January 9th, 2011

MISC - moustache

A Turning Point in the Discourse, but in Which Direction?

WASHINGTON — Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web. One was Sarah Palin’s infamous “cross hairs” map from last year, which showed a series of contested Congressional districts, including Ms. Giffords’s, with gun targets trained on them. Another was from Daily Kos, the liberal blog, where one of the congresswoman’s apparently liberal constituents declared her “dead to me” after Ms. Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi in House leadership elections last week.

Odds are pretty good that neither of these — nor any other isolated bit of imagery — had much to do with the shooting in Tucson. But scrubbing them from the Internet couldn’t erase all evidence of the rhetorical recklessness that permeates our political moment. The question is whether Saturday’s shooting marks the logical end point of such a moment — or rather the beginning of a terrifying new one.

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once upon a time

Gabrielle Giffords' Revolutionary Role

Young, highly educated and ambitious, Giffords has represented the brightest future of women in American politics


"Who, besides Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, might the country look to in coming years when considering the future of women in American politics?"

That’s a question I was asked approximately 10 times a day this fall, as I traveled the country discussing my book about women and the American presidency, talking to audiences and on television and radio throughout the bitter midterms and the gales of Mama Grizzly media.

Answering the query meant that the name on my lips, all day every day it sometimes seemed, was Gabrielle Giffords'.

I am no Giffords acolyte; her blue dog politics are more centrist than my own, especially on issues of guns and border security (though she opposed Arizona's horrifying immigration law S.B. 1070). But given that most successful Democratic politicians don’t actually share my politics these days, everything else I knew about her was promising: a young, charismatic, former Fulbright scholar who had grown up racing motorcycles and married an astronaut in 2007, a Democrat who had won her Republican congressional district (Arizona’s 8th voted for George Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008 by 52 percent to 46 percent) by 54 percent in 2006. Giffords was so charismatic, so winning that she -- unlike many of her congressional colleagues -- had made the politically risky decision to vote with her party on electric issues like healthcare, cap and trade and the stimulus bill. Still, somehow, in a terrible year for Democrats, she was managing to hang on in a tight race.

For most of the fall, I did not think that Giffords would hold her seat, and often found myself talking regretfully about what her potential loss might mean for the House of Representatives, and for the number of women in Congress. She was tied with Republican opponent Jesse Kelly, and despite having raised an impressive amount of money on her own, had received little help from the DCCC, a fact that enraged me, especially as I saw some of her colleagues who had broken with the party on the big votes getting check after check.

It was Giffords’ district that I checked most obsessively on election night, and for the three days following, until it was finally declared that Giffords had managed to beat Kelly by the slimmest of margins. Giffords’ victory was a huge part (along with the tight victories of Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray) of what led me to feel less bad than many of my peers about the grim results of November’s election, at least when it came to the tenacity, power and futures of pro-choice Democratic women. To me, the hard-fought squeaker of a race affirmed my belief that this was a roaringly capable politician who had a powerful political future in front of her, even in the face of remarkably steep odds.

Of course, the human losses of today’s attacks in Arizona are immeasurably greater than any political or social toll. But it would be irresponsible to fail to note that a young, highly educated, ambitious Jewish woman like Gabrielle Giffords, despite her centrism, represents much that is revolutionary and hopeful about the changing face of American politics, as well as about the new and varied paths and possibilities available to women. She is the kind of politician this nation could barely have imagined existing just a decade or two ago. And so, when I have been asked about which women are not yet national stars but have the peculiar, groundbreaking alchemy it might take to someday become the nation’s first female president, again and again my answer has included the same name: Gabrielle Giffords.

As of this writing, Giffords is still alive; the doctors have just said that she is, miraculously, expected to survive. Amazing, inspiring, tough as nails. I hope with all my might to be talking about her future for many years to come.



You know, mods, I think we're going to need a gabrielle giffords tag. People are going to be talking about her for some time in the immediate future. 
monk [tifa; final fantasy 7 remake]
  • tifa

TSA Scanners Shred Human DNA

While the application of scientific knowledge creates technology, sometimes the technology is later redefined by science. Such is the case with terahertz (THz) radiation, the energy waves that drive the technology of the TSA: back scatter airport scanners.

Emerging THz technological applications

THz waves are found between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. This type of radiation was chosen for security devices because it can penetrate matter such as clothing, wood, paper and other porous material that's non-conducting.
This type of radiation seems less threatening because it doesn't penetrate deeply into the body and is believed to be harmless to both people and animals.

THz waves may have applications beyond security devices. Research has been done to determine the feasibility of using the radiation to detect tumors underneath the skin and for analyzing the chemical properties of various materials and compounds. The potential marketplace for THz driven technological applications may generate many billions of dollars in revenue.

Because of the potential profits, intense research on THz waves and applications has mushroomed over the last decade.

Source (more about health risks)

Brave Intern Saved Rep. Gabrielle

Intern's actions may have saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life

Daniel Hernandez had been U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' intern for five days when she was shot Saturday outside Tucson.

The junior at the University of Arizona was helping check people in at the "Congress on Your Corner" event when he heard gunfire. He was about 30 feet from the congresswoman. When the shots began, he ran toward them.

"I don't even know if the gunfire had stopped," he said Saturday night as he kept a vigil at the University Medical Center cafeteria, gathered near a TV watching tributes and getting updates.

When the shots began that morning, he saw many people lying on the ground, including a young girl. Some were bleeding. Hernandez said he moved from person to person checking pulses.

"First the neck, then the wrist," he said. One man was already dead. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk. She was bleeding.

Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap, holding her upright against him so she wouldn't choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet.
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Kissing Parts

Palin Aide: Crosshairs On Target List Not Actually Gun Sights

An aide to Sarah Palin claims the crosshairs depicted in her now-infamous target list of Democrats were not actually gun-sights, and that it's "obscene" and "appalling" to blame Palin for the shooting.

"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross-hairs like you'd see on maps," said Rebecca Mansour on the Tammy Bruce radio show. Moreover, there was "nothing irresponsible" about the image, and to draw a line connecting Palin and Saturday's shooting is "obscene" and "appalling."

You can see the original image below. Mansour called the crosshairs "surveyor marks." Palin has removed the list from her PAC website, but not from her Facebook page.

"I don't understand how anybody could be held responsible for somebody who is completely mentally unstable like this. Where I come from the person that is actually shooting is the one that's culpable," Mansour said, before intimating that the suspect, Jared Loughner, is actually a liberal. "It seems that he people that knew him said that he was left-wing and very liberal -- but that is not to say that I am blaming the left."

"I never went out and blamed Al Gore or any environmentalist for the crazy insane person who went to shoot up the Discovery Channel," she said.

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Southern Sudanese Begin Historic Vote on Secession

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Southern Sudanese poured into polling stations on Sunday morning to cast their votes in a historic referendum on southern Sudan’s independence.

JUBA, Sudan — Southern Sudanese poured into polling stations on Sunday morning to cast their votes in a historic referendum on southern Sudan’s independence.

The lines were packed, thousands of people long, and many voters had been standing in place since 2 a.m.

The referendum is expected to pass by an overwhelming margin, and though the voting will continue for the next week, many people said they wanted to cast their ballots on Sunday.

“Today will go down in history,” said William Lukudu, who arrived before dawn at a polling station in Juba wearing a natty gray suit, bright green shirt and purple tie. “I didn’t want to be left out.”

The referendum ballot has two choices, unity or secession. For Mr. Lukudu, the choice was simple. Secession. That seemed to be the unanimous feeling among the large crowds: after decades of civil war and marginalization and oppression at the hands of Sudan’s Arab rulers, people here said they wanted their own country.

“I’m voting for separation, 100 percent plus,” said Susan Duku, a southern Sudanese woman who works for the United Nations. “I feel like I’m going to a new land.”

Salva Kiir, the president of southern Sudan, which has been semi-autonomous since a peace treaty was signed in 2005, cast his ballot Sunday morning as the polls opened.

“This is the historical moment the people of south Sudan have been waiting for,” he said. He spoke at a polling station near the tomb of John Garang, who is considered the father of southern Sudan’s modern liberation movement. Mr. Garang died in a helicopter crash in 2005, just months after signing the landmark treaty that set the referendum in motion.

Mr. Kiir, who was close to Mr. Garang, said, “Dr. John and all those who died with him, I can assure you that they did not die in vain.”

If the referendum passes, southern Sudan will declare independence in July. Several unresolved issues remain, including demarcating the disputed border and striking a deal to share revenues from Sudan’s oil, most of which comes from the south.


Let's keep Sudan in our thoughts and hope that the vote goes through peacefully.

Jared Loughner YouTube Videos, MySpace Suggest Alleged Shooter May Have Ties To Hate Group

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on Saturday, may have ties to anti-Semitic, anti-immigration hate group American Renaissance, according to a leaked memo from the Department of Homeland Security.

It's unclear whether Loughner maintains a direct connection to the group, however, "strong suspicion is being directed" at American Renaissance in the wake of the group being referenced in Loughner's Myspace and YouTube videos, according to the memo, which was obtained by Fox News.

American Renaissance is a white nationalist group that operates under a pseudo think tank called the New Century Foundation. The group runs a magazine and conferences based on eugenics and the superiority of whites, according to Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group considers its members to be "racial-realists," according to an "About Us" section on the American Renaissance magazine website. "Attempts to gloss over the significance of race or even to deny its reality only make problems worse," the group writes. "Progress requires the study of all aspects of race, whether historical, cultural, or biological. This approach is known as race realism."

The pseudo-science in the magazine refers to biological superiority of whites, with titles such as "Swine Flu: Is There a Racial Link?" and "Ignoring Biological Reality Means Social and Economic Catastrophe." After President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the magazine ran a feature called "Transition to Black Rule?"

American Renaissance is opposed to the entry of non-whites into the United States and supports Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law, which was criticized as racist and challenged by the Obama Justice Department. In an introduction to readers when the magazine was started in 1990, the publication wrote that "blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage."

The group's connection to anti-Semitism is slightly more complicated. Although Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis are often present at New Century Foundation conferences, group founder Jared Taylor cracked down on anti-Semitic speech in the magazine and at events, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. But after an anti-Semitic outburst at the 2006 conference, the group lost some of its Jewish supporters.

Although the motivations behind Saturday's actions remain unclear, Jewish media organizations pointed to possibly anti-Semitism after Hitler's Mein Kampf was listed as one of Loughner's favorite books. Giffords is the first Jewish U.S. representative to be elected in Arizona. Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords aide who was killed in the shooting, was also Jewish.

On immigration, Giffords holds Blue Dog views: She supports comprehensive immigration reform, including increased border security and a path to legal status for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States. Giffords voted in December for the DREAM Act, a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children, to exchange in return for military service or attending college.

Although she opposes Arizona law SB 1070, Giffords also opposed the Justice Department's lawsuit against the state to stop the law. "Congresswoman Giffords wants more federal agents on the Arizona border, not federal lawyers in court arguing with state lawyers about a law that will do nothing to increase public safety in the communities she represents," her spokesman told The Hill in June.

Giffords is mentioned several times on the American Renaissance website, but only in comments and articles from other news outlets on SB 1070 and the 2010 midterm elections.


Take this as a grain of salt until there's some confirmation that Mr. Loughner belonged to this group.  I must say I'm more inclined to believed he was a part of SOME hate group rather than the current media meme that he was just a deranged person.   

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik: Arizona 'Mecca For Prejudice & Bigotry'

After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and number of others were wounded or killed in a shooting in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said that the state has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Addressing the tragedy at a news conference, the sheriff said that law enforcement had reason to believe that Giffords was specifically targeted in the attack. He added that evidence suggests one suspect -- 22-year-old Jared Loughner, who is already in custody -- likely did not act alone.


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Arizona Suspect’s Recent Acts Offer Hints of Alienation

WASHINGTON — Jared Lee Loughner had become increasingly erratic in recent months, so much so that others around him began to worry.

He had posted on his Myspace page at some point a photograph of a United States history textbook, on top of which he had placed a handgun. He prepared a series of Internet videos filled with rambling statements on topics including the gold standard, mind control and SWAT teams. And he had started to act oddly during his classes at Pima Community College, causing unease among other students.

That behavior, along with a disturbing video, prompted school administrators to call in Mr. Loughner’s parents and tell them that their son had been suspended and would have to get a mental health evaluation to return to college. Instead, he dropped out in October, a spokesman for the college said.

The evidence and reports about Mr. Loughner’s unusual conduct suggest an increasing alienation from society, confusion, anger as well as foreboding that his life could soon come to an end. Still, there appear to be no explicit threats of violence that explain why, as police allege, Mr. Loughner, 22, would go to a Safeway supermarket north of Tucson on Saturday morning and begin shooting at a popular Democratic congresswoman and more than a dozen other people, killing 6 and wounding 19.
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Source: www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/us/politics/09shooter.html

Obviously we still don't know exactly what the details regarding this person are, and there has been no clear medical information released indicating a diagnosis.  But as a person who works with kids with these sorts of symptoms in early psychosis intervention, this person's story has struck a nerve.  If he had been properly assessed and given access to sufficient mental health resources, it's possible that what happened yesterday could have been prevented.

This post is also an excuse for me to share some mental health resources links, if you have a loved one who you believe may be developing psychotic symptoms, if you want to learn more about psychotic disorders, or if you need more general information about mental health resources in your area.


(mods, the cut was borked on previous attempts but I think it's working now? apologies if it's still a mess :/ )

Westboro Baptist Church To Picket Funerals Of Arizona Shooting Victims

Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka church known for its inflammatory anti-gay protests, plans to picket the funerals of the six people gunned down in Arizona on Saturday.

In a flier posted on its web site, the controversial church writes, "THANK GOD FOR THE SHOOTER -- 6 DEAD!" The message continues:

God appointed this rod for your sins! God sent the shooter! This hateful nation unleashed violent veterans on the servants of God at WBC--hoping to silence our kind warning to obey God and flee the wrath to come.

The flier claims that the shooting of both a House member and a federal judge -- the latter of whom was killed -- is god's punishment for judicial and Congressional action against the WBC. "God sent the shooter to shoot you! And He's sitting in Heaven laughing at you!" the announcement reads.

In graphic language, it continues:

Your federal judge is dead and your (f*g-promoting, baby-killing, proud-sinner) Congresswoman fights for her life. God is avenging Himself on this rebellious house! WBC prays for your destruction--more shooters, more dead carcasses piling up, young, old, leader and commoner--all. Your doom is upon you!

In December, Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards. The group is known to display signs that say "God Hates F*gs" and "Thank God For Dead Soldiers."

Source: HuffPo

(Censored by yours truly, as I refuse to even quote that word)

Stay classy.
tv | kosem sultan sends her regards.

Band of Brothers' Biggest Brother Dies

Richard "Dick" Winters, the former World War II commander whose war story was told in the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers,” has died.

Winters led a quiet life on his Fredericksburg farm and in his Hershey home until the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” threw him into the international spotlight.

Since then, the former World War II commander of Easy Company had received hundreds of requests for interviews and appearances all over the world.

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also, if anyone's interested in a hang tough wristband, the proceeds are going toward a momument in france with winters' likeness that will be dedicated to all the soldiers that fought in the invasion of normandy

Inexplicable Edits on Sarah Palin's Facebook Page

There are many screencaps at the source, but I'm only copy and pasting the text into this entry.


Source is a Blogspot entry

Sarah Palin has a reputation for being an agressive editor of comments on her Facebook page - a reputation that has always seemed likely accurate to me, given the tedious consistency with which all comments on the page are along the lines of "I love you SARAH!"

But in the wake of the terrible events in Arizona, with many commentators pointing out the obvious fact that Gabrielle Giffords had been targetted by Palin in the November election on a map that used a chilling gun site graphic, I thought it would be worth watching her page for a little while to see if her team were indeed deleting negative comments routinely. But I had no idea how incredibly, almost comically, efficient her people would turn out to be in deleting comments that were even slightly critical of the former Governor. And then I came across... well, what I guess you'd have to politely call an appalling example of editorial misjudgement at best.

Here's what I found, from a brief sample achieved by the simple expedient of hitting the refresh button repeatedly over a short period of time:

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ETA: gunsofporn brought a post from j_k_m from The Mothership to my attention. The poster of the Christina Taylor Green has stated she did indeed mean that as satire:


"I am Tina King.I want to apologize for what was apparently an ill fated attempt at satire. I posted a comment that was meant to been seen as a brutal commentary on the violent rhetoric that has become a staple of the political discourse is this country. It was in no way intended to be taken seriously and in the context of my other posts that fact is clearly seen. I feel horrible that a child, or anyone, had to die in this senseless act of violence. My heart goes out to Christina Taylor Green's parents as I cannot fathom the horror of losing a child, no less in such a terrible and tragic way. Although I believe this event was not directly related to the state of political discourse at this time, but rather the act of an individual who's mental well-being is questionable, I also feel this tragic event must bear as warning that toying with the idea of violence as a resolution tactic is a dangerous one. I apologize wholeheartedly for anyone I have offended and hope that this unfathomable tragedy may bring those in contention to some sort of understanding. I do not believe in violence and I do not think politicians like Palin should be given free reign to suggest her constituency has the right to threaten others."
Q // La revolución

Dress rules established for transsexuals in military

As U.S. politicians continue to debate whether to let gays serve openly in the American military, the Canadian Forces have issued a new policy detailing how the organization should accommodate transsexual and transvestite troops specifically. Soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who change their sex or sexual identity have a right to privacy and respect around that decision, but must conform to the dress code of their “target” gender, says the supplementary chapter of a military administration manual.

A gay-rights advocate hailed development of the guidelines as a progressive approach to people whose gender issues can trigger life-threatening psychological troubles.

Cherie MacLeod, executive director of PFLAG Canada, a sexual orientation-related support group, said she has helped a number of Forces members undergoing sex changes, surgery the military now funds.

“This is an important step towards recognizing a community that has always struggled for equal rights and basic human protection,” said Ms. MacLeod. “When government becomes more inclusive, over time, society will follow.”

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This article's a month old but I don't remember it being posted. Major facepalm at the article equating trans folks with glb people. But I'm really hopeful this means more inclusion in the Canadian military. It's silly to think that the military can't address this issue while also seeing to the valid concerns about helping grieving families. Those big, strong soldiers can deal with it, for trans service members (remembering that lots of trans people don't choose surgery) this is pretty damned relevant. The thing about medals made me =/ though.

This plus news about Bill C-389, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as protected classes, is making me really hopeful for trans rights in Canada.
garf too tired

Weapon in rampage was banned under Clinton-era law

Weapon in rampage was banned under Clinton-era law

The now-expired assault weapons ban made it illegal to make the type of magazine used in the Giffords shooting

By Justin Elliott

The high-capacity magazine of the semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen other people on Saturday would have been illegal to manufacture and difficult to purchase under the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, "it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload -- and he could have been stopped," Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon.

Between 1994 and 2004 when the assault weapons ban was in effect, gun manufacturers such as Glock could not market handguns with high-capacity magazines. If the ban were still in effect, it's less likely that Loughner could have obtained a gun with a high-capacity magazine. Stores could legally only sell used high-capacity magazines at that time, and new magazines could not be manufactured.

President Bush backed the ban, and an amendment to extend it passed in the Senate in 2004 but was never voted on by the House.

President Obama also supports renewal of the ban -- at least nominally. While he referenced the ban even in his Democratic nomination acceptance speech -- "don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals" -- he has not pushed Congress to act on the measure.

The only significant legislation relating to guns signed by Obama is the credit card reform bill, which contains an amendment making it legal to carry concealed weapons in national parks. The Brady Center gave Obama an "F" for his first year in a report titled "Failed Leadership, Lost Lives."

State laws are also an issue. The Brady Center's Vice says that 10 states regulate assault weapons. In California, for example, Loughner could not have legally purchased a gun with a high-capacity magazine. Arizona, though, has among the weakest gun laws in the nation.

"Even if folks had seen Loughner with the gun walking up to the congresswoman, it was perfectly legal until he started firing," Vice says.

He also notes that Glock pistols are particularly easy to fire, letting off rounds as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger. "They are very good at killing people quickly," he says.

The company describes the Glock 19 model, "the all-round talent," this way:

The GLOCK 19 is ideal for versatile use through reduced dimensions compared with the standard pistol size. With the proven caliber of 9x19, it has found worldwide distribution in security services. In addition to being used as a conventional service weapon, it is suitable for concealed carry or as a backup weapon. For instance, many of the elite pilots of the USAF for instance trust the GLOCK 19 for their efficient defense in emergency situations.

Vice says the Brady Center will now push for a renewal of the assault weapons ban and more strict background checks.

"Our gun laws are so weak that someone who couldn't get into the military, who was kicked out of school, and who used drugs walked into a gun store and was able to immediately buy a semiautomatic weapon," he says.

JFK Jr '88

The hot Miliband brother could be coming to a TV near you.

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Not sure how credible this is as it's from the Guardian and just the other week they were saying he was up for the US Ambassador role- which he categorically denied on twitter a couple of days later... oh well, perhaps this is just their bid to keep him in the news (Underwhelmed by Ed perhaps?).

If it is true... I'm really not sure if this is the best move if he wants to carry on in politics... I think he needs to chill out for a bit, wait until Ed has had a shot at running for PM, and then step in when needed.