered an absolute evil but rather part of a spectrum of behaviors that people refused to judge in the name of tolerance and relativism.

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Yep the Vatican's defense is now "everybody was doing it". Never mind that the church shielded them from the very society in which they would've actually been punished. Pathetic.
TW tales square
  • aviv_b

We have met the enemy and its broccoli!

Field of Greens

The dreaded broccoli uprising and other freaky GOP nightmares.

By Dahlia Lithwick

When the socialist revolution comes, the first shot will not come from filthy peasants bearing flaming torches or angry, poorly dressed workers demanding higher wages. No, listening to the anti-government chatter these days, it's clear that the new socialist revolution will be spearheaded by a lone asparagus.

The vegetables are coming, my friends. Green, gassy, fibrous vegetables. They aren't buttered. Or salted. And this time, they mean business.

Last week, flush with his victory in a lawsuit challenging the president's health care initiative, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced gravely that "if we cross this line with health care now—this unconstitutional line—where the government can force us to buy a private product and say it's for our own good, then we'll have given the government the power to force us to buy other products: cars, gym memberships, asparagus. The list goes on." Broccoli? Belgian endive? The list indeed goes on.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Cuccinelli's rhetorical choice perfectly echoed a question federal Judge Henry Hudson posed to the Obama administration during the October argument of the case Cuccinelli just won, as Hudson wondered aloud at the time whether the government could require people "to buy a car, to join a gym, to eat asparagus."

Using the same logic, columnist George Will conjured the dread specter of the state brandishing broccoli when he wrote at the start of this month that if congressional power to regulate interstate commerce "is infinitely elastic, Congress can do anything—eat your broccoli, or else—and America no longer has a limited government." Don't think there's anything that sinister about broccoli, friends? Think again. That broccoli is just a front for the New World Order.

Think about it. If the asparagus and broccoli are really coming to knock down our doors and kidnap our children, can helicopters loaded with cauliflower really be that far behind? And what of the eggplant in night-vision goggles? If we're soon to be governed by a totalitarian taxonomy of toxic greens, who—one wonders—will sound the warning against the tyrannical field peas?


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White House LGBT Staff: One Day, You Too Could Sacrifice Many Of Your Morals To Work In Politics

Hey, gay kids out there? There's a possibility that if you survive torment during your youth you might one day become like Brian Bond, who gets pissy when you criticize his boss. That, or you could wind up with one of these other government jobs, but perhaps when you get there your employer won't consider your same-sex partnership to be invisible. It's not the fault of any of these staffers, but the message comes from an administration that actively endorses discrimination, and I still have a hard time reconciling that with a message of, "Look how good we have it!"

Source: Queerty

lost // jack

US - Nearly 1 in 4 fail military exam.

MIAMI — Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can't answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report by The Education Trust bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

"Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career — and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the AP. "I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America's underperforming education system."

The effect of the low eligibility rate might not be noticeable now — the Department of Defense says it is meeting its recruitment goals — but that could change as the economy improves, said retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett.

"If you can't get the people that you need, there's a potential for a decline in your readiness," said Barnett, who is part of the group Mission: Readiness, a coalition of retired military leaders working to bring awareness to the high ineligibility rates.

The report by The Education Trust found that 23 percent of recent high school graduates don't get the minimum score needed on the enlistment test to join any branch of the military. Questions are often basic, such as: "If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?"

The military exam results are also worrisome because the test is given to a limited pool of people: Pentagon data shows that 75 percent of those aged 17 to 24 don't even qualify to take the test because they are physically unfit, have a criminal record or didn't graduate high school.

Educators expressed dismay that so many high school graduates are unable to pass a test of basic skills.

"It's surprising and shocking that we are still having students who are walking across the stage who really don't deserve to be and haven't earned that right," said Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, a group that represents more than 80,000 educators.

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2 plus x equals 4... really? Come on, y'all.
*betty draper reading

US teen birth rate hits record low

Teen birthrate hits new low amid overall drop
– 2 hrs 5 mins ago

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. teen birthrate dropped to its lowest level in the seven decades government researchers have been tracking it, government researchers said on Tuesday.

Babies born to American teens aged 15 to 19 fell 6 percent to a record 39.1 births per 1,000, according to preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The decline cut across racial and ethnic lines, as birth rates for younger and older teens and for Hispanic, white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific Islander teenagers all hit historic lows in 2009.

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Hey brother!

Qur'an etched in Saddam Hussein's blood poses dilemma for Iraq leaders

It was etched in the blood of a dictator in a ghoulish bid for piety. Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur'an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight - locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant's legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.

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The Guardian
TW: Ianto checkinglist

US Census: South gains eight House seats in 2012.

It was a significant political event that happens only once every 10 years: the Census announced its population count for each state.

Here’s a guide to the politics that followed from 2010's count.

What was the significance of what the Census announced on Tuesday?
Each state’s population determines the number of representatives that it will be allocated in the House of Representatives.

Every 10 years, after the Census Bureau tallies the population, some states gain seats, others lose them, to reflect faster population growth in some states than in others. This process of reallocating seats is called reapportionment.

Which states lost seats as a result of the 2010 count?Which states gained seats?
Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Washington. Texas gained four seats, Florida gained two, and the others each gained one.

The rest of the article is here

Didn't see this posted at the time I submitted this, but I figured it was important as it is going to impact the elections in 2012 significantly

*Edited because LJ glitched and put the last line of the article before the link as the last line of the post
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garf tired

(no subject)

Thanks for the Tax Cut!

Published: December 20, 2010

THERE is a God! It passed! The Bush tax cuts have been extended two years for the upper bracketeers, of which I am a proud member, thank you very much. I’m the last person in the world I’d want to be beside, but I am beside myself! This is a life changer, I tell you. A life changer!

To begin with, I was planning a trip to Cabo with my kids for Christmas vacation. We were going to fly coach, but now with the money I’m saving in taxes, I’m going to splurge and bump myself up to first class. First class! Somebody told me they serve warm nuts up there, and call you “mister.” I might not get off the plane!

I’m also going to call the hotel and get another room so I don’t have to sleep on a cot in the kids’ room. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good cot. The problem is they tend to take up a lot of room, and it’s getting a little tougher in my advancing years to fold it up and drag it to the closet. I mean, I’d do it if I had to, but guess what? I don’t! Not with this windfall coming my way. Now I get to have my own room with a king-sized bed. And who knows, maybe I’ll even get some fancy bottled water from the minibar. This is shaping up to be the best vacation I’ve had in years.

When I get home, thanks to the great compromise, the first thing I’m going to do is get a flat-screen TV. Finally I can throw out the 20-inch Zenith with the rabbit ears, the one I inherited from my parents when they died. The reception is terrible and I’m getting tired of going out to bars every time I want to watch a game. Last month, the antenna broke and I tried to improvise one with a metal hanger and wound up cutting myself. Every time I see that scab, I say to myself, “If, God willing, those Bush tax cuts are restored, I’m going to buy a new TV.” Well, guess what? They have been!

It’s also going to be a boon for my health. After years of coveting them, I’ll finally be able to afford blueberries. Did you know they have a lot of antioxidants, which prevent cancer? Cancer! This tax cut just might save my life. Who said Republicans don’t support health care? I’m going to have the blueberries with my cereal, and I’m not talking Special K. Those days are over. It’s nothing but real granola from now on. The kind you get in the plastic bins in health food stores. Did someone say “organic”?

The only problem is if, God forbid, the tax cuts are repealed in two years, how will I ever go back to Special K and bananas? Well, I did quit smoking, so I’m sure if push came to shove I could summon up the willpower to get off granola and blueberries. Of course, I suppose with the money I managed to save from the “Seinfeld” syndication, I probably could continue to eat granola with blueberries, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Life was good, and now it’s even better. Thank you, Republicans. And a special thank you to President Obama and the Democrats. I didn’t know you cared.

Larry David appears in the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Jemmy Rivington

Uncle Pat Having Delusions Again

Pat Buchanan: Christian Rout in the Culture War

A Democratic Congress, discharged by the voters on Nov. 2, has as one of its last official acts, imposed its San Francisco values on the armed forces of the United States.

"Don't ask, don't tell" is to be repealed. Open homosexuals are to be welcomed with open arms in all branches of the armed services.

Let us hope this works out better for the Marine Corps than it did for the Catholic Church.

Remarkable. The least respected of American institutions, Congress, with an approval rating of 13 percent, is imposing its cultural and moral values on the most respected of American institutions, the U.S. military.

Why are we undertaking this social experiment with the finest military on earth? Does justice demand it? Was there a national clamor for it?

No. It is being imposed from above by people, few of whom have ever served or seen combat, but all of whom are aware of the power of the homosexual rights lobby. This is a political payoff, at the expense of our military, to a militant minority inside the Democratic Party that is demanding this as the price of that special interest's financial and political support.

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Fundamentalist Christian SOURCE

I only posted this to show _P what ~the other side thinks~. I don't endorse this fail in any way.

UN votes to reinstate resolution condemning execution of gays

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to restore a reference to sexual orientation in a resolution opposing the unjustified killings of minority groups.

Last month, a UN panel deleted a reference to gays and lesbians in resolution introduced by Morocco and Mali. The vast majority of countries in support were African or Arabic.

Many of the supporting countries criminalise homosexuality and five treat it as a capital offence.

But today, the UN General Assembly voted 93 in favour of the United States’ proposal to restore the reference to sexual orientation, 55 countries voted against and 27 abstained. The assembly then approved the amended resolution with 122 in favour, none against and 59 abstentions.

The amendment passed last month called for the words “sexual orientation” to be replaced with “discriminatory reasons on any basis”. The resolution made explicit reference to a large number of groups, including human rights defenders, religious and ethnic minorities and street children.

It narrowly passed 79-70 and was then approved by the UN General Assembly committee with 165 in favour and ten abstentions. The motion condemns extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings, is voted on by the UN General Assembly every two years. For the past ten years, it contained references to sexual orientation.

Source: Pink News

Yay! Although it would be nice if they included trans & non-binary folk while they were on.