January 10th, 2011

TW tales square
  • aviv_b

Kids Bury Father Alive

Not another 'oh how terrible story.'

On MSNBC this morning, in the Popular Searches lifestyle I found the following:

No photo
Brazil brothers charged with burying father alive
Two brothers have been charged with killing their father by burying him alive. Authorities say they knocked him out beforehand. How did they make him unconscious?
The brothers, who live in Brazil (map) confessed to planning it. Find out their reasons.
Remember the Menendez brothers who were convicted of killing their parents?
Murders can go unsolved for decades. Check out some cold cases.

Is it me or does it seem just a bit racist to compare this to the Menendez brothers 
case?  Because no white kid has ever killed a parent, ever.

Source: http://specials.msn.com/A-List/Lifestyle/Brothers-charged-with-burying-father-alive.aspx?cp-documentid=27170697

(mods: I couln't find an MSNBC or Bing tag

Elton’s son’s welfare is at risk, former bishop claims

The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, has claimed that Elton John and David Furnish’s new baby psychological welfare is at risk.

Rev Nazir-Ali said he was concerned that baby Zachary had been born by surrogate mother to two fathers and suggested that John was too old to be a dad at the age of 64.

He told the Daily Telegraph that surrogacy introduces a “third party” which will “affect the welfare of the child, psychologically and in other ways”.

He added that parents should be of an age that “provides the child with a fair chance of being brought up by them without unnecessary disruption” and said that all evidence shows that children are best brought up in a heterosexual “stable” marriage in order to have “healthy relationships”.

In 2009, during London Pride, Rev Nazir-Ali called on gay people to “repent and be changed” and said the Church of England must not be “rolled over by culture.”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called on the bishop to “repent his homophobia.”

John and Furnish have chosen a lesbian couple to act as godparents to Zachary.
Instead of looking to their celebrity friends, the couple reportedly asked close friends Ingrid Sischy and Sandy Brant.

Ms Sischy and Ms Brant were part of a small circle who were told that John and Furnish were expecting a baby by surrogate.

A source told the Daily Mail: “Ingrid and Sandy are two of the most genuine people they know. They were among a handful of people Elton entrusted with the details of the surrogate pregnancy.

“Zachary means everything to Elton and David and they have chosen Ingrid and Sandy as godmothers for the traditional reason: to take care of the child’s welfare in case something happens to them.”

The couple may chose more godparents. John is a godfather to a number of celebrities’ children, including David and Victoria Beckham’s three sons.

Baby Zachary was born on Christmas Day.

Source: Pink News

To be honest, I'm more annoyed at the Telegraph for giving his opinion page space than I am him for holding it. While right wing, the Telegraph is still one of our more "respectable" papers (roughly on-par with the Grauniad) - interviewing shitheads like this should be the Daily Mail & co.'s domain. Of course, the BBC have proven time and time again that so-called bastions of respectable journalism are anything but - I shouldn't really be surprised.
Chanel #3

FAO: Food Price Index Reaches Its Highest Recorded Level

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the U.N. has just released its 2010 food price index. Compared to 2002-2004, commodity food prices sharply increased, especially those of sugars and fats.

The new index is higher than in 2008 when people throughout the world rioted in protest. It is also at the highest level recorded since the index began in 1990.

What's going on? In 2008, FAO explained the crisis as the result of the combined effects of:

    • Competition for cropland from the growth in biofuels
    • Low cereal stocks
    • High oil prices
    • Speculation in food markets
    • Extreme weather events

I've discussed other possible explanations I've collected in previous posts.

This time, supply problems in grains, sugars, and meat are making the problem worse. FAO experts are predicting that prices will go even higher this year.

High food prices are a disaster for the poor and are also a ticket to social disorder. World leaders: Get to work!


Has anyone noticed an increase in food prices in their areas? If so, have you modified your purchases?
Shirley Animated

How can a gun-crazed society lead the world?

According to a 2007 survey, the United States leads the world in gun ownership: 90 guns per 100 people. We are a country with five percent of the world's people and between 35 and 50 percent of its civilian-owned guns. That's something like 270 million weapons.

Repeated studies have shown that the United States is far and away the leader among the world's developed countries in gun violence and gun deaths. There is no other developed country that is even close. Over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence. Most of these are suicides but in excess of 12,000 a year are homicides. Another 200,000 Americans are estimated to be injured each year due to guns.

In 2009, Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote a compelling column noting that since 9/11 over 120,000 people have died in the United States as a result of gun violence. By now, the number is in excess of 140,000.

For those in the world who are mystified by this, the legal explanation associated with it by gun rights defenders is that the right to own guns is protected by the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

This statement has taken on quasi-theological importance for many in the United States even though it is clearly being misinterpreted by those who believe it provides every individual the right to own such guns -- including advanced, highly-destructive automatic weapons. The misinterpretation begins with the deliberate ignoring of the first half of the sentence associating the right with the need for a "well-regulated militia." This is a clear qualifier associated with the so-called right to bear arms and had it not been important to the sentence, one can only conclude it would not have been included in the famously sparely written document. If militias don't exist, one can therefore conclude this "right" should be reconsidered if not eliminated.

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Fox News Abruptly Cuts Feed From Giffords Vigil When Mourner Mentions Sarah Palin

Since Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ) and others were shot in Tucson, AZ this weekend, Sarah Palin has received renewed criticism for a map her PAC posted last year with gun cross-hairs over the districts of several Democrats who voted for health care reform — including Giffords’.

Hours after the shooting, Fox News — which employs Palin — aired scenes from a vigil in Phoenix, but when one mourner appeared to began to call out Palin’s incendiary rhetoric, the Fox feed abruptly went to commercial.
Watch it:

It is unclear whether the feed cut off was a deliberate action by Fox News producers.

But, news organizations often broadcast live events with a few seconds delay, allowing producers to filter scenes which air profanity, violence, or any other undesirable material.
  • xerox78

Loughner family barricaded themselves inside of home

Family of suspect in Giffords shooting blocked access to house

FBI agents working on the Gabrielle Giffords shooing encountered trouble gaining entry to the suspect's family home Monday morning.

Family members of Jared Loughner apparently had put on 4-by-4 double-thick plywood that blocked access to the front porch of their north Tucson home.

At about 12:25 p.m., agents began banging on the blockade, yelling, "This is the FBI. Let us in."

Some agents were sent behind the house, and they were able to get inside after talking to family members.

It's not immediately clear why the Loughner family had put up the blockade, but there were reports of at least one media representative who had gotten to the yard of the family home earlier in the day. Loughner remains in custody and has an appearance in federal court later Monday.


Trying to get rid of evidence, maybe?

Edit: Yeah, maybe they have been getting threats or something.

Jon Stewart is a Sekret Terrorist: Will Kill Nation with Comedy

Rightwing Alert: Guns Dont Kill People, Comedians Kill People.

Conservative Magazine Names Jon Stewart 28th 'Most Dangerous Liberal' In America

The conservative magazine Townhall put out a list of the "most dangerous liberals in America," and named Jon Stewart as #28.
Colbert is gonna be pissed. (Why is Stephen Colbert NOT on that list? I demand a recount!)

Writing on the townhall.com site, Executive Editor Chris Field called Stewart "bitingly hilarious and decidedly Left-leaning: a potent combination."

Number one on the list? George Soros, bien sur.

Here's the full entry:
Political satirist Jon Stewart's tongue is acid-tipped. His popular "Daily Show" program regularly slays elected officials for hypocrisy and self-importance, derides political buffoonery and skewers media excesses. More often than not, it's bitingly hilarious and decidedly Left-leaning: a potent combination. A 2007 media survey revealed that more than one-in-10 young voters relied on Stewart's show as a primary source of political news -- a share that has undoubtedly swelled since. It's no small coincidence that voters aged 18-29 backed Barack Obama for president by a breathtaking 2-to-1 margin.

While acting as a formidable political opinion maker, Stewart inoculates himself against serious criticism by playing the "I'm just a comedian" card. This artifice has become known among conservatives as the Jon Stewart "clown nose on, clown nose off " routine.

Laugh all you want. It works.
h/t Right Wing Watch.
hong cha young
  • doverz

Rush Limbaugh Bails Water in Wake of Arizana Shooting

WASHINGTON -- Rush Limbaugh lashed out Monday at critics who linked the Tucson shootings to the confrontational, gun-themed rhetoric of conservatives such as Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

Limbaugh's talking points are a guide to the ways in which the political right -- from establishment Republicans in Washington to the Tea Party at the grassroots level -- will fight back against attempts to tie them to Jared Lee Loughner.

The political coverage of the Loughner story is "childish and immature," Limbaugh said, but apparently threatening enough for the top-rated talk show host to spend his entire show undermining it as best he could.


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There are definitely some rage inducing points from him, but some of them are just funny. He listened to heavy metal so therefore, he's an evil liberal? Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Chanel #3

David Frum: What Sarah Palin should have said about Tucson shooting

The shooting in Arizona shocked the U.S. into grief – and presented Sarah Palin with an immediate political problem: her now-notorious gunsight map.

Palin scrubbed the map from her Palin PAC website, and then issued the following statement on her Facebook page:

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.    On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

Then, as Palin came under a barrage of criticism, her supporters stepped forward to offer defenses. The gunsights were not really gunsights. The criticism of Palin was unfair, even “obscene.”

And of course, they had a point. Obviously, Palin never intended to summon people to harm Representative Giffords. There was no evidence that the shooter was a Palin follower, and in short order it became evident that he was actuated by a serious mental illness. Whatever you think about Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” rhetoric, it could not be blamed for this crime.

So – argument won?


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Politic ~ Benazir Bhutto
  • mzflux

Mother Jones and CNN reporting

Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman's Grudge Against Giffords

In a Mother Jones interview, the friend shares a message sent hours before the massacre.

Mon Jan. 10, 2011 12:01 AM PST
By Nick Baumann

At 2:00 a.m. on Saturday—about eight hours before he allegedly killed six people and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), in Tucson—Jared Lee Loughner phoned an old and close friend with whom he had gone to high school and college. The friend, Bryce Tierney, was up late watching TV, but he didn't answer the call. When he later checked his voice mail, he heard a simple message from Loughner: "Hey man, it's Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later."

That was it. But later in the day, when Tierney first heard about the Tucson massacre, he had a sickening feeling: "They hadn't released the name, but I said, 'Holy shit, I think it's Jared that did it.'" Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a "fake." Loughner's animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with "lucid dreaming"—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became "more interested in this world than our reality." Tierney adds, "I saw his dream journal once. That's the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner's mind, there's a dream journal that will tell you everything."

Excellent, in-depth article. Highly recommended. A whole lot more, at the source.

In addition, CNN's breaking news:

Accused gunman had no party affiliation

Accused Arizona gunman Jared Lee Loughner was not registered to any political party, and in fact hand wrote "independent" on two separate voter forms, county officials said Monday.
This is good news. However, this doesn't mean our nation's violent political rhetoric didn't affect Loughner's mindset. While he did live in a self-imposed vacuum after getting kicked out of college, I doubt the country's vitriolic dailogue had absolutely no affect on him. He was violently anti-government and in 2007, aware enough of local politics to attend a "Congress in Your Corner" event with Gifford. More than likely, it affected him quite deeply.

My question is, how did he get his hands on a Glock 19 legally without a mental health evaluation? He couldn't continue college without undergoing this kind of evaluation, but he could purchase a semi-automatic?

Queensland Flood Disaster

I was a little shocked there's been no mention here of the really horrible flood situation in Queensland right now, so I've compiled a little bit of a post on it. 

Australia: Queensland floods spur more evacuations


Thousands more people are preparing to evacuate their homes as one of Australia's worst floods continues to inundate the state of Queensland.

Forced evacuations are being planned in Rockhampton as rising floodwaters threaten the town of 77,000.

Australian PM Julia Gillard has visited flooded Bundaberg, and flew over Emerald as evacuations there continued.

The floods have affected about 200,000 people over an area larger than France and Germany, Queensland's premier says.

An estimated 22 towns have been left isolated or inundated by the rising waters, with fears that damage could cost billions of Australian dollars to repair.

The situation in Emerald - a town of some 11,000 people - was particularly bad, Premier Anna Bligh told reporters.

There was also major concern for Rockhampton, where residents are said to be attempting to stockpile bread and fresh fruit and vegetables.

"We've seen lots of panic buying of food. Shelves in shopping centres are empty," Rockhampton resident Petros Khalesirad told the BBC.

"But I think people have been over-reacting. We have groceries arriving today and in the worst case scenario, the military will be involved in helping."

Officials in Rockhampton - where the floods peak could be up to 48 hours away - said a shift was under way from voluntary evacuations to compulsory relocation.

"Police will order people in affected areas to leave their homes," Mayor Brad Carter said.

Elderly people and other at-risk groups would be the first moved out of their properties, officials said.

Speaking as she toured affected areas with the prime minister, Ms Bligh described the flooding as "a long way from over".

"Authorities think there will be a very large group of people who will be homeless in the next 24 hours.

"We now have three major river systems in flood; we have 17 evacuation centres active; we have more than 1,000 people in those evacuation centres and many more thousands staying with relatives and friends."


Collapse )There is such an abundance of articles on this disaster right now I was overwhelmed with what to include, so I figured the BBC articles would be a good start. For further reading the Wikipedia page on the event may help, as will the ABC website, or Queensland's Courier Mail website.

 An area larger than the size of Texas (or the size of Germany and France combined) is underwater right now. Rain is continuing to fall in heavy amounts, and flooding is now occurring in the South-East corner of the state (Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast etc.) and towards the border with New South Wales. If anyone is interested, a flood relief appeal has been set up by the Queensland Government that will be distributed/administered by the Red Cross. You can donate here. So far, 13 deaths have been attributed to the flooding.

On Debating Our Debate.

 As we debate what kind of rhetoric is and isn't objectionable, it would help if we could make some specific distinctions and keep some important things in mind. To that end:

Every gun metaphor is not created equal. Military metaphors infuse our talk about politics; the only thing that comes close is sports. The word "campaign" only relatively recently began to be used to refer to politics; its original use referred to military endeavors. But there is a difference between using metaphors that invoke violence ("We're going to fight this battle to the end!") and using rhetoric that invokes violence specifically directed at your opponents (like this), or even speaks literally of people arming to take on your opponents or the government (like Sharron Angle's infamous discussion of "Second Amendment remedies" to not getting the result you want at the ballot box). One is perfectly ordinary; the other ought to be condemned.

The fact that someone criticizes your rhetoric doesn't mean they're "blaming" you for the Arizona shooting. Right now, Sarah Palin's defenders are angrily denouncing people for "blaming" her for the shooting, because people have pointed to her now famous crosshair map of candidates she was targeting for defeat in 2010, including Gabrielle Giffords. But no one is saying this guy committed his massacre because he looked at this map. What people are saying is that this kind of thing goes too far. Certain things contribute to an atmosphere in which violence becomes more likely; criticizing those things doesn't mean you've said that in the absence of one particular statement or Web posting this event wouldn't have occurred.

If you think your rhetoric is above reproach, you have an obligation to defend it on its merits. Naturally, many on the right are going to attempt to turn the criticism of them around on the left: See how they're playing politics! But if you think it's perfectly fine for you to say what you've been saying, explain why. Attacking the motives of those criticizing you doesn't qualify.

Asking you to tone it down is not censorship. Over at Slate, Jack Shafer defends inflammatory political speech by saying, in part, that "any call to cool 'inflammatory' speech is a call to police all speech." As someone who has spent many years tangling with conservatives over their rhetoric, I've heard this argument a million times. When you criticize some talk-show host for something he said, he inevitably responds, "You can't censor me!" The First Amendment guarantees your freedom to say whatever idiotic thing you want, but it doesn't keep me from calling you out for it. No one is talking about throwing anyone in jail for extreme rhetoric, but we are talking about whether people should be condemned for certain kinds of rhetoric.

The rhetoric of violence is not the only kind of rhetoric that encourages violence. The apocalyptic rhetoric we've seen from some on the right, most notably Glenn Beck, should be part of this discussion too. When Beck portrays Barack Obama as the head of a socialist/communist/Nazi conspiracy whose goal is the literal destruction of America, he is implicitly encouraging violence. If that really were the nature of the administration, and our liberty really were on the verge of being snuffed out, violence would be justified.

If you're going to say "Liberals do it too" then you ought to provide some evidence. No one disputes that there has been a tide of extreme and violent rhetoric from some quarters of the right in the last couple of years. But any journalist who characterizes this as a bipartisan problem ought to be able to show examples, from people equal in prominence to those on the right (i.e. members of Congress, incredibly popular radio hosts, etc.) who have said equally violent and incendiary things. "Harry Reid once called George W. Bush a liar" doesn't qualify, nor does a nasty comment some anonymous person once left on a blog.

Source is: Paul Waldman

Opinion Piece: PZ Myer's on the Giffords shooting

I'm seeing a lot of email complaining about my response to the Giffords shooting. Here's just a representative sampling.

"You saw fit to use our pain to win political points. Here is my question to you - What if the killer was not a conservative? At least one report describes him as left-wing. His posted video does show any clear political affiliation, and his reading list was from across the spectrum. The local tea party group has denounced the killings, and leaders from across our state have spoken in one voice."

"As someone who usually enjoys reading your blog, I was a little dismayed to read your "wild guess" that the Arizona shooter is a teabagger who listens to a lot of AM radio in your post "We have our own barbarian subculture". I do not think it fair or helpful to immediately link a tragedy with one's political opponents based on a "wild guess"."

And here's what I think.


What we have here is an attempted assassination of a politician by an insane crank at a political event, in a state where the political discourse has been an unrelenting howl of eliminationist rhetoric and characterization of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan as a traitor and enemy of the state…and now, when six (including a nine year old girl) lie dead and another fourteen are wounded, now suddenly we're concerned that it is rude and politicizing a tragedy to point out that the right wing has produced a toxic atmosphere that pollutes our politics with hatred and the rhetoric of violence?

Screw that. Now is the time to politicize the hell out of this situation. The people who are complaining are a mix of lefty marshmallows whose first reaction to the fulfillment of right-wing fantasies by a lunatic is to drop to their knees and beg forgiveness for thinking ill of people who paint bullseyes on their political opponents, and right wing cowards who are racing to their usual tactic of attacking their critics to shame them into silence. This is NOT the time to back down and suddenly find it embarrassing to point out that right-wing pundits make a living as professional goads to insanity.

Stanfill has also collected a short list of brief comments — and I agree with every one of them.

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. - Michael Moore

A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of "both sides." - Tom Tomorrow

Inspiring that our media pundits are so quick to reach for "everyone's to blame" when no conservative events have been terrorized by gunmen. - Jeffrey Feldman

I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. - Jason Pollock

Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos. - Roger Ebert

Do not sit there cowering, trying to make excuses for teabaggers and violent morons. This is supposed to be the part where you stand up, look at the shouters on the other side, and tell them, "This is wrong, and this is the harm you bring to our country." Instead, I see a rush to postures of submission.

 Note: I trimmed this up a little bit, because he quotes comments from his blog extensively, and that didn't seem worth the space. Full text at the source
Murasaki Shikibu
  • homasse

Docs optimistic, but Giffords in for long recovery

Docs optimistic, but Giffords in for long recovery

Recovering from a gunshot wound to the head depends on the bullet's path, and while doctors are optimistic about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' odds, it can take weeks to months to tell the damage.

Doctors say the bullet traveled the length of the left side of the Arizona congresswoman's brain, entering the back of the skull and exiting the front.

Fortunately, it stayed on one side of her brain, not hitting the so-called "eloquent areas" in the brain's center where such wounds almost always prove fatal.

Importantly, Giffords was responding nonverbally Sunday to simple commands in the emergency room — things like "squeeze my hand."

That implies "a very high level of functioning in the brain," said Dr. Michael Lemole of Tucson's University Medical Center, Giffords' neurosurgeon.

Now, her biggest threat is brain swelling. Surgeons removed half of her skull to give the tissues room to expand without additional bruising, Lemole said.

That bone is being preserved and can be reimplanted once the swelling abates, a technique the military uses with war injuries, added his colleague and trauma surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee.

Adding to Giffords' good prospects is that paramedics got her to the operating room in 38 minutes, her doctors said. Now she is being kept in a medically induced coma, deep sedation that rests her brain. It requires a ventilator, meaning she cannot speak. Doctors periodically lift her sedation to do tests and said she continues to respond well to commands.

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