January 1st, 2011

Buffy:  Cheer

Happy New Years to Lisa Murkowski: Miller concedes

Miller ends Alaska Senate challenge
By: CNN's Rebecca Stewart and Jamie Gray

(CNN)– Joe Miller chose the waning hours of 2010 to write the final chapter in the story of his lengthy 2010 Senate campaign, announcing that he would not continue with a legal challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski's November election victory.

"The time has come to accept the practical realities of our current legal circumstances. We shall abide by the court's decisions, even if we do not agree with them," Miller told supporters and reporters at an Anchorage news conference Friday.

In an interview on CNN's "John King USA" Miller explained why he had taken his fight this far. "Ultimately, what this was about was creating transparency in the Alaskan election system...making sure that the votes were counted appropriately, that ballot security was maintained, things that I think all Alaskans really now appreciate."

Miller had lost several court battles in the state of Alaska. He challenged incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski's write-in victory based on an Alaska statue that requires write-in votes to match the name of the candidate. However, the Division of Elections set guidelines before counting began that allowed for a voter's intent to be considered when determining whether to count a ballot for a write-in candidate.

The original Superior Court decision ruled that Miller did not provide proof of election official fraud, or that "there would be sufficient change to the election results if these claims were true."

The Superior Court ruling was stayed to allow for an appeal, which the Alaska Supreme Court heard and dismissed twelve days later. The court stated, "There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified" and ruled that the Division of Elections conducted the U.S. Senate election according to law.

After withdrawing his opposition to the certification of Sen. Murkowski as the winner, Miller pledged to continue his pursuit of a federal lawsuit.

Governor Sean Parnell of Alaska and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell certified Sen. Lisa Murkowski's re-election Thursday, clearing the way for Murkowski to be sworn in when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

' jules
  • schmiss


The Manchurian Candidate

When Barack Obama posted Jon Huntsman to Beijing, it looked like a crafty way to sideline a 2012 rival. Don’t bet on it.

The Huntsmans’ new home in the posh D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama is the prototype of pricey Washington real estate: a tall, boxy structure defined by red brick and right angles. Last spring, Bravo used the space to film its reality show Top Chef: Washington, D.C., but on a Sunday morning in mid-December, the spacious rooms on the first floor were largely unfurnished. “We’ve been living out of boxes for the last two years,” says Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned the Utah governorship in 2009 to become U.S. ambassador to China. “We’re just now unpacking things we didn’t even remember we had. It’s like Christmas.”

The federal-style house attracted a small wave of Utah media attention last fall when Washingtonian magazine first noted the Huntsmans’ $3.6 million purchase on its real-estate page. It was just the sort of trivial Beltway gossip that lends itself to breathless interpretation by local political reporters, and both Salt Lake City dailies dutifully ran articles speculating that the hometown hero might soon return to the States gunning for higher office. It wasn’t a ridiculous notion. The moderate Republican had once been considered a rising star in the GOP and a likely 2012 contender, with David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign mastermind, even identifying Huntsman as the only Republican who made him “a wee bit queasy” about the next race. But speculation ended abruptly in 2009 when Obama tapped Huntsman for the ambassadorship. National pundits called the appointment a shrewd move by the White House to sideline a potential rival, and then promptly forgot about him—which is probably why last fall’s Beehive State buzz was drowned out on the national stage by the noise of the midterms.

Now, it appears, the ambassador is ready to make some noise of his own. Sitting in the echo-y living room of his new Washington home, Huntsman, a tall, lean man with silver hair and impeccable posture, pauses only briefly when faced with the question of presidential aspirations. “You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he says. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked whether he is prepared to rule out a run in 2012 (since it would require him to campaign against his current boss), he declines to comment.

The winking response—about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration—could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign. “I’m not saying he’s running,” says one supporter who has worked with him in the past. “But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.” What’s more, Huntsman tells NEWSWEEK that when he accepted the ambassadorial appointment, he promised his family they would “come up for air” sometime in 2010 to decide how much longer they would stay in Beijing. “I’m not announcing anything at all,” he says. But he sure seems to be hinting.

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I'm torn between wanting him to run just to show by comparison how ridiculous the other candidates are, and being afraid that if he runs and gets the nomination he might actually win.

Sure Start children's centres axed by Tories despite David Cameron's pledge to protect them

 TORY town hall chiefs are axing more than half their Sure Start children’s centres – despite David Cameron’s pledge to protect the vital service.

Conservative flagship Hammersmith and Fulham council is withdrawing funding from nine out of the 15 drop-in centres for under-fives in the London borough.

The rest will be contracted out in moves amid warnings it will be copied by other Tory-run local authorities up and down the country.

The cuts come despite repeated Tory denials that Sure Start would be axed. Mr Cameron even heaped praise on the “emotional support” the centres provide at his party’s 2009 annual conference.

He declared: “Labour understood this and we should acknowledge that. That’s why Sure Start will stay, and we’ll improve it.”

But Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, said the PM had been caught out deceiving voters.

He said: “This is the biggest lie yet from the parties that promised to cut tuition fees and not increase VAT. And it is targeted at the most vulnerable.

“Nine months after telling us they would strengthen Sure Start, they are cutting it by 60%. This is a taste of what every Conservative council is likely to do in 2011. It is the true face of Cameron’s Britain. It’s not the same old Tories – these are worse.

The Sure Start cuts were buried in a document sneaked out on the council’s website over Christmas.

The area’s only children’s home is also being shut and sold off for luxury flats and libraries face closure as part of a package that will take £7.5million out of services for young people.

Councillors will vote on the so-called “family support programme” on January 10.

A spokeswoman for the council claimed that the nine centres which will lose funding are not being closed because community groups will be invited to run them instead. She added: “We have to make £65million of savings over four years.”

But Mr Slaughter said: “They can dress this up however they like.

“They may be asking other people to provide services for free but they are cutting the money for nine Sure Start centres. This is David Cameron’s Big Society. We won’t give you any cash. You have to do it on your own with no help.”

Source: The Mirror

Re-enacting a certain November 5th looking more and more tempting...
really. look.
  • chaya

Apple Showing Some Amount of Decency Leads to Christian Butthurt

Apple rejects anti-gay ‘Manhattan Declaration’ from App Store — again
LGBTQ Nation • Saturday, January 1, 2011

Apple has once again rejected the anti-gay iPhone application, “Manhattan Declaration,” from its App Store even after its creators revised its original submission.

The edited version of the application removed a poll which asked users their opinions regarding LGBT relationships and abortion, and awarded points for “correct” answers, which were in opposition to LGBT-equality.

One question asked, “Do you support same-sex relationships?” If a user answered “yes,” they were told that they had replied incorrectly.

Apple re-affirmed its earlier decision to yank the “Manhattan Declaration,” and said the app is “objectionable and potentially harmful to others.”

“Inasmuch as the Manhattan Declaration simply reaffirms the moral teachings of our Christian faith on the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience, Apple’s statement amounts to the charge that our faith is ‘potentially harmful to others,’” the creators said in a statement.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Apple removed the “Manhattan Declaration” application from it’s [sic] App store after a petition of over 8,000 signatures was sent to them decrying the anti-gay marriage messaging it carried.

The “Manhattan Declaration” is a 4,700-word manifesto released in 2009 by Christian and Catholic leaders Charles Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George, and rails against the “erosion” of marriage.

The declaration says that gay relationships are “immoral” and that same-sex marriages are equivalent to sanctioning incest.

The application’s creators plan to appeal their rejected app to Apple’s App Review Board after the holidays.


This is somewhat promising of Apple, especially in the wake of the transphobic app it was selling earlier this -- err, last -- year.